Floreat Pica: Cats v Pies

For most Collingwood supporters Round 16 began, not with our match against Geelong, but with North’s shellacking of Carlton the night before. Every member of the Floreat Pica Society who emailed on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday referred to it with joy. Pam referred to it in her Danny Roach votes. Two Pie supporting mates of mine rang me about the North game on Saturday afternoon. My friends Peter and his son Kieran, with whom I watched the Geelong game on Saturday night, mentioned it. Every Collingwood supporter was pleased with what the Roos did to the Blues.

The trouble was it was the Roos that did it to the Blues not us. The Pies have actually played their two worst games of the year against the hated Blueboys. As I walked my dog on the Saturday afternoon before going to the MCG I asked myself why?

There is a band in Melbourne called The Eddy Current Suppression Ring. I’ve never heard them, I only know their name from the Age EG but it strikes me that that was one of Collingwood’s problems is that we don’t have a current Eddy Suppression Ring. And if you play Carlton without a current Eddy suppression ring then all Betts are off. North obviously have at least a partial Eddy suppression ring; Carlton’s best small forward only kicked two goals against them.

The other thing that North had last Friday which Collingwood lacked the previous Friday was a reliable high scoring tall forward. In our premiership year we had three players capable of playing that role. Then Chris Dawes injured his hand last year and has never regained his best 2010 form, Leigh Brown retired and in the last few weeks, Travis Cloke, who used to be the second best forward in the entire competition, allowed his dad to get cute about his future contract. I noticed that the Pies had selected Chris Tarrant on the backline but knew that Taz had kicked four goals in the seconds last week and I hoped that he might turn back time and give us a working tall forward option.

The night at the “G” was cold and just as the ball was bounced it started to rain. The radio was talking about possible hail and it was obviously going to be a great night for football. At the first bounce Geelong cleared the ball and headed to the Punt Road end. Was this going to be ‘Déjà vu from last year’s Grand Final? Fortunately not, Travis Varcoe was not on the field and the set shot was from Tom Hawkins who kicked the first of a series of four points and one out of bounds that he was to kick before finally scoring a goal near the end of the game. It should however be pointed out that Hawkins beat himself, Nathan Brown certainly didn’t. He was outmarked and out manoeuvred by the Tomahawk and richly deserved the two DR votes that Pam gave him.

The next clearance went our way and Taz scored the equalising point. Then followed a dominant quarter when Collingwood kicked and passed with pin point accuracy despite the rain, all our players seemed to hold their marks and when Geelong did win possession their players were soon tackled by our boys. It was an awesome quarter. First Daisy goaled, then our born again forward Goldsack followed. O’Brien to Elliott for the third and the fourth from the unlikely boot of Captain Maxy after the Cats’ Taylor Hunt ran through the mark and the Umps advanced Nick 50 metres. Beams and finally Tarrant got in the act.

I have mentioned the first six goal scorers, but the dominance was all over the field (almost – Hello Travis).  Reid was doing well and the running backs, Shaw, O’Brien Maxwell and Toovey were destroying Geelong. In the midfield Blair was having his best ever half of football, Pendlebury was back in town and Swan and Beames were racking up their usual swag of possessions. Jolly was dominant and even scored Collingwood’s eighth goal. He was clearly enjoying playing an Ottensless Geelong. When historians examine the Cats period of dominance I suspect they will conclude the player that Geelong most needed was not Gary junior, it was Brad Ottens.

Geelong came back a bit in the second and third quarters but the Pies were still clearly in control. The Cats actually won the last quarter but by then the Pies had taken their foot off the gas. Sellwood played quite well for the Cats in the second half. I wonder if Kevan Carroll has looked at the derivation of the surname Selwood in the excellent column he writes in the Football Record. I suspect that he would find that it is Anglo-Saxon for “ducks his head”

Simon Buckley was subbed off at half-time. The radio reported that he had a corked thigh but newspaper reports on Sunday referred to a “migraine”.  It reminded me of the migraine that my Captain told me that I had developed during the 1981 “C” Grade North Suburban Cricket final when he wanted to replace me with a fieldsman with a safer pair of hands.

Had Collingwood regained a reliable tall forward in this match? Not quite but Chris Tarrant had scored two goals and assisted in others. He had provided some terrific leads and his presence forced Geelong to play three tall backmen which discouraged Harry Taylor from slipping forward and scoring as he had in some earlier games this year. Chris Tarrant’s game helped Chris Dawes also. I thought the Beast played his best game this year, he kicked two goals and helped create others. His snapshot goal, close in from a difficult angle was inspiring. Best of all he held most of his marks, which is the thing he hasn’t been doing since he broke his knuckle last year. Travis Cloke got a bath, from Tom Lonergan of all people, but fortunately it didn’t matter. You would have to wonder whether his mind is fully on the job.

At the end of the day there were a lot of happy Pies around the MCG. It had started to rain again and I got soaked just walking to Jolimont station, missed the connection to the Craigieburn line and waited nearly half an hour at Melbourne Central. At Ascot Vale The last bus was long gone and I had twenty-five minute walk home after midnight in what had had become a very cold night. But nothing the weather or Metro could serve up could wipe the smile from my face. It was very good night at the football for Collingwood supporters.

Michael Horsbrough votes

3 votes. Heath Shaw. Totally dominated the defence. Heath was everywhere on the backline. We may not have a current Eddy Suppression Ring but Heath led a very effective Stevie J suppression ring. Johnson is listed as winning many possessions but most of them were ineffective – suppressed by Heater and his fellow backmen. Shaw not only stopped Cat attacks, he initiated a lot of Pie attacks.

I would have been tempted to give Heath a vote even if he hadn’t been best on the ground for his superb piece of gamesmanship in the third quarter. The ball went through the Geelong goal in a flurry of players and legs at the Punt Road end. The Geelong players claimed it came off Selwood’s boot, the Collingwood players said it hit Sidebottom’s foot or knee in transit between Selwood’s foot and the goal line. The Goal umpire and the closest field umpire clearly had no idea so the decision went to the “video” umpire.  During all this time Heater kept the ball firmly in his hand and made frequent gestures implying that he was preparing to kick off after the scoring of a point. I have no idea whether Heater actually saw the ball touch Sidebottom but he moved with such a sense of certainty and confidence that when the video proved inconclusive the goal umpire had no alternative but to rule in Collingwood’s favour. Heath may not be all that competent off the field but he has a great football brain when he is inside the white lines.

2 votes Dayne Beams. The usual number of effective possessions and accurate kicks. He has clearly recovered from his unfortunate dose of Carrazzo last week and beat several Geelong opponents.

1 vote Jarryd Blair There are people who will quibble that Swan had 40 possessions, Pendlebury played as if he had not missed six weeks with a fractured tibia and actually Blair’s second half wasn’t as brilliant as his first. All true, but Jarryd’s game made an old bloke very happy. Back in the twentieth century, when we played all our home games in the wet and the mud of Victoria Park, we always had at least one tough little bloke who would never back down, would tackle as if there were no tomorrow and could move the ball quickly to the forwards even when the surface was slippery and slow. Jarryd’s first half was classic Magpie wet weather football. He could have been Lou Richards or Ron Wearmouth or Tony Shaw.  I just love his work.


  1. Andrew Fithall says

    I can recommend Eddy Current Suppression Ring Dave. However, they are unlikely to be playing at Port Fairy FF any time soon so I doubt they will be one of yours. I missed the pre-game entertainment on Saturday but I did like that avid Collingwood supporter Lanie Lane came back at half time for a couple of songs.

    A good result all round.


  2. Justin Porth says

    Oh it’s great to see the unheralded Blair get some recognition here! He has been instrumental, along with Beams and Sidebottom in covering the loss of Ball, but has not received the same press…until now.

  3. Sean Gorman says

    Great garage, 8 stubby, half bottle of Jim Beam, one reefer and beer pong band Dave. Nice one.

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