Round 19 – Collingwood v Adelaide: Fifty. 50. 50:50

Exactly fifty years ago I went to my first game of top flight footy, a SANFL fixture between ninth and tenth, Centrals v Woodville.

Today’s game seemed on paper (does anyone do anything on paper any more?) to loom as a routine away win to my Crows against the lowly Magpies.

After we trounced the Cats last week, I got even further ahead of myself by forking out the price of a couple of family of five healthy burger takeaways, to take out Adelaide “Gold Membership”, which simultaneously assures me of getting a seat at the Grand Final if we make it and assures us of not making it at all.

Also in store for me today was participation in the Crows “Guard of Honour”. I wasn’t sure whether the chance to line up on the MCG and cheer the team as they entered the ground, was something that should be relished or relinquished at my advanced age. Then again, I haven’t yet stooped to the depths of donning the latest club jumper – others can do that if they want to, but I just haven’t earnt it yet, baby. I drew the line at a Crows cap and scarf.

After a minor ticketing kerfuffle, I followed the murder of Crow fans into the bowels of the car park, before ambling up the rubber covered walkway onto the ground itself, the first time that I’d set foot on it since the Open Day just after the 1998 Grand Final. The turf was anything but lush, quite hard under foot. I took note of the patchwork assemblage of supporters, most of them gathered in the lower decks of the Southern and Olympic stands.

The pitifully populated Ponsford belied the home side’s #sidebyside credo. Doesn’t Collingwood realise that no one hates them anymore; they are the Hey Hey It’s Saturday of Australian sport, OK in 1990, with a brief comeback in 2010, both helmed by a self-adoring plonker. #sidebysideshow more like it.

(And yes, I do appreciate the irony that this piece is prepared by the Almanac’s resident purveyor of sepia-tinted football memories of a competition that is barely clinging on).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Collingwood supporters who I have a problem with, in fact they have my admiration. It’s their club’s ridiculous clinging to the official notion that they are both omnipresent and infallible, despite their obvious failings (netball, AFLW, AFL).

But I’ll get back to minding my own business.

Me on the ‘G

The Guard of Honour thing went quite quickly. We waited, I tweeted, the players ran out, I cheered, I took some photos, we were given the Tijuana. It was all over in a matter of minutes.

I had to race out and around to the Punt Road end, where the mainly-doughnuts-lately-Girl was waiting in the M6 sunshine. And for the next two quarters we, like most of the Crows players, looked on as Collingwood had, dare I say it, Loose Men Everywhere.

The Pies were ravenous, fierce at the contest, turning every 50:50 ball into another stat for them. They played with vigour, method and intelligence. They knew what they were going to do before they had to do it. Adams, Elliot and Wells were everywhere, even Hoskin-Seagull was getting hold of it. Their Greenwood was blanketing Sloane, our big guns weren’t giving a yelp.

In a rare moment of self-awareness, I realised that it would be wrong of me to loudly harangue the very players that I had earlier cheered onto the ground, so I had to settle for a series of passive-aggressive tweets instead.

I unreservedly apologise to Matt Crouch for the one that suggested that Adelaide’s wasn’t getting enough from their bottom 22 as he was certainly having a crack. (Which reminded me of my offsider’s question about whether a player has ever been “fully dacked”. I’m starting to see why she is still coming to the footy). The role that his brother Brad has been playing for us this year was accentuated by his absence.

At half-time I sought out Almanacker Luke Reynolds, who I knew would have been enjoying what he had just seen. He was yakking with Danni Eid, who was as princessy in real life as she had seemed in these pages. Both were wearing Collingwood jumpers (sigh). I conceded victory to them both, I was in a surprisingly conciliatory mood. I might just be growing up. Either that or I was resigned to our fate today, beaten by the hungrier team on the day.

Two goals immediately after the resumption from the Pies and we slunk further into our seats. We were 50 points down.

And then it happened. Another soft effort from statless Jenkins was atoned for by his basketball-style handball interception and McGovern’s goal from Tex’s pass was met with cheers of irony not encouragement.

JJ outfoxed Goldsack on the Members’ side and set up McGovern’s second, but we were still a long way behind.

Adelaide weathered five or so minutes of Magpie forays, with Alex Keath holding firm after having a confidence sapping game to that point. Jenkins finished off a back-half burst from Smithers and the margin was less than six goals.

We could sense that we were not out of it, but another goal from the Pies probably would have nailed the lid shut. If there was to be a turning point, it was when Sauce Jacobs nailed Grundy for holding the ball, after his own tanglefooted marking attempt almost gifted Grundy an easy possession.

From the defensive free, the ball moved with trademark Adelaide swiftness, McGovern potted his third and we unhunched our shoulders, rearranged our seat bummage and things got interesting.

From the bounce, Sidebottom to Wells, goal, sigh, slump. More than five goals down again.

Tom Lynch had a rush of bloodnut, missing everything from our next move goalwards, a miss we couldn’t afford.

Jacobs stood tall to pluck one deep in defence, again, quick ball movement up the guts, Laird shortpassed to Cameron who duly converted (for once).

Another scrappy period ensued, Wells pinging a poster. The Crows hustled the ball down the Jolimont side, a la the Grumpy Mick 2010 Pies, but more importantly, kept it from being bottled up by the Pies defence, before Riley Knight flicked it out to Mackay for a next-week-he’s-in-the-team-regardless snap. We were making and taking our chances.

But there was still more. Laird, Sloane, Milera, Otten, Walker, finally Jenkins and we had our seventh for the term.

Where was this in the first half? It was breathtaking. Did Collingwood have anything left? Did we have anything left? Seventeen points behind at the last break.


Knight opened with another straight set shot within a minute of the restart and we were within two kicks 81-71. We couldn’t lose from here if we kept this up, could we?

Charlie missed a chance to turn Mackay’s chase and tackle (yeh, me too) into a goal, but the blundered kick out was snaffled eventually by JJ for his third. How far Adelaide as we crept within 3 measly points?

As we continued to own the ball, McGovern went for a very ambitious leap, destroying the pack, but giving away a free as a result. Foolish play son, I thought, the benefit of my fifty years in the spectating caper coming to the fore. Don’t try that again.

It proved costly. Collingwood steadied via a Reid mark and goal. Still plenty of time, I was reassuring my now nervous sidekick, just as Blair swooped on a loose ball from jam tin distance to put a gap in the scores. Another quick one from Wells after the Pies’ third centre break inside a couple of minutes, and all we had to look forward to now was the doughnuts on the way home. Wells, Wells, Wells.

Mindful of the efforts of some of the Power “fans” who had left early on Saturday eve to get a good seat on the Wingfield Footy Special, we stayed put, despite the 99-78 scoreline.

Bridget has a funny line regarding her favourite footy sound, the gentle “ping” of an opposition shot hitting the goal-post. From 200 metres away, we heard the “ping” of Crisp’s next shot, but it seemed like they were toying with us now.

Another break down the wing, but a Charlie chase on Fasy-Boy caused a miskick that was rebounded to Lynch who found Otten alone in the (rectangular) goal square. Not over yet.

It might have been after this goal (or maybe the next) as I reached into my pocket and punched out the words “How good is footy?”.


Reid – “Thud” (the padded part of the posts don’t “ping”)

The ball was again spirited back down to our end. It was Adelaide with the LME, and “right in front of me” in a delicious rejoinder to that 2009 Jack Anthony final, Andy Otten was lining up on a missable angle to get us back within a kick. He didn’t miss, four points behind, more than seven minutes still to play.

Another gettable chance was missed on the skinny side by Moore. Adelaide conceded another behind and the margin was an even goal with four minutes on the clock, a clock that the Pies iced for a couple of minutes.

Adelaide somehow avoided coughing it up on the far wing, thrusting it goalwards. Lynch’s shot fell short, Jenkins’ crumbing effort (Oh Eddie Betts, where art thou?) ending up lamely as he was pinged. Langdon’s roost saw four of his teammates look at each other while Jake Kelly took the most important mark of his career, with fewer than ten seconds remaining.

Kelly kicked to a pack thirty odd metres in front, McGovern leapt gloriously from the side to snatch the yellow Sherrin from the clutches of the pack nanoseconds from the siren (ignoring my earlier “advice”).

Gov went into the game with 6.10 for the season. His fourth set shot goal of the second half squeaked in and drew the game.


What’s better than beating Collingwood by 10 goals?

Drawing with them after you were 50 points down. A 50:50 result, fifty years on from my first big game.


COLLINGWOOD 4.3    9.6    12.9  15.13 (103)                  
ADELAIDE          2.1    3.4    10.4  16.7 (103)           


Adams 3, Wells 3, Reid 2, Blair 2, Hoskin-Elliott, Thomas, Elliott, Moore, Treloar
Adelaide: McGovern 4, Jenkins 3, Otten 2, Lynch, Seedsman, Walker, Cameron, Mackay, Knight, Smith

BEST (per AFL site)
Wells, Sidebottom, Adams, Howe, Moore
Adelaide: Crouch, Walker, Smith, McGovern, Douglas, Jenkins, Mackay

Blair (nose)
Adelaide: Keath (wrist)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Meredith, Ryan 

Official crowd: 33,269 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal

3 votes – D Wells (Coll)

2 votes – M Crouch (Adel)

1 vote – T Adams (Coll)

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Dave Brown says

    “In a rare moment of self-awareness, I realised that it would be wrong of me to loudly harangue the very players that I had earlier cheered onto the ground, so I had to settle for a series of passive-aggressive tweets instead.” ’tis the modern fan’s condition, Swish – very well put. In my ‘doing my best to not have my life revolve around the AFL this year’ effort, I was out walking on Sunday afternoon. Cheeks hit the chair at my destination just in time to see Collingwood kick those three last quarter goals. The ‘Collingwood’ chant would have been silenced had the remote not been on the other side of the room… just as well. What a finish as two very tired teams struggled to do much with it. McGovern so important to the Crows and as you point out, Jacobs did a number of key things in the second half. Hope the gold pays off.

  2. It’s funny how years of supporting a club you almost develop a 6th sense of what is unfolding.

    I was in transit on Eastlink and as usual refused to listen on the radio. All I knew is my mob were about 5 goals up early on. As the game headed towards the climax I had a sick feeling in the gut that something was rotten in Denmark. Sure enough, I check the Twitts on my phone post siren time and it’s a tale of woe and despair. Yet had I been offered a draw pre-game I’d have taken it. And in the grander scheme the result was probably a good thing (a comfortable win over the top side and Ed would have resigned Bucks on the nearest beer coaster). But letting that slip still hurts as I write. #&*@ Langdon and his typical 9-iron to no one. Had he at very least kicked his dinky kick towards the boundary…

    Anyway, you had a day to remember Swish. You may have another in September, if the Crows can get past that pesky Prelim.

    One question – I accept the Pies had a couple self-adoring plonkers at the helm in 2010 but who are you referring to in 1990?

  3. Congratulations on the golden anniversary Swish. So many great bits in this story. Here’s to many more games with the doughnut girl (maybe shading into turkey & cranberry croissants in coming years) and hopefully one full dacking for laffs.

  4. Did you try for a gig in the mini-league as well?

  5. Tony Cove says

    YES, good summary. A game in 2 halves, that is for sure. I can read the Crows accurately when they are about to put in a shitter, & boy was I right in the first half. Hunted looks, hesitancy, reactive, lazy, half-hearted. It was all there. The 2nd half recovery was more surprising; almost as surprising as Buckley’s inability to shut down Adelaide’s resurgence. Neither side could really leave the MCG feeling proud; from Collingwood’s point of view it indicates that there is promise for 2018 with that midfield effort, but plenty to work on in other areas. For Adelaide, more immediate worries; a thin midfield, reliant on far too few, means that the finals series looms as maybe too big a challenge. Against other top-4 sides, they ain’t comin’ back from 8 goals down. Crows’ best is very good, yeah, but their worst is f—n horrible, and September is only a month away….

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Appreciate your comments.

    Dave – I found it easier to hit the twit when we were losing. It was the Gold upgrade that nearly cost me my entry into the ground as the club had cancelled my old ticket without telling me, but fortunately they had one waiting for me at the membership tent (the place where I won my GoH gig earlier in the year).

    JD – I meant the 1990 Pres, not the Coach. You know the one.

    4B – Thanks, you old enigma you.

    Culls – I reckon I could squeeze into the Claude The Crow costume and get on every week.

    TC – Yep, there’s a big gap between their best and worst, but they aren’t usually on display in the same game like they were on Sunday.

  7. Good stuff Swish ( love Culls comment ) have you buying gold membership put the kiss of the death on the Crows ?

  8. A Gold Membership.
    You are correct, that is really taking the piss out of the footy gods.

    Great work, Swish.

  9. Yep, Big Al was a bit of a plonker, if not self-adoring.

    At least he knew when his time was up.

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    The older I get, the rarer it is the Collingwood guernsey gets worn to games. But needed to change things up, to change our luck. Almost worked. Sorry….
    Glad I saw you at half time and not after the game. The (many) Crows fans in attendance were far happier than us Pie fans after the game.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    ‘Book – 50:50 at this stage

    Smokie – Blighty invented the footy gods, so he may be able to have a word to them for me

    JD – true

    Luke – Probably best that we didn’t sit together after all

  12. Hi Swisher.
    Great write up. Loved the usual self deprecating comments, as always.
    It’s funny how you identified the turning point of the game being when Sauce managed to recover from his blunder and nail that tackle on Grundy. I remember commenting to my partner at that exact moment the same thing when watching the match on the TeeV.
    You know what they say, great minds think alike!

    Hopefully with the return of Eddie and at least Lever next week, we can chalk up a win in the Showdown. My view is that it’s a must win if we’re to hold on to a top 2 position by the end of the minor round.

  13. Loved “Collingwood are the Hey, Hey its Saturday of Australian sport”. I am envious of your Crows giving you something to get ahead of.
    I sat in the stand at Subiaco watching the Brisbane Under 10’s play the West Coast Plodders, listening to the last quarter of your game on the AFL app during the second quarter of ours. People thought I was cheering and cursing at inappropriate times, but they all smiled approvingly when I screamed “McGovern you bloody beauty”.

  14. ‘The pies were ravenous’
    A meal that is hungry: gold!

  15. Good work Swish, a game I almost stopped watching at half time. Ottens dropped for the Showdown. What’s that about Swish?

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