Second Semi-Final – Collingwood v GWS: Knitted in Black & White

After a magnificent Spring day on Friday, Saturday is as miserable and cold as it gets. I’m questioned a few times during the day as to why I would bother driving to Melbourne in conditions like this when I could sit at home in front of the fire and watch the game on TV. The thought of not going isn’t even a consideration. I haven’t been to a final since 2013. A cyclone couldn’t stop me.

While I’d secured tickets for myself and my two boys, oldest son Gavin is a late withdrawal from our selected team due to illness. It’s just younger son Josh and I who will line up in the Ponsford Stand.

 

With Josh, with beanie on, before departing for the semi-final

 

A highlight among all the wonderful Father’s Day gifts I received this year, purchased at the primary school’s stall, was a hand knitted black & white beanie from Josh. I’m not a regular beanie wearer by any stretch, but it gets packed along with coats and Josh’s Collingwood beanie, purchased at the MCG one freezing Sunday night against Carlton.

 

#GoPies

 

The beanie is on as we take our seats, off for the national anthem, and back on as Josh Thomas kicks the first goal of the game within the first minute. Thomas kicks another after marking a GWS kick-in. But the Pies are wasteful. We totally dominate the first quarter, yet are only 22 points up. I have a very uneasy feeling about this game given the fact we should could have kicked 6.3 instead of 3.6.

The incredible atmosphere and noise of the first quarter from the almost entirely Magpie crowd is tempered in the second term as the Giants settle into the game, kicking 4 goals to 1. Errors creep into Collingwood’s play. Frustration creeps into the Magpie Army. Chances can’t afford to be wasted in a big final. The one Magpie highlight is the big grab taken by Jeremy Howe. The Tasmanian has been worth the drive just to see his leaps and aerial skills even when the team was struggling the past few years.

The Giants kick the first two of the third term and we have that sinking feeling. GWS are in front, a talented team and we’d wasted opportunities. De Goey kicks his second to put us back in front. We’re never behind again in this game. Mihocek pounces and goals as he has so often done since his debut earlier in the season. The Giants kick the only other goal of a tense quarter. Our lead is only 3 points at the last change.

A De Goey handball to a running Varcoe in the first minute sees the latter goal to a huge roar, the crowd well behind our number 18 after recent events. Josh leaps out of his seat and hugs me. Hoskin-Elliott snaps a goal very soon after as Josh and I embrace again. De Goey gets a free and goals, all of a sudden we are 21 points up, the Cooooooolllllllllllliiiiiinnnggggggwwoooood chant goes up, an incredible sound when 71,000 of the 72,000 present join in, haven’t heard the chant done this loud and this well since the 2010 Preliminary Final. De Boer then goals for GWS as the game then tightens, shots at goal are flunked and become rarer. The only other goal comes right at the end, Tomlinson goal for the Giants. There’s unbridled joy in the stands as the final siren sounds. Our first win in a final since 2012. Josh high-fives the guy sitting next to him. We both sing along loudly as “Good Old Collingwood Forever” echoes around the stadium. What a joy to walk out of the ground in the throng of happy supporters.

I really love this team. They are playing as a unit. Everyone has a role. They are possibly the slightest hint as to what the mighty “The Machine” Collingwood teams of the 1920’s & 1930’s would have looked like. So want these guys to succeed. Whatever happens in the rest of September, 2018 has been a joyful ride. This team has filled us with pride, made attending games a highlight of our week again.

As for the players who stood up on the night, well they all played a role. Steele Sidebottom was magnificent, best on ground, a driving force. Continually stands up in big games. Grundy controlled the ruck, especially after quarter time. He’s pretty much overtaken Damian Monkhorst (who I rate really highly, watch his game in the 1990 Grand Final as evidence) as the best Pies ruckman in my time watching Australian Football in just over 100 matches played. Tom Langdon, a player I’ve been critical of, is immense in the backline, spoiling and intercept marking at an elite level. Pendles does what Pendles does: clearances, tackles, wonderful ball use. The most underrated superstar of recent years (yes that’s directed at you All-Australian selectors). The power of De Goey up forward. The flair and dependability of Howe. Goldsack. The Sack. How good to have him back.

But it’s Brayden Maynard who really impresses. Defensively smashes the dangerous Toby Greene. Provides run from the backline. He’s a loveable rogue, a la Swanny or Millane.

The beanie is 1 from 1. With that record it needs to be worn at the Preliminary Final. Go Pies.

 

The beanie

 

 

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About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

Comments

  1. Great stuff L Reynolds.
    I felt the same unease in Q1.

    Travis Varcoe.
    We need to start a movement of acclaim for that man.
    Or join one.
    Outstanding.
    Many times he plucked the ball as it spilled from a marking contest- at full pace. He was not merely in the right place at the right time, but he was also moving with maximum velocity.
    Masterful roving of a pack.

  2. Just two games away from my early year prediction “Is this the year of the Pies?”

    Did you get tickets for Friday night, Luke? One way or the other, enjoy!!

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    ER- what a joy to watch Varcoe is and has been. Does everything at full pace.
    Let’s get that movement started!

    Jan- Huge hurdle to get over this week first, but would so love for your prediction to eventuate.
    Yes got tickets, can’t wait!

  4. The lucky beanie. Love it, Crackers!

    Hope young Gavin is on the mend.

  5. Luke Reynolds says:

    Thanks Smokie! Gavin back to full fitness and available for selection on Friday night.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Love it Luke. Maynard and Langdon are emblematic of a team that is finding it’s way. They have been fantastic this year. Get the beanie on nice and early this Friday.
    I’m starting to feel nervous. That dark urgency has returned for the first time since 2012.

  7. Luke Reynolds says:

    Phil, the nerves hit everytime I think about the game. Which is often.

    Langdon has had a great second half of the season, really stood up in the abscence of Dunn, Moore, Reid and Scharenberg. But Maynard has really stood out, love how he attacks and defends, he’s a perfect mix of an old school defender and modern attacking player.

    Will definitely have the beanie on early. Go Pies.

  8. Love the passion Luke !

  9. Luke Reynolds says:

    Cheers Malcolm, go pies!

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