AFL Round 12-Geelong v Carlton: A Pun Night of Blue and White Magic

‘Moz’ for those that don’t know (and I only recently found out) is short for mozzle, which is derived from the Hebrew word mazzal­ meaning ‘luck’, though in Aussie parlance, of course, the negative connotation is employed.

The ever-diplomatic Doc Paul can also be a cagey customer. While modern medicine is based on science it has ancient anchors in superstition. He knows about the moz. This is why I hesitate before answering the question he asks, disguised as a casual afterthought, trapping me in a distracted moment while we amble along some no-name lane flanked by anonymously modern buildings beside the historic goods shed in Docklands:

“What’s your prediction?”

The beers I’ve had at Club Voltaire – a small venue in North Melbourne that’s been around awhile, and like la Mama’s, has a rather eclectic taste, but without the kudos – topped up by another at the bar we just left, loosen my tongue.

“Cats by six goals,” I blurt.

Though, I was quick-thinking enough to downgrade it from the forty-five point margin predicted in the Footy Almanac tipping comp (I’m going woefully there – selecting as cavalier as a Cats backline pass).

Doc barracks for Carlton, but says: “That’s probably about right. The Blues are no good.”

I’m starting to feel like someone who just fell for a three-card trick.

To suggest fans expressing an opinion can influence outcomes is seemingly egocentric, but it’s amazing how cockiness, even a throw-away line in jest, returns to bite you on the bum for not biting your tongue. There’s history here – it happened to me when Carlton ran us of our legs at the ‘G when Geelong dominated the comp. What do we really know about the collective conscious and its influences?

I’m suddenly giving more thought to the 110 point hiding at the hands (or is that ‘wings’) of the Swans and how it puts this Cats side in unknown realms.

Doc Paul and I are with a chapter of the ACCC, the cycling mob from Anglesea, and on our way to Etihad Stadium on this mild June night. We were here for the corresponding game last year, which I wrote an account of. Master Paul, the Dutchman, is a late withdrawal so up for initiation is Graham, who played local footy in Geelong, but is now keener competing on two wheels.

Merve has since sold the ‘94 Landcruiser, so Furio, who has likewise handpassed his Anglesea cafe, is their driver. I met them here.

This time the ‘supporter scarves colour clash’ carries over to the teams when Geelong, possessed by illogical demons, wear away shorts and Carlton have to make a hasty wardrobe change. Will this jinx anyone?

Sensible drinking doesn’t bode well when Merve and I simultaneously buy first rounds unintentionally doubling up on disposable trays and mid-strength concoctions that seem to do more than just top-up. Furio, for those wagging a moral finger, is abstaining.

We sit just around from the Coventry end goals a few rows back from the fence, a perspective that adds several degrees to the heat of the battle and many more to viewing tension, and dispels any doubt as to which of the football religions is best.

These sides have staged entertaining duels in recent times that are worthy of more recognition, and like last year, this game also proves to be one of ebb and flow, albeit for longer periods of both.

The Blues rule early vexing feline minds while confidence is down. After a string of points, they kick the first goal courtesy of a Cats combination turnover that has ‘hex’ written all over it.

Furio reckons Carlton will run out of steam. But what if they don’t? This isn’t quite the counter-attack required post Swans loss.

The neutrals, Tony and Adrian, Furio’s son-in-laws, arrive mid quarter. I incorrectly wrote last year that Adrian barracks for North – he follows the Eagles. Tony is the Roo.

Our first goal follows a craftily weighted pass from Horlin-Smith to Stokes. No luck involved there.

But fortune mostly goes the Blues way. Yarran mesmerises and runs inside fifty for an easy one.

Early in the second quarter, Warnock drills a point-blank goal he missed at the end of the Bobby Davis game, and omens look ill.

Doc Paul sits at the other end of our throng, his baritone barracking muted by distance, but he aims a sideways glance and winks

Then a right foot pass from Selwood under pressure loops around to Hawk’s advantage with a will of its own and a brilliance you can’t appreciate from the top tiers. He follows up by daring providence with a mark running into the flight.

Mid-way through the second quarter Geelong has Carlton on the back foot, and I’m wondering how it happened. Collective will?

A sorcerer obviously cast a spell on Stokesy because he marks like a six-footer, handpasses to Motlop who kicks an inside-out punt that floats high and beguilingly through the goals. It looks even more spectacular from our vantage point.

A little while later Motlop tries an inside-out pass inside fifty and grubs it.

Superstition? Bah! That’s what happens when you don’t have a left boot.

Finally, the Blues break their drought and get to rock the Casboult.

The amber broth must’ve dulled my perception because the dodgy centre bounce that allowed Josh Walker to literally walk in for an easy one, goes unnoticed. The replay shows a ball with such a mercurial drift it hoodwinked the ump into judging it would land inside the circle and by the time it floated out his mind was set.

The Hawk looms like a nimble ogre for the Blues and continues his wizardry in the third stanza, assisting goals with deft handpasses and taps.

The Cats are 26 points up and in control and make the moz-take of believing it, because part way through the quarter turnovers result in Carlton goals and the Bluebaggers smell a sacrificial kill.

This is when last week can have a psychological influence.

A pass from Stringer has Hawkins reaching for the roof to pull down a clutch mark.

‘Bad ump’ on the left shoulder overrules ‘good ump’ on the right and tempts the umpire to call play on while Hawk steps in to take the shot causing Tom to fluff it.

Gibbs has been tormenting us all night and intermittently curls uncanny ones for the Blues.

A few rows in front of us a young couple are enjoying the Blues’ ascendancy like they’re in the privacy of their own bedroom. Except she’s a Cats fan …well that’s what it seems, until it’s revealed the ‘CA’ we can see on her scarf is part of ‘CARLTON’. It’s confusing enough when they just have BLUES. This allegiance angst, borne of lazy marketing and cost saving, needs an inquisition!

Graham buys more amber potion.

During downward moments like this my mind starts straying to a subject I’ve been mulling over for a while – did the Cats miss out on a flag by pursuing the youth policy? That jury is still out, but if you compare the Brisbane method with ours it’s currently a nil-all draw.

Then, like magic, the Cat High Priests and their novices stir. A supernatural handpass from Horlin-Smith sets up Mordoch who recovers from his spillage to get a goal back.

When Selwood bursts clear to give us a five point lead with just over a minute to go, the collective consciousness reverberates in a refrain heard around the ground: “Captain’s Goal”

And is immediately followed by a spray of amber liquid from the congregation behind.

But the ebb still has some flow to go…

Contests converge at the Carlton goal but are contained allowing the cabal of Cats to hold-on, have Mick Malthouse cursing and dupe Wayne Campbell into contradicting his own commandment – thou shalt not lead with thy head.

I wasn’t initially planning to write about this game, but Doc Paul asked me to. So, I have. Don’t mess with the medicine man and master of the moz. Even when he’s five points shy.

About Paul Spinks

I have writing published and performed in various mediums, but usually not enough of it to pay the rent. Had many jobs, travelled a lot, so I think this experience allows a broad perception of society. I'm not an academic, though did complete a BA as a mature-age student. Below are links to some published written pieces. https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/30/its-time-for-our-baby-democracy-to-walk/ https://meanjin.com.au/blog/the-elephant-in-the-chamber/ https://overland.org.au/2017/11/australias-workplace-laws-a-narrative-tragedy/ https://newmatilda.com/2019/05/16/the-green-blind-spot-on-australias-expanding-population/ https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/is-ashleigh-barty-the-saviour-australian-tennis-has-been-waiting-for-20200108-p53prl.html https://spinksytravelworld.com/pirate-of-padstow/ https://overland.org.au/2020/10/the-slow-death-of-a-public-institution/ https://overland.org.au/previous-issues/false-documents/fiction-paul-spinks/

Comments

  1. Paul Spinks says

    But really, it was a great night at the footy and worth writing about!

  2. Great read Paul, felt like I was sitting in the stands with you,

  3. Paul Paridaen says

    Paul Spinks is the magical wordsmith of the Anglesea Coffee and Cycling Club. His talent is always worth admiring. Tomorrow night we’re going to the Drysdale Theatre to watch a play he wrote, called “Extra Baggage”. Can’t wait!

  4. Paul Spinks says

    Thanks, Paul and Rhonda. I’ll put you on my PR team.
    Except, Paul, it’s Excess Baggage, but I know what you mean. Will be happy if there’s a half decent crowd.

Leave a Comment

*