Round 19 – Collingwood v West Coast: Footy and music in Carringbush

My sister is driving me to Melbourne. To the footy. Why haven’t we done this together before?
We leave her Geelong house in her car. It’s new. The heater works, unlike the one in my ageing Rodeo….

We park in Clifton Hill, where we have a gig to attend later in the night. After the serious business of watching black & white teams run around.

We’re about to cross the road to Clifton Hill station. To get to Victoria Park station. But from where we are, we can see Victoria Park. We walk. And talk. There’s a nine year gap between us. Yes I’m the older one. Yet I feel our bond grows closer the older we get.

It’s the third term when we make it to Victoria Park. The VFL Pies are well ahead of Geelong. I love being at Victoria Park, very fond memories of attending the venue in the 1990s. I sent an email to the Collingwood Almanackers during the week to see if a meet up at either Victoria Park or the MCG was possible. Phil Dimitriadis, aka Lord Bogan, was the first to respond. We meet him in the Sherrin Stand. The VFL Pies dominate, though I’m more interested in Phil’s thoughts on Collingwood, footy in general and writing.

We venture out to the ¾ time huddle. Lamenting that there’s no roaring uplifting speech from the coach. It’s all very measured. Phil spots Jeff Dowsing and he joins us for the final term. Missed Collingwood Grand Final opportunities dominate the conversation. I wonder what Rachel, the youngest of my two sisters, makes of our company.

Macaffer and Goldsack play well. The VFL Pies win. They are contenders. I love Victoria Park.

Jeff, Rachel and I discuss walking to the ‘G (Jeff) or catching the train (Rachel & I) before P. Dimitriadas reveals he is parked nearby and will drive us there. Great!!

Phil parks somewhere in East Melbourne. Of course the country Reynolds kids are lost, but so is J.Dowsing. However, it’s a nice walk to the ‘G. Memories of obscure Collingwood players abound. My favourite is when Justin Staritski is mentioned. He dominated in the reserves in the first season I regularly attended Victoria Park. Was at his only senior game for Collingwood, which was at Vic Park, and he only got a run in the last quarter.

Rachel & I sit with Phil and his mate Paul at the top level of the Olympic Stand for the first quarter. The Pies dominate early but can’t put the score on the board. Darcy Moore is marking everything but misses two shots he’d normally swallow. How exciting he is. At least we’ve started well for a change. Until some uncharacteristic kicking errors from Steele Sidebottom, who we’d given big wraps on his disposal just minutes earlier, saw the Eagles hit back.

I go over for a quick hello with Floreat Pica Society leader Steve Fahey and his brother Paul who are in the next bay before joining Jeff on the bottom level, 10 rows from the boundary, for the second quarter. We watch the middle two quarters with the author of (check out his website, it’s absolutely superb) enjoying some good play in the second term and sitting through a horrible, error ridden 3rd quarter by the Pies that put West Coast right back in the game.

Very enjoyable to sit with Jeff at the footy. Passionate, bleeds for the Pies, has an encyclopedic knowledge of Collingwood history. Could swear for Australia.
I’d organised to catch up with another Almanacker, Damian Balassone, so I dragged Rachel up to Bay 55 in the top level of the Olympic for the final quarter. We found him sitting with his young daughter at her 3rd AFL game. The Pies were behind when we got there but four quick goals meant we could not move from our position. We’d hoped we could drag D.Balassone down to the bottom level to join Jeff, but as the goals piled on we couldn’t risk moving. Should have sat with Damian earlier. Probably around Round 3. While Pendles, Adams & Treloar are great, it’s the performances of Smith, Aish & debutant Wills that are particularly pleasing.

We met Jeff outside the ground and rejoiced in our win. Once again Rachel and I were going to catch the train, but Damian was ‘going our way’. The Almanac taxi service was first class. Will happily return the favour for any Almanacker wanting to navigate their way around the backstreets of Pomborneit.


Next stop was the wonderful ‘Some Velvet Morning’ in Clifton Hill. A very cool café/bar in the inner north. The support act, Baby Blue, blew me away. Very talented, every song they played is worth recording. Including the best murder ballad you will ever hear. I then meet up with another Almanacker, Clifton Hill local Andrew Gigacz, at the bar during the break. Always great to catch up with Gigs.

Then it’s the main show, Ella Hooper and Gena Rose Bruce together. Singing songs from both their EP’s. Both so talented. Ella, no doubt helped from her TV and radio work, has an amazing stage presence. Funny as hell. Their voices, and guitar playing, are exquisite. Rachel and I are in the third row, so close to the stage.

Ella Hooper on fire at Some Velvet Morning

Ella Hooper on fire at Some Velvet Morning

We line up to buy the CD’s. Gena and Ella are so nice when we reach the front of the queue. I nervously make conversation with Ella, been a big fan for some 16 or 17 years. EP’s are bought. Photos taken.

Ella Hooper meets Luke Reynolds

Ella Hooper meets Luke Reynolds

I leave Rachel’s house in my ute that has no heating. But the day and night has filled me full of warmth. Go Pies.


COLLINGWOOD 2.5 7.7 8.11 13.13 (91)
WEST COAST 4.2 4.2 9.3 11.6 (72)

Collingwood: Moore 3, Aish 2, Sidebottom 2, Cloke, White, Greenwood, Crisp, Treloar, Maynard
West Coast: Darling 4, Kennedy 2, Cripps 2, Hill 2, Masten

Collingwood:Pendlebury, Adams, Sidebottom, Moore, Smith, Aish
West Coast: Priddis, Gaff, Darling, Hurn, Shuey,Hutchings

Umpires: Donlon, Brown, Schmitt

Official crowd: 34,929 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal Votes-
3. Ella Hooper & Gena Rose Bruce
2. Scott Pendlebury
1. Taylor Adams

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Great stuff Luke love the mention of Justin Bart Staritski fantastic that fellow redleg,James Aish is well and truly getting there,how important is Grundy what a draft steal and being honest not being a music buff I wondered who the lady was on face book in the photo with you surely she is running around telling every one she met,Luke Reynolds love the votes by the way

  2. Good win plenty of upside for next year

  3. Peter Fuller says

    I’m pleased for you Luke that you had such an enjoyable day, and that you ‘ve graciously included the Almanac fraternity & sorority in it with this account.
    A few specific resonances occurred to me from your tale of your day.
    – The cricket superstition that you couldn’t move from your seats while the runs (goals) were coming.
    – The joys of participation in the Almanac community and the special pleasure of a serendipitous encounter (Gigs and you).
    – Family is everything, and your delight in sharing the day with Rachel jumps off the page; I’ll bet it’s a fond memory for her also.
    – Your reference to Staritski (whom I don’t remember) is relevant to me, personally. My brother played a solitary VFL game and as a reserve in the pre-interchange era, he only played the final quarter – where else but Victoria Park. There is a certain family synchronicity, as I played a single match at Victoria Park (at a standard far below VFL I should add), but a school commitment meant I had to leave at 3/4 time, so I was “dragged”. You will be pleased to learn that the black and white stripes were successful on both those occasions.

  4. Great to see you, Crackers! (Sitting in my part-time office – Some Velvet Morning – as I type this.)

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    It might not be your season, but it might be your week, as the saying sort of goes Luke.

  6. Justin Staritski says

    Rulebook has been kind enough to refer me to your article and asked me for a brief comment. You certainly have a good memory (as most Collingwood supporters do). I had one year at Victoria Park back in 1994 and I remember my only senior game with mixed emotions. I was a late call up against Hawthorn replacing the injured Tony Shaw (like for like leg speed!). At the 20 minute mark of the last quarter Leigh Matthews deemed the game appropriately secure to release me off the bench. Unfortunately it was a short quarter (well it seemed to be) and my opportunities were limited (well they seemed to be). That said, it was an honour to get a game for Collingwood, particularly at Vic Park and we had a good win. The following week it was back to the reserves where I fractured my foot and missed the next 7 weeks. I managed to get back and play a few more games later in the season but unfortunately couldn’t crack it for another senior game!

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    G’day Justin, thanks for commenting! Saw you play several great games in the reserves in 1994, thought you very unlucky not to get more of a go.

    Rulebook- Aish was very, very good.

    Raj, looking forward to 2017

    Peter- yes my cricket superstitions creep into my footy watching!
    Interested to hear more about your brother, an article in that?

    Gigs, it’s a fantastic venue!

    Swish, just taking it one week at a time…

  8. Luke – I blame Damian’s seat for my Eagles shit midfield (well we’ve tried every other explanation).
    The Ella and Gena concert sounds great. Blues, roots and country music is just about all I listen to now. Your taste in music (and attractive women) sure beats your football choices.

  9. Excellent account Luke – I couldn’t top Ella Hooper, let alone a special guest appearance by Justin Staritski! Thanks for the generous plug btw.

    Anyway, gotta go, my Prickly Moses stout (available at all good liquor stores) is calling me, it really is the perfect winter beverage. All I need is some chestnuts to roast by the fire as I watch the replay.

  10. Luke- And I thought Ferris Bueller once enjoyed a decent day. Brilliant. Family, footy, more footy and music. Will track down Ella Hooper’s new stuff.

    Ah, the Holden Rodeo. In terms of model names I always liked the Toyota “Picnic” although I don’t think it was sold here. Shame.

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Peter B- still like my rock music, but my listening these days also very much dominated by blues, roots and folk. Reckon you’d really enjoy Gena’s music, her EP ‘Mad Love’ is superb.

    Cheers Jeff, glad you found some Otway Stout.

    Mickey- Ella’s new double EP “Venom/New Magic is great, and I highly recommend her 2014 album “In Tongues”.
    As for the Rodeo, it’s in desperate need of a replacement…

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Beautifully written Luke. Great catching up with you and JD and meeting Rachel. And the Pies’ performances at both levels were very encouraging. I really hope Bucks and the team have a good run with injuries next year. With Elliott and Swan back up forward and another pre-season under some of our young-uns, who knows.

    Moore’s first half – sublime. The possibility !! Speaking of failed Grand Finals and some consolation, I remember a teenage Ella Hooper belting this out before the 2002 GF in the rain. Wonderful talent:

  13. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers Phil, surely we are due a good run with injury next season.

    Thanks for the link, hadn’t seen that since 2002, far better performance than many others in subsequent years at the GF!

  14. Jeez it was cold at the back of the top deck of the old Ponsford Stand that fateful day. Much prefer Ella’s work post Killing Heidi, she gets better with age.

    Also in the pre-match at the 2002 GF was my fave, Kate. I think she got the words right that day.

  15. Well done again Luke just love your work

  16. Keiran Croker says

    Great read Luke. Some Velvet Morning is just around the corner from my place in Clifton Hill. My neighbour and I describe it as the place that’s too trendy for old buggers like us to go in to! I did see some friends play there last year though. Nice intimate gig!
    My preferred local footy is over at BSO. The Roys are looking good for finals in B Grade Ammos.
    I do like what they have done with Victoria Park though. My memories are as a visiting Swans supporter. I won’t bore you with a list of my favourite wins. Though I am pretty sure a bloke called Michael Smith kicked 5 goals on debut there for South in 1978.

  17. A great yarn, Luke.
    And some love from Ella on twitter this arvo.
    I reckon she has a great voice. Will check out her new ep. Thanks

    (I cannot ever imagine going to the footy with either of my sisters)

  18. Earl O'Neill says

    Some velvet morning when I’m feeling straight – –
    Few years back, I didn’t listen to much recorded after I was born, 66. Now I listen to music recorded before my parents were born.
    Swing,, brother , swing.

  19. Luke Reynolds says

    Jeff- the AFL seemingly nailed the pre game entertainment in the 2002 GF!

    Thanks Lizzie!

    Thanks Keiran. Was the 3rd time I’d been to SVM, think it’s a wonderful venue. Reckon it is more suited to old buggers than younger people!
    Intimate band room, good food and craft beer, everything you could need!

    Smokie- Ella is very responsive on Twitter. I have two sisters and Saturday was the first time I’d ever gone to the footy with either of them.

    Earl- Happy to listen to anything. My pre 1950’s music knowledge is extremely poor. Recommendations?

  20. E.regnans says

    A classic, Luke. What a day.
    And wonderfully captured.

    Well done Ella, on the votes. On everything.
    Well done Justin, on commenting. On PLAYING FOR COLLINGWOOD.
    Well done Rachel, Phil, JD… what a day.
    Love it.

  21. DBalassone says

    Luke, you & Rachel were good luck charms. Pies trailing & looked gone when you walked into our aisle, then we piled on 4 goals in ten minutes and ‘got the job done’. Well played.
    Great shot with Ella. Love those small gigs. The salt of the earth. At the Don Walker gig at the Caravan a few months back I had a chat with the legendary harmonica player Dave Blight afterwards (was too awestruck to approach The Don).

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    Cheers ER. Brilliant day.

    Damian, crucial turning point in the game was our going to sit with you!
    Nothing beats a small gig. To see an artist as talented as Ella in such a small room was a wonderful experience.

    Go pies!

  23. Dave Nadel says

    I haven’t been to Some Velvet Morning but i have a question. If it is too trendy for old buggers why is it named after a song which was released in 1967?

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