FPS Report- Round 19 Collingwood v Geelong.

By Timothy O’Leary


1. the state of being one; oneness.

2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.


The game began for me, unexpectedly, at 4.00 PM on the Saturday afternoon as I entered the Bikram Yoga Studio in Fitzroy. This is yoga is done in a room at a temperature of 37 degrees, and the heat is thought to assist stretching and prevent muscle injury. It also aids the release of toxins: there’s a lot of sweat!

As I entered the room, I took up a space alongside a guy ‘built like a brick shit-house’ with a number one haircut like many of the Geelong players! I stood beside him, with my considerably leaner frame, and could not help but think of ‘Chappy’, the Geelong midfielder who had hurt us on many occasions. Yoga began and I noticed how he was struggling in the heat.  Despite yoga being a place to meditate through the postures, I kept thinking about how our younger players may not be as experienced and bulked up as the bigger stronger Geelong unit, but could have an edge of their own: lightness=leg speed!

In the yoga program, I have often had a ‘3 quarter slump’, but now that I decided that I was competing against Chappy beside me, I lifted and in an totally irrational, and superstitious way, dedicated my effort to the Pies and put in a solid yoga effort as he struggled and frequently fell out of the postures. (By the way, Bikram yoga does have an openness to students being competitive if it means you push yourself further, as opposed to other more spiritual forms of yoga.)

I left the studio with a renewed belief in our team and exactly one hour later, my son, Ned and I, and a mate, Tony and his son, George (Geelong-ites) were at another spiritual home, the beautiful MCG. Among the 84,000 other devotees, one person was missing: Floreat Pica’s George, whose mum is recovering in hospital, having recently had surgery for bowel cancer – all our best wishes to George and to her. I ran outside to sell George’s ticket and found a bloke called John, over from Perth, who had never before been to the MCG.

It turned out that he’d flown over  from Perth with his wife to take their  8 year old grandson to a dockers game at the ‘Dome (they were thrashed) as a bit of a treat while John’s 34 year old daughter was recovering from breast cancer – funny how the world works! John was totally captivated by the MCG – not a bad first game at the ‘G’! He said he’d buy me a beer and I didn’t exactly have the words there to explain that ‘my body is a temple’. When Tony offered some peppermint tea from his flask, I think John knew he hadn’t found some hard-drinking buddies!

I was my usual tense self as play began but gone are the days where we’d go to a Collingwood game and wonder in the first 5 minutes if we were ‘on’. From the opening bounce, we applied a team effort of pressure tackling and played with a ‘winning belief’ that informed the spirit of our play.

While I felt that the game was always up for grabs, I did feel that the Bikram premonition had merit – we seemed to have more vitality in our game than they had in theirs. Nonetheless, the see-sawing game meant that it was anybody’s at the big break.

We went outside for a kick and the kids had none of the worry of the adults. As we came back for the third quarter, Tony said, ‘That was good to get rid of the tension’ but  I replied that it was good to have a kick but it didn’t get rid of any of it for me.

I went to the game hoping we could match it with the best team of the competition and we did. It was easily the most thrilling game that I’ve been to for a long time. We took it to them, they came back at us, we were tested and we responded. I can’t remember the last 10 minutes, as time and events blurred and I was totally caught by surprise when the siren went at 25 minutes.

Then, at last, there was no more tension, as elation and relief combined with two spirited renditions of the song. Tony was very generous in defeat while his son George just wanted to have another kick of the footy.

Ned and I took the train home, crammed with buoyant Magpies supporters. My heart was still pumping out of my chest and images of Harry’s efforts kept coming back to me. Jolley and Ball injected their experience while the young guns, particularly Wellingham, outplayed their more experience rivals.

Swan, Dids, Heater and the Mop all showed how far they’ve come – a fantastic whole-team effort –  bar one, perhaps, but I’ll leave that to the Danny’s writer for this week. What a game! What a win!  No sweat! As for Bikram Yoga, well come finals time, on match day, you definitely know where to find me. If we make the Granny, maybe we could all go! Go Pies,


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