Round 5 – Collingwood v Essendon: Catching That Winter Sun




Is there anything sweeter than a blue sky and sunshine on a winter’s day?


That was exactly the situation that I was faced with on a recent sojourn to Port Fairy; a first for me. I’ve never been a beach person, it’s the peaceful meandering of a river that calls to me, but after only a couple of days along the coast, I feel I could easily become a lover of the beach in winter.


Living near Ballarat, I spend most of the winter months griping to my husband about needing to move further north. Harking back to my early teaching days in the Mallee or my short stint in the South Australian outback, the heat is my natural habitat. But I was pleasantly surprised at the way the sea air, and the crash of the ocean made my heart sing, even in the dead of winter.


It’s the writer in me that loves the idea of long walks along a sandy beach, which is all but deserted with the usual summer flotsam of humanity. The lighthouse on Griffith Island at Port Fairy was the perfect easy stroll, taking some time to mull over the next idea, while keeping a look out for whales and their calves, which had been sighted only the day before. The wind was bracing, but with beanie and jacket, the air was invigorating and the views spectacular.


I spent two afternoons soaking up the precious rays of sun and watching the kids play in the shallows of Pea Soup beach. A rocky outcrop sheltering the small inlet from the rough waves of the Southern Ocean. Trailing across rock pools, barefoot with my jeans rolled to my knees, I shared my children’s joy in discovering little marine creatures hidden away in crevices of rock. The water was icy, but none of us cared.


No trip is complete without sampling the local cuisine. In this case, it was the offerings of the local bakeries.  We were promised that Cobbs Bakery held the best jam donuts known to man-kind, and they didn’t disappoint! For me though, the winner was The Village Bakery with their fresh, flaky pies. Holding their warmth in my hands, I could almost imagine I was at the footy, waiting for the siren to go.


Two days, and a million miles away from the sunshine in Port Fairy, I’m back in Beaufort and rugged up to watch an early-July Anzac Day match, which typifies the craziness of the 2020 footy season. Without the high-leaping prowess of Jeremy Howe and the steady reliability of Steele, there was a brief crisis of confidence before the first bounce. Luckily, knowing that Treloar would be gracing the field for the first time this season made it slightly easier to bear.


Perhaps the only thing that measures up to the joy of catching sunshine on a winter day, is the thrill of watching the Pies beat their age-old rivals, Essendon. I’m in a tricky situation, bought up in a Bomber household, and married to a fervent Collingwood supporter, nothing is sweeter than watching the boys in black and white beat the Bombers in a nail-biter.  After last week’s two point loss, the pain of a close game is real. The start of the first quarter was great to watch as we kicked three straight, but then it was tough to watch. Into the last quarter I’d all but given up hope before we got to within three points with some quick goals, only to be thwarted once again.  It wasn’t to be.


One of the silver linings in tonight’s match, despite the disappointment, was watching Josh Daicos run around. No doubt it’s intimidating to be following in his father’s footsteps – a genuine Collingwood cult hero who played more than 250 games. But Josh is becoming comfortable in the his AFL role. He was smooth in his use of the ball, not only kicking a goal in the first quarter, but executing some crucial marks and tackles. At times he looked like he was moving the ball with all the time in the world, which bodes well for the team in coming years.


After suffering through the game tonight, I can only feel lucky that the earlier part of my week was filled with natural beauty and joyous laughs. If we keep losing close games, even the short 2020 season is going to feel like a prolonged one.


My take aways from the week that’s been – head back to Port Fairy as soon as possible, and ignore Dad’s calls for the rest of the week.






COLLINGWOOD                3.0       3.1       3.5    7.6 (48)
ESSENDON                        3.0       5.0      8.2    10.3 (63)


Collingwood: Stephenson 3, Brown, Daicos, Mihocek, Varcoe
Essendon: Stringer 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, McKernan, Parish, Shiel, Townsend, Zaharakis


Collingwood: Treloar, Maynard, Daicos, Stephenson, Pendlebury
Essendon: Shiel, Hurley, McGrath, Stringer, Ridley, Hooker


Collingwood: Nil
Essendon: Stringer (ankle)


About Nicole Kelly

Is a teacher, mother, writer and all-round lover of words!


  1. Kerrie O'Callaghan says

    Loved the Pt Fairy holiday with my beautiful grand children & the win last night just topped my week! ?.
    We thought it was a great match, though were a bit nervous in the beginning.
    We’re still working on swaying the grandkids!
    Go Bombers!!!
    Great article Nicky.
    All our love no matter the footy team.
    Mum. X

  2. As a footy follower since ’57, there’s nothing quite like a Collingwood defeat. Last night made 2 in a row – absolutely fantastic. I guess there are several reasons why I’m not a Black and White fan, but Eddie is one of the main ones. I do however like him on Millionaire Hot seat

  3. Great article. My favourite thing about Essendon supporters are even when they win, they are still blaming the umpiring. Poor decisions go both ways. Apparently not if you follow Essendon. Suppose 20 years of being irrelevant could do that to you. Thankfully for us there is always next week. Although my confidence is lacking.

  4. Great spot for a break. Even if your team loses. Thanks for your piece Nicole.

  5. Good to see KOC on the site! Even if she’s a smug Bomber today.

  6. Nicole- I’m calling it now: a sunny winter’s day at the beach is better than a hot summer’s day on the sand. I really enjoyed this Nicole. Thanks.

  7. Nicole Kelly says

    Thanks Mickey – I agree completely! No burnt toes from the sand or sunburnt backs. A total pleasure!

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Great piece Nicole. Port Fairy and Daicos goals are things of great beauty.

    It’s been a tough few days to be a Pie fan.

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