AFLW Round 3 – Western Bulldogs v Melbourne: Winter is coming
18 February 2017
Round 3: Western Bulldogs v Melbourne
This weekend I heard the term – ‘It finally feels like footy is back’ and it wasn’t a sexist comment in regards to the men commencing their preseason in the JLT Community Series despite us being three rounds into AFLW, it was because finally we were watching football when it wasn’t over thirty degrees.
In wintery weather, Whitten Oval played host to a men’s and women’s double header on Saturday, the men taking the 4.40pm slot and the women shining in the prime time 7.40pm free to air space. The Bulldogs banner man, Danny McGinlay was at it again when he took his chance to write the first men’s AFL banner for 2017 but paying homage to the women.
‘Men can play this game too?
Good on ya boys
For giving it a go
Get off before the real match starts!’
I arrived to watch the men ‘give it a go’ before the women took centre stage and it was a thrill to see Bob return to the pitch and hear the joy of the Bulldogs faithful as he led the pack into battle once again.
Unfortunately they didn’t get the result they were hoping for and also set the tone for disappointment for the Bulldogs women’s team.
Despite attacking the ball early and getting the first goal. The Bulldogs were unable to keep pace with the Demons, who’s Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman dominated through the midfield totally 26 and 27 disposals respectively. Alyssa Mifsud the target up forward slotted three through the big sticks and helped the Dees maintain scoreboard pressure.
Even with the cold and early rain, the crowd still seemed strong. There was a slight exodus post the conclusion of the men’s match however there was a line around the fence of punters waiting for the free entry to take effect to see the women play.
I thought I might have an insight into the two different crowds between the matches. That maybe it would be only men to leave after the men played and many more women coming in after the gates were open – but surprisingly the crowds seemed exceptionally average and diverse. It was brilliant.
One thing that struck me as curious was a seemingly innocuous comment I overhead from a male spectator standing near the boundary at the end of the men’s match.
As Western Bulldogs former player and stoppages coach, Daniel Giansiracusa, walked down from the coaches box to the field, this man yelled out, ‘You’re a good looking rooster, Gia, even I’d boof ya!’
His mates laughed and continued to swig on their bourbon and it made me think of the article written by Samantha Lane in The Age last Sunday which told the story of first openly gay elite football playing couple, Collingwood’s Penny Cula-Reid and Melbourne’s Mia-Rae Clifford.
The article highlighted how AFLW and women’s sports are paving the way for inclusion and diversity in elite sport and how surely that this culture will influence a positive change in the culture of professional men’s sports soon. It has to doesn’t it? It’s 2017?
But apparently it’s not that simple, for whatever reason, and we are unlikely to see an openly gay elite male footballer soon let alone a couple. What is difficult for me to process is that the faux-man love that these male fans can show towards their playing heroes and the comments that they can make that implies them in a sexual scenario with them, seem not just appropriate but accepted by the crowd – you should have the laughter at this comment.
I really do hope that we start to see less of these ‘boofing’ jokes from the boofheads to make room for some real man love on the field. We’d all be better for it. Love is love.
Melbourne 1.1 3.5 5.7 6.7 (43)
Western Bulldogs 1.3 1.3 3.4 4.5 (29)
Melbourne: Mifsud 3; Berry, Cordner, Hickey
Western Bulldogs: Clarkson, Wildes, Gardner, McLeod
Melbourne: D Pearce, Paxman, Mifsud, O’Dea, Hickey, Scott
Western Bulldogs: Kearney, Blackburn, McLeod, Scott, Gogos