Peter Moore was a freak. The Nic Nat of a bygone era, only a better footballer.
As a ruckman he bounded round the ground like a gazelle playing two or three roles at once. It’s little wonder the 198cm blond collected two Brownlows, back when ruckmen were still eligible.
Darcy Moore is freakish.
In flashes the young Leonardo Dicaprio lookalike has tantalised those of us clinging to fading memories. Sure, he’s averaging almost a couple goals per game, but to be honest, more was expected of Moore by many this season.
Blessed with his father’s gifts, cursed by even greater expectations.
For perspective’s sake though, it wasn’t until Peter’s fourth year when he really clicked, jagging 76 goals in the Pies’ near-Cinderella ’77 campaign. Darcy is just two seasons and 24 games into what the faithful pray will be a career worthy of copious popcorn consumption. Maybe champagne.
Clearly moving better after a premature return from a broken collarbone, Moore, via a free, opened the game’s account after five minutes. As he would for the rest of the evening, on his way to a PB 45 hitouts, Grundy (and the ‘Pies midfield) cashed in on the absence of Nic Nat. Jack Darling was the difference though, a less wasteful West Coast holding sway.
Soaring with the timing and nimbleness of Nureyev, early in the second term Darcy really began making his mark(s). Players like Moore serve to lift supporters and teammates, offering a glimpse of what’s possible. To wit, Greenwood taking an unlikely hanger with all the grace of Boris Johnson. It was pleasing to see newbie Rupert Wills (tagging Priddis) start finding the ball, even more so Aish sticking it to his detractors. Meanwhile the Pendlebury-Adams-Treloar triumvirate greased the wheels of what was a finely tuned machine compared to the rickety bomb that leaked goals the previous week.
By the 18 minute mark of the second, Moore had scored three and taken five of six grabs contested before grabbing his hammie. Put the popcorn down. This was so 2016. Still, the ‘Pies soldiered on and Aish’s second for the quarter brought about a 26 point turnaround.
Only a sublime Sidebottom goal punctuated an impotent third term by the Woods. At least the effort to record 46 tackles indicated the will to win hadn’t waned (but to illustrate the vagaries of stats, the game tally of 116 tackles surpassed a previous club best of 108 – recorded in the 2011 Grand Final schemozzle). Gaff and Shuey were particularly busy, and with Darling and Kennedy still proving a handful, the Eagles looked set to break their 21 year Magpie-MCG hoodoo.
Worst fears were realised shortly into the final stanza when Jamie Cripps threaded a ripper from the boundary to reclaim the lead. To their credit, thousands of bold Eagles fans have turned up the volume and in a volume never dared at Vic Park.
Then the darnedest thing happened. An improved Crisp snapped one before the riddle wrapped in a conundrum, Jesse White, launched a perfect drop punt from long range. On a roll, Treloar extracted another and then Maynard put his powerful leg to good use. Last week he couldn’t even make connection with the ball!
Kennedy through his inaccuracy and LeCras through his invisibility made Collingwood’s defence breathe easier. But as long as the Pies maintained their capacity to turn the ball over and waste forward entries there was life in the game yet. A late one to Hill brought it back to a couple goals before big Rupe intercepted a kick out and found Sidebottom who iced the game. A Collingwood match wouldn’t be complete without Cloke missing a sitter dead in front and so it came to pass a minute before the bell.
Moore of the same commitment, if not execution, next week would be tickety-boo. But I more so hope the Round 19 Rising Star can be sound of body throughout 2017 and beyond. With Elliot’s career in limbo we simply can’t afford another freak out.
COLLINGWOOD 2.5 7.7 8.11 13.13 (91)
WEST COAST 4.2 5.2 9.3 11.6 (72)
Collingwood: Moore 3, Aish 2, Sidebottom 2, Cloke, White, Greenwood, Crisp, Treloar, Maynard
West Coast: Darling 4, Kennedy 2, Cripps 2, Hill 2, Masten
Collingwood: Adams, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Aish, Smith, Moore
West Coast: Gaff, Darling, Hurn, Shuey, Priddis, Hutchings
Umpires: Donlon, Brown, Schmitt
Official crowd: 34,929 at the MCG