Round 9 – Collingwood v Geelong: Fish lips and furrowed brows

Collingwood v Geelong: Fish lips and furrowed brows


Phil gloating over his ginger cat

There weren’t many takers to come and see the Pies with me on Saturday. Brother Tim stayed home to focus on renovations while daughter Anastasia thought time would be better used doing homework. They of little faith.


I decided to Nige it and go by myself. It was a welcome opportunity to go to the footy and observe without being distracted by Tim’s penchant for Collingwood nihilism and Anastasia’s irksome requests for money to buy sugar packaged as food and drink.


I found a seat on the half-forward flank in the Members’ and felt comfortable without being confident or expectant. If the Pies had a crack and avoided a drubbing I wouldn’t be too disconsolate. It was Steele Sidebottom’s 150th. Mr consistency at the peak of his powers. Maybe we had a chance.


In front of sat who I can only describe as Pa Kettle and the Weasley twins. 8-9 years of age the boys were ginger-haired and freckled. When the Pies ran out to the strains of ‘Good Old Collingwood Forever’ they blocked their ears, pursed their lips like fish and furrowed their ginger brows.


Little twerps.


Products of old money and dodgy breeding I thought to myself. Was the old bloke their dad or their granddad? By quarter time he looked more like a grandfather.


The game started as expected. Free kick to Selwood. Here we go. However, the next 30 minutes would leave the 11 goal third quarter in the NAB Challenge in its wake as the highlight of the season so far.


Magpies like Crisp, De Goey, Greenwood, Blair, Grundy and the fairly-maligned Jesse White were playing out of their skin after being in the doldrums in the first eight rounds. Geelong had no idea what had hit them. They were being outrun, out-tackled and dare I say out-coached.


WTF? As Danni Eid might say.


Were the Pies back on the gear? Did Bucks do a short course on ‘How to win players and and execute game plans’ during the week? Two weeks earlier he urged the entire Holden Centre to ‘Harden Up’. It wasn’t hardness as such on display in the first term. It was swiftness of foot, hand and mind. A recapturing of trust and confidence that had been sorely lacking since the first round trouncing against Sydney.


This wasn’t Richmond, Essendon or Brisbane. This was Geelong, short-priced favourites for this game and Premiership favourites heading into Round 9. Danger, Selwood (free kicks aside), Guthrie, Caddy, Hawkins virtually unsighted or ineffective for an entire quarter. Pendles, Steele, Adams and Treloar were running rings around the gob-smacked Cats.


7.5.47 to 0.3.3

I thought about texting John Harms with a simple WTF JTH? I imagined him mumbling something like “Fuck-ing Collingwood” under his breathe, impeccably enunciated, of course.


I checked the margin and decided to hold off. 44 points is not a lead for Pie fans with any sense of history to go the early crow.


Usually, I go out for a smoke at each break. Deterred by the constant metal scanning resulting from Mr Abbott’s ‘War of Terror’, today I stood and observed the expressions of the Geelong fans around me.


Pa Kettle still had his arms folded. The Weasley twins were fighting among themselves with a combination of bitch-slapping, hair-pulling and twisting of each others potato chip packets.


I looked around and all I could see were puzzled, perplexed and peeved expressions of fish-lipped and furrowed-brow Cats fans.


How dare those tattooed, toothless, uncouth, welfare-dependent Collingwood ferals ruin our pleasant afternoon at the footy?


Mealy-mouthed Cats types didn’t know what to say. They wanted to express their anger, frustration, disappointment and yet somehow dug deep to remain decorous and inoffensive.


For all my gloating, I knew this was too good to last. The Cats were slowly working their way back with Blicavs, Bartel, Duncan and Hawkins starting to impose themselves.


By three-quarter-time the Pies led by 27 points (another tenuous margin for those that remember the 1977 GF) , yet one could sense a transformation in the game and a feeling that this one might just go down to the wire if the Cats could snag a couple early. Hawkins (2011 GF) duly obliged and as Geelong narrowed the margin to eight points it was the Pies who went back into their shell (team and fans) for a period.


All around me Cat lips were unlocking and brows lifting. Pa Kettle had finally unfolded his arms and the Weasleys had stopped annoying each other. This was bad.


Somehow the Pies responded. Again, totally unexpected. First Grundy dribbled one through after an outstanding passage of play by Treloar, Blair and Crisp. Then the moment that sent Magpie fans into raptures and sent Pa Kettle, the Weasley twins and half the MCC Members’ back to the ranch, fish-lipped and furrow browed, mumbling mealy expressions of disdain as they exited from what they thought would be a certain win.


Channeling the ghost of Ray Gabelich at the Punt Road end, big Texan Mason Cox, on the end of another brilliant piece of play by Treloar, received the pin-point pass inside the square and lumbered in to score the match-winner amid scenes of wild excitement from the black and white faithful. The siren sounded and the barrackers were shouting as all barrackers should.


I walked effortlessly back to the car in East Melbourne, savouring every flicker of the fading afternoon light and looking forward to the drive home. Maybe I ought to Nige it more often when I go to the footy.


COLLINGWOOD        7.5    9.5    11.7 16.8 (104)
GEELONG                   0.3    3.7    6.10 11.14 (80)    

Collingwood: Pendlebury 3, Fasolo 2, White 2, Cox 2, Grundy 2, Treloar, Crisp, Crocker, Moore, De Goey
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Motlop, Menzel, Duncan, Lang, Caddy, Stanley, Smith

Collingwood: Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Howe, Treloar, Adams, Grundy, Greenwood
Geelong: Bartel, Enright, Duncan, Lang, Blicavs, Caddy

Collingwood: Nil
Geelong: Tom Lonergan (concussion) replaced in selected side by Tom Ruggles

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Ryan, Jeffery

Official crowd: 59,864 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal

3 Steele Sidebottom

2 Adam Treloar

1 Jack Crisp

FAlmanac banner sq

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Very enjoyable write-up Phil. What is it with the red hair Geelong genome?

    I had a weird feeling we’d go alright. Even when things got a little hairy I felt it would be OK.

    I think/hope there’s more room for improvement too. Still a lot of poor kicks into the forward 50m

  2. Nice write-up Phil. I was most impressed by the Pies response in Q4 after being challenged by the Cats with 3 quick ones. Straight up the guts and get one goal back immediately. Could have gone badly but risk was rewarded. That is how the game is meant to be played.

    The most unimpressive thing about the fixture (apart for the result of course), was the insistence that the first 20 odd rows of the 3rd deck of the Ponsford Stand were ‘reserved’, relegating real fans of both tribes to the nosebleed section. The ‘reserved’ seats remained empty until the orange people grudgingly removed a few of forlorn little green markers progressively as the expected punters failed to materialize

  3. Dave Brown says

    Nice work, casual gingerism aside, Phil. I’m a great fan of the occasional Nige for all of the reasons you have highlighted (except Collingwood winning of course).

  4. Mr Bogan – the Pies were running across the grass of the MCG like they’d stolen something. Very impressive. Given that they have just beaten up on the flag favourites, I guess that makes the Pies certainties for the flag now? At least until next week. Enjoy!

  5. haiku bob says

    Those margins haunted me too LB.
    Although I do have fond memories of a 27 point deficit deep in the final quarter against Melbourne in 1984 which we turned into a last gasp win on the back of a monster Daicos torp!

    Great write up.


  6. I was having a pint with JTH in the Bullring. Neither of us were saying “Fuck-ing Collingwood” under our breathe, I can assure you.

  7. Eddie must have pix of Chris Scott in the sauna with Joel and Lingy. Only explanation I can think of.

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    JD – Don’t know what it is about the genome, but I can certainly pick them. I wish I had a photo to evince the stereotype. Must admit when bloody Hawkins got them within 8 I thought they’d run all over us. Stiil plenty of work, but they showed us what they are capable of against a top side. Would be surprised if the Cats don’t make top 4 with their Kardinia Park games.

    Thanks Ken – Last quarter resistance was a good sign. Many of our young blokes kept their heads. Still don’t understand seating arrangements at the G. If the seats are empty why not use them?

    Dave – Apologies for the ginger stereotyping. Had a feeling that it might trigger you a tad. I must admit going to the footy as Nigel No Friends definitely has its upside, especially when the Pies win and you get a chance to explore the nuances of opposing fans and their contorted facial expressions !!

    Dips – I think we caught the Cats with their pants down this time. If that game was to be replayed this week I dare say the result might be different. Surprised at the lack of intensity in the first quarter and I just kept wondering when you might wake up. Still a class outfit with a big say in 2016.

    HB – Opening game of 1984 I was behind the goals at the Yarra Falls End. Remember Jim McAllester taking a couple of grabs and the place going berserk when we hit the front. Great memory !!

    AJC – That explains a lot. Unfairly assumed that JTH may have been in polite company. How many pints went down by quarter time?

  9. Dave Nadel says

    There is another explanation, Peter. Geelong aren’t as good as everyone thought they were and Collingwood aren’t as bad as everyone thought they were.

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Phil. It’s great going to the footy with mates and/or family, but I really enjoy the odd Nige experience.
    ‘The fairly maligned Jesse White’. Love it! Would be very happy if he keeps going the way he is.
    The Mason Cox moment was wonderful, as was the Collingwood fans response.
    Go pies!

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    How can Cats be Magpie bunnies? It’s a jungle out there.

    Just wait until Cloke comes back in, normal service will be resumed.

  12. Danielle says

    We beat geelooooong?! Wtf!!! ?

  13. A crazy assumption, PD.

  14. 3rd of Degrees says

    Brillant read thanks suck it up handbaggers! A win for the ages. Fish lipped cat fans love it.

  15. Peter Fuller says

    I loved the fact that you (and Haiku Bob) noted the significance of the 44 point margin. Such history is about all we Bluebaggers have to hang our hat on at the moment. Well done your Pies!
    I usually experience the football as a Nige. I’ve always attributed my ability to establish a row of seats to myself as reflection of the awareness of other patrons that there is a fragrance of umpire in the vicinity.

  16. One of THE strangest games I’ve ever seen!

    I had the 774 lads on the radio from my vantage point – the MCC Balcony, forward pocket Ponsford end – and I think they nailed it suggesting that Geelong hadn’t come to play.

    Collingwood were very good, very good indeed though, I take nothing away from them.

    WTF is with Darcy Moore’s kicking style? Pure hilarity!

  17. Phil’ I’ve been avoiding reading this. Sadly, I went into the game with precisely the same feeling (uber-confidence) as I had before the 2008 Grand Final. Do we ever learn?

    I thought the 8-day break would work in our favour, that we would dominate the centre and have a field day.

    The pint with AJC was the highlight. Shortly followed by Prince of Penzance’s run in Adelaide. Of course he finished a slashing second.

    Go Roys.

  18. E.regnans says

    Love it Phil.
    Lots to like.
    I’m with Dave Nadel.

  19. Steve B – I’m tipping Darcy may have grown up watching too many Karate Kid movies. #cranepose

  20. Lovely, Phil.

    That’s two gimme’s gone—GWS and Pies. Goodness, we are going to have to play a little better in future. Perhaps, as Michael Lynch says, we should learn to kick the footy through the big sticks.

  21. John Butler says

    The full complement there Phil- Collingwood triumphalism, a little bit of class vinegar, and a generous side order of social stereotyping. Sounds like you had fun. :)

    PS: how the hell did you find a park in East Melbourne?

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Fantastic read,Phil thoroughly enjoyable ( geez stiff competition re this game for the footy almanac year book all worthy )

  23. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    PB – Incriminating photos are passe in this age of the Internets. You’re not hip if your’re a footballer and you haven’t flashed your tockley in cyberspace.

    Dave – Nice response and really enjoyed your ebullient article. Go Pies !!

    Luke – Clokey is starting to get shitty about not getting a game. Rather than playing him in the same team as Jesse, Bucks may have decided to let them compete for a spot. May be a shrewd move. Definitely recommend the Nige once in a while.

    Swish – Singling out Cloke is working for the time being. Hopefully it fires him up to perform as the year progresses. If not I’d be tempted to do a trade with Freo, Richmond or the Bulldogs while he has some currency.

    Danni – Fasy Boy didn’t need to be the star this time. Who is your paramour from the new boys? With Elliott out, Darcy is my man crush at the moment.

    3rd of Degrees – Handbags were full of mirrors and cosmetics this time. Cats just might have been a bit full of themselves before the game.

    Stone Cold – Darcy might not look textbook, but his set shots are pretty good.

    JTH – The dreaded Hubris. Not to worry, Pie fans know all about the consequences of shaking your fist and giving the bird to that God. Yet, we take the hit and go back for more.Of course P of P was going to finish 2nd…

    ER – Twas a grand day for fools, horses and Magpies.

    Roy – Don’t know if GWS was a gimme as they are looking ominous with all the help from the AFL. Thought you might have penciled this one in as a solid 5 goal win, at the least.

    JB – Haven’t had much to triumphalize about this year so while there’s a window why the hell not. Might not happen again this year. If we beat the Bulldogs I might write about their inferiority complex and victim mentality. In this mood I might even quote Culture Club in the process.

    Peter F – That bloody 44 point margin is etched with the vilest acid in Magpie souls young and old. I’m glad you have an appreciation for the Nige. The mix of umpiring and following the Blues can do that to you. At least you had a chance to laud it over the old enemy a fortnight ago. Kreuzer is a huge loss for the Baggers.

    Malcolm – Magpie optimism plastered over the website. I won’t rest until the editors put Collingwood on the cover of the book. It’s turning into a footy hate crime.

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