Carlton v Essendon – April 9 MCG
We have known our Canadian friends for almost 30 years and we were rapt that they decided on an Australian holiday. Not only that, but they were both keen to see an Aussie rules game. And as the Dons were playing the old enemy at the G, it was a no brainer as to what game we go to.
For years I had convinced them to come over here in Autumn, for warm and calm weather, ideal for touring and seeing the land down under.
Today dawned with torrential rain and a top of about 16c.
With raincoats and warm clothing, off we go to the game. Jay and Cathy found it funny that we thought it was cold, cold to them is minus 20c with sleet and snow and hard rain.
I had waxed lyrically to our Canadian friends about the G, but what greeted us, was a wet, almost foggy with light rain falling footy ground, less than half full with the night lights on, at about 2.30pm.
Actually looking back, that was the highlight of the day.
The game could be described as a type of cross country slippery ball wrestling. At least Carlton came out looking better prepared than the Dons. About 6 of their players came out with long sleeves, something that makes sense to me, when the ball must have been like a bar of soap.
From the first bounce to the final siren there was very little to cheer about, missed kicks, dropped marks, fumbled handballs, sliding collisions and general confusion summed up the game. And the rain kept falling.
I was trying to explain the game to my Canadian friends without success. On a good day it would be hard, today was next to impossible. At least they liked the way it was nonstop action compared to American/Canadian football.
Carlton much to my chagrin were tougher at the ball all day, they were more desperate and in a game full of mistakes, they made fewer than the Dons. I kept hoping that things would change, that Essendon would get a bit of teamwork happening and kick a few goals but the Carlton team had other ideas. Their back line stood up to the pressure especially in the last quarter when the game was up for grabs.
And I wasn’t too happy with some of the umpiring. A couple of times Essendon backs kicked the ball along the boundary some 40/50 metres, to be penalized when it went out, but maybe that’s me being one eyed.
Highlights were few and far between. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s goal for the Dons in the first quarter was one and Marc Murphy’s goal for the Blues in the third quarter were two that stood out in a game that was far from exciting. Our Canadian friends were very impressed with the state of the ground. They were disappointed no mud was visible especially after all the rain we had had over the previous 24 hours. Hopefully they will come back and see a better game of footy in better conditions, a game that the Dons win.
Carlton 7.15 57
Essendon 6.6 42
Carlton Murphy 2, Curnow, Kreuzer, Cripps, Kerridge, Petrevski-Seton
Essendon McDonald-Tipungwuti,Goddard, Hooker, Parish, Daniher, Langford
Carlton Murphy,Gibbs,Simpson,Docherty, Plowman, Curnow.
Essendon Heppell, Hurley, Merrett, McDonald-Tipungwuti,Watson,Parish
Votes Murphy (Carlton) 3, Heppell (Essendon) 2, Cripps (Carlton) 1.
Umpires Pannell, Jeffrey, Fisher.
Crowd 48,022 at MCG.
PS – A plea to the Essendon players, put long sleeves on when it’s wet and slippery.