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Elections, Footy, The 'G and Me

July 2 - Carlton v Collingwood Monday JUL 04

The last time I went to the footy on an election day was September 18, 1999 – a date etched in the minds of Blues supporters and election history. 

Brilliantly lead by Anthony Koutoufides Carlton won the preliminary final by one point over the highly fancied Bombers with some unforgettable moments from Fraser Brown and Lance Whitnall.  That night in a massive surprise to almost all, Victorians pulled a Brexit, ousting Jeff Kennett in the unlosable election. 

I was at the MCG on that day, but not in the confines of the MCC.  I had only been seven years on the waiting list with a couple more to run. I know it was seven because despite pledging myself to the bride in mid-1991, her father-in-law Reg would not put forward my nomination until formalities were completed in February 1992.  Such is the popular state of the club that probably represents about three years of extra waiting for Full membership. 

The wait ended in December 2001 and since then I have witnessed many great events from the MCC, even some grand finals because Restricted members love two interstate teams in the grand final. So I saw Leo Barry’s famous mark.

Tonight provided the opportunity for another one. It began well in the confines of Percy Beames Bar watching a classic between the Swans and Dogs enjoying refreshments and the now traditional roast beef roll, before finding my brothers and their families. 

If it weren’t for the Blues on show it was a night to enjoy the theatre of Antony Green on election night. We only see him at election time but he is one TV's great performers and surely deserves a Logie!  Alas, we still may have a few more days to hear from him.

However, this was the clash of the great rivals. In reality though it was a contest for bragging rights for a couple of lowly clubs.  Which is exactly how it played out, a dour affair seemingly played mostly on the southern side with the nuisance backdrop of constantly moving “state of the art” advertising on the perimeter.  But at least the advertising was moving. The play was not. 

The game will always be memorable for the debut of the third generation of Silvagnis for the Blues.  Jack started well and was effective with his first touch setting up the first goal of the game for Jed Lamb.  He would have other moments but none better than a courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball.  I expect that Jack will produce a few more `G moments over the years.

This game should be bottled, buried in a time capsule, and never dug up again.  Both defences were on top of pedestrian forward lines, who were not assisted by the poor disposal and decision-making in transitional play.  The Pies were the more threatening looking to maintain possession before launching a forward raid, but were regularly caught in the mid-field over-using the ball. 

Once the Blues managed to win a turnover the occasional rapid forward thrust was usually stifled by forward entries favouring the defender or more likely slowing of the play trying to shift the ball laterally.  In this encounter the Pies did cut off the exits (unlike their previous clash), but the Blues showed little daring to even try to get through.

That they could only muster six goals was as much about their lack of enterprise as their lack of class up forward.  Unlike many, I actually appreciate the need to kick backwards and sideways to change angles, but this strategy needs to be accompanied by some derring-do.

The Pies were not much better, but they did have Pendlebury who once again delivered a “death by 1000 cuts” performance, largely unnoticeable but regularly releasing teammates in better positions which led to scoring opportunities for the Pies.  The Blues had the clearance ascendancy but no-one had the vision or clean skills of Pendlebury. 

Pendles wins contested possession but avoids contact finding time and space for effective disposal, in contrast with Carlton’s great hope in Cripps who wins plenty of contested footy but chooses to go into a tackle which results in too many handballs that miss the mark.

The final margin of 12 points flattered the Blues with a couple of late ones in junk time. They have much work to do in finding goals.  The Pies have released the pressure on Bucks with a couple of grinding wins, but surely we all want to see more entertaining football than the dross we were served up. 

This game might not have been worthy of the great stadium, but I’ve been to plenty that have been. I look forward to many more visits to one of the world’s greatest sporting theatres.  And for that  I need to thank my bride and Reg.  He died just short of his 50 years as a member of the club and always loved his pie and a beer at the footy, I am forever indebted to him for my nomination to the great club.

Sal is a sports tragic who loves the theatre that it provides.  He dabbles in IT for work and writes regularly for  When not watching sport at the 'G he will be somewhere close to the Friars who compete in the VAFA D1 section (at the moment).


Game Summary

CARLTON             3.3  4.6  4.8  6.9  (45)
COLLINGWOOD  3.5  5.5  7.8  8.9  (57)

Carlton: Gibbs 2, Lamb, White, Wright, Phillips
Collingwood: Grundy 2, Blair 2, Moore, Pendlebury, Greenwood, Aish

Carlton: Simpson, Curnow, Gibbs, Cripps, Docherty, Phillips
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Grundy, Reid, Goldsack, Sidebottom, Moore

Carlton: Weitering (ankle), Byrne (knee)
Collingwood: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Dalgleish, Pannell, Mitchell

Official crowd: 56,157 at the MCG