Round 5 – Collingwood v Essendon: A Kyneton Perspective

  by PJ Branagan

I talk serious footy on a daily basis at our pub in Kyneton with my mates Kenny, Shane and Ian. They are all deep, insightful and individualistic in their views. Ken Rose, Kynetons most successful shitcarter, has been a Collingwood member for 43 years and has a framed montage of his 42 consecutive club medallions. He coached Nathan Thompson in the Kyneton Under 16s. Shane Feely, another ‘Pies man, came to Kyneton in 1987 as a bank manager and eventually became president of the Kyneton Football and Netball Club in the ’90s. But rather than rush out and buy the best centre half forward running around Shane got the club and the local council to massively upgrade the bogheap that was “The Kyneton Showgrounds” so that our footballers would be able to compete on the drier, faster grounds of the Bendigo Football League. He presided over Kyneton’s 1995 and 1997 flags. And Ian Stewart won 3 Brownlow Medals and played in a few VFL premierships.

The conversation is usually interesting, boisterous, funny and, at times, emotional. But we all now concur on one fact. Nathan Buckley can’t coach! As one of our group declared of  the media smooth and savvy figurehead, “He’s all duck and no dinner!”

And so the Anzac Day game against the Essendon Club Eighteen offers Buckley another opportunity to save his flagging fortunes as a League coach. The first quarter of this “contest” allows the’Pies to showcase the silky skills and systems that the intellectual leviathans of our coaching panel, Robert Harvey, Ben Hart, Jared Rivers and Anthony Rocca keep espousing to an increasingly bemused and dissatisfied media and Collingwood membership.

The Public Holiday training run first quarter presents a solid, clever midfield approaching the engineroom status of Swan, Pendlebury, Ball and Beames. The emergence of the American ‘Pie, Mason Cox, with a first up mark and goal couldn’t have been better scripted by Walt Disney. And, of course, the self congratulatory Siamese twins of Sidebottom and Fasolo delighting the success-starved Collingwood fans with slick play,goals and an opportunity  to share the visual delights watching themselves on the big screen replays. The ‘Pies have come to play!

  The second quarter is similar. Collingwood moving the ball easily from backline to midfield to forward options. Moore and Cox are busy and even Demon reject Jeremy Howe is amongst the action. Mitch Brown shows a bit for the Bombers but Daniher is held well by Frost who needs a couple of good games under his belt. The ‘Pies are comfortable at the main break.

  If anyone should have taken on this B Grade Bomber outfit it is John Worsfold. Fresh from a sabbatical and with nothing to lose this premiership captain and premiership coach at West Coast and premiership assistant coach to David Parkin at Carlton took stock at half time and exploited our muddling Magpie mastermind, Buckley.

  Better efforts in the second half from Goddard, Brimley, Daniher, Merrett, Parish, Zaharakis and Fantasia started taking the gloss off Collingwood’s Big Day Out.

  It became almost a trademark of Mick Malthouse’s sides  of 2010 and 2011 that they could never put the vanquished to the sword. Even in those halcyon seasons opponents, whom Geelong or Hawthorn would thrash by 15 to 18 goals, the ‘Pies would struggle to beat by more than 10. Collingwood still seems the same.

  Having established themselves as victors by half time on April 25th there was no icing on the Anzac biscuits. Kelly and Hartley were joining their team mates in matching the early Collingwood intensity resulting in both sides kicking 5 goals 2 behinds in the third quarter.And in the final stanza the Dons actually outscored their opponents 4 goals 3 to 3 goals 2. The ‘Pies just couldn’t finish it off.

  Buckley got another reprieve.We’ll probably beat Carlton,Brisbane,Gold Coast and,maybe,Fremantle.But the horizon looks gloomy against any sides that could muster 12 goals plus.

  Why reappoint him till the end of next season? Didn’t Hawthorn make that blue with Schwabby a few years back? Buckley’s performances over the past 4 years have been ordinary and good business principles should dictate caution rather than questionable optimism and risk.

  No doubt the spin will endure from Buckley,the Club and sections of the media.But if you want to hear it like it is then  join Kenny, Shane, Stewie and me in the bar of the Newmarket Hotel in Kyneton.


                                                                                 PJ Branagan


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Good to see you back on the Almanac pages PJB. Can Bucks coach? I still reckon he can because when our fittest sides have been available his record is pretty good. I think the fitness and conditioning departments need a complete overhaul. Injuries have dogged us and Bucks since 2012. Huge club, cashed up. No excuses for not having cutting edge fitness program by now.

  2. Kevin Witham says

    Paul, as always a balanced and objective appraisal of a bloke you’ve had a pathological hatred of ever since the day he cut you off in Chapel Street.
    Like Phil above, I believe the injuries sustained by the team have dragged the Pies down to the level of a mid-tier side at best. At full strength they are top eight. Two more years into a few of the younger guys and we’re top four.
    Your call for a sacking mid contract may ring a bell for a few Geelong members who wanted Mark Thompson gone before his stretch of glory. Rather than looking at what you consider an ordinary performance over the past four years, Buckley’s strength of character in plotting a rebuild course and sticking to it despite injuries is admirable and will pay dividends in the long run. You haven’t seen him go out and try and buy a premiership to stay relevant like a former Collingwood coach could be accused of before his sacking.
    Rather than take the Richmond route and sack the coach, let’s give him time to complete the job.

Leave a Comment