Round 22 – Geelong v Collingwood: Border force and hope without finals (Floreat Pica Society)

After a day of farce with the Border Force, and the announcement came through it was “in – White”, I was quietly fearing that it was going to be “out – Brown”. But just as the planned joint exercise was called off, it was “out Cloke”. If there was also a Dagger as a late omission, it would have been appropriate.

In for the Cats was Daniel Menzel after twelve years and fourteen knee reconstructions. Okay – not quite that many but it was a good story, and one acknowledged by a number of Pies players who shook his hand pre-game. Personally, I am in trouble from my wife for not giving Menzel a standing ovation when he kicked his and Geelong’s first goal. Helen certainly did. It was the only time she applauded in the first quarter. Collingwood not only kicked seven goals in the first quarter, but kicked seven goals and just one behind. Normally that sort of straight kicking would have been greeted with a series of almightly roars, but Collingwood supporters comprised well under fifty percent of the just-on 40,000 “crowd”, and it was apparent when Sidebottom kicked the Pies’ first, that while the players were demonstrating more effort than the previous week, the supporters were just going through the motions.

Ben Reid started down back and played out the entire game in defence. As my 21-year old son said post-game, while he likes Jack Frost’s defensive effort, wasn’t it good to have someone who could actually kick well from the back line? Without Cloke up forward, our talls were Darcy Moore and the man who has bricks for hands, Jesse White. He has another year of his contract I believe but I am confident the rising freshman Mason Cox will mean very few opportunities for White next season.

Throughout the game we won the clearances by about two to one, and even when Geelong had the ball they were under constant pressure. De Goey was one of the prime tacklers. Why is he ever sub? Why is anyone ever sub? Why do we have a sub-rule? It used to be said it prolonged some careers (eg Giansiracusa from the Dogs) but conversely, I reckon it has done more damage to the development of young players – get called up, play as sub, come on for a quarter, get dropped. Repeat. It is just a dumb rule which could have been removed mid-season.

After kicking six straight, the first scoreboard blemish came when Swannie tried to kick one from too far out and a rushed behind resulted. Fasolo kicked a goal before the quarter time siren and we went into the first break 43 to 7 up.

When Jesse White dropped a simple mark early in the second quarter, the ball went up the other end for Menzel to kick his second. At that stage he had scored all of Geelong’s 2 goals 1. The Pies responded through a goal to Elliott and one to Moore and at about half way through the second quarter the margin was fifty points.

The remainder of the game was even on the scoreboard. There were periods when Geelong seemed to be getting back into the game, but Collingwood was always able to respond. Tom Langdon had an excellent game, perhaps enjoying the proximity of loose half-back Scott Pendlebury. Jack (steak knives) Crisp continued his excellent form and Taylor Adams was also effective, although his disposal continues to be an issue at times. Maynard, perhaps a bit fortunate to have held his place, did some good things including a chest mark with the flight of the ball and even managed to kick a goal. Other recruits who played well were Varcoe (did anyone hear any boos from Geelong supporters – I know I didn’t?) and Greenwood who did a blanket job on Selwood. Greenwood did learn that only Selwood is allowed to shrug and then accept a free-kick. If the actions are reversed, it is play-on. Collingwood’s sub (did I mention I don’t like this rule?) was Jonathon Marsh. He came on at half time when Swannie was subbed with a suspected medial knee strain, and made an okay contribution.

By late in the third quarter it almost felt like the players had had enough. There was little enthusiasm from either team and I would have been happy if they agreed to finish early. Apparently that is not allowed so they played the game out. Briefly late in the last quarter Collingwood got their lead out to 53, the highest for the game. A free kick against Brown for dropping the ball when he obviously kicked the ball before it hit the ground allowed Hawkins his second (both from free kicks) and the final margin was 110 to 62. A convincing win.

It was a win, but not a lot of joy. We put Geelong out of finals contention, but that is hardly a great achievement given they only drew with St Kilda the previous week. In our household of Collingwood and Geelong supporters it is the first year since 2001 that neither team is playing in the finals. For the second season in a row the second half of the season has been dismal. The upside is the performance of the young players, particularly in this game.
On the way back to the car, over the Swan St bridge, I ran into one of the kids’ former teachers, a known Geelong supporter. “Looks like you can go away for your September holiday’s too?” She immediately revealed a previously hidden Bulldogs scarf. “Now I can just concentrate on barracking for the Dogs”. “Yeh – me too.”

As per convention – votes for the Horsborough Medal have been placed in a sealed envelope for opening at the FP lunch post-season. See you there.


About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Are you in any way suggesting that the AFL fudges its crowd figures ?
    Or should we get our Border Force to investigate?

  2. John Butler says

    Watching from home, this one felt flatter than you-know-who’s hat. Menzel excepted.

    Do you share the widespread optimism re the Pies AF? Or are you FIGJAM-sceptic?

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