Round 14 – Collingwood v Fremantle: Where is everyone? (Floreat Pica Society)

By Andrew Fithall

As I crossed the tennis centre bridge and onto the MCG concourse, I checked my phone – not for calls but to confirm the footy fixture. Did I have the venue wrong? There was no one here. The ground lights hadn’t even been turned on. I headed around to gate 2 and met up with Genevieve and Joe Barlow. Genevieve is a Geelong supporter and Joe a Hawk. Both tonight would be quietly supporting their nephew Michael, who has re-found form for the Dockers. Or as retired Docker Paul Hasleby said on twitter: he never actually lost form; Ross Lyon was finally playing him back in his correct position.


If you read the piece I wrote for the MCC website a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that back in 1977 I played in a football game where Neale Daniher was in the opposition team. It was Ballarat public schools combined team (I was at St Pat’s) v Associated Grammar Schools. My direct opponent that day was Joe Barlow. I didn’t know him then. I had to admit some relief when I was moved onto the opposite wing so I could actually get a possession. I met Joe the next year at Newman college at Melbourne Uni (I had to get him to pick up a football, turn around and run away from me to confirm that it was the same bloke) and we have been friends ever since. Joe’s brother Herb, Michael Barlow’s father, was a scratching this evening – staying in Cobram and watching the game on the TV rather that joining the throng of Fremantle supporters known as the Purple Haze. Not sure if they are actually called that but that is what Joe calls them.


Earlier that day I had noted a couple of tweets from Floreat Pican Luke Reynolds, who is assistant brewer at Prickly Moses in the Otways. His first tweet was that for the first time for the 2016 calendar year he was actually donning long pants to go to work. His second was a picture of the brewery grounds decorated in a layer of fresh snow. Yep. It is a cold one.


After a couple of beers in the Frank Grey Smith bar we took our seats on level one. Genevieve was not impressed. If we were going to be sitting in such salubrious surrounds, you would think that they would supply rugs. And seat warmers.


In what was a very sloppy quarter of football, Collingwood took charge of the opening. Fittingly Cloke kicked the first from a snap and then Mason Cox followed with a long-leg-extension-kick-off-the-ground for Collingwood’s second. The third came from a series of poor Docker decisions when kicking out. Greenwood was the beneficiary. Maynard had an opportunity to kick one but missed. I explained to Joe that Maynard was my son Bill’s second least favourite player. Joe understood that, simply for the fact that Maynard’s first name was Brayden.


At quarter time Freo had kicked a solitary behind. During the break the MCG put an announcement over the PA. This day the hashtag for their popular on-line competition “tweet the crowd” would be amended. Rather than #MCGcrowd, everyone was to use #MCGgathering. It seemed more appropriate in the circumstances.


In the second quarter Mason Cox provided a couple of examples of dropping overhead marks. He is not clunking them and seems to be tapping them in the air and trying to get the ball on the second grab. It is not working for him. Freo scored their first goal of the game and only one for the half through Walters. Tom Phillips kicked one for Collingwood and I was initially a bit critical of what might have been an excessive celebration. I have checked the records and it may have been his first goal at this level. If so, I offer my apology. If not – tone it down. Pies’ next came from a Cox mark of a Grundy hope-kick into the forward line, and was followed soon after by a De Goey goal though a free against Barlow. Another to White from a Blair handball and we went into half time with a 50 to 10 lead.


Grundy was having a good game with plenty of hit outs, although not that many to advantage. The back line was (obviously) pretty impressive. Reid was the leader and with Williams and the rest also contributing, they had done an excellent restricting job. Nathan Brown hadn’t disgraced himself in this, his return match.


At half time the three of us headed inside and sat on the couches between the long room and the committee room. Gen noted that there was an official-looking bloke just inside the door folding blankets which were for the exclusive use of committee guest. Gen suggested that she distract the blanket-folder and I sneak in and snaffle a few. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. We headed back into the cold.


The third quarter was poor for the Pies. Just two behinds added while the Dockers tripled their goal tally. It really was a pretty terrible game of footy.


The last quarter began with a free against Reid and Pavlich the recipient. He missed but scored a goal soon after from a boundary throw-in. It was Freo’s third in a row. Surely we couldn’t lose this. Surely? When Cloke found White who gave it Treloar, the resultant goal was Collingwood’s first for the half. We kicked four more, including an unlikely one from Cloke from the boundary which I correctly predicted he would kick, and another to Phillips with much less celebration.


As the last quarter dragged on and the rain came down, it was hard to tell if the Freo supporters were departing early – there hadn’t been that many to begin with. Joe decided that there wasn’t even a Purple Haze. Maybe just a purple mist. In the end we agreed it was just a purple waft.


The final margin was 48 points. A good win in what was not a very good game.



3 – Ben Reid

2 – Brodie Grundy (Joe would have disqualified him simply for having the first name Brodie)

1 – Jonathon Marsh





  1. I normally make the changeover to long pants before snow arrives – I do enjoy working in a job where wearing shorts is always a viable option! I vaguely paid attention to this game – mostly because I tipped the Dockers who were allegedly back in form and then they stunk it up massively. Once bitten, twice shy….I’ve tipped the Dockers 6 times this year and been burned four times! Ugh.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Well done old trooper. AF, really enjoyed watching Grundy believe in himself as a ruckman. Hopefully, a taste of things to come. Good signs from many of our young blokes.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Always a sad day when the shorts have to get put away for Winter.
    Will take a win in the freezing cold over a loss in perfect conditions any day. Totally agree with your votes, thrilled that Reid is getting back to his best now he’s strung some games together.
    Really like Marsh, glad you got him in for a vote, think he has a bright future.

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