Round 12 – Melbourne v Collingwood: With friends like these…

by Holly Fahey


I have a childhood friend who has always barracked for Port Adelaide. But this year, once he saw that Melbourne were actually half decent and have a good list for the future, he decided to start investing in them more than Port. Unfortunately for me, he chose to come to both Melbourne AND Port games with me, just so he can rip into me when we lose (yay!). I’ve stopped going into games with any expectations because I found I was getting too frustrated and upset with how poorly we’ve been playing, but there was still a part of me that was wishing we would fire up on Monday, because I love giving it back to people who give it to me. Unfortunately, he had the last laugh.  Again.


Before the first bounce had even happened, I had my doubts about the game. Selection, for not the first time this year, was questionable. The questions were valid:

  1. How were we going to kick goals with three ruckmen?
  2. How were we going to keep the ball in the forward line?
  3. How does Witts get a game?


These questions played on my mind (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!) in the lead up to Queens Birthday, and I was not confident at all.


The Dees dominated the first two minutes, but luckily didn’t make us pay for it. They had all the play in the first half of the first term but we still managed to come into the first break with our noses in front. We achieved this through quick and efficient ball movement, and good spread inside forward 50.


At quarter time, we were all hoping for the boys to come out firing, and really put the foot on the accelerator, but as we have so often seen this season, we were completely outplayed and outcoached. The Dees looked hungrier, faster and for lack of any other adjectives, better. Through a combination of good play from the Dees and a comedy of errors from our boys, we lost the quarter 7.2 to 1.0. The game was all but over at half time. At the big break, my friend had a smile bigger than the moon on his face and was raving about the future of his “beloved” football club.


We trod water in an unexceptional third quarter for both teams.


When Grundy kicked the first in the last quarter, the old Collingwood would’ve sparked up, switched on and challenged the lead in the last quarter. But the new Collingwood lacks confidence, and with three rucks in the team, speed. Our hopes were all but gone after a Dees goal to Kent. I lost interest by about 5 minutes into the last, and started having a discussion about Buckley with my friends. It’s going through every Collingwood supporter’s minds at the moment- should he stay or does he have to go? Renewing his contract before the first game was even played is looking like it was a big mistake.


Gawn dominated the game, and despite having Cox, Grundy and Witts, no one seemed to be on him for a lengthy part of the game. It’s telling when the three big blokes combined had 28 possessions, and Gawn had 27. Our decision to play three ruckmen completely backfired, as many of us predicted.


We also lacked run off the backline, and again, like so often we have seen this season, we were smashed on the transition. Our defensive setup continues to confuse me, as do many of the decisions our players make. How many times this season have we conceded goals from the goal square where one of our boys peels off his own player to try and impact the ball carrier, only to not get there in time and make no influence whatsoever? It’s tiring to watch.


As dad and I were discussing in the car, our list is better than 14th,, even with the injuries. On paper, we look like we should be half-alright. But we’re terrible. It just shows our game plan is ineffective and poorly executed. No matter how many times one of the players says “we have faith in our game plan” or “we believe our plan is strong but we aren’t executing it properly”, something is not right, and the club has to take responsibility for it eventually.


It’s bloody frustrating going to the footy week in, week out and seeing the club we love lose as badly as they did on Monday, but we’ve gotta stick with them. It’s the first time the Dees have beaten us in a Queens Birthday match since 2007, and hopefully it’s the last for the next few.


Votes for the Michael Horsburgh medal are as follows:


3- Pendlebury- once again, the captain takes the gong for our best player (not that there was much to choose from). He was just Pendlebury, using the ball better than the rest.

2- Reid- again, Reidy was strong up back and brave to come back on after he injured himself in the second.

1-Varcoe- marked well and provided run and carry, but kicked poorly for goal and now has 3.9 for the season


Honourable mentions to Howe, Treloar and White.


The Simon Buckley Medal goes to Pendles, to add to his cherished collection.


As for my friend? He’s barracking for the bye this week.


Go Pies



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  1. E.regnans says

    Bleak days, Holly.
    Well done on your story and putting it out there.

    It’s easy to go missing when times are tough.
    Much harder to keep fronting up.

    I wonder what’s next for Collingwood…?

  2. Steve Fahey says

    very nicely written, darling daughter, much more enjoyable than the game, which was once again more demoralising than surprising.

    our lovely friend up the street must reckon it’s Christmas – two weeks in a row he rocks up at our place, gets a lift to the game, a free ticket to get in (because I have both Collingwood and MCC memberships, so he gets the Collingwood ticket), he gets to watch his team thrash our rabble and then we give him a lift home. Last week he even stayed for dinner after the game ! I guess this article shows that there is no such thing as a free lunch (and lift and ticket)

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