AFL Round 10 – Carlton v Adelaide: The Pogues or Paul Kelly?

Our eldest son lost his front tooth yesterday. Already dangling, the other is now lurching across his gum. He is six.

Smiling, he is a little like Shane MacGowan, the lead singer of The Pogues. You know, the one who somehow maintains a pulse. Despite his sustained dedication to not, over these last four decades.

With the annual, happy promise of snow, a big Norwegian spruce pine tree in Trafalgar Square, and BBC Radio 2 being obliged to play “Fairytale of New York” every fourteen minutes across December, England does Christmas better than Australia.

It just works better in the dark and the cold.

“Fairytale of New York” is a superbly bleak song. Marrying misery with a rousing melody, the doomed couple bicker and snarl, and of course, it ends badly for them.

Which connects to both Carlton and Adelaide, except that it is only May. For much of the first half, the football goes back and forth, perversely suggesting the call and response form of the duet of Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl

I could have been someone

Well so could anyone

You took my dreams from me

When I first found you

I kept them with me babe

I put them with my own

Can’t make it all alone

I’ve built my dreams around you

While this festive ode is euphoric, Sunday’s MCG fixture was dour, and for much of it, lacking music. There would be grander joy within an afternoon spent shopping in Luton. At least there’d be the chance that your umbrella might be picked up in the sleety gale and speared into a Bedfordshire oak tree.

In their peculiar tribute to “Fairytale of New York”, The Crows continue to set their watches to Christmas Island time, well behind that in Melbourne, chronologically and in humanitarian/football supporter terms. And so they only have two goals at the major break.Adelaide’s pre-season strategy of starting in an excruciating way persists into a tenth week. John Farnham has enjoyed shorter retirements.

Norwood boy and Crows fan Paul Kelly’s “How To Make Gravy”is our finest seasonal song. Like The Pogues’ tune, it is jubilant in its despair. Both are anchored in familial misfortune. Each begins with a gentle, welcoming melody, and then erupts into a torrent of regret.

Living in St Albans, just north of London, Paul Kelly’s tour de force was my umbilical cord to Australia. Its evocative power, and fraught, jailed brother were overwhelming. On many a Friday evening I played this song in our tiny townhouse, after beers at The Bunch of Cherries, The Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, or The Goat.

When Peter Luscombe’s drums kick in at

I guess the brothers are driving down

From Queensland and Stella’s flying in from the coast

They say it’s gonna be a hundred degrees

Even more maybe, but that won’t stop the roast

I’d be a goner. The heat, the ritual, the anguish. There I’d be, on our couch, blubbing away, wondering what the feck we were doing half a world from home, having, in a sense, voluntarily imprisoned ourselves. Both songs signify Christmas and the end of the year. Although winter has not begun, 2014 is already finished for The Blues and The Crows.

Yarran and Betts have some electric moments, while Thomas for Carlton and Laird for the vanquished, contribute meaningfully. Kade Simpson appears to roam about unchecked and collects a mammon of disposals. There are more clangers than a Chinese gong workshop, and Adelaide’s sixteen behinds is telling.

I’d like to say that the second half was artistic and masterful like Paul Kelly and The Pogues, but I can’t. The error and turnover rates fell. Each team kicked eight goals. It was close.

Within a few weeks, our son will have a new front tooth, and his smile will again be complete.

Adelaide needs to stop its decay, and stop it urgently.


CARLTON      2.2      4.2      8.5      12.9    (81)                  

ADELAIDE     1.4      2.7      7.12   10.16   (76)          



Carlton: Menzel 3, Docherty 2, Casboult, Yarran, Everitt, Simpson, Ellard, Thomas, Waite

Adelaide: Betts 4, Kerridge, Walker, Cameron, Thompson, Jaensch, Mackay



Carlton: Simpson, Yarran, Everitt, Menzel, Gibbs, McLean

Adelaide: Jacobs, Betts, Thompson, Dangerfield, Douglas, Laird



Carlton: Simpson (corked left thigh), Buckley (left leg)

Adelaide: Dangerfield (back)



Carlton: Jeff Garlett replaced Dylan Buckley in the third quarter.

Adelaide: Jarryd Lyons replaced Ben Rutten at three-quarter-time.


Reports: Nil

Umpires: Leppard, Hay, Meredith

Official crowd: 32,419 at the MCG.


Our votes: Simpson, Yarran, Betts.


About Mickey Randall

Now whip it into shape/ Shape it up, get straight/ Go forward, move ahead/ Try to detect it, it's not too late/ To whip it, whip it good


  1. Nice reflections Mickey. There are teams that lack talent, and there are teams that lack ticker and nouse. The Crows are definitely the latter.
    My (Port supporting) Dad says that if the Crows lived and trained in Oodnadatta and flew in for game day, they would be champions. After there win over the Pies in front of their adoring fans I had no doubt that they would have spent the week drinking their own dishwater.
    Rory Sloane – my case in point. Ridiculously talented, but wanted to do the starry things rather than work hard yesterday. Spent most of the game looking for his own highlights reel. It was appropriate that he blew 2 opportunities to win the game by ignoring team mates and trying to do it all himself.
    I tipped Carlton because at least the players are afraid of Mick. Sando wouldn’t inspire fear in an Auskick lineup.
    Time for “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash”.

  2. Dave Brown says

    With you on ‘How to make gravy’, Mickey. Although yesterday’s performance has one thinking of ‘Adelaide’.

    Bit harsh on Rory, Peter – he is so used to being the only one still going in the fourth quarter that he is feeling like he has to do it all himself. Particularly when his teammates could only hit the side of a barn if it was positioned between the goal and point posts.

  3. Peter- Agree with your Dad. The Crows are too frustrating.
    Dave- Paul Kelly’s Careless also seems appropriate. Rory’s decision-making was poor, but he was not alone.

  4. Great match report Mickey – more clangers than a Chinese gong workshop – there sure was! I had a great day – guess it helped that the Blues came out on top – but it was great to chat, have a few beers and watch the boys (our two that is) play and have fun.

  5. Mickey,
    As you may have guessed from my twitter avatar (the cover of Rum Sodomy & the Lash), I am appreciative of any match report which references the Pogues.

  6. After Adelaide missed all those set shots surely many of their fans must have though they would kick it correctly, “Before Too Long”, but after this loss, with the finals drifting away, maybe an escape from the footy to spend their “Summers In Siam”, is possibly a better option.


  7. Did your boy play the Bali Geckos Mickey? There is a kid called Jakob Hartup who gets around alright with a footy in his hands. Sounded like a much better game than the Blues vs Crows…

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Got there at half time, didn’t miss much judging by the radio commentary.

    Was about to turn around again until those late goals in the third quarter.

    Heard Sando on the 774 pre-match – sounded measured and thoughtful and sensible, in hindsight too measured, thoughtful and sensible for the Adelaide Dumb Things.

    At last Eddie Betts did what he was there to do, but plenty of brain explosions from players who should know better – Panic on the streets of Jolimont.

    Kirsty MacColl, sad story that one.

    PS – I thought I saw S MacGowan going around against the Pies the evening before.

  9. Sloane 18 touches. Simpson 37. Gibbs 31!! McLean 26. For the Crows – Thompson 30. Laird 28. Douglas 27.
    I rests my case re Sloane’s work rate yesterday. He’s in the Shuey/Wellingham class – half as good as he thinks he is; and half as good as he should be.

  10. Surely you made up ‘Umpire Leppard’!

    Next you’ll try to tell me he was the guy that failed to hear the siren in Adelaide’s last game…..

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    As opposed to umpires Charles, Feliciano and Wonder ?

  12. Yes ‘Swish’, the death of Kirsty MacColl is a sad one.


  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Mickey your report of the game was better than the game itself . The crows have not replaced the late , Dean Baileys expertise in the coaching box thanks , Mickey

  14. djlitsa- thanks for that. We’ll do it again soon. Cheers!
    Smokie- I also love The Pogues’ cover of And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, written by Eric Bogle, who lived just down the road from where I grew up in Gawler. I feel it gives me an extra connection to the band.
    Glen- the game was among the most ridiculous I’ve seen. Its soundtrack should be a grim one. Nick Cave might suit.
    Gus- No, our boys didn’t. Possibly next year. We are all enjoying Auskick here, the Singapore Sharks run a great program.
    Swish- Love “S MacGowan going around against the Pies the evening before”. Quite possibly sitting with the cheer squad too!
    Peter B- Did Rory run over your cat? Agree that he has played better games.
    Rick N- Surely you made up ‘Umpire Leppard’! No, but I wish I had. Umpiring with one arm might be as challenging as drumming with one limb in a Midlands Glam Rock band.
    Kirsty MacColl’s family have been through too much. Such a beautiful performance on the song.

  15. Dave Brown says

    It sounds like you think he should be on Sean’s list, Peter. I wouldn’t argue the toss on yesterday, he did not have a good one. But every Crows game I have seen in the flesh Sloane has been the hardest worker by a reasonable margin across the four quarters. He is not possessed of the pace or ball winning ability of his midfield comrades and only gets into the game through his work rate (he also averages seven tackles per game, two more than any other Crow). As the club champion he has more than reasonable claims not to be put in the company of Wellingham / Shuey.

  16. Malcolm- Thanks for that. Adelaide v GC will be fascinating next weekend. At the start of the year, The Crows probably wrote “W” next to this fixture, but I’m not too sure now. A win will keep our pulse flickering, just.

  17. E.regnans says

    Good on you Mickey.
    You’ve hit the mark there. That Fairytale of New York is “our” song at our place.
    I do a pretty good line in slurring & dodgy guitar.
    N. cunninghammii a ripper voice to rival the late great K MacColl.
    Lotsa meaning wrapped up there, for many I’m sure.

  18. mickey randall says

    E. regnans- I like art in which there’s a disconnect between the immediate style and the message. With its vibrant prose, but sinister themes, The Great Gatsby is an example for me along, of course, with The Pogues’ song. I wonder how autobiographical it might also truly be. Thanks for that.

  19. Don’t tell me the Southport Sharks have an outpost in Singapore! What with their sponsorship at the Suns and all. They must have plans for world-wide domination. Mr D might be moving on to gig with them…

  20. mickey randall says

    Gus- I would welcome Mr D getting involved at the Singapore Sharks. He could help out with coaching the five year olds, which is like herding cats. His dictatorial style would provide tremendous entertainment in that situation! Send me his number.

  21. Perusing the synopsis of the Adelaide V Carlton encounter, my mind has gone to that wonderful old WPA track, Monday’s Experts.


  22. Thanks Glen. That WPA did some legendary Christmas shows also connects them nicely to The Pogues, as for many years they’d do a string of gigs in London from about mid-December.

  23. Rick Kane says

    Two sadly beautiful songs MR. Both hold deep memories and reflections for me. I particularly love the ending of How To Make Gravy. Such a simple couplet:

    “You know one of these days, I’ll be making gravy
    I’ll be making plenty, I’m gonna pay ’em all back”

    And in those two lines lies a sense of hope that stretches across time. You just want hime to succeed.

    By the way, who won the footy?


  24. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Mickey. You sure make Luton sound bad. I’ve never been there but have heard the name Luton many times as a Split Enz fan. Most of the songs that made up the 1979 album ‘Frenzy’ had their origins in a recording session in Luton in 1978. ‘The Rootin’ Tootin’ Luton Tapes’ was released on CD a few years back, much better versions of most of the songs than how they appear on Frenzy.

  25. Peter Schumacher says

    Bugger Luton. The Crows lost, again.

  26. Rick- Thanks for that. Agree that they are simply wonderful, wonderful songs. Years ago the wife and I were in Madrid over Christmas and got around on a hop-on, hop off bus. It had a collection of Christmas songs playing on a loop.Feliz Navidad was on it, unsurprisingly, as well as Little Drummer Boy. However, it was odd that this version had no drums at all. I thought this was pretty central to the song!
    Luke- You certainly know your Split Enz! It is not uncharitable to say that Luton makes Port Augusta seem like Monaco. Any chance of another Split Enz reunion? Cheers.

  27. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Tonight’s iPod on shuffle surprise was Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”

  28. Peter S- I sense this year slipping away. I worry that we’ve played in seven preliminary finals- which is probably satisfactory in twenty years- but only won two. I worry that as great as 1997 and 1998 were, that it will be soon a couple of decades since these. However, Luton is not to be underestimated, in any way!
    Swish- in an earlier comment on this post, Rick N mentioned Umpire Leppard. You’d hope that umpires Leppard, Slade (Matthew Slade was a serviceable CDFC player), and Purple would officiate in the British Heavy Metal round, which, of course, is penned in for Round 11 (louder in it?).
    Thanks chaps.

  29. Luke Reynolds says

    Mickey, might be struggling for a Split Enz reunion. Their 40th anniversary has come and gone without one. Just glad I was there for both nights in Melbourne in 2006. Awesome.

  30. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ve had to go to the BigFooty to drag out the (perhaps apocryphal) below

    “This might be a bit obscure for you young’uns but about 20 years ago Carlton vs Hawthorn and a certain long haired player from the Navy Blues was tearing us to ribbons. Alan Jeans was in the coaches box yelling out “Who’s on Purple ??? Who’s on Purple ???”. Des Meagher (or any of the other assistants) couldn’t for the life of him work out who the hell Jeansy was talking about. “

  31. Gold Swish. As the Coodabeens asked, “Does Tommy Alvin use ribbons to tie back his hair?”

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