VFL – Collingwood v Essendon: Return to Vic Park



            I don’t remember going to too many games at Collingwood Footy Ground as a young kid with the the family, and I can’t even remember if  it was called Victoria Park then, but I do remember being reminded not to go wandering off during the curtain raiser, which in those days was the under nineteens or what we called “the thirds.”  I’m sure I wasn’t in any danger, but there was something about Collingwood and their ground back then.

             We used to get to the footy early and set up our rugs along the boundary bench with the other Essendon faithful. It was like a regular reunion, there was talk of who was in the side this week and who was sure to be back in the team in the future and how we would go today.  I do remember the footy ground was always packed by the time the game started. We shouted and cheered, offered “advice” to the umpire and  depending on whether we won or lost, got back home elated or hard done by.

          And it was with these sixty year old  memories that I invited my son and daughter to Victoria Park for today’s  VFL game. I have managed to persuade my daughter’s son to be a Don, he has all the necessary Essendon gear insidiously gifted to him by me  to try and counteract my other two grand kids who have followed their father and joined the Magpie band wagon. I got to the ground early enough to listen the Coodabeens and watch a great curtain raiser between the Under 16 Kickstart and Ahmed Saad Squad, a really entertaining fast moving game, played in great spirit to celebrate the Indigenous round.

               The Essendon and Collingwood teams were doing the warm-up routines as we spread the blanket on the boundary bench and the Thermos and snacks were put out just like all those years ago.   The game started , in our group it was three for the Dons and three for the Magpies. A good crowd had wandered in to see the game, I reckon the supporters were about fifty/fifty. The new Victoria Park  is a wonderful community space made all the better by the sunshine.  And what a fast moving, high scoring game it was and what fun it was.  A kick of the footy at quarter time, and half time,  listening to the coaches and being really close to the action.

               The Magpies got up by nine points in the end and we watched some of the stars of the future do their stuff. A really fun-filled family day, We reckon we will make it an annual event.

                                                        Rod Oaten



  1. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing such a great event.

  2. Dave Nadel says

    According to Steve Fahey and several other friends of mine this was the right game for Magpie supporters to attend last weekend. Unfortunately I attended the other one.

  3. Steve Fahey says

    Couldn’t agree with you more Rod, it was a great day. My Collingwood-centric report sent to Floreat Pica members late Saturday read :

    I have just returned from a fantastic afternoon on the sun-drenched Vic Park terraces watching the twos defeat Essendon by 8 points in a high-standard encounter. I couldn’t recommend the Pies VFL games more highly – I’ve seen two cracking games with close finishes, with both teams having a good mix of established/close to the end of their career talent, up and comers and who the hell are they? There were 3000-4000 there, including Peter Daicos, Peter Moore and son Darcy (father-son next year,a a big unit), Rupert Betheras, Andrew “Pud” Smith, Kevin Rose and Phil Dimitriades of Footy Almanac and FPS fame. There were BBQs, picnics, kids, dogs, people kicking the footy and all in all it is a great day out. And it’s free at Vic Park.

    I did see a future superstar today. Unfortunately he was in the red and black and his name is Joe Daniher. He is very tall, has great hands and moves well. As the bloke next to me said he looks like a young, skinnier but taller Matthew Lloyd but today didn’t kick as well, kicking five but probably missing as many.

    For us Kyle Martin was yet again the standout, kicking six goals as a midfielder, together with 27 possessions and 10 tackles. He has now kicked 20 goals in his 6 games for the season, playing predominantly as a mid. He will be upgraded and play next week. Oxley was again good and Broomhead was very impressive,a silky mover. Josh Thomas had a good game in and under, but got caught with the ball a couple of times. He is a goer.

    Of the experienced brigade Dids and Johnno were solid without being outstanding. Huddo was fantastic, monstering their young talls and getting back in the last quarter to defy their very talented forward duo of Gumbleton and Daniher. Sinclair was good down back but missed targets as always. Mooney OK, Paine just OK (two goals and dropped another on the goal line from outside 50). Keefe got thru his first game back and was OK. Big Grundy also got thru OK, not doing that much but looking likely, he is also a nice mover for his (considerable) size.

    Gault did OK on Daniher – I didn’t see the first quarter in which Daniher kicked three, so am not sure whether he kicked them on Gault, but he is improving and is not without hope as a key back. Yagmoor ordinary again. Richmond barely sighted. The young bloke Ben Moloney who is not on our AFL list, could well be next year if we get the chance – he is in the best every week and is a tallish mid who has decent skills and kicks goals.

    Click here for the official club report.

    A welcome respite from the dejection of last night.

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