Patchy Pies Pipped by Persistent Players from Pissant-Town

by Steve Fahey




Footy’s in the air

Every sight and every sound

Footy’s in the air

Every recalled centre bounce


And I don’t know if I’ve been dreaming (but it is probable)

Don’t know if I’m being wise

But you’re something that I must believe in

Every time that I scream out GO PIES !!!




Yep, footy’s in the air and after a summer of bushfires and the global financial crisis, this is a magnificent thing.  After the mob from Price Fixing Park belted the Tiges and the grand finalists had their rematch it was our turn.  Things went swimmingly for 41 seconds as we won the hit-out, the clearance, hit a forward target and Travis converted. Unfortunately this glory was shortlived and we had an early mouthful of the bitter taste of defeat.


This was a game that could have gone either way, yet my gut and my head tell me that the Crows were the better team on the day, with a very significant contribution from their coaching box.  They had done their homework, and opened as Carlton (twice) and St. Kilda (in September) did so effectively against us last year with eight defenders and plenty of space in their forward line.  As they don’t have the Fev or Riewoldt to lead into the space and kick the bag, the second plank of their strategy was to have ball-carriers lining up across half-back, and to switch the play into the centre corridor and attack through there as much as possible.  Simple, predictable, and it worked.  Again!!  Macleod was rampant, racking up a dozen by the first break.  Of course we had a loose man in defence (as we eventually had manned up on one of their spares), and Cox was a reasonable contributor, but the likely relative impacts of Cox versus Macleod is a mismatch that our coaching box should not have allowed.          


Our 41 seconds of glory was blasted by their five consecutive goals, and we were flattered by the quarter-time margin, as they missed several gettable opportunities.  We had been stagnant, with no run from defence, and looked second-rate when we had the ball, chipping it wide with no obvious sign of the alleged summer “tinkering” to the game plan to increase the ratio of handballs.  With the clock on 4.11 we recorded our season first out on the full from our boundary circumnavigation short-passing !!


We did well to get back into the game, kicking ten of the next thirteen goals in the next quarter and half, as we restructured to go man on man, and used the ball better.  While we had plenty of contributors to our comeback, it was led by Pendles, who set up play with his typically cool head, The Mop who was a lone hand in providing the dash and spark that was so lacking early, Cheesy O’Bree who worked hard all day and Marty Clarke who kicked a couple of timely goals.  Swan had plenty of it, but had one of those days that could have been a lot better, as he missed some half-chances for goals and turned it over too often.  Up forward Jack Anthony was our only real target, presenting time and time again, often being outnumbered as the Crows pushed blokes back, and taking three of our pitifully low six contested marks.


Fifteen minutes into the third quarter we led by three goals, having kicked 5 goals to zip for the quarter.  Our next goal came at the twenty-four minute mark of the last quarter.  What went wrong ??? 


A couple of things.  First it needs to be acknowledged that it was a very warm day, and that we used a fair bit of gas to recover from the early deficit.  The last quarter was like watching one of those old Grand Finals in which blokes are dropping like flies with cramp, and both sides had little left to give, but  gave it everything.  Second I suspect that we lost a bit of focus on defensive accountability, with the first goal the Crows kicked to break our run coming from one of our blokes (I’d have to watch the replay and I don’t think I want to !!) choosing to zone off Macleod rather than attack him and force him to give the ball off to a less skilled (that is, any of the other 21) teammate.  Macleod was able to amble along for five metres further than he should have, and slotted a perfect pass inside 50 to the debutant Petrenko who goaled.  Momentum shifts ride on such moments.


In the end it wasn’t our day, and several chances to snatch the game were unsuccessful.  While Adelaide are a well-drilled team that make the eight every year, we generally play well against them and could have expected to win this at home. History warns strongly against drawing too many (if any) conclusions from Round 1, so I am philosophical, albeit very disappointed.  I know that others won’t share my feelings, and have it on good authority that TAFKATBM was (1) calling for the coach to be sacked before half-time and (2) has us at 2-6 after 8 rounds !!


Having examined the game, let me bang on about selection.  I couldn’t believe the team we picked (and told anyone within earshot so on Friday and pre-game).  We went in much too tall, especially in defence, with Presti, N Brown, Maxwell, Cox and The Sack all over 190 cms, and Harry at 188.  Also in the team over 190 were Cloke, Anthony, Fraser, Bryan and Reid (OK and Pendles, but he plays below his height).  The Crows simply don’t have that many talls and, in the absence of H Shaw, we predictably lacked run and carry from defence, and indeed all over the field, recording 14 bounces to the Crows’ 28.


Selection whinge number two. The non-selection of Beams was mystifying.  He has impressed all in the pre-season with his ball use and appears that he may have the X factor, being able to produce something special.  My team had Beams, L Brown and Sidebottom in and Ben Reid, Presti and Ben Johnson playing alongside Pebbles against Old Scotch (what sort of practice match is that ?????).    


Selection whinge number three.  I still don’t reckon you can play N Brown and Presti in the same team.  They are too similar, dour, low possession stoppers.  N Brown will develop, but for me, it’s one or the other, and I’d stick with the youngster.  They have played together three times for a 1-2 record.


Selection whinge number four.  Stoppers/taggers/run-with players.  We heard all summer that Cook was the designated tagger following the departure of Rhyce.  He plays the first three NAB Cup games, then misses out on the NAB Cup final, when we use Wellingham, who would appear to be a largely offensive player, on the best player in the comp, Ablett.  Neither of these blokes makes the 25 for Round 1, and Macleod runs around by himself having a lazy thirty, including twenty handball receives.   What is going on ???  This is a role for the Toovmeister.


I’m glad that’s off my chest, I found the selection more frustrating than the game.


Votes for the Horsburgh Medal


3 – Pendles

2 – O’Bree

1 – The Mop


The Brett James Medal goes to Pendles.



Floreat Pica



The New Magpies – guest writer Mark O’Connell
Despite two wooden spoons in my lifetime, no season could ever be as bad as
Coming off 3 grand final appearances in a row, we slipped to 10th in a 12 team
competition with only 4 wins for the season. We were only propped up by
perennial whipping boys St Kilda and Footscray. In 1982 St Kilda were enduring a
3rd abysmal season under Alex Jesaulenko. They were captained by Bruce
Duperouzel, the Best and Fairest was Peter Kiel and Mark Scott led their
goalkicking. Footscray had been forced to replace legendary coach Royce Hart
mid-season with Ian 'Bluey' Hampshire when Hart's 5 year plan came to nothing.
Hart had trumpeted a "crack" forward line of Templeton, Beasley (struggling
initially in his first year), Shane Loveless and Warren Stanlake with Gordon
Polson feeding off the crumbs.
The first wooden spoon of 1976 saw us at least win 6 games whilst in 1999, Tony
Shaw clearly used the Michael Atta approved tactic of playing for honourable
losses. Shaw's policy was obvious - whenever we were in with a chance in the
last quarter, he simply brought on Brad Fuller.
Anyway all of this is merely a lead-in to the Fantastic start to 1983 in Round
1. Collingwood, under the administration of "The New Magpies" versus Melbourne
with the Demons all excited themselves over the recruitment of Brownlow
Medallists Peter Moore and Kelvin Templeton. The Collingwood banner somewhat
Collingwood paraded 2 recruits of particular note who feature in the passages of
play at the start and finish of the match that I remember well with most of the
match in between being a bit of a blur. David Cloke, (lured across from the
Tigers under a 25 year plan in which we would also get access to any sons
present or future) took the ruck for the first bounce against Moore. Showing a
rare bit of spring he launched himself at the first bounce and belted the ball
forward over 40 metres. I still can't recall a longer hit out at any time. A
couple of quick handpasses and an easy goal resulted ....all within the
opening 10 seconds. The crowd was on their feet and already 1982 seemed a distant
The game was played at fever pitch all day with the crowd very excitable and
vocal throughout. 
The Demons often led by a goal or 2 but it was always close. Coming into the
final few minutes, Melbourne was up by a couple of points. Collingwood,
attacking to the Punt Rd end surged forward. New recruit Mike Richardson, who
had been quiet, found a bit of space about 35 out and grabbed a loose ball.
Initially fumbling, he was about to be pounced upon by the defence when he
accelerated 4 or 5 metres further away from goal spun onto his left foot and
curled it back through the middle. The crowd was on fire!!!!! People I'd never
seen before were hugging me and when we followed up moments later with another
to put the result beyond doubt the season had started in perfect fashion.
The following week we went down to Tom Hafey's Cats with Hafey making his first
appearance back at Victoria Park since his mid 1982 departure. 1983 didn't prove
to be a great season after all but at least for one Saturday night after Round
One, I was the happiest supporter in the land.



  1. Steve,

    the title of your piece should read: “Pies Plagued by Perpetually Pissweak Plan from a Posse of Pissants and Pensioners”

    50-50 Mick also decided to blame the weather, the bushfires and the “excellent opposition”. Gimme a break. A disgruntled part of me hopes we lose to Melbourne this week. I couldn’t stand another season watching that poor excuse for a style of football. We are wasting the ability of our growing list of talented youngsters with that rubbish.

    Clanger merchants Toovey, Reid and Presti should not be in our best 22. Collingwood=Overhyped,Overinflated Underachievers.

    PS A tip to punters: Never ever back Collingwood when they are under $2.00 to win

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