To all you footy fanatics – Happy September!

It’s September.

My favourite time of year.

The finals have arrived! My heart accelerates just thinking about it. Throughout the finals series I feel like a kid on Christmas day, the atmosphere, the festivity, the magical moments in each game.

There is so much to love about finals footy. It’s a whole different ball game. The skills are better, the game is faster, the players are tougher, the intensity is higher, the prize is bigger, the glory is greater. During finals, I sit there watching the art of football, getting caught up in the emotion and grinning to myself as I realise once again why I love the game so much. I realise my passion for footy extends beyond my club.

I’ve been lucky as a Collingwood supporter though, spoilt even. I’m now at university and the last time Collingwood didn’t make finals I was in primary school – the current longest consecutive streak. That is a lot of September action. Maybe that’s why September is so special to me.

But even the times Collingwood didn’t make it or was eliminated early, I would pick another team to follow, get to know the players, watch all their games and ride their highs and lows. I also pick a team every Grand Final.  My criteria? The team that is the underdog, the team that hasn’t won it in a while and most importantly, the team that challenges Collingwood the least in number of premierships won. So if Collingwood get knocked out this Saturday night… I will be donning purple and green!

In this final series there will be many glorious moments to be witnessed, many opportunities to fist pump or jump out of your chair. Just as there will be times when you hang your head, run your hands through your hair, wipe away a few tears and think of what could have been.

You will see your boys (or the boys you choose to follow during the finals) exult in triumph and suffer crushing defeat (unless of course your team is lucky enough to win the whole thing).

The atmosphere throughout September adds a whole other element to the experience.  I get so excited when I see people out and about dressed in their team colours, shops decorated in streamers and balloons, houses with their team’s flag billowing in the wind, TV ad after TV ad incorporating a finals theme, the papers and television news full of everything footy from training sessions to the ins and outs, footy show finales, awards such as the NAB rising star, Coleman Medal and Brownlow, the activities at fed square, the Grand Final parade and then the extravaganza of the Grand Final itself.

Oh how I love September!

 My top 5 September moments:

1. Collingwood, Saint Kilda 2010 Grand Final

How could this not be my favourite finals moment as a Collingwood supporter? I’m including both grand finals, the drama of the draw and the glory of the replay. Heath Shaw’s smother, Nick Maxwell’s mark, Dale Thomas’ torpedo goal, Harry O’Brien’s reaction after his long-range goal… the list is endless.

2. West Coast, Collingwood 2007 Semi Final

Siren sounds, scores are level. The players have no idea what to do. Exhausted, dazed, confused, they aren’t sure whether they play in extra time or return a week later. Collingwood then cause a major upset in extra time against third placed West Coast in Subiaco. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat during this one, I couldn’t watch but I couldn’t look away either. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life. I will never forget though that feeling when we won and how we celebrated!

3. Collingwood, Hawthorn 2011 Preliminary Final

I was lucky enough to be at this game, which made it all the more special. Collingwood were down by 17 points at three quarter time and I had given up all hope. In the last four minutes we were up by just three points when Buddy kicked a miraculous goal. I was shattered.  With just under 3 minutes, Ball throws the ball onto his boot and kicks a goal. Then with just 42 seconds, Dale Thomas runs down Rioli who gets called for holding the ball. The boys keep possession of the footy and the siren sounds. I remember jumping off my seat, crying out in delight and hi-fiving all the Collingwood supporters around me. Oh and seeing Malthouse cry on the screens!

4. Sydney, West Coast 2005 Grand Final

It’s hard to choose between this Grand Final and the following year. Sydney won by four points in 2005, West Coast by one point in 2006. But when I think back to both grand finals, these words come to mind “Leo Barry, you star!” and one image comes to mind, Leo Barry taking that pack mark in the Eagle’s forward 50 and then the siren sounding and the Sydney boys all jumping on top of him. Now that’s a finals moment to remember!

5. The 2005 Sydney, Geelong Semi Final

I remember I was going for Geelong (underdogs, hadn’t won it in a while, wasn’t a threat to Collingwood’s premiership tally… wow how things have changed!) Sydney won by three points. Back then I had no idea who Nick Davis was. He kicked a crucial late goal in the dying seconds of the match, winning the game for the Swans. Now, I will always know who he is. In finals, players make a name for themselves and he sure did. I remember the contrast in the emotion following the game. How sorry I felt for the Geelong players! But I could not help but smile at the reaction of the Sydney players!

Happy September everyone,

And may the best team win!


About Siobhan Calafiore

I'm a passionate Collingwood supporter with a love for writing and am currently studying journalism at RMIT University.

Leave a Comment