The sun set for us in the Collingwood Social Club overlooking the Yarra Harbour, beer in hand and glorious weather a pretext for the prevailing opening bounce optimism. Enter the Purple monster. The sun rose for Collingwood fans after their sides 70 point whupping by Freo to new talk of rebuilding – of going backward to go forward two years after the great leap forward of removing Mick who’d given em a flag. A glance ahead to the Magpies next opponents – Sydney, Geelong, Richmond, North Melbourne and Essendon – implies that if Round 1 form is any guide an advance order for the wrecking ball should be now placed. Black n White CEO Gary Pert had boasted pre match of the Pies likely snag of a flag in the next 3 years. But in the wash up of the opening round debacle, most commentators were in the “I’ll have what Gary’s having” camp as the full ramifications of this fantasia sunk in.
Big forwards Jesse White and Ben Reid were late withdrawals leaving the Pies vulnerable and short in attack. The first quarter was frantic as the Pies intensity forced turnovers and pressured disposal. The noise in the Pie members suggested feeding time at the zoo, but after quarter time Freo ramped it up, going down the middle while harassing on and off the ball. A glance at the game worm is in essence the game report itself reflecting the Pie hubris that saw Freo compost the leather 12 times in a row.
The famous press of Mick Malthouse’s days is now a distant memory and Freo exploited the lack of forward and midfield pressure to go coast to coast to kick easy goals on 3 occasions. Serial shanker from the ’13 Freo Grand Final loss Hayden Ballentine atoned with 3 goals including one insane snap over the shoulder from the boundary on his wrong boot. Who could stay after three quarter time? Not us, along with most of the Collingwood members who secured trains, planes, taxis, cars and bikes to get as quickly away from a horror for which there had been no mental preparation.
In times such as these we can take solace from the inhabitants of the Collingwood Facebook page, that erstwhile forum whose members proudly subscribe to the concept of a strongly held opinion being the consummate moveable feast. Here’s some of the more optimistic posts post game:
- “People who think that Buckley will deliver a flag are living in fantasy world.”
- “You will never win a premiership with a team of angels. We got rid of the cowboys and mavericks now we have card board cutouts.”
- “Maxwell has to go. Close is next. Then the farking kicking coach.”
- “He inherited a premiership team, gutted it and turned it into the wreck we saw last night. Time for a new coach!”
- “Bucks should be gone by Easter cause our season looks to be f@#ked already !”
- Ecetera until your phone battery gives out…..
Fremantle 17 14 116 defeated Collingwood 5 16 46