Round 5 – Collingwood v Essendon: Anzac Day 2016

by Mark O’Connell


Anzac Day 2016

With the season having been such a disaster so far a game that seemed like it would be a total mismatch pre-season was suddenly anybody’s game. I was so sick of all the negativity surrounding Collingwood that I put something of a media ban on myself during the week. As well as all the Collingwood woes the never ending carry on about Trent Cotchin and the Richmond captaincy had just gone way too long and too far.

Couldn’t he send his father-in-law Rick Kennedy around to silence Kingy?

When I do finally listen to some football talk, I’m in the car driving home on Friday night. SEN has Malthouse on along with Justin Leppitsch and a few others.
Stangely Malthouse is actually making sense with much of what he says in what was a really interesting half hour or so. And then on the weekend there’s Clokey being interviewed on the run after learning of his omission. He must he in a state of confusion as he tells us he debuted on Anzac day 13 years ago when it was actually 11. Incidentally just to double check it was 2005 I opened Wikipedia and was greeted by the following amazing line

In 2005, injury setbacks to key big men Josh Fraser, Anthony Rocca and Tom Davidson, Cloke would make his debut in front of a 70,000 strong crowd on ANZAC Day against Essendon.

And so on to the day.

A 3.10 am alarm and I leap out of bed like a kid on Christmas day.

The Dawn Service is excellent as always though the crowd is definitely the smallest for several years. The weather is sensational. Cool at that early hour but with the promise of a beautiful day. All the usual preliminaries and then onto breakfast at Docklands. We are surprised to find our usual haunt Medici is shut and we select Cargo as an impromptu alternative. It’s a splendid breakfast with Floreat Pican Len Hannah and other great friends Ann Kilpatrick and Stefanos Valos dining with Noel and myself. We are in high spirits.

With the unpopular 3.20 start we have a bit of extra time so Noel and I join the Artist formerly known as KAFTAN and Michael White at the Baden Powell for a couple of cleansing ales.

And 12 hours and 10 minutes after my alarm went off the game starts and there are only two words on everybody’s lips – BIG COX. How appropriate that he kick the first goal and kick-start the side into a huge first quarter. While on Big Cox, I firstly cannot understand why he wasn’t played earlier and secondly reckon his debut was probably even better than he is getting the credit for.

Essendon are beyond awful. Despite our horrendous form coming in I was certain we’d win this one as I believed Essendon’s over-performing hacks would be exposed in a final’s like atmosphere. Although I don’t really care much for Essendon (and have even less regard for James Hird) I quite like Heppell as a player to watch and with other key players missing I’m reminded of a famous Floreat Pican quote (can’t remember who said it) that unlike a big night at Warnie’s place there is no Hurley and no Hooker.

It’s all over at quarter time and the Anzac medal is just about locked in as well.

Sidebottom has 3 goals and running rampant, Moore takes a great mark and converts and Oxley, Fasolo and Howe all hit the scoreboard as we race to an insurmountable 45 point lead.

Moore of the same in the second term as we suddenly have all these blonds picking up possessions at will with De Goey, Treloar and first gamer Smith who makes numerous mistakes but it doesn’t really matter. Crisp is trying to get Essendon back into it with his poor skills execution but they don’t capitalize much. Blair kicks 2 goals and Fasolo, Moore and Howe are again kicking goals and this incredible mismatch sees us 76 points up at half time.

I didn’t think we would go on to embarrass them by over 100 so the second half is fairly even. We are hampered by the loss of Varcoe while inevitably the Bombers show a little bit of run and fight in the third. Josh Smith kicks his first AFL goal and is mobbed in traditional fashion and mids De Goey and Greenwood nail majors. Frost is having a good game as he did last year playing on Daniher who was the match-winner in Essendon’s upset win in round 2.

Not much to talk about to talk about though Adams kicks a nice goal and Greenwood coverts from the boundary just after I suggest to Noel that he’s a “million to one”.

The votes

3 votes

Steele Sidebottom

An obvious choice throughout the day. Although there weren’t many highlights in second half, he was amazing early and his 4th goal where he ran the full length of the field to latch on the handy tap on from Big Cox highlighted his elite endurance and skill.

2 votes

Scott Pendlebury

Outstanding first 3 quarters. Blotted his copybook in the last a little with 2 errant handballs and then a dud kick into the forward line which missed Crisp (who wouldn’t have kicked it anyway the way he was travelling). Seemed to swap that half back role with Adams and was the better for it.

1 vote

Taylor Adams

Had been slowly improving since his diabolical first 2 rounds and this was easily his best game for the season winning the ball continually around half back and delivery it accurately on a reasonable proportion of times.

Honourable mentions to Frost, Treloar, Reid, Big Cox, Fasolo, Oxley, De Goey and even Blair believe it or not.


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  1. Yes, the Pies missed a great opportunity to boost their percentage, Mark.
    Your description of the promising debut of Mason Cox takes me back 15 years when Dean Cox was starting his superb career with the Weagles.
    Following a rare West Coast victory in 2001, an 882 6PR listener phoned in to the station’s Sunday arvo sports show singing the praises of Cox.
    In his typically straightforward fashion, the 6pr host – the late, great George Grljusich – retorted: “So you like big Cox, do you?”

  2. Media ban, Mark. I like it.
    No shortage of people telling us how to think.

    And 3:10am.
    Well played.

  3. ‘unlike a big night at Warnie’s place there is no Hurley and no Hooker.’

    Well played MOC, worth a Malarkey Medal vote for that line.

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