Diary of a tense one

Collingwood v Geelong: Running diary

The much-anticipated top-of-the-table clash between two undefeated teams, turned out to be everything we had hoped it would be. To commemorate the event, I broke out a running diary.

7.25 With strong winds, rain, hail, and 70,000 Collingwood fans expected, I have decided to watch today’s match from the comforts of my living room.

Call me a fair weather supporter but at home I have a heater, I have better beer and I don’t have Collingwood supporters screaming in my ear. Win, win, and win.

7.28 I’m so psyched about this match I just watched two minutes of Home & Away. That’s two minutes I’ll never get back.

7.30 If I was a betting man, the Cats odds would look pretty attractive to me. Would have thought the odds would be much closer to even (I swear I wrote this before the match).

7.31 An imperial stout from New Zealand brewery 8 Wired is my beer of choice tonight. Beats drinking Carlton mid-strength that’s for sure.

7.33 Milburn’s out due to a stiff back and Maxwell will miss also with leg soreness. Not game changers but solid vets that will be missed.

7.34 The Megawall makes its first appearance. The weather radar and empty coach boxes are the most telling to my eye.

7.40 More Megawall. Still haven’t figured out what is mega about a split screen with shots made even smaller by crappy background graphics.

7.46 Didak gets a kick to the shin from Wojo and goes down like he’s been shot. May get a look at the tribunal but Didak may also need to ‘man up’.

7.48 Enright spills an uncontested mark to the Pies, followed by Sidebottom kicking it out on the full. Both teams look a little bit tense in the early going.

7.51 Geelong bombing it forward whenever they can. A change of strategy from the usual run-and-carry handball game. Meanwhile Collingwood can’t make it through Geelong’s forward press. A real turning of the tables here but the Cats aren’t capitalising on the scoreboard yet.

7.53 Umpires are nervous too apparently. Call Ling for hitting the arm, replays show it was a perfect spoil.

7.55 Johnson kicks the Cats fifth behind, all from gettable shots. He has now kicked 3.12 for the season. Is he the most overrated player in the AFL?

Pies have been pinged for holding the ball a number of times as Geelong are applying Collingwood-like tackling pressure, winning that count 12-3.

8.08 After dominating the play only to score 8 behinds, finally Stokes breaks through for a goal for the Cats.

8.09 And another goal to Kelly quickly follows. Ottens is dominating in the ruck and the Cats midfielders taking advantage by winning the clearances. Selwood unstoppable.

8.10 Hawkins nearly grabs a relatively uncontested mark in the square. Now leads the league in number of times a player ‘nearly took a mark’. While Varcoe leads the game in ‘nearly picking the ball up’.

Worrying signs for the Cats.  Even though they lead, they absolutely dominated the play only to screw up when kicking for goal. When the contest inevitably evens up, watch out.

8.20 Second quarter starts the same as the first, Geelong midfield dominating and their forward line sucking. Stokes decides to try and dribble a goal from 25m out, instead dribbles it straight to a defender. Pies kick a goal at the other end on the rebound.

8.22 Didak kicks it out on the full under little pressure. He might be the new Leon Davis, now that Leon Davis is actually good (and is currently murdering Stokes by the way).

8.30 Cats pressure has been relentless but is finally easing up. Swan’s gone forward and is eating up Enright one-on-one. Geelong continuing to kick to Stokes in marking contests, who is winning about 10% of 50/50 contests. Clearances still 18-8 Geelong’s way.

8.32 Mackie spills a mark into the lap of Sidebottom, another Magpie goal. Pies working back into the contest as expected and making the Cats pay on the scoreboard.

8.38 Dale Thomas and Swan starting to rack up the disposals. Thomas is supposedly playing on Selwood now, who has been quieter, but more importantly is attacking well himself.

8.39 Scarlett wins a 3 on 1 contest, to rebound the ball from the defensive 50. Legend.

8.40 Geelong kicks its second set shot out on the full, this time from Ling.

8.42 Jimmy Bartel brilliant little banana kick through traffic finds J-Pod for a set shot from 25 out, he surely can’t miss this one.

8.43 J-Pod kicks it out on the full. Shoot me now.

Half-time. Collingwood’s midfield are working their way into the game. Geelong’s kicking for goal and forward entries continue to be disastrous, manufacturing only one behind and three out on the full kicks, all from gettable set shots, for that quarter. Collingwood seemingly sitting pretty.

8.50 Competition for the most annoying ad on TV about insurance is pretty fierce at the moment. There’s Jason, swans crapping on cars, a musical, or a rip-off musical. I’m going to give the award to CGU for its rip-off musical. Ripping off someone else’s idea that was bad in the first place is simply unforgivable.

9.15 Nasty shoulder dislocation from Ling draw audible ahhs from the crowd. Christensen quickly takes off his sub shirt. No more Lingy tonight.

9.20 Bartel shows the rest of his team how to kick for goal. There goes the wind excuse.

9.27 Toovey injured in a sickening collision with Hawkins knee, after running backwards into the path of his lead. Didn’t see him coming until too late and looks like he could have some broken bones in the face. Just one of those things that happens in footy. It’s still a tough sport.

9.39 A big goal from Christensen before three quarter time keeps Geelong on the Pies heels.

9.52 After a Geelong behind, Collingwood breaks the press with a brilliant drive straight up the middle, and Krakouer goals. Too easy.

9.57 Just starting to get the sense that the Cats are going to struggle to score the two goals they need. Bruce even breaks out the “the next goal is crucial” line from the commentary 101 textbook and suggests the Pies could seal it with their next one.

9.59 The 19-year-old Menzel plays it like a vet and wins a crucial one-on-one in the forward half, delivers on point to Joel Selwood, apparently our new key forward, who smartly handballs to Johnson for a goal that can’t be missed. Game on.

10.01 Pods grabs onto one and with a chance to redeem himself for his last effort, shanks it. Isn’t exactly silencing the critics who claim he only plays well down at Geelong.

10.02 Jimmy Bartel, the best marking midfielder in the league, takes a strong grab in the forward line, and goals truly. You beewwwddddy! Talk about stepping up when needed. Sorry about the screaming neighbours, getting a little excited right now.

10.06 The J-Pod’s got himself another shot on goal. If he misses this one, it’s over between us. Yeeeesssssss! He kicks truly and celebrates like a kid at Christmas. I never doubted you J-Pod. 10 point lead. Excitement plus.

At this point, the timeline breaks down and comments become scratchy. There was a lot of standing, a bit of hair pulling, a Daisy Thomas spoil and goal that ensured my nerves are going to be well and truly racked. A Pendlebury goal mercifully not paid. Geelong see it through to the finish.

Now to soak your blanket, by reminding you that the result means nothing. Last season, the same clash early in the season, the Cats won by 30. The season before, the undefeated Saints and Cats clashed and the Saints won by 3, Geelong returned the favour in the Grand Final.

The positives, Geelong got to see the positive results of their change in strategy for Collingwood and questions about their midfield were also erased. Forget about Bomber and Gazza, we’ve got a premiership to contend for, in other words.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks Mark,

    Good to get a temporal record of influential events.

    Well identified.

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