Number 22


The number 22 is quite significant in my household this weekend.


You see, I’ve spent the past few days making connections between the number 22, memories and history waiting to be made, from my very own family to my very own sporting family and beyond.


The first 22 that came to mind was Mitch Duncan of the Geelong Cats. My favourite player, my hero, my number. 22.


With the news of Ablett coming home, this humble 22 will now become a vital part of of what I’d like to call “The Fab 4”.


Like the Brisbane Lions of old: Voss, Black, Lappin and Akermanis. The original ‘Fab 4′, arguably the best midfield combination ever witnessed.


Now it is time for my 22; Mitch Duncan, along with Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and now Gary Ablett Junior to become their very own “Fab 4”.


Another 22 that was swirling around my head was the (almost) inevitable 22nd win for Winx, on her way to her third straight Cox Plate.


As usual, she settled at the back of the field early, but we were never in doubt, she burst through, was challenged hard but she lifted when it counted, like a true champion does.


Her 22nd win came fittingly, as the strangers around us embraced in pure elation. I am constantly seeing this emotion of sport, of how much it means to people, how involved and attached so many of us become, but each time, it stops me in my tracks.


This invincible horse, inducted this year into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, will go down as one of the greatest race horses in history.


In my lifetime I’ve been lucky to see three of the greatest ever horses, Winx, Black Caviar and Makybe Diva. They can all be discussed in the same conversation as the greatest of all time, Phar Lap.


And finally, October 28th marks my parents’, Nic and Jenni’s 22nd Wedding Anniversary.


I congratulated them on “reaching Mitch Duncan and Winx”. This was met with Dad’s genuine laughter and Mum’s caring, yet confused thank-yous.


Their love has truly stood the test of time. Through the good and the bad, they have done it all, worked hard, raised a family and continued to do what they love, while still loving each other.


Through their love I have learnt the true meaning of support and compromise, balance and understanding.


My Mum and Dad are my absolute favourite 22 (well, only until March when the footy returns and I’m backing Mitch again).


This weekend, it is obvious that the number 22 shone.


It reminded me that there are exciting times to come with my own footy hero, that there are still such things as “sporting invincibles” and that love is the greatest achievement of all.


(Even though 22 wins and a premiership would be nice too).



About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Very nicely said, Anna. Lots of love there.
    And bravo to your mum and dad (Mrs Smokie & I are just ahead of them at 23 years).

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Beautifully written Anna. Congrats to your Mum and Dad. 22 years these days is a fine effort. Mitch Duncan certainly became a consistent A-Grader this year. If Gazza is fit Cats will be a big show in 2018. Does your Dad remember Paul Jeffreys ? Arguably the last decent Geelong number 22 before Mitch. Great stuff.

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