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I still can’t believe it, but we did it!

Sunday: I still can’t believe it, but we did it!

The harder you shake an Etch A Sketch, the more the scribbles and deep-set mess will disappear. That’s my brain today – clean, relaxed, grinning.

Before we started, I asked Andrew, who’s been with me for at least 600 games, how he was feeling: “I’m taking each breath as it comes.” I just wanted to dance. Grand finals do weird things to you.

Glenn Peters celebrates Collingwood winning the flag.

Glenn Peters celebrates Collingwood winning the flag.Credit: Glenn Peters

Kiss were fantastic. There won’t be a better pre-game show.

The game was sublime. Both teams were fast, ferocious and ridiculous. Bobby Hill’s mark, when he soared into the sun to grab that ball was the best I’ve seen up close.

My smart watch nags me when the crowd gets too loud. The loudest was 109 decibels, when a Collingwood chant started inside the urinals at three-quarter time.


Two minutes to go and the Collingwood bench held up the STOP sign. Too early. PUT IT AWAY. Brisbane scored. Chaos. Siren. We sing the song in tears.

After hours of the best loose footy talk ever at The Tippler & Co near the MCG, I walked home.

The streets were a zoo. Trams were stopped on Chapel Street because someone had danced on one.

Peter Moore was my first footy hero. I made a picture plate of him with big, yellow hands holding a tiny red football. Above him I wrote “Peter Moore, number one in ’81”

Yesterday he gave the premiership cup to his son, Darcy, one of my son’s footy heroes. Gosh. With that, my Etch A Sketch brain shaken, clean.

What a week.

Saturday: Granny has arrived and Ginni went to the races

It’s today. I can’t believe it. Started easy, listening to records, reading all the footy stuff in The Age newspaper that I had already read online last night.

Saw old mate Tim, a star from my Lords of the FlyPies chat got into the ground from the MCC queue. Chat rejoices. Murf, our New York correspondent in my Mayne Men (Pies diehards will know the reference) chat group, has stocked up on Bud Lights for an all-nighter over there.

Excitement (and terror).

Excitement (and terror).

My oldest footy friend, Brett (35 years of footy together!), made the beautiful, sacrificial choice to watch at home with his boys – but they’re all here in Yarra Park with me now. The past two years have been the most fun I’ve had at the footy. Fly, staff and players have brought in a gorgeous vibe.

Stumbling hubris has been replaced with inclusion, fun and love. We’re nice. People like us. I even felt bad for my Carlton friends last week. I can’t wait to watch those players run into the ground. Watch closely before they run through the banner. They hug and celebrate.

My daughter Martha, 9, took the photo you see at the top of this page. I think she captured the love, but if you look deep into the pixels, you’ll find fear.

Geez, I’m scared right now. The helicopters above are annoying me. The sun is burning.


I’m nervous for what might happen when the siren sounds, but more so, I want to party early like the players do and love the game no matter what.

Today isn’t about baying for blood and yelling at the umpires. It’s about hugging your mum, your dad, kids and old friends. And I can’t wait. Let’s go!

Wait, someone just told me Ginn went to the races last night! Scallywag! That’s why we love him. Three goals today, please.

Friday: Waterlogged Sherrins and American insomniacs who love footy – inside the grand final day parade crowd

I got concussed during the grand final day parade in 2018. I had then one-year-old Fred on my chest. Out of nowhere a waterlogged, Sherrin smashed my head. The world froze weird ZZZT ZZZT ZZZT sounds, then stars. Any player who’s had a concussion knows the feeling. It’s instant and unmistakeable.

I was sick all night and made it to the grand final the next day, sans pre-game drinks. The game was a blur. I was directly behind Dom Sheed kicking that goal, but I don’t even remember it.

Today I was giddy, but thankfully no concussion. People as far as this one-eyed pie can see – at least enough to fill three MCGs.

The parade is everyone’s chance to be part of it. The bonus is that you get to watch a bunch of twenty-somethings ride on plastic chairs on the back of utes.

Waiting for them, we met an American family who had gathered from three states to join their dad on his bucket list journey to Melbourne for the finals. He fell in love with our game three years ago while in hospital for heart surgery because AFL was the only thing on TV late at night during his post-op insomnia. His grin today was as wide as mine.

When the players drove by, I was just as giddy the kids. There’s Jordy! Give us a wave Q! THE SUPER DAICOS BROTHERS! Later we all sing Up There Cazaly with Mike Brady. You have to come next year even if your team isn’t in. It’s crowded but it’s unreal.

And a tribute to the sole woman working in the chaotic Jolimont 7-Eleven today. Heroic as Beau McCreery with a minute to go. Champion.

Of course, it’s a supermoon tonight. Get some sleep. Tomorrow will be huge.

When the players drove by, I was just as giddy the kids.

When the players drove by, I was just as giddy the kids.Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty

Thursday: The prince of Collingwood’s last training session

“Enjoy the week” is the first thing people say when your team has made it into the grand final. What does that actually mean? Read every word written about your club, listen to every talkback call, go to every training session, parade and rewatch every old game you can handle?

Does it mean stumbling through the hours mourning past grand final losses? It’s hard to think that 1990 and 2010 actually happened.

For us, “enjoy the week” is about enjoying the hot shots of anticipation you get for these six days. It’s not really about what happens from 2.30pm Saturday, it’s about imagining what could happen – the high-fives, hugs and tears.

More than 20,000 of us were at the Pies’ last training session this morning. MAGIC vibe. We won the scratch match, Nick Daicos dominated and Pendles kicked a lovely goal.

There were big cheers when Billy Frampton marked and kicked it through the middle.

What does enjoying grand final week really mean?

What does enjoying grand final week really mean?

I saw a woman wearing the best t-shirt ever that said: “Never underestimate a woman who understands football” and admired a car done up in black and white.

Here’s the magic. A single magpie camped high in a light tower. At a lull during the scratch match, it swooped down, and did laps inside the playing field.

The crowd all watched, stunned.

Is it a sign? The magpie that flew laps inside the playing field as players had their last training session made fans’ hearts soar.

Is it a sign? The magpie that flew laps inside the playing field as players had their last training session made fans’ hearts soar.

It was like in the great footy play The Club where stoned player Geoff Heywood watches a seagull instead of playing the game.

We were watching a magpie, and it was not just any magpie. This was the prince of magpies, dazzling with blasts of pure black and white every time the wing caught the sun.


Die-hard fans will know I borrowed this description of flight from the play, but that’s exactly what we all experienced – pure, dreamlike and magic.

Two more sleeps.

Wednesday: Jen2310 is on the money as grand final fashion turns fans into nervous Nellies

Just now, it’s confirmed that Billy Frampton IS IN. Amazing, and without fanfare, Jen2310 called it before anyone else.

There was a lot of fashion talk about Nick Daicos’ haircut yesterday. So let’s talk about grand final fashion and its link to magic, superstition and love. As you read this, Pies and Lions supporters have a big selection dilemma clouding their brains.

What am I going to wear, and if I get it wrong, will it affect the game’s result?
I’ve asked some of my footy bozo mates and got some nervous answers.

Alan Didak in action at the MCG.

Alan Didak in action at the MCG.Credit: Sebastian Costanzo

One, perplexed – should he suit up in the op-shop jacket on which he painted a big 4 in honour of Alan Didak in 2010? Brayden Maynard has the 4 now so that’s cool, but sadly, the jacket was worn in 2018, and we all know about that awful day.

Will another wear his sleeveless jumper bought for the 1990 granny? Apart from being a potential Antiques Roadshow subject, it’s worked this year.

Then there’s my mate who must wear the scarf his late yia-yia knitted 40 years ago. This hit me because the scarf I’ll wear has a similar story, knitted over a summer many years ago by a friend’s mum who isn’t doing too well right now.

That’s it. Every yellowing, knitted scarf you’ll see this Saturday was made by someone over many hours with loving concentration.

Glenn Peters hangs his Pies scarf outside his window.

Glenn Peters hangs his Pies scarf outside his window.

Every stained and mouldy jumper you see has its story, a story of an aunty taking you to the footy when you were six, the deathly quiet drive home after a loss, or a night we won by a point.

My old scarf is hanging out my front window right now, but it will get around me for every second of Saturday’s game.

Tuesday: Fred gets the Daicos cut, Jen says Frampton will replace McStay as I am hit with 371 Magpies-related messages

I’m still trying to work out the Brownlow. Lachie Neale won, but my records had our Nick Daicos at around 60 votes. Go figure.

It was an exciting night, with a new Brownlow record in our household. It took a whopping 83 minutes for my so-not-into-footy wife to walk in and ask: “Remind me. Why do they televise this garbage?”

Usually, this quip lands within the first half hour.

Nick Daicos: Hands down winner of the best hairstyle at the Brownlow on Monday.

Nick Daicos: Hands down winner of the best hairstyle at the Brownlow on Monday.Credit: Getty

The Brownlow gave me a chance to marvel at Nick Daicos’ wonderful hair. Exquisitely shaved to zero, high bowl above the ears and a V-Fade at the back – like all players do right now. I know that it’s called a V-Fade because the barber corrected my little guy, Fred, when he asked for a “Nick Daicos cut” last week.

I took the kids to open training this morning to take in the sunny nervousness of 5000 of my black-and-white breed. I judge it all on vibe and love. The more the players look like they love each other, the better the chance of a grand final win.

But the real master of picking player form, and unsung hero of Collingwood content is Twitter and Instagram supporter, @Jen2310.

We don’t know much about her. She’s no like and subscribe attention seeker. She just tweets at every training and notices what other people don’t see. Whatever she tweets, you’re deadset sure that’s what’s going to happen.

And as I type this diary, she’s made the big call on who will be replacing Daniel McStay (not Andrews).

Billy Frampton at training.

Billy Frampton at training.Credit: Getty Images

Pies nuffies like me and my bozo mates, we thank you, Jen, for your wonderful service.

How many Pies-related messages did I get yesterday? Three-hundred-and-seventy-one, and yes, I’m still (only just) a high-functioning adult.

Monday: A one-eyed Pies supporter and ‘high-functioning’ adult

Grand final week. Oh, my heart. In my adult life, I’ve been to well over 600 Collingwood games. There’s been winning and losing grand finals. I’ve hugged many strangers over the years when the siren’s sounded, and I’ve broken down in tears (thank you to the 10-year-old who picked me up off the floor when Jamie Elliot kicked that goal last year).

Forget Rome, I can think about Collingwood every 10 or so minutes, and sometimes much, more than that.


I’m one of those Collingwood supporters, and surprisingly despite all this, I’m also a high-functioning adult.

Friday night’s prelim final – wow. I did not enjoy it. The last six minutes was torture. When the siren went, me and my friends who’ve been with me at the footy over 30 years cried out a heap of “WE DID IT” followed by jugs full of “WE’RE IN THE GRAND FINAL”. It was wild. We love each other and we love the Pies.

The same group reconvened via Zoom on Sunday morning to buy grand final tickets. Gazillions of laptops out, refreshing that damn Ticketek page. But WE DID IT. We got tickets. Commiserations to those who couldn’t.

Monday has seen a lot of SMS group discussion (138 notifications today!), about what the hell we’re going to do with Daniel McStay out. We haven’t cracked it yet.

Forget Rome, I can think about Collingwood every 10 or so minutes.

Forget Rome, I can think about Collingwood every 10 or so minutes.

This afternoon I took my kids, Martha, 9, and Fred, 5, to the craft shop to buy cardboard to make signs, and black and white bunting and streamers to do up the front of the house. TIP: Crafternoons help the nerves.

And it’s Nick Daicos’ Brownlow tonight. Then early to bed, if the count ever ends, so we can go to open training first thing tomorrow morning. I can’t wait.

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