The short flight across Bass Strait from Melbourne to Hobart gives only moments to reflect. Mountains and trees, a small island surrounded by great seas, our southern-most tip, a Cadbury’s chocolate factory family tour in my youth (which my sister Denise was prevented from taking due to her younger age – and she’s never gotten over it!), the Franklin River and its preservation after a fight, cricket and footy at what is now the Blundstone Arena. It’s a beautiful ground set by the water with inlets and trees and the mountains off in the distance.
I’m in Tassie this weekend with Denise again in tow to see my beloved Saints. Tasmanians have a great love of Australian football and the state has produced many brilliant players for both the Saints and all levels and teams. Footy is a big part of Tassie culture.
It seems totally appropriate that the island’s main sports venue should be named after one of the state’s iconic products. Back when I was young, even friends who were hippy types were wearing them, workmen and women were wearing them, and I knew that owning a pair was a big thing. “I have my Blunnies,” they used to say. All good Australian stuff gets shortened. Chocolate and boots. Apples and salmon. Footballers and cricketers.
The Saints are a developing side. They could do with a Baldock or a Stewart, but their emerging youngsters really took it up to the highly favoured Kangaroos, especially in the second quarter.
As it was the better side got going on the second half and ran away with the game.
As I watched, I liked the idea it was played on Saturday afternoon, a traditional footy time, and, sitting in the magnificent Ricky Ponting stand, I admired my boys’ tremendous effort.
It was great to be in Tassie and I look forward to returning to Blundstone Arena – next time for a win.