Round 14 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: Reality check (by Andrea McNamara for the Floreat Pica Society)


I’m not sure whether I’m meant to do the report, or whether someone else was going to do it. And I’m not sure if I’m filing this report the way Steve wants it to be filed. In fact, I’ve forgotten everything I used to know about writing the match reports, so if someone else has done it as well, their votes can stand.


Now I know what it’s like to play for Collingwood, with my total inability to make a decision.


I heard someone on the tram on the way home saying games like that are hard to watch because you might as well be losing by ten goals, so great is the gap between them and us. The margin flattered us, of course, because Port was inaccurate at times and could have been six (Robbie Gray) goals up at the first change and they should probably have won by 10 or more goals.


It was very hard to watch, especially after Queen’s Birthday where even though we didn’t get the chocolates, there were patches of great footy that indicated we might be on the verge of things clicking into place. Instead on Saturday, I found myself looking at players like Broomhead, thinking, Oh that’s right, you’re playing. I forgot about you. He’s a player I probably won’t remember in a few years’ time, except maybe as a funny name. (And I would love it if he proves me wrong.) Same applies to Aish – sure, he does some crazy brave stuff but he also does lots of dumb stuff. If those two are in our best 22, we’re stuffed.


I found it frustrating to watch our blokes get bumped off the ball, and for our tackles not to stick. Even Jeremy Howe, who I’ve grown to love, was easily knocked over as he stood to take a regulation mark. And don’t start me on Ben Crocker and Tom Langdon – I know these guys might get better but they’re saplings next to oak trees, boys against men. Langdon can, of course, take a mark but he’s still slight and does dumb things. If he’s going to be skinny, he has to be miserly in a Maxwell kind of way. Port look bigger, stronger and tougher. I remember wishing we’d got Darren Burgess after Buttifant; now he’s now off to Arsenal, leaving Port with a team of boys he built into men.


Games like this are reality checks. While Collingwood might be better than some other teams, and might not have been thrashed (yet), we’re just not able to consistently mix it with the big boys. I think that was our worst game this year, maybe because expectations have risen.


Collingwood didn’t bring pressure, looked slow and indecisive, back to seeming ‘anxious’ which is how Gerard Whateley described us in the earlier rounds. Anyway, let’s do what the players will do: put that game behind us and move on to next Sunday when hopefully Good Collingwood and Bad Hawthorn will turn up.


If anyone missed it, read Tim Boyle’s conversation with Bucks in the Sunday Age. I love Bucks, but reading this, you can see how he might have been complicating the message and the game plan for most of the players for just a bit too long. At least when he goes we know it will be with great dignity.

3. Sidebottom, just for racking up 36 possessions and keeping the ball off Port by doing so.

2. Grundy, for becoming a marking machine in the second half. Would love to see more of that. Took him a while to wake up that the game was on, but then he was busy and using his physicality when needed. Shame there weren’t a few more of him.

1. Reid, for a sterling effort early, and I gave him a point for surviving the match, even though Grundy tried to take him out with a Mark of the Year contender. Shame he wasn’t moved forward sooner, given the dysfunction in the forward line.

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