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Round 10 – Sydney v Collingwood: 50 metre penalties and miracle goals

Collingwood v Sydney.


They have always been close games. In my lifetime, the Pies have traveled well. They’ve always been the joker in the pack for the Swans, winning at ANZ Stadium for years in a row despite Sydney’s finals dominance. I remember the Reid v Reid battle of 2011, where Sydney gave us a right old shock. I remember the tense affairs of ’09 and 2010, when both teams were sitting near the top of the ladder. When relocating to the SCG, 2016 was a horror show. 2017 was when we held on in a tough year, while 2018 was a game that got away from us. All because Buddy’s massive left leg kicked it out of our reach with a bag of six.


So coming into a Friday night game where the Pies had won six on the trot in an unconvincing manner, and Sydney had scraped together a tough win against North Melbourne the previous week, I was unsure. The Bloods have pride. Bucket-fuls of it. And with Buddy and Kennedy being brought back in while the likes of De Goey, Cox and Moore sat out again, we were ripe to be beaten.


Sydney come out in front of a shabby crowd and quickly get to it, kicking the first three goals on a ground that they know well. The wide yet short dimensions of the SCG is suited to Sydney’s style perfectly, and easily allows them to defend quick ball movement while they pass with tempo. Buddy snags one early on Roughead to announce his return. Collingwood miss shots at goal and Sam Reid makes them pay, getting on top of Howe early.


Enter Wells. The forgotten Rolls-Royce of the AFL (he’s known as Silky Smooth to people, and it’s evident as to why) drifts into the game in his return match with grace. A goal in the first term is backed up by another two in the second, as his knack of being at the drop of the ball is uncanny. Varcoe-like. Pendlebury helps ignite the heavy throng of travelling supporters with a skillful dribble goal from the boundary. But Reid is the thorn in Collingwood’s side, marking everything and nailing his kicks with growing confidence.


Grundy is coming to the fore and teaching Sinclair how to hit tap-outs to your midfielders. Surely he’s rising as a Brownlow chance. He’s a once-in-a-generation ruckman. Stephenson returns to his regular ways of kicking goals and our poor kicking gives us a slender half-time lead. Treloar is doing his usual of touching the ball lots but with horrible efficiency. Luckily Pendles has had the ball in hand enough to hurt Sydney, as Sidebottom is being tagged out of it and Beams isn’t producing his normal game.


The third-term is where the match begins to sway. Like a see-saw, the force is all coming down on Collingwood and the Swans are flying high. Reid. Mark. Goal. Mark. Goal. It repeats with machine-like consistency until he has booted half a dozen and put the Swans in front. Buddy snaps another to awaken the beast. The last thing Collingwood needs without Darcy Moore is a dominant Reid and an inspired Buddy. With Wells hurting his knee in a heart-shattering collision, the Pies are on the ropes. They are faltering and stuttering with their ball movement, and miss the likes of Cox to provide a mark down the line.


In the last quarter Sydney try to put us away before their injuries to Hewett and Kennedy can wear them down. Sinclair begins to get space around the ground and hurt Grundy, yet he shanks a chance to push the Swans clear. Hayward misses a similar chance when Reid decides he’s kicked enough balls through the big sticks and gives him a go. Sidebottom works his way into it and there’s a glimmer, but we just can’t break through.


Half of the quarter is gone by the time we lob a ball into the hot spot, and a desperate marking effort from Mayne is capped off with a heroic mid-air goal while lying on the ground. That’s how you ignite a comeback. The next ball up Grundy wins yet another tap and the speedy Callum Brown bounds away to slot another goal. Suddenly we’re in front. Hope is back.


But Sydney aren’t done with yet. They need a win to build some momentum in a season that hasn’t gone their way. Reid is still running hot. Roughead has slowly locked down Buddy. He looks unfit by the game’s end. With the margin under a goal with only minutes remaining, a hack kick forward lands in Mayne’s lap. He’s the man of the last quarter. He can put the game beyond doubt. He misses dismally. But the umpire calls fifty metres against Dane Rampe on the mark, who has overshot it. I guess that equals up his post-hugging display. Mayne slots the goal and we’ve crawled over the line once more.


There’s some exhausted bodies out there, and we won’t see Wells for a few months. But seven wins in a row is always cause for celebration, so who cares how we win if we keep getting up? Any win against Sydney is going to be tough. I’ll just be glad we are on the winning side this year.


SYDNEY                    3.1     5.1     10.2     11.7 (73)
COLLINGWOOD      1.4    5.10    7.12    11.14 (80)

Reid 6, Franklin 2, Fox, Papley, Blakey
Collingwood: Wells 3, Brown 2, Mayne 2, Pendlebury, Stephenson, Mihocek, Reid

Reid, Clarke, Lloyd, Rampe, Parker, Mills
Collingwood: Grundy, Pendlebury, Greenwood, Mayne, Crisp, Treloar

George Hewett (head knock), Josh Kennedy (knee)
Collingwood: Daniel Wells (knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, O’Gorman, Nicholls

Official crowd: 34,649 at the SCG


For more from Sean, CLICK HERE:


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