Round 4 – Essendon v Collingwood: ANZAC XXI Another great chapter in our history

Written for the Floreat Pica Society by Mark O’Connell, who each year attends the dawn ceremony and the Collingwood-Essendon game and then writes a report for FPS.


As it has has for the previous 13 years the day began at the Dawn Service with my cousin Noel McNamara, now 72 years of age.

However a spanner was thrown in the works when Noel informed me the previous evening that he couldn’t start his car despite
just having had it serviced. We have a 4.15 meeting arranged and don’t want to have any problems. Noel is a bit worried but assures me
he will be there one way or another. At 4.20 I’m at the Docklands carpark and Noel is on the phone. He’s on the corner of Swanston and
Victoria and asks me to pick him up. When I do he explains he’s just got off a Nightrider bus. In his words, a very pleasant Chinese man
had just dropped off around 40 late night revellers around Doncaster, North Balwyn and Mitcham then gone back into town to pick up another load
with Noel as his sole passenger.

As we approach our usual parking area in Walsh St it is clear the crowd will the biggest ever. Despite being about 15 minutes earlier than ever before
we’re forced to drive almost to the end of the street to get a park. There’s people everywhere and whilst we eventually work our way to a reasonable position we
are further back than usual. As always the service is very poignant one and nobody is even bothered by the rain or the temperature being a bit closer to crisp than frost.

At the conclusion of the service, Noel and I enjoy coffees and muffins at the Observatory Cafe before proceeding to Medici at Docklands
for breakfast.

Anyway enough of the preliminaries – onto the game!

I wasn’t confident at all going in as our two wins had been against exceptionally weak opposition.

Our starts haven’t been good in the opening rounds so its good to see we are ‘on’. The pressure on the Bombers is immense
and the repeat efforts of a number of blokes are noted. We get the first goal, a beauty from Elliott. I’m oblivious to the ball going out
of bounds and only see that on the TV later in the night. After Daniher replies for Essendon, Adams misses from point blank range on a day
where every goal is vital. The hard working Cloke shows the benefit of his appointment with the shrink and we have reasonable control over the game but
Stanton cancels out Pendlebury’s goal right on the siren and we lead by 8 points.

The second term begins in similar fashion though we can only add 2 behinds to the score. Then for about 15 minutes the wheels fall off, and in retrospect
we probably did well just to hang in. We just can’t clear the ball from our defensive 50 and are fortunate that Essendon are not taking their chances. A 60 metre bomb
from Fletcher puts them in front eventually and then a snap from Stanton extends their lead. Essendon have had the last 15 inside 50s and we need a spark desperately. It came from
a great tackle by, I think, Langdon leading to Elliott’s second major and for the rest of the quarter we manage to re-group and eventually lead by a point at the main break.

Five minutes into the third after a run of behinds, Seedsman’s long goal lifts the crowd and gives us a great morale boost. Further majors to the impressive Crisp and Swan
and we are on top. I call for the introduction of the sub to replace Gault or White but its Oxley who’s given the dreaded red vest. Incidentally I’m very impressed with the new display
of the players numbers on the interchange over on the MCC members side – a great innovation. The siren sees us 14 points to the good but I’m sensing a cliff-hanger finish.

It never came as Essendon were surprisingly listless in the last quarter and failed to mount any serious assault. There’s no goal for 12 minutes until Cloke converts after marking
strongly right in front and when Dwyer curls one around beautifully we are just about home.

Good old Collingwood forever !!

To the votes

Not easy to narrow it down with plenty pushing for inclusion but I have settled on the following

1 vote
Jack Crisp
Only 4 games into his career at Collingwood but has far exceeded the modest expectations we had.
Very strong at the stoppages and kicked a terrific goal. Bargain basement pick up.
Look what’s happened to Brisbane since he left……..

2 votes
Tyson Goldsack
One of his best ever games for the club and hopefully his days as a defensive forward are over.

3 votes
Paul Seedsman
A unanimous choice by the ANZAC medal judges Mark Thompson, Guy McKenna and Danny Frawley
so who am I to argue. Won more contested possessions than ever before, backed himself and ran and carried
and continually drove us forward

Honourable mentions to Marley Williams, Scott Pendlebury, Jack Frost, Taylor Adams, Nathan Brown, Dane Swan
Travis Cloke and that Chinese bus driver.

And so we move on with a record of 3 and 1 and everything to play for.

Another chapter closes.

Lest we forget.


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