Floreat Pica Society Report – Carlton vs Collingwood, Round 17, Saturday July 16 2.10 p.m. MCG

Saturday afternoon. Traditional time to attend a footy match. Pies versus Blues, traditional clash with traditional rivals. Only the venue is non Traditional.

I am going to the footy with my friend Peter, with whom I have been going to Pies games for seventeen years and my friend Michael. The last time I went to the footy with Michael was forty-two years ago in1969. Actually we may have gone to a couple of games together in 1970 but the last Pies/Blues game we went to was on July 19 1969, Round 15 of that season.

In 1969 the match was at Victoria Park. We travelled there by train and paid 60 cents to stand in the outer (probably near the half forward flank at the Railway end because that was always where I tried to stand until I became a social club member in the eighties). There were almost 44,000 people at the game. It was the largest crowd that I ever saw at Vic Park although 4,000 less than the ground record set in 1948.

We were packed in like sardines, but the atmosphere was great and I remember standing in the sun. At one point Mike and I started a chant that the whole outer took up. We were good at starting chants, usually we started them in marches in Bourke St and they were about ending the Vietnam War and bringing the troops home but footy chants were fun and didn’t get you in trouble with police. I had remembered the game as ending in a Maggies’ victory but according to Stephen Rodgers’ book Every Game Ever Played we lost by ten points.

There was another difference forty-two years ago. Nobody had ever heard of spot betting or “exotics.”  There probably was betting on VFL results somewhere if you knew the right bookie and there were certainly stories about teams backing themselves and using the winnings to pay for end of season footy trips but most fans’ footy betting would have been restricted to occasional wagers between friends.

Back in 2011 Footy betting was the subject of the day. I do not intend to discuss the Heath Shaw case in this report, if anyone is interested in my opinions they can be found on the thread at the Footy Almanac website but from the point of view of this report it is important to realise that the Shaw affair dominated discussion of the match. Would the loss of Heath make it harder for Collingwood to win? Would the events of Friday distract, dismay or demoralise the players? Who would replace Heater in the selected side?

We had the answer to the final question before the game started. Shaw is a defender who sometimes plays midfield. There was one of those (Goldsack) amongst the emergencies and there was also a pure defender in Buckley. The Collingwood brains trust however decided to replace a defender who sometimes plays midfield with a forward who sometimes plays midfield (McCarthy). I was sceptical but it seemed to work.

Collingwood got away to a good start early in the first quarter with a Cloke goal followed by a fine running goal from Pendlebury. Travis was involved in the build up for that one as well. Carlton eventually also got two goals but the Pies should have been well ahead at quarter time. They had far more entries inside the forward fifty but kicked six points (some were rushed). Daisy Thomas was marking brilliantly and both he and Pendlebury were placing themselves brilliantly in terms of the flow of the game.

In the second quarter Collingwood seemed to be flat, perhaps Friday’s events had taken something out of the Pies’ self belief. Carlton got back into the game but mostly by turning it into a defensive slog. Everyone was making mistakes, both sides were being inaccurate in front of goal and the umpires were definitely getting it wrong (Carlton 10 frees, Collingwood 4 frees). Some of the people around me in the Ponsford (including Michael) were getting upset, but this year poor umpiring has been a given so there isn’t much point in getting upset.

Both sides lifted after the half time break. The Pies scored six goals and the Blues scored five. Thomas and Pendlebury continued to play well. They were joined by Davis, Ball, Swan, Sidebottom, who kicked a brilliant goal that seemed to change directions in mid-air, and Blair. Andrew Krakouer played his best game for weeks and at one stage passed to a player on the very edge of his field of vision (Swan?) in a move that reminded me of the way his Dad played in the eighties. It was easily the best and most exciting quarter of the match

Although both sides scored two goals in the last quarter Collingwood had the game won. Lachlan Keefe was subbed off, he had kicked a goal and showed some promise and the other newish player Luke Rounds had looked good in defence. Alex Fasolo came on in place of Keefe and also kicked a goal. He is going to be really good in the future. Daisy Thomas marked a Carlton kick in for the second time in the match and this time kicked a goal from his mark. It wasn’t Collingwood’s best game for the season but under the circumstances it was a pretty good win.

Michael enjoyed the match and got far more emotional than I had remembered from 1969. We decided not to wait another 42 years before we next went to the footy together.

 

Ray Byrne trophy votes (Michael Horsburgh – but I thought my favourite Blue turned Pie should be remembered)

3. Scott Pendlebury. He might only have been the third highest possession winner for the Pies but every one of those possessions seemed crucial. Increasingly Pendles is the central cog in the whole machine, the player who brings other players into the game in winning positions.

2. Daisy Thomas. He is having a magnificent season. His pace, his spectacular marking, his brilliant reading of the game and consequent ability to be in the right place at the right time are inspirational.

1.Travis Cloke. Pendles, Thomas (and I guess I have to say Judd) may all have played better games than Trav but he was the difference between the two teams. Both teams have brilliant midfields, both have good small forwards and small backs (although ours are better) but we have a superb tall forward and all they have are fill-in talls on their forward line. We should always beat Carlton while they have their current forward set up and we have Cloke (supported by two other talls)

Apologies to Ball (in particular), Davis, Swan and Sidebottom.

 

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Dave,

    I would hope the Blues can stump up a better forward set up than Saturday’s arrangement pretty soon.

    It’ll be a long drought if we don’t.

  2. Dave Nadel says:

    JB, what must particularly gall you is that you had a better forward set-up, but because Carlton had even less success in controlling Fev’s behaviour than Collingwood have had in controlling Heath’s you no longer have it.

  3. John Butler says:

    Dave

    I long ago gave up on Fev as the answer.

    He needed it all to be about him up forward, which hasn’t won many flags since the days of McHale’s Machine.

    Josh Kennedy is the one we miss. But we were amply rewarded for that loss. Only St Kilda gives away star players for nothing nowadays.

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