Round 18; Collingwood v GWS – First game nerves

As published by The Footy Almanac, 28 July 2013

Whilst my boy is keen about his footy, he’s nowhere near as obsessive as six-year-old me.  Brainwashed by two older brothers, I knew every Collingwood listed player and their number from 1-60.  Child abuse, some would say…

Luke’s understanding of the game is rudimentary at best, and the strength of his Magpie allegiance is roughly that of his favourite superhero (currently Wolverine).  For a brief, unsettling period he declared himself a Cat, for no other reason than his curious fondness for felines.  I can only rely on his hatred for the Blues (‘da Poos’) with confidence.

Anyway, the opportunity had finally presented for Luke to make his Collingwood debut.  As a ‘Pies supporter, lugging  small kidlets along is tough logistically, unless willing to stump up for reserved seats and have them in bed near midnight.  In a perfect world the kid-friendly Giants clash at a 30% full MCG wouldn’t have been my ideal introduction to the live experience on which I was weaned.  But at least he’d be guaranteed a win to permeate the bond, or so I presumed.

Another debut I was looking forward to was the ‘Pies’ highly rated ruckman Brodie Grundy.  Likeable kid with a great attitude, though the ‘man bun’ has to go.

Having fallen to the Suns the week before it was expected the Magpies would strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.   And with Reid putting the first on the board after 51 seconds, all was going swimmingly.  That is before another Jezza proceeded to invoke black and white nightmares on the ‘G.

I’d heard about Jeremy Cameron in dispatches, but preferring to gouge my eye with a stick than watch ritual Giant floggings, I’d only witnessed brilliant snippets.  Ablett had beaten Collingwood virtually on his own the week before, and Cameron threatened to repeat the dose.  His speed, skill and nous delivered the Giants’ first five goals and spoke to a Wayne Carey-like mastery of the offensive arc. There appears nothing this prodigy can’t do.

By the long break a combination of lamentable Collingwood effort and the Giants’ clever flooding and slingshot strategy, that similarly quick teams such as Sydney dismantled the ‘Pies with in 2013, earned a 16 point buffer.  Inconceivably the orange boys were well poised to gift Sheeds the ultimate MCG farewell present.  I felt mildly ill.  This was not what I’d envisaged for Luke, and I wondered if this could be the last game either of us would ever attend!

At the resumption Collingwood booted as many in five minutes as had taken a whole half to painstakingly assemble. Now munching on his chips, and the Magpies ‘with their effort back’, Luke’s evening was back on script.  As was mine.

Notwithstanding a talent and physique light years ahead of yours truly, I was more nervous for Grundy’s wellbeing than his performance, which was excellent.  The big guy’s recklessness risks a similar catalogue of hurt as my last dozen games (3 in Midlife Crisis League this year, 9 in my last season 15 years ago).  That is broken ribs on three separate occasions and a dislocated shoulder.

The Giants approached the game with similar youthful abandon, and thrice the stretcher was called upon to retrieve limp bodies from the turf.  Luke suggested stretchering the player off entailed ‘stretching the player apart’, medieval style.  And further mirth ensued when the other two misfortunates were greeted with a ‘good!’ and ‘suffer!’  I do believe as the game progressed one eye was closing over!

LukeIn the end experience won out, and the ‘Pies cruised to the worst 40 point win I can recall.  As someone who watches intently in relative silence, attending to observations and questions more relentless than ASADA’s was exhausting.  Ever tried patting your head and rubbing your tummy for three hours?  Nonetheless, offsetting my disappointment at the depths to which the Magpies’ form had sunk was Luke’s joy singing the song, oblivious to our team’s malaise.

I envied his wide-eyed reality, and I reveled in it.


Collingwood                          3.3     4.6      9.12    15.16  (106)
Greater Western Sydney      4.2      7.4     10.4     10.6  (66)

Goals – Collingwood: Cloke 3, Swan 3, Sidebottom 3, Reid 2, Beams, O’Brien, Elliott, Witts
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 7, Scully, Smith, Shiel

Best – Collingwood: Swan, Beams, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Grundy, Williams
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron, Shiel, Ward, Adams, Hampton

Votes: Swan (Coll) 3, Cameron (GWS) 2, Beams (Coll) 1


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