Round 18 – Collingwood v Port Adelaide: Pies Ported, and heading West (Floreat Pica Society)

 

By Paul McKay

 

I was thinking optimistically as I took my place at a Bangkok pub (surrounded by expat South Australians – two Crows, one Port supporter… all past members of the infamous Thailand Tigers footy club, est 1996), wouldn’t it be great to get a jump on the opposition tonight, in true Collingwood 2018 style, and then grittily hold on to the lead for the entire game, with only a few moments of taking the foot off the gas to allow a goal or two in Q3 and 4.

 

These thoughts were extinguished very quickly, no thanks to the helmeted Brad Ebert, but I should add.. with even less thanks to our very own troops. In the twenty seconds it took for Port’s first goal, there were two awful cases of our players not communicating, and clanging into each other. First was Grundy & Pendles both rucking for a ball that neither of them would grab, but instead collectively guiding it nicely into Lycett’s hands and away go Port, into the forward line. Second, and much worse, was Maynard and IQ both going in their usual hard ball style, and then head first, banging into each other, generously leaving an easy ball to a thankful Ebert for an easy goal. Twenty seconds in, and two absolute clangers. Praying that this is the end of the clanger chapter for the night. Soon after, it is Xavier Duursma’s turn, who annoyingly cues his inner archer after his easy set shot. I’m not quite sure whether he is channeling Robin Hood or Usain Bolt, but it is annoying, time to put the arrow in your quiver, X.

 

Despite being two goals down, we are applying pressure, but the ball is slipping everywhere, and I am about to get on the “Qld evening dew bandwagon” again. Why are we having a night GF in QLD? Admittedly it may be just early nerves and settling in issues, but on several occasions it seems like a cake of soap for both sides. We finally find a way to gaol (thanks spell check, very funny) GOAL, thanks to Checkers from a set shot and then Treloar brilliantly finds his way through heavy Port traffic to get clear and snap a superb goal from the pocket. A good & solid comeback and we trail by two points at the first change.

 

Second quarter and Billy Elliott finds himself on the end of a fast forward push involving our record breaking skipper and WHE and we are in FRONT! Not for long, as Motlop gets a quick answer after a very sloppy piece of play by Stevo on the HBF. Does he really belong on the back line? I don’t think so, he looks all at sea there. He does have speed, but he needs to be in front of the sticks to make it all work. We take the lead back quickly after a nice piece of ruck work from Mason, tap to Elliott, pass to WHE 20m out, dead in front. As he staggers to his feet, WHE sees Checkers (but amazingly, he doesn’t see the Port defender standing right behind him), and in a split second seems to conclude that he is the better man for the job, handballs, and Brody acts on instinct and in a brief moment of panic, he gets it through. BUT it was clear that he was not expecting the handball from WHE. Phew. In the celebrations, Brody’s expression said it all.

 

The next two goals go to Port… both on very frustrating terms. Grundy tapping cleanly to Wines at the centre bounce, a long kick into the Port forward line and Ebert holds the mark for two milliseconds and the mark is paid. What? Hmmm… Grrr… Next one is worse…. Grundy taps to a very thankful Charlie Dixon who cleverly decides to rove instead of ruck, and it pays off handsomely. A perfectly gift-wrapped goal. Was Charlie practising ventriloquism by throwing his Taylor Adams
voice? Cue the grrrr again…

 

Half time, we are nine points down, it’s anyone’s game.

 

3rd quarter; Hope rises from the ashes once again as the most unlikely goal kicker, but one of my favourite hard ball backmen, Levi Greenwood finds himself on the end of a Pendles handball, near CHF and threads it through with his trusted left boot. A few minutes later we are back in our favourite pocket, and thanks to De Goey (WHERE HAS HE BEEN ALL NIGHT?) keeping the ball in play, it somehow ends up with the out of form Stevo, who confirms my earlier musings (please move him
down FORWARD) and threads a beauty from a tight angle. His muted celebration perfectly summarizes his overall mood & form.

 

We hit the lead again… two points up at the 9 minute mark. Yet again, our lead lasts only two minutes. Port get really lucky this time as Rockliff bounces one past several of our defenders, through for a freaky goal. Port gaining momentum at this point, Rozee scores a minor, Motlop scores a check side from 30m on a slight angle and soon after, SPP gets one from a set shot in the pocket and Port go into the 3Q break with a three goal lead. Not over by a long shot.

 

Q4 begins. FINALLY, our star De Goey gets on the scoreboard, thanks to some superb handling & ball movement through the middle from the skipper. One big factor and the difference between this week and last week was clearly De Goey making opportunities and hitting the scoreboard regularly. From this moment, I was sure the script was saying “momentum shift” and Pies pile on 4 more unanswered goals to win the game and stay in Qld for the first final. Unfortunately it was not to be… Port get another one from Marshall and the score worm goes flat and it’s kick to kick for the remaining minutes of the game and we go down by 16 points. A disappointing result, given that we had the lead three times, and when we didn’t, we were within striking distance.

 

Port take home the minor premiership in what has been a crazy year, and the Pies get ready to head back to Perth for an elimination final against the Weagles. I am hoping that the karma scales are restored to balance and we win by a point as Sheed misses all the sticks from a boundary line shot after the siren. Maynard will also be given a free kick at the 20 minute mark for an illegal shepherd from Willie Rioli, although I believe he is out of the team, so pick anyone else. As much as I hate to
wish ill fortune on our opponents (Carlton excepted of course…) I really hope that Kennedy and Shuey are watching from the Optus stands in two weeks time. Nic Nat twinging a hammy in the warm up would also be a nice development. They all seem to lift when playing the Pies.

 

Various comments /observations; Daicos was busy all night and was quick & effective across half back. In comparison, Stevo just looks slow and lost in that spot. Pendles was his usual creative self, Adams racked up a lot of possessions (but 61% effective… not good enough) Treloar also had his moments of brilliance, but not enough and Moore also had some fine moments. But where we were costly, as seems to be the case always, we just failed to retain possession at key moments. Our
delivery into the forward line and the ultimately finding a Port jumper was particularly frustrating. Equally annoying is our poor use of a great ruckman in Grundy. We are simply not getting a good return on his talent when opposition rovers are taking his tap outs. Something desperately wrong there. Bucks’s forlorn expressions in Q4 and at the final bell said it all.

 

 

Horsburgh votes will be sent separately.
Signing off for the year, 2020.
The Bangkok Correspondent… all safe & sound here, unlike Australian journalists in China…
Go Pies.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. “NicNat twinging a hammy in the warmup”. What a bitter and twisted correspondent you must be, Mr. McKay !! As a lifelong Port man, I have to confess that I watch West Coast games for no other reason than to watch him play. He is an extraordinary athlete and just a pleasure to watch, even if for another team. There are very few others about whom I could say the same and certainly zero Collywobblers in his postcode.

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