After being told the club was not able to wear its famous heritage jumper twice a year in Showdowns, Port Adelaide changed into their famous jumper to sing the club song after their 49-point win over the Crows.
Here we are again, sports fans – the torture chamber continues. Only this week, I have found a way to be a little less furious.
Time will tell if I can hold back on just launching baseless accusations in anger after a loss.
The first six rounds of this year as a Pies fan have been full of anger and disappointment. I have written with either fire in my belly or a knife in my heart.
On the weekend, the Pies went down to the Suns and a few things seemed apparent.
The hope is gone for the season among the senior players. There were times when the effort from some of our top line players seemed none existent.
Jordan de Goey, for one, looked uninterested; if you want to be considered a good player, you have to play well, through good times and bad.
He needs to decide who he wants to be.
We again continued to boot the ball forward with little to no rhyme or reason, resulting in turn over after turn over.
When a player showed some desire to lower the eyes and bite off a kick resembling that of an AFL player’s skill level, they were rewarded with a dropped chest mark.
On the other hand, the Suns kicked the ball precisely and with purpose. Gold Coast spread the ground and dominated the uncontested game, something exasperated by some of our players’ lack of effort and desire.
To win uncontested footy, you must be willing to run hard in offence, creating marking targets and work equally as hard in defence shutting down those targets or pressuring the ball carrier. We failed to accomplish either.
All of this is to be expected with where the club is at and let’s not make any mistake: the club is at the bottom.
Players who have enjoyed riding a team playing decent footy will be found out when the going gets tough. Some will rise to the occasion.
Young players will make mistakes, they will take time to develop. Whether we ‘rebuild’ or ‘reset’ will be played out over the next 18 months.
I have come to realise that I have to remember we have actually been reasonably good for the past four years. Not good enough, I know, because at the end of the day raising the cup is all that matters.
But we have been good.
One kick away from a flag, one kick away from another crack at a grand final and a stirring win in the west when our backs were against the wall.
That kind of success has to be attributed to the club as a whole. The list managers, the coaches, the administration and, of course, the players on the field.
Now, could one argue that if we had slightly better coaches, slightly better players or slightly better administration, that would have been the one to five per cent more to get us over the line?
But it was not a bad run at it.
Inevitably, the proverbial ‘window’ passes.
We maxed out on our player contracts and had to lose players (something I respect given we were going balls to the wall to get a flag). Our game style is dated and figured out, our once-great off field club has fractured.
The Pies will hit rock bottom this year if they aren’t already there.
On the field, it will look atrocious at times. Some of that will be from the disconnect among the playing group, some will be from the effort we get from established players and some will be from the blooding of kids.
Seeing the influx of youth over the past weeks has been promising and, as the season goes on, my commitment to writing each week about Collingwood will be more and more centred around the young guns.
Caleb Poulter (what a haircut) had a good debut considering how the team is going and will keep his spot in the team. He looked at home at the AFL level and displayed effort and composure, something we can hope the injection of kids will help the rest of our team with.
Beau McCreery tries his heart out – he does not stop trying and applies good forward half pressure.
I was hard on him a couple of weeks ago out of fan rage. I take that back because at the moment it’s hard for any player in our forward line to look offensively dangerous given our ability, or lack thereof, to deliver the ball to them with any purpose.
Finlay Macrae looks to have plenty of talent and just needs time to catch up to the speed, I suspect.
Nathan Murphy is a little older but has similar AFL experience. I thought he displayed speed and great marking ability – how about that mark? Talk about a candle in the darkness.
Isaac Quaynor continues to develop and has a big future at the club.
Josh Daicos is going to be a star – his ball gathering is as clean as any, with goal sense and the ability to find his own football.
Callum Brown is a bull and will continue to get better, although he seems to be going through a quiet patch early in his career. This could come down to the role he is being asked to play or just a slump.
There will be plenty of questions about who will pick us back up and how: can our administration get it together to form a unified front?
Can Nathan Buckley adapt and find a modern cohesive game plan? Can the players follow him through this?
Which players are up to AFL standard?
There will be plenty of answers come season’s end for the Pies. Let’s collectively pray that the club can answer them well.
As a Pies fan, I have to reset my mindset and accept the stage the club’s in and take a little bit less stock in wins and losses for now and a little more in what the club’s doing to move forward.