Normally I would be writing about my exploits on the local field of dreams, and in the near future I will provide an update on the season. But during the local season I set aside a number of weekends a year to travel around the country to follow the fortunes of the Western Bulldogs. In the last 2 years I have seen them play in Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth (which was the 20 goal shellacking). Last weekend I am glad to add Gold Coast to the list.

Expectation for the match from a lot of supporters around the traps was high as usual. Before the game all I wanted to see was for the Dogs to win the midfield battle for that was the undoubted strength of the young Gold Coast team. Plus with B.Hall back in the side it would be interesting to see just how the front half would function with a seemingly dominant presence back in the mix. Seemingly less important was the fact that we were playing on a new ground which can take time to get used to.

Being my first time at the old Carrara (I try wherever possible not to refer to grounds through corporate sponsorship names), the biggest statement was the scoreboard. Over the years I was used to seeing big replay screens that don’t really take the eye away from the action. But this one was almost as big as you would see at Candlestick Park (no I’m a Dolphins fan, not a 49er fan) which would no doubt negate much of the wind advantage the open end to the left of screen would normally have. The rest of the ground, whilst still having the new look to it, was much like an undersized Gabba although the benches has cushioned seats rather than wooden benches or leftovers from the seats that were installed in the stands.

The game itself had its moments but would certainly not be remembered as a classic by any means (and I’m not talking about the last quarter of the Under 18’s between Queensland and the Northern Territory either, won by the home team). Naturally some that surrounded me showed their frustration at the umpiring. Whilst I tended to agree with them, I also didn’t point out that one of the umpires (Ben Ryan, #27) was one that I actually PLAYED with in Under 17’s in 1999. Actually didn’t like the fact that I didn’t give him a short pass in the Grand Final that year and haven’t spoken since, but I suppose he’s gone onto bigger and better things with the whistle.

It was hard not to laugh at a couple of things too. Yes we all know Michael Rischitelli’s perfect clearance in our direction will be replayed over and over in the blooper reels for the season. What you may not have picked up on were a couple of blunders from the PA blokes (I assume they’re blokes) throughout the day. Obviously the announcer needs lessons in pronunciation even though Giansiracusa is a little more trickier than others. Then there was the annoying fanfare that greeted every Gold Coast goal. Maybe this was a local gimmick or something, frankly I don’t care. But if they are going to continue with that infernal racket, perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to use that to wake up a crowd out of an extended half time siesta when the ball is in dispute.

As far as the Bulldog performance was concerned, for three quarters we certainly did a little more than enough. There were times when the decision making was still left to be desired, but with the clean ball use we managed to get ourselves into a winning position by the last change. Just as well too, because the last quarter was back to the usual form of the season, simply not up to the standard required of a team of our standing. Coach Rocket (who once called this ground his home deck) blamed the heat, but take it from experience a 21 degree afternoon with blue sky all around and a little breeze is not hot. Gold Coast would be happy to get within 4 goals, an improvement on the 70+ that they got beaten by in their 2nd ever outing in the real season.

As I type this waiting for the departure call in Brisbane Airport, I cannot believe a person living in Queensland has gone through a Suns article this far without mentioning K.Hunt. He was OK but just OK and whether he holds his spot in coming weeks is questionable. Yet there’s still enough hope for the Coast to get at least another couple of wins to get off the bottom, not the least because I’ve told people that Port Adelaide are a sure bet to finish “kaboose”.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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