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Queen's Birthday Quest

From the Members Friday JUN 17

By Lynda Carroll

Last year, the Queen’s Birthday blockbuster was moved rather suddenly, if not unexpectedly, to Sydney, while the Big Freeze ice slide stayed at the MCG. Against the form of the time, Melbourne lost. Or Collingwood won; however you like it.

In 2022, the Queen’s Birthday blockbuster was firmly in Melbourne. The Walk To The ‘G was once again in full swing, blue beanies bobbed about everywhere, and the MCG was as full as it should be and hasn’t often been since early 2020. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on who you are – Melbourne lost. Or Collingwood won; again, however you like it.

There were, as there have been in weeks leading up to this ultimate trauma, moments where the red and blue light was firmly switched on, all was running smoothly, and the game seemed in the Demons’ keeping. Clayton Oliver was in amazing form, well on his way to winning the Neale Daniher Trophy as best on ground. That victory was not the end result for Melbourne can be put down to a multitude of factors, ranging from Max Gawn’s injury to newcomer Daniel Turner’s concussion or the emerging full moon, but there is no doubt that Collingwood deserved the win, as difficult as that is to admit. From leading by 14 points at the end of the first quarter to scoring 1.2 to 4.5 in the final term, the reigning premiers will surely reset after a week’s break. Given that the Demons’ first opponents after the bye are the rather formidable Brisbane Lions, we will be watching with bated breath and trepidation, as well as a hard won appreciation of how tough it is to keep going week in, week out (as a player, not a supporter).

Before the game, the world was a beautiful, somewhat chilly place as a united force watched another unfortunate group of wonderful people get pushed down an ice slide. While in an eminently worthy cause, and with Neale Daniher the symbol of all that is good and determined in this community, chuckles were the main response to the costumes weird and wonderful. Of course, David Neitz was the Demons’ delight, with his William Wallace plaid, blue woad and sword reminiscent of a time when every single Melbourne player listed ‘Braveheart’ as their favourite movie on player profile questionnaires. That was circa 1995, and as Neita himself said on radio before the game, he felt as if the occasion was ‘like preparing for a game day!’ While he might not have kicked any goals, Melbourne’s former captain definitely made a substantial splash on this occasion.

Up in the Library, there was a certain buzz in the atmosphere, as well over 200 made their way in to collect fact sheets, watch the world streaming in steadily from Federation Square, observe those buying beanies, and generally absorb themselves into an atmosphere that has long been missing. The amount of mixed Melbourne-Collingwood groups was quite remarkable, and the collection of fact sheets showed what a big day it was. By closing time, there were only four fact sheets remaining; a statistic worthy of note.

Now we take that deep breath and regroup, while thinking with a little regret that the Magpies have won four in a row, while Melbourne has lost three in a row; all MCG games, and all completely within grasp well into proceedings. On such occasions, it may be worth thinking back to a dim, dark past, when the reverse of now – so three wins and ten losses – was quite familiar territory, and that silver cup that we all love so much was not even a twinkle in Max Gawn’s elevated eye. Life as a Melbourne supporter is a mission to be cherished, no matter the good times or bad, and if all else fails, we have another game against the Magpies in Round 21, again at the MCG. We can’t wait.


COLLINGWOOD 0.5 3.8 8.5 12.10 (82)
MELBOURNE 3.1 5.4 7.6 8.8 (56)


Collingwood: Mihocek 4, Elliott 3, Cox, Crisp, Henry, Ginnivan, McCreery
Melbourne: Brown 2, Jackson, Jordon, Fritsch, Oliver, Pickett, Viney


Collingwood: N.Daicos, Mihocek, Cox, Crisp, Maynard, De Goey, Pendlebury
Melbourne: Oliver, Viney, Petracca, Brayshaw, Salem, Jordon


Collingwood: Nil
Melbourne: Turner (concussion) Gawn (foot)


Collingwood: Tyler Brown (unused)
Melbourne: Kade Chandler (replaced Daniel Turner)

Lynda Carroll

Lynda Carroll is delighted to be watching Melbourne playing at the MCG in 2022. She spends most of her time in the MCC Library, researching, writing, working on a match day, and cataloguing books. The term 'reigning premiers' is still sinking in for her, but seeing the flag being unfurled in Round 1 certainly helped.