Round 8 – Collingwood v Geelong: None the wiser


Collingwood tried things all day and made plenty of errors. Maybe Geelong forced these errors. Whatever, Geelong certainly did enough to deserve their win in the wintry cold.


We’ve got some ripper seats. Ground level in the Olympic Stand as walk up General Admission.
“Who wants a Kit Kat?”

The buds and I have met JT Harms with T, A and E Harms at their house. Together (“Where’s the footy?”) we have walked (“Dad, I need my Myki!”) to the station. It’s a Mum-free trip to the footy on Mother’s Day. Terrific for all concerned.

And it’s Collingwood at home to Geelong. Three Harms children bedecked in blue and white; two Wilson children in black and white, and their respective Dads have waited on the platform at Merri station (“it’ll be here in about three minutes”). Weak sunlight has fallen somehow without heat.

We’ve squeezed on (“Ooh, it’s a Collingwood train, kids.”). As is usual, it’s been a magnificent ride above the Collingwood river flats; tiny single-fronted cottages seemingly embarrassed by their million-dollar price tags (“Have you got the footy?”).
We’ve touched off at Jolimont (“Dad, can you take my Myki?”). And we’re half way down the slippery Yarra Park hill before we realise (“Hang on… Who’s got the footy…?” “I gave it to you.” “Ahh…”) that the footy is gone.

Collingwood coming off a narrow win in Brisbane; Geelong coming off a suspiciously soft romp at home to GWS. Both teams have looked good at times this year; both have looked fallible.

“Should be a good one, today.”
“Perfect conditions.”

It’s a bit after 3pm on a wintry Sunday. And direct sun will not touch our faces sitting here. What will touch our faces is a teeth-rattling breeze whistling fresh off the Antarctic ice-cap. (“Dad can I have my coat?”)

So it’s coats and Kit-Kats all round before the ball is bounced.
This is magnificent.

The four quarters of the day turn out to be the Barbecue Shapes quarter, the Salt and vinegar chips quarter, the hot fries quarter and the truffle slice quarter.

There’s something timeless about the Collingwood stripes taking on the hoops of Geelong; emerald grass underfoot. And they’re away. I like the look of this Collingwood side. Sidebottom, Treloar, Grundy, Thomas. In contrast, the old brigade of Selwood, Dangerfield and Ablett appear to me as museum pieces. I’m happy enough to watch them go around. And correspondingly disappointed to note the absence of S Pendlebury (“That’s a shame.”)

Good contests all over the ground. Wonderful to see the growth in bearing of J Howe; who is adding positional and teaching wisdom to his box of soaring aeronautical tricks. But in the Geelong forward line this Ratugolea is introducing himself (“Whoah! He just went CLUNK!”)

It’s tight.

By half way through the salt and vinegar chips quarter, scoreboard attendants must have been reaching for their space blankets. Hypothermia is staved off at the 24 minute mark when S Crameri scores the first goal and (“ohh, it’s two in a minute!”) G Ablett the second goal of the quarter.

Half time (“Right, who wants some hot chips?”) brings fries and (“Dad, I’m freezing. I can’t stop my teeth from chattering”) a costume change. It feels like Collingwood just needs a break. The rub of the green.

Mean sea level pressure analysis for Australia, Sunday 13 May, suggesting that seats in M51 may be furnished with an Antarctic breeze

But the hot fries quarter brings three goals each. Tom Phillips (“He’s going alright”) and J De Goey for Collingwood, before P Dangerfield, S Menegola and S Menegola again kick away. W Hoskin-Elliott gets one back for Collingwood, but A Treloar and J Crisp shank gettable chances. It looks like being one-of-those-days. Great to watch the contest of J Howe on P Dangerfield; athleticism and footy nous. And Blicavs on Cox (“Can’t be many times two #46 have played on each other”). Meanwhile, the costume change (“Dad, my teeth have stopped chattering”) seems to have worked.

With the last quarter upon us, the buds crack out their collection of Mother’s Day slice: an innovative amalgam of truffle mixture and lemon slice base (“Dad, would you like a piece?”), made for mum and presented this morning. After four minutes, the Cats snuff out the game really, with the first goal of the quarter (“It’s Menegola. Again!”).

It’s been a game of high effort but little reward. For Collingwood, despite the loss, I’m not too concerned. There was plenty of initiative shown, plenty of speculation. Many centring kicks from half back were cut off in the centre of the ground; but I was happy to see that dice rolled. Happy to note that the young fellas had sufficient confidence to play that way. A couple of decisions could have gone the other way, a couple of injuries could have changed things.

But that’s life.
The Cats are an interesting side. The Pies, too.
Not really sure where either of them sit.

After the game we’re all singing (“We are Geelong”). And performing slap-stick Three Stooges gags on each other. (“What’s that?” [Point to partner’s chest] [Partner looks down at their chest] [Flick partner in the face with finger]). Rock and roll bunny, playing to captive crowds by Jolimont station, tonight disappointingly riffs on his Fender without his rabbit suit. The difference between a rock and roll bunny and just a guy with a loud amplifier is quite slim.

But as with the (Collingwood fans’ perspective of the) footy result, any disappointment is fleeting. Disappointment is fleeting, because we’re here.

COLLINGWOOD 1.3 1.6 4.11 5.15 (45)
GEELONG 2.4 4.7 7.10 9.12 (66)

Collingwood: Phillips 2, Hoskin-Elliott, De Goey, Grundy
Geelong: Menegola 3, Ablett, Horlin-Smith, Dangerfield, Crameri, Thurlow, Ratugolea

Collingwood: Scharenberg, Howe, Treloar, Sidebottom, Mayne, Grundy
Geelong: Menegola, Stewart, Kelly, Duncan, Dangerfield, Ablett

Collingwood: Pendlebury (ankle) replaced in the selected side by Crocker, Moore (hamstring), Phillips (concussion)
Geelong: Bews (corked thigh)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Nicholls, Findlay, Wallace

Official crowd: 44,602 at the MCG

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. St Pendlebury sounds more apt. Grand day. Mother’s Day slice takes the edge off the loss.
    Would be interested in the Handicapper and NCunninghammii’s match report. An afternoon of peace must be bliss without the racket of sport and kids (large and small).

  2. Strange game. Usually Collingwood strangles Geelong. This one the roles were reversed. I don’t usually enjoy low scoring affairs but this one had a great tension to it. Both teams cracked in hard and will be sore this week. Not sure either team can win the big dance but both will give a bit of cheek.

  3. Thanks for the weather map. “A land of drought and flooding rains” DMcKellar. Hobart drowns while Perth residents are still applying sunburn cream. The roses are stuck in perpetual bloom with no time for winter regeneration. Cockies sharpening the tynes to cut the hard ground for dry seeding.
    Weather? As predictable as footy.

  4. Danielle says

    Great read.
    I bumped into JTH half time. too bad we were a bit far across seating wise, we could have used some little magpies in our cheersquad.

    As weird as this sounds watching this game I never felt like I’d loved collingwood so much in my life.

    It may have been the shity umpiring but they just seemed like they were really trying out there.

    Any player that came within ear distance of our front row was drowned in verbal love and positivity.
    The loss just didnt seem like it was the players’ fault, and we just really wanted them to know that.

    When Grundy was setting up for goal infront of us the 4th, we pretty much gave him a standing ovation on his walk back to set up his kick. No joke the amount of love that we forced onto him made it even more satisfying when he kicked the goal.

    Sidey, Grundy, Howe, Dunn, Crisp, Varcoe, Treloar.
    Gotta love these Collingwood boys.

  5. Yvette Wroby says

    So many interesting images you have painted with your words. Fine day out had my all dads and kids. Well written yet again

  6. JBanister says

    Enjoyed this DW. Something about the way the ‘G is. There’s just not the same images in and around Etihad. The concrete jungle.

    Stay warm.

  7. Andrew Fithall says

    Can inform you that guitar-playing rabbit was on bridge over the rail lines to the tennis centre. You can have him back if you like.

  8. Oh Danielle I just love that you still blame the umpires! They were terrible, agree.

  9. Danielle says

    Omg Dips I’m not joking this time!
    I made sure to tell old mate boundry ump, who unfortunately for him had his water bottle stationed right infront of us that his mate umpy 15 is a real disgrace.

    Also my fiance may have fractured his knuckle when slamming his hand down at …. u guessed it a shity umpire call ofc.

  10. Frank Taylor says

    Amother lovely piece Tall Man.
    Ta Frank

  11. Dave Nadel says

    Beautifully written, David.

    I suspect that I am older than any of the other Magpie contributors to this thread so I should be able to cope with disappointment at least as well the rest of you. But, frankly, I travelled home from the game totally depressed and in a foul mood.

    Yes, we lost Pendles before the game and Darcy Moore and Tom Phillips during the game so we were down on rotations and midfield talent. Yes, we got a rough deal from the Umpires (you are absolutely right, Dani) and yes we can take pride in the play of our defenders.

    But there is no excuse for a score of five goals and fifteen behinds!!

    I had really begun to believe after the Adelaide and Essendon victories and even after the “honourable” loss to the Tigers, that the Pies might be playing in September this year. But you can’t win finals if you can’t kick goals.

    Very disappointing performance!!

  12. A great report on a terrible game of football.
    Thanks for sharing your day, e.r.

  13. E.regnans says

    G’day all. Beauty. Thanks.

    PB: I’m aware that Mother’s Day can be a tricky day for many. For many reasons. But a sweet slice is almost always a great thing.
    Dips: there’s a lot of potential in both sides, I reckon. Who knows how far either could climb (or fall) in 2018? Probably a good thing.
    PB: It’s been a warm year (again). Even in Melbourne. Sunday was an outlier – and more noticeable for that. Snow on Hobart’s Mt Wellington last Thursday. You get the feeling that Perth is just hanging on as the desert inches west.
    Danielle: yes, I recognise that reservoir of love you write of. Did you see Tom Phillips’ tweet this morning? Tom Phillips who was concussed as he kicked that goal and took no further part in the game:
    “So I’ve recovered some brain cells in the
    last 24 hours and was thinking, how
    often has someone had a short power
    nap on the G, whilst dribbling through a
    snag at the same time? hmm [wondering emoji]”
    Yvette: Thank you. You blaze a trail.
    K. Pettifer: I guess history and soul must account for some level of climatic comfort? Rgds, D Barwick
    A Fithall: Clearly a geographically astute rabbit aware of football’s tribal boundaries. The predominantly Collingwood punters heading north to Jolimont probably not the best audience from which to draw coins in support of the Cats’ anthem. He wasn’t badly missed.
    Dips: I’ve wondered about a “sliding doors” study of a game – in which every contentious decision is reversed. Maybe one day. Dani is spot on.
    Dani: You are spot on. I hope those knuckles heal before the Saints game.
    Frank: Thank you.
    D Nadel: Thank you. And you’re right, as always. That was a winnable game. And it was lost.
    Smokie: Terrible? Maybe. There will always be a few stinkers. Though it felt pretty tight for most of the day. Thanks.

  14. E.regnans says

    Did anyone find a small yellow footy on Sunday arvo? Maybe on a South Morang train?
    Please return to the Estate of JT Harms.

  15. Rulebook says

    OBP For mine this game was classic modern footy so over coached with set plays and structures
    the pies have a guy who is 8 foot 15 yes he is a work in progress and wouldn’t back him kicking for goal but get it in quick and long and try marking and then crumbing the footy.Would loved to see Denis Pagan coach against both sides on Sunday ( the Pies were worse than the Cats in over using the Sherrin but the Cats were hardly innocent ) thanks OBP

  16. Er- that’s a fine day out. Love the snippets of the kids’ observations throughout. I saw none of the match as we were out at West Beach enjoying a lunch on a sunny balcony overlooking the water. It was warm, and I suspect the last of these days until footy finals.

    The Barbeque Shape remains the clubhouse leader.

    Thanks for this.

  17. E.regnans says

    Thanks OBP.
    We were at ground level – on the flank.
    Set ups were pretty clear after behinds were scored. But that’s the way of it, I think.
    All invasion sports are the same (basketball, soccer, etc).
    Tactically you are light years in front of me – but the way I understand it, everyone is trying to maintain possession and find an overlap; a four-on-three or a three-on-two situation. After that it comes down to kicking skills – short passing and goal-kicking.

    Mickey – Bud Yum tells me this morning, after reading the story (above), and with disappointment, that she didn’t get any barbecue shapes. Indeed, the clubhouse leader. West Beach sounds a good option.

  18. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    I felt cold just reading this! There’s a delightful half hour in the twilight O’Reilly when the sun is full faced. Folks whinge about seeing etc but boy do they miss it when the horizon claims it.
    Cheer cheer Stripes ‘n’ Hoops.

  19. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Cursed by bad luck and absolutely crucified by them umpires !

  20. Margaret Askew-Walinda says

    Back from QLD for the match, warm as toast in the Legends area of the Ponsford, your piece has settled my soul. Collingwood hung in there but little seemed to go their way. What’s with Geelong in the last quarter tackling their opponents while Pies going for a mark and no free given? Bizarre! My younger sister collected coins after a drink in the Legends Bar to give to the Rabbit man and was so horrified with his replacement that she declined to give it to him. Still a meal at Two Fat Indians and I was glad to be at the MCG again.

  21. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Love to read a yarn about families of opposing sides enjoying a game together; before, during and after.

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    I’ve only taken the South Morang train to the footy a couple of times, it’s very much a “Collingwood train”. Love it. The Coodabeens have a great song about that train, “6.15 from Montmorency”.
    The umpires (rightly) copped it from our area of The Ponsford.
    Hopefully a Nathan Buckley coached team gets a decent run with injuries at some stage…

  23. E.regnans says

    Hi MdeH – the elements play such a big role, don’t they? Windy September in Melbourne. Squinty sun in the 4th quarter of the MCG. Not as big a role as in the old glue-pot days, mind you. But still.
    P Dimitriadis – as you were.
    M Askew-Walinda – what netherworld is the Legends area? I’m glad you enjoyed your day.
    Swish – pretty level headed young ‘uns accompanying us. Young Ms A Harms not too concerned when her request “can I change my tip to Collingwood Dad?” was met with “Ahh, not now, A. The game starts in 2 minutes.” Big grin when I asked two hours later if she would still like to change her tip.

  24. E.regnans says

    I’m looking forward to it all aligning, too, Luke.
    Injuries, umpiring, weather, luck.
    Gee, it will be great to watch.

  25. Thanks ER. It was a classic example of a special ordinary day. Nothing much happened but we were in good company and bombs weren’t raining, we had avoided most forms of pestilence, the rule of law prevailed sufficiently, the caramel cubes won the Harms kids, and, being 20 rows back from the fence, Esava Ratugolea (another ER) was at eye height right on the flank in front of us when he took one of his enormous marks. You could put your arm out and feel for him. Up that close, he really does look like Sidney Portier. And he has the glide of Andrew Macleod, but not as much as Tim Kelly does. Tom Stewart was terrific again. He had a Bruce Doull moment over there on the southern side. (Kelly, Ratugolea, Stewart: there’s three names we’d never uttered a couple of years ago.)

    Great to see you Danni.

    AF, you’re very hard on The Bunny.

    Thanks for a terrific day ER.

    PS We think the footy (a battered synthetic AusKick footy) was left at the train station when we were topping up Evie’s Myki. I hope it has gone to a good home. Or, even better, that it becomes the Merri Station footy and is handled by many commuters daily as they trudge towards The City or the promise of the wide open plains of South Morang.

  26. Cat from the Country says

    I am glad the Cats won.
    Low scores have been around for years.
    I remember one Cats v Pies at the G years ago and the Cats kicked 9.24 to won.
    I don’t remenber the Pies score or what we won by, but that score sticks in my mind.

Leave a Comment