Floreat Pica: Reality Bites

By John Ramsdale

Some coaches talk about winning quarters. We won an eighth.

In my previous report it was mentioned that it was very long. I was tempted to write. “We was ordinary” and send the votes to Steve and be done with it. After reading this you may say, you should have.

Questions before the game:

Would Brent Harvey again play a great game? He and Sam Mitchell seem to have invariably good games against us.

Would last week’s game have taken a lot out of the team?

How would we handle the stadium?  I think I have seen more Collingwood losses than wins here.

Apart from the 1970’s when Ron Barassi-led teams had our measure and then again in the 1990’s when the powerful Wayne Carey/Glenn Archer teams tended to be strong for us, North have gone off the radar and we have had their measure. I think I know as few of their players as those on the Melbourne, Suns and GWS lists.

 1st quarter:

By the 12 minute mark we had 4 goals on the board and it looked like we were in for a very pleasant Saturday evening, watching a skilful team take apart an opposition in the eight, instead of one of the bottom dwellers.  It looked like we could be in line for the proverbial cakewalk. At the 16 minute mark it could have been 5 goals to nil had Alex Fassolo kicked truly. It looked a bit too flashy and perhaps over confidence was setting in. It took us the rest of the game to score another 4 goals.

North suddenly looked like a different team, clearing the ball from the centre, aided by two frees against Darren Jolly. Late in the quarter a free was awarded to North’s Thomas against Harry O’Brien. You could hear the cheering and laughter from Moorabbin led by Stephen Milne as Thomas goaled.  At the other end Travis Cloke was not given the same leniency from the umpires.  Unbelievably, North went into the break by a point. as the ststistics cam up at 1/4 time, Collingwood only had one player in the top 8 possession players.

2nd Quarter:

North dominated in every area.  They ran quickly, backed one another up, their forwards were in front and their backmen were on top. This was a quarter of errors for Collingwood and very little went right. It was a comedy of errors but there was little to laugh about.

·         Ben Sinclair tackled well and gained a lot of possessions but his lack of accuracy in front of goals may cost him later in the year.

·         Travis Cloke finally gained a long overdue free kick, but it was on the half-back flank.

·         Jarryd Blair scrambled our sole goal from a pack in the goal square. Compare this with North’s goals. Travis Cloke managed a similar one later but it was disallowed.

·         Harry+Thomas + Umpire =same result as 1st Quarter.

·         Hansen outmarked Heath Shaw in goal square to gaol. There is a 13cm difference in height between them. Who put Shaw on Hansen?

·         Sharryd Wellingham back-passed to Shaw in the goal square. It went astray, straight to the younger Tarrant who goaled.

·          The ball came to Ben Reid who looked to have it covered, but it bounced over his head straight into the arms of Tarrant Jr. and he goaled again. He will never get two easier goals in his career.

·         Alan Didak had a shot at goal after a good pass from Jamie Elliot. The ball broke the wrong way and scored a behind. You had the feeling that if it had  been a North player, the bounce would have gone the other way. It was shaping up as one of those nights.

·         The ball bounced off Chris Dawes’ chest when he appeared to be by himself. Confidence rock bottom. Bronx cheers unfortunately.

·         I was right to worry about about Harvey who was everywhere.

The handball and kicking skills deteriorated. The forwards, especially Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes will probably cop a lot of criticism, but the delivery was poor: half-volleys bouncing well in front of them, or long kicks going over their heads or high parabola kicks giving the backs plenty of time to punch the ball clear. Handballs were overdone and often given to players standing still or in worse positions. When the Piesimist and I played during the Cretaceous Period we would have been dragged for handballing to someone standing still.  There also seemed to be a tendency to look for Dayne Beams too frequently, even if he were not in a great position. We went in 22 points down.

3rd Quarter:

More of the same.  Good goals from Dayne Beams and Ben Sinclair and Heath Shaw’s move to the forward line livened things up a bit. Nick Maxwell whose delivery was also not great but as usual was trying hard went off injured. Darren Jolly was being out-bigged and out-jumped by Goldstein and Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes could not get into the game. I wonder if too much has been asked of Dawes this year and Cloke’s confidence looks absolutely shot. Unfortunately, some Collingwood supporters in the crowd began to abuse Cloke about signing and moving on. 27 points down, probably should have been more.

4th quarter:

They kicked 1 goal 4, we kicked 1 goal 1. I was tempted to leave early, something I never do, not because of the result, but because of the dullness of the game.  The only amusing moment came when the North cheer squad tried to emulate the famous “ Collingwoooood”  chant with a “ Kangaroooooos” one. It fell flat as it did not scan properly and there were so few people to carry it off effectively.  Still it was an improvement on their pathetic early attempts with “Let’s go Kangas, let’s go. Clap, Clap.” It sounded like a primary school swimming carnival. It showed the standard of the game if that took my attention,

Some observations:

·         For two weeks in a row we have played a team that contained the brother of a Collingwood player. What a pity it isn’t a hat trick this week and we had Wayne Nattanui and Travis Cox playing for us.

·         Like the May Fly the deliberate out-of-bounds interpretation, lasted one day.

·         Perhaps Alan Kohler could run a graph on the ABC news showing the market value of Travis Cloke over the last few months. I might actually understand this one.

·         Footscray has a forward line with no big blokes and can’t kick goals. We have two big blokes and a forward line that is struggling to kick goals.

·         We travel well and will not underestimate the opposition next week..

·         We could not play that badly two weeks in a row and have not lost two in a row for a long time. (Statistician alert.)

Votes for the Leigh Brown Medal.:

(He would have handy on Saturday night.  I think that I always  managed to get him into the Horsburgh votes when I have done reports in the past. )

3. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise when the votes are opened at the Carringbush in October.  

2.  The new Billy Picken.  Even when the rest of the team is struggling he continues to give his all, even if it includes a few mistakes.  

1. Not at his best, but he tried hard throughout the game and kept going.

Nick Maxwell would have got one, but went off injured.

Floreat Pica Editor’s Note: (it’s worth throwing in the FPS DR votes from John’s partner  in crime and old schoolmate Rob “The Piesimist” Lewis.)

To the two grumpy old muppets sitting in the gods, it did not look good.

Here are a few thoughts from this one:

Panic. It characterised both the forward and the back lines. I have not seen such panic since the psychiatrist took his homophobe patients and his paranoid patients to an English pantomime – and the Dame came on and called out ‘He’s behind you!’

Mongrel. North had it. The kangaroo midfielders monstered Jolly before, during and after each centre bounce. They even monstered Pies players as they ran off to interchange. It is clear that the Brad Scott personality is rubbing off on his players.

Skill. Nowhere to be seen. Such appalling kicking into the forward line. Such handballing for the sake of it, whether the recipient was in a position to advance or not.

Confidence. Sadly wanting in the key forwards.

Pressure. Plenty received, not much given.

Speed. See Skill above. I thought Mooney was supposed to be a speedster – he keeps getting caught in possession. Perhaps he is just a slow thinker – or perhaps there was no-one further forward for him to get the ball to. We are slow to get the ball into the forward line (see Skill above again), with the result that almost every time we enter the 50 it is from a long, high, hope-for-the-best kick to forwards who have been well covered by opponents.

Jolly. No Jolly, no Collingwood. And there is nothing coming up to help/replace him.

Kangaroo supporters. Last night was their premiership equivalent. Good luck to them, they deserved their win.

The alternative Danny Roach votes:

3 votes – The forwards coach. Is there one?

2 Votes – The skills coach. Is there one?

1 vote – The master tactician who left Shaw at full back against eight-feet tall monsters with the strength of Atlas. As Napoleon once said, ‘I never interfere when the enemy is doing my job for me’ (or something like that, and in French).

The formal Danny Roach votes:

Lots of candidates. We had a small number of decent players whom John Ramsdale will identify, a group of about 8-10 triers who occasionally did some good things among the bad, and a sizeable group of duds on the night.

Selecting from the worst of the duds:

3 votes – Dawes. Sure the delivery to the forwards was appalling, but he had many opportunities and butchered them all.

2 votes – the other useless big lug, Coke. Again the delivery was horrible, but he has stoped leading to advantage, he is trying to wrestle opponents unnecessarily, he is becoming a frustrated squealer to the umpires. He has not dropped his price of a million a year, but it is now measured in drachma, not dollars.

1 vote – could have been to either of Mrs Brown’s boys, Marty or Caolan, or to Jolly (he played his heart out, but he was just totally outpointed), or to several others – but I am giving it to Jamie Elliott, who is running around a lot, but not getting to the ball much, and not showing the sort of development that Seedsman and Sinclair have shown.

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