The ‘Sore Head Loss’

Collingwood went into the Friday night blockbuster against Geelong brimming with all the confidence of Bindi Irwin. This was to be a marquee night for Mick’s maturing Pies, this was their big dance. Alas, they copped a lesson. And not just any run-of-the-mill primary school period between recess and lunch when everyone sits cross-legged in front of the TV to watch ‘Behind the News’. This was a lesson undertaken in the corporal punishment era by a Catholic School Brother with a grudge.

For the Pies, this is called a ‘sore head loss’. A sobering reality check that has supporters and players alike reaching for the Barocca.

A lot of friends’ weddings end up like this. You start the evening quietly determined to enjoy a night of cool sophistication, only to awake to the realisation that you’ve left your dinner jacket in a muddy puddle on King St after spending most of the night lusting after a bridesmaid built like John Candy.

No doubt when Collingwood fans reached for the Saturday morning papers it probably triggered a rise in bile at the back of the throat like they’d caught a whiff of some stale bourbon around the breakfast table.

This is the true definition of the ‘sore head loss’.

Not that the Pies could do much about it, except perhaps for Leon Davis who has surely now entrenched himself in the Jana Novotna school of big-game chokes. Poor Neon’s lights seem to dim to the level of an energy-saver globe when the acid is on. Unfortunately, instead of a sympathetic member of the monarchy to lean on, he just has Mick Malthouse, who’s head resembles a steaming kettle at the best of times. Cue third degree burns for Leon.

In the end it was simply a matter of the Cats asserting themselves on the contest when it was at its most fierce. And that is what champion teams do for a living. The 10 minutes of Cat fury that broke open the game featured wave upon wave upon wave of precise Geelong attacks starting from an exuberant half back line. For all his international diplomatic aspirations and reputation as the AFL’s deep thinker, Harry O’Brien, like many of his Pie teammates, seemed to be caught short on raw talent compared to his Cat counterparts. The acclaimed Magpie halfback line of O’Brien, Maxwell and Shaw is a neat combination of counter-attacking potential, but the Cats assembly line of highly-skilled utilities exist on another plane. Milburn, Wojinski, Enright, Mackie, Kelly and Hunt don’t often get the plaudits, but their sumptuous skills and decision making abilities are first class.

And if the Brisbane midfield of the early noughties were deemed the Fab Four, then the Geelong on-ball brigade could lay claim to being the modern-day Travelling Wilburys – Dylan (Ablett), Harrison (Bartel), Orbison (Corey), Petty (Selwood) and Lynne (Ling)…that’s a line-up that could sell out Etihad Stadium for a fortnight.

Unfortunately for a highly-talented Collingwood team in waiting, it looks like they’ll just have to bide their time in the shadows until the Cats are ready to take their last bow.

Lucky for seedy Pies supporters with a stonking hangover, we’re probably deep into the second encore.


  1. Danielle says

    ‘Sore head loss?’
    so that’s what i’ve got!
    my doctor said it was a throat infection.

  2. Great article, Dozz. I wouldn’t stress too much – the Pies are in for a fantastic year. As a Cats fan, let me give you every assurance that yours is the team we most dread meeting each and every year. Quite frankly, your team scares the beejebus out of me.

    And I love our midfielf, don’t get me wrong – but I think our backline are infinitely better. With Scarlo and Dasher in charge, and finds-of-the-century Taylor, Mackie and Boris Enright, not to mention classy Kelly and built-like-a-tank-just-try-and-stop-me Hunt, and the current emergence of Doms Lonergan … well, let’s just say I’m glad I’m on their side!

    They are incredibly underrated. In the words of Harry Taylor (re: Corey Enright): “I think that so many people rate his as ‘underrated’ that he is now a rated player”.

    All the best (but not quite!) for 2010!

  3. Andrew Fithall says

    Just on your first sentence Dozz: was that in reference to Catherine D’s hope that Collingwood would score?

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