A grey strip? Fair dinkum unbelievable

Fair dinkum, this alternative strip nonsense is just a bloody truckload of frog testicles as far as I’m concerned. All this rabbiting on about making it distinctive  for the players just makes me laugh. I can remember back to the VFL days when we had twelve teams and twelve local grounds.  Many of these  ovals were mud heaps in winter and players copped their fair share of it during the game, but they still managed to work out who was on their team and who wasn’t.   The previous alternative strip for Essendon failed to enthuse me, this new “grey” one leaves me even colder.  What’s grey got to do with the Essendon Football Club? What’s grey got to do with 140 years of black and red?  As far as St. Kilda is concerned, they have had more changes of jumpers than a skinny french model on a catwalk, so they obviously don’t have any problems with it.
On Saturday afternoon the good wife and I had  friends over for a meal, allowing the evening for the footy.  Tony and I, both Don tragics , were feeling pretty good about the up coming  St. Kilda game, not overconfident, but thinking we were on a winner. Our three losses this year have all been a goal or less.  Thumpings were a thing of the past we predicted.   Oh dear!!!!!

The Dons came out firing for the first 15/20 minutes but couldn’t find the big sticks. On the other hand St Kilda were making the most of their limited chances and took over in the last 15 minutes to lead at quarter time by four points. There was no stopping the Saints in the second term, they were too slick with their skills and nullified the the Dons all over the ground.  Jobe Watson was not his dominating best, Paddy Ryder looked lost, Hurley was having leg problems, and the Essendon back line was constantly under pressure. No doubt playing in grey had had a dulling effect. At half time St Kilda had added another five goals to Essendon’s two and led by twenty three points. I relieved my agony by switching to RocKwiz  during the big break and stayed for the rest of the program, Judy Collins still has a magnificent voice.

But back to the footy late in the third quarter and the news for us Dons was not good. Hurley was off, Reimers after a horrific head clash, staggered with assistance from the ground, and the rest of the team looked bewildered, obviously looking for the real Essendon jumpers. St.Kilda added another six goals to Essendon’s two.   Are the Dons to have another last quarter come back like they did against Sydney?  The answer was a resounding NO.  The Saints run amuck and made Essendon looked second rate, a paler shade of grey. They kicked another six goals to the Greys’ one.

Thankfully the final siren sounded.  St.Kilda far too good on the night and to rub salt into the wounds Stephen Milne who once played for the Dons’ seconds was best on the ground. I’m sure he mentioned that once or twice or maybe even many more times to players and spectators during the game.  The winning margin was a thumping seventy one points, St.Kilda more than doubled our score. Oh dear!!!!!

Best players

Essendon: Dempsey, Heppell, Howlett, Lonergan, Hille
St.Kilda: Milne. Riewoldt, Hayes, DelSanto and the other eighteen.

Please Dons, no more thumpings and please please, get back to our proper jumper.


  1. Dear Rod, agree wholeheartedly with your report, and especially with the strip. Looked like little boys pj’s and they just didn’t look their dominating tough selves. In the replay I watched (sorry, couldn’t help it, beating you guys doesn’t happen that often) one of our boys called out to yours and the ball was handed over, so the different jumpers didn’t stop the confusion…

    The best medicine is to ignore this game and remember the thumpings you’ve given out this year.

    Go Saints


  2. Neil Belford says

    Great story about the game. Look out for ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ next sunday for the lowdown on alternative strips.

  3. I reckon there’s a few aspects to the whole clash strip scenario that are a ‘truckload of frog testicles’ as you say Rod.

    First is the justification that ‘other sports do it’. Most of these other leagues have anywhere between 20 and 40-odd clubs to contend with.

    It’s interesting that a few AFL clubs (eg North) that proactively took to alternative strips in the hope of selling extra jumpers to kids seem to have realised the little bit of extra revenue isn’t worth undermining the club’s heritage or ‘brand’ (as much as I hate aligning that word to a football club).

    Some alternate strips are hideous, but the ones that reverse out the normal design (eg PA, Coll, NM, WB, St K) are actually OK in my book. The worst aspect of the Essendon kit was that it actually did nothing to better distinguish them from St Kilda. They’d perhaps have been better to wear red shorts and predominately red socks.

    I do think there are certain matchups that justify clash strips. Whilst there’s rarely mud to conted with these days, the style of game and number of players around the ball can make it hard viewing. The ham fisted, ad hoc way in which the AFL determines what clubs must wear from week to week is the biggest problem. I can’t fathom why Hawthorn was made to wear that insipid white ensemble v Carlton yet a week later Collingwood & Carlton both wore dark guernseys with white numbers. I was at the game on Friday night and ended up regularly resorting to the nearby TV.

  4. Neil, Tell me more about “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

  5. Pamela Sherpa says

    The alternative jumpers are the most ridiculous thing the AFL has ever introduced. They ought to be all put on a great big bonfire

  6. Only one team that refuses to have an alternative strip now. The Pies.

  7. Neil Belford says

    You will have to wait for next Sunday Rod.

  8. Neil, I can hardly wait.

  9. Jeff Dowsing says

    Phantom, Collingwood’s predominately white guernsey with black stripes + white shorts has been an effective alternative strip for a few years now. The reversing out of their gear is no different to North and similar to St K.

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