The View From Shepparton: Preliminary Final Round

Headline in the Oz’s sporting section of Friday September 17, “We can beat anyone: Malthouse”.

And there was bloody Joffa near the end of the match flaunting his gold jacket. How I hate that scene. I wish that he would push off into another universe. The reality though is that he could have put on the jacket after Leroy Brown’s phenomenal offie turned and bounced straight through the goal. For those in outer space that was Collingwood’s fourth goal (I think).. A long bomb had landed way left of the goal square but as if driven by some devilish force the ball turned at right angles almost from the point of landing and leaving desperate Geelong defenders  in its wake, went through.

Yes the Pies were absolutely awesome, and though I absolutely hate to admit it a bit of me says “well good luck to them”.

I have never seen a team look so second rate and so out of it by the end of the first quarter, well except Freo last week , and of course the Powerless in the 2007 Grand Final  but even then the the Cats only lead by 23 points at the end of the first quarter before piling on 5 goals in the first twelve minutes of the second to in effect finish off the game then.

From the start, when Cloke goaled, an inevitable result it seemed, not that Cloke would kick straight but that the Pies would break thorough, Geelong seemed to be too slow, under pressure because of their slowness resulting in panicky handballs which in turn resulted in turnover after turnover. Scott Pendleberry couldn’t miss, running into an open goal and then Wellingham goaled. As in independent observer I was stunned, as a “honorary” Cat’s supporter I was horrified by the unfolding nightmare.

Enough of that though, in fact it was a pleasure to watch the Collingwood side time and time again turn Geelong inside out with long kicks up the field, particular from the backline where ineffectual Geelong sorties were time and time again repulsed. I just love watching Daisy Thomas when he is in form and of course Swan, (even though he was beaten by Ablett but that is no shame) Pendlebury, Didak, Dawes, (who I have scarcely noticed previously). In fact I would never get a DVD of this match but yet I might because for 3 quarters before they slowed down the Pies played the game the way it should be and it would be great to refresh the memory of a great team in action from time to time.

Geelong reduced the lead from 81 points to 40, having trailed by over 10 goals at half time but no one could seriously believe that the game was even really that “close”. The Collingwood backline of Maxwell, Nathan Brown, and Toovey simply outclassed Chapman, Posiadly (unfortunately this bloke seems to be OK at Kardinia Park but nowhere else), and Stokes.

I think that the wheel has now turned for Geelong, much as it did for the Brisbane Lions. We still haven’t looked like producing a side anything half as good as those in 2001 – 2003 and I feel that Geelong will have now have to face many years of disappointment as well particularly if Ablett goes to the Suns. As for Collingwood, on last night’s form they will win the Grand Final easily and they will be a might force for the next few years at least, and honestly, after all of the disappointments of the last twenty seasons who would begrudge them that? Still, neither St Kilda or the Dogs have been premiers for even longer periods of time so carn St Kilda, they WILL win tonight.

And they did, but not convincingly enough to have Joffa and all of his mates quaking in their boots.

Somehow I conspired to miss the beginning of this game, only viewing the telecast from about 12 minutes in. At that stage it was St Kilda 3 points to zip which judging by the immediate subsequent play seemed to be a gross distortion as to the skills of the  teams as the Bulldogs never looked like getting the ball out of their defence. And yet, somehow things started to fall in place for them with goals to Hahn, Grant, which was a ripper as it screwed into goal,  and Picken. What a shame that Giansiricusa didn’t have a chance to convert his mark into a goal. And that ratbag Milne had to be the one who got the Saints only goal for the quarter.

I thought to myself at the beginning of the second quarter that the Saints were one goal from overrunning the opposition but it didn’t happen then, in fact the half time score line still saw the Doggies up by a goal and possibly unlucky not to be further ahead.

I have some views on Riewoldt. I note that every footy expert has commented on his game to the effect that it was he who turned the match so I must bow to their collective wisdom yet to me he is sometimes overrated. After all he did miss three shots in the first half when St Kilda clearly needed inspirational captain’s goals. Buckley used to be a bit like that at times as well. On the other hand when he was flattened on the boundary and we had close ups of what seemed to be terrible involuntary shudders everyone imagined the worst, that is that he had really suffered a severe head injury. Somehow he picked himself up and got going again. That did take guts I must admit.

I thought that when the Dogs took the ball away from the centre bounce at the beginning of the third quarter that somehow the might cause an upset but then boom boom boom it was all over. Milne again, damn it, then Riewoldt, Koschitzke, Peake… so it went on.

As a neutral supporter edging towards the Doggies the fact of the onslaught and that they had nothing left to give was really disappointing. But let’s be positive, that St Kilda defence, until they relaxed a bit in the last quarter was pretty impressive. Gwildt always takes my eye, Dawson didn’t give Bazza a sniff. Montagna was great.

At the end of the day the Saints were too good. The Western Bulldogs were without Cooney but even still they have rebuilding to do as well.

Brad Johnson left, sadly without ever having played in a grand final but he was giving a sporting send off.

Collingwood by 49 points next Saturday, starting with a 5 goals to one first quarter.

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer

Leave a Comment