Round 5 – Carlton v Collingwood: Night of Remembrance (sic)

The Mayday match was meant to be a celebration of Mick Malthouse’s considerable achievement in becoming the games’ record holder among VFL/AFL coaches.

Years from now, it will be seared into the memory of Carlton supporters as a night of humiliation, while the Magpie fans will recall the occasion with delight as that time when they put their loathed rivals to the sword.

In these difficult days, we of the Navy Blue persuasion draw scant comfort from the glories of other times – 1970, 1979, 1981, and the night in 1992 when the new MCG Great Southern Stand was “christened” and we spoiled the party of the Collingwood centenary commemoration.

The Carlton players dishonoured this significant occasion with a singularly feeble effort, offering no more than token opposition to a well-organised and improving Collingwood team, who nonetheless remain short of the top tier at present.

Cameron Wood, playing against his old team marked and goaled from an extremely difficult angle in the opening minute, which enabled the Blues to lead until the 6 minute mark . Thereafter the game played out as expected; the Magpies seized control and progressed to a regulation victory. The nature of their dominance is apparent from the fact that they won each quarter by a similar decisive margin. On the most generous assessment, Carlton had perhaps three players who broke even with their direct opponents. For the rest, and in a collective sense, the Blues were outclassed.

The Anzac Day victory may come to be seen as a significant marker in the development of this Collingwood team. Several of the younger players who were influential against Essendon demonstrated the inspiriting effect of that performance by playing with freedom, confidence and flair against Carlton. Oxley was particularly effective as were Adams and Crisp who completely nullified Henderson, Carlton’s major forward target (I didn’t know at the time that Hendo injured a hamstring before being subbed during the 3rd quarter, which may excuse his ineffectual performance).

Seedsman fresh from his Anzac Medal performance was again outstanding for two and a half quarters. At the time, I sensed that there was an element of derision from the Collingwood coaching box in his being substituted for what seemed like an opportunity to give Karnezis a run. However, I learned after the match that Seedsman did have a hip injury. I might observe that Karnezis was a lively contributor in his limited playing time so that the ‘pies lost little with this change. Pendlebury was at his imperious best and was by a decisive margin best afield.

The Blues are still groping in the dark, but quite some distance from finding the light switch. This seems as true of the Carlton administration, as it is of the on-field performance where the ineptitude is all too manifest. The dark days which supporters have endured since 2002, with occasional false dawns threaten to stretch into the forseeable future (and beyond).


  1. E.regnans says

    These are indeed bleak times for Carlton, beautifully recorded above.
    The image of a benighted form groping in the dark for a light switch seems appropriate.
    Is patience and acceptance the best path from here, I wonder?

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Peter, that 1992 Centenary game performance still pops up in some of my nightmares. Awful performance from what was actually a strong team that did quite well in ’92.
    Gee Mick has some work to do. If he stays. Very good write up.

  3. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Dear Peter,
    You’ll always have 1915,38,70,79 and 81.
    We only have 1910 and one less Premiership. Blues still in the black.

  4. John Butler says

    But Phil, the past loses its lustre if you can’t see a future. Though you’re right, we’re still in the black (at least with Collingwood). :)

    Peter, I’d forgotten about that ’92 match. Thanks for the pleasant reminder.

  5. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks fellows for the comments. Certainly at my age, one tends to spend quite a bit of time looking backwards, and there are plenty of comforting memories to keep a Blues supporter warm on cold winter nights. However, as JB points out, what sustains anyone in the present is future prospects, and to say they look bleak in the current situation of Carlton is gross understatement.
    I’m grateful that I know and like the Collingwood representatives in the comments. If I were more sensitive I might feel I was being mocked, but I am reasonably sure that you are each genuinely empathetic for me personally, if not for the benighted organisation which I support.

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