AFL Round 1 – Geelong v Adelaide: Old Mate Jimmy

Score a footy and Cats gear

Geelong versus Adelaide

7.10pm, Thursday, 20 March

Simonds Stadium

Peter Flynn

During the recent glory days, Geelong fans have been fortunate to follow a plethora of Old Mates. Chappy, Jimmy, Boris, Gazza, Max, Moons, Scarlo, Johnno, Otto, Smithy and Lingy but to name a few. The names read like members of a 1920’s prohibitionist Chicago gang. Sadly, only Jimmy, Boris and Johnno remain with the Geelong mob. Old Mate Chappy is soon to don a sash and likely dominate.

Thank goodness then for Old Mate Jimmy as he lines up for the 250th time.

Col Hutchinson ranks Jimmy only behind Polly and Gary Sr in the pantheon of Cats greats since 1963. When Jimmy runs out in a big game, I smile and indulge in a contented belly rub.

Jimmy is dependable and calm like Enright. Balanced like Denis Marshall. Versatile, courageous and skilful like Buddha Hocking. A great overhead mark like Ian Stewart. And he’s executed 137 hit outs. Put Jimmy in long sleeves and he leaves Leigh Carlson for dead. He’s a better wet tracker than Van Der Hum.

In recent times, and possibly due to a chronic elbow injury, Jimmy has started games playing the role of the foreman. Supervising. Selflessly organising. Providing cohesion. However when Geelong are in deep poo, Jimmy is ubiquitous.

I travel on the 5:08 with Harmsy and Akko. Akko’s big in-duckers once troubled C.G. Greenidge early, on the West Indian’s way to a blazing double century. Weirdly, it seems no one is going to the footy. We are in the train equivalent of John Brack’s Collins St., 5pm.

We bemuse and annoy work commuters wondering how Jack Styring would go replacing Mick Jagger as front man for the Stones (I can’t-ah get-ah no satisfaction-ah) and reminisce over teenage boy’s predilections for defacing textbooks with dick drawings.

On the Terrace, we meet J. Dunne who proudly announces he was recently in the second row of a Sweet concert.

There is a conspicuous number of people disguised as seats. An impromptu local door knock and the promise of an overpriced Dagwood Dog seemingly ensures a reasonable crowd for the opening bounce.

A thickly bearded, and hopefully not homeless, Joel Corey shyly thanks the fans for the fish. One Terrace logician comments that former Old Mate Podra used to out-mark tonight’s opposition at kick-to-kick so it follows that he should play well tonight.

Geelong come out of the contraption like scalded cats. Selwood and Kelly with pent up fury from 2013 impose their considerable wills on the contest. M.W. Brown franks an excellent pre-season with an early major. Simpson resembles a Viking. McIntosh looks promising. Varcoe moves effortlessly and wants the ball.

Despite being glued to Guthrie, Dangerfield escapes his man to dob a beauty from the boundary line. Adelaide balances the ledger with a flurry of goals harshly attributed by some to Rivers.

Under a French Impressionist’s dream sunset sky and a weakening sea breeze, Adelaide trail by just three points after a Geelong-dominated quarter. The faithful are circumspect.

The second quarter is Jimmy’s.

Varcoe warps the fabric of space-time to intercept at half-back. His mind-read results in Jimmy running into an open goal. The faithful offer a standing ovation. Minutes later, Jimmy takes a trademark overhead pack mark and goals. Johnno, the nutty professor (it is March madness in the US), spots Jimmy alone. Jimmy, despite not quite spinning on a threepenny bit, cleverly goals on his left. A Jimmy snap out of the pack is touched on the line. The Terrace collectively has a dry wash. Just before half-time, Jimmy’s pass to Boris is both Jarman-like and Beckham-like. Boris goals.

Geelong are just up at the 2011 Ocean Grove Estate shiraz break. The grapes cause J. Dunne to spruik about that little-known humourist P.J. Roadhouse. Hilarious.

The third quarter is dour and intense. At times, Harry Taylor, with that distinctive gait, is seen running with Eddie ‘Spinnaker Shorts’ Betts. A classic odd couple. Selwood streams out of the centre to kick the point of the year. Bizarrely, the boundary umpire seemingly aims to fling the ball out of bounds on the other side of the ground.

It’s tight heading into the final stanza. Dangerfield escapes Guthrie’s covalent bond to give Adelaide a surprising lead. If the second quarter was Jimmy’s, the last quarter is Selwood’s.

Selwood resembles the Warner Bros. Tasmanian Devil. His appetite for the contest seems to know no bounds. Come with me boys is his mantra.

And they do.

Johnno boots one from his limit distance out. M.W. Brown snaps a Chappy goal. Caddy moves around like that Energiser battery that exhausted Michael Chang. It’s a barnstorming finish.

Tapping in the euphoric mood, we hear that Moorabool Street fish & chip shops begin selling Dimmy Bartels soon after he was chaired off.

Jimmy you are a true Old Mate.

Geelong           6.0 11.3 12.7 18.11 (119)
Adelaide         5.3 9.5 11.8 12.9 (81)

Geelong: Bartel 4, Brown 3, Selwood 2, Duncan, Hawkins, McIntosh, Caddy, Simpson, Enright, Murdoch, Stokes, Johnson
Adelaide: Johnston 3, Betts 2, Dangerfield 2, Grigg, Smith, Jacobs, McKernan, Jaensch


Geelong: Selwood, Kelly, Bartel, Johnson, Mackie, Stokes, Enright, Guthrie

Adelaide: Wright, Kerridge, Mackay, Grigg, Talia, Jacobs

Umpires: Stevic, Stewart, Leppard

Official crowd: 23,622

Our Votes: 3 Selwood (Geel) 2 Kelly (Geel) 1 Bartel (Geel)


  1. “The names read like members of a 1920’s prohibitionist Chicago gang.”

    If that’s not the line of the day, you can root me. .

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I really don’t think the cats get enough mentions in this article PJF ! The umpires will get around to blowing the whistle and give Dangerfield some protection at some stage
    Geelong are a chance in 2014 if there ruck man stay sound they will be a awesome combination together . Thanks Flynny entertaining as usual

  3. Dear PJF,
    I have called in Downright, Lie and Soo (Corporate Auditors) and going back to 2011 we can find no record of your having given a Malarkey vote to anyone not wearing hoops.
    This includes several close contests, notably the memorable Round 19 v Hawthorn (2012), in which you appear to have rated the entire Geelong side 10/10.
    Has there been any independent validity assessments of your ongoing ratings process?

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Agree with Malcolm, it’s all about your ruckmen, Flynny. As it is for all of us.

    Steve, I don’t think it is the line of the day.

  5. haiku bob says

    Jimmy’s gone past Polly, PJF.

  6. Is PJ Roadhouse a relative of PG Wodehouse or PJ O’Rourke?

  7. PF – sublime recounting of the Old Mate names. We’ve been extraordinarily lucky. Just one great query for you to ponder: will Varcoe ever be in the Old mate club? If not why not? Does he not get enough of the hard balls?

  8. I’ll be very disappointed if Dimmy Bartels don’t exist.

  9. Glen Potter says

    Great read, Peter.

    Loved the Jack Styring reference. I wonder how he could work ‘bearing his molars to the breeze’, into Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

    ‘Under a French Impressionist’s dream sunset sky’ – beautiiful.

    Go Cats,


  10. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks all.

    Steve, I laughed at A Starkie’s comment.

    I hear G Cornes wasn’t happy R Book.

    HB, That’s one for a few beers. Hard to compare. Great praise for Jimmy.

    djlitsa, we heard this of twitter. I believe it was true.

    Cheers Glen. Try to do a Stones song with the Styring voice. It’s not easy.

    Dips, Varcoe has been in and out. Hopefully back in.

    PB I think it goes further back than that.

  11. Very Flynn

Leave a Comment