Collingwood has copped a truckload of bumps - mostly off the field - in its quest to win back-to-back premierships.
A year of troublemakers, distractions and criticisms has added fuel to the Pies’ fire. The players will tell you they’re hungry to win consecutive AFL flags under Mick Malthouse’s leadership.
The Pies’ efforts are working to great effect, and the players realise they are in top nick for another crack at the flag.
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Nothing better symbolises the hypocrisy that surrounds sports betting in this country than this painting, which depicts the scenes in the Collingwood rooms after last year’s grand final.
You can’t see it at this resolution, but if you view the original painting up close, a betting slip is clearly visible in the hand of Tyson Goldsack, who is the bloke about fourth from the left standing against the wall with another player’s arm around his shoulder.
The slip contains the words “Mrs” and “80-1” and “first goal” – a reference to the successful bet Goldsack’s Mum placed on her son kicking the first goal. Nothing was untoward about that bet. But all the same, it’s a nice irony given the events of the past week.
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The biggest donkey-licking of the weekend wasn’t in New South Wales politics. It was at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley racecourse, where unbeaten mare Black Caviar went so fast it would have outpaced Mark Webber’s Red Bull. Actually, Melbourne trams go faster than Webber’s Red Bull. Anyway, you get the point.
Horse racing doesn’t get much of a run in the sports pages outside of Melbourne’s spring carnival, but with 11 wins from 11 starts, Black Caviar is already fit to graze in Phar Lap and Makybe Diva’s paddock, and has probably even earned the right to eat the nice green grass in the shady corner. Check her performance a few weeks back in the time-honoured Newmarket Handicap. Wow. She never got out of second gear.
Ratings experts, who produce a formula which no one seriously pretends to understand, upgraded Black Caviar to 135 after that win, which is a statistical way of saying she deserves a speeding ticket. Rival trainers know this, and are now avoiding her. That’s why racing authorities offered prize money of $10,000 down to eighth place on Friday night, in a desperate attempt to attract a decent-sized field.
The Magpies’ 20-year premiership drought is over. Collingwood players were soaking up the sweetest feeling in AFL today after their 56-point annihilation of St Kilda in the Grand Final replay.
The nervous tension expended in last week’s draw proved to help the Magpies. Today they moved with confidence and precision.
The Pies blew away their cobwebs in last week’s draw. It proved a blessing in disguise as the Pies finally executed on their game plan.
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On the eve of the AFL Grand Final, I wrote just two words. Colliwobble Day.
It wasn’t a deliberate curse – I was simply acting on a sickly feeling that the Magpies might kind of wobble.
My instincts proved right, when the Pies died in the second half of their Grand Final showdown against the Saints. It’s scary, when you feel those Colliwobbles invading the hallowed turf once more.
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Collingwood are into a Grand Final.
If you’re a Collingwood supporter, read that line again, and let it sink in. If you’re not a Collingwood supporter, read that line again, and suck it up.
The lot of you have grown more obnoxious and annoying than anything our supporters could dish up. Nearly 40,000 people have joined some nonsense Facebook event: “The Day Collingwood Choke”. Their M.O.? “Collingwood are shit and we hate you.”
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After months of uncertainty last week had about it a sense of clarity.
With all the incessant talk about the rise of Collingwood, Geelong was finally going to set this season right. The undisputed heavyweight champions were going to teach the Pies a lesson about finals footy.
We all knew Travis Cloke couldn’t kick. Didak hangs up his boots at the end of August. Not even Dane Swan could carry a team by himself in the heat of a Prelim. Stacked up against 14 All-Australians in a team which had reached the mountain top twice in the last three years, Collingwood had no hope.
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Make no mistake - the mighty Collingwood Magpies are due.
They are ready to build on the lessons of a near-flawless 2010 season and a gallant defeat in this Saturday’s Grand Final by going one better in 2011. If there is one thing this team has mastered over more than a century, it is the ability to bounce back from a grand final defeat. With another grand final defeat.
Today, as a special tribute to the Pies, The Punch offers its readers this FREE downloadable slightly glossy poster commemorating Collingwood’s 24 extraordinary losing grand final appearances.
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Magpie fans ... get ready for the time of your lives. The Collingwood football machine is on the verge of breaking its 20-year premiership drought and we’re going to witness one giant party in good ‘ol Melbourne town.
After ruling the MCG’s hallowed turf on Friday night against Geelong, the Magpies are red hot and on their way to winning the AFL’s biggest prize this Saturday.
The Magpies have just two hurdles to overcome in their bid to secure their first flag since 1990.
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It’s going to be a ferocious war zone on the MCG’s hallowed turf this Friday night.
The Magpies are fired up to punch nails in the Cats’ coffin in their preliminary final blockbuster.
But the Magpies must achieve three targets – beating midfielders Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and co. in the central war zone, shaking off their goal-kicking yips to win on the scoreboard and destroying the demons that have haunted them for decades, the Colliwobbles.
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THE Magpies are raging flag favourites, thanks to the Hawks fuelling their hunger on the eve of the AFL finals.
The Pies’ stinging loss to the Hawks in round 22 hurt like hell. Collingwood’s flat spot, on the eve of the finals, could prove to be the catalyst in their quest for the premiership.
The Hawthorn loss was the fuel the Magpies needed to brush off their famed losing mentality.
Collingwood’s 22-point win over Geelong in its top-of-the-table blockbuster revealed that the young Magpies have come of age.
Like a fine wine, matured with care over time, the red-hot Magpies are playing with greater intensity, using their running brigade to boot a string of goals.
Earlier this year, I said Collingwood couldn’t win the premiership because they lacked goal-scoring power and big marking forwards.
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Ever since Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse got into strife after allegedly calling Saint Stephen Milne a “f***ing rapist”, the Magpies have done everything they can to earn their stripes.
The Woods’ victory over St Kilda on Saturday confirmed they are in the hunt for the AFL flag after claiming top spot on the premiership ladder.
The Woods were desperate to gain the upper hand over the Saints and show their authority after their April 9 horror game, in which AFL’s “role models” stooped to a new low following the ugly Malthouse-Milne exchange.
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Collingwood were on top of the world before Friday, seemingly unstoppable and had the feeling of an AFL premiership coming their way.
The Magpies ruled the AFL last week. But they were brought back to earth with a thud after copping a nasty wake-up call during Friday night’s blockbuster against Geelong.
Described as pretenders after their 36-point loss to the Cats, Collingwood simply didn’t have the goal-scoring power to match Geelong.
Having Mick Malthouse as your coach is like being punished for a crime you haven’t committed. Malthouse is small-minded, bad-tempered, lacks discipline and shirks responsibility. He’s quite unpleasant.
Now we know that he is a liar, and that’s a problem, because lying isn’t a mistake you make, it’s a character flaw.
It is yet another pointy arrow in Malthouse’s quiver of shortcomings, joining his over-sensitivity, profanity and lack of courage.
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The AFL and its clubs have had no shortage of moral minefields to tip-toe through this year.
From nude photos to boozy cruises to rape charges to senior coaches abusing opposition players to drug trafficking charges, the league has run the gamut of off-field issues. Or, as I like to think of it, they’re a Christmas Day scuffle away from earning their Charlie Sheen Badge.
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