Round 2 – Collingwood v Richmond: The COVID-19 Breaker match (Floreat Pica Society)


The anticipation had been felt across the country, indeed across the world for this match. Football fans had endured a gruelling 81 days in a dry desert, staying alive on a thinly stretched diet of re-runs, with most of our ilk probably enjoying the 1990 and 2010 grand finals (and possibly 1958 for some?). In my case, I enjoyed some superb preliminary final wins in more recent years, not least Richmond in 2018 and Hawthorn in 2011. The unfortunate fact about YouTube and its complex algorithms is that it is now offering up the 1979, 1980 and 1981 grand finals for my viewing displeasure, which I have no doubt avoided like the plague, Spanish Flu and COVID-19 combined.


Anyway, the footy drought was now over, and the two biggest teams in Melbourne were to face off at an empty MCG on a cold Thursday night in June. Fox Footy commentators had clearly been given instructions to ramp up the excitement as much as possible.


How nice it would have been if the AFL were to make this a “one quarter” game. As ridiculous as that may be, there has certainly been a lot of grumbling about the tinkering of the game, such as shortened quarters, from both Pies and Tigers fans after the game. This may be put down to the Post Draw Trauma we are all suffering from. It was also noted that on social media Pies fans were bemoaning yet another cracking start to a game, only to watch in slow pain as a solid lead gets whittled away. This time it was fortunate not to be a loss, but somehow a draw leaves us with that drab feeling that is almost equal to losing. The lack of a Plan B in these familiar circumstances (notable case include the 2018 GF) is a problem. The psychological “resting on the laurels” trap; getting out to a handsome early lead in big games, followed by the inevitable setting up of the hammock, the cocktails, then folding the hands for a little snooze for a quarter or two. Why can we not put teams to the sword when they are ripe for doing so?


To the break down:

Q1 – A sharp and quick start, plenty of possession, mostly used to maximum effect, given the eventual 24 point lead at quarter time. The quick handball was very impressive at times, completely blanketing any efforts by Richmond to get their hands on the ball. A great snap by Adams, followed by a clean set shot from our Ryan Gosling look alike, Tom Philips, then more quick snaps to Sidey and Brown, took us to an impressive quarter time lead. Our back line looked composed and in control when challenged.


Q2 – An early Lynch goal was answered by Phillips soon after, giving the impression that the first quarter was not all false hope and we had the measure of the reigning premiers. But alas, it was incredibly our last goal for the game. The inevitable taking the foot off the gas allowed the Tigers to creep back into the game.


Q3 – Kick to kick for most of the quarter, with Jeremy Howe the standout defender, taking solid marks with ease, while under intense Richmond pressure. Roughead did well on Lynch. An excellent show of salesmanship from Shai Bolton ensured himself a free kick 20 metres out, dead in front. Four minutes left in the quarter meant there was still time for the Pies to kick a steadier. But it was not to be… the ball went back into the Richmond forward line, and with 22 seconds left, another gift, courtesy of the third umpire, was given to Jack Higgins. BT was incredulous, and I was too, since two of three camera angles showed the ball was across the line. A two point margin at three quarter time.


Q4 – Ron Barassi was famous for being the toughest on his best players when the expectations were high. Malcolm Blight would often complain about this. In the first four minutes of the final quarter, our trusted skipper Pendles had five possessions, all featuring his typical poise, as if he had all the time and space in the world, yet each kick or handball went either to a contest or to a Richmond player. It’s a tough call, but cleaner delivery from Pendles could have opened up avenues to a much needed early goal. De Goey gets a golden opportunity after five minutes, but opts for a half banana from an easy angle and puts it wide. Some good attacking, yet no major. Ryan Gosling gets a free on the 50m line and chooses to put it to the top of the square, and finds a happy Ivan Soldo all on his own. Blood boiling stuff for Bucks at this point, surely. Howe smothers an almost certain Lynch goal, then back down our end via some Billy Elliott speed, we delivered nicely to Gosling, who in the set shot, gets too close to the man on the mark and puts it out on the full. At this point I’m wondering if there are still any phones in the coaches box to be smashed. The last five minutes of the match were hard to watch. Desperation set in, the ball became soap, tackling became mob like, and in the closing seconds, Callum Brown only needed to stretch his arms out to take a mark, running toward the goals. He could have then kicked a point, and we would have had the four points. Instead he opted to let the ball bounce, then got wrapped up in a Vlastuin tackle. Game over. 36 points each. The first draw between the Pies and Tigers since 1917.


Cue blank faces and expletives from all 36 players. For much of the second half, we had a lot of the ball, and a solid defence when the Tigers moved forward. But clearly, something went amiss each time the ball moved from half back into our half forward area. In fact there were times in the second half when it seemed we were not watching a game between flag favourites.


To the on field votes:


  1. Sidey – with a shiny clean shaved head, he did all the usual things we expect of him and showed great composure and delivery when needed. 27 possessions and a good show of his usual stamina.
  2. Pendles – despite the above Barassi spray, he played the skippers game very well again. In the post game banter, it was mentioned that in 108 of the 300+ games in his career, he has had more than 30 possessions. That’s an amazing stat. His defensive efforts in keeping possession in the second half were excellent.
  3. Lord Howe – I thought he played a superb game. He repelled almost as many enemy attacks as his 18th century British navy namesake, who later had an island named after him. Looked cool, calm and collected for the entire contest and had no obvious clangers under opposition pressure this time. During this writing, I came across my report from the same game in late March of last year, where another “Lord” was mentioned, by the name of De Goey. I thought he did well around the ground on Dusty, but was unfortunately nowhere near his best in front of goal tonight.


For added banter, I threw in some unofficial off field votes. I’ll leave it up to you all to decide whether these go in the Horsburgh or Danny Roach category:


  1. The suburban hair colour salons, clearly busy with Crisp, De Goey and Howe during the break.
  2. The tattoo parlour, seemingly in cahoots with the peroxide agents.
  3. The imaginative sound technicians, reading the game and cranking up the noise at key moments. However it is clear they had no sound byte entitled “draw noise” at the end of the match. Also they need to work on cueing boos when a lousy umpiring decision is made.


Onto next week, hopefully to collect four points against the Saints.


Signing off,
The Bangkok Correspondent.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



  1. Jim Kesselschmidt says

    I feel ur pain. Covered the post Covid contest clearly, coherently and concisely. We shoulda wonnit.
    Go Pies.

Leave a Comment