Floreat Pica Report: Rd 8 vs Geelong

AFL General Manager Football Operations Adrian Anderson, Chairman of the Laws of the Game Committee, said the Commission had approved the following:

A change to the Advantage Rule, whereby the player and not the umpire will decide if there is an advantage to a team in playing on after a free kick.

Inside the last two minutes. Collingwood trail by less than a goal. A ruck contest on the forward fifty. Free kick given to Cameron Wood. Scott Pendlebury has possession forward of the contest, takes the advantage, heads towards goal, kicks, but it slides past for a behind. Hang on. The umpire calls the ball back, and gives the ball to Wood to take the free. From outside fifty he slots it. The magpie army is in raptures but the Geelong fans are livid. Pendlebury took the advantage. He has thrown the dice. The new rule? What happened to it? Collingwood hold on for the remainder of the match and win by less than a goal and become the only undefeated team. The torrent of abuse from the Geelong supporters continues long after the goal has been kicked and the boos regain their volume and venom on the final siren. Once again an umpire has intervened at a critical time, ignored the rules and cost their team the match.

Of course that didn’t happen on Friday night. Well it sort of happened, but that wasn’t the result. But if I had written it as it actually happened, as Pendlebury did kick the “goal”, but it was disallowed, I would have been labelled a Collingwood whinger and told that one decision doesn’t define a game. But in this case it did. Try and convince me that that would not have been the reaction from Cats supporters if it had played out according to the above script. That decision changed the game completely. It is hypothetical of course. Instead of defending a lead Geelong would have been attacking. They may have scored a goal in the remaining time; they showed late in the first quarter that they only need fifteen seconds from the centre ball-up to kick a goal. But Collingwood would have been in front. It would have been maintaining possession and protecting a lead. That blatantly incorrect umpiring decision affected the game, and the outcome, completely. Oh yeah – along with the other rule that says Joel Selwood gets the free kick no matter what!

The evening started by finding a park along the river, walking into the city and meeting Peter Flynn, Geelong supporter but almost an Associate Floreat Pican, in the cricketers’ bar of the Windsor. We were soon joined by Almanacker Matt O’Connor and Floreat Pican James Gilchrist. Eventually I left the boys to it as I headed to the ground to meet my Geelong supporting wife, who travelled in by train, for a pre-game beer. Eventually to our seats to catch up with our children who had caught a later train. My children don’t like being with me at the football. Eventually I was banished to the outer reaches of our allocated seats as Audrey and Herb, both Collingwood supporters, refused to sit near me. I don’t know what it is.

Collingwood could well have lost this game in the first quarter, but Geelong insisted upon kicking behinds when goals were quite achievable. They had six minors on the board before Collingwood kicked the first goal of the match, a transition goal which ended in a Leigh Brown mark in the goalsquare. Geelong’s first didn’t come until very late in the quarter, to Stokes, but that was very quickly followed by one to Kelly which had Geelong up by fourteen points at quarter time, eleven scoring shots to two, twenty-two inside fifties to nine. They had smashed us everywhere except where it counted. Collingwood were struggling to achieve in the area they normally restrict their opponents – keeping them in their own back half. We had numerous kickouts, but were turning the ball over in the midfield and it was coming right back in a hurry.

The second quarter belonged to Collingwood as Geelong again wasted scoring opportunities, several times not even achieving a behind, as Collingwood scored four goals to one for the quarter. However, it was a low scoring encounter, and this favoured Geelong. The game was being played on Geelong’s terms. Other than Selwood and Swan, the big names on both teams were struggling to have impact. Leon Davis was on top of Varcoe while Pendlebury was being closely shadowed. Didak, having come off in the first quarter after a kick in the leg by Wojinski, was ineffectual. Dids is not having a good year. On Friday night the few opportunities he did get, he didn’t take advantage of, either fumbling or mis-kicking. I noted that Chapman was not as prevalent as I anticipated, but feared his invisibility wouldn’t last.

The third quarter there was more of the same: hard, close-checking, high-intensity football. Varcoe kicked his first early but Cloke replied with the assistance of a fifty. A turning point came when Ling injured his shoulder. His coach assessed his game to that stage so sub-standard that he was immediately substituted without any consultation with the medical staff, and it was a bemused Ling who emerged from the rooms and learned he had to wear a red jacket. The net result was a faster Geelong. Collingwood, with a goal to Pendlebury took the lead out to seventeen points but a reply from Bartel, a game-ending injury to Toovey and then a gifted free-kick goal to Christensen had the margin back to five points at three-quarter time.

I will dwell briefly on Toovey and his injury. Bravery is one thing, but players should have a sense of self-preservation. I blame the commentators who are so quick to criticise players for not going in hard enough. Toovey’s act was only ever going to end in tears, and the potential of a positive outcome minimal. As he ran back towards the pack, someone should have conducted a full risk assessment, obtained the results, communicated them to the coach, and the runner should have been sent out to tell him not to do it. Maybe in the heat of the game, there is not enough time.

In the final quarter, the Geelong domination of the centre square continued which meant again the ball spent more time in Geelong’s forward line than Collingwood’s. Again Geelong were able to limit Collingwood’s ability to break out. Bartel’s second goal put Geelong into the lead and this was stretched to ten points with a strong mark and rare straight kick from Podsiadly. At this point my Geelong supporting daughter Ursula informed me that Geelong had scored the last twenty points. Two Collingwood behinds but then a kick-out turnover ended in a Daisy Thomas goal and the margin was only two points. No more to tell after that. You already know. I would hate to make it sound like sour grapes.

It might have been Geelong’s poor kicking that kept Collingwood in the game. Collingwood has been patchy of late, but winning. In this game the poor patches were longer and more frequent, and the compensatory good patches not of sufficient strength nor as bountiful. We lost the last quarter, which hasn’t happened much this season. Other than their goal kicking, Geelong were better than Collingwood. Collingwood’s big three of Cloke, Dawes and Brown shared just six marks between them. As Pendlebury said after the game, the delivery didn’t help as we kept putting it on top of their heads giving Geelong defenders much better opportunity to spoil and clear.

Thankfully the rain held off until the final siren so this game was played in reasonable conditions. As a spectacle it was a great game to watch. I may not have enjoyed the result but I enjoyed the contest. It is not season defining; it has established the two teams’ credentials as the ladder leaders. Is Geelong better than Collingwood? That hasn’t been proven. We can look forward to these two teams meeting, maybe more than once, later in the year.

Horsburgh Medal

1 vote – Heath Shaw. Missing Ben Johnson and Nick Maxwell put a greater load on Heath Shaw. And then we lost Toovey. Harry O’Brien is a bit down. Leon is taking the majority of kick-outs which means Shaw has to be one of the targets. He is marking well overhead. Not as much carry-and run as we come to expect but fewer out-on-the-fulls than I have come to expect.

2 votes – Simon Buckley. See above notes on the backline, and this required Buckley to really step up. Easily his best game for the club. Seemed assured in his handling and delivery and won numerous one-on-one contests. Well played.

3 votes – Dane Swan. Another fine performance from a player from whom you expect a fine performance every time he steps out. If only he had a neck, or a back, or went out with a daughter of one of those ego-centric maggots, he might even win an award one day.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. John Butler says

    AF, re Toovey,

    Allegedly Heath Shaw called Toovey to go back into that collision.

    It would seem Mr Shaw’s judgement on this was as dubious as on some other matters.

    I hope Helen was merciful post game.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    He said, ‘you’ve gotta go’.

    AF, an inconclusive result as predicted.

    Enjoyed your take on proceedings.

  3. AF – Did anyone from your household spew after the game?

    (PS – bloody whinger!)

  4. Andrew Fithall says

    Dips – literally: No. Figuratively: absolutely.

  5. Andrew,

    what’s all the fuss. A decision similar to one that got you a flag last year. Remember the disallowed Ling goal against the Saints that put us in the side the Pies were in.

    We wooda belted yez if we hadda made the Grand Final cobba.

    By the way. When did the rule change come through allowing out of bounds balls not be called, enabling a team to play on and score a vital goal like the Pies did on Friday night. Sorry, thats right, I saw one in 1979. I was very close to that one and it was out by about the same as last Friday. The replay was censored. Good onya Bruce and Eddie.

    And ‘the let the Pies play on in their forward line for a few minutes after a stretcher had been brought on to the ground but hold up play when the Cats get great break in a tight game’ was interesting. Micky et al would be sooking for weeks if that had been vica versa. Heads would roll.

    The umpires certainly got caught up in the Colliywood aura there for a while.

    Any way, thanks for the four points and the million dollar gate. Very generous of y’awl.

    See yez in Round 22.

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    7.3.2 Procedure
    Where a stretcher is required, the following procedure
    shall apply:
    (a) upon being advised or noticing that a Player requires a
    stretcher, the field Umpire shall stop play at the earliest

    I could not work out why play was not stopped sooner. The umpire was with the attending medical staff and play should have been stopped earlier. At the time I blamed the medical staff because I thought the umpire would act on their advice.

    And there was a small problem with the Ling disallowed goal in that he claimed advantage when the free-kick was going to the opposing team. Was fortunate not to incur a 50.

    But keep up with the conspiracy theories Mr Phantom. They are beginning to define you. Maybe the stretcher was not allowed on the ground because the umpires were not able to produce the orginal long version of the medical certificate.

  7. Sorry Andrew, I did make a mistake in my previous post.

    It should read “Thanks for the four points and the multi-million dollar gate”

    PS. Bashar al-Assad (Pronounced ‘basher all his head’) has a saying. ‘Conspiracy. What conspiracy?)

  8. Andrew Fithall says

    Happy to share the riches Phantom.

    Did you know every Queens birthday game between Melbourne and Colingwood is a Melbourne home game? On the day, when the Melbourne supporters in the MCC are giving me the irrits because of their general hoity toity attitude, I explain that every Collingwood supporter there that day is allowed to claim their ticket purchase as a tax deduction for the charity donation.

  9. Cheers Andrew.

    We could buy a lot of dodgy decisions with that sort of Kanga.

    ‘Tell me who is saying these nasty things about conspiracy………. and I will make them go away”

  10. Clearisghted says

    In the case of the Pendlebury play on advantage discussion, the time on whistle had already been blown which excludes an interpretation of the rule cited above.
    And I believe that conspiracy theories exist because there are some, in the realm of big business, politics and life in general, who conspire to do the wrong/unjust thing, to suit their own ends.
    Keep stirring that pot, Phantom.

  11. Andrew Fithall says

    Sorry Clearsighted. When Pendlebury had the ball (he took it on the full from the ruck contest) and was running, the time-on whistle had not been blown. That had been the intitial post-game response from an AFL representative but that was withdrawn. And even if it had been blown, it would have been in error because, as stated: the player and not the umpire will decide if there is an advantage to a team in playing on after a free kick.

  12. Accurate and informative, AF. Partlcularly those key early moments in the Cricketers’ Bar.

    Not so worried about the ump’s premature whistle-action, though. This is the mini-depression we had to have. Crow carbonara on the menu next Sunday.

  13. johnharms says


    I find it would be remiss of me not to comment on your understanding of what went on in the final stages of Friday night’s match.

    We live in a democratic state. Peter Lalor lost an arm at Eureka fighting for the cause. Blokes from Natimuk to Nathalia joined up and fought at Gallipoli. Eddie McGuire was elected by the Collingwood faithful. All for the preservation of the spirit of democracy.

    When Cam Wood collapsed under the gentle lean of Brad Ottens late in the match on Friday night and was awarded a free kick 23 of the 24 players around stopped. Only Scott Pendlebury played on. Clearly the Pies players had chosen, collectively, not to play on. It was only the recalcitrant Pendlebury who, like one of Patrick’s instant wharfies, sought to take the individual advantage.

    The umpire read the moment, and the historical thrust perfectly.

    Democracy prevailed, as you would expect in Victoria.

  14. Danielle says

    i knew i was swearing for a good reason, although some of the rules are kinda messed up that i don’t know if im right to be swearing. In this case my colorful language directed at the umpires- as the ball was called back for Wood to have a shot seems to be valid.
    I hear ya AF/twitter buddy – think of it this way, we cant play ourselves in the Granny so atleast Geelong proved themselves a worthy option.

  15. Phil Dimitriadis says

    AF, passionate and fairly one-eyed view, as one would expect from a fan of the Reigning Premiers!

    We blew it in the first quarter, which has usually been our best quarter since our run began last year. We had half our backline and best ruckman out, our key and crumbing forwards were crap and we got beaten in many clearances. Yet, the Cats fell in by 3 measly points and most of them carry on as if they won a flag.

    And still, the AFL and all other parasitic clubs, need Collingwood more than we need them. Twas always thus and always thus will be. See ya in early September Cats, because you will have run out of puff by October. Go Pies!!!

  16. Andrew Fithall says

    JTH – Don’t take your cues from Gerard Healy. Mike Sheehan had it correct. And Eddie has never been elected.

  17. watt price tully says

    Methinks the horizontal hold on those hoops is getting a bit much for John Harms. To ‘cloke’ oneself in the Eureka flag might make one a nationalist- (I think you’re getting a might confused – the Democracies you were actually referring to were the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of China & former German Democratic Republic.) In other words no democracy at all, not unlike the misrepresentation of the flow of the game. Indeed the other proximate umpire, Nifty “Neville” Chamberlain was heard to say: ” We have play on in our times”. IIt is without doubt that the rule change this year regarding play on is to allow the players to make the decision to play on for good or for bad, no more & no less.

    Nevertheless, should there be rain, pestillence, hail, freezing cold, gales and snow in Sepember & October 2011 in the final series then Geelong may well be in with a good chance.

  18. Is that a full blown dummy spit or a 7.2 wobble Phil?

  19. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Mainly a statement of truth Phanto, with a dash of vitriol. Love it when the emotions come to play on this site. Isn’t that what barracking is about?

  20. I hope Pie fans continue to delude themselves that they lost because of a debatable umpiring decision. I hope they continue to ignore that they got thrashed at the stoppages, shots for goal, tackles, and also lost the possessions count. I hope they continue to moan like an ALP focus group about the free kick count when in fact it was only 21/24 the Cats way. I hope, I hope, I hope.

  21. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Maybe that’s the difference at the moment Dips. Cats’ fans hope, Pies fans know.

    Of course, that can change very quickly.

  22. johnharms says

    Unusual assertion from a man of Greek heritage, with a deep knowledge of mythology, and hubris. I’ve always understood pride and respect, but this type of uber-confidence is certainly challenging the spiritus mundi.

    We poor Cats fans are happy to hope.

  23. Andrew Fithall says

    I am with Phil and his confidence. Last Friday morning, pre-dawn, in the Eastern sky of Melbourne was the remarkable event of Jupiter lining up with Venus, Mercury and Mars. The alignment of these four planets occurs once every fifty to one hundred years – last time 1910; next time 2056.

    I don’t believe in astrology, but I like the thought that Geelong are going to need their planets aligned if they are going to beat Collingwood again this season.

  24. Peter Flynn says


  25. Dave Nadel says

    I said it on John’s thread, I said it to the Floreat Pica Society in my Danny Roach votes and I’ll say it on this thread as well. Collingwood did not lose because of umpiring incompetence over Pendlebury’s goal or because Joel Selwood was best on the ground. Collingwood lost because Geelong had a top AFL ruckman in Brad Ottens and the Pies had a mediocre VFL ruckman in Cameron Wood. If Jolly is back and fit in September/October the Cats will not dominate the opening bounces and stoppages and the result will be different! Obviously I am also assuming that other top players on both sides will also be available but Ottens and Jolly are the only players in either side who cannot be adequately replaced.

  26. Dave – can Pendlebury be replaced?

  27. thefreeak says

    “A top AFL ruckman in Ottens” LOL

  28. Dave Nadel says

    Only with great difficulty, but I think Geelong’s experience with Gary Ablett jnr suggests that if you have 4 or 5 top midfielders you can lose your best and still be a top side. However there are more top midfielders at Collingwood and Geelong alone, than there are top ruckmen in the entire AFL.

  29. You are right Phil, it is all in good spirit.

    All I “know” is how to be a niggling old fashioned half back flanker that can read the state of play and influence the outcome of the game.

    But I do “hope” that I wasn’t dreaming in 2007 and 2009.

    One flag does not make a dynasty, and October is a long way away.

  30. Good to see Pendles is resigning (for one year) Andrew.

    Western Sydney’s other big target, Bartell, resigned for Four with the Cats.

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