Round 13 – Collingwood v Melbourne: Euphony

 

 

 

 

It’s interesting how one moment, one quarter, one result can change a team’s season. Just a fortnight ago, Melbourne were 25 points up at half time against Fremantle. The Dees biggest challenge all year, yet they looked to have them under control. But a concussion to Steven May flipped the Demons world upside down. It would pave the way for an eight goal to one third term from the now dubbed “Flagmantle”, and in the process, ignite consecutive losses for the reigning premiers. Just when Dees fans thought that their bleeding wound would heal, Melbourne took a leaf out of their opponents’ playbook – getting themselves into a self-inflicted bust up.

 

So that makes this game a lot more intriguing, and why would you expect any less? It’s Queen’s Birthday. Previously, these encounters have been danger games for premiership hopefuls. Melbourne stole victory in 2007, Collingwood were forced to share points in 2010, and the Bucks brigade pulled through last year in his final game as coach. Today poses similar circumstances. Despite the turmoil, the Dees are still flag contenders. But surely their troublesome week could help continue this trend. The Pies are finally rolling. Three consecutive wins, two of them against top 8 sides (including Flagmantle), and with a win today, we can move back into the 8.

 

Although this match can have big ramifications on the season, today it plays a supporting role for the fight against MND. What Neale Daniher has done for motor neurone disease awareness is simply exceptional. The fact he is yet to receive an Australian of the Year baffles me on the daily. Regardless of that, it’s heart-warming to see footy fans get around a significant cause. It all starts with the march to the G. For the first time since the inaugural Big Freeze, I decided to participate in the walk.

 

Going based off the noise, I’m not the only one who likes our chances today. The Pies fans are in full voice, with the hope that the Dees supporters can hear them over at Fed Square. As we get closer to the ground, the notion of going into battle grows larger. As we approach the colosseum, the slow Collingwood chant sounds as euphonious as Andrea Bocelli singing Nessun Dorma. Both soundtracks create for a climactic ending, but both of them are good no matter when they’re heard.

 

There is a sea of blue in the crowd, the non-footy follower could easily be fooled by the blue beanies and think that everyone’s supporting the one team. The stands are almost filled to the brim (something we have missed in this annual fixture for a few years), showing how much Neale Daniher means to footy.

 

Terrible misses have cost us early. With the countless opportunities we had, our forward 50 entries are woeful, considering the options being presented. Then when we get our chances, we can’t convert. It’s as if the goals become smaller and smaller, like that illusion where you interlock your hands and put both of your index fingers in front of your eyes. Fritsch showed just how easy Melbourne can make things look slotting through their first. The longer the quarter goes, the more frustrating it is seeing missed opportunity after missed opportunity. Don’t even get me started on our ball movement. At times, the speed of it is slow enough to compete with that of last year, and that clearly won us a lot of games! There’s one formula that could sum up our first quarter:

 

Missed Opportunities + Slow Ball Movement = A Goalless Quarter

 

The fascinating stat I came across during the break was that Melbourne have kept eight teams under two goals or less in the first quarter this season (two of the teams are Sydney and Fremantle). So, I’m not as defeated about our poor start. With no May, Lever and the Dees defence will have a difficult task keeping us quiet for the rest of the game.

 

Ginnivan’s early snap puts a Pies lead back into the realms of possibility. But a quick response from the dangerous Oliver wrestles back that momentum we once had. The 10-second passage which preceded the Oliver goal had myself along with the Collingwood supporters around me infuriated. Gawn’s magnificent ruck craft, followed by Petracca bursting out of the pack to set up a teammate shows glimpses of their best football last season. A repeated passage of play which has tormented the Dogs to this day. Luckily, the damage was only minor.

 

As the quarter continues, the umpiring decisions begin to frustrate the Pies supporters around me. But let’s be frank, when don’t they? The uproar of a free kick against, the sarcastic cheer of a decision in their favour. The free kick count is the topic of many conversations within my vicinity. It takes until halfway through the second quarter for Collingwood to finally play through the middle, and what do you know? We finally kick another goal. This is followed by another major to Mihocek, suddenly bringing us within eight at the main break.

 

After two very costly turnovers, including a mare from Moore, the Dees have pulled away to a 20-point lead. Enter Mason Cox. Say what you want about the guy but he knows what a big stage looks like (and not just because he’s seven-foot tall). If you had this guy in a who am I, you would just have to mention the 2018 Prelim Final, and the 2020 Elimination Final. Unnotably to most however, the big Texan kicked five on Queens Birthday in 2018. So, he knows what this fixture means to the Maggies. There seemed to be a clear directive from Craig McRae at half time, do exactly what Max Gawn usually does in defence. And it’s safe to say he even did it better than Gawn in that third quarter. However, it was his running goal from 50 that had the Magpie Army in awe. All of a sudden, a Mason Cox cameo, and better ball movement, has us within two points at the final change.

 

To begin the last, our constant pressure has again rattled the Dees, giving us the best opportunity to capitalise. It’s that pressure which has been blatantly evident in the metamorphosis lead by McRae. Eventually, it leads to a Mihocek shot on goal from 45 out. As the ball sails through truly, the Collingwood faithful erupt. A deafening roar that you only hear when it favours the black and white.  The full circle moment though, was when McCreery popped the ball over the top for Elliott, something he wrongfully decided against in the first quarter.

 

“That’s a better kick. THAT’S A BETTER KICK,” I yelled out in jubilation. The tide was continuing to turn right in front of my eyes. A goal to Luke Jackson though has me nervous once again, but one blemish couldn’t stop us. Henry had his trademark match-winning cameo, converting again in the final quarter. What Dylan Moore is to the Hawks in the first quarter, Ollie Henry is to the Pies in the last. Goals to Mihocek, Crisp and Elliott seal our fate. The slow Collingwood chant is once again aesthetically pleasing. Encore! Encore!

 

Our votes: 3. Cox (COLL) 2. Oliver (MELB) 1. Mihocek (COLL)

 

COLLINGWOOD         0.5      3.8       8.5    12.10 (82)
MELBOURNE              3.1      5.4       7.6     8.8 (56)

GOALS  
Collingwood: Mihocek 4, Elliott 3, Cox, Crisp, Henry, Ginnivan, McCreery
Melbourne: Brown 2, Jackson, Jordon, Fritsch, Oliver, Pickett, Viney

BEST  
Collingwood: N.Daicos, Mihocek, Cox, Crisp, Maynard, De Goey, Pendlebury
Melbourne: Oliver, Viney, Petracca, Brayshaw, Salem, Jordon

INJURIES
Collingwood: Nil
Melbourne: Turner (concussion) Gawn (foot)

SUBSTITUTES
Collingwood: Tyler Brown (unused)
Melbourne: Kade Chandler (replaced Daniel Turner)

 

 

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Comments

  1. Daryl Schramm says

    The second half in particular was a cracking game of footy to this neutral observer. Some desperate, manic endeavours by the black and white in the last carried them over the line. I’m sure the Ds will bounce back.

  2. Jackson Mansell says

    It definitely lifted in the second half Daryl. Looked like the Pies wanted it more. Whether the Dees bounce back or not will depend on the legacy they want to leave as a champion team.

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