Round 11 – Collingwood v Geelong: Dear old Melbourne


My dear old Melbourne, my sweet mother, what has happened to you?


You look dark and dank and dreary.

You look dirty, weighed down, old.

You look depressed.


You look bowed and battered.

You look ill, and illness fills the streets.

You look beaten.


You look weak.

You bend at the knees and cower.

Your shoes have holes in them.


Your flame has gone out,

Smothered and doused,

For fear that it might flourish.


You look like death,

All pale and gaunt,

There is a cancer in your books.


Where once there was sound,

Now there is noise.

Yelling and discord and agitation.


You look disenchanted, unsure, and nervous.

Your stare is wide-eyed and confused.

I don’t walk your city streets anymore.


You look abandoned.

Like the freshly built bicycle lanes.

I see empty shops where once there was life.


You don’t look like my home.

You don’t nurture my soul.

There is an emptiness in you that frightens me.


You’ve never been polished bright.

Substance and content told your story.

Without these there is only soot.


You look sunny as Autumn closes.

The sky is an endless blue.

But no one has reason to look up.


You look governed like a bullock in the paddock.

Plodding up and down.

The rapacious beast is never sate.


You sleepwalk towards the promised utopia.

Shuffling your feet and wondering,

“Why is everything getting further and further away?”


Two great teams play your sport on Saturday afternoon.

They play to the city’s beat,

And on the city’s ground.


They play in front of cleaners.

The sounds of fumigation replace applause.

The sun is fool’s gold.


The players look bewildered and dour.

They kill the ball and stifle the spirit.

Loose men are nowhere.


There is little flourish and zero imagination.

The game is mechanical.

Sameness has pervaded its very fibre.


I recall great games between these two.

Where Ablett sat on Pert and Daicos kicked the miracle.

In a time when Melbourne was beautiful.  





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About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Hang in there Dips.

    I know what you’re saying though.

  2. Very interesting, Dips.
    I like how you view an ordinary game of footy through the lens of the city’s current malaise

  3. Steve Fahey says

    Nicely done, albeit sombre and sobering Dips.

    While I agree with you that this horrible game reflected the current malaise, the malaise is not to blame for the spectacle. In 6 of the last 7 Pies vs. Cats games, neither team has kicked more than 10 goals ! The blow-out in the 2020 semi-final ruined their “perfect” record – the Pies’ scores being the first of the two listed below in the previous six (as I have lifted it from a Pies-centric table).

    Both coaches need to have a good hard look at themselves, especially Bucks, as your game style got you close to a flag last year. Most of these games have been horrible.

    And the Pies have kicked 19 goals in our last 12 quarters of football – 12 of these goals have come in 3 quarters, meaning we have kicked 7 goals in the other 9 quarters. It’s therefore more than a bit hard to get excited when Bucks talks about the improvement in the team in the past 3-4 weeks. The odd thing is that in each of those games there has been at least a period when we have looked good taking the game on.

    F Collingwood 1.0 1.0 1.1 5.2 32 Geelong 4.4 9.6 9.8 15.10 100 Sat 10-Oct-2020 6:40 PM
    A Collingwood 2.2 4.3 5.7 8.9 57 1.1 1.3 3.5 5.5 35 Thu 16-Jul-2020 6:10 PM
    F Collingwood 4.2 7.5 9.7 9.7 61 Geelong 1.2 4.4 5.6 7.9 51 Fri 06-Sep-2019 7:50 PM
    H Collingwood 3.5 4.9 7.10 9.11 65 Geelong 2.2 3.4 7.10 10.12 72 Fri 22-Mar-2019 7:50 PM
    H Collingwood 1.3 1.6 4.11 5.15 45 Geelong 2.4 4.7 7.10 9.12 66 Sun 13-May-2018 3:20 PM
    H Collingwood 6.1 7.2 9.4 9.5 59 Geelong 2.2 6.5 8.6 10.10 70 Sat 19-Aug-2017 2:10 PM

  4. roger lowrey says

    Well done Dips.

    After the game I told a few friends “how could anyone possibly write a FA piece about that awful game?”

    But you have. The two consoling thoughts are “a win is a win” and even Victorian COVID lockdowns will end one day.


  5. Hayden Kelly says

    yep no doubt a win is a win and 4 points in an an ugly game is still 4 points .
    not sure i can agree re Victorian covid lockdowns ending one day . Guess we are just the unlucky state [lol]

    its exactly as we all feel right now .Well written .

  6. Cheers lads.

    Steve – Pies lack of goals is somewhat self-inflicted?

    Roger – sadly Covid might end up being the least of our problems.

  7. Kevin Densley says

    Nicely done, Dips!

    Reminded me a bit of Walt Whitman, with a bit of the beat poets thrown in – and of course Whitman was the father (or maybe grandfather) of the beats.

    Best three lines:

    “They play in front of cleaners./The sounds of fumigation replace applause./ The sun is fool’s gold.”

  8. Thanks Kevin.

    I have no idea what I’m doing. I just let it flow!

    Appreciate the comment.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Nailed it Dips. What an awful awful game Saturday was.

    I look forward to the day when Melbourne, and Collingwood v Geelong games, are beautiful again. It feels a long way off.

  10. Cheers Luke. Hope you’re well.

    Some of the Geelong v Collingwood games have been right up there in the pantheon of greats. The 2007 preliminary final (you might select others!) was the loudest crowd noise I’ve ever experienced. And the game is one I still go back and watch occasionally. The one last weekend belongs in the bin,.

  11. DBalassone says

    Great work Dips. You nailed it. How dead is footy without crowds – particularly a game like this one, in a massive stadium. It just ain’t right.

  12. Spot on DB. Empty stadiums are like an empty well.

    Can you imagine the Olympics without the people?

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