There is something amiss, something not quite right. 2010 was supposed to be a very balanced year. It is a lovely even number is 2010. No rough edges, nothing sticking rudely out like “1997” for example with all those tails and hard angles. But 2010 has confounded me.

It started early in the year. There was talk that Gary Ablett had been meeting the Gold Coast management team. The rumours started; Gary’s off. Yeah right, I thought, Australia will have its first saint before Gazza goes to the Gold Coast. But the world turned and it became obvious that Ablett was thinking about it. Only thinking mind you, but thinking nonetheless. He wouldn’t tell us, not until after the Grand Final because Geelong would definitely play in the Grand Final wouldn’t they? He would concentrate on that and tell us after. But the Cats didn’t make the Grand Final. They lost to the Saints after a very unconventional umpiring decision in the Qualifying Final caused joy then pain. The Cats won and lost as an umpire decided to spit into his whistle to give it a clean out but accidently made a noise. Everyone looked up confused. The umpire was in a bind. Did he stand there like a fool with nothing to say or make a decision? He made a decision.

“Ahhh, in the back….sort of. Well, no it was in the back. Really it was. No question. Definitely there. Free kick to Gwilt” he finally muttered. The Cats lost the ball and the game.

This confused Gary. This was not in the plan. The Cats would win the flag and he would leave triumphant. But two weeks later the Cats lost to Collingwood as well. Their performance was off, their game plan was found to be soooo 2009, the Pies simply tangled them up and bewildered them.

It was all over. Gary was perplexed. His thinking was obviously in disarray. He went from thinking to deciding. The decision was off kilter. He would leave Geelong and go to the Gold Coast because…..?

Well, because he thought it was a good move because……well because it would invigorate him. Yeah, that was right because it would invigorate him. The chance to win another flag in 2011 at Geelong obviously didn’t invigorate him. Fair enough. But befuddling nonetheless.

Then we had the strange scenario to deal with that Collingwood might win the flag. That was very baffling. They won’t win, we all said, because they haven’t won a flag in September since 1958. We all joked about this. They can’t win………..can they? But the season wore on. They beat the Cats convincingly, they beat St Kilda convincingly, and they beat the Dogs convincingly. But we still had one big piece of ammunition up our collective sleeves; the Pies can’t win Premierships in September.

But I was nervous. Strange things were going on around the world; things that indicate this year is alien, foreign, and queer. For example the North Koreans announced that their new leader would wear a charcoal brown safari suit so we could tell him apart from the ailing Kim Jong Il who wore a light brown safari suit. Incredible. If a momentous thing such as this could happen in North Korea, perhaps the Pies could win the flag. Truly momentous. But I clung to the obvious contempt the footy gods have for the combination of Collingwood and September. I clung on in mad hope.

But the Pies solved this problem – they won it in October. Again. Just like 1990. They drew with the Saints in Grand Final number one so they could play another game in October. Brilliant. Malthouse had it all figured out. He was a step ahead of the gods – again. As usual. Mick probably is a god! And he shaves his moustache so beautifully too. All very strange. All very weird. Not normal. Bizarre even.

But 2010 still didn’t rest.

Freo played deep into September. That obviously meant something abnormal HAD to be up. Judd won the Brownlow again because he is a star and none of his team mates are. Disturbing but magnificent. It left the colourful, hot favourite and curiously named Dane Swan languishing in his chair in the Crown ballroom like a giraffe in a bird cage. Swan looks like a plumber but has a name that sounds like an opera. Peculiar really.

In 2010 red is the new black. The new Prime Minister, who didn’t win or lose the election, has red hair. But most surprisingly was the fact that our PM is.………..wait for it…………..a WOMAN. With red hair! Wow. Very strange. NQR. Perplexing.  Outlandish. And she ended up with the job because she doesn’t wear budgie smugglers and because a few blokes in the bush have slow running computers. Go figure.

The Demons, with their red collar on the guernsey, played some promising football, at times ignited by an aboriginal bloke called Liam who hails from the red centre; the Gold Coast displayed their new red jumper and made other supporters see red with their raids on their club’s list, and a bloke with ginger hair who runs the Reserve Bank announced interest rate rises because he didn’t want anyone to do TOO well. Just in case we got cocky or something. Or maybe just in case any of us married to our mortgages would actually get out of the red. Meanwhile another red haired bloke called “Twiggy” who owns vast tracks of land in WA is mining a red dirt called iron ore and selling it by the super sized truck load to China. He’s now worth a gazillion dollars. Not bad for a ginge. Extraordinary really.

As we digested this, more curious events occurred; Bomber Thompson left Geelong because he was tired NOT because he wanted to go to Essendon. No it definitely wasn’t because of an invitation to join Essendon. Never. No way. Well, maybe. Possibly. Probably. Who the hell knows? Then Gavin Brown left the Pie’s nest to join Carlton. Amazing. Bit like Bob Brown painting his face and joining Joffa behind the goals. It could only happen in 2010.

I watched the Commonwealth Games in Dehli. Yes they actually went ahead despite bridges falling down, turds on the floors in the athletes’ accommodation village, mosquitoes that spread deadly diseases, and a severe lack of graciousness from visitors. But the main thing is that we won heaps of gold medals that no one can eat. They’ll end up in the pool room.

As exhaustion set in I aimlessly sat in front of the TV one day. I saw Gary Ablett doing a tour of his new home. He smiled in front of a building site that will one day be his stage but I got bored watching him feign happiness so I flicked the channel. Mary McKillop (Saint Mary of the Cross) was being Canonised. And they were showing it live on the ABC. What a strange year.

About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. John Butler says

    Get used to Gazza smiling in the GC sunshine Dips.

    That kind of dough would bring a smile to many a dial.

  2. Dips, Gary who?

    Has there been a precident set with the cannonisation of Mary Mary quite contraray.

    Does this mean that all male Catholic clergy from Pope Scultz down will be investigated as rigorously as Mary, and pass?

    Now that would be a miracle. They would all be Saints, just like Molly.

  3. Phantom – no issue with the Canonisation – good luck to her. What I found remarkable was that it was on TV. Live from Rome!

  4. I have no problem with her either Dips. She was a good radical ‘Aussie Shearer’ who stood up to the old boys club.

    Apparently there are still a few of them who are a bit dodgey.

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Love how the absurd combinations dazzled you Dips. Things could get worse next year for some of you conservative Geelong types. Funny read. Well done :)

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    Tres amusant Dips (pardon moi while I practise my french accent for the Nursery carpark on Oaks Day). I trust you have noted the GF in 2011 is being played in October. As Ben Cousines would say “C’est la vie”.

    On something almost completely unrelated, there was an apology from Mick Malthouse on Twitter yesterday morning. He gave away the result of the Ireland Australia game before the delayed telecast was complete.

  7. David Downer says

    Well done Dips, plenty of original cosmic force linkages in here …with intriguing insight to the O’Donnell psyche to boot!

    So just who did Mary MacKillop barrack for in the finish? Fitzroy, Port Adelaide or the Saints?

    #6 AF – I see Mick was much quicker off the mark with this apology than the one begrudgingly offered to S.Milne in Round 3. Did he furnish this one with an “LOL” at all?

  8. # 5-7 cheers boys. Or to AF should I say “Terima Kasih”. Just practicing my Indonesian for the Nursery carpark on Oaks Day.

  9. Clearsighted says

    Good piece, Dips.
    The dodgy blokes in frocks who finally donged Mary Mck on the head for all her fine work, have attempted and managed a PR snow job. It draws attention away from the goings on of dodgy blokes in frocks who work within their establishment.
    They’d fit right in working for the AFL.

  10. Pamela Sherpa says

    Well Dips. I think the best way for you to deal with 2010 is to ignore it and pretend that it didn’t really happen. Cheer up. Right now the Cats are as good a chance as everyone else for 2011.

  11. Good article, but back to THAT free kick that gifted the Saints a qualifying Final win, and robbed the Cats of the momentum they needed to go all the way….the free kick did not go to Gwilt, but to Dawson, allegedly for a prior infringement. No-one (not one commentator or journalist) seems to have noticed this fact nor explained why. Because the free was not there. Believe me, I have watched the DVD repeatedly and am still mystified. The Cats’heroic and gutsy come-from-behind win, sealed with Ling’s bouncing goal should have been the end of the story. When the MCG erupted, Cats supporters jubilant and Saints fans crying, no-one could believe the farce which followed. That umpiring decision ranks up (or down) with the disgraceful call which resulted in Australia’s World Cup loss to Italy.

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