Round 9 – Collingwood v St Kilda: Floreat Pica Society report from Steve Fahey





stylish excellence


In the early morning of our game against the Saints I spent some time reading and watching the many tributes to Bob Hawke.  Other than reflecting on him as a person and Prime Minister I have also been starkly reminded by how different the world was in his era.  There’s PM Hawkey writing a handwritten letter to a young girl seeking to understand the death of a grandparent.  A class act in simpler and less confusing days.


Complexity and confusion is present in so many ways in modern life and this pre-game morning was no different.  A bloke wanders through my house wearing full St Kilda official outfit – it’s my daughter’s boyfriend who does sports training and massage for the Saints.  A text then arrives from my sister announcing that my niece is making her VFLW debut today ……for Richmond.  Confusing ? Yes. I reflect on how my father would have managed these issues and smile.


Some things remain simple and black and white however, such as my footballing passion. Pre-game at the G, I was thinking that this was a definite danger game, going in with a team short of a few stars against an opposition whose speed and spread has challenged us in recent years.


My concerns were confirmed throughout the first half as they outworked us, squared us at the contest and challenged us with their hard running and spread.  Once again Grundy was dominating the hit-outs but we couldn’t convert this to an advantage in clearances.  The Saints were willing and enthusiastic but we were kept in the game by their absence of class as they went forward, regularly unable to hit up a target inside 50 plus inaccurate goalkicking.  For a change it was our straight kicking and ability to spot up targets inside 50 that keeps our noses ahead through most of the first half and at the main break.  We are fortunate to be ahead, with 64% of play in the Saints forward half during a second quarter in which they were dominant everywhere except where it counts.  If they had had someone with the class of Pendles going forward, they’d have been 3-4 goals ahead.


We were generally lacklustre in the first half in particular again struggling to transition the ball from defence to attack and fumbling often, seemingly worried by the Saints’ pressure.  Another hard-running line-breaking backman would not go astray, so Quaynor would do well to keep putting himself in front of the selectors.  (And Sam Murray’s 4 year suspension feels like it should be just about up – when will they announce the decision !!!).  And we allowed the Saints too many marks in our forward 50, we have to get the ball to ground more often, especially when we were a bit smaller forward this day without De Goey.


On the positive side Sidey was superb in the first quarter but quieter in the second and ditto for Mayne.  Treloar was his prolific but sometimes less than his ideally efficient self, Stephenson was productive forward and Crisp and Maynard (and the backs as a group) defended stoutly against the Saints’ abundant but imprecise supply.


The first half wasn’t a great spectacle, but the game bloomed in an attractive and higher standard third quarter in which both teams scored from quick ball movement from stoppages.  The Pies kicked 4 of their 5 goals from stoppages.  Grundy became a major factor, winning multiple clearances himself as well as marking and winning hit-outs.  Pendles, Treloar, Beams and Sidey were all clean with the ball during this term and Mihocek and Reid were both good targets forward and hit the scoreboard.  The Saints kicked a couple of beauties from outside 50 and the margin at the last break was the same 5 points as at half-time.


As with the game against the Blues last week, there is reason to be optimistic in close games against teams that have enjoyed little recent success.  One of my maxims, which is completely untested by data, is that top teams win 90% of close games against bottom/less recently successful teams.  Winning is a habit, so is losing and the top teams usually have more hardened, experienced bodies.  Notwithstanding my maxim, I felt pretty nervous at ¾ time !


The big boys again stepped up in the last quarter winning early clearances and getting the ball in quickly to advantage to the forwards. Grundy was a colossus and Sidey put on a show to ice yet another superb game.  His “where did they go?” goal was an exquisite display of class.  All the forwards contributed in the last quarter with Stephenson putting the cream on the cake with a superb and now rarely seen torp goal from outside 50.  He is a very special talent, works hard and is very footy smart so the sky really is the limit for him. The last quarter was a parade, with the Saints’ only score coming late.


Class prevailed in the end.  Our 41 point margin was flattering given the closeness and the intensity of the first three quarters but an excellent result.  Once again, as we did against Carlton, Port, Essendon and the Dogs, our win was built on one excellent quarter of football.  We have plenty of upside but 7-2 is a great start and you don’t want to be playing your best footy at this time of the year.  It was also yet another big tick for our fitness and conditioning team with our blokes again running out the game strongly despite being one down for the second half.


The negatives, other than our first half performance, were the report of Varcoe, the injury to Langdon and of course the withdrawal of the star duo De Goey and Moore.


The votes for the time-honoured Horsburgh Medal are:


3- Sidey – all class again, an incredible work rate and a great reader of the game

2- Grundy – a colossus in the second half and turned the game in our favour

1- Stevo – a few could have got this but he was lively all day and the torp got him across the line


Honourable mentions to Treloar, Crisp, Reid, Beams, Mihocek and Pendles.


On a day on which class eventually prevailed, special mention to Ramon for his DR report, top of the class re Get Smart.  I thought I would lob that in (and hope, unlike Kubacek, that doesn’t unsettle him).


The Tony Francis Medal goes to Sidey. Perhaps next week we could award the (Paul) Hawke Medal against the Swans?


COLLINGWOOD          3.1       6.2       11.4     17.10 (112)
ST KILDA                     1.3       4.9       9.11     10.11 (71)


Mihocek 4, Reid 3,Stephenson 3, Sidebottom 2, Thomas 2, Varcoe 2, Hoskin-Elliott
St Kilda: Membrey 4, Young 2, Bruce, Marshall, Savage, Battle


Sidebottom, Grundy, Reid, Crisp, Beams, Stephenson, Treloar
St Kilda: Dunstan, Billings, Membrey, Savage, Gresham, Steele


De Goey (shin soreness) replaced in selected side by Wills, Moore (ankle) replaced in selected side by Aish, Langdon (knee)
St Kilda: Nil


Reports: Travis Varcoe reported for rough conduct on Ed Phillips


Umpires: Meredith, Findlay, Gianfagna


Official crowd: 60,702 at the MCG


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE

Leave a Comment