Round 12 – Melbourne v Collingwood: Shadenfreude

Melbourne versus Collingwood

3:20pm, Monday 12 June
MCG, Melbourne

Tim Kemm


When your team wins, football can be a truly wonderful thing. My beloved Bombers won on Saturday night, defeating Port Adelaide in a canter by 70 points. I attended with my dad and I left Docklands in love with the game and eager to consume as much of it as possible.


Monday’s annual Queen’s Birthday clash was shaping up to be the best contest that fixture has provided in years. Both Melbourne and Collingwood were sitting on the same number of wins and a spot in the top 8 on the line. With this in mind I was very keen to witness this match first hand, as a neutral supporter.


It was a liberating feeling passing through the gates knowing that my club was not playing. I could enjoy the pure spectacle of football, free from the anxiety and worry that inevitably accompanies any Essendon game I attend. I took this opportunity to experience the theatre of football from a variety of different perspectives. For the first quarter I plonked myself right behind the Melbourne cheer squad. The Demons faithful have a reputation of being sensible and dignified folk, though I must say I found myself amongst some rabid supporters. Melbourne’s skills were poor in the first quarter and they were lucky to have their noses in front at the break.


The match hurtled through the see-saw momentum swings that are a hallmark of a great game of footy. After a tight first quarter the Magpies took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second and went into the main break holding a 23 point lead. The Melbourne supporters around me were uneasy. Their club has a history of not handling expectation well and it seems as though they were letting another game where they started as favourite slip through their fingers.


Determined to wrest control back from the Magpies, the Dees dominated the third and were up by less than a kick at three quarter time and it was set up for a nail-biting finale. What better place than to experience it than right behind the Collingwood cheer squad. I’m not quite sure what drew me to stand in that area, perhaps I was seeking the pleasure that can be derived from witnessing fans of a rival club suffer defeat. I think the Germans call that shadenfreude. I sensed a heartbreaking Collingwood loss was on the cards for Melbourne had all the momentum going into the last, though if anyone was capable of losing a match they should win, it was the mob from Gosch’s Paddock.


The last quarter was an arm wrestle, but when Jack Watts strolled into goal to put the Dees 11 points up with only minutes to go it was all over, and the Collingwood fans were ropable. They were storming the exits and miscellaneous items were being thrown. I took care to keep my head down.


Another tight loss for the Magpies leaves them languishing at 5 and 7 and in danger of losing touch with the top 8. I left the G thrilled by the match I just witnessed. The red & blue around me were jubilant – arm in arm and singing along to the grizzly busker leaning against a well-aged tree by Punt Road Oval.


Sweeeeet Caroline, good times never seemed so good.


The Magpie army looked cold, tired and dishevelled. Emotions ranged between devastated and furious – no doubt contemplating the possibility of another season slipping away. They had a bard of their own. He’s been there every game I’ve been to at the G this season, a young guy who perpetually looks like he’s just spent all day on the waves with his board. You’ve probably seen him – he needs money for beer. His message was a simple one. Some of the black & white lingered, tossing a coin or two. They were listening; I hoped Bucks was listening too.


Don’t worry, be happy.


Melbourne                4.3          6.6       12.9     15.14     (104)
Collingwood             3.2          10.5     12.8     15.10     (100)

Melbourne: Petracca 3, Watts 3, Bugg 2, Garlett 2, Hannan, Harmes, McDonald, Melksham, Pedersen
Collingwood: Greenwood 2, De Goey 2, Fasolo 2, Moore 2, Phillips 2, Sidebottom 2, Treloar, Aish, Crocker

Melbourne: Petracca, Watts, Hibberd, Viney, Tyson
Collingwood: Sidebottom, Treloar, Grundy, Adams

UMPIRES: Rosebury, Stephens, Ryan, Mollison

CROWD: 70,926

VOTES: Petracca (Mel) 3, Watts (Mel) 2, Sidebottom (Coll) 1

About Tim Kemm

25 years old. Red, black and nothing else. Masters Student at Australian National University, Canberra (where every week is an away game)

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