One for the ages

Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners

2-2 full time 4-2 on penalties

Lang Park 13/3/2011

Crowd 50 128

By Hamish Townsend

The problem with soccer in Australia is that it has no weight. Thousands of people like me love the game, but having wiped their ethnic history and any sense of tribalism it feels like stainless steel cutlery instead of old silver.

It doesn’t help when your local team wears florescent orange as a dominant colour and names itself after onomatopoeia rather than a real thing. But there we were, 50 000 of us leading a raid on the house of Wally and Gordon and Alfy and being part of one of Australia’s greatest football games of any code.

I was wearing a reflective bicycle vest cause I thought it was funny, but there were lots of other people wearing them too, which wasn’t.

This years A-League grand final was one of the best games of football I have ever seen. As a contest it was thrilling from the start as Central Coast (Woy Woy as I can’t find a place called Central Coast on the map) lit out with adventure and pressure from the start.

Coming up with nought they retreated to their wall of defence and Brisbane took over.

Just about everyone in orange had a shot at goal in the second and I was waiting for our beloved Postecoglou to give me a call up and have a crack, but the call never came. Instead the Central Coast defence just slid in formation from side to side and never broke down.

Keeper, Matt Ryan just could not be beaten and never looked like it, 0-0 at the end.

Despite looking like losers the whole match the Mariners slammed home two in the first half of extra time. You wont read this but the super sub was a young kid called, Bernie Ibini-Ise.

The Nigerian born Aussie came on near the end of regular time and his strength and direct attack at the goals made life uncomfortable at the back for the Roar and it was this pressure that brought about the goals when legs got tired.

It was all over for the Orange Roughies, until somehow a miracle. With three minutes left Brisbane belted home two to draw level including one so late it was the last possession of the match.

Having choked in extra time the heat was on Woy-Woy-the-brave and they wilted under its torch. The crowd went mad; soccer in Brisbane had a new level and a story for the ages.

Around the new Lang Park is Caxton Street, a strip of bars usually filled with Bronco or Queensland Origin fans. It a walk as traditional to every league fan as the Jolimont bridge to AFL fans. This day its balconies and balustrades were filled with Orange and cries of “Queenslander!!!” in honour of the old league yobbo, Billy Moore.

Little kids with painted faces and were sucking up the atmosphere that once breathed can never be equalled – the light, delicious but deeply satisfying breath of the grand final win.

It was a day when several layers were added to the grain of sand I hope will one day be the football pearl, football of any code at its absolute best.

About Hamish Townsend

Hamish Townsend was born and raised in Geelong, supports the Cats and lives in Brisbane.


  1. Hamish, was listening to this in the car. Had to pull over after Brisbane’s first goal to avoid an accident. What a finish!

  2. Alovesupreme says:

    Fine report, of what was clearly a marvellous match. However, to clarify, the Central Coast refers to the area north of suburban Sydney and South of Newcastle. Gosford is the major centre and the location of their home ground, so you can think of them as Gosford City, United, Athletic, Wanderers (whatever).
    As its their third GF loss, some might be tempted to describe them as losers, but I thought they were magnificent in defeat on Sunday night, particularly as they were rank underdogs.

  3. I was at the game and sat behind a prick of a new south welshman who from the first whistle let us all know that he was a central coast supporter despite the Liverpool away jersey he was wearing. He was as offensive as an away supporter can be and in England would not have lasted the warm-up the way he was carrying on. In fact his bravado was so unusual i asked my mates to withhold judgment until i could determine for sure that he wasn’t mentally disabled. One of his mates said he wasn’t. When the mariners went two nil up in the first half of extra time he told us that “Queenslanders are f*cked” and that the game was over and announced that he and his mates (seemingly neutral) were off to LA’s to get on it (some more). Despite the amazing turnaround i still feel a little empty that i didnt get to see this bloke’s face when he got wind of the final score.

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