Round 9 – Fremantle v Collingwood: Grim (Floreat Pica Society)



– (1) very serious or gloomy
– (2) (especially of a place) unattractive or forbidding



This was a grim performance in yet another grim week for the club in yet another grim week for large parts of the world, including for those of us in Melbourne.


Pre-game ramblings


I’ll get to the game eventually, but did do so pre-game research and reflection.


The day before this Round 9 clash I was reflecting on the history between these two clubs – that filled about 5 minutes of another lockdown day as to be honest, there isn’t much that has been memorable in their clashes. I spent much more time gnashing my teeth later the same day when I learnt of the Bucks and Sanderson COVID breaches – we score more own goals off the field than any other club, although I guess in this case more appropriate terms would be unforced errors or double faults. And Eddie shooting off yet again, apparently oblivious to our lamentable off-field record, certainly doesn’t help, moreso when we add to that record within hours.


Anyway, back to the history – with no finals in the 25 years that Freo has been in the comp (unlike the strong history of significant finals we have developed against the Eagles, Crows, Port and the Giants), there were four moments I could most remember.


Number one was Leon’s 2008 goal of the year (on what was an otherwise thoroughly forgettable evening for the Pies). Number two was Brody Mihocek kicking four on debut in 2018, number three the Round 1 debacle in 2014, when Freo effectively ended our season before it even got started with a 70 point thrashing. Number four was last year’s 4 point loss, which really kicked off our lengthy mid-season malaise. You will notice a strong recency effect in these reflections – I wish I could say the same about my most vivid memories against the Blues!


The most significant history between the clubs lies in the players that have switched between the clubs, with Jimmy Clement and Taz (the latter having moved in both directions) leading the names alongside Paul Medhurst, Brodie Holland, Chris Mayne, Brad Rowe, Jack Anthony and most recently James Aish. Leigh Brown also played for both clubs, but was at North in between. And of course Justin Longmuir has been in the coaching box at both clubs.


On paper, the 2020 clash did not appear likely to add significantly to the history between the clubs. Both were humiliated in round 8 and were missing some of their stars, so I guess it offered one team the opportunity for redemption. The first of 4 games in 14 days for the Pies, having to travel cross state boundaries for each successive match, this was simply a must-win for the Pies.



Ramblings on the game


Statistics never tell the whole story, but these five stood out which were a reasonable indicator of this game and where we are at:


Half-way through the first quarter, in perfect conditions, neither team had scored. It said a lot about modern footy and about the way that both these teams play, Freo being even more defensively-minded than us.


Half-way through the third quarter, we were playing an opponent that had not scored in the first quarter nor in the first half of the third quarter – and we were losing!


7.7.49 at the final siren– yet another paltry total, and even more significantly, 12 points less than our opponent who were placed 16th before the round and 17th at the start of the game.


Our disposal efficiency inside 50 was 30.2%, and that number seemed flattering in yet another game in which we had more inside 50s but created few meaningful chances.


We have now won 2 of our last 6 games and have kicked one or no goals in 17/36 quarters this season (47.2%).


It’s hard to know where to start or indeed if to start in term of what didn’t work well but let’s go with:


– A poor connection between Brodie and the mids; yet again-we won the hit-outs 51-28 and lost the clearances 30-45


– Poor connection between the mids and the forwards (yet again). The mids have looked ordinary without Pendles.


– Too many unforced selection changes in the back half in recent weeks-we have gone from being settled, highly organised and composed to all over the place when it comes in quickly. Backs have to play together regularly.


– Way way way too many of the half to one metre handballs, regularly back into traffic, rarely to advantage.


– Too many turnovers, with some shockers by some of your better players (Adams and Moore).


– A seeming lack of leadership and direction in the absence of Pendles and Howe and a slowness in being able to adjust tactically (with less than 5 minutes to go we finally positioned a player on the defensive (forward) side of centre bounces, after having conceded every centre clearance for the quarter until then).


– A general reluctance and/or inability to take on the game.


– Far too easy to play and coach against – opposition mids read and shark Brodie’s hit-outs, our high possession game leaves us highly vulnerable against teams that apply heavy pressure (credit to Freo on this point), we seem clueless when opposition teams flood our forward space and just keep bombing it in.



For me one of the most damning parts of our recent losses has been that in many of those games (third quarter yesterday, last quarter vs Essendon, third quarter against the Giants, last quarter against Giants in PF 2019), when we have got a fair way behind, we have been able to score quickly when we have moved away from our incredibly defence-oriented high possession game and just moved it forward. While it is notable that we didn’t win any of those games, it does suggest that we can do it, at least at times.


I struggled to find positives to be honest – at a team level I don’t think there were any. Sidey’s return and influential second half, showing some smarts and skills in that forward set-up made him stand out like a beacon, and Noble was good, at least attempting to set up some attacking plays. Maynard and Moore were both pretty good, with 24 intercept possessions between them and both taking some strong marks. Big Brodie took some nice grabs and looked dangerous but our clearance work was appalling – I think we need to use him as a midfielder sometimes, rather than contest the hit-outs; he’s one of our better clearance players.


I’m well aware that there is little or no description above about what actually happened in the game – if you saw it, you don’t want to be reminded, and if you didn’t…you don’t want to know!


The votes for the Horsburgh Medal are

3 – Sidey

2 – Noble

1 – Maynard


The Jack Anthony Medal goes to Sidey.


Post-game trivia question


There is one player who has played for Freo and was on the Pies’ list for one season but did not play a senior game. Who was he?


Hints below


He played one game for Freo

He also played one game of first-class cricket for WA

His father played Test cricket for Australia



And finally: These are very grim times. While it has been a horrible week footy-wise, footy seems like a welcome distraction at present but less important than ever before. Stay safe and well.


Floreat Pica




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