Round 10 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: I’m officially a Collingwood tosser! (Floreat Pica Society)

 

 

by Ramon Dobb

 

 

Us Pies fans are a tough resilient lot, we’ve copped years and years of heartbreaking losses, eternal examples of administrative implosions and we cop more than our fair share of abuse, discrimination and harassment.  We’ve been called everything under the sun, including toothless, jobless, criminals and tossers.

 

 

Well on Sunday I officially became a tosser…a Collingwood coin tosser!  Yes, I won the members’ competition with the prize being the experience of tossing the coin for the big Pies v Power blockbuster*.

 

 

‘How did this happen?’, I hear you ask.  Well, all I can say is ‘thank Daics!’  As anyone who knows me can testify, one of my idols is the great man, Daics. It was thanks to the son of The Chosen One, Daics Junior, for helping me to win this once in a lifetime experience.  In response to the members’ competition on a quiet Friday night I decided to vote for his magnificent 2020 goal of the year effort as my favourite highlight in the options provided.  As I completed my details I was confronted with the usual ‘do you want to be spammed with marketing emails from the sponsor for the rest of your life?’ check box.  Usually I don’t tick this box, but my wiser better-half told me that you’ll never win a prize if you don’t tick this box. So, given that the sponsor was Carlton Draught, a product that I like to consume (despite the terrible name…) I decided I could cope with some emails from them.

 

 

It was a big weekend and I’d forgotten all about entering the competition until I received a text message on Monday morning just before entering a work meeting.  Imagine my surprise when it read I’d won the competition and it included the following:

 

 

*Two tickets to the President’s lunch – With all the issues with the current board, my brother asked if second prize was four tickets to the President’s lunch?

 

*Two signed 2021 jumpers – whilst the season has been underwhelming to date, this is the side that for the first time in my adult life has put us ahead of the bitter enemy Carlton in the head-to-head battle 128 v 127, so one of the jumpers will be going straight to the pool room with a plaque to commemorate the justice of this status and the other one will go to my little grandson.

 

*Two Carlton Draught slabs. Whilst CUB clearly missed an exceptional branding opportunity back in the day by not calling it Collingwood Draught, I’m famously quoted on page three of The Herald back in 1986: ‘A beer’s a beer isn’t it!?’ so they’ll go down well, especially to help soften the pain of season 2021.

 

*Ball delivery experience – wasn’t sure what this was, but I imagined it was probably an offer for me to take a training session in the warm-up with me instructing our midfielders on how to deliver the ball to our forwards’ advantage. Sadly it wasn’t, as was evident from the game!

 

*Coin toss experience – the official coin toss for the big game.

 

 

Despite my boyhood dreams of captaining both Collingwood and the Australian Men’s Test Team, my last official appearance on the ‘G was way back in Round 17, 1973 when I played little league for the Demons against the Pies.  Yes, sadly I grew up in the Melbourne zone, but thankfully our local club was rostered to play against the Pies that day.  The Pies little league team was a ‘rep team’ whereas the Dees were represented by the underwhelming Murrumbeena Districts U11s!  I picked up one stat, a ‘Stephen Patterson-like’ run through the hard centre wicket area that was followed by a kick that would have done Jason Wild proud. The Pies’ little league had a record win, I think it was 7.5 to 0.1!  After the game, alongside my best mate Bluey, me and a few other Pies’ fans decided, despite our Dees’ jumpers, that we’d run out with the Pies and pat them on the back!  The Pies also had a good win in the seniors that day too.  The other idol, my hero Peter McKenna, kicked 5.4 that day and a latter day hero (and golfing partner of Harks) Ross Brewer played for the Dees and snagged 1.1.  In addition to the Sharpshooter some of the legendary Pies’ players running around that day were Thommo, Pricey, Twiggy, the Richardson brothers, Ronnie Wearmouth and Wee Georgie Bisset.  In addition to Brewer, the Dees had some big names in Big Carl, Crackers Keenan, Ray Biffen, Paul Callery, Greg Wells, Gary Hardeman and fellow Murrumbeena Districts’ Alumni the brilliant late great Robbie Flower. Stats from the game are available HERE.

 

 

As the news of my prize win sunk in, as well as the excitement, there were a few nerves as all the possibilities started to run through my mind – I was tossing and turning all week.   What to do I say to the great man Pendles when he comes in for the toss?  With Covid-19 social distancing protocols do I get the chance to shake his hand?  Can I ‘fresh air’ the Port captain’s hand shake?  What if Razor Ray is the umpire: can I sledge him? (I found out on Thursday that he was!).  Do I have to bring my own coin?

 

 

And the big question: what do I wear?  I need to wear smart casual for the President’s lunch but I need to show some black and white support.  I’m putting more thought into my outfit than a WAG going to the Brownlow.  I plan on a Superman-type arrangement of a Pies’ top under my collared shirt and sports jacket (with my 40-year-member badge on the lapel).  My plan is to nick into a phone box on the way onto the ground and undo my buttons for the reveal.  It’s against Port so I need to be careful not to cause controversy.  First, I thought I’d wear the Pies 2021 signed jumper prize, but it’s black and white stripes and the Port prison bars SANFL lot might not like that.  Next I thought I’d wear my 2019 Pies Indigenous jumper, oops, another controversy to avoid as I hear on the news the Power may have a problem with theirs and may want to steal one of our designs.  So, I settle on Steve’s suggestion of wearing the famous Peter McKenna T-Shirt; that should be safe.  (Unsurprisingly, as I returned to the function room Kochie bailed me up, insisting that Peter McKenna played for Port and demanded to be able to wear my T-Shirt for future Showdowns*).

 

* this may or may not be a true account of actual events.

 

Chris Rees’ (4Boat) T-Shirt design, worn in the middle of the MCG by Ramon [Source: redbubble.com]

 

 

After a toss of the coin to decide my plus one, my youngest daughter Emma was the chosen one.  We worked out that she will do the ball delivery (handing over the ball to the umpires as they come onto the ground) and I’ll do the coin toss.  Game Day is here and we make our way to the President’s lunch.  It’s down on numbers, and it’s pretty low key without Eddie’s razzamataz. We have entrée and main and listen to Mark Korda’s address.  He calls our current situation the ‘perfect storm’, and says the board, Eddie and main sponsors don’t like coups, brags of our strong financial position, introduces our two new board members and highlights their strong credentials, says that the staff are doing a great job, refers to Graham Wright and Mark Anderson as the keys to the future footy decisions.  He says that the coaching situation will be reviewed, as they have continued to state, in the second half of the season.  They interview Sarah Rowe from our AFLW team and then as comedian Dave Thornton gets up to do a set, we get a tap on the shoulder from the lovely Rachel to make our way down to the ground.   As we’re walking out of the room, we hear Dave apologise to the crowd that he’s not Jeremy Howe and just a comedian lookalike.

 

 

Rachel and Anthony from the club escort us down to the car park around past the clubrooms and to the Collingwood race. We walk up to the top of the race at about 2:45pm so we’ve got about half an hour to soak up the pre-match and do our jobs for the day. First bloke I see on the ground just outside the race is Dave Thornton lookalike, Jeremy Howe being interviewed! We meet the AFL representative coordinating our activities, Daniel Andrews (‘the other Daniel Andrews’ as he introduced himself). He hands the match footy to Emma and we handball it around a bit and take a few action shots of the footy with us on the boundary line. There’s plenty of action around with cheersquads, commentators, camera operators and plenty of other officials. BT rocks up next to us in the race, so I say g’day, shake his hand and tell him I loved his 1986 action. He seemed a bit flat, maybe coz Oraaaaazio was out injured for Port.

 

 

Then it was time for Emma to head out to the outer wing with the Sherrin to hand to the umps when they come out. As Razor and his buddies make their way on the ground, Emma Dobb gets called out by the ground announcer and she appears on the big screen on the scoreboard with her name up there in lights. With that done and dusted, she comes back to the race. We’re inside the fence but behind the boundary as Pendles leads out the side, the fireworks go off and they run through the banner.

 

 

According to our social media watchers, and the videos they’ve taken from the TV, we appear briefly in the corner of the screen as they run out!

 

 

Then it’s time for me to head out into the centre with Rachel. She hands me a dodgy old $1 coin for the toss! As we prepare to walk on I unbutton my shirt and reveal the Peter McKenna TShirt! I reckon I’m out there for a good 10 minutes, we stand next to the umps on the edge of the square as everyone does their final warm ups. Grundy and the midfielders do their centre bounce routines and I’m tempted to wander in and give them a few words of advice. They finally vacate the centre circle. I head over to the circle and Umpire Paul Rebeschini (No 37) greets me and we have a good chat. The other umps, Razor and Nathan, warm up with their centre bounce practice. I ask Paul if he likes the traditional bounce and he loves it, reckons it’s a great skill and unique part of the game. After a few minutes of small talk and an official AFL photo, Paul says we’re on and as I look right Port skipper Tom Jonas comes in. ‘Jeepers, that’s not Travis Boak,’ I think to myself! Shows how much notice I take of them, as google later tells me Tom was made captain in 2020. I give Tom a firm handshake and say g’day, wanting to quickly get away and prepare for shaking the great man’s hand…

 

 

Pendles comes jogging in and is making a B-line for me in what appears to be slow motion – it reminds me of the dream sequence where Bo Derek is running along the beach towards Dudley Moore in the movie 10! He has a warm welcoming smile and I greet him with ‘G’day Pendles, love your work.’ He then moves across the circle to shake hands with the other blokes and I get the coin out and prepare for my five seconds of fame. I had practised a few times on Saturday afternoon with a 20c piece. I was pretty happy with my practice tossing, so despite the smaller $1 coin, I was pretty confident of blocking out the pressure and executing a great toss. I steadied, loaded the coin precisely between my index and middle finger, slightly offset and with the all important thumb underneath. And… with focus, concentration and a sound technique up goes the coin. Tom, not Travis, calls heads. The coin goes high and spins well and comes down on the edge of the circle. We all move in close to see the result (including me, which on review of the vision shows that I was probably a bit over exuberant in my responsibilities!) Sadly it comes up heads and Port win the toss…we can’t even win that! And with that, I grabbed the coin, shook hands with Paul and then Rachel and headed back to the race – the official duties are over. Back at the race, I see Glen Moriarty, CFC digital content guy, and have a bit of chat. I ask him if he knew the Floreat Pica Society and he says yes, so I told him about the match report of the day and the Peter McKenna T-Shirt and he loved it. He asked if we’d seen the new Floreat Pica hoodie and I said yes, and that we’re coming after him for royalties.

 

 

Our social media and messaging apps are going mad with pictures and videos and comments of the pre-match. The best was a video clip of the official Channel 7 coverage that showed Eddie, then down to me for the toss and as I walked away commentator Luke Darcy pointed out my Peter McKenna T-Shirt and they did a split screen with the Sharpshooter in a corporate box and me in my T-Shirt side by side!

 

 

That video is going straight to the pool room!

 

 

We make our way back around through the car park and up to Level 2 to the function room. As we enter the room we see that we’re off to a flying start with a goal on the board already through Grundy and as we grab a drink Cameron kicks our second. I see Dave Thornton and I say g’day, told him I missed his set apart from the Jeremy Howe line as I was out tossing the coin. I told him that I saw Jeremy Howe on the boundary and thought it was him, but he wasn’t very funny. Dave asked how my toss went and I said ‘great elevation and a very good spin’, we had a chuckle and went on our way. As we made our way to our seats it was great to see my influence paying off with a strong fast start. Two goals up and then Daics Junior kicks a third with a beautiful classy long bomb from 50 metres and we’re three goals up and playing with some spirit. Grundy looks like he’s had a rocket and he’s on, clunking a few marks and busy at ground level. Quarter time and we’re three goals up but again we butchered plenty of opportunities with C. Brown and J. Thomas both fluffing sharp opportunities around the goalsquare that could have given us a handy five goal break. Pendles also uncharacteristically butchered a forward thrust with a turnover, but I put that down to him being starstruck after meeting me at the coin toss.

 

 

We started the second quarter well, with Grundy again prominent. He marked outside forward 50 and good old Razor Ray gives him a 50 metre penalty and he kicks truly and we’re four goals up! Will we finally get our mojo back and kick a few more quick goals and build an unassailable lead? Sadly no. The rest of the game followed a familiar pattern. We went ultra defensive, played slow sideways and backwards footy with very little flow and no instincts. And when we did go forward we usually kicked it to Aliir Aliir or Travis, oops I mean Tom, and our forwards were outnumbered every time. When we did get a chance we butchered them. Port takes a couple of their chances and at half time it’s us 4.6 to them 2.3. They then take their chances in the third quarter to get in front, we take the lead back with two goals against play and lead by 13 points at three quarter time.

 

 

The last quarter is dreadful. Roughie coughs up a goal with a glacier-slow possession from the back pocket that turns a certain forward thrust into a goal for Port as his kick is smothered. The goal goes to Houston…and we have a problem. Then a minute of play that summed us up and killed any chance of us winning. Cal Brown’s simple set shot from 25 metres out on a slight angle misses and then Port take it forward and Robbie Gray kicks a goal from 30 metres out on a tight angle – reminds me of the ‘compare the pair’ TV commercial. The pain continues when Moore daringly kicks out from full back, up the guts to DeGoey at centre half back who marks and instead of playing on taking the game on and kicking to McCreery one out into forward 50, he stops and props and kicks sideways – eventually it goes sideways again and Noble coughs it up with a shocking turnover and Port goals. By now they’ve kicked four in a row and we don’t look like scoring. It’s all over. Then all of a sudden, with the game gone, we finally start to take the game on, play with intensity and instinct. McCreery marks and kicks his third goal to put us within seven points and then we surge forward again. A panicked kick from a Port defender lands in the arms of young Caleb Poulter and he coolly goes back, soaks up the pressure and kicks a beautiful drop punt goal – I think we’ve found one with Poulter. There’s a point in it with a couple of minutes left on the clock. As you would expect, we try hard at the end but can’t score to either win or tie things up. Another frustrating loss, a dreadful game of football, with virtually no attacking flair and a slow sideways and backwards game plan with our forwards totally outnumbered. My great experience was made possible by beers, but unfortunately it was Wines and his teammates that were the winners on the day.

 

 

Good players were hard to find in such a dour and uninspiring game, so the votes were a toss up between the following – Grundy, Adams, Crisp, Daics, McCreery, Quaynor and Moore.

 

 

Votes and medallist

 

The Stephen Clifford, Russell Johnston, Greg Phillips, Mark Williams, Jack Cahill, Paul Rizonico, Bruce Abernathy, Nathan Buckley, Josh Mahony, Alan Didak and nearly Brett Chalmers Medal goes to Brodie Grundy. As for full votes, I’ve gone for the following, including a self indulgent extra three votes.

 

 

3 –  Me!  The execution of the coin toss was first class, the Peter McKenna T-Shirt was outstanding and clearly my efforts inspired our team to a strong first quarter. Why Bucks didn’t invite me down to the rooms at half time to ‘top them up’ for the huge second half is beyond me…

 

 

3 – Grundy: The most influential player on the ground for the Pies with a couple of goals, plenty of clearances and a reasonable job around the ground and in the ruck.

 

 

2 – Daics: Great goal, reasonable ball use and he helped me to win the prize.

 

 

1 – McCreery: Not many stats, but in a dysfunctional forward line he kicked three goals, should have been four missing a relatively easy one and he presented well to the midfield in dangerous positions but was ignored plenty.

 

 

P.S. With a theme of Port’s identity crisis, our banner bagging Port for butchering INXS’s ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, it being Eurovision weekend and with the great Haiku Bob’s yearning for his 23-year-old long hair and musical talent, I thought it would be worth ‘sending a message’ to Port by coming up with some INXS songs to represent the Pies as a bit of tit for tat. Sadly after that performance though I’m not sure that they’ll take off at the Pies based on my assessment below…

 

 

Kick – ‘Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked.’  Sadly we’re getting kicked far too often these days.
What you need – Maybe the film clip could show highlights of a key forward with some fast ball movement hitting him up on the lead.
Disappear – A song about our early game leads disappearing for another frustrating loss.
Mystify – This is what happens to supporters when we see JT and CB named in the side again and again.
Just Keep Walking – What most supporters are hoping Wrighty says to the coaching staff after the final round, or before.
Devil Inside – The response from supporters after every recent board member has been appointed.
Original Sin – A reference to the ill-fated succession plan.
Bitter Tears – supporters’ reactions after almost every week, on and off the field, since our inspirational Elimination Final win last year.
Need you tonight – A reference to the two slabs of Carlton Draught that I won as part of the prize!

 

 

Hope you enjoyed the inside account of the pre-game experience and hopefully helped to distract you from the dreadful game and result.

 

 

Floreat Pica and Go Pies.

 

 

 

COLLINGWOOD          3.1       4.6       6.9     8.10 (58)
PORT ADELAIDE         0.1       2.3       4.8       8.11 (59)

 

GOALS  

Collingwood: McCreery 3, Grundy 2, Cameron, Daicos, Poulter
Port Adelaide: Gray 3, Dixon, Marshall, Houston, Powell-Pepper, Wines

 

BEST  

Collingwood: Adams, Grundy, Quaynor, Moore, Roughead, Crisp
Port Adelaide: Gray, Boak, Powell-Pepper, Wines, Burton, Farrell

 

Crowd: 23,415

 

 

 

 

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About Ramon Dobb

A footy and cricket fanatic. A lifelong passionate one eyed Mighty Magpie fanatic. My writing is unashamedly written with one black & white eye open only - so please don't take offence, it's nothing personal, it's just the black & white way! Also a lifelong player and member of Washington Park Cricket Club, the Mighty Sharks. My 15 minutes of fame includes regular contributions to Hot Pies, the 1999-2004 Fanzine, and regular contributor to the Coodabeen Champions weekly competition from their heady 3RRR days. Go Pies and Floreat Pica.

Comments

  1. Peter Fuller says

    Ramon,
    Thank you for this enjoyable read. I loved your whimsical expression. Congratulations to Emma and you on being the chosen ones, and I’m pleased for you that the experience was pleasing, or at least compensation for the disappointing match result.
    I am troubled that you have lifted the lid on a scandal, the day in 1973 when a conspiracy of Collingwood supporters insinuated themselves into the Melbourne team and played dead to ensure an undeserved Magpies victory in Round 17 of the Little League. As you have only referred to one of the co-conspirators – and provided him with an alias – you might be at risk of bearing the total opprobrium arising from this incident.

  2. ramondobb says

    SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH, Peter!!! “Tanks” for the kind words. In relation to your conspiracy theory, I can neither confirm nor deny your allegations or any link to the Dees’ 2009 tanking scandal. And there’s no way you can get me to name the co-conspirators,,,,, young Dave and Cameron don’t deserve such scrutiny!

  3. Hi Ramon, Thanks for your piece. Are you an MCC member? JTH

  4. Ramondobb says

    Gday John, sadly no not an MCC member. 40 year CFC member and was long term AFL member but dropped that off at end of 2019.

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