Round 12 – Melbourne v Collingwood: Beating the Dees in The Big Freeze (Floreat Pica Society)

Written by Luke Reynolds for The Floreat Pica Society


“What @NealeDaniher has done is an absolute inspiration and how this city has rallied around the @FightMND cause is outstanding. From an outsider looking in everyone should be proud of what they have accomplished and will in the future. #blessed” 


— Mason Cox via Twitter (@masonsixtencox) June 11, 2018


From a day that just featured two old rivals, with little of consequence happening between the teams since the 1960’s, annually honouring Lizzie from London’s belated birthday, to what the fixture has become now is an amazing transition over the past 4 years. The Big Freeze, the Motor Neurone Disease fundraiser, is an incredible event for such a terrible, cruel disease. Neale Daniher is simply the most courageous, inspiring man for the way he has coped with the awful cards he has been dealt. Full credit to all 18 AFL coaches who participated, dressing up, sliding into the ice bath. While Lizzie‘s more recent recruits in Kate and Meghan have certainly kept my interest in the fortunes of the centuries old Royal FC, the MND fundraiser has taken over in importance on this Winter public holiday.


As the siren sounded on the Queen’s Birthday clash in 2017, I was the as despondent as I can recall after a game, barring a Grand Final loss. Angry too. The umpires had influenced the result with several shocking, mind-boggling decisions. Our lead whittled away. Stayed in my seat until most of the crowd had left. Bucks was surely gone. It felt like an end.


Today NC Buckley participates in the big freeze, as Collingwood coach. Wearing the fireman uniform of a Collingwood fan who was diagnosed with MND in January. Murray Swinton is now already wheelchair bound.


De Goey starts in the centre square. Like it, get him the action straight away. Mason Cox marks strongly and kicks the first goal of the game. Number 19* for the Dees replies with their opening goal. Our starts have been a worry this season. Not today. Stephenson snaps a goal, Hoskin-Elliott marks a ball intended for and in front of Cox and kicks the goal. After some relentless pressure from the Pies, the Lanky Yank picks up a loose ball, snaps and kicks his second. Josh Thomas goals. Mihocek has an opportunity to put us 5 goals up but hits the post. Number 25 for the Dees kicks their second. We have chances to increase our lead. Howe bursts through at half forward but hits the post. Sidebottom wastes a close shot, dribbling through a point from close range. 23 points up at quarter time. It should be more.


It’s feeling like 2017 all over again as Phillips fumbles, slips and concedes a goal to the Demons number 4. More 2017 work as Howe handballs straight to number 19 who goals. Pendlebury restores balance to the contest with a typically measured captain’s goal. Number 31 (no, not Barassi MCC Members) goals for Melbourne. Daniel Wells walks off slowly with yet another injury as number 30, appropriately sporting a hyphenated name, goals. It feels as though the team formerly known as the the Fuschia’s are about to stake claim for the 4 points on offer. The nerves set in a Cox misses a set shot. But a link from Adams at half back, De Goey in the middle and Stephenson up forward sees the clear favourite for the Rising Star award kick his second. Stephenson has another chance at goal soon after but doesn’t deliver with a poor dribble kick. Some great Sidebottom play sees the vice-captain find Josh Daicos near the 50. In very un-Daicos style the 5th gamer misses the sticks altogether. Just when you think we’re letting Melbourne back into the contest, De Goey goes on a bullocking run through the centre and finds Hoskin-Elliott. Our hyphen rarely misses. He of course nails this goal.


I’d been greatly looking forward to the contest between Brodie Grundy and number 11 for Melbourne. The two pre-eminent ruckmen of the competition. It hasn’t disappointed. I have our man Grundy in front, as number 11 finds some space in the Demon’s forward 50 to mark and goal. This game is still on, Collingwood get some slight breathing space as a strong Stephenson tackle results in a Josh Thomas goal. 19 points up at half time.
We should’ve kicked an early goal to start the second half, Stephenson, running into an easy goal, decides to handball to Mihocek in the goalsquare, which is cut off by a Demon defender. Back yourself in Stevo! But shortly after it’s Sidey to Mihocek to Cox who goals. Number 25 goals for Melbourne. Josh Thomas sidesteps beautifully at half forward and puts one through. I really thought he was only kept on the list after his misdemeanor to justify keeping big man Lachie Keefe. While Keefe has moved on Thomas has become a genuinely good player with a real knack for kicking goals. Maybe he was the one they wanted to keep all along.


Stephenson keeps showing his immense skill, falling over but still goaling while laying flat on the ground. Then came one of the most contentious plays of the day as Taylor Adams, first to the ball, dives at full stretch, punching the ball forward. A Melbourne player runs into Adams, falls over and receives a free. Resulting in a Melbourne goal to number 7. Not at all happy with that interpretation, penalising the player going for the ball, the player making the play. Melbourne have momentum now. Number 25 goals. The ever reliable Hoskin-Elliott replies with another goal. A crisp pass from Crisp finds Sidebottom, who badly misses. Number 25 kicks another for the Demons. Josh Daicos is pummelled to the ground in a tackle, the resultant free sees a strong mark and goal to Cox. Second-gamer Mihocek goals after the siren and we have a 30 point lead at the last change. The Queens Birthday clash of 2017 is still seared in the memory. Fearing the worst.


Melbourne have an early chance to goal in the final term but a desperate Howe effort stops that. The former Demon has been ultra defensive today but wonderful in the role. Cox marks and bangs it through from just outside 50. Been a while since he’d shown he could kick that far. Adams has a chance to seal the game but misses a goal he should have kicked. Then shortly after kicks a brilliant banana kick right through the middle of the goals. Number 25 of the red and blue kicks yet another. Treloar, sporting his Split Enz circa 1975 haircut, bangs an impressive goal from the 50 metre line. WHE kicks his fourth. Stephenson goals in between a couple of Melbourne goals. I’ve stopped looking at their numbers, looking through purely black & white eyes.


Huge win. So much to like about the 2018 Pies. Particularly as this was against Melbourne, need to praise Lynden Dunn. He completely smashed Number 1, an in form Melbourne player, and continues to be the most miserly of defenders in the competition. A player who really annoyed me in Melbourne colours, couldn’t stand him. He’s won me over.


Absolutely wonderful to beat Melbourne on their biggest day of any football season, their Grand Final, the day they come out in droves in their red & blue scarves.


About time the hosting of this fixture was rotated, I’m all for charitable causes like MND but it’s well overdue that Collingwood stop the charity we give to Melbourne by giving them this fixture every year. Eddie has been more than generous for a long period of time. Share this game Melbourne, or make it against someone else, and host us in Alice Springs or Darwin instead. I’d like to see that, if only to quieten the “Collingwood never play interstate” crowd.


Go Pies!


*Melbourne supporters commonly refer to their players by number only, I’m quite happy to also not learn the Dees player names


Collingwood 5.5 9.9 15.11 20.13 (133)
Melbourne 2.0 7.2 11.5 14.7 (91)

Goals – Collingwood: Cox 5, Hoskin-Elliott 4, Stephenson 4, Thomas 3, Pendlebury, Mihocek, Adams, Treloar
Melbourne: Number 25 6, Number 19 2, Number 4, Number 19, Number 31, Number 11, Number 7, Number 13


Best – Collingwood: De Goey, Sidebottom, Cox, Dunn, Pendlebury Hoskin-Elliott, Treloar
Melbourne: Number 25, Number 5, Number 7, Number 19


Umpires: Donlon, Haussen, Findlay

Official crowd: 83,518 at the MCG


Horsburgh Medal votes-
3. De Goey
2. Sidebottom
1. Cox


Malarkey Medal Votes:
As above


About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Super report Luke. That number 46 is doing alright for the Pies. As he grows in his self-belief the team is growing with him. We looked like a well-organised, confident and maturing team. How good is it to see us play a great brand of footy after 4 years of clanger-infested, maladroit performances? Mayne finally looking like he belongs in the team. Best game for us so far.
    Also good that Moore, Fasolo, Reid, Elliott have to earn their spots.
    Terrific turnout for MND and Neale Daniher. Kudos to the coaches.
    And I agree that the fixture needs to be rotated. We deserve a home game in front of 80k plus every second year. Go Pies !!

  2. John Butler says

    Nathan Buckley must be amused (perhaps bemused?). Dead and buried after 2 rounds. Now his side are apparently a flag threat, and he’s Jock McHale.

    Pies looked good in this one. Absolutely slaughtered the Dees in the midfield. Interestingly, Collingwood’s skills look so much sharper than last season. Contrast to St Kilda, who collectively seem to have forgotten how to kick this season. Fascinating how the psychology of teams can so drastically affect performance.


  3. Rulebook says

    Love it Luke very subtle sledging of dees supporters.Confidence and the intangible belief to take the game on showed yet again how much sport is played above the ears.Kudos to Mayne has come back from footy oblivion.The pies at least play a good brand footy to watch one of the few,Lever is a massive injury loss for Melbourne we wait and see re how much Wells will be a loss thanks,Luke

  4. First the Footy Almanac, now the exalted Floreat Pica Society. Your thoughts and writing are going up in the world Luke.
    While I accept that Grundy is the best ruckman in the comp based on beating Gawn on Monday, I hold the hope that NicNait/Lycett is the best ruck force. How will Grundy hold up after Lycett belts him for 3 quarters and Nic Nait jumps over him in the last?
    Round 17 will tell us a lot about whether my Eagles are home track bullies, and how your speed matches up to our height. If it wasn’t bleak city in July I’d be tempted to come over for the contest. See you in September instead.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Phil. Really enjoying Cox’s development. Our style of play was very entertaining on Monday.

    Spot on John, skills and confidence no doubt go hand in hand. Not sure about flag threat, just happy with the improvement!

    Rulebook- after watching Mayne in the VFL several times last year had written him off completely. He’s had a good few weeks. Hard to see Wells coming back, he adds so much class when fit, having his and Aish’s skill missing will hurt for sure.

    PB- that will be a huge ruck contest when we meet the Eagles. Look forward to seeing you and the Avenging Eagle in September!

  6. Collingwood impressed me on Monday, Crackers.
    Answered convincingly every challenge from Melbourne.

  7. Good win by your guys, Luke. Of course all Swans fans were right behind Collingwood, for us to remain 3rd!

    Maybe my earlier “prediction” about Collingwood this year might yet be true?

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Smokie, there was a few occasions on Monday where I thought Melbourne looked like they could run over the top of us. Very pleasing that we met all of those challenges.

    Jan, while I’d love for your prediction to be accurate, still think we are a fair bit away from reaching those lofty heights. Happy to be proven wrong about that though!

  9. Another great one Luke we watched from Phuket looking forward to REYNOLDS PAPERS some day????????

  10. Luke- You’re understandably bouyant given the exciting way in which the Magpies have come to life. As I’ve not caught the start of a Collingwood game lately tell me if they’re continuing with that Metallica nonsense (not the band itself “Enter Sandman” is one of the great hard rock songs, but the lame Liverpudlian insertion pre-bounce). Seemed odd given that I’ll freely admit that your club song is easily the second best behind, of course, Richmond’s. On Monday at the Glenelg v North game I heard, for the first time in a while, the Roosters’ song. Pseudo Echo meets the Mojo Singers.

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks Lizzie, am sure the Phuket is far more appealing today than the cold, wet and windy conditions in SW Victoria today.

    Mickey- Metallica is still being used, for home games only, to next to no fan engagement. Keen to hear the Roosters song after that description!

  12. E.regnans says

    Well played L Reynolds.

    Risk-taking; a frenetic high wire dance.
    A cats supporter would say: “as it should be played…”

    Most enjoyable seeing so many smiles on faces.

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks ER. Very enjoyable, loving the way we are playing, long may it continue!

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