The Bye


by Tony Robb

As we approach to middle of the year I think it’s prudent to assess the success and failure of the league newcomer. The Bye. Coached by Adrian Anderson the new kids on the block have flown under the radar avoiding much of the scrutiny that is been applied to several coaches in poor performing teams. So how has the Bye stacked up so far?

Generally considered a certain 4 points pre-season it came as a surprise that no points where awarded to teams playing the Bye. The season opener against the Suns was billed as a battle of the debutants but it became apparent the Suns much vaunted draft picks and seasoned recruits were no match for the underestimated Bye outfit.  The result of course being a big let down for the beach balls and a walloping at the hands of the Blues the following week.

The Bye then travelled to Adelaide to take on a Crows outfit tipped for September action. Again the Chardonnay sippers failed to turn up and handed the Bye an easy win before capitulating to the Dockers the following week.  The new kids were sitting 2 and 0 and had the out of sorts Roos in their sights the following week.  Again the Roos gave their best shot but could not contain the rampant absentees before falling to the Tigers the next week.

The following week provided the greatest shake since the formation of the AFL. Not even the pre-season Big Banks competition had seen a team take on threeopponents on the same day. But this was not a lightening completion with made up rules. This was the main game, the big Kahuna. Yep the Bye took on, and smashed, the Lions, Saints and Doggies sending their year into a season ending spiral.  Only Brisbane and Saints could clean up the aftermath the week after as they were at least playing each other. Sadly for the Dogs, no cigar and lots of angst. These “nobodys’ were quickly becoming “somebodys”.
What was Anderson saying to the group? How was he getting these novices up and about with such frightening consequences that even Mick Malthouse called for the inclusion of at lease one Bye player on the bench each week such is its’ dominance and impact of the competition? Malthouse even went so far as to state that the very fabric of the Collingwood Football Club was at risk. 

But the juggernaut rolled on the following week buoyed by their run of success and the flotsam and jetsam trailing in their wake. The next in line were the Swans, Dees and Weagles. Like those before, all underestimated the Bye with two of the three falling the falling week. Again only the clash between two of the three teams saved west coast wingers from certain succession from the league in light of the ongoing fight between the west and east coast over TV royalties.

Teams had now began to pay the Bye the respect they deserved with the Cats, Hawks and Freo up for the challenge following extensive video research and scouts reports from the Bye’s training facility just outside the MCG. However for Freo is was case of déjà vu as the Bye toyed with them softening then up for another defeat the following week by the hapless Tigers.

Understandably teams were beginning to fear that the Bye where the real deal. Is it BYE BYE Pies? screamed the headlines as the clash with the reigning premiers loomed large. Surely if any team was equipped to take on the new boys it was the Woods. But it was not to be as the premiers succumbed to a relentless Cats the following weeks a leaving no one in doubt the Bye was a contender. Other the Mike Sheahan and Mark Robinson who were totally unaware of the Bye’s existence.

By this stage young bodies were feeling the rigors of playing week, in week out and the Bye met a formidable opponent in the Blues who deployed solid one and one zoned structures around Princes Park. The tactic nearly worked as the Blues went on to narrowly lose to the unbeaten Cats the following week. The Bye, now sitting 12 -2, had the season as its’ oyster and Anderson stated “the Bye would shape the finals this year without doubt. You can count on that as the League WILL make this work”.

The pending game against the Suns gave the bye an opportunity to rest a few players but it got no better for the meter maids for the second time around. After a spirited effort in the first half the witches’’ hats soon felt the effect of the bruising week before off going down to Cats by heaps. So where to from here? Surely no new team can dominate this much in it’s debut year. Essendon will face the badly out of form Demons this week and failure to capture a win will surely have the Bye as the bookies darlings.

However the spectre of change looms large. Ss quickly as they have risen, salary cap restraints’ and the introduction of WS Gnats next year will most likely see this phoenix descend once more into the flames of football obscurity.  Perhaps they could relocate to Tassie and become the Burnie Byes. All I know is that they will get a few more scalps before season’s end.

Go the Byes

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Tony,

    correct me if you believe me to be wrong (Dave Nadel always does) but I believe the Cats last four outings have been against teams that have come off the bye.

    Surely that must have suited Collywood and Caaarton; a nice wound licking rest before a tough game.

  2. johnharms says

    The Bye had the season as its oyster…that’s what I love about

  3. John Butler says


    Given the Demons’form, if they salute against the Bombers then we’ll all be believers.

  4. Tony,

    in your state of excitement on Sunday you neglected to give me your email address.

    The beautiful Belinda said, according to my fourth quarter ten pint scrawl on the footy record, “Can some one do anything that resembles something”.

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