Round 12: Melbourne v Collingwood – ‘Come on…!’


Life’s been pretty good for a Demons fan over the last few weeks. Our team had put together six wins in a row and we’re sitting in the top four. For the first time in a while, Melbourne and Collingwood were both performing well coming into the annual Queen’s Birthday game, as opposed to just one (or neither) team being a contender in June. There had been talk all week about the Demons being potential flag winners, and even though we tried to “keep the lid on” it was tempting to dream about winning on Queen’s Birthday and possibly being second on the ladder going into the bye!


It was a beautiful, sunny day on arrival at the MCG which almost made it too warm to be wearing one of the “Freeze MND” blue beanies, raising money to help find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease. The Pies and Dees fans had emptied their pockets and ensured that Yarra Park was a sea of blue heads. My mate Pete and I donned our beanies and went to join the lengthy MCC queue and, wanting to do the right thing, ignored the opportunity to cut into line where someone had opened a gap in the fences. (Coincidentally, the yellow-jacketed security guard also ignored the clear breach despite being metres away. And you thought the MCC was a place of decorum!). We’d made it part way through the snaking row of fences when…


“Oh, COME ON!”


My MCC pass wasn’t in my wallet. I’d been to the NRL State of Origin on Wednesday and I couldn’t recall seeing my pass since. I had a feeling that it was in the pocket of the pants I wore on Wednesday (Fast forward to Monday night – it was) so I had no choice but to head to the window and fork out an extra $10 to get a temporary pass!


Of course on my way to get the pass of shame from the member services windows, I chose to take the wrong side of the MCC queue to walk back to Gate 2 and was stuck waiting for the first wave of the queue to clear before I could cross over the line. Rookie mistake! Come on!


With my temporary ticket in hand soon after, thanks to the helpful staff, we went back to the top of the line and waited to move forward. I’ve been in the line for Grand Finals and Anzac Day (yes, with friends who support more successful teams) and this line wasn’t going anywhere! Come on! Hurry up! We started funnelling our way to the front and realised the queue had narrowed significantly at the end – yes, a literal funnel – which is why it wasn’t really going anywhere. It was a bit of an unwelcome delay for us but we did make it in in time to see all 18 AFL coaches go down the slide in a huge show of support for Neale Daniher and the Freeze MND cause. Our man Goodwin was the first down in a hilarious self-referential snow costume. I also give votes to Nathan Buckley’s costume to honour a club member, and Worsfold’s Neale Daniher from the 80s costume complete with the red shorts!


There was time to sneak into the Hugh Trumble Café for a nervous pre-match beer. Talk turned to the on-field activities and our hope that Max Gawn would take the honours in the hotly contested ruck battle, that our midfielders could put heaps of pressure on Collingwood’s runners, and the defence could overcome the loss of Jake Lever. It was then time to head to our pre-purchased reserved seats, purchased under cover due to the possibility of rain, but instead we were shielded from a lovely sunny day. At least it was a better investment of $10 than covering for my forgetfulness by buying the pass of shame!


The siren goes and we are surrounded by fans screaming “Come on Melbourne!” The faithful are out in force in what would be our fourth-biggest home crowd ever! But, signs weren’t great when De Goey hit up Cox for an early goal, and while Hannan scored a running goal in the opposite direction, a string of Collingwood goals from multiple forward entries was a worry. Collingwood were up by almost four goals at the break and we were wondering whether the Demons had it in them to come back.


Harmes kicked a good goal to open the second quarter, and after Fritsch and Neal Bullen goaled, suddenly the lead was back to five points and we were right back in it. But the Dees couldn’t silence De Goey who had racked up 18 possessions midway through the quarter and Jaidyn Stephenson seemed to be on the receiving end of plenty of forward entries. Collingwood kicked a couple more and although the Dees won the quarter narrowly, Collingwood still looked solid with a 19 point lead.


At half-time I went into the Blazer Bar for a beer. I only got to drink three quarters of it though. As the big crowds all jostled in the limited space, an accidental whack to the elbow led to a spill. “Oh, come on!” A verbal dissection of the first half followed, as we mused about how much faster Collingwood looked, how we could get Hogan into the game, and what our midfield needed to do to break this pressure.


Tom McDonald was our key target in the third quarter. His strong marking and accurate kicking kept us in it – he scored three goals in the quarter. We were only 18 points behind with a few minutes left in the third quarter and anything was possible as long as we kept Collingwood away from the goals.


It wasn’t to be. Cox scored again. How many goals is he up to now? Four? Oh come on… Then Mihocek scored after the siren. Suddenly we were five goals down, and we needed to get a move on! Come on Dees, lift! McDonald adding a couple more to bag six for the game was the only highlight for the Demons as Collingwood ran away with the game, comfortable 42 point winners. Mason Cox was handed a man of the match award but I can’t help but feel he might owe Jordan De Goey some thanks for his first-class delivery.


We left the game to the sound of snow jokes and announcements at the train station that we would have to wait before we could access our platform, as pretty much every train line was closed and the replacement buses would leave from along our line. Oh come on


It just wasn’t our day. But on a day where the footy world focused on the much more important issue of MND it was hard to be upset. And let’s face it, if you’d told me the Dees would be 8-4 in the middle of June I would have gladly taken it! We’ll all enjoy the week off and let’s hope the break gives the boys a chance to refresh and attack the final half of the year and hopefully break that Finals drought. The possibility of cheering “C’mon Demons!” at the MCG in September still feels close and one off-day isn’t going to change that. Yet…Come on!


First published on the MCC’s blog Balcony Banter


About Joseph Ryan

Lawyer, amateur sportsman, and full-time sports-watcher. Follows Melbourne Demons and Melbourne Storm and is trying to be better at golf.

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