Footy world reacts to Anzac clash ‘shame’
"Shame on anyone that booed a champion".
The words Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley directed at the MCG crowd following an epic Anzac Day contest will long be remembered.
It came just moments after Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury was met with a booming chorus of boos when making his acceptance speech after being awarded the Anzac Day medal.
Instead of dissecting and breaking down the game, it was the booing which stole the attention and unfortunately became the main talking point from an instant classic.
Bombers fans were irate when a free kick was paid against rookie defender Jordan Ridley for a push in the back on Callum Brown in the final minute of the Magpies' four-point win.
Brown's set shot drifted across for a behind but having taken 30 seconds off the clock, the young Magpie had done enough.
Buckley said "my comment speaks for itself" at his post-match press conference.
"If an Essendon player had won the medal in that exact same moment and the Collingwood faithful had responded that way, I hope I would have been strong enough to say the same thing and I think I would have," Buckley said. "I don't like it but that's just my opinion."
Collingwood player Dayne Beams described the reaction from the Essendon fans as "ridiculous". "He's a champion of our game," Beams said on SEN radio.
Essendon coach John Worsfold was coy about what motivated the fans but did not approve of the booing. "I'm not into booing. I like to appreciate sports people doing their best. I don't know what prompted it or what it was about," Worsfold said.
"It's hard to comment on it other than saying fans are passionate and there was something there that had frustrated them I assume."
'THIS WAS ESSENDON'S SHAME'
Herald Sun chief football writer and AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson was quick to condemn the actions of the Essendon fans during the post game ceremony.
"I sit there and shake my head, this was Collingwood's day and Essendon's shame," Robinson said on AFL 360. "I thought it was just shameful."
Legendary players Nick Riewoldt and Jonathan Brown held differing views.
"In the post-game, the five or 10 minutes when we're here to celebrate Anzac Day, for it to carry on like it did … we've got to be better than that," Riewoldt said.
"You can understand it, can't you. There's a couple of controversial free kicks or non-free kicks. That's the game, that's why the booing happened," Brown added.
"That's why we all come to the footy. We're passionate, we all pay our money."
"It was inflammatory stuff, but I don't think they were booing Scott Pendlebury, I think they were booing the result," Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall said on Fox Footy's AFL 360.
"They were probably booing the umpires, which I think is very unfair as well. It's amazing we blame the umpires for everything don't we. Players make horrible mistakes, but we forgive them.
"But we don't forgive umpires for their mistakes, they're as human as the players are. I find that amazing.
"I just think it was the spilling out of emotion and disappointment at the result and Bombers thinking 'oh here's Collingwood celebrating' and they didn't like it.
"Now it's come across the wrong way and I feel for Scotty Pendlebury, but I don't think he'll lose too much sleep over it."
'YOU'RE ALLOWED TO BOO'
Fellow Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton believed it was all just a part of the game.
"Football is a game where people earn their money each week and it's very valuable to them and they spend a great portion of it going to the footy and they get great theatre out of it," Brereton told AFL 360.
"If you barrack for a team, i.e. Essendon, you pay your money and as long as you're not racially motivated, politically incorrect or engaging in the marginalised and really giving it to them, then you're allowed to boo I reckon.
"Everyone loves their team, anyone on the opposition is a villain. It's like a stage show to them. The villains win you boo them."
Dunstall didn't agree with Brereton's statements and believed that when the game is over that should be the end of it.
"I just think we're condoning inappropriate behaviour though. If I'm taking my kids to the footy, I want to teach them the right things about sportsmanship," Dunstall responded.
"Yeah really disappointed that we've lost, but I'm not going to boo the winners because that's sour grapes."
'WAS IT FOUL?'
After host Gerard Whateley raised the importance of the day and being their to remember those who have fallen and condemned the crowd, Brereton weighed back in.
"I agree with you, but you have just painted it much more than what I think it deserves to be painted," he said.
"You've used it as 'foul', I think inappropriate as you've called it (Dunstall). Foul means 'oh that's repulsive'. Was it repulsive?
"I think it was wasted, needless. But if somebody feels that expressing of emotion and as I said it's not racially or towards the marginalised, I can understand it and that's the stageshow they go along to and get taken on the journey.
"I hate defending the Essendon way if that's what they've done, but that's the journey they're on and everyone loves to boo a villain.
"That's my take. I think we're making too much of booing. Is it nice? No. Is it part of the game? It doesn't contribute to it, but it's apart of the theatre of the whole thing and I think we're making too much of it."
'WE HAVE TO STOP IT'
Magpies president Eddie McGuire doesn't believe the anger was directed towards Pendlebury, but called for fans to learn from it.
"I think the Bombers were so pent up at the end of the game that they were going to boo anything," McGuire said on Fox Footy.
"I don't think it was personal at Bucks, I don't think it was personal at Pendles. I don't think it was personal at the Collingwood Football Club.
"I think it was just pent up emotion. We have to stop it though.
"Because what happened to Gary, what happened to Adam Goodes, we don't need that stuff.
"Let's not hang them for it. The day was too good to worry about the last bit.
"I am not trying to let anyone off the hook. Let's not go silly about it.
"Let's learn from this. Let's cheer the champions.
"You know what's great about our game? I was up with the Essendon people and we were at each other, we were yelling and screaming all day. At the end of it, we all hugged each other."