NAB Cup, Round 1: A few observations on the early Pies

By Steve Fahey

Pre-season so no match report, but a few observations :

– Middle of Feb, 32 degrees at game start, all other observations need to be considered with that in mind.

– Middle of Feb, 32 degrees at game start, very thoughtful of Etihad Stadium management to have us think that we were at the beach by having all that sand around.

– Ben Reid did indeed demonstrate the 60-metre low-spearing passes to a teammate that we have been hearing about.  Unfortunately they were mostly during the pre-game warm-up.  He was pretty good defensively on Kosi, but I’m still nervous with his kicking and decision-making, especially when we are trying to milk the clock with 90 seconds to go !

– Sidebottom and Beams both impressive with their composure and their quality touches. Didn’t mind Wellingham’s early work either, put his head over the ball and put his body on the line in front of Saints’ forwards.

– Jolly and Ball were both good on debut, strong bodies, heads over the ball.

– It’s just not the same when someone called Buckley is running around in a Pies jumper wearing No.41.

– Simon Buckley made a Steven Roach-like debut.  For those who don’t remember, this is not a good thing !!! Steven, father of the legendary Danny, had three possessions on debut playing as an on-baller in Round 1, 1979. I think Simon had nine, mostly ineffectual (note first observation).

– Harry is just getting better and better.  Heater and Max also excellent.

– Cloke and Medhurst both showed promising signs that they will be much better than their respective anni horribiles of 2008.

– Riewoldt is a superstar and was the difference between the sides until the ten-minute mark of the third quarter when Presti came on.  Not just for the goals he kicked, but because of the structure and confidence he provides when they are going forward.  As good as the Saints are, they can’t win a flag if he gets injured at the wrong time.

– Clint Jones has gone from looking out of place at this level two years ago to the third best tagger in the game behind Ling and Sewell.  Great tan and sun-bleached locks too.  Good practice for Didak, as he has work to do playing with a hard tag.  He struggled this time.

– Rhys Stanley and Cameron Wood each had five possessions.  Why then do I get the feeling that one is a budding superstar and the other still does not inspire confidence ?

– The umpires still cannot bounce the ball straight – give the bounce the bounce, I reckon.

– If you are going to lose by a point, NAB Cup is the second-best place to do it, just in front of NAB Challenge.


– I finish with a couple of quotes from family members and one from Mike Brady that underline why it’s so great to have footy back :

Holly (aged 13) : Fri evening about 2150, 5 minutes post-final siren, concourse outside Etihad Stadium: “I hate this game sometimes, it’s so nerve-wracking.”

Holly, Saturday morning: “Dad, can you tape the replay for me… I’ll probably only watch the second half.”

My brother Paul, Saturday morning: “In the normal season, we win that game, no supergoals.”

Truly his father’s son; able to reframe any Pies peril to a positive !


  1. Steve – great to have you back writing about some major sporting news at last – Collingwood!
    Think the Pies will be very competitive again this year although will probably need injuries to the top teams to really challenge as I believe we were a rung below the top three last year.
    My thoughts on where we are at present are:

    Probably the absence of a genuine midfield superstar with speed is our key ingredient missing at present although they don’t grow on trees. We have to look at the next three to four years and get games into Sidebottom, Beams and Mccarthy in genuine midfield roles which may kill off the career of someone like O’Bree.

    Wellingham is one player who does give us some genuine speed and I was glad that the trade with the Kangaroos did not eventuate as Malthouse had been quick to trade Rhys Shaw the previous year who I believe had given us some badly need run which we missed last year.

    We need to get games into Reid and Nathan Brown down back – I would only play Leigh Brown even though very good last year as a back up if these players are injured – happy to give L Brown a go at full forward if Jack Anthony plays like he did at the end of last season as well. Presti should also be rested at times and play when he has a good match up keeping him a little fresher than last year as his last month or so was not too crash hot and could have been feeling a tough year.

    Other than that I feel we have probably the best squad / depth in the league at present and in a gruelling season and if we can manage to stay top four we could even get our chance in 2010.

    Look forward to reading you reports this year.

  2. Steve, was Stephen Roach really Danny’s Dad? Roach came to Collingwood from Richmond. I remember a comment in one of the papers when Stephen Roach played his less than brilliant first game for Collingwood that perhaps the Magpies thought that they were acquiring the other Tiger Roach- the rather more talented Michael!

    I wished!

  3. Steve Fahey says

    Love your work Dave and ripsnorter

    see below for a oopy of my message to the Floreat Pica crew

    Hi all

    (1) On the footy almanac site, the oracle of all things Collingwood, Dave Nadel, has raised the query of whether Stephen Roach is actually the father of Danny Roach (as mooted by myself in my NAB Cup observations). This may be one of those urban myths which has grown legs, because I have had it in my mind for several years, but can’t find anything to substantiate it. They made similar contributions to the club, but there may be no genetic link. Anyone have any thoughts ??

    Also see the footy almanac contribution on the same page from ripsnorter a very knowledgeable Pie domiciled in London

    (2) WORST COLLINGWOOD SIDE 1990-2003


    Please note that the author was immediately rebuked for excluding Danny Roach !!! My note – how did James Manson possibly get included with that rabble (and to a much lesser extent Paul Tuddenham) !!!

    RUCK: Brad SMITH Craig JACOTINE Robbie AhMAT
    EM: Brad ROWE Brett CHALMERS Jonathon ROSS

    *Apologies to Andrew Hill, Stuart Mangin, Ricky Olarenshaw, Brent
    Tuckey Robert Pyman, Frank Raso, Jason Taylor, , Jason
    Wild & James Wasley. It is a tough side to break into.

    Floreat Pica


  4. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Steve please!

    You are re-traumatizing me by bringing up all these names. I’d almost forgotten how bad some of those teams were. I can’t believe Andrew Tarpey did not get a Guernsey at CHF and what about Clinton King as first rover?

  5. Steve Fahey says

    A Floreat Pican (unnamed at this point to protect his professional reputation !) has fessed up in an email to the FP list:

    “I can expose that I started the myth about Stephen Roach being the father of Danny in an email to FP a couple of years back as a joke mainly for my own amusement. I’ve sat back and seen it grow to the point where it’s almost become fact! They are not related in any shape or form.”

    Mystery solved, urban myth shattered !!

  6. Steve,

    Liked the post – players who should not be in that team are Butcher, Hyrousalakis, Rowe , Tuddenham who all played some good football for the club. Putting James Manson in that team is a travesty to the good ordianary but important player he was to the club in his day. Great mark and wet weather player couldn’t kick but tried all the time and gave us a contest on the forward line which is one of the most important roles in football. Leigh Matthews would not like to see hime on that list I could guarantee that.

    Jason Wild is for mine the most unlucky not to be in that team – would have him as Captain myself was a terrible player and should have been playing alongside me for the Sunbury Seconds instead of playing on the MCG.

    You mentioned I was based in London and was for a fair stint but now based in a less knowledgeble football town – Perth WA but still sticking up for the Pies at many a BBQ.

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