Round 16 – Collingwood v Essendon: Crook in the Guts


Following Collingwood in 2017 is like having gastro. You feel crook in the guts. They give you the shits. You feel like putting your head in the toilet. At the end of it all, you’re 3kg lighter and have no appetite.


My boys and I had planned to go to this game. But the whole family have had a dose of gastro, 4yo Emily first, probably acquired from her most recent trip to the germ factory creche. We’ve all pretty much recovered. But decided to watch at home.


The afternoon is looking good as the Pies score the first two goals. That’s as good as the afternoon got. Another game where our endeavour cannot be faulted. But our indecision and woeful disposal costs us repeatedly. As it has all season. Essendon kick the next three, all Collingwood goal assists.


So now our season is over. Nathan Buckley likely finished. If he has to go, so should a few others. ‘General Manager of List Management’ Derek Hine should be first to go. The man who passed on father-son selections Liam Picken, Jake Kelly and James Stewart. The man who oversaw the recruitment of Jesse White, Chris Mayne, Quentin Lynch, Tony Armstrong among other overpaid recruits from other clubs. The man who put together a list of players with deplorable kicking skills. Hine should be given his marching orders and Graham Wright, former Collingwood premiership star, who has done the same job as Hine at Hawthorn with much success, should be made an offer he can’t refuse.


CEO Gary Pert should be in real trouble. He’s overseen the decline. First mentioned finals goals to the media long before Bucks did. Eddie needs to revitalise the place or become redundant himself.


After 16 rounds, we know what the players are capable of. We know Adams couldn’t hit a barn door from 10 metres. We know Treloar is a jet but also an ordinary kick. We know that Hoskin-Elliott is a poor decision maker who, if he was playing country footy would be running so wide he’d be gliding across the car bonnets. We know Greenwood, Thomas and Smith are very limited players. We know Langdon can take a good grab but not much else. We know Broomhead can do good things, if he can ever get near it. We know De Goey should play more in the midfield than forward. We know Maynard has skill but needs to think more. We know Varcoe is a fast, silky player. We know Dunn tries hard and is a good kick. We know Reid should have been played forward all season. We know Cox is useless when the ball hits the ground. We know Fasolo is skillful, dangerous and lazy defensively. We know Crisp does the best he can despite his kicking. We know Scharenberg needs more game time. We know Goldsack bleeds for the club and is having a great season. We know Grundy is fast becoming one of the best ruckmen in the AFL. We know Howe, Moore and Wells all can play and were seriously missed. We know Elliott can be anything. We know Pendlebury and Sidebottom are our totally elite stars.


So get some kids in now. Kirby, Brown, McLarty, Wills. Give Keefe and Schade a run.


Whatever will be made of the Buckley era, don’t forget he was given huge credit for his role as an assistant coach in our 2010 win. He could well have been the coach that year barring the generous offer made to an underperforming Grumpy Mick in 2009. Malthouse was very lucky to still be there after finishing 13th in 2004, 15th in 2005 and poor exits from the finals in 2008 and 2009. And taking a whole decade to get to a flag, a luxury most aren’t afforded.


As for Essendon, they don’t look real flash either. More a waning crescent than a full moon. Better than us though. Heppell, Zaharakis and Merrett are guns. Hurley a fantastic key defender. Fantasia is one of those players you can’t stand on the opposition but would love on your team. The planets would really have to align for the Bombers to be a threat in 2017.


2017 has gone down the toilet for Collingwood. But that crook in the guts feeling will linger for a long while.


COLLINGWOOD 2.3 4.6 9.7 12.8 (80)
ESSENDON 5.0 9.3 13.6 18.9 (117)


Collingwood: Fasolo 4, Elliott 3, Broomhead, Reid, Cox, De Goey, Adams
Essendon: Fantasia 5, Daniher 3, Bellchambers 2, Stewart 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Merrett, Zaharakis, Hooker, Merrett, Colyer


Collingwood: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Elliott, Goldsack
Essendon: Fantasia, Zaharakis, Merrett, Heppell, Hurley


Umpires: Foot, Rosebury, Jeffery
Official crowd: 63,537 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal Votes-

3. Fantasia (Ess)
2. Zaharakis (Ess)
1. Pendlebury (Coll)

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Neil Anderson says

    Great summary of all the ills at Collingwood this year. A random survey asking the people of Mortlake , well the guy who served me at the IGA and the postie, asking them what has gone wrong at Collingwood, they were adamant it was Buckley’s fault. They blamed him for getting rid of Shaw and Didak etc. When I suggested it was more the bad recruiting, they also blamed Buckley.
    I suppose it’s easier to have a name to blame rather than the operators behind the scenes.
    At least they haven’t trotted out that old chestnut, a problem with ‘club culture’.
    It’s hard on all supporters of clubs outside the eight at the moment when we realize we could be gone with seven rounds still to go. On paper the Bulldogs have good depth in their list, but it hasn’t worked as well this year to cover injuries and players out of form.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke v thorough and a good summary of the ills at pie land love the Hoskin Elliott line also since,Fantasia comes from the parade i understand exactly what you mean full credit to the kid he remembers his roots and helps out in various ways I respect him enormously in that regard

  3. Can’t disagree with any of that Luke. And the WHE line is a ripper. I just shake my head at the ineptitude that has spread like a contagion through the club. We really have hit 1999 levels.

    Hine really did go from chocolates to boiled lollies in the recruiting stakes. We’ve continually been 12-24 months behind the curve for 5 years – unable to forge a solid, unique game plan of our own and continually recruiting the wrong type of player for where the game and our list is currently at.

    The buck will stop at Bucks but having had 5 football managers in 5 years says a lot about those who are pulling the strings. Time to go Ed, time to go Pert. And Davoren the wrecker.

  4. Luke – the Pies have at least one win before the season ends because you play Geelong again. We make you look like Premiers.

    Some poor recruitment has gone on but everyone is a genius with hindsight. However, thinking that Jesse White and Mason Cox could take you to a flag is not a great look.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Fantastic report LR. Always good reading a “deep in the soul” supporter consider their team’s lot. And your piece is damn funny to boot. By the way, I trust the family are up and around after what sounds like a tough trot or trots. I don’t miss those times with very young ‘uns.

    I still think your Buckly coloured glasses are pulled on far too tight. A coach, deservedly, takes most of the credit when the team is doing well (Clarko) and they should likewise be the centre of attention when things are not going well. McGuire made a “captain’s call” back at the end of 2011 and it was ill-founded and wrong. Buckley could’ve and should not have accepted the chalice, tainted as it was. The record shows that under his reign the Pies did worse each year of his tenure. And the rumblings you hear coming outa the club (there are always rumblings) is that he can’t coach/manage across the team-list.

    Anyway, if you really want to point the finger (he says, tongue in cheek) the real culprit is Daisy Thomas. When he ran down Cyril in the dying moments of the brilliant 2011 Preliminary Final that was a sliding doors moment. The Pies played in the 2011 GF against the only team they couldn’t beat in that year and the mighty Hawks (who would surely have been smashed by the Cats) got to appraise the moment and … The Pies have not done better than that game since while their opponents on that fateful Friday night went on and on. What if Daisy hadn’t stopped Rioli?


  6. I’m no Collingwood expert, Luke, but I take it you rate only about 10 of your current 22. A bit harsh?

    I understand that it’s devastating after a bad loss, but I do wonder whether you’d have been a bit more favourable in your description of the guys had you won, or after you’ve had a win?

    Just a thought.

  7. DBalassone says

    16 wins from our last 48 says it all. Just once, I’d like to hear Bucks take responsibility for what has happened – which for the most part has been a failure of game plan & strategy. Sides just wait for us to make a mistake and then pounce – sneaking in behind our out-of-position defence to kick the easiest of goals.
    This is 1999 all over again – only difference is Shawry was given four years – not six. No doubt Bucks is trying his hardest and loves the club, it’s just time to give someone else a go now – someone who understands the importance of defence.

  8. John Butler says

    Welcome to the House of Pain Luke. Reserved for fans of heritage clubs who have lost the plot. I speak on behalf of the Carlton chapter.

    The Kirribilli House arrangement with Bucks and Mick got some things right, but ultimately not enough. Mick’s stint at the Blues showed he was probably past his use-by date. But did Bucks have the required coaching apprenticeship? He never left the club to try his luck elsewhere and get fresh ideas.

    The coaching fate of three 90’s playing greats is telling. Voss, Hird and Buckley all got senior coaching positions when they were probably underdone. And look what happened. The game has moved past this way of thinking. But the club which made the appointment needs examination also.

    Will the change be made willingly? Or is there revolution in the air?

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Neil- season over with rounds left is pretty hard to take

    Malcolm- Fantasia is a gun

    JD- yep Davoren the wrecker deserves a mention too. Cutting back the spend on our football department has backfired big time

    Dips- no doubt Jesse White will be recalled for that Geelong game

    Rick- ‘what if Daisy hadn’t stopped Rioli?’ That question may haunt me, and Bucks, for a long long time. I’ll take any win over Hawthorn at any time though as they have been few and far between in my lifetime….

    Jan- yep probably a bit harsh. Just so frustrating seeing the same mistakes week after week after week

    Damian- spot on, our defence has fallen away even more so this year, but has never recovered from the losses of Maxwell and H.Shaw

    JB- no way I thought I’d be saying this at any stage this year, but your heritage club is in a much better state than my heritage club.

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Yep, crook in the guts indeed Luke. Comprehensive summary of all that is wrong with the club at the moment. Can’t remember the last time Collingwood was so divided, 1998 , 1982, 1976 very poor years.
    In Bucks’ presser he made it sound like we were fighting for a spot in the top 4. Tipping point? As the Greeks in Melbourne used to say of things that had lost value in the 1970s : “Collingwood is for the tip”

  11. Punx Peter says

    Just when I’d thought every analogy had been done, LR unearths a new un! And boy does it resonate with us dog fans: we’re pretty much in the next cubicle to you pies. Great read and especially enjoyed the dissections.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Phil- I don’t remember 82 and wasn’t around for 76, but this feels worse than 98/99. Expectations (much of which was brought on by the club itself) were much higher this time around.

    Peter- cheers. A courtesy flush while you’re in the next cubicle would be appreciated!

  13. I say sign Bucks unless they can get someone of big name – Roos or Clarkson are my 2. If not i dont think a new to AFL ranks would be better. The players say he has there support. Just need to get recruitment and team selection right. Think Bucks fell i to the make a Bulldogs replica team to easy. Multi positional players. I think play to our strengths and let them off the leash. We need a marking target up forward to help Darcy. Either Reid or Keefe. Cox is too slow and can not help in any other position. We also need a compedative beast down back. I think groom Brown. Good decision maker – can run and carry and good 1 v 1. Add him to Dunn, Howe, Goldsack, Maynard and Shaz and we have a good versatile back 6. Crisp and Varcoe to help with run and carry and if need to strengthen it up to stop a run on then we move Reid back. Keep it simple. Emphasis on backs to run and carry and back yourself to break lines. If we turn it over, do it Centre forward to give us a chance to get back. Need to recruit a power forward. Give up the house for Lynch. Then can move Reid back and get some elite speed for outside run with Treloar. I did not renew my membership this year for family reasons. But if they release Bucks for fresh face. Will skip another year as well. Give him 2 more years with option of 2 more if we make finals in either years. Lets just get player selection right.

  14. Dave Nadel says

    I blame Eddie. The succession plan was a disaster. Buckley needed to serve an apprenticeship at another club (so did Voss and Hird) and Collingwood might well have won in 2011 had Mick been in a more positive frame of mind.

    Recruiting is at least as big a problem as Buckley’s coaching. Luke and others have analysed this already on this thread but can I just point out a classic example of the problem. In 2014 Collingwood used pick 5 to draft Jordon De Goey: Two Metre Peter Wright went to the Gold Coast at pick 8. De Goey is a pretty good midfielder but Collingwood has quite a lot of good midfielders (even if some of them can’t kick). On the other hand Collingwood has one class tall forward (Darcy Moore who was also picked in 2014) Travis Cloke was still at the club but was 28 in 2014 and would not have been at the club when Moore hit his straps even if he hadn’t lost form in 2016.

    Imagine if we now had both Moore and Wright as our two key forwards. Darcy wouldn’t be either playing on his own or having to rely for support on (a) a 26 year old who is still learning the game and can’t play below his knees or (b) a player who was traded from Sydney because they rightly believed he wasn’t AFL standard or (c) an injury prone player who is quite a good forward but an even better defender who is badly needed on the back line.

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