The 2012 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round 13

Greetings Tipsters

Victor Trumper is the subject of the most superbly elegant photograph of a batsman, shot at The Oval in July 1902. The glittering new stand at the SCG is named for him, and here Dad and I took our superb seats on Friday night.

I’ve mixed feelings about the Victor Trumper Stand, because I loved the old hill. Cricket or football, you bought your ticket and walked, found yourself a seat. If an Ashes Test, it was always great fun to sit near the Barmy Army. With their songs, their chants and their sheer enthusiasm, they made the day a real event, bless ‘em!

Football matches, I sat in a bay below the bar and a few rows out from beneath the Doug Walters Stand. General admission, sit wherever you want, there were always gonna be some fans of the opposition sitting nearby which made it all the more fun, there’d be a bunch of fashionista types, gorgeous women and on Sunday afternoons you’d often be sitting in a warm winter sunshine.

There were characters, like the old bloke who sat nearby and, whenever a kick went out wide, would scream “There’s no bloody goalposts on the wing!” There were friends, some who I’d never talked football with, but would show up when their team was playing and we’d catch up in an environment far removed from the rock and roll pubs we knew each other from.

The only constant is change.

Dad likes to buy his tickets in person and, being the charming fellow he is, has made a connection at the office. He needs his beautifully carved walking stick, so we had rare seats on row E, where no more than two are together and it’s a straight walk in from the concourse behind. Elbow room, at least on one side.

Canuck Pyke and Fourth-gamer Simpson contested the first bounce. For the first few minutes, it was a Pivotonian ball, they took six marks in a row and it was finally fumbled up in Geelong’s forward line, whereupon the Sparkies grabbed it and a quick break and a few seconds later, McGlynn, running in acres of space, kicked a goal.

Coupla minutes later, Jude Bolton grabbed it in a pack deep in the pocket and slung another goal. Another coupla minutes and Motlop kicked a goal, but I didn’t see it because I was distracted by a pair of red suede platform-and-four-inch-spike-heel boots and wondering why she would’ve chosen such footwear for an evening of walking up and down steep flights of steps.

Sam Reid got a hold of the ball in the goalsquare, so close that even he couldn’t miss, but I did have to wonder how Harry Taylor missed touching it. We were sitting above the forward pocket with an excellent view and, well, how the bloody hell did he miss touching that?

The Sparkies were well and truly switched on and the Pivotonians were sloppy. McGlynn kicked another goal, Armstrong got one, Lewis Jetta got a fraction of a second, streaked away from the pack and nailed one from outside 50. Our favourite Canuck (aside from Neil Young) took a strong mark and kicked straight and true.

Quarter time, stand up and stretch, how about that scoreboard, eh? Seven straight to the Sparkies, one goal one to the Pivotonians. Sparkies were sharp and precise, winning frees, filling space, the Pivoes were sloppy and couldn’t find a target and, thus, trapped in their backline.

Within seconds of the second it was apparent that Geelong had steadied, had rediscovered their skills. Young Mitch Duncan had a go at a banana but it turned out to be more of a zuchinni. The game settled down to a contest, a lot of that good ol’ pressure – geez, the God Of Fertility could’ve gorged on it, if he ate pressure for breakfast, he’d’ve busted wide open on dinner Frieve.

Sam floated across the front of a pack and took a beautifully judged mark that reminded me of Royce Hart’s classic mark in the 1967 Grand Final. His kick snuck it in.

Allasame, it was a true, tough contest. There was a sense that some Sparkies were starting to lost the plot and thinking “I’ll give it to Lewis, HE’LL know what to do.” Late in the term, Selwood kicked a goal and there was a bit of the good ol’ chesting down in the goalsquare, Heath took on Tom and Jim and much argy-bargy was exercised to no good effect. The siren hooted in the twenty-sixth minute, making it the shortest quarter I’ve witnessed since the Nineties.

Eight goals and two behinds to the Sparkies, three goals and three behinds to the Pivotonians.

Halftime featured some dickhead from the radio yelling over the PA for folks to flash their li’l signs denoting a bank. Someone got $1000 dollars for doing so. Bad music was played. I’ve been hearing ‘Unbelievable’ over the PA at Sparkies matches since 1995. This eve, I also heard ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ and ‘Hell’s Bells’ and I couldn’t help but think of the C90 I’d sent to the Swans in 1996…

I’d suggested that ‘1970’ would be a great song to play as they ran out onto the field. Still a great idea. I’d also suggested an instrumental surf guitar take on the theme song; anything to get rid of that stupid banjo solo.

Third term and I figured that this is when it’s gonna happen, this the deciding quarter of the game. Adam Goodes – he is, allegedly, Sydney’s talisman – was lost, he mostly hung around full forward and, according to my notes, he “something something something goalkicking.”

Keiran Jack grabbed the ball off a tap, kicked a goal, it was shades of Nick Davis’ last goal in the 2005 Semi and, y’know, all seemed kinda right with the world. Sparkies up ten goals to four, the blunt Tomahawk kicked another behind, a minute or two later, Shane won a tap and kicked it into those Good arms and everyone jumped about, yelling and laughing and cheering until Adam had a brain fade and decided to handball to a Sparkie running past, yes I will, no, I won’t, yes, no, shit, it’s play on now and I’m tackled, this game has gotten a whole lot faster in the last six weeks.

The ball was whipped back downfield for a goal and what might have been an eleven goal to four lead for the Sparkies was now ten to five. They got sloppy, random stupid kicks out on the full, while the Pivoes were clicking in, playing smooth, the game was now being played on their terms, they were winning the ball in contests and using it, Hunt, unnacountably, found space and kicked a goal, then he did it again after the break. The Jet chased down a Pivo, won a free, Goodes screwed up again, leading to another Pivo goal and was duly subbed.

Pivoes had taken control of the game late in the third, seemed like nought could stop ‘em in the fourth, they kicked five straight, Chapman had held ‘em together in the dark minutes and was now reaping the rewards, kicking two, then Enright won a dodgy 70m penalty – so Dad reckoned and he’s got good eyes for this sorta thing – and they took the lead for the first time in the match, really was this to be the way it would end?

The Pivoes backline had played superbly since the second quarter and continued to do so. The Sparkies couldn’t get a clean touch in their forward line, they’d kicked three goals since the first break. Sixteen minutes in, Keiran took a long tight shot, lead to Sparkies. Too soon, Steve Johnson takes a four-touch mark, finds Tom who kicks straight for the first time this eve.

Desperate time now, players run ragged, seriously tight match, every touch could be the difference, Sparkies get the ball forward, Scarlett marks alone in the goalsquare, could that be it?

I’d looked at the clock, 22 minutes in, and figured that if Sydney kicked the next goal, they’d hang on to win. 26 minutes in, Andrejs Everitt marked. A bit of angle, but not too much, the SCG has shallow pockets. Still, he’d be kicking from fify-five yards out. I said to Dad “Everitt’s a good kick.”

Cheers, Tipsters

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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    Loved it Earl. Terrific game. Regards to your Dad.
    How do I join Stop Privatisation of Football?

  2. Earl O'Neill says:

    Somewhere around here, I’ve got a photo I shot of graffiti on a wall of Princes Park around January 1997, bearing that line. You can join Stop Privatisation Of Football Productions (a division of Trans Dementia Inc) by remembering the days when full forwards left the goalsquare for the sole purpose of marking a sharp kick from a a rover.
    By remembering rovers.
    Thanks Peter, I’ll pass your regards onto Dad.

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