Round 12 – Collingwood v Melbourne (Floreat Pica Society report): A return to victory


Written for the Floreat Pica Society

by Peter Butler


Rivalry between Collingwood and Melbourne goes back a long way but intensified in the 1950s when Melbourne won all those flags and momentarily threatened our 4 in a row of Premierships. I did not grow up knowing the beginning of today’s rivalry, as I only arrived in Australia in 1977. However I have watched the fortunes of both sides over the past 40 years and it makes for some interesting observations.


Early on in my time here, Melbourne was a basket case, trying to hark back to previous glories in the 50s and expecting it to just happen. The appointment of Ron Barrassi as coach for five years in 1981 was expected to see a renaissance like no other but ended in tears five years later after only 33 wins in that time and a highest ladder position of eighth. The most notable win against us in that time was the 7 point victory in 1982 that led to the sacking of Tom Hafey. There was no way we could accept losing to the terrible Dees in those days.


Over the next few years we maintained our superiority over the ‘Snow Kings’, though there were a few times that they bested the Pies (most notably in two finals in 88 & 89). It was rumoured that Melbourne players were anticipating meeting Collingwood in the 1990 grand final with the expectation of winning, but they underestimated a rising West Coast at Arctic Park and fell out of contention.


The advent of the traditional Queen’s Birthday game has made this clash almost a blockbuster next to Anzac Day, but without the same sense of occasion. There have been some memorable clashes over the past 19 years like the draw in 2010, which was preceded by a 1 point win to us earlier in that season.


This recent history and our form over the past few weeks, culminating in the loss to ‘the Freo Whackers’ (and I did mean whackers!), led to quite a sense of trepidation going into the game yesterday. In spite of only having three wins on the board and two of those by less than a goal, it seems as though Melbourne have been playing not bad football and have been run over in at least two games recently late in the game. Collingwood’s winning over recent weeks has been on the back of one really good quarter, though good teams do win ‘ugly’. It would been more reassuring to have won recent games by a lot more and in more convincing style.


It was good to have Cox back and Sier in for an injured Beams is a plus.


First Quarter


As with most games this year (except for the past two weeks) we were out of the blocks like Usain Bolt on speed. However our tendency to miss gettable shots hurt as Stephenson and Pendlebury missed goals they should have scored. The ruck contest between Gawn and Grundy was one to watch. Gawn was getting his hands on the ball and generating clearances but it was not leading to much as Collingwood’s defence stood up really well, as it has all year. Moore was a standout and all the others weren’t far behind. In the first quarter Melbourne did not take a mark inside 50.


A lead of 15 points was not much for the effort and dominance we had. It should probably have been something like 30-36 points. At this point I had a few candidates for best; Sidebottom was a standout, along with Moore, Aish, Hoskin-Elliott, Stephenson (despite his poor goal kicking), Treloar, Grundy (despite being beaten by Gawn) and of course Pendlebury (ever consistent).


The lead was in spite of being beaten in contested possessions, center clearances and hit outs. It was notable that we were winning the tackle count handsomely, as well as the inside 50s and marks when we got the ball in there.


Second Quarter


The second quarter was much the same as the first, with the defence holding up again, the tackle count increasing but the contested ball clearances and hit outs being lost. The lead was increased by a goal and again should have been more. Melbourne did move the ball quicker and sharper at times but could not make it stick on the scoreboard.


Sidebottom continued on his merry way, which is encouraging as he has not been at his best over the past few weeks. Moore, Treloar, Hoskin-Elliott and Aish continued to impress while Pendlebury kept to his very high standards and Greenwood began to show he is still worth his place since Langdon went down. I am not sure what will happen when Scharenberg is match fit and ready to resume, but it is a nice conundrum to have at selection. Although he usually does not often get a mention in the best three, Roughead has been a revelation since crossing from Footerscray, a bit like ‘Presti’ in his heyday.


Third Quarter


I have no idea what happened in the rooms at half time but the accuracy pills must have been handed out as we kicked 5-0 to 2-4 and finished the quarter just short of six goals up. The stats continued to show we were losing contested ball, hit outs and clearances, but winning tackles and accuracy. The lead would have been even bigger if both boundary and field umpires had not missed an out of bounds when paying a mark to Hunt.


The best players were the same lot though by this time De Goey had moved into contention with a characteristic goal to go on top of the one that should see him being sent to France to play for the Matildas.


Fourth Quarter


The first half of the last quarter had us all with hearts in mouths as Melbourne stormed all over Collingwood and kicked two goals and a number of points to get within 15 points, before Callum Brown harried Melbourne defenders to set up Stephenson’s third goal. Others followed from Hoskin-Elliott, Cox & Thomas to ice the win on a day when ice did not mean the current drug of choice but a more meaningful appeal for funds to combat MND.


The better players for Collingwood remained the same group from the first three quarters, though Treloar firmed in the best three with a stellar second half including a great run through the middle to goal in the third quarter.


All up it was a more consistent performance than the past few weeks. It was a return to how we played against Brisbane, and Port Adelaide for three quarters. To win a game when you lose the contested possession, hit outs to advantage and centre clearances, especially by 41 points, says the team and coaches are doing something right.


Horsbrough Votes


When you win by 41 points, despite the opposition kicking so poorly, especially when the game is on the line in the final quarter, there must be quite lot of best players to choose from, and that was the case. I am sure Luke found it hard to do the DR votes as most players contributed. However, we need to pick three. I did not find it too hard to pick two of them – it was the third that was a little more tricky.


3 Votes – Sidebottom – Yes Treloar had more possessions and got more votes from the coaches, but Sidey was back to his early season and 2018 best, especially early on when it really mattered. I am not implying that Treloar is a ‘receiver’ or a flat track player who shines when the game is won, because he is not. Sidebottom provided the leadership and grunt in the first quarter and if he had been kicking for goal we would have been out of sight.


2 Votes – Treloar – From the above comments it is obvious. Nearly 40 possessions is huge and he did not slow down all day.


1 Vote – Aish – Did not feature in the coachs’ votes or the best players in the media but he was cool, considered and professional all day. Some players just go about their job and play their role. James Aish has been getting better week by week at doing just that since he came back into the side after that horrid concussion. Players like him should get more recognition, so I am giving it to him. I am sure he gets it around the club and the team.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



To find out more about Almanac memberships CLICK HERE


  1. george smith says

    Error in report sir. The Downhill Skiers got within twenty one points, not 15. That is still leaving them four goals to win it, and therefore mission impossible. They kicked two goals only, and reduced a 35 point lead to 21.
    I was in a cafe in Sydney’s Chinatown when my wife checked the score for me and I deemed it game over, based on time left.
    Had they executed a barnstorming run like the Showponies on Saturday night, it would have been enough to worry us, especially after the Fremantle game, but it was a false concern. Note that the Showponies failed by 3 points, in spite of their heroics.

Leave a Comment