Round 23 – Collingwood v Melbourne: Pies end Demons finals chances (for the Floreat Pica Society)

 

Round 23, Collingwood v’s Melbourne, 26.08.2017

By Frank Taylor

 

Melbourne, the football club.

 

Starting school as a 4 year old in 1959 (‘bubs’, St Francis Xavier primary), my overriding impression of my 1st day of school all these years later was the question that everyone wanted answered – who do you barrack for?

 

Now, in those days at St Francis in the Diamond Valley, there were only three teams that I was aware of, or – as it seemed to me – there were only 3 teams that you could support – Melbourne, Essendon and Collingwood.

 

Any other side were just making up the numbers. Footscray, Hawthorn, Geelong, Richmond, St Kilda, Carlton, etc were just mythical teams that somehow made up the VFL, “the competition”.

 

Now, I must say at this time in my life I had absolutely NO idea about which team to support. Footy was an unknown concept for me at 4 ½ and really I was just trying to fit in, so it was really imperative that I sort this out as-soon-as.

 

Now, as stated, there were 3 camps at St Francis and, as a 4 year old child there were a couple of solid impressions that I came away with on that first day of school.

 

Essendon and Collingwood supporters (these were predominately 5 year olds and had a vastly expanded view of the wider world than I) were passionate. Really passionate. To be fair, Melbourne supporters were equally passionate, however this passion – this Melbourne passion, was different.

 

Melbourne supporters were smug.

 

Melbourne were on a roll in the 50s. Since the war, they had been premiers in ’48, ’55, ’56, ’57 and, against the odds, had just been pipped by The Pies in ’58 (although this did not register with me at the time) and had an awesome team and coach. They went on to win the flag that year, ’59 (against The Dons) and again in ’60 and ’64… They played in 7 consecutive Grand Finals from 1954–1960.

 

Their supporters were just a little too full of themselves. We are the best, and, “Why won’t you support us ‘cause we are the best?” sort of attitude.

 

Too cocky, sort of spoilt brat cocky, sort of obnoxious.

 

I don’t know about my sense of fair play in February 1959, however I didn’t like them.

There was just no way I was going to barrack for The Dees that’s for sure.

Now I am going to diverge momentarily.

So it – the (life changing) choice – was going to be between The Dons and Collingwood.

As soon as my Dad came home from work that night, my 1st question was: “Dad, who should I barrack for?” and he replied: “Collingwood aren’t a bad side, son.”

So that was it.

He didn’t EXACTLY say that I should barrack for them – just a simple statement. It was good enough for me.

Collingwood was my team.

My mum who was a dyed-in-the-wool Essendon supporter was mortified and tried desperately for months to change my mind to no avail. What was interesting was that my father had absolutely NO interest in football whatsoever. He was a punter however. I only found out after his death that he had placed a bet on Collingwood in the ’58 Granny when he was offered odds that he couldn’t refuse – something like 25:1 – and he put a tenner on them (big money in those days) on them and cleaned up.

So, the reason that I barrack for The Club (and all that entails…) is because of a bet.

Fair dinkum, true story.

 

Back to Melbourne.

The 1st game that I can remember the result (although not the margin) is the 1960 Granny when we were towelled up by Melbourne.

The 1st game that I can remember the result AND the margin, is the 1964 Granny which we lost by 4 points.

Those smug, skiting Demon supporters… Shall we say that they weren’t my favourite people.

Still when Barrassi went to Carlton, (I think in ’66) the spell was broken. Even when he returned, years later and instigated “the five-year-plan” he couldn’t restore the magic. It was busted. Broken beyond repair. They have appeared in only two Grannies since 1964, in ’88 and 2000, only to be properly thrashed both times.

 

So we return to the now. 2017. The record shows that The Dees haven’t appeared in the greatly expanded final 8 for eleven years – in 2006. Crickey, I’m almost sorry for them.

(I said almost…)

 

Collingwood started with a considerable number of ‘outs’. Doug tells me that 16 of the squad were unavailable. Pendlebury, Wells, De Goey, Reid, Varcoe, Fasolo, Greenwood, etc etc.., with Brown (5th game), Daicos (2nd game) and Kirby (1st game) as the rookies. Although the last few weeks had given some hope for the future, anything could happen today.

 

Joining Moods in the MCC Members for the day, looking around at all of the (elderly) Melbourne crowd in front of the Long Room, you could almost smell the expectation and hope of the attending members. A return to The Glory Years. There were a lot of them and I think it was nearly a full house (the MCC)

 

20 mins to 1 o’clock and I look at the board as The Pies run onto the ground and am surprised that it’s all about Collingwood, which I mention to Moods and he tells me that’s because it’s a Collingwood home game which shocks me as there are so many Melbourne supporters…..

 

The attendance said it all.

51,223 on the day, the last day of the season, the Legend stands barely 1/3 full, just so much red and blue in the crowd.

 

Over the last few years The Dees had been a bit of a bogey side for us – even in 2010 they had drawn with us and gone down narrowly – not to mention the last couple of years and some floggings they had handed out. They were heading for the finals this year and although they were pretty flakey anything could happen.

 

So…

 

1st Quarter 1:45pm

The 1st 8 mins and it’s been good – The Pies have kicked 2 goals, the 2nd by Daicos which was a nice thing to see. There we go and Collingwood get the third – Grundy gets the sit, a lovely kick in from Elliot who kicks truly from 40 out. Hoskin-Elliot to Elliot to Grundy… 3 straight. Still very noticeable that there is just so much red and blue in the crowd and not much Black and White.14 mins in and The Dees get their 1st.

3.3 Pies, 1.2 Dees. Couple of lovely bits of play, Howe takes a (customary) screamer, kicks it beautifully to the edge of the square and Billy Elliot takes a ripper, one-handed then straight onto his chest. Nails it. Great stuff.4.3 to 1.2. 23 min mark and after a nice kick from Moore, Sidebottom ambles through the scramble in the goalsquare and slots it and its 5 to 1.  The work ethic of some these guys is fantastic – Elliot in particular. The 6th comes after some really good play-on football and at ¼ time it’s 6.5, 41 to 1.3, 9. Collingwood are out and about today!

 

2nd Quarter

20 seconds in and The Dees have worked a few match-ups cleared it from the centre beautifully and they kick their 2nd. Slick. 5mins in and they kick another and it’s 3.3 to 6.5. the Ponsford/City end seems to be the scoring end today. The13 minute mark and Melbourne seen to have all of the answers around the clearances and certainly all of the scoring. Gawn takes a good mark directly in front and misses. A bad miss that lacks any finals polish… However The Pies haven’t scored at all so far. 16 mins in and that’s better – after some good, flow-on football a good Maynard pass down into the Elliot lead in the pocket and we get our 1st for the quarter.18 min mark and Melbourne kick another – 3 to 1 this quarter. 2 mins later and Adams, who has been quiet, kicks one over the back. Points to Scharenberg and Maynard followed by a great scramble and polished goal by Elliot – dunno how he found it – getting it onto his right and around his body. 9.6 to 4.8 and it becoming a fairly even quarter with The Pies getting on top in the last 10 mins. I’m noticing Scharenberg – he is starting to look the goods. In the clinches he is beginning to make his presence felt. Half time and there is a bit of a fracas at the players race with Maynard in the thick of it. He certainly has some attitude that boy.

9.6 to 4.8

 

3rd Quarter

4 minute mark and it’s a goal apiece. After a good mark, Tex kicks the next – gee, whoever is his kicking coach has got it right. I keep on noticing the work rate of Elliot, he just seems to cover so much territory to create options. Our forward pressure is paying dividends. The Sack hits the post, Maynard and Landon continue to have impact, while Aish is having a good day as well.15 min mark after a comedy of errors, Melbourne get one back. 12.8 to 6.9.

Grundy has had a very good game – as well as doing well in the ruck he creates options all around the ground as with his height, stamina and terrific ground skills for a big man. Cox has been good, The Sack has been good. Dacios and Brown have been good. Hard to find a bad player at the moment. Kirby drops a mark he should have taken, recovers and kicks a point. 17 min mark The Dees get one over the back, 12.9 to 7.9.22 min mark, and although the general play seems to be about even, Melbourne are having more of the scoring shots. 24 min mark, to the second, Melbourne kick another, 12.9 to 8.10, they have kicked the last 3. 26 mins and The Sack has another shot on goal for a point. 28 min mark and another one to The Dees and it’s a 18 point ball game. 3 goals to 5. The Melbourne on-ballers are now roving to our rucks and it’s paying dividends… Moore has been playing down back and been going ok. ¾ time and it’s 12.10 to 9.10 and setting up for a decisive last quarter

 

Last Quarter

6 mins in and 12.11 to 9.10, Melbourne having a lot of the forward play but not converting. 8 min mark and a nice bit of work on the outside coming down the flanks, Moore takes a good grab kicks to the goalsquare where Tex takes another good grab, goes back and slots it. Nice. This boy is really coming on. Timely as our last goal was at the 11 min mark of the 3rd…. However Melbourne get another one from a dodgy free kick at the centre bounce and some good play and it’s a 12 point game. Although we seem to get 1st hand on the ball, Melbourne are winning the clearances and getting away with the ball and it’s showing on the scoreboard. 15 min mark, Demons kick a gimme and it’s an 8 point game. 21 mins in and Hoskin-Elliot gets one back after some good work from Josh Thomas…

28 mins and it’s all over and we won 14.15 to 12.11.

Melbourne don’t deserve to play finals simple as that.

 

In the wash up, I felt that we as a club have a bit to look forward to. With the outs that we had, I felt that the team’s performance was pretty even with a couple of stand-outs for the Horsborough. I thought that Moods would have a harder time with the DR’s.

 

We hung around a bit for the end-of-season player/fan interaction on the boundary and there was a fair bit of attention paid to Goldsack – certainly looked as if he was going to call it quits. He had a funny game, I remember two points that he kicked and a long bomb that missed everything out to the left after a massive 5 or 6 bounce run. Deserved better. (Perhaps that was his take on the last 4 or 5 years?) Another great servant of The Club.

 

 

 

As a post script, Doug and I drove to the ground with the breaking news of Drew Morphett’s death.

Another great commentator gone.

Who can forget The Winners on ABC and in 1988 when the ABC, through a comedy of commercial errors, wound up with the broadcast rights and Drew was the face of that season.

Vale Drew Morphett.

Comments

  1. Sorry to rub it in dees, but the eagles, who took your place, finished with a total points for, of, 1964, which as demons fans will know, was the last year, the dees won the flag!

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