Floreat Pica: Sydney v Collingwood

By Bangkok correspondent Paul McKay

The train trip from central Sydney out to ANZ stadium was one of those entertaining footy crowd train journeys. Lots of cheery footy fans bubbling away at the anticipation of a big game, with first playing second on the ladder. Of particular note were two tall Sydney fans in bright red suits who were working the full length of the train several times almost like politicians seeking votes, one wearing a classic Abraham Lincoln style hat. I could not help but feel that he could have completed the picture with a scruffy beard.

Upon entering the ground, the stadium was of course awash with red & white. Most Sydney supporters around my area were very noisy and genuinely keen to see their team break their hoodoo against the Pies. The only exception to this was a kid who resembled Augustus Gloomp from Charlie & the chocolate factory sitting across the aisle from us. During the tight patches he got very teary, emotional and very anti-Collingwood several times, much to the dismay & embarrassment of his parents and fellow Swans supporters. There were some competitive attempts by their fans to get a Collingwood style chant going, which worked momentarily due to their sheer weight of numbers, but our loyal travelling black & white army eventually got the upper hand with this in the last quarter despite our lower numbers.

The first quarter was a tight struggle for possession and territory with neither side really establishing a lead in either department. Sydney scored with one of their hyphenated forwards and it took 13 minutes for us to get our first goal courtesy of Daisy and his effort was quickly followed by Travis and the seed man. Second quarter started off with another goal to Sydney by another hyphenated forward. Meanwhile, Daisy (after several attempts to get a corked thigh loosened up and operating again) was replaced by Dids it didn’t take too long for him to get into the action and late in the quarter, he cleverly weaved past a few outstretched Swans and threaded through a goal with classic Didak finesse. Superb to see him mobbed by his team mates after threading the goal. Pies by 3 points at half time.

The Swans moved into another gear after half time and with a few quick goals they got out to a 17 point lead, yet somehow one still held the belief that the Pies would answer the challenge. Goals to Trav, Fas and another cracking goal to Beams in the last minutes of the quarter got us to within 1 point and an enthralling final quarter was about to get under way. Our little man Jarryd, who seems to have shelved the Wolverine look, scored in the first minutes of Q4 and suddenly we were ahead. We then traded behinds until the 25 minute mark, when Trav took a strong mark in the goal square. Yet McGlynn popped up and momentarily kept them in the game until that man Beams stepped up and coolly slotted what was to be the nail in the Sydney coffin. We now have the awesome record of 11 straight wins against Sydney, a record stretching back to 2005!

One disturbing element of the game (which was apparently born the previous night in the Cats v Eagles clash) was the annoying strategy of the umpires to penalize for deliberate out of bounds even for long kicks searching for the safety of the boundary line. The Sydney crowd got into this with gusto and it seems the umps were simply responding to the noisy appeals of the crowd and giving away ridiculous free kicks. Some decisions were clearly nonsense and I really cannot see what the AFL are trying to achieve here by fiddling with the rules this late in the season.

We were fortunate that Goodes had a quiet night and when he did get the ball he made some uncharacteristic errors. However we had a good team effort win, with great mentionable efforts by Beams, who really nailed key goals under pressure and at critical moments (rather reminiscent of Luke Ball at his best), Jarryd Blair who was busy all night and even skipper Maxwell took some timely marks and disposed cleanly. In fairness, I should also mention big Dawsey, who did a lot of ruck work and across CHF, finally getting some touches (I swear when he runs at his full pace he looks like he is on a treadmill!), and also Jamie Elliott, who was very busy in the contests. It seemed another win whereby we were missing some key players and the available personnel stepped up in superb fashion.

Back at the airport early on Sunday morning….upon entering the security area I joined the queue with a family who were decked out in black & white and as I saw them I just passed a casual, not too loud “Go the Pies” in their direction and they looked up, smiled in unison and the father of the family said “great win wasn’t it”? Although all were weary at having to get up so early, they all glowed with that warm, fuzzy feeling of having won another game on the road against a top team.

The consensus seems to be that the Pies simply shut down Sydney’s running game and that our guys handled the slippery ball far better than they did. The psychological boost of winning away games in front of sizable opposition crowds must be huge for our guys. Let’s hope that momentum continues until the last Saturday in September.

Many thanks once again for giving the Bangkok Correspondent his first match report opportunity to the esteemed Floreat Pica Society.

Leave a Comment