Round 10 – Melbourne v Collingwood: Angels and Demons as H faces the Pies for the first time

Written by Steve Fahey for the Floreat Pica Society

It was three-quarter time on October 2, 2010, a date that all Pies fans remember and cherish.  We led by a handsome 41 points, and although my brain told me we couldn’t lose, I had been to ten Pies GFs before this for one win, two draws and seven losses.  I really wanted an early last quarter goal or two to seal the deal and silence my/our demons.

The last quarter goals thankfully did come early, sealing our day in footy heaven, two from the angels Chris Dawes and the artist then known as Harry O’Brien.  Five years on and Dawes and H, once angels, are now Demons.  This had been predicted, to an extent, a couple of thousand years before “…in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy, 4:1-2). It should be noted that their last quarter goals in 2010 were split by a goal from a fellow known simply as Daisy, who had also subsequently paid attention to deceitful spirits but ended up at a far darker place than that inhabited by mere demons.

Thus on the Queen’s Birthday holiday 2015, with Dawes missing through injury, H faced up to his old club for the first time. H will be fondly remembered as a very very good player for the Pies, as well as for having one of the most interesting life stories of those who have donned the black and white.

In truth, in recent years this game hasn’t offered much as a spectacle, the Pies being dominant since the last real contest in 2010, which, portentously (with the benefit of considerable hindsight), also ended in a draw (perhaps also portentously, the teams  locked on the 76 points that marked the Collingwood vs. North Melbourne 1977 GF draw). The 2014 encounter was a yawnfest, the two teams mustering a combined 11 goals in a Roos-inspired defensive arm-wrestle that had you wondering where the game was heading.

This year, 66,000 turned up for this annual pilgrimage to the G, which also featured The Big Freeze, a very successful fundraiser spearheaded by Neale Daniher to tackle the insidious disease he suffers, Motor Neurone Disease.  The big crowd witnessed a genuine and attractive contest, with the differences between the teams being Travis Cloke and some ridiculously easy goals gifted to the Pies from Demon defensive errors.

We started well with Travis on fire, complementing his typically strong marking with some atypically straight kicking.  Elliott was again excellent, providing multiple assists and Blair and Fasolo were also lively forward.  As dangerous as we looked in our forward half, we looked shaky when the Dees went forward, Frost thinking that he was Pendles as he tried to waltz through a tackle and coughing up a goal, and the Sack giving Howe too much latitude. H was busy for the Demons, but if he was still called Harry O, the O would have stood for Overexcited as he seemed to want to take the game on a little more than he needed to, not taking the first option.  He copped a few boos, which was disappointing, but they appeared to be the boos of pantomime rather than enmity. He had received a generous dose of bum pats and hand taps from his ex-teammates before the first bounce.

Our four goal buffer at quarter-time disappeared very quickly, with an opposition side yet again scoring a lot of goals in a rush against us, this time six in sixteen minutes. We were getting smashed in the clearances by the indefatigable Jones, well aided by Vince and the highly impressive Brayshaw, and Garlett twice got out the back of our defence to burn off Toovs. Six goals in sixteen minutes, all to small to mediums, meant that we gave up the lead.  We steadied the ship pretty impressively in the second half of the quarter, the Demons not scoring in this period. Oxley was deployed as a spare defender and won plenty of ball after a couple of quiet matches and Pendles stepped up to exert his influence after a quietish start. Two late goals, one being yet another for the Elliott highlights reel after he pantsed a distracted H on the mark, meant that we took a 14 point lead into the main break. The big crowd was being treated, surprisingly, to a shoot-out with the teams sharing 20 first-half goals.

The third quarter was a fascinating stanza of footy, with the Pies extending our lead through Blair and the deadeye for a day Travis before another Demon run of goals, four this time.  They were continuing to beat us in the clearances, and generally outplaying us, and we only maintained the lead at the last break through some Keystone Cops defensive errors by the Dees, highlighted by Fitzpatrick confusing AFL footy for tunnel ball and a kick-in being passed to the man on the mark.

The last quarter was more like last year’s game than the preceding three quarters, with a lengthy stalemate followed by two goals which sealed our victory.  While the scoreboard was close enough, we never looked under siege.  Melbourne’s preference for playing an extra defender to battle Travis resulted in both them being unwilling to move the ball quickly due to being outnumbered up the field and Oxley having his own Sherrin as our spare defender, ending up with 13 intercept marks.

This was a solid rather than spectacular win, in which we did enough against spirited but average opposition.  We lacked the intensity that has marked our best performances but won the moments that counted.  Grundy and Swan both put in fantastic 5 minute bursts in the last quarter to contribute to our match-sealing goals from Travis and Elliott.

The positives, other than winning, are getting to 7-3 (having beaten the current seven bottom sides) and having some talent to return, with Reid and Scharenberg again going well in the twos, and Greenwood to return in the twos next week. De Goey shows a lot of talent, but needs to sharpen up his disposal, and Crispy could well prove to be the cream, rather than the steak knives.  Presumably Witts will come back in next week to aid big Brodie against the man mountain Mumford, and hopefully Adams will be ready to return – his hardness at the contest, especially the clearances, was missed.

As for our hopes for the rest of the season, and the next couple of seasons, as Timothy a long while back appeared to predict the departure of Dawes and H to the Demons, may an exhortation from a similar time period describe our efforts: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9). Google really is incredible.
As for H, he faded out of the game in the second half, and would be considered serviceable on the day.  It can’t be easy playing against your old club for the first time, and he will continue to provide some value to a young team, as has Dawes.

Votes for the time-honoured Horsburgh Medal:

3              Travis –outstanding with his seven goals and his kicking boots on

2              Oxley – superb in defence, has lots of scope to improve as he has some height, is a good kick, has a decent pair of hands and reads the game well. Can hopefully develop to play nearly anywhere, having been a forward in his junior footy.

1              Pendles – lifted when the heat came on in the second quarter, steadying a pretty wobbly ship and led from the front again in the last quarter.

Honourable mentions to Jamie, Swanny, Blair and Marley, who is a modern incarnation of the great Stan Magro, as tough as nails, but not quite as good yet.

The (Simon) Buckley Medal is awarded to Travis.

MELBOURNE                                   2.3   3.5    7.6      11.8   (74)

COLLINGWOOD                             3.3   7.6   12.11    12.14  (86)



Melbourne: Howe 3, N Jones 2, Garlett 2, Vince 2, Hogan, Brayshaw, Fitzpatrick, Watts

Collingwood:  Cloke 7, Elliott 3, Blair 3, Swan, Seedsman, Broomhead, Fasolo,



Melbourne: N Jones, Vince, Brayshaw, Cross, Jetta, Viney

Collingwood:  Cloke, Oxley, Pendlebury, Elliott, Swan, Blair, Williams


Umpires: Matt Stevic, Chris Kamolins, Troy Pannell
Crowd: 66,120

Our Votes: 3 Cloke (C) 2 Oxley (C) 1 N Jones (M)


  1. steve fahey says

    Ah, the perils of cutting and pasting formats from old reports !!

    The scores of course should read :

    MELBOURNE 3.1 9.1 13.4 13.7.85

    COLLINGWOOD 7.1 11.3 15.4 17.8.110

  2. Wherever the two sides currently sit in the competition’s true pecking order, it was a very enjoyable game to watch Steve. Certainly the polar opposite to last year.

    Melbourne were pretty impressive actually, they are finally going places it would seem.

    Jones has to be one of the hardest nuts going round. He could crack concrete with that noggin.

    I didn’t really feel anything much about seeing H in red and blue. He was a very good (and at times great) player but I kinda felt ambivalent when he decided to leave tbh.

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