Round 20 – Sydney v Collingwood (Floreat Pica Society)

by Jim Kesselschmidt



I watched this match in my pyjamas. What the match was doing in my pyjamas I’ll never know.



I didn’t have to drive to the station and catch the train, I didn’t have to ride my bike to the ground, I didn’t have to go to the local pub to watch it on pay TV; I was at home. Of course my ever suffering wife who seems to have taken a new interest in footy in the last two years (an Essendon Supporter – funny about that) probably would have preferred me out or watch it in the other room on the less comfy sofa. However, our oldest daughter Lucy (Collingwood supporter) came to watch the match. This was lovely and there was a bonus: she cooked dinner: nice to have after work and before the game. This was especially appreciated as my wife was really tired and I was wrecked with only a few hours sleep because of a late finish at work the day before.



But lets get down to some pre-game facts (checked of course by the Floreat Pica fact checking unit)



Collingwood and Sydney (nee South Melbourne) have played 210 home and away games for 133 wins and one draw. Collingwood has lost 76 times (according to



Once upon a time in the 19th Century there was a suburb called Collingwood in Sydney. It was subsequently swallowed up by Liverpool; Sydney has never been the same. Indeed Collingwood brought light to Sydney and Collingwood was the venue for the inaugural Sydney Easter show.



Collingwood of course remains Collingwood and as we all know there ain’t no Melbourne indeed there ain’t no AFL if it were not for Collingwood. Far be it for grand statements to be made, Collingwood’s strength is its modesty and Collingwood’s weakness is its humility; my kinda team. Collingwood brought light to Sidanee back in the 19th century and now darkness prevails. This is of course recorded in the oldest book of all, the Bible:



1. In the beginning God created Collingwood, then the VFL then as an afterthought, God created Sydney (and sin).

2. Sydney was without form and void and darkness was upon the land.

3. And God said, let there be Collingwood and let there be light.

4. And there was light. And God saw Collingwood and light and it was good. Collingwood (2000: 2010)



Sydney as we all know has going been down hill ever since. The glitter, the glam, the colourful racing and football identities and as some might say the exploitation of Medicare may have funded a lot of Sidanee’s largesse (Thank-you Dr Edelstein). But they did have the intellectual edge – Thank you Warrick Capper. The VFL as it was, grabbed South Melbourne & plonked it in Sydney. Yes working class South Melbourne as history attests was plonked into the fashionable Eastern suburbs of Sidanee and I use the word plonk advisedly. Not Pomeroy’s but that’s another matter. However, lets not allow Saigons to be bygones, this is not about class war.



Speaking of war, this was a match to look forward to. Despite the preceding week or two leading up to this game where we endured the manufactured madness and footy panic by the out of touch CEO Gil McLachlan. Gil pandered to the corporates of television including Channel 7 to determine the rules of “our” game. Yes, Polo playing Gil pandering to Mr Integrity Tim Worner: how unedifying.



I know there’s a “me too” movement but as a Collingwood supporter I think I’m about to join the “why us” movement:



First we have the Richmond throw last week, encapsulated in the cryptic Collingwood banner against the swans



Second, we have Sidanee with backs to the wall, line in the sand egged on by the underemployed and increasingly histrionic sports AFL media amplifying: how poor the Swans are faring; how Buddy is on his deathbed each week such that he has to get out of his respirator; help old ladies cross the road; and, reattach his legs all the while in excruciating pain that us mere mortals have no idea about. Yes people living in pain must be inconsequential because Buddy is so sore he can’t even train.



Add to this the comeback kid. A remarkable story; yes, Alex Johnston: 25 knee reconstructions, 3 heart lung transplants, kidney dialysis, brain surgery, consumption, a medical record the size of the full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica makes a come back. On the pre-game radio they spoke about Johnston and the time he first got injured: Julia Gillard was PM; Tony Abbott, Gina Rinehart and Alan Jones were fulminating and trying to “burn the witch”. How incredible, it still riles. Just the thought makes ill. But that’s another matter. Speaking of fires I was at Johnson’s cremation. What a remarkable resurrection. Good on him. He was due to play last week but the wheelchair was too rusted. The comeback game of course was against us. Why us?



Third, it was just Collingwood’s luck that we were due to play Sydney at the wrong cricket ground – a ground not fit indeed not suitable to play AFL because of it’s ridiculous dimensions and Sidanee based supporters whose knowledge of football can barely fill the back of a par-avion postage stamp. The SCG is eminently suitable for cricket, soccer, hockey, T-ball and even Trugo but AFL? Gawd no. When can we play the Swans at the real G? Why us?



On the couch, cup of tea, good company, top 4 position at stake, I have a good feeling about this, what could possibly go wrong?



First quarter:

Buddy gets a goal within minutes, its still being counted in seconds; it was that quick. Up pops Varcoe. Adams is terrific; tackling and he is where the ball is. Adams is tough and uncompromising; Pendles & Sidebottom less so being heavily tagged. Allir Allir and we can say that again throughout the game is playing a tremendous game aided and abetted by the fact that we keep kicking it to him. If Allir Allir were charged with murder Collingwood would be charged with being accessories.



Langdon has been very good and Moore’s anticipation and marking provides pretty good rebound.



Buddy and Varcoe kick 3 goals each. One of Buddy’s was from a basic Maynard error and not a reflection on how Moore is going. Moore of course has the rest of the match to continue to do well.



The basketball rookie Jack Madgen is doing pretty well, can the channel 7 commentary team stop banging on about his bloodlines throughout the game, stop banging on about Buddy’s inability to train, stop banging on about Mason Cox and his ability, being from the states etc.? Just commentate & recall the old ABC channel 2 (pre Michelle Guthrie and a few others) where TV sports commentary recognised that the viewing public knew they were watching TV not listening to the radio. The pace is fast and the pressure is high intensity. The channel 7 camera work is poor – too many zooms and not enough wider shots to see how the play is being set up



For me, the better pies players (say that quickly) included Varcoe, Adams, Grundy and Langdon

Collingwood: 4.1.25 Sidanee 3.2.20

Collingwood wins the quarter by 5 points



Second quarter

Collingwood loses Moore after about 7 minutes. A hammy. We’re meant to feel the glass is half full as this was Moore’s other hammy; the good one, the less bad one. Buddy has already kicked 3. Now a backline minus: Dunn, Howe, Scharenberg, Goldsack, Appleby and Moore. The midfield can usually help out but we’re missing De Goey and Treloar. This makes it easy for Sidanee to sit on Pendles and Sidebottom. We’re relying on the bottom part of the selected 22 to stand up. Jack Madgen in his first game has to line up on Buddy. (Eerie distant memories of Brett Gloury on his debut game; sacrificed by Leigh Mathews and the match committee to line up on a rampant Paul Salmon of Essendon). Other players need to fill the space.



Adams stands up, Grundy going great guns and Langdon playing well.



However when you’re lacking the consistency and the continuity of a steady line-up when each player begins to know instinctively and reflexively what the other teammates are going to do under pressure then the chemistry no longer smells of roses but smells like an uncleaned schizenhousen after too many beef vindaloos (excuse the pun).



The negative stand out for me this quarter was highlighted (? Lowlighted) when at 7’15” to go in the quarter the ball was kicked forward and a newbie from Sidanee Jordan Dawson takes a (well generously described) contested mark in the Sidanee forward 50. Four Sidanee players went for the mark & poor ol’ Jack Madgen on his hopelessly outnumbered solitary lonesome. Cue a country and western ballad. This is where the TV shot was both good and bad. Good because the frame only showed one Collingwood player amongst a bevy of Swans reflecting a lack of structure, organization and leadership. Bad as the context was not provided. A wider shot would have shown where the other Collingwood players were. That really summed up in many ways the pressure not so much of the game but the reality of having soooooo many injured players.



However this was a good quarter as “Collingwood done good”. Lots of run and carry

Better players in this quarter included Langdon, Grundy and Adams.

Collingwood 7.3.45 Sidanee 4.4.28

Collingwood wins the quarter by 12 points



Third quarter

I’m still too pissed off to comment, describe or analyse except to say this was a case of a lack of leadership and where Pendles & Sidebottom were conspicuous by their absence.

Players missing shots didn’t help. The old clichés and the new clichés come to mind. Can you have a new cliché?

Bad kicking is bad football. You can’t play ¾’rs and expect to win a game of footy.

See 2nd quarter above regarding defence and consistency of line-up.

Sidanee worked harder, we had fewer rotations & were flummoxed.

Collingwood 7.6.48 Sidanee 9.6.60

Sidanee wins the quarter by 29 points



Last quarter

Sidanee kicks a goal within the first few minutes. They’ve done this in 3 of the 4 quarters this match.



Remarkably Collingwood comes back. Where was this effort in the third quarter. It took till the second half of this quarter to get out first goal but Collingwood kept on attacking. We had many missed opportunities. Cox ought to have done a lot better & his return was poor. It wasn’t the game by resurrection boy, Cox could have had 4 straight or at least 3.1. Instead Cox kicked 1.3 for the match. Mayne kicked 2 behinds and ought to have kicked at least one. Pendles & Sidebottom had one clearance between them for the match.



Pleasingly Varcoe kicked his 4th. For the second week in a row Daicos tackled well in the forward 50 (he is getting stronger) to win a free and kick a goal.



Amazingly we hit the front & ought to have won the game except for McLartin the younger kicking a goal from his Khyber pass – especially galling as he was well held for the match and there were minutes to spare.



Gutsy effort but cruelled by injury and with a depleted team and the shocking ground the SCG against the home team: they just beat us.



Collingwood: 10.11.71 Sidanee 11.7.73

Collinwood wins the quarter by 11 points






The better players for Collingwood were pretty obvious to all.


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