Round 16 – Greater Western Sydney v Collingwood: Magpie Jacks and the beanstalk

These Jacks of Magpies climbed the beanstalk of belief and daring to slay the Giants.


Winter in Melbourne. We’ve had rain but today dawns foggy and clear. I’ve seen just one Collingwood game in its entirety this year and I reckon on changing that. So I’m around to the Lomond Hotel and its payTV connection as the Jacks of Collingwood head off to slay the Giants. I’ve nursed a feeling of quiet bemusement about the poor results of Collingwood this year. No Swan, no Elliott. No lots of things. But events at selection bode well, with A Fasolo, B Macaffer, T Adams among the Collingwood ins, and R Griffen (hamstring) among the GWS outs. And besides, it’s about time I became familiar with these Giants.

The pub is quiet at 1:30pm on a Saturday. It’s a terrific local. But piped music playing in the front bar pushes me around to the punters bar, where screens flash and ticket stubs are clutched. Footy occupies the main screen here; volume thankfully very low. Mysteriously labelled the “Juan Carlos Bar,” it is a comfortable place from which to nurse a pint and question the day going by.

Where is Spotless Stadium? Is it in Canberra? Is it in Penrith? Is it in Alice Springs? Does it matter? Does the faux majesty of electronic flashing lights and daytime fireworks improve the event experience for anyone at all?

Why does one field appear to offer so much room and another is bottled up? Which branch of physics best describes Scott Pendlebury’s penchant for sidestepping while standing still? Or Callen Ward’s ability to be everywhere while coincidentally auditioning for a role in Middle Earth? Which South American tribe lined up Jonathan Patton with a head-shrinking curse?

Has there ever been a younger goal umpire than the young girl operating today? Is punching from behind now frowned upon? Did the bandit who stole Travis Cloke’s confidence apologise? What is the collective hair stying budget of the Giants list? Why does Collingwood not play in this classic predominantly white jumper every week? Why does GWS not play in this predominantly orange jumper every week?

I notice here, that the Juan Carlos Bar nods to Multicultural Round by showing racing from all parts of our Australia; they’re racing in Newcastle and Flemington, Fannie Bay and Randwick, Gold Coast and Morphetville.

But mostly what I notice is a cracking ruck contest. Grundy v Mummy.
Two of my favourites, head-to-head.
And they are playing huge parts. Valuable parts.
Mummy down to Shiels and the Giants are away.
Grundy to Tay-Tay Adams and the Magpies are away.
The Pies’ Jacks are right in it at quarter time. Giants with some soft ones.

GWS 7.2.44
COL 3.2.20

The second quarter is a nine-goal Collingwood work of Renaissance Art. It is a posse of black and white striped Jacks pocketing the gold; racing from the Giant’s clutches.
Jesse White marks and goals.
Grundy taps to Tay-Tay, who snaps and goals. (There).
Turnover mark by Howe to White for a goal.
Devon Smith to Rory Lobb for a goal.
(Grundy’s masterful tap work continues around the ground as) Mumford scraps forward for a mark to S Johnson. Goal.
Howe defies gravity with one of his Olympian launches over a pack. And Josh Smith takes an intercept mark and goals from outside 50
Jarryd Blair receives from Treloar.
Pendlebury to a contest where Macaffer beguiles Shaw. Goal.
Bomb to the square, Pendlebury, Fasolo along the ground. Goal.
Grundy. Pendlebury baulks standing still (again), to White, to Fasolo. Goal.
Blair outrageously from the 1990 Grand Final Daicos pocket.

GWS 9.4
COL 12.4

The Juan Carlos Bar is becoming louder now. Locals are happy with proceedings. I’m hooked on Grundy v Mumford. Two big blokes running, whacking into each other, getting up again, tapping to advantage (or trying to), running, marking, creating.

The third quarter is the Jacks of Magpies hurtling helter-skelter down the beanstalk, uproarious Giants chasing at their heels.
It is Sinclair. It is White. It is Cloke. Sidebottom. Crisp. Treloar. It is Moore. It is Aish. It is Howe. And it is Grundy. It is always Grundy.

GWS 11.7.73
COL 18.7.115

The last quarter is the Jacks of Magpies hoisting their razor sharp axes and cleaving cleaving cleaving the beanstalk across the grain; chopping it, and the approaching Giants, down down down.

Still there is Mumford. Tapping to Shiel, to Kelly. Still there is Mumford. Impossible to stop. But in Brodie Grundy today, he has met a young bloke who has played his team right into the game, and whose team has then won the game. It is again Grundy to Tay-Tay. Still there is Grundy.

When, late in the game, Pendlebury strips Johnson of the ball, magicians everywhere seek to review the tape.
It’s been one of those days.
It was Collingwood with the Jacks today.
As a Woodsman in 2016, we take those hands when we can.

Next stop Adelaide. (Who knows?)


Greater Western Sydney 7.2 9.4 11.7 14.9 (93)
Collingwood 3.2 12.4 18.7 19.11 (125)
Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 5 J Patton 3 J Kelly 2 C Ward D Shiel R Lobb S Johnson.
Collingwood: T Cloke 4 J White 3 A Fasolo 2 J Blair 2 B Grundy B Macaffer B Sinclair J Aish J Smith S Sidebottom T Adams T Varcoe.
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield
Collingwood: Grundy, Pendlebury, Adams, Treloar.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Nicholas Foot, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 13,483 at Spotless Stadium

Malarkey votes: 3 Grundy, 2 Pendlebury, 1 Adams.

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a hydrologist, climate reporter and writer of fiction & observational stories. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and likes to walk around feeling generally amazed. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. John Butler says

    Your return from the tropics was well timed E Reg.

    A fine performance from the Pies, but a game that raised as many questions as it answered. So you’re questions were apt.

    Grundy was superb once he sorted his timing out after 1/4 time.


  2. Rulebook says

    Thanks OBP,Grundy continues to go from strength to strength it is a farce how a guy who was playing
    1st ruck at senior SANFL level as a teenager fell to draft choice 18 several clubs recruiting staff should be shot From the players picked it is a choice between him and Jake Stringer for biggest influence on there club and the game,it will be a huge game this coming sat night at Ad oval aka Bon Neil number 3

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Grundyful work ER,

    To stand up an take on the behemoth Mumford and win was inspirational to his teammates. Perhaps the ruck is sometimes overrated statistically. Symbolically it is huge as a hopeful midfield is looking for the hand to give them first use. We haven’t had a commanding presence in the ruck since Jolly and how pivotal was he in the 2010 triumph?

  4. John Butler says

    The perils of Sunday morning comments: stray thoughts, stray apostrophes….

    Grundyful work Phil? You? A trained educator and all…

    Are we on the slippery slope to Cloke and Dagger? Reid all about it? Sidebottom’s no arse?

  5. E.regnans says

    Thanks gents,
    So many questions opened up, JB. And that’s as it should be, I think.
    Does a team play poorly or only as well as opposition allows them to?

    OBP- would love to get over there to Bob Neil #3 at some point. Those crows have been magnificent.

    Phil – Jolly (with Ball) so important to that 2010 side. Maybe bias, but I reckon a ruckman’s value can never be overstated.
    C Keating memories still raw.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I was gunna say ‘Grundylicious’ JB, but I toned it down a tad just for you. Us over-educated, under-qualified Collingwood types revel at the chance to be glib and facile on occasion.

    I notice you and Elbow have been quiet on the Bolton genius of late. Premature exaltation?

  7. John Butler says

    Just a reinstatement of the laws of gravity Phil.

    Was fun while it lasted, though.

  8. E.regnans says
  9. Luke Reynolds says

    While less stylishly at home on my couch than in a bar with a fancy name, throughly, throughly enjoyed this game. As well as, like yourself, the fabulous ruck duel won by B.Grundy.
    Great write up Dave. Go pies.

  10. Dave Nadel says

    Great Report. Great victory.

    Lots more opportunities on that slippery slope JB.

    “Grundy’s grunt meant Pies avoided being Mummified”.

    “Taylormade victory”

    “Travis sheds Invisibility Cloke”

  11. E.regnans says

    Thanks Luke, Dave.

    It’s been a strange year.
    But for that one crowded hour, the moment was all that mattered.

    I have no idea why the punters section at The Lomond is called the Juan Carlos Bar.
    Any advice welcome.
    (And I’ll pop over for some research later.)

  12. E.regnans says

    After some field research (ahem) , the Juan Carlos Bar is named after a horse, who brought riches to some friends of the bar…
    Of course.
    Juan Carlos Bar

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