Collingwood and the team formerly known as South Melbourne have been familiar foes since the Magpies came into existence in 1892.
And while the past 70-odd years haven’t produced many finals match-ups, the two clubs still have a rich history full of big moments.
- Our overall record against the Swans from 1897 reads: P:230, W:143, L:86, D:1. Overall winning percentage is 62.39%.
- Our finals record against the Swans is: P:15, W:8, L:7. This includes three Grand Finals in 1918 (Swans), 1935 and 1936 (both us).
- Saturday will be only the third time we’ve met in a final since 1945. The other two have been the 2012 prelim and the 2007 elimination final. It’s also only the third time we’ve faced them in a preliminary final. The Swans prevailed in 2012 and we won way back in 1910 (when it wasn’t really a preliminary final anyway, but that’s another story).
- Jamie Elliott, Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom are our only survivors from our last finals meeting with the Swans in 2012, while they have Luke Parker and Sam Reid still running around.
- Remember the heady days when we (a) played the Swans at the MCG and (b) had not one but two big key forwards? The 2007 elimination final at the ‘G saw us win by 38 points, with Anthony Rocca kicking six goals and Travis Cloke three.
- It’s often forgotten, but we played the Swans in what is generally agreed to be the game’s first ever Grand Final. It was back in 1896 when both teams were playing in the VFA, having already agreed to join the breakaway VFL competition for 1897. The two teams couldn’t be separated by ladder position, wins, losses or goals scored at the end of the ’96 season, so the VFA decided that a play-off match would decide the Premiership. The two met on the East Melbourne Cricket Ground (now the Jolimont railway yards) on a stinking hot day and the Bill Strickland-led Magpies prevailed for their first and only VFA flag.
- The two teams were also involved in what was one of the biggest finals stories of all time. It came in 1935, after South had finished a game clear on top of the ladder and beaten Collingwood comfortably in the second semi. South’s star full-forward, Bob Pratt, had kicked six in that game, 10 against us earlier in the year and 103 for the season. But two nights before the GF, Pratt was getting off a tram in High Street Prahran when he was knocked off his feet by a truck carrying a load of bricks. He was badly injured and forced out of the game, which we subsequently won. The driver of the lorry turned out to be a South Melbourne supporter, and the shattered driver went around to Pratt’s house that night and gave him a packet of cigarettes by way of apology.
- Collingwood and South Melbourne played each other a staggering seven times during that 1935 season. Twice during home-and-away, then the semi-final and Grand Final (for a 2-2 split on results). But in the middle of the year they also took a joint tour together, playing promotional games in Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane. Fair to say they knew each other pretty well by the end of the year.
- I know it’s not finals, but … surprisingly, our highest ever home and away crowd at Victoria Park came against South Melbourne, rather than one of our more traditional rivals. It happened on Monday April 26, 1948 (a Labour Day holiday), when 47,224 crammed into our old home ground.
- Similarly, our fourth highest ever score came against the Swans at the SCG in 1985, with 29.11.185 to their 17.21 123 (fair to say team defence wasn’t much of a thing in those days)