A Day Out at the Footy

VFL – 2nd Semi Final

Casey Scorpions vs. Northern Bullants

Saturday 4/09/10

On a very wet but surprisingly mild Saturday afternoon that saw NO AFL final match being played in Melbourne, my daughter and I decided to experiment.

To take a step back in time and taste the excitement of football at a more ‘local’ level.

We parked with surprising ease in the portside suburban street and walked a short distance to the main gate of the ground.

There was the old timber grandstand fitted with the obligatory deafening foghorn siren; there was the afternoon tea room with plates of scones, jam & cream on sale and of course there was mud – and lots of it – in the middle of the oval.

We chose our spots on one of the wooden bench-seats in the grandstand which seated an array of die-hard locals, VFL followers and AFL fans.

Of course we were at the Port Melbourne footy ground to watch the VFL second semi-final between the Casey Scorpions and the Northern Bullants.

The teams ran onto the ground and we began player spotting. The Bullants are of course Carlton’s VFL team while the Scorpions belong to the Melbourne Demons.

My 15 year old daughter and I are Blues supporters and so took a close look at the Bullants line-up. We noticed others also taking a particular interest, spotting Demons’ coach Dean Bailey across the aisle.

Zoe was quite excited to find injured Carlton player Simon Wiggins also there sitting right behind us.

While the game was scrappy due to the conditions, Scorpions started more convincingly but the Bullants held their ground towards the end of the first quarter and made the most of their advances into the 50 metre space to score.

Qtr time: (Bullants) 6.3.39 – 3.1.19 (Scorpions)

While Setanta O’Hailpin looked all at sea initially, he finished the quarter impressively with three goals.

For Scorpions, veteran Brad Miller led the way with his marking up forward.

The second quarter saw the first goal to the Scorpions, bringing the margin back to 14 points.

The sun made a brief appearance but the wind picked up significantly giving rise to a surprising number of ‘out-of-bounds on the full’.

Shaun Hampson unfortunately was not effective in his efforts to half time although he scored a goal from a free kick, and seemed to struggle with the heavy conditions as the game progressed.

Half Time: (Bullants) 8.6.54 – 5.5.35 (Scorpions)

It was a very windy start to the third quarter with O’Hailpin kicking a shot for goal way out of bounds on the full but was not the only one to do so in the quarter.

Despite this, for the first ten minutes, all of the play was in the Bullants’ forward 50 resulting in two quick goals blowing the Bullants’ lead out to 30 points.

Simon Wiggins leaned forward and checked with Zoe who scored the major as he’d noticed she was marking the details in her footy record. She glanced sideways at me smiling!

Setanta started really putting in showing an increasing level of physical endeavour and determination.

Twenty minutes in and the rain began to fall.

Nearing the end of the third quarter and the intensity of the play was on the rise although becoming a bit scrappy again.

Brad Miller tackled former Demons’ teammate Brock McLean very solidly in front of the interchange benches in one particularly physical exchange getting some loud cheers from the Scorpions supporters in the granstand.

3 qtr time: (Bullants) 10.7.67 – 6.6.42 (Scorpions)

Well, the first major score of the final quarter was by the Scorpions which made the ongoing tussle very interesting and much closer than the figures on the scoreboard implied.

Interestingly, all the play seemed to take place on the Williamstown Road (Grandstand) side of the ground, with the city side seeing little action.

Players by this stage of the game were absolutely mud-laden and showing obvious signs of tiring.

The Scorpions made the best of it as the sky darkened and the wind stayed strong.

Shaun Hampson had clearly been practising the two-handed tap out in training but seemed ineffectual in his targeting overall.

At the 19 minute mark, it was fifteen points the difference with the Casey Scorpions getting a fair bit of forward movement but not a lot of results from that movement with Brad Miller having a quieter second half.

Final score had the Northern Bullants winning 10.11.71 to the Casey Scorpions 9.6.60.

A good win for the Bullants with players Chris Johnson, Ahmed Saad and Anton Woods all putting in solid games. Veteran Brad Miller also gave the Melbourne football selectors something to think about.

Zoe’s additions to this list are Brock McLean, Zach Tuohy, Levi Casboult and Joe Dare. (Please forgive the leaning towards the Blue-boys!!!)

When we walked out of the ground and down the street to the car in the fading afternoon light, Zoe and I felt very pleased with ourselves for making the effort to drive from the outer suburbs and spend the afternoon watching a good game of non-AFL finals footy and promised ourselves we’d do it more often next year.

If you’re into the game of Aussie Rules football, just remember – it doesn’t all take place in the rarefied atmosphere of the MCG or Docklands Stadium.

About Jill Scanlon

Blues fan and sports lover. Development through sports advocate; producer, journalist and news follower. Insanely have returned to p/t study - a Masters of International & Community Development. Formerly with ABC International / Radio Australia in Melbourne.


  1. John Butler says:

    Good stuff Jill

    It was nice to see Setanta return to some of his earlier season form.

    Sadly, none of the boys have the opportunity for a recall to the AFL side. :(

  2. Jill Scanlon says:

    Thanks John.

    Yeah … but there’s always next year for them :)

    Was impressed by a couple of the young ones like Anton Woods (as I said in my piece) so it all bodes well for the depth of our young aspirants coming through in 2011 & 2012.

    Go Blues!

    AND there’s still their chance for some glory with the VFL next final this weekend.

  3. Jill.

    Glad you enjoyed your North Port “experience”

    Will be interesting to see what effect the proposed renovations will have on the “feel” of my favourite ground.

    Please pay us a visit some time soon


  4. John Butler says:

    Like last year, I have divided loyalties for the VFL GF.

    The locals (Roosters) or the Bullants? May have a bet each way. :)

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