Round 20 – Collingwood v Gold Coast (Floreat Pica Society): Restoring Direction



by Mark Mullins (for the Floreat Pica Society)



When a side has been going through a bit of form slump for almost two months, there is no better opponent than Gold Coast at the MCG. Coming off 14 straight loses, a record for the battling Suns, it gave our suffering supporters the chance to find some faith. Many of us still believe that last year’s free-running and free-wheeling style can be captured again, despite our demise into a stagnant and almost uncoordinated system of play that puts us a long way off the best teams in the AFL. The starting play put shivers down my spine as Gold Coast kicked the first two goals, to Sam Day and Ben King. The Mighty Fighting Magpies were struggling to even possess the ball, until we started to get our mojo back. Inspired by Adam Treloar’ s brilliant first quarter, which featured 12 possessions at 100% efficiency and included our first goal from outside 50 on the run, Collingwood worked itself into the game. Good delivery into the forward line by Adams led to Callum Brown playing on and kicking our second. The sight of Jeremy Howe leaving the ground with a limp put another shiver down the spine, however his ankle injury wasn’t long lasting and he returned to the field and played out the game with his high flying a pleasure to watch. Grundy and Treloar out of the middle allowed Jamie Elliott to score his first goal of the day in his 100th game as Magpie player. Great to see him reach the milestone after many injury concerns, and hopefully he can add many more games to his career total. Has been lacking form recently, along with fellow small forwards Varcoe and Thomas. Treloar then set up Mason Cox with another great pass, for a goal that led to an eight point quarter time lead, 4.4 (28) to 3.2 (20). Highlight of the quarter was our improved ball use, especially Treloar and also Adams,  whom I have called The Butcher of Baghdad with ball in hand. From how the quarter started, definitely turned out ok.


Gold Coast has lost every game it’s trailed at quarter time, eight times this season, so faith springs eternal for Collingwood. The second quarter begins with a Mark and goal to Varcoe, again from a Treloar entry into the 50. This sees a rise in Trav’s spirit, as he injects himself into the game. Personally a big fan of his speed and tackling, but it hasn’t been a great season for the Geelong recruit and hopefully builds some momentum in the run to September. Varcoe sets up Sidebottom for our second of the quarter. Steele is very solid for the remainder of the game, and will definitely be in the conversation for votes today. Varcoe goals again, before Sexton gets one back for The Suns after a dodgy pass in the backline bounces of Elliott’s chest. Will Hoskin-Elliott took till halfway through the second quarter to get his first possession, but a beautiful, long see shot from near 50 metres showed his class. Been played down back a lot recently, at times looking somewhat lost, but his return of 4 goals could be another boost of confidence to the players from today’s game. Good player. A scrambled goal to Thomas showed we were up and about, with Mihocek’s headclash part of the chaos. Repeat…Treloar into the forward leads to another goal, this time a nice left foot crumbing goal by Elliott. A six goal quarter gives us a solid 34 point lead at half time, 10.6 (66) to 5.2 (32). Impressed by Treloar, Sidebottom good, Grundy really working his way into the game, Crisp and Maynard good in defence. Great to see Varcoe, Elliott, Brown and Daicos (early) involved, as also Rupert Wills who was getting plenty of the footy. We needed to be better, and we are.


A 7-1 lead in centre clearances is impressive, a rarity this season. But can we finish the job off? We start well, Brown marking and playing on leading to a strong mark to Hoskin-Elliott in the goalsquare. Starting to find his marking skills again, which is another positive today. Grundy then shows his class with a great knock-down follow up from the boundary throw in, not for the first time this season. The TV commentators believe this is a forward set play, and if it is, well coached and well played. A goal soon after shows some of our best footy. Varcoe strong mark plays on instantly, good foot and hand skills let to an uncontested mark to Mihocek. Just that free-running footy supporters love. Then Collingwood were gifted a charity goal after The Hyphen grabs a ball that was a foot over the boundary line, throws it to Steele who soccers a goal. Goal umpire was directly on the the scene, and should have called it out. Always say that cricket can be like life – will keep it’s foot on your throat and than suddenly release the pain and give you a charmed run for a while. Maybe that’s what’s happening with us? Howe then tries to take his customary screamers, but can’t quite hang on to it. The Hyphen grabs another goal late in the quarter, after Sidebottom runs intelligently into the edge of the goalsquare region before hand-balling. Class footballer. Another six goal quarter, with Gold Coast only scoring one. End of third quarter 16.8 (104) to 6.3 (39). 65 point lead. Yee haa.


So the final quarter didn’t achieve any great heights or a barnstorming finish. Pendlebury scored the first goal within 35 seconds before I even had a chance to settle in on the couch, showing his sublime skills with a beautiful sidestep and 50 metre goal. Love his work; consistent as the day is long. Pleasure to watch and another good game today. Sexton kicked another good goal for The Suns, a rare highlight for them. Hoskin-Elliott scored his fourth late in the game, a strong mark finishing his day with 11 grabs. Hopefully he is starting to regain his form and can give us a healthy option up forward in the finals along with Stephenson (sadly missed since his slip up) and De Goey. Big Cox received a poke in the eye, which made me squirm being a male of my species haha.


Overall, as Buckley said in his press conference, we needed to be better and we did start playing what is our best brand of footy. It was only Gold Coast, and hopefully we can start gaining some momentum from here. Melbourne next week should be winnable, Crows beatable and you just don’t know which Essendon will show up. Votes are Secret Squirrel this week, but Crisp, Treloar, Adams, Grundy, Sidebottom, Hoskin-Elliott and Maynard in discussion. Need to get Moore fit for finals, reckon Goldsack would be spewing about not getting a game with our current injury list, Noble apparently good in VFL today, and medical staff still on red alert. If we can stay fit then have some potential for finals, but still a long way off Tigers and Eagles. Anyway, Good Old Collingwood Forever….


Mark Mullins


The Footy Almanac is delighted to work with Steve Fahey and the Floreat Pica Society (a band of merry Pies fans) to publish the weekly report from one of their members. To read more of this one-eyed Pie stuff click HERE.


COLLINGWOOD     4.4     10.6     16.8     18.12     (120)
GOLD COAST         3.2     5.2     6.3     8.3     (51)


Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 4, Varcoe 2, Elliott 2, Sidebottom 2, Mihocek 2, Treloar, Brown, Cox, Thomas, Grundy, Pendlebury
Gold Coast: King 3, Sexton 3, Day, Martin


Collingwood: Treloar, Sidebottom, Grundy, Crisp, Pendlebury, Hoskin-Elliott
Gold Coast: Lukosius, Ballard, Miller, Swallow, Sexton, King


Collingwood: Cox (eye)
Gold Coast: Witts (knee)


Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Gavine, Glouftsis

Official crowd: 33,577 at the MCG


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.


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