Brothers Brothers Brothers, Oi Oi Oi!

 

by Mick Jeffrey

So it’s all started yet again……no folks I’m not talking about the big boys down in the capitals and the South. I’m talking about the footy Central Queensland style. The regular season doesn’t start until April 14 (which by then we’ll see a new Government continue to wreck Queensland in a different way, but I digress) but we’ve been starting to play the old fashioned practice matches.

If you recall last year all we had in terms of preparation was a carnival of sorts in Bundaberg and an intra-club. The intra-club still remains, it’s actually the 2nd item of business on Saturday following voting. But unlike last year we’ve already had 2 matches against real opposition and there’s another match in the pipeline that is all but confirmed. With no off field tragedies to deal with (RIP Jim Stynes, the ultimate Celtic Warrior in the greatest game of all) and a few new recruits (which is nothing in comparison to the Port Curtis based clubs who are virtually new lineups compared to last year) there are no excuses to perform from the word go.

Onto the on-field action, beginning at the start of March against Wide Bay outfit Bay Power (Hervey Bay’s 2nd team). The season didn’t get off to a good start with wet weather ensuring the grass couldn’t be mowed. The umpiring crew that were going to officiate were instructed not to umpire, given a far fetched safety issue. Sanity though prevailed with club umpires taking over and a game took place. Personally I did reasonable, although with 8 on our bench it would be more difficult to give players equal time. I managed to get on for 2.5 of the 4 quarters (reduced from 6 sixths…..not quarters) and touched it a few times without having to search amongst the weeds for it.

Fast forward to the next Saturday, and the reason why I suddenly feel like a member of the Sydney Swans. As anyone would tell you, especially some guy called Kevin who doesn’t spend his time trying to take knives out of his back to stab whoever stabbed him, the GWS Giants are on display for the first time on Saturday night in an official capacity. A fortnight before this we also had the distinction of playing a club for their first time as a senior entity. The North Shore Jets have graduated from Junior ranks and will field a senior team in the AFLQ’s 4th Division Northern league, playing teams such as Pomona and Gympie, and we had the distinction of being their first ever opponents in a match.

Getting to the ground was an exercise in logistics. With the game played in Maryborough (4 hour trip South for us, about 2 hours North for them) the first thing we were hoping for was for the road at the often flooded Gympie to subside (which it did a couple of days before the game). Then while many of us car pooled and spent the night in town, for me it was another Tilt Train trip down, and  few hours down time before the game and a trip to the bus stop for a Greyhound Bus home. Then it was off to work at 6AM back in Rocky. Lesson for next time……get someone else to work the Sunday and take the bus going to Brisbane instead for a slow trip home.

As for the game, we didn’t get going until the 2nd quarter, when we started to move the ball more effectively. Staying more closer to the 50m arc gave me more touches and more chances to be effective, so much that I was able to nail a 35m set shot that a number of others (that I ably assisted with accurate short passing) could not. A couple of their prime movers found as much ball as ours did, and combined with our poor conversion rate kept the game nice and competitive, albeit without knowledge of the official score until after the game which confirmed us in front by a few points, not that the result mattered all that much.

A couple of other notes from those practice matches that I need to mention. Firstly the Maryborough club was a great host for our 2nd game and their $125000 lights at least looked the part and a decent enough clubhouse not unlike Yeppoon’s. Perhaps next time they can upgrade their rooms a little, which had no chance of housing 1 team effectively let alone 2. On a positive note at least the shower had hot water and it was better than the tents that they apparently had until recent times. The other note refers to playing equipment and how they fit. Mouthguards are now becoming more and more essential for all players, but it helps if they fit. To overcome this problem I “solved” this by moulding the teeth with chewing gum. From experience the Juicy Fruit works more effectively than the PK!

So what lies in store after the inter-club match this Saturday? The next weekend is a likely practice match against the Glenmore Bulls, whom we face on the 19th of May for the first of 3 regular season matches. Then after a weekend off for Easter, where the plan is to attend three matches (Adelaide vs Dogs, St.Kilda vs Gold Coast and Geelong vs Hawthorn, MAYBE a report on any of or all three) it’s a potential night match against the retooled Gladstone on April 14 in their probable last season at Clinton Park before that becomes a car park for the airport.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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