Round 24: Blog

So what to make of that effort? Or lack thereof.

Lucky we’ve been assured there’s no such thing as tanking.

It would have been more polite for the Pies to alert everyone (ala the Hawks) that they were taking all this Irrelevant Round stuff to heart.

Might have saved people the effort of turning up.

But are there any implications for the next week and beyond?

Your thoughts Knackers?


  1. John Butler says

    Can you have a reverse tank?

  2. Reckon Tarrant may have done a Matty Egan.

  3. I’m off to the local footy today to stand next to all the grinners from last week – if they turn up..

    The tank idea was probably a good tactic to let the Cats get over confident but the blow out must have hurt.

    Some tough sides in the finals this year. Did I mention ‘soft pies’ a few weeks ago?

    Jolly is definately not fit and me thinks a few others are underdone. Maybe Arizona softens them up in the long run. Too much time in the heat by the pool.

    I just loved the expansiveness of the Ponsford Stand half way through the last quarter. Great support Pies. Lead by example.

    Side by side we leave together

  4. For a simple bloke like me, who takes things on face value:

    Good win. Gooooooood win.

  5. Clearsighted says

    There’s been a lot of talk about this “dead rubber” game.
    However it seems more logical that players of both sides, would be keen to play well and ensure their spot in their side, as they head into the finals.

  6. Thinking of the symetry from the First Divison VFA in 1980. Coburg finished top of the table, losing only twice. Port Melbourne were second, losing five matches, but what is important to note is that Port beat Coburg in both of their losses. On Grand Final day Coburg were the better side for 3 1/2 quarters, then a late Port burst gained them the flag. Is this going to be similar ? As a wise old German once said, “History repeats itself twice, firstly as a tragedy, then as a farce.’ What are we seeing with Collingwood and Geelong?

  7. very clear sighted

  8. Its possibly totally esoteric, but i have clear recollections of that, and maybe it might repeat itself in the AFL this season.

  9. I think that wily old coach Bill Shakespeare summed up late season games best – “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  10. Collingwood have a few problems next week.

    1. Tarrant’s injury is at the wrong end of the ground given the Eagles key forwards (This could be mitigated by the forecast rain)

    2. As mentioned by Phantom – Jolly is struggling, Ottens dominated last night and Collingwood face Cox/Natinui next weekend.

    3. Thomas still out, Shaw and Maxwell returning to a nervy backline, first up after a decent spell.

    Still think they will win but it gives the Eagles a few areas of advantage to work with.

  11. Good win to the Cats but that’s it. To misquote an observation made a long time ago about another sporting contest altogether, “there were two sides out there but only one was playing (to win). That was evident before the first quarter was done. By half time you may as well have gone home. Of course my son Jackson and his mate Sugun had themselves a ball. We were in the Ponsford Stand, in the verrrrry last row but I reckon you could have heard them singing and stirring all the way over in the Olympic Stand.

    Last night’s game, what the Hawks are doing today, what Freo did last year and clubs tanking are all part of the strategic mindset that the game has become. Why should the Pies give a damn? They’ve nothing to prove or gain from the Round 24 match. Are the Cats really 100 points better than the Pies going into the Finals? Of course they’re not.

    Hawks beat the Pies in this round last year. They ran over the top of them in the last quarter. I was at the game and hollered my lungs out both with excitement and singing the club song. Then on Monday night I watched Footy Classified and they showed a half a dozen clips of the game where the Pies ran and contested at half pace. I was happy we won and that we beat the Pies but I was also brought back to earth.

    Last week Cats fans on this site analysing why they lost to the Swans at home included the fact that the Swans were playing for their team mate who had sadly lost his child during the week. The argument being that the Swans had something important to play for. And that is true. But does anyone honestly believe that the Swans could knock Geelong over in the Finals? Maybe, but highly unlikely. And so it was with last night’s match. Geelong had something to prove, the Pies couldn’t give a flying.

    In today’s Age coverage of the game there are two salient points:

    1. Connolly’s last two sentences: “But the weirdness of last night is best explained by the fact that the top team and still warm flag favourite will go into its finals campaign fresh off its heaviest defeat for 61/2 years. Now make sense of that”.
    2. Baum, “This match had the stage and dimensions of a blockbuster, but not the substance”.

    The season proper starts next Friday night and as Harmsy observed in a recent piece, it is already full of intrigue and possibilities. Did last night’s game add anything to that? Not at all.

  12. Pamela Sherpa says

    I think the Pies loss is hugely significant. It gives hope to others . Are they starting to fall apart at the right time for the rest of us? Good on ya Cats!

  13. Clearsighted says

    I wonder, if the results of the game were reversed, would they be considered insignificant?

  14. Clearsighted says

    P.S. A lot of empty seats, “side by side”, after half time.

  15. The problem for the Pies was that last night’s loss was not against a side with no legitimate chance of winning the premiership (as is often teh case with games that mean “nothing”). It was against the team that is given the best chance of beating it in the big one.

    Thomas and Davis would have made no difference last night. The Cats won because they mostly kicked it to positions that Collingwood’s press was not covering.

  16. Andrew Fithall says

    Keep poking the dragon. Just be aware, you might not actually like it when it wakes up. Saw some television footage today – doorstop of players as they arrived at the club. Liked what I saw. Liked the reactions. Don’t get carried away people. After last week Geelong weren’t going to win another game for the season. You have all written off the team that has finished one game clear on the top of the ladder, losing twice to a team which it may not even have to play against again this season (see Rick Kane’s comment above about the Hawks beating Collingwood in the last round in 2010). Remember last week how Geelong were going to go out in straight sets. Still can happen. I didn’t enjoy last night, but my feeling today is that it has zero impact on the finals. Bring them on.

    In the meantime, I am off to see some live music. Brous at the Buffalo Club in the city. Sopported by Pikelet. Looking forward to it.

  17. Last night was very enjoyable for us Cats supporters, especially the milder weather; the game ealier this season was on a freezing cold night. We were bemused that the feral pie supporters started to leave early in the final quarter. It was ridiculous that a lot of the media buffoons had ‘written off’ the Cats for the year after the Sydney game. The Cats form against Sydney was not that bad. I do not think that blokes such as Corey, Lonergan and Mooney for Geelong and Thomas, Maxwell, Davis and Shaw for Collingwood would have made any difference to last nights result, except perhaps the margin. It is interesting that both these teams have had several one-sided games in the last few years – Geelong had big wins in the 2009 prelim. final plus last night and Collingwood have had three big wins – 2006, 2008 and the 2010 prelim. final. The Cats had many good players last night and my best were Kelly, Chapman, Varcoe, Scarlett, Enright, Bartel, Ottens and Selwood.
    Go Cats for the finals!

  18. I watched two teams that I followed lose games in the last 24 hours. I care a lot more about Collingwood but I was less concerned about the defeat because I don’t think that the way the Pies played yesterday will be anything like the way they will play in the finals. Provided that the club is telling the truth when it says that Tarrant’s injury is not serious then I suspect we will see the real Collingwood against the Eagles next week.

    I have only really started following the Queenscliff Coutas in the last few weeks so I can’t pretend a deep emotional commitment. Nevertheless I was disappointed with the outcome of todays Second Semi Final. The Coutas stuck with Geelong Amateurs for three quarters but the Ammos ran away in the last quarter and even if Queenscliff get through the Prelim I cannot see them beating Geelong Amateurs. Unlike the Pies last night, the Coutas weren’t beaten for lack of interest or effort, they were beaten because they didn’t have as many winning key position players on the field as the Ammos.

  19. -.-

  20. Tarrent is the Pies most expendable player, so, whatever

  21. Settle down, Glee Club.
    Love the cliches about fans leaving. I’ve (silently) waved goodbye to thousands of early absconders this year. In games that mattered.
    Cats were brilliant last night. We’re in for one hell of a finals series, me thinks.

  22. If the Cats had lost by 100 points I dare say the consensus would be that the game was hugely significant. The Pies lose by 100 points (rounded up) and it matters little. Funny times we live in. I’m not sure what to make of the game, except to say that it really means zero given that September is about to start and we’re all equal again.

    Having said that, its always good to beat the Pies, no matter what the stakes. Its liike eating a red skin; no matter where you are it always tastes good.

    The joys for me were the looks on the faces of Maquire and Joffa – priceless. Oh ,and Wojo’s mark………..and Hawkin’s mark (yes he took a one grab mark !!)……….and Chappy showing some form…………………..and………………….

  23. MOC – your comment about early absconders set me thinking. Perhaps half way through the last quarter 20,000 remembered they hadn’t done their bail reporting for the week? Wouldn’t want to get banged up for an administrative oversight with the finals beckoning.

  24. Jake Niall article in today’s Sunday Age, just to add to the chatter:

    Happy Dad’s Day

  25. Dips, here’s my son Jackson’s agreeing with your point about the 100 point win (rounded up). The Cats actually won by 103 points because Pods DID kick and deserve the goal.


  26. Rick – a wise young man is your boy Jackson. If its actually 103 points lets just round it up to 105 and call it quits.

  27. There are reports that offshore bookies have been taken to the cleaners by an all-up plunge on the Cats to win by 90-100 points and have the biggest winning margin of the round. There were sighs of relief after the Crows final goal reduced the Eagles margin to only 95 points.
    The accounts of Nana Maxwell (of Nunawading), Hubert Shaw (of Nunawading) and Martin Vaas (of Nunawading) are being investigated.

  28. I am having trouble understanding something. Can someone assist?

    If Geelong had been beaten by Collingwood they would have been gone. If Geelong had been ‘pantsed’ by Collingwood they would have been gonner. They beat Collingwood by 100 plus points (Including Pods’ goal) and apparently they are gone anyway because Collingwood were tanking. I watched a replay of the first half and they didn’t appear to be tanking then.

    Hawthorn had a few resting but still managed to beat the mighty Suns by 9 points. Young Abblett had 43 quality posessions – Brown not available to thump him and Guerra retired from thumping since the Selwood responce (Funny thing when you hit back at bullies). Hawthorn are apparently now flag favourites and, to repeat, the Cats are apparently gone.

    How can this be so?

  29. westcoastdave says

    Very hard to get a read on what it all means. Only West Coast, St Kilda and Sydney are (to an outsider anyway) going into the finals without some quirky questions directed their way.

    Collingwood are either the best team coming off an aberration, or there are real cracks in the fortress. At the very least, they now give an impression of mortality – and that is dangerous thing to give an opponent, because they go at you harder and for longer.

    Geelong have been kind of spluttering along – but until the Sydney game they had been winning anyway. Was Sydney the aberration? Or does it show that they can’t always be the team that decides the outcome of a game now? They have won 19 games and beaten Collingwood twice, but West Coast toweled them up for most of their game a while back.

    The Hawks can probably win the thing with their very best game – but did they risk messing with form this week? Or will they be refreshed and ready to go coming off their mini-bye with a bit of a practice game to keep up the fitness levels?

    Realistically, unless St Kilda or West Coast really get it together, you’d expect the premier to come from one of those three. It’s hard to quite know which storyline will play out in the end – but I suspect that whichever one it ultimately is, it will with the benefit of hindsight, look bloody obvious.

  30. I think the more relevant game was Round 8 when both teams were trying. The Cats dominated that night also but poor kicking kept the Pies in it.

    I still think Pies desere to be favourites but I think the Cats are the best equipped to beat them. I’m sweating on the Hawks though. Perception is a funny thing.

  31. Clearsighted says

    No one knows. That’s the thing.
    Perception, as Pete stated, is a funny thing.
    An equitable fixture, would contribute to a clearer view of the playing fields during the home and away season. And the fixture, the spin, have not serviced any real understanding of the state of play.
    We all sit in the laps of the footy (and, horribly I suspect) the betting gods.
    The strengths and weaknesses of us, and the world, rest there.
    Not that footy is everything.
    And the Bismark is a herring.

  32. What’s clear it how totally UNFAIR it was for Collingwood to travel in round 23. This will be fixed in 2012 and beyond.

  33. To rephrase a famous quote, good teams play well in September.

  34. Marcus Holt says

    It is plainly obvious what conclusion can be drawn from Friday night’s game:
    The AFL has to do something about these blowouts!

  35. Some very predictable & excited comments here.

    The real stuff starts on Friday so just all hold your horses until we see what actually happens.

    The Cats played the perfect game. Who knows…. they may well wish they had saved it up for a final.

  36. Richard Naco says

    Collingwood didn’t tank.

    They just got run over by one in the first half, and pretended that they didn’t care after that, that the tread marks were just eczma (as in: “Play like that again and we’ll be ex [champions], Ma”).

    (Although it may hva been a Caterpillar that got them.)

  37. Watched Friday night’s game and noticed a distinct lack of physical intensity from early in the piece.

    Then went to Idiot Stadium today and watched two sides, also ostensibly playing for nothing, go at it hammer and tong physically, especially early.

    So what was the difference. One is that for North and Richmond, there was no tomorrow. For Friday night’s combatants, there is.

  38. JTH (and others), I remember Essendon walloping Geelong in Week 1 of the ’89 finals. When they met again in the Prelim, if my memory serves me correctly, Geelong went into that match as clear favourites, which seemed strange to me but proved to be absolutely correct as the Cats won by 94 points.

    Can you remember that being the case and if so, what it was the caused opinion (and form) to shift so drasticallly?

  39. Remember the first final well. Cats had been brilliant in the middle of the season. But form going in wasn’t great from memory. Fans had had an ordinary decade, and were flakey: never knew what to think. I organised a big barbecue at home in Brisvegas. Magnificent spring day. Great lunch. ON the reds. Very expectant. Cats were woeful frmo about half way through the first term (from memory). Felt shocking. Then had to play Melb who were pretty solid that year. Blight kept Couch and Bairstow on the bench early. Was the match when Ablett took the screamer over about six Demons. Then missed the shot for goal. Cats were too strong. Then played absolutely brilliantly v Ess in the prelim. And the rest is history.

    Cats fans were always worried in those days.

  40. Fair to say Cats’ fans were always worried until the 29th September, 2007?

  41. im not worried at all. The only thing that is worrying me is my attempt to write a QRL media release for my sports media assignment….i don’t know about this rugby stuff!

  42. Just navigate to the Almanac’s new Rugby page Danni!

  43. And by the way, you SHOULD be worried – by your appalling lack of capitalisation and an apostrophe.

  44. Gigs, I was there for the first final when Geelong lost. It was weird. Every time the ball even entered Ablett’s half of the ground there was this real buzz. I’ll never forget it. The rest of the game was flat as a tack. Geelong, I think, simply came out the next week much hungrier, and angrier, with a few tweeks from Blighty. Form there they improved each week. Confidence. Melb were a perfect buffer/rebound. The Cats always had the talent.

    I also noted, Malthouse saying , all happy and casual, on Friday night plenty of teams had finished top only to be been belted in the last home and away and gone on to win the flag. I was there at the Junction Oval in 1980 with my Dad when bottom Fitzroy beat top Richmond in the last round. Richmond went on to win the GF by a record margin (was there for that, too!). Malthouse was the Premiership back pocket.

    I reckon Bakes is right. Let’s see next week. For me, Swans v St.Kilda should be an old school corker!!

  45. -.- this thing is due 2mro! i have a whole page of randomness that im going to hand in- right now capitalisation and an apostrophe are the least of my worries.

  46. Fitzroy was a strange beast in 1980, Matt. They’d made the semis in ’79 and did again in ’81, knocked out both times by Collingwood (cruelly so the second time ’round). In 1980 they only got flogged twice but only won 4 games. Lost a lot of games narrowly, and quite a few after leading at three-quarter time.

    I remember a commentator referring to them as having become experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,

    They finished the year on the bottom but with a very respectable perecentage of 86 and, as you pointed out, the scalp of the premier team.

  47. Indeed, Gigs. Remember the heartache of 81. Robbed! Bloody umpire! Bloody Collingwood! Haha. Had forgotten about ’79. That’s the sweet thing about the Almanac, I reckon. People are onto the little memories time has let slip. Between everyone, there’s one hell of a big picture.

  48. Richard Naco says

    Dani: in my home town of Adelaide, rugby league is considered to be where 13 blokes stick their heads up each others’ bums and push. It is perfectly allowable between consenting adults, but shouldn’t be performed in front of kiddies (let alone in public).

    For rugby union: add 2 consenting adults.

    (BTW: if you mention the terms “squirrel grip” and “hopoate manouvre”, you’ve got the game down pat.)

  49. There can be all stoic the academic discussion in the world about what Friday night means but to cut through all the crap and inuendo just watch the replay and note the three Eddies and Joffa’s faces as the game went on.

    They saw it. They know.

  50. By the way. The Cats had a few good players out as well.

  51. Danni, don’t forget to mention sawdust brains and cauliflower ears. Could get you through to an HD.

    (That’s aach, not haach – old school)

  52. Andrew Fithall says

    I recall this time last year when all the Cats supporters were bringing into evidence the history of the premier team having been defeated by their Grand Final opponent in their previous meeting. They used this seemingly infallible predictor of match results to justify their optimism in being able to defeat Collingwood in the GF. Shame they didn’t make it to further test the hypothesis. Note, Last year’s premier team again failed to defeat their GF opponent in their most recent meeting.

  53. Watch the replay Andrew.

    I can only understand what is fact, not some pseudo academic perception leading irrelevant debate.

    A belting is a belting no matter how happy Mick was after the game or how much of the problematic black and white ice berg is influencing club dynamics under the surface.

    A football club can only do what it can do. A hundred point smashing of an incipid performing short priced double premiership favourite is a good performance as far as I am concerned.

    All the denial and smoke and mirrors deflection of reality can not change the fact that the Pies had a wobble (about 7 plus) last Friday.

    They may get back at it this week but they will face several very strong and agressive teams in the next couple of weeks.
    This years finals series will be one of atrition. A last team standing situation. I don’t think Collingwood are tough enough to go the distance in this forum.

    I may be wrong. But if I was a Pie I would be concerned.

  54. Having visited the Emerald City on the weekend nas taken in the Swans/bears game I warn you al that he Bloods Army are heading down the Hume. They will be fulling armed with lattes and lots hip hip horays boys. Could the curator at Ethiad please ensure that the roof remains open as the setting sun “creates such a lovely hue of green” and could the Saints please refrain form playing well as “its so much less stresfull and fun when its not close. Oh look the lights on Centrepoint are coming on”.
    Yes Melbourne be scared. Be very very scared and stock up on the soy milk by Friday.

  55. I think the problem with the obsession about the significance or otherwise of results like Friday night is that we observers of the game simply haven’t come to terms with today’s professional approach to list management and the absolute focus on the games of real importance.

    In the past, a 16 goal loss in any circumstances was a shocker of a result, pure and simple. But we need to abandon this historical perspective and understand that in 2011, results like Friday night should be seen in exactly the same light as mid-season trips to Arizona or decisions to rest half the side from a meaningless but potentially disruptive interstate game. Unheard of even 5 years ago, but part and parcel of the modern approach that leaves less and less to chance.

    Today, a little drop-off in intensity can make a huge difference on the scoreboard, because highly skilled opposition make you pay for every little error. Collingwood certainly wouldn’t have intended to drop the game, let alone by that margin, but once Geelong took control, it appeared that Collingwood was loath to try and exert any extra effort to try and chase it.

    BTW – Matt – Richmond lost to South Melbourne at the Lake Oval in the last round of 1980. Their loss to Fitzroy actually happened in Round 15 and ended an 11 game winning streak. However, both games are actually relevant to today’s discussion as they highlight how much the game has changed in terms of planning and list management. In Round 15, Richmond lost to Fitzroy because their tall forward line was incapable of adapting to extremely windy conditions. In Round 22, the wind was again a big factor down at Albert Park Lake. The Tigers didn’t learn. They took in the same big lineup, including an injured David Cloke, and managed just 7 goals for the day. Cloke aggravated his injury and missed the first two finals. Such boneheaded tactics and selection decisions would clearly not be tolerated today. Fortunately for Richmond, the loss proved to be the wakeup call they needed!

  56. Phantom – you, and others, are determinedly at pains to point out how the Cats destroyed the Pies and you are correct! It was a fact. I watched it too with a sort of morbid fascination and I did see Joffa & Ed looking miserable (gee…very unique editing there for a change…… yawn).

    I watched Ottens crumb his own taps and race away from the center square. I watched Swan try to spoil Hawkins. I watched Pie players jog after Cats players who cut us up with their excellent foot skills. And I watched the Cats play some champange, running footy so they would certainly be chuffed.

    Your inference that the Pies may be a bit soft is unusual. But we shall all see.

    But it matters not one iota. It’s what the players do next week and beyond that matters and I think this Pie outfit has some pretty strong leaders, both on & off the field. I expect a much better showing next week as incentive is a big motivator in sport.

    A week’s a long time in footy and who knows, you may be licking your wounds late on Friday night.

  57. Correct, master bakes.

    But selective. Last week the Cats were gone because they were beaten by Sydney. They needed a good performance to win back favour.

    Surely a 100 point win against the Premier Pies counts for something.

    We know you’re just a teenie bit worried. I would be. It looked a little more than embarassing.

    And to make matters worse for all the Pies fans who laughed and said the Cats were gone last week, or at least those who I could suss out on Saturday last (big challenge that) said because we beat Collingwood again we are gone.

    I simply don’t understand it. It is about as logical and sane as Gadaffi saying his people love him. I suppose pressure does that.

  58. Andrew Fithall says

    The loser of the Cats Hawks game on Friday night might then be hoping for a Pies win on Saturday afternoon. The alternative is a path to the Grand Final via a Preliminary Final aganist WCE in Perth. An MCG prelim against easybeats Collingwood would be much more attractive proposition.

  59. Phantom – you seem very touchy about what people say. Which two or three Pie fans do you consult with? You should thicken that skin of yours and just laugh it off.

    I have confidence that the Pies will play much better this week than what we served up last week, purely based on what I’ve seen over the past 18 months. Whether that will be good enough to win will be up to the Eagles who will surely have a say in the matter.

    As to those “old” Cats, surely the demolition job of the Pies will result in some new found energy to course through those tired, old bones of theirs and account for those young, Haughty Hawks who have a habit of annoying the Cats of late.

  60. Andrew, I love and respect you as a fellow Knacker, but…..

    Speaking of ‘Easybeats’ Stevie Wright is looking a little worse for wear. Will he be rushed in this week?

    I will just make one last point this week.

    I will say it slowly so everyone can understand.


    Don’t you guys get it.

  61. Niggling half back flanker Bakesy. Can’t help my self.

    Just up for the challenge. It is finals time after all.

    What else would you expect from a geriatric cat?

  62. I’ve said all along this year that it is a bonus season for me. I thought that Cats might start their wander down the ladder. But they haven’t and it’s magnificent. Even after the Swans game I thought they had the wobbles (it wasn’t just the Swans game it was the whole previous month). And now they are in with another chance. They’re good enough. We all know that now. The belting of the Pies is like a rich chocolate mousse after a magnificent rib eye steak and a bottle of Shiraz. It was almost too much.

    It counts for nothing that we’ve beaten both Hawthorn and Collingwood twice, but gee it makes for a really enjoyable season.

  63. I was at the game on Friday night but had to curtail my customary lip. The Collingwood fans in the vicinity were shocked and angry – like a fox caught in a trrap, they were ready to lash out at anyone near them.
    I have never seen such confusion and pent-up anger in a mob of supporters before. Their realisation that this year’s premiership may not be a cakewalk was evident.

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