2011 Grand final day diary: Neutrality is Bliss (and Mums know best)

by Saintly

The Hawks are gone for 2011 so I just want to see some good footy and have ale or two with my mates!  Here’s my account, a diary if you will.

This is the first Saturday in October for the second year in a row that the Holy Grail may be decided. 

So it is off to the local (MJ’s on Roma Street) with a bunch of mates, none of whom follow the hand baggers or the rag taggers.  There’s Fred (Swans), Ron (Lions) The Director (Suns and Lions), Tiger (St George, but loves sport) and whoever else can make it. I wear my social golf club shirt today. It has no trace of blue white or black.

We hear that Stevie J will play. As a neutral supporter, I reckon he might just be the x factor.

I try to get a weather report from the mayor of Northcote (jth) and also pass on my wishes that the football gods shine upon his mob today. He informs me of intermittent rain with a heavy shower over the ‘G’ at the moment.  He sounds concerned. I also call Gerry (Pies). Whoever may prevail, I’ve done my duty.

My mother calls and tells me (for third time this week) that Geelong will beat the Pies, but I keep saying footy is a funny game.

Its 2 hours until the opening bounce when Fred and I arrive at MJ’s.  My thoughts drift to ‘The Rooms’ of both teams with all the preparations to be done as I consume my first mug of Ale.

1 hour to go and Dorothy (Pies) arrives.  Then the Director (Suns) appears in the ‘Inaugural 1st year Polo’.

The main plasma TV is switched from the rugby union (Australia v Russia) for the pre game entertainment.  50 mins to go.

Ian (Demons) shows up and starts talking shop with Crackers (who was watching the union). 25 mins to go.

The big TV shows an aerial shot of the ‘G weather.  It’s not looking good. 15 mins to go.

We watch the final warm up in the rooms.  Being neutral, this tugs at the heart strings. 10mins to go.

Collingwood is on the ground.  I ask Dorothy (Pies) how are the nerves.  Her reply is succinct – ‘Supremely Confident’ she tells me.

The Director (Suns) and Ron (Lions) take position in front of the plasma.

Fred (Swans) Dorothy (Pies) and I (the sole Hawk) lean on the bar waiting for the centre bounce.

Ian (Demons) and Crackers (Union) want to have a bet on the first goal for interest in a neutral game.

The game starts.

15 min to go 1st qtr

The sun is now out at the ‘G’ and the Cats are up by 13 points.

12m 33 seconds to go 1st qtr.  ‘Cloke and Dagger’ goals again and Dorothy (pies) is ecstatic.  Frank (Swans) mentions (for a second time) that he used to nurse young Cloke when he was a baby.  Then Krakouer goals and Dorothy (Pies) claps like a trained seal.

5 mins to go 1st qtr.

Tiger (St George) arrives and starts to read the paper as Stevie J goals.

‘TV’ shows Jolly getting his leg turned sideways.

It’s nearly the end of the 1st qtr and that intermittent shower has returned; the lights are on at the ‘G’, in Spring!

Qtr time, so I phone ‘Cat Boy’ and ask what he thinks.  He tells me Geelong will get them in the premiership qtr.

2nd Qtr

‘TV’ shows Ling getting his nose put back in.  ½ of the qtr gone and it’s the Pies by 11.

‘Pods’ is down but play continues (no stretcher).

‘Krakouer’ marks.  It’s a beauty.  Meanwhile the stretcher arrives for ‘Pods’.

‘Krakouer’ goals and Dorothy (Pies) does the ‘trained seal impression’.

Pods is subbed out.

Stevie J goals.  I note that the x factor is about to take hold.

Sidebottom goals and Dorothy (Pies) does the ‘trained seal impression’ again.

4 mins to ½ time and Geelong goal; ‘TV’ shows ‘Eddie’ with furrowed brow.

Its 2m 57sec to ½ time.

Bartel goals from beyond the boundary. Frank (Swans) and I nod in agreement, it’s a great goal.

35 secs to half time.  I get a txt from John (norths) asking what I think. I reply it might be a draw.

Pies by 3 at half time.

3rd qtr

‘Back and Front Doors’ marks on boundary and misses.  Dorothy (pies) sighs.  Frank (Swans) with neutral insight notes that the tension is mounting.  Like the rest of us, he stays calm.

 ‘Tiger’ (St George) finishes reading the paper and starts watching the game.  Edge of your seat stuff!

‘Cats’ goal and are in front.

The Pies goal (which actually hits the post).  I tell Frank (Swans) Chelsea would have seen it. That was my only hope as a neutral supporter, to see Chelsea umpire.

 ‘Tomahawk’ puts the moggies in front by a point

‘Back and front doors’ goals and Dorothy (Pies) the ‘trained seal impression’ is getting really loud

7 mins to go in the premiership qtr pies by 5.

3m 21sec to go

Geelong goal and it’s the Cats by 8.

¾ time not much in it. I imagine what is being said in the huddles.  ‘TV’ shows Mick at his best.

4th qtr starts.  Stevie J gets a pain killer and is back on the ground.

17m 31sec left of footy for 2011.

‘Tomahawk’ marks and ‘TV’ shows Eddie’s brow looking like a ploughed paddock. Hawkins misses.

‘Tomahawk’ marks plays on and goals.  Cats by 15. Dorothy (pies) starts to look nervous (no seal).

15mins to go.

Varcoe goals and it’s the Cats by 21.  Frank (Swans) notes the end of Dorothy (pies) ‘trained seal impression’.

10mins to go.

The Director (Suns) yells as ‘Jimmy’ goals and puts the Cats further in front.

I think to myself my mother is a good judge.  The Cats are very good.

8 mins to go.

Dorothy (Pies) has head in her hands as moggies are up by 4 goals.

7 mins to go.

‘TV’ shows moggie supporters singing the song.

6 mins to go.

Stevie J goals from the boundary and everyone except Dorothy (Pies) state ‘norm smith medallist’.

5 mins to go.

Crackers (union) had Cameron Ling for 1st goal, not last.

The final siren sounds and it’s the Cats by 38 points in what was a cracker of a game.  It’s nice to have some neutral perspective.

Geelong have won three of the last five Grand Finals and Chris Scott ‘one of the ‘anger management brothers’ from the Brisbane Lions’ premiership days, becomes the 13th coach in his first year to win a flag (and only the fourth since the Second World War).

Footy is over for this season.  As they say winners are grinners and losers can please themselves. Now everyone is equal again for 2012 with none of the 18 teams yet to win a game.  I can’t wait until next season.  Go Hawks!


  1. Great read Keith. I agree, being neutral made a great match much easier to watch!

  2. Richard Naco says

    Excellent read, Keith.

    I wasn’t neutral & it wasn’t easy to watch, but I wouldn’t have swapped my state of extended tension for any comfortable non-commitment in the world. I even got to experience the game in Geelong itself (as opposed to doing so in my normal & splendid isolation of Sydney), so the tension at times was incredibly tangible.

    With 5 mins to go (see the article) my son actually asked me when we would have the game won.

    “When the final siren goes”, was my reply.

    And again, I wouldn’t trade places with any supporters of any other club for love or money.

    (Sanity is SO over rated!)

  3. I agree with your view on Chelsea. The biggest disappointment on what was a great day of football. Ranks up above Meatloaf on the disappointment stakes.

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