Finals Week 1 – Geelong v Collingwood: A good start (Floreat Pica Society)

by Guy Fazzino for the Floreat Pica Society

1st Qualifying Final
Geelong v Collingwood
6 September 2019, 7.50pm


There’s something about games against Geelong which stir the emotions of the Collingwood supporter. Who can forget the epic Preliminary Final in 2007 when we came within a whisker of toppling the rampant Cats? Or maybe the 2010 Preliminary Final, when Collingwood produced, to be thought by many, the most scintillating, exhilarating half of finals football ever by this famous club and the COLLINGWOOOOOOOD chorus echoed hauntingly around the MCG? But most probably, it’s because they stole our 16th flag in 2011. Nothing hurts most than a premiership lost.


So here we were again, in 2019, with another instalment of this intriguing rivalry about to unfold in front of 93,436 expectant fans under a grey, cold sky.


The inclusions of Sidebottom, Stephenson and De Goey added welcome skill and pace to the lineup while inexplicably, Geelong made a late change, choosing to replace Stanley with Menegola, perhaps spooked by the forecast of biblical rains which never eventuated.


From the first bounce it was evident that the Pies were “on”, moving the ball swiftly, backing each other up and tackling fiercely. Elliott and Stephenson featured in several plays early and after dominating play in the forward half, the Pies got due reward for their efforts through goals from Adams, Elliott and Stephenson in a 4 minute burst. Rohan got one back for the Cats but Elliott snagged his second for the quarter through a clever bit of play from Sidebottom who seemed to be everywhere. Hawkins was looking dangerous up forward, but with poor kicking for goal he was letting himself down. Pies up 4.2 to 1.2 at quarter time. Encouraging, given several players had hardly touched the ball, particularly Brown, Thomas, Hoskin-Elliott and De Goey, who looked a little tentative. On the flipside, Dangerfield, Ablett, Kelly and Selwood also had quiet starts.


It was in the first half of the second quarter that the Pies won the game, piling on the first three goals to get out to a match-high 36 point lead. Howe’s brilliant charging goal from 50, his first of the year, where he just pinned his ears back and let fly, was the highlight. On a sour note, De Goey limped off about halfway through the quarter and was done for the night, succumbing to that dreaded hamstring again. Things evened up not long after though when Duncan left the game with a knee. To Geelong’s credit, they clawed back with the last three goals of the quarter, as Dangerfield started to make his present felt and the midfield battle swung Geelong’s way. So the momentum was with the Cats at half time even though the Pies won the quarter by a point. Pies up 7.5 to 4.4.


Further bad news emerged after the break with Greenwood out for the rest of the game with a suspected ACL (later confirmed), although this was soon offset with Rohan leaving the ground with a knee of his own. Both teams were now down to two on the bench and the game had become a war of attrition. It was an arm wrestle for the first 10 minutes, with both teams trading points until Sidebottom finally broke the deadlock with a typically clever goal but Menegola soon responded. The game had tightened up and Elliott, Stephenson and Mihocek, while getting their hands on the ball, were now looking less likely as one wondered where the goals were going to come from. Sensing the situation as great leaders do, up stepped Pendlebury, and coolly slotted a 50m gem on the run at the 22 minute mark. This ended up being the Pies’ last goal of the game. The Maggies won the quarter again and were up 9.7 to 5.6. Ablett and Hawkins were having little influence on the game, while Grundy was outpointing Blicavs and Ratugolea in the ruck and Howe was marking everything down back. Adams, Treloar and Pendlebury were holding sway against Dangerfield, Kelly and Selwood.


In a tense last quarter which only went 26min, 15 secs, only two goals were scored and they both came from the Cats. In fact, Collingwood didn’t score but managed to hold on for a hard fought victory. Moore really stepped up when it mattered most, taking a number of crucial intercept marks to foil the Cats. Wills was also very impressive, doing a power of bullocking work in the packs even though his stats were low. Dangerfield almost singlehandedly carried his team over the line in a brilliant last quarter and Kelly kicked the last one late. The Pies were content to just retain possession for most of the last quarter as Sidebottom continued to rack up the stats and Phillips ran up and down the wing relentlessly while others such as Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Thomas and Mihocek faded. Crisp, uncharacteristically, had a very quiet game.


In hindsight, Collingwood would have been very stiff to lose this game as they had control from the start and appeared to have a more even contribution from its players compared to the Cats who seemed to rely too heavily on its stars. Collingwood’s run and carry worried the Cats who looked slower although as the game wore on and Collingwood started to tire, their running entries dried up (and so did the goals) and were replaced with high ball entries which fell right into Geelong’s hands. The Pies will have to be wary of not falling into this trap in the Prelim as they will be outmarked more often than not.


Pendlebury, who led the team brilliantly in a sterling effort, was carried off by Sidebottom and Mayne to a guard of honour from both teams and to the delight of the adoring Black & White Army in a memorable 300thgame.


Final score 9.7.61 to 7.8.51.




Guy Fazzino.


7 Sept 2019, 6.28pm.



GEELONG                1.2     4.4      5.6     7.9 (51)
     4.2     7.5      9.7     9.7 (61)

Geelong: Miers, Tuohy, Rohan, Parfitt, Menegola, Dangerfield, Kelly
Collingwood: Elliott 2, Adams 2, Stephenson, Pendlebury, Howe, Hoskin-Elliott, Sidebottom

Geelong: Duncan (knee)
Collingwood: De Goey (hamstring), Greenwood (knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: O’Gorman, Chamberlain, Meredith

Official crowd: 93,436 at the MCG


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