Round 18 – Collingwood v North Melbourne (Floreat Pica Society)

by Peter Butler


I put my hand up for this game, when a late was made for someone, not knowing I would not be able to get to the game due to a cough and cold that was too dangerous to risk in the cold of the ‘G’. As a result I took myself off to the local RSL to watch on a very big screen, not being a Foxtel subscriber.



I have told in the past of how I became a Collingwood supporter after coming to OZ in 1977, but my second son adopted North Melbourne, in 1998, after selecting Footscray, Geelong and Hawthorn prior (not sure whether that was the order). When he chose a team I took him to Waverley when they were playing there, but each time his team lost so as many a 6 year old would do he gave them away. However, having chosen North next they won a game and stayed with them to this day.



He has now settled in UK, after debunking to there in 1997, to meet travel as well as meeting my family. He then met a Glasgow lass on the streets of Edinburgh one New Year’s Eve, moved there, married and is now well settled, having recently bought his first season ticket at Parkhead (Celtic’s home ground) for him and one of his son’s.



The reason my digression is that he has been her for the past three weekends, with our two grandson’s, taking in all of North’s games.



So I could make it to the game live but Andrew and the two boys did along with mates from school and the North London Lions, the English AFL team he played for over there. He has also played for the Glasgow Sharks, one of three or four AFL teams in Scotland.



Enough of why I volunteered for this game and my family history let’s get on with the match report you say!



I was worried about this game, especially after last week when we really should have put more daylight between us and the Eagles early on so that they would have had to chase the game more instead of picking us off gradually, particularly in the second half. I had also had a quite vivid dream that we lost by ab out 15 points in a dour affair. Having made it to the RSL only minutes before the start I only noticed the absence of Moore when the game began and wondered why. Watching the game at my local RSL is much like being there in that the commentary is non-existent as it disturbs those watching other games or the races, so I had to text Dave Nadel throughout with observations or seeking clarifications. This made me a little more worried, especially after the first few minutes.



I should not have been concerned since from the moment that ‘Checkers’ kicked the first goal and it was followed by three others, we were a different team from last week. The tackling pressure in close was immense and the spread when we did get the ball out, just what the coaching group refers to as our ‘brand’, and the type of football we want to play every week for four quarters.


The most pleasing aspect of our game was the four quarter effort by increasing the lead each break. This was especially rewarding in the premiership quarter when there were only seven scores, 2,3 to 2,1, which more the effort by North get back into the game, than Collingwood dropping off. My son was quite scathing of North’s effort all day but I think that was harsh, as the pressure we applied all day was intense. One advantage of watching on a really big screen is the focus on where the ball is and what happens around it. This is something we do not see as much at the ground unless the binoculars are used to focus on the ball at all times, thus losing the bigger picture of the whole ground.



Looking at the stats now in the cold light of Monday, the tackle count in our favour was 82-46, whereas we actually lost contested possessions 129-143, and clearances 30-34. The critical errors we in our favour, we made less 48-59.



These figures are quite revealing as we all often look at the errors our team makes (who doesn’t) and assume there are many more than the opposition. I notice this at games especially at the ‘G” where we have a 1950s barracker behind us who spends more time criticising Collingwood players, and of course umpires, than praising the positives. I have just had a quick look at 7 of the 9 games on the weekend and 48 is the equal lowest critical errors of all the teams, and that team was Fremantle who lost.



A critical and pleasing victory over a team that needed to bounce back after a narrow loss, as we did after a not so narrow loss. This stand alongside momentous game against North, particularly over my time in OZ, beginning with the two 1977 Grand Finals, the 1979 rule changing battle, 1985 introduction to night football and 1986’s last game as coach for Bob Rose. In more recent years 1996’s victory by 73 point, I think, against the eventual premiers was a belter.



During the game I listed a number of players in the frame for Horsbrough votes, which was Pendles, Sidey, Adams, de Goey, Sier, Howe, Cox and Mihocek. The players who missed on my list like WHE, Thomas, Murray, Daicos & Grundy, and a few more were unlucky not to be considered. However, my focus on what won the game was the tackling pressure and work in close, left me with four key influencers in this game who get the votes. (I have two with 1 vote)



3 votes – Pendles. I know we see it every week but this guy is a genius, pigeons excluded. The time, coolness under pressure and hardness in getting the ball or making sure the opposition is out of this world, If he does not leave the game without a Brownlow it will be like, Matthews, Flower, Daicos and many others not doing so.



2 votes – Sidey. His strength in close and determination to fight back from last week’s tagging was super. If he had a tag this week it did not work.



1 vote each for Adams & de Goey. I know Adams makes a lot of errors, the most of all on Saturday equal with Grundy, but he gets down and dirty all day and when given time can deliver a pass like the one in the final quarter to Checkers. My accountant would not have him in the team, but then my accountant doe the finances well!! De Goey is a star in the making, but not yet. Signing him for two years is the best move. If he keeps on improving as he has this year he will be well worth a massive salary by 2021.




  1. george smith says

    Well it’s happened. 12 wins and 3rd position, after the stoush to end all stoushes between Eddie, Mick and Nathan, after four years of the most excruciating football since 1998, the infamous miles in front of Adelaide that ended in a draw and of course the worst game of football ever, this very year, in our nations capital. After all this we are playing finals…

    Congratulations Collingwood, the team that drags its supporters to hell and back and somehow digs itself out of the hole and makes it all better. But remember, there are folks out there who are still in therapy from GF 1970 and its terrible aftermath. There are people who lived through the horror years of 1982, 1987 and 1999. A bloke called Steve Strevens even wrote a book about the horror year of 2004 and coming to terms with being a Collingwood supporter.

    Any girl who broke my heart, I thought to myself: ” Compared to what Collingwood has done to me over the years, what you have done is nothing!”

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