Collingwood embrace ‘Dirty Pies’ tag

Collingwood have been careful not to complain when they might have had reason to do so this season.

But a sense of pride in how they had dealt with logistical difficulties finally emerged after their classic elimination win over West Coast on Saturday. Nor could some players resist a subtle dig at those who labelled them 'dirty Pies' (a reference to quarantine arrangements), or suggested they were making up the numbers in the top eight.

Nathan Buckley addresses the players at three-quarter-time. Credit:Getty Images

While Nathan Buckley and Steele Sidebottom infamously ran foul of the AFL's strict pandemic rules, the club were given the rougher end of the stick when it came to the fixture.

Only Hawthorn had a more difficult draw, with the Pies forced to play four games in 13 days and all of them in different capital cities.

Then, heading into their one-point elimination final win over West Coast they had to deal with seven days' quarantine in a hotel. Skipper Scott Pendlebury on Sunday joked they had "been living in each other's pockets", as opposed to the comforts of their Queensland hub.

Some staff stayed in camper vans.

A parochial West Australian press dubbed them the "Dirty Pies" – a term also used by Eagles coach Adam Simpson in a radio interview – because West Coast now have to quarantine for two weeks after losing to them.

The "dirty" tag refers to the fact that the Pies only quarantined in WA for seven days before the game, while the Eagles did so for 14 days because of the pre-finals bye.

Kane Cornes then chimed in, saying the Pies were "making up the numbers".

The Pies rejected any sense of injustice at every opportunity this year.

But when Mason Cox raised his finger to his lips to silence the Eagles crowd after kicking one of his three goals on Saturday, it was clear the 'Pies had been at least sub-consciously motivated by their circumstances.

"Momma always said. 'If ya ain’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.'#dirtypies #makingupnumbers" Cox tweeted on Sunday morning.

Jeremy Howe, injured early in the season and on the sidelines, tweeted post game: "Try that on for size, Kane".

Pendlebury said immediately after the game on the Channel Seven broadcast: "We're classified as dirty over here, and the crowd let us know."

On Sunday on ABC he said that"we were just making up the numbers apparently", going onto say it was one of the best wins he's been involved in because of: "Some of the circumstances we have had to go through to even get to the game."

The Pies head into Saturday's semi-final against the Cats having won the last two matches against Geelong, one of which was the 2019 qualifying final.

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