By Sasha Lennon
Having recently surpassed the age of the great Michael Tuck the day he retired in September 1991 (he was 38 years and 95 days old), I have finally conceded that Hawthorn will not be phoning me any time soon with an invitation to come down to training on a Thursday night.
But I reckon Guy McKenna might.
I say this for the simple reason that on Saturday night, the Gold Coast Suns, in their AFL debut against Carlton at the Gabba, were nothing short of appalling to watch.
Now admittedly, the Blues are a reasonably talented bunch of footballers and sitting in the stands with my three kids for this history-making occasion along with 28,000 other spectators, Carlton looked pretty good.
But the Gold Coast were really bad.
Sure, the great Gary Ablett Jr. was underdone and in any case we should have expected this team of talented teenagers with a few well-paid veterans to fall short in their first outing, but by 119 points?
In Round 1 of 1987, the then Brisbane Bears, a team of cast-offs, comfortably overcame North Melbourne at the MCG in the debut match, and then beat the Cats at Kardinia Park the following week!
For the past two years we’ve had to listen to the whining of every AFL coach and administrator about the unfair advantage afforded the new Gold Coast franchise through their generous draft concessions and out-of-contract player entitlements. But it’s all amounted to nothing.
Perhaps most embarrassing of all was the performance on Saturday of ‘rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt’. (That’s how the newspapers always refer to him – ‘rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt’).
‘Special K’ managed just five touches and from where I was sitting they were all hard-ball gets. By that I mean Karmichael found it really hard to get his hands on the ball.
Since then, every man and his dog in AFL circles has been analysing and dissecting the Karmichael Hunt experiment.
Former Richmond and Bulldogs coach Terry Wallace reckons Special K cost the Suns between eight and ten goals, while columnist with The Australian Patrick Smith is concerned that Karmichael’s career could be damaged irreparably.
But my seven year old daughter perhaps summed it up best when she said “Gold Coast sucks”.
Maybe they do for now. But for the sake of football and my desire to see our native game take hold in my adopted home of Queensland, I really do hope the Suns improve.
With time I’m sure they will. But for now, they need as much help as they can get.
So Bluey, give me a guernsey. I guarantee you I’ll get a kick.
Sasha Lennon is a Brisbane-based Knacker whose writing can be found at http://sashasoapbox.blogspot.com/