AFLW Grand Final – Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions: Floating on Enthusiasm

 

 

AFLW Punters queue in the storm waiting to get inside Princes Park for the AFLW Grand Final.

 

12.35 Saturday 24th March 2018

Ikon Park

Yvette Wroby

 

 

There is much to say about AFLW 2018 and today’s Grand Final.

 

The players, the fans, the friends, partners and families must put up with a crap load of extra heavy lifting to participate, attend or view these games. You must be passionate and love the game to put up with so much nonsense.

 

We have put up with substandard venues, tropical storms, floods, heat, poor facilities and short seasons. We put up with harsher penalties than the blokes get in the AFL. We must put up with Twitter/Facebook/media criticism that is repetitive and boring.

 

We must put up with uncertainty of venues and changes of rules. And we do all that, and still come out in numbers.

 

I was in the line with Kirby Fenwick and friend (who got there at 9.30) just before 10am. I had taken a taxi from Caulfield just to be at my sister’s house across the road in Parkville, to avoid traffic and transport chaos associated with the Grand Prix. We weren’t even the first, there were about 20 in the AFLW Members line on the Royal Parade side. The Melbourne based, Brisbane Lion supporting father and son and daughter before us in the line, were excited and enthusiastic. They would be on the ground later here, and at Etihad for the St Kilda v Brisbane Lions game at 3.35.

 

We were excited to get there early to save seats for many friends and Almanac writers who signalled they were joining us.  Those of us there in the growing queue, were paid up members of our women’s AFLW teams. We are committed.

 

We stayed committed as the skies opened and challenged our faith in the footy gods. It pissed down. It kept pissing down. And yet we laughed and queued. We called out to open the gates early. We watched as security guards put on their rain gear, thinking, wrongly it turned out, that the gates may open early in sympathy with the wet masses.

 

Not likely. The rain came and came, sheets of it, sideways, every which way. Feet were soaking within minutes, the queue snaking back continued to grow the wetter we got. I took a photo and tweeted it out: #letusin. To no effect.  I don’t have much Tweeting power it seems.

 

Gates remained firmly locked until the specified time.

 

We were duly, half-heartedly, searched, and our tickets barely looked at, when we finally headed up the steep stairs to find shelter and seating. And slowly we gathered as the rain kept falling.

 

The timing of the match, the venue, the non-ticketing, and the weather, all skewed the numbers who eventually made it. Over 7000 braved it to get there and participate. You were even BRAVER if you made it to the women’s toilets through the flooded floors and thoroughfares.

 

But what a match we had.

 

Another close encounter, in terrible rainy weather, which ensured a contest and excitement whenever a goal was kicked, or a defensive mark was taken. Even though the Lions scored the only goal in the first quarter, it was a ‘no give-me’ game. The Doggies took awhile to gel but were fighting the whole game, and were cleaner, quicker and more desperate. Even without their KB, they fought and were the eventual winners by a goal.

 

To be completely self-obsessed, I almost cried as for the first time in my adult life, a team I supported and was a member of, won a Grand Final and I could celebrate and cry out with all the others around me. And I smiled at my mob, my sister Denise, her friends behind, all my Almanac women and men, all the young people, and especially women, I have met in the two years of AFLW, who surrounded me in the stands.

 

I felt my heart fill with the enthusiasm and joy that women’s footy has bought me. My list of ‘suggestions’ will be made, and feedback will be given, but at this moment of joy and happiness, I felt that the community we have developed with and through the Footy Almanac carried me through the negatives and help me float on the enthusiasm and love that is the true heart of this fledgling competition.

 

And like the true tragic I am, I headed out the stand before the presentation of the Cup, to get to AFLM St Kilda v Brisbane Lions and meet my other beloved footy family. I hopped onto the first bus that was ferrying Brisbane Fans (and a Doggie and two Saints members) to Docklands. It was supposed to drop us at Elizabeth Street, but the driver eventually dropped us near Gate 7 and it was the easiest, most efficient, kindest gift from the AFL powers to be that I’ve had all (AFLW) season. Thanks guys!

 

Brisbane had a bad day all round.

 

There is a Grand Final and an AFLM match to watch on replay when I am all dry and comfortable. And I am ready for AFLW19.

 

 

About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. Jarrod_L says:

    Drink it in, Yvette. Despite the conditions, it was a great day and an even greater day to be more bulldog. Unfortunately zero from two for my Lions now, but they’ll be back!

  2. John Butler says:

    Yvette, it sure did piss down.

    Many thanks for securing a dry spot in the stand.

    But the teams gave us a real contest, befitting a grand final.

    Commiserations to Brisbane. Two close GF losses will be hard to stomach for such a competitive team.

    And now the questions about next season begin.

  3. Kasey Symons says:

    Great write up Yvette, hopefully it’s onwards and upwards for AFLW after you deliver your suggestions! Was a great season but so many missed opportunities and things the AFL could have done to really make it shine. Fingers crossed 2019 is a big step forward!

  4. Rick Kane says:

    Love it Yvette! You are the AFLW! And the Almanac correspondent bare none. Yes there are plenty of us and yes Kasey and John have done a ripper of a job but your voice echos through the grounds and the hearts and all the words that have been spoken about this truly exciting revolution. Wet feet and all! The first four and a half paragraphs of this report should be read aloud before every damned AFL Board meeting. Great report!

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