Round 9 – Collingwood v North Melbourne: A day of roast beef, a half-time roast and a win to savour

written by John Ramsdale for the Floreat Pica Society (John taught multiple members of FPS way back in the late 1970s)


This report comes in two parts, as it was almost two different games.

Part 1: “At least the roast beef at lunch was good.”

I attended the game as a guest of my brother Mick, a fellow Floreat Pican, and his wife Janet in the rarefied atmosphere of the MCC Long Room. Not often I go somewhere these days where I am one of the younger ones present. A nice change.


Having to wear a jacket collar and tie to the football was a novel experience and I certainly stood out from the other supporters on the train from Montmorency.

An early highlight of the day was recognising a former student dressed in an oversize Collingwood outfit and walking through the crowd on a pair of stilts.  Another Old Paradian.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this game. We have been good against lower opposition and North are inconsistent, but their tall forward line of Petrie, Brown Waite and Goldstein around the ground looked like they could be a problem.

Collingwood started slowly and sluggishly and North were far sharper and used the ball better. We had it in our forward line, but it was crowded and we could not score. The premonitions about the North talls were borne out very early and North looked very switched on and we didn’t. It wasn’t a question of Collingwood’s endeavour, it was a question of indecision, poor decision making and poor delivery.

A great mark and goal from a difficult angle from Witts was a highlight. There were few.

The North forwards were keeping us in it with wayward kicking. A brain-fade snap across goal from what should have been a straight forward shot at goal by ex-Blue Waite was typical. Their wastefulness saved us from enduring a Geelong-style opening quarter. It wasn’t just their big blokes who were killing us as Robin Nahas kicked a couple of easy goals.

I was reminded of Haiku Bob’s contribution after the a Richmond game:

another sunny autumn day
wasted watching us
lose again

Apart from the weather description it was shaping up as that kind of day.

Typical of Collingwood’s efforts and decision-making was when the usually reliable Langdon jumped into the back of a North player after he marked, resulting in a 50 metre penalty and another North goal. It was looking grim. The only statistic that we were winning was tackles, because North were getting the ball and Collingwood weren’t. The only bright spot came in the second quarter when they turned the lights on.

At half time we retired to the Long Room for afternoon tea and Mick said supposedly providing some consolation for the first half. “Well at least the roast beef at lunch was good.”
“Oh well, we never really expected to win.”

“We are just building this year. You have to expect these losses when you have a young team.”

“North were a top 4 team last year…”


Add your own cliché of consolation.

I said that I was glad that I didn’t have to award votes at that stage as I honestly didn’t know who would get them. We had many honest triers but were not in the hunt. We had been out-classed and out-played and were 39 points down and it could have been worse.


 Part 2: What Did Buckley say to them?

I met fellow Floreat Pican Michael White at the Montmorency North Heidelberg game on Saturday and knowing that I was writing the report suggested that I take a leaf out of the old journalist’s book and just stay in the bar and write the review from there. The temptation was great.

Based on what we had seen in the first half I doubt that even the most die-hard Collingwood optimist could have predicted what was going to happen. Collingwood players began to win clearances, run better, use the ball better and North started making mistakes and turn the ball over. An early goal to Pendlebury after a high tackle halved the difference. A goal to Travis Cloke, who had done most of his work a long way up the ground, came after a good tackle and a North turn over. It was the best passage of the day and the mood of the game and the crowd was slowly changing. Collingwood were getting a lot more of the ball and running a lot better but delivery into the forward line was still a bit erratic. If you believe in reincarnation then I suggest that you lead a very good life otherwise you might come back as a Collingwood forward where the delivery to you can be poor and unreliable.


The team’s confidence was increasingly evident. A goal to Elliot and then a running goal to Crisp (a great bargain) after good work from Blair and Witts narrowed the margin to 9 points and the crowd finally came to life and the “Collingwooooood” chants started. Even the pessimists among us started to think “perhaps.” More goals came from Swan, Elliot, leveling the scores and then Sidebottom and Fasolo, who had played very well, gave us a 14 point lead at three-quarter time. Collingwood had kicked 9 goals 2. What a great quarter: a fantastic come-back, straight, accurate kicking for a change and a successful referral to the video to have a Fasolo behind correctly ruled to be a goal.


As the last quarter began, the old worried started to return. Can we hang on? Could North be that bad again? An early scrambled goal from Jamie Elliott put us 20 points up and things were looking very good. However, three North goals in 3 minutes looked as if they had regained their composure and were looking better. They eventually hit the front and it looked like we would be regretting our slow start to the game and at least we had the consolation of a great third quarter. But as the rain started to fall, Collingwood refused to give in and goals came from Swan, Blair and Elliott for his fifth sealed the game. The goal kickers’ efforts had been well supported by some great defensive work Marley Williams, Allan Toovey and Jack Frost. Scott Pendlebury, who had been well held in the first half was also a lot more effective in the second half.


What a great effort! It is the best Collingwood comeback that I can remember in a long time. That can be this week’s topic for discussion. I was certainly glad to have been there to have seen it. This win will also be a big confidence booster for the young team and for the coach.


Because of the nature of this game, these votes are not given with a lot of confidence


The Bill Serong Medal for this game goes to:

3 Dane Swan: Made a lot of mistakes early in the game, but in the second half stood up, showed leadership and kicked a couple of handy goals when needed.


2: Jamie Elliott: Another 5 goals, mainly in the second half, like last week. Lifted the team and the crowd


1:Steele Sidebottom. Probably the most consistent throughout the day


Apologies to Marley Williams, Alex Fasolo, Scott Pendlebury.

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