Main content

Long live the Colliwobbles

Brought to you by

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 11:00 AM
Source: SportsFan
Author: Michael Rogers

For millions of footy supporters, there is a two-part answer to the simple question, "Who do you follow?"

"[Insert team name] - and whoever's playing Collingwood."

Fortunately for us all, that's just the way that the Magpie Army likes it. Less fortunately for those predisposed to all things black and white, it means that their grand final opponents will enjoy the backing of most neutral fans.

That's the first reason that a Collingwood loss in Saturday's clash against Geelong is good for the game - it will make the rest of us happy when the final siren sounds.  And there are plenty more reasons to come.

No neutral fans will be happier than Carlton, Essendon and Richmond supporters if the Pies get done - and that's without taking into account the mutual loathing that has existed for decades.

Defeat would extend Collingwood's record total of grand final losses to 26 - a dozen more than the Bombers' 14, the Blues' 13 and the Tigers' 11. Similarly, Essendon and Carlton fans will be equally thrilled by another year of not having to share their record of 16 VFL/AFL premierships, one more than the Magpies, who will have played in 14 more grand finals for their tally of 15 wins.

The delight of Geelong fans will be palpable if their team salutes on Saturday, and with good reason. Few objective observers of the game would deny this marvellous group of players one last taste of glory before several of their seasoned campaigners hang up their boots. But for some errant goalkicking and a wonderful five-minute burst from Stuart Dew, the Cats could have won three successive premierships from 2007-09.

While victory this year can never make up for the disappointment of that defeat against Hawthorn, it would ensure Cameron Mooney, Cameron Ling, Matthew Scarlett and their mates enjoy a statistical legacy that more accurately reflects their contribution to the game. Two flags from a five-year period of dominance seems scant reward for a group that transformed Australian football when it seemed mired in the tactical and aesthetic mess that was the flood.

Similarly, few could argue that rookie senior coach Chris Scott does not deserve the ultimate prize for his feat in cajoling the ageing Cats into another flag tilt. At the end of 2010, Geelong appeared tired, slow and tactically outdated. The forward press as played by St Kilda and Collingwood proved a successful counter to Mark Thompson's run and gun game plan, and Bomber conceded in the wake of a preliminary final defeat that he had struggled to change his players' approach.

This tactical malaise, combined with the post-season departure of Thompson and champion midfielder Gary Ablett, made the top job at Sleepy Hollow appear something of a poisoned chalice. But Scott was having none of it, harnessing the Cats' famous appetite for victory and blending the old stagers with a handful of newcomers to reinvigorate the team. If Scott raises the cup with skipper Ling on Saturday, he will be just the 13th coach to win the premiership in his first year, the first since Alan Joyce at Hawthorn in 1988 and just the third in the past 73 years.

There is an argument to be made, fuelled largely by sentiment, that outgoing Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse deserves to leave the senior coaching ranks on a high. But Mick has already tasted the ultimate success three times from seven prior grand finals. His legacy is secure and there is precious little to be gained from a non-Collingwood perspective.

It is far better for the game as a whole that the Cats - who might not make it this far again in the near future - win on Saturday. They have been undefeated in two meetings with the Pies in 2011, suggesting they have the minor premier's measure. Why shouldn't the better team take the spoils?

In any case, the Collingwood squad is relatively young and a loss would renew the hunger in the group. With plenty of time up the Magpies' metaphorical sleeve, only a brave punter would bet against them reaching the big dance in 2012 - where, with a little luck, they will thrill the rest of us again with a record 27th grand final defeat.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of BigPond Sport.

News & Views

Worst Handball Ever!

In today's edition of The Feed Will McCloy presents a genuine challenger to ...

EPL Managers

Our man Will McCloy talks to EPL managers (not really) to find out what the ...

Managers in Sideline Scrap

They say it's tough at the top, but it's even tougher at the bottom. The pr ...

Bunnies To Go Back To Back

Not surprisingly, Matt King has tipped the Rabbitohs to defend their crown, ...

This is the Suns' Year

A stacked list and a friendly early draw will see the Suns fly out of the b ...

Villa, Southampton win, Hull draw at home

Aston Villa has downed West Brom 2-1, Southampton beat Crystal Palace 1-0 a ...

World Cup Not For Minnows

Australia take on Afghanistan in the World Cup today but Stu Clark believes ...

Morning Sports Wrap

Get your morning Sports news hit.

Kaiden Brand to miss up to 5 months

Hawks defender Kaiden Brand has will miss up to five months with a shoulder ...

NRL backflip on surveillance rules

The NRL have backflipped over plans to confiscate phone records and compute ...

Clubhouse Blogs