AFL Grand Final: Bad Sex

[written in the week after the Grand Final]


It’s been two days and a lot of bad mail’s coming in.

The 2013 Grannie, for all intents and purposes, in hindsight, feels like a shit root. Boy or girl, put whatever gender on it you want.

“I can’t believe I put in all that groundwork/spent so much energy looking forward to that!

I mean, really…? No speckies, great goals, biffo or big hits? All that fumbling around the ankles? Spraying shots all over the place? You were meant to be the best! The highlight!

Grand Final virgins are like that, I guess.

How am I meant to feel about the Hawks? I mean, they won, but there was nothing smooth about it, or even wild and rough. It wasn’t even like in ’05 and ’06, when both finals were average spectacles, but at least they were intense games, and the climax was close. When the siren went, both teams flopped to the turf.

Everyone, even the losers, are at least a little bit satisfied when the climax is close.

Poor Freo. The best team didn’t win, the second best lost. The prize wanted them, it was sick of the Hawks, but the Freo boys just couldn’t find the red dot. So sure in the preliminary rounds, but on the day their fingers slipped and fumbled down low until they were under pressure rather than well down the ground, then panicked and sprayed handballs out back. To me this was even more glaring than their missed shots at goal.

When they did get it across the half-back line, any traffic at all and they slapped it blindly onto the boot. Hodge and Lake are Old Dogs. They would have loved that. Young, mad impatient bulls making them look good. Delivering the prize to them.

That reminds me of a joke… Which can be told another time.

And Ballantyne! Oh, Ballantyne…!

The chest-out, cocky rough of the schoolyard. The bad boy squares all hate, that wild women and men dig! He’s been strutting and scratching and the ground and cock-a-doodling for years. So the game and Life put him alone with the ball and the prize and he turns to water. Drops chest marks, fumby, fumby, fumbles, misses shot after shot.

It was like watching karma in this life. Revenge of the bland. The way he plays says: “Bugger you lot, outa my way! I’ll show you how to do it.” And he didn’t. His efforts were so… unsatisfying.

So the prize went with Hawthorn. Even though Buddy was down, and Mitchell was thrashed, and Sewell and (my favourite on-baller) Puopolo were unseen and Roughie was just.

There were some great pieces. Rioli had far more influence than stats would lie to you about. Same with Bradley Hill. Johnno, Mundy, Lewis, Fyfe all played great on the biggest stage. Birchall was sensationally efficient, Lake provided the best victory for troupers over athletes the modern game has seen. Crowley was the man! Gunston’s don’t argue on the wing was even better than his match-winning efforts in front of goal.

But those bits weren’t enough. Only one team was really ready for this.

Once again, we had to settle for corker foreplay – great climaxes, deft touches and relentless pressure in the Preliminaries. The anticipation of the main even was, as always, superb! The only way I would not look forward to the lead up is if Collingwood played Collingwood.

But, on the day, it all felt a bit, I dunno, passionless. The big marks were all dropped, and the good bits weren’t enough.

All these things have to flow into each other to make good sex work.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Matt agree in general so many Freo , players in particular were pathetic seemingly mentally Ballantyne , was the classic example would love to no Lyons , reaction of when he had a player free in the goal square def had time to use him and preferred to be the big hero would have thought huge chance of DCM . Don’t agree re Mitchell being thrashed he still had some imp touches and Crowley lacked polish with his to hurt going the other way .
    Sexually it was a case of Freo all being vergins picking up some stunners after doing the prelim ground work and then a classic case of premature ejaculation

  2. Ah Matt, the grail search for the perfect metaphor and you’ve ‘nailed’ it, so to speak. Brilliant. So many wasted words fumbling around the issue, and then ‘wham, bam, thank you mam’ you said it all perfectly in a few paras. Brilliant insight. Thanks.
    And yet. And yet. Bad sex is better than no sex. The earth didn’t move for me either. But the occasion reminded me that I’m alive, and you learn to be grateful for small mercies.

  3. I think the recently sacked Crystal Palace manager (and a man with a number of brilliant one liners) Ian Holloway sums it up best:

    “To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi”

  4. Matt Zurbo says


  5. sean gorman says

    Whatta cluster fuck !!!

  6. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Beauty Zurb. If Freo’s coital activities resemble their style of footy there’ll be many unsatisfied WAGS out west.

  7. Agree with Peter B…bad sex is heaps better than no sex.

  8. Rick Kane says

    Hi MZ

    I didn’t want to comment on your piece at the time because I didn’t like the premise and had a very different view of the GF itself.

    So I waited, patiently. And, I feel now is a good time to respond.

    If in 2013 the two best teams were the Hawks and Dockers well that says more about the competition than it says about those two teams. It is now 2014, and many people believe Freo are on the rise and the Hawks had their shot at the brass ring.

    In tonight’s GF replay the Hawks proved otherwise. Notwithstanding that this is only the beginning of a long season I think the Hawks put on the sort of display tonight to let all other clubs know that you’re gonna have to be a bloody good root to impress the Hawks.

    Last year (in this essay) you said: Poor Freo. The best team didn’t win, the second best lost. The prize wanted them, it was sick of the Hawks, but the Freo boys just couldn’t find the red dot.

    I think the best team did win the GF. I think they won by showing Lyon that he doesn’t own the book on ‘defensive’ game plans. The Hawks out Freod Freo. That’s a Casanova move by the way.

    Tonight,the Hawks showed Freo and the rest of the comp just what a great sex can be.


  9. I’m with you RK.
    There is no such thing as bad sex or a Dockers loss.

  10. Ballantyne – big stage performance anxiety?
    It is starting to become Leon Davis-esque.

  11. Matt Zurbo says

    Rick, you ripper! Funny as and stoked to disagree! Hawthorne were brilliant a week ago! But I think that doesn’t change what happened the night before, when, I reckon, Freo fumbled their way out of it, like most teams in their first ever Big One, do.
    The ability, the game plan, but oh, those nerves!

    In the end, though, you are right. The team that deserves to win is the one who does.

  12. As the blokes in the change rooms at Mines Rovers in Boulder used to say on a Sunday after a night out and missing out: “The one you miss out on is the one you never get.”
    They weren’t talking about footy.
    But they could’ve been.

  13. Matt Zurbo says


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