Purple patch


Round 2 Collingwood vs. Richmond: Easter Saturday 8th May 2012

by John Ramsdale

Purple Patch: “An exceptional period of time when someone experiences success, good fortune or luck.”

Vaudeville performers from the early 1900’s allegedly had a saying, “Never follow an animal or a child act.” This was supposedly on the grounds that these acts would be so appealing that they would cast a shadow over the following act and the audience would experience an anticlimax.” It was then applied to other enterprises. In our context it could be “Never volunteer to write a match report after Steve has written the previous one.”

After an honourable defeat last week, this game posed some challenges. Would an opposition full forward kick another bag on us this week? What would happen if we were to lose to Richmond, a team that had not beaten us since Round 19 of the 2007 season?  While the rivalry with Richmond goes back a long way these recent games seem to have lacked the intensity or anticipation of the games against Carlton or Essendon.

 In the past there have been some memorable clashes, like the Mother’s Day massacre of 1991 when Jeff Hogg kicked 10 goals against us and a couple of times, Richo also had a day out against us. During the 1980’s, an expensive trading war between the two clubs saw many players traded (Kevin Morris whose son played tonight, Allan Edwards, Geoff Raines, Phillip Walsh, Craig Stewart, Neil Peart, David Cloke and I am sure there are others) While some of these were successful others were less so, as the players were injured or past their prime. One long term benefit for Collingwood is that we were able to recruit the 3 Cloke brothers, again with mixed results. It is a pity that Travis can’t kick like his dad David did in the 1980 Grand Final. On that day he booted 6 goals against us:  although even if he had missed all 6 we still would have lost by 45 points.

First quarter

The acoustics at the ground are terrible. They spoiled Spiderbait’s performance for me. The Richmond song was muffled. A good song, but I only want to hear it when they run out.

The game began at a fast pace with both sides moving the ball quickly, but also turning it over. The highlights were:

  • A goal from Jackson Paine, who looks the best of the new boys at this stage, and a perfectly directed tap from Darren Jolly to Jarryd Blair who ran in and goaled. Cameron Wood should have a look at this piece of work.
  • Luke Ball, Harry O’Brien, Scott Pendelbury and Marty Clarke were doing well.
  • The full moon rising over the MCG on an autumnal night in Melbourne
  • The price of the AFL Record had surprisingly not increased from last year


  • Chris Tarrant going off early in the game
  • Scott Pendelbury’s uncharacteristic mistake when he kicked it across goal to Harry O’Brien  resulting in Richmond’s  only goal for the quarter
  • A lacklustre start to a game, marred by inaccuracies on both sides, with a combined 3 goals from 17 shots (17.6% accuracy).
  • The supporter behind us who adopted a very poor imitation Irish accent every time Marty Clarke got a kick. I hope he was just a blow-in for the night and not a permanent seat holder. A season of that could test the patience.

Collingwood should have been further in front at the end of the quarter.

Second Quarter:

Richmond again began well and were on top in the possessions but could not make the most of their opportunities. Collingwood appeared to lack the flair, fluency and spark that we have been used to over the last few years. There were a number of long kicks into the forward line, but there was no-one there. Chris Dawes and Travis Cloke were collecting kicks on the wing. At the 8 minute and 20 second mark. I heard the first cry of “Bring Back Malthouse!” Can anyone beat that? A couple of goals from Travis Cloke and another from Jarryd Blair calmed things down. Richmond appeared to have more of the play but could not capitalise on their good work. They should have been closer at half-time.

The media had been full of stories during the week about how the game was changing and that high scores on both sides were now the new norm. Seven goals between these two sides at half-time was going to test that theory

Half Time

An old-fashioned melee at half –time brought the crowd to its feet. It came out of nowhere and will add money to the AFL’s coffers.

It was great to see the return of Mick Malthouse and that the club had granted him a lap of honour and a chance for the supporters to say goodbye and thanks. It was reminiscent of the unofficial one given to Tommy Hafey as he returned to coach Geelong at Victoria Park in 1983. He received a standing ovation from the crowd as he walked from the race under the Sherrin Stand around the wing in front of the R.T Rush Stand. They should do the same for Leon later this year, that is, if he wants to come back.


Third Quarter

A Darren Jolly tap to Dale Thomas, who had appeared to be quiet in the first half, resulted in a goal within 30 seconds. Another one to Travis Cloke soon after and the crowd came alive. An Allan Toovey snap was marked by Thomas in the goal square and converted. Two goals from the confidence-oozing Alex Fasolo and Collingwood had scored five goals within seven minutes. Joffa could have put his coat on. The lead may not have been enough against very good teams, but it was against Richmond who, even though they had plenty of possessions had trouble scoring.

There was plenty of run from the backline from Heath Shaw, Allan Toovey, Tyson Goldsack and Harry O’Brien who was looking more assured than last week. Dane Swan took a “speccy”, “That was better than Betts” came the comment from one spectator. Some sections of the media seem to have awarded the mark-of-the-year to Betts and the goal-of the-year to Garlett already. Many of their supporters are still whingeing that Walker should have won mark-of-the year last year instead of Andrew Krakouer. It is the same sense of entitlement that they seem to have towards Chris Judd and the Brownlow. Swan was gaining plenty of possessions but his inaccuracy when running into open goals twice let him down.  Another snapped goal from Thomas capped off a much better and more enjoyable quarter and gave Collingwood a 47 point lead.

A new diversion at half-time and three-quarter time at the ground is for the cameras to pan around the crowd and to pick on a couple who are then encouraged to “Give someone a hug”. The crowd joined in enthusiastically and as the Piesimist next to me said, “That was more entertaining than Spiderbait.”

 Fourth Quarter

Little to report. After the excitement of the third quarter, this one was an anticlimax. Richmond kicked four goals to our one, which was an impressive long goal on the run from Darren Jolly. A good game to win. Certainly one we should have and Bucks has his first win. I wonder if Mark Neeld may have thought a few times this week that sitting in the box next to Bucks may not have been such a bad idea after all?

I spent the afternoon watching the seconds against North Ballarat on the ABC. Taking a leaf out of the senior’s book they were inaccurate and wasteful. After starting well the youthful side was overrun by their more experienced opponents. While there are some good young players there, Corey Gault, Jarrod Witts, Marley Williams and Tom Young, there do not appear to be too many ready-made replacements if we have any more injuries.

Steve alerted us to the book Collingwood’s 50 Most Sensational Games. By Jeff Dowsing. Unfortunately, the author will not need to add an appendix to include this game. Like many games last year, we were never going to lose it and did enough to win it. This is fair enough as it is a long season and we have been spoiled by some very good wins over the last few years. Next week will be a different situation and much tougher. It will be great to beat Carlton whose cockiness seems to be growing. If we do lose you can be assured that our phones and e-mails will run hot from our long-lost Carlton-supporting acquaintances reminding us of the fact.

A very difficult game to give votes as a number of players flashed in and out at times and contributed well and then went relatively quiet

The (Late) Jamie Tape Medal goes to

3. Scott Pendelbury. In everything again, feeding the ball out creatively to others. I think his work is probably better appreciated watching the game on the TV as he can be very unobtrusive on the field.

2. Ben Reid: Kept the potentially dangerous Jack Riewoldt goalless. Slipped over a couple of times early, but increased in efficiency and confidence as the game went on.  More pressure was placed on him when Chris Tarrant went off early. Looking like he did last year. Supported well by Lachlan Keefe who looks more comfortable in the backline than he did up forward last year. They need to sign a new contract for Reid quickly. He was a favourite for Danny Roach votes early in his career. He has certainly kicked on.

1. Dale Thomas: In cricket the Man of the Match doesn’t always go to the one who has taken the most wickets or made the most runs, but to a player who may have turned a game. With his three goal “purple patch” in the third quarter, he turned the game and put a spark into what had been an otherwise fairly drab affair.

Apologies to Dane Swan, Luke Ball, Darren Jolly, Marty Clarke, Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams and Heath Shaw


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