AFL Grand Final: Mighty Fighting



As the 2013 AFL Grand final day arrived the talk on everyone’s lips was who would Ryan Crowley line up on. Many thought it would be Sammy Mitchell but no one was really sure. As the Hawks bonded for the national anthem some seemed fearful of even making eye contact with the smiling assassin, such is his killjoy reputation.


But as the players took up their positions there was an even bigger contest brewing. Deep in the bowels of the Great Southern Stand two contestants moved into position for what would prove an even more eventful contest than any of those on the hallowed MCG turf.


Two Tassy footy followers, suitably imbibed after snout-filling lunches with officialdom, swaggered to their seats and eye-balled one another. We all know sport and alcohol don’t mix but that axiom wasn’t on the radar as two confident, outspoken, brash, cock-o-hoop protagonists lined up. It was premiership day and what had gone before meant nothing to ‘The Deputy’ and his Northern-Midlands counterpart, ‘Mannie’ as they meandered to their spots in the now renowned ‘dead pocket.’ Northern Midlands conjures up thoughts of a Geordie in a hat, herding sheep by day and Jack the Rippering by night. There was no uncertainty who was tagging who as ‘Mannie’ ran to his nemesis ‘The Deputy’ and glared. There was no handshake; there were no pleasantries, just talk.


In fact reports have it that ‘Mannie’ talked incessantly for three-and-a–half quarters of football. He reminded ‘The Deputy’ of matters political, condemning the Tasmanian government’s financial support of the Tassy Hawks and generally ‘carrying on’. Now ‘carrying on’ is a conservative Tasmanian term for being an obnoxious dickhead, making a general arse of themself. Late in proceedings things ‘boiled over’ somewhat. It was reported that ‘Mannie’ had been rude and unpleasant. ‘The Deputy’ on the other had apparently urged his protagonist to ‘tone down’. Tone down is another conservative Tasmanian term for pull your f*cken head in before I knock it off. ‘The Deputy’ attempted arrest and lacking the constraint and discipline of Sammy Mitchell pitted to Ryan Crowley, he ‘remonstrated quite strongly.’ As a general rule remonstrating quite strongly often involves ‘lashing out’ and ‘swinging a few’. Lashing out means general argy-bargy, pushing the opposition in the chest and using threatening language. ‘Swinging a few’ in broad terms means punching someone about the head and body with a clenched fist.


Akin to the Tony ‘Libber’ Liberatore and Mathew ‘Matty’ Knights incident there was no video of the incident. Suffice to say there were witnesses nearby. One was a former one-time Tasmanian thespian and now Legislator, known as ‘The Boss’. ‘The Boss’ however, assuming Hogan’s Heroes Sgt. Schultz demeanor, saw nothing.  Why would he, he is on the same side. However ‘The Boss’ did notice a drop of blood on a seat. But he was unsure where it came from. It was rumoured that the rich luncheon and subsequent quaffing had brought on a bout of haemorrhoids.


Preliminary enquiries revealed that both men stated they had consumed a couple of beers and/or a glass of wine over lunch and one mid-strength beer during each quarter of the football. Moderate by anyone’s standards. Hardly mind-altering quantities if those figures are believable. Similar to drink drivers, there is often a general underestimation of consumption. But then again it’s the footy. And footy changes spectators just as it changes players afflicted with white line fever. Like racetracks, many figuratively hang their brains on the fence before entering the ground. Spice that with a bit of neck oil and there is a cocktail for disaster. Some say the effects of this type of concoction is not too dissimilar to a course of peptides, such is the energy and general invisibility it creates.


‘Mannie’ stated he was punched on the nose and had to leave the ground and didn’t return. On the other hand the alleged perpetrator, ‘The Deputy’, said he remonstrated strongly but denied he hit or pushed ‘Mannie’. I simply defended myself was “The Deputy’s’ unwavering line under questioning.


Commentators and historians are trying to come to terms with the enormity of the clash and have few parallels to draw on. The only comparable incident was back in the early 80’s is when Tasmanian football legend and state parliamentarian the late Darrell ‘The Doc’ Baldock clashed with the Tasmanian Thoroughbred handicapper. On this occasion, an argument developed over the weight ‘The Doc’s’ star galloper Andrias, had been allocated for the upcoming Tasmanian summer carnival. Baldock was suspended from racing and parliament after he lifted the handicapper off the floor in the Devonport Racing Club’s Committee room and hung him by his suit collar on a coat hook near the door.


This latest stoush has been referred to the tribunal who are awaiting the medical report before proceeding. Many consider it a reckless act bordering on deliberate. Further, it was head high and with the medical report likely to be damning, things are looking unfavourable for the assailant. Add to that a double points allocation for grand final day and the likelihood of a lengthy suspension is a real possibility.


A further consideration of bringing the state into disrepute is also on the cards with the issue of infraction notices very likely once all the facts are gathered.


Conduct unbecoming?  Conduct appalling!





D. Sharpen


2 Oct 2013



  1. Paul Daffey says

    Bravo, Dazz.

    Tasmania is a permanent pantomime in your hands.

    I think he’ll get off.

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