AFL Finals — Week 1: Top End memories take edge off a Bomber fan’s pain

I made a great discovery some 12 weeks ago: the best way to meet your indigenous brothers in the Top End is to wear an Essendon cap. I reckon I had at least 4 conversations a day in Darwin and its surrounds by people calling out, “GO BOMBERS!”. I really enjoyed the chance to chat to these well-informed people. Most said they were related to or knew Michael Long, Kevin Sheedy and the Rioli family, so our conversation was long and full of good humour.

As we moved into Western Australia the feeling wasn’t as strong, particularly down south, where most shops and businesses seem to have Eagles and Dockers flags side by side on display; they are a very strange lot indeed!

So we made it back to Melbourne after our big outback adventure,  in time for the Dons to appear in a final. The Dons, cruelly handicapped by the tribunal, up against a team sponsored by the Axis of Evil, encouraged by a number of dubious umpiring decisions early in the second quarter and the ability to kick goals from anywhere at any time. The Dons on the other hand missed some sitters which didn’t do much for their self confidence. There I was sitting in front of the telly, surrounded by yet-to-be-put-away camping gear, watching Essendon do nothing but chase and chase and chase. The only time they got a
breather was when South Australia kicked yet another goal, and they
kicked a container load. There seemed to be so many of the other mob
around the ball all the time; I don’t know why the Essendon brains trust didn’t demand a count. Fair dinkum, I reckon I counted about 36 of them at one stage, now I ask you is that fair?

The further the game went the worse it got, not that the Dons stopped trying, they were out run, out kicked, out marked, out bounced, out tackled and out
goaled. At least we kicked the same number of behinds as they did, the trouble was they kicked a hell of a lot more goals and in our game that’s more important.

I loved the way Nathan Lovett-Murray never stopped trying, and Fletcher, Stanton, Welsh, McVeigh and the other 17 gave their best, but they must have wondered what hit them. I certainly did! I was so relieved when the final siren went, I couldn’t wait to turn the TV off and stop suffering.

So it’s next year we can look forward to, maybe if the Gods who decide on injuries look kindly on the Dons, we might have a show. But this is not the end of my footy season. Next weekend Melbourne High School Old Boys will be playing in the Grand Final of the Ammos C division at the Sandringham oval, now known as Trevor Barker Oval.

PS. Harmsy, Congratulations on the family addition, loved the article in last Wednesday’s Age. It was the first thing I read when we got home from our adventure. Rod


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    Rod, I was glad our boys got to play one final and can now see what is ahead of them- ‘the gap’ and how much they need to improve.

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