Victoria v All Stars: Strauchanie gets best on ground and rightly so

By Josh Barnstable

This is the biggest date on the football calendar. It could shape the competition. Or is just that most of the players are out of shape?

Victoria, coached by unsuccessful Fremantle ex-coach Chris Connolly, runs out on the ground with stars Bryan Strauchan, Andy Lee and Captain Glenn Archer. In the other rooms, the All Stars, coached by Neil Balme, have gained the use of Hamish Blake for another year, and have retained Scott Cummings and the Materas among others for their services in this match. The 14th E.J. Whitten Game starts. The amazing crowd of 20,000 cheers.

The first quarter starts in extraordinary fashion, with Strauchanie kicking the first behind of the match. Craig McRae, former Brisbane Lion forward, gets the All Stars going with the first goal; a massive torpedo from outside 50. Ronnie Burns then bobs up to take a mark and goal while Strauchanie is dragged; many are calling for Connolly’s head. Underworld figure portrayer Les Hill gets a goal whilst running into the goalsquare for the Vics, and if I were the goal umpire, I’d just give him the goal whenever he gets the ball. Nick Holland dummies around an opponent and snaps a goal to take the margin out to 12 points before Mick Martyn is given a free kick and kicks a rare goal to cut the margin to 5 points at the first change, 2.3 to 3.2.

The second quarter starts and Scott Cummings marks and goals to take the margin out to 11 points before Tony Liberatore takes advantage of a free kick and reduces the margin to 6 points. Brodie Holland marks and is screamed at to pass to a leading Hamish before bombing away and kicking a goal. Hamish then gets his moment; after a free kick from Andy, Hamish kicks a goal from the goalsquare and celebrates by doing the worm.

A late goal to Justin Murphy thanks to some poor defensive work from the All Stars sees the margin at 10 points at half time with the scores doubled from the first break, 6.4 to 4.6.

The second half begins and Hamish proves that he is the Banana King, snapping a brilliant goal from the boundary line that would have made Stephen Milne envious. Phillip Matera then marks and goals. This is followed by a goal to Tony Modra after some great work from Damian Oliver. The margin has been blown out to 28 points.

The Vics are inspired by Strauchanie though. A great mark running back into a pack followed by the worst kick I’ve ever seen sees the Vics get back within 22 points. Modra replies for the All Stars, but David Johns, a goalkicking machine from wherever he’s from, receives a free kick and kicks a beauty from 50m out despite claims that Strauchanie somehow kicked it himself.

The siren sounds with 15 seconds still on the clock. Its siren-gate all over again!

Luckily the Vics have the brain of Strauchanie. He knows the siren sounded prematurely so he gathers the ball, takes two bounces running inside 50 and kicks a brilliant grubber goal from a tight angle to make the margin a tight 16 points at the final break, 7.7 to 10.5.

The final quarter gets underway and the Vics have the momentum, with goals to Martyn and Murphy seeing the margin cut to 3 points. A running kick out of mid-air to Hudson for the All Stars and their back out to a 9 point lead. This is bought back to 3 thanks to Johns after his mark and goal. The stage is set for a champion.

That champion emerges from the chamber that is the Victorian bench. It’s Strauchanie!

He gathers the ball 45m out from goal on a tight angle, runs to 35m and slots the goal from the tightest of angles to bring the crowd to its feet. Strauchanie, Collingwood legend without playing a single game, has put Victoria in front with the best goal ever kicked in footy history and he can vouch for that.

Victoria are in front and they extend the lead through Stuart Loewe after a mark from an errant All Stars’ kick in defence. The margin is out to 10 points and then Strauchanie leaps to the clouds to pull in an amazing mark.

But what’s this? He is clutching his shoulder? Oh no he’s done his ankle! Man down! Strauchanie is out cold! The doc is trying to resuscitate the hero but he doesn’t seem to get any power in that ankle. He is gonna have to be carried off. Absolutely terrible, he won’t shoot for his 4th goal but Andy will take the shot, having proved to be a dead-eye dick with the ball last year when he narrowly missed Hamish’s backside when shooting for goal. Strauchanie is in the arms of the trainers as the siren sounds and Andy kicks a goal to extend the winning margin out to 15 points, 13.9 (87) to 11.6 (72), an amazing turnaround.

Strauchanie is given the trophy for best on ground, and rightly so. Their may be no ‘I’ in team, but there is a B. K. Strauchan.

Victoria 2.3—4.6—7.7—13.9 (87)

All Stars 3.2—6.4—10.5—11.6 (72)


Victoria: Strauchanie 3, Martyn 2, Johns 2, Murphy 2, Hill, Liberatore, Loewe, Andy

All Stars: Hamish 2, Modra 2, McCrae, Burns, N. Holland, B. Holland, Ph. Matera, Hudson, Cummings


Victoria: Strauchanie, Johns, Martyn, Hill, Andy, Murphy

All Stars: Hamish, B. Holland, Modra, McCrae, Cummings

Crowd: 20,880 at Etihad Stadium.


3 Votes: Bryan Strauchan (V)

2 Votes: Hamish Blake (AS)

1 Vote: David Johns (V)


  1. Damian Watson says

    Love these games, watch it religiously every year.

    It took me at least five minutes to be convinced that Strauchanie was actually injured.

    Too bad big Derek Kickett wasn’t playing.

  2. Danielle says

    one word:

    my changes for this weeks match



  3. Steve Healy says

    Straunchie’s retired Danielle.

    He has already done his lap of honour around the MCG against the Dees in Round 2.

  4. Danielle says

    dont worry Steve, he will make a come back!!!
    plus anyones better than Toovey, retired or not!! :P

  5. Josh Barnstable says

    He’ll do a Tony Lockett: Make a comeback after a short while out of the game. But he’ll need to get over his ankle injury fairly soon before being considered for the side.

  6. Steve Healy says

    Toovey isn’t that bad. He just doesn’t get enough of the ball, and his ball could improve. He’s not a bad runner and he can kick a goal. A few Collingwood players who I think are worse: Goldsack, Cook and Stanley.

  7. Danielle says

    Steve, are you serious?
    trust me, all the collingwood suppoters want him O.U.T
    just check the collingwood website where supporters have commented on the 22 players should be played.
    Toovey’s haters outweigh his lovers!

  8. Steve Healy says

    Ahh, so he’s the Michael Newton of Collingwood- except Newton has already been dropped.

    “Possum eyes” Toovey will eventually come good(Nickname on Triple M).

  9. Danielle says

    “Possum eyes”
    omg that is so FUNNY!!
    i remember when McGough played for us and he managed to kick to ball into Tarrant’s face! talk about missing a target!
    Toovey is the new McGough!
    hmm you think it has anything to do with his caffine intake?:P

  10. Steve Healy says

    Nah, just because Collingwood always get the Friday night games- he’s nocturnal.

    McGough was a one hit wonder- won the Anzac day medal at 17, and has never been seen since. He was also on St.Kilda’s list I think.

  11. Josh Barnstable says

    Steve, couldn’t help but notice your comment about Michael Newton above. I now have a Melbourne supporter i can ask this question. Not many people up here go for Melbourne, either that or they’re too ashamed to admit it.

    Would you rather Michael Newton or Brad Miller in the team?

  12. Steve Healy says

    Miller- Better kick and can have more influence on games.
    He is just strangely out of form. Last few games he’s played for the Dees he has looked completely out of touch and lacking intensity and ablity to lead and mark. He started the year quite well, though, and had a good 2008. In 2 of our wins last year he nearly single handedly won them both.
    He’ll get better from here.

    I’ll give you back a similiar question:

    Corey Jones or Aaron Edwards?

  13. Josh Barnstable says

    Yeah i remember the game between Melbourne and Brisbane last year at the MCG. Miller played his best game for the Demons that day in my opinion.

    I would love to say both but i’ll say just the one. Jones-While Edwards can take a massive mark and kick the odd bag of 3-4 goals, he is too prone to off-field incidents. Jones is very consistent, is classy and can take a good mark, plus kick big bags of goals, like 7 against Hawthorn in 2007 and 7 against Richmond in 2008. North are a better team with Jones in the forward line. I really don’t know why he was dropped in the first place.

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