Round 22 – Collingwood v Gold Coast: Holiday with the Suns



Collingwood did something unusual against Gold Coast last night: They won a game that they were expected to win. It has only happened three times this year, against Brisbane, Carlton and Essendon on ANZAC Day.


Like the Australian Olympic team, much was expected of the Pies in 2016. Aside from some promising efforts against quality opponents, they failed to deliver when they should have.


The stars have aligned in an intriguing way for Collingwood and the Buckley/Eddie regime. If they defeat Hawthorn next week they will almost certainly protect the last great record the Magpies hold: The coveted 4-in-a-row of 1927-30.


It is significant because Buckley has not had a win over Hawthorn in his coaching tenure. Symbolically, it is an opportunity for Bucks to get a win over a nemesis and play a crucial role in preserving an 86 year old record.


The Suns made Jesse White look like a champion last night. That’s how bad they were.


Jesse should have had 6 or 7 goals if not for his own self-sabotage. I’ve stood close to a number of players in the VFL over the years and I have to say that no one, at Collingwood, comes close to matching his impressive physique. I ask myself: “Why can’t he be more aggressive?” His kicking style is not that bad. “Why does he miss the easy ones?”


Back to the Suns. If the AFL wants an expensive holiday camp resembling a football team, they got their wish in Gold Coast. They may have a supporter base and some football interest in that part of Queensland, but like the Bad News Bears of 1987-93 the players look like football is incidental. Maybe most of their fans feel the same way. After half-time, Collingwood lairised and the Suns had no appetite to make them pay.


Back to Hawthorn. I don’t hate Hawthorn. Tempting as it may be. In fact I feel sorry for them. Yes, that’s right. I feel sorry for those insecure, aspirational middle-class, coat-tail hangers whose forebears didn’t barrack for Hawthorn before 1996. Like Hanson and Trump supporters, they have come out of the woodwork and wear their colours of dysentery proudly. Where were they and who were they before 1996?


I wager that many changed clubs and actively encouraged a cutting of ties from  Richmond, Fitzroy, St Kilda and Melbourne. How else does one explain the clusterf@#k of newly-hubristic Hawks clogging the South Morang line.


They follow them because they want to be part of the reflected glory. To tell their workmates that I’m a winner. To go to school and flaunt the fact that they barrack for a team that wins premierships, despite their history of parents and grandparents who followed shit-kicking under-supported and under-performing teams. I cringe when I meet Greeks who follow Hawthorn. Most tell me that their parents barracked for Richmond, Fitzroy, Collingwood and lately even Carlton. That’s the sort of fan that Hawthorn attracts. I wonder where they will be if the Hawks experience a few lean years?


Bucks and the Collingwood Football Club. Don’t let these impostors equal our record without a fight. Our colours symbolise the extremes of hope and mourning. What the f#ck do middle-class, modern-day Hawthorn know about that? The 4-in-a-row represents something football has lost in the corporate age and that is the fanaticism of identifying, defending and championing the importance of place. If that record falls to Hawthorn, it will be the death of history for the true believers who pass the faintly-lit generational torch to those who are not ashamed of their identity. Working class migrants following Hawthorn? FFS !!


2017 will either show the re-generation of Collingwood under Buckley or it will be the closing chapter of another failed-favourite-son romance. Nothing short of a finals appearance will suffice next year. And it won’t be the cashed-up, prominent, celebrity-types who will turn their backs. It will be the average punter who pays their membership every year in the hope that they may be respected and heard for their loyalty,  emotional, financial and historical investment.


A crowd of just over 17,000 does not bode well for a club with 80,000 members. It wouldn’t surprise me if Collingwood failed to attract 60,000 members next year. That would be a monumental drop. You can justify and rationalise results all you want, but when the fans don’t turn up and the sponsors start asking questions it’s time for a change.


I don’t think any Pies’ fan begrudges Eddie and Buckley success. Most of us have imagined Buckley on the dais holding the cup aloft while watching a red-faced, tearful Eddie embrace his sons as they share in the glory of the Magpies’ 16th and record-equalling premiership. We all want that. The question is: How long are we prepared to wait and how much are we supposed to invest before that happens?



COLLINGWOOD        7.3    12.8    16.13   16.22   (118)
GOLD COAST            0.2     1.6      4.8       6.11    (47) 


 White 3, De Goey 3, Crisp 2, Greenwood 2, Treloar, Smith, Crocker, Sidebottom, Phillips, Pendlebury
Gold Coast: Davis 2, Lynch 2, Martin, Wright 


 Grundy, White, Treloar, Crisp, Howe, Pendlebury, Smith, De Goey
Gold Coast: May, Miller, Lynch, Brooksby, Hall 


 Goldsack (foot) replaced in selected side by Williams, Moore (hamstring), De Goey (right foot)
Gold Coast: Lemmens (concussed)


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Dalgleish, Hay, Mollison


Official crowd: 17,644 at Etihad Stadium


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About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Daniel Flesch says

    Phil , i could write a lot more than i will about your bilious – and highly speculative – view of Hawthorn and its supporters , but will restrict myself to this … The colours of dysentry / poo and wee jibes about Hawthorn’s colours are as juvenile as they are old . Best left out . I don’t know about the Johnny-come-lately Hawk supporters , as i left Melb. 35 years ago for Northern NSW , but people have always jumped on winning bandwagons … At my primary school in the 1950’s -Greythorn State , North Balwyn, kids either barracked for Melbourne , which was regularly winning Flags , or the lowly “local” team which was coming eighth or ninth out of twelve VFL teams until making the Final Four for the first ever time in 1957. With intellectual Hungarian parents with zero interest in sport i had no family history to influence my decision to go for the Hawks , and what a lucky , very lucky , smart decision that was.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Thank you Daniel,
    Asinine puerility aside, you’ve proven my point with the North Balwyn example. Wonder how many kids in that area and its surrounds barrack for Melbourne now?

  3. ned_wilson says

    C’mon Phil….Just not true. These are the children of the 70’s and 80’s. They have followed the club for 40 years. Not sure picking the best team as a 6 year old is correlated with median house price either.

  4. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I understand the South-Eastern sprawl to a degree, but the North-East reeks of schismatic and heretical indifference from parents who failed to rise beyond their self-loathing. Having said that, the weight of history and the sourness of the grapes do cloud my judgment a tad.

  5. Phil, feel sorry for Hawthorn ?!? I admired their great teams under Kennedy and Jeans. I don’t hold this current team in the same esteem. However i rate Clarkson as good any coach i’ve seen in my time. To achieve what he has speaks volumes of his skills. Pity it was at Hawthorn.

    THe Pies last victory over the Hawks: prelim final 2011?

    Phil i don’t know where your side is going to finish in 2017. In 2014 and 2015 you started like a house on fire but after the halfway mark the wheels fell off. Like i mentioned previously i was at the local bowling club in February when the Pies beat the Cats. A group of Pies supporters were out of control, ‘how good we are , final 4 , flags in the bag’, wa amongst the drivel ii heard then. Mayne like the Australian Olympians they believed their own hype.

    Anyhow , the future is unwritten. Good luck this weekend.


  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Phil I suspect you are on the money to a certain extent society in general is not as loyal and jumps on winners backs in any thing pretty easy now days and drop off when teams are losing and don’t go religiously as much any more ( especially in Melb ) a sad night in the pies only attracting,17 thou

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Sunday morning Auskick in Colac is now dominated by kids in Hawthorn jumpers, seemingly rivalling Geelong as the most supported team in this area now. Maybe Luke Hodge has inspired a fair bit of that. No doubt the premierships haven’t hurt.
    2004 was scary when Brisbane went close to equaling our four in a row. Hope it doesn’t get as close as that (a GF appearance) this year.

  8. The Suns are in a lot of strife as a club. Gaz is nearing the end and young guns want out. Eade was not the answer either. Clearly their depth is very thin – as poor as their effort was on Saturday I reckon Collingwood’s VFL team would have almost beaten them and the Pies have a stack of players out as well.

    Kudos Phil on even writing up this game. I sat at my PC for a while and little fluff balls blowing across the keyboard like tumbleweeds was the only detectable movement.

    The only thing I can add related to my mob is I found it quite curious that Moore came off the ground early in the 2nd term because his hammy was NQR and then the brains trust decided the best course of action with the game already well under control was to send him back out. When he lunged for the ball I joked ‘that’ll test his hammy’. Sure enough, it did. Way to handle your most valuable commodity CFC…

  9. DBalassone says

    Did anyone else notice Collingwood ended the game with 12 consecutive behinds?

    I agree with your re White. I’m not sure he is the long-term option. We need to be careful here. I wonder if Cloke could work well with Moore. He would take the biggest and best defender, help bring the ball to ground, and perhaps relieve a bit of precious on Moore (and indeed himself by no longer being the focal point). Remember Cloke & Dawes only needed to kick 30-40 goals each in 2010. That’s all you need from your key forwards if you have an even spread of contributors across the board e.g. Fasolo, Elliot, Varcoe, Aish and the midfield.

    We need to be careful here.

  10. Agree Damian. If CFC are offered peanuts then we’re better off keeping Trav.

    I reckon I could have kicked a couple against the Suns on Saturday night.

    Granted, it was nice to see Jesse take a couple overhead grabs for a change.

  11. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Glen! I feel sorry for supporters who to follow footy teams in order to be seen or think of themselves as winners. Having watched Hawthorn win flags in the 80s to the cheers of a few thousand fans, I find it distasteful, vacuous, superficial and sacrilegious . They ought to learn to earn their suffering like the rest of us !! (Double exclamation intended)

    Rulebook, it was a paltry crowd for Collingwood. It felt like a pre-season scratch match. They’d want to pull the their finger out to bring back the punters next year, that’s for sure.

    Luke, So the contagion has reached Colac? The footy world is going to hell in a Hawthorn hand basket. “I don’t want little Jarryd/Lesquetia to suffer like I did.” SOFT !!!

    JD, There were many positives out of the game. Braidy Grundy was very good again and like how Smith, Maynard and Wills are developing. Williams played one of his better games this year and Treloar should street the Copeland. I can’t believe Moore could recover from a hammy after one week. Why rush him back at this stage of the season? Questions to be asked of the medics and sports scientists at CFC. Ridiculous decision.

    Damo, I really believe that Clokey is gone at Collingwood. His heart is no longer in it. I reckon he would be a good pick up for the Bulldogs or North for a couple of years. I also believe that Reid should play in the forward line alongside Moore next year. Mobility is the key now. Frost has to develop as a key defender and I would take a risk and go after Majak Daw in the ruck. He has athleticism and if he can get a bit more in the tank he would be a great story for the Pies.

    I can’t believe that we will be relying on White and Blair to defend our record this week. The Footy Gods must be crazy.

  12. An interesting write-up, Phil.

    Jessie White is no good – never has been, never will be.
    Cloke at North? No thanks.
    Majak? You can have him. No game-sense or awareness whatsoever. He looks magnificent but has a small tank and blows up in the second half each week. And this after six years on the list.

  13. Dave Nadel says

    The question about the Suns is whether any football team can survive on the Gold Coast. It isn’t just Aussie Rules. There have been three attempts to launch an ARL/NRL team up there, two failed and I am told the Titans are not travelling well. And that’s Rugby League which one would expect to do better in Queensland than Aussie Rules or Soccer. Speaking of soccer, the one attempt at placing an A League club on the Gold Coast also failed (it was owned by Clive Palmer and was even less successful than the Palmer United Party) Perhaps the Gold Coast has a demographic that isn’t very interested in professional sport?

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cheers Smokie, I understand your reluctance in taking on Cloke, but with Petrie and Waite struggling do you not think he and Ben Brown could form a potent duo for a couple of years?
    See what you mean about Majak, but I’d take a punt on him over Witts any day.

    Valid points re: Gold Coast sporting failures, Dave. Will the AFL ever learn? They could use the money to establish a team in Tassie or bring back Fitzroy. Nah, makes too much senses. I see GCS going the way of University FC in a few years. Parallels there regarding professionalism 100 years apart.

  15. Phil – I was thinking, too, of the chance this week for Collingwood to defend 4-in-a-row.
    When Melbourne claimed 1955-56-57, at least Collingwood was able to oppose Melbourne in the GF of 1958.

    With no finals this year, Round 23 looms as Collingwood’s only shot left to defend the legacy.

    And on the Gold Coast/ lack of community – this piece from The Griffith Review and The Conversation was linked elsewhere. But it’s relevant here:

  16. jan courtin says

    Hi Phil
    Not too sure why you’re so concerned about the Magpies’ future. Let’s face it, it was only six years ago that you won the flag! Many other teams would love to have the record you have, with recent success. And, perhaps to confirm your belief about the Hawthorn supporters and their increase in members because of their recent success, unfortunately all teams suffer the same reduction in supporter attendance when not performing as they would expect. All part of today’s instant gratification syndrome!

  17. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    ER, spot on article by J West. The AFL banks on the idea that the ‘captives’ will remain so. The people will only be fooled for so long and I don’t think the ensuing generations will be as rusted on as we were/are. Thanks for sharing.

    IGS Syndrome Jan? Now there’s a condition that warrants further research. Think you’ll find that a significant percentage of ‘sufferers’ may wear Brown and Yellow (Not Gold). And you’re right about my whining. I should be grateful that I have seen 2 Premierships under the banner of the Collingwood Foot ball Club.

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