Round 22 – Collingwood v Geelong: A lack of class (for the Floreat Pica Society)


Match Report – Collingwood v Geelong

MCG – 19th Aug 2017

By Peter Butler


This is my first report for 2107, partially because I have been gazumped earlier in the year when putting my name forward and also as I have had the dreaded lurgy for a few weeks and have missed attending a few games.


Dave Nadel and I have been attending the footy together regularly since 1995 and he put his hand up for the DR votes for this game so it is something of a double act, we tend to discuss votes when one or the other is reporting. As a double act I don’t think we resemble some of the classics in history, such as Morecombe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, in the comedy genre. However, most times our conversation at games tends to centre on footy, but regularly branches out into more esoteric areas.


This year has been particularly absent of highlights for the Black and White, so going into this game I thought we may have something of resurrection, though Dave tended to feel we were facing another loss, due to our good record against Geelong in recent years under Buckley’s reign as coach.


In thinking about this game and the season as a whole, my mind went back to David Williamson’s 1970’s play The Club, and the subsequent film that had a cameo performance from Peter Daicos, whose son Josh was to make his debut. The more I thought about Williamson’s plot, the more I found some parallels with our season 2017 and the state of the club in general. A beleaguered coach, who had been a club legend as a player, but was facing his Waterloo due to the poor performances of the team and an autocratic ‘Pie Maker” of a president. Those who know the play, in particular, will be aware that there was also a ‘boom’ recruit, whose form was questionable, a prominent committee member who did not want the coach to succeed as it would threaten his own club record, and a club captain of longstanding who represented a typical 1970’s footballer, in all aspects of his behaviour.


The current situation is, of course not identical as our President does not run a Pie manufacturing company, but is a media personality, though still an autocrat. The coach is threatened with the axe at the end of the season, and we do not yet know which way the President will jump on that one. The ‘star’ recruits of 2017 have not really contributed much, though when Daniel Wells has appeared he has impressed, just that there have not been enough of them. Chris Mayne has been a complete flop and has no chance of redeeming himself.


In the film, but not the play, team goes on to win the flag; the ‘boom’ recruit redeems himself by starring in the Grand Final, albeit after an interesting discussion with the prominent committee member laced with ‘pot’ and strange stories about his sister.


Now you ask, what does this have to do with the game against Geelong in round 22 2017.


Quite a lot, I think. The club is at a crossroad’s in its recent history due to the succession plan put in place, by aforesaid media personality President in 2009, which after six years has delivered the worst season since 2005, and is there prospect of finals in 2018 as in 2006? There is no obvious proven replacement for the coach, (as there was in the play), and any second tier assistant will need the support that has not been afforded the currently beleaguered coach. This game presented itself as the culmination of the past six years. Were we to win, and win well case could be made for the coach to continue, especially if a win this week were to be followed by one next? However, a loss, would serve as grist to the ‘new coach’ brigade.


So there was much anticipation for the tussle.


Having been to that game, though about how it evolved, looked at the stats and listened to the coaches’ press conference, it really did pan out as a microcosm of the whole season over four quarters and three hours.


First Quarter

We shot out of the blocks and played some the best football for the season, though both Geelong’s goals were a bit soft. Passes were going straight to our players (not the opposition), mistakes and clangers were few. Ball movement was quick, direct and forward. Six goals before we kicked a behind, with Cox and Hoskin-Elliot two each, Sidebottom and Moore the other two. Prominent players were Aish, Sidebottom, Crisp, Hoskin-Elliott, Scharenberg, Cox, Maynard and Adams.


Second Quarter

Geelong started to gain the upper hand, as Collingwood began to make mistakes, as well as no getting their hands on the ball. The game was becoming more like the Bleddisloe Cup (to be played later on in Sydney), than Aussie Rules, with lots of stacks on the mill and ball ups. Our ball movement dropped measurably in this quarter with players not moving into space and the deliverer not finding anyone to deliver to, so hopefully kicking to a contest which we inevitably lost. Despite much of the play being in Geelong’s half they found it hard to score and did so with at least two dubious frees in front of goal to Taylor and Dangerfield, who was beginning to run riot along with Duncan. In addition the other two goals came from mistakes out of defence. A fortuitous pass from Reid, who had provided one goal assist to that time, to Broomhead gave us the one goal for the quarter, but maintained a lead of three at half time. It was hard to find good players in this quarter though Treloar picked his game up, despite suffering from the ‘clangers’.


Third Quarter

The game became a real arm wrestle, with lots of tackles, ball ups and throw-ins. Geelong were still getting into space and moving the ball better than us, though not really getting any result. Two goals, one of which came from another mistake, gave them the lead for the first time, but then some great forward movement and pressure resulted in goals to Blair and Broomhead to give us the lead back at three points. Players to pick up their game in this quarter were Phillips (though had lots of clangers al day), Adams, Scharenberg, Aish, Howe and Dunn. That there were three defenders indicates the pressure being put on that part of the ground.


Fourth Quarter

We were either going to be flogged in this quarter or rise to the occasion or repeat our first quarter heroics. In fact neither of these things happened, largely due to Collingwood players efforts to stop Geelong from scoring. There were no goals from either side for 15 minutes until Dangerfield slotted one from 55 metres, followed a few minutes later with a set shot from in front. By that time we had only been in the for4ward 50 a couple of time in the quarter and it was hard to see any way back, which was the case. Geelong were able to play out the game, while our midfield still tackled and endeavoured to get the ball out into the open, but the damage had been done. A loss by 11 points 59-70, in a game that was not a really a fine example of Aussie Rules at its best. But there was lots of effort from our lads which you could not fault. However, there was a lack of ‘class’.


Overall a disappointing end to a game that promised so much in the first quarter, and as I said at the beginning of the report a microcosm of the season, some promise and fine football, but a lack of class and skill in delivering the ball to team mates at crucial times, or team mates not presenting themselves for the ball to be delivered to. My background is Soccer and Rugby Union, having grown up and spent my 20’s and early 30’s in the UK. There is not that much difference in basic tactics, passers of the ball have to be accurate and receivers have to make space to receive. Watching the two teams, Collingwood do not do that well enough or for long enough in a game to challenge the top sides continually.


And now the key question is it the coach, the tactics, the skill level or the talent. May I suggest some of all of the above, that needs to be sorted out by the administration, or else we will go another few years without success.


If we are to go on with the current coach, he needs to have a wise head as a sounding board, which should have happened six years ago. It was strongly rumoured that Nathan Buckley offered to not take up the reins in 2012, in order to give Mick Malthouse at least one more chance with the 2011 side, but it was killed by the media personality President. Enough said. Then Nathan was not given the back-up he needed as a rookie coach, with three football managers over that time.


It promises to be an interesting September at the Holden Centre.


This was a game that could have been won, but was saved from a hammering by effort!


So in true double act form its goodnight from me and goodnight from him.


  1. G’day Floreat Pica. A quick Q ? Is this the second time you have lost to Geelong since the 2011 Grand Final?

    In the years since Collingwood has had the better of Geelong, regardless of the ladder positions. Curious re the head to head results in that time,though Collingwood would be well in front.


  2. Jim Kesselschmidt says

    Well written article Peter, thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

    If you and Dave Nadel aren’t Morcombe & Wise, are you two Martin and Lewis or Trump and Bannon?

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