AFL Round 14 – Greater Western Sydney v Carlton: A dad and his daughter

It was a beautiful Sydney winter day that felt more like spring. A blue sky. The footy. My daughter and I walked up to Spotless Stadium and I told her that I really enjoy going to the footy with her.
There is something ritualistic about going to the footy with your kids. Before my son was born, I read a eulogy by one of Noel Counihan’s sons about how his dad was so busy with art and politics that he rarely saw him except for the space next to his seat at the footy. I thought about it a lot and thought that it was worth keeping a space for my kids. I like going to the footy with my son but he wouldn’t really care whether I was there or not. Going with her is different.

Both teams had a couple out and I hesitated before I finally tipped Carlton. It seemed like the Giants were just too young and Carlton had too much history and too much to fight for. But appearance again deceived and the Giants kicked through a handful of goals after Shiel set the place alight with a long running goal and a quick snap in the middle of the first quarter. Carlton stormed back in late in the half and it was even stevens at quarter time. The Giants worked harder in the second quarter and took a handy three goal lead into half time.

Carlton kept in the game through their skill and they killed on the rebound but the Giants looked more desperate. The Blues looked like they had already pencilled the game in and that can mean trouble. Big trouble. The Giants had Mumford thumping them in the centre and Shaw and Hunt down back with a host of young guns in the midfield. Up front was Patton, who just looked like a younger Jonathan Brown.

The Blues pressed hard in the third quarter but Palmer swung around on one foot and pulled one back just before the siren. There was a gap of about three goals between them but you just knew that it could change in a minute. A team as good as Carlton could always run down a team down in the final quarter.

My daughter multitasks at the footy in a way that I can’t. She spent a fair bit of the game on her iPad but she then looked up to ask me when Toby Greene was coming back. Then she looked that up. By midway through the fourth she just said that she wanted the siren to blow. And most of the crowd would have agreed. It looked like the Giants were tiring and the big Blue wave was building. Carlton surged but couldn’t make up the gap and the Giants got to play their song. They’re young and will make some more mistakes before they finally get there. But they are heading in the right direction. Like my daughter. And she had tipped them.

We walked to the cab-rank together. I was glad that they had won and I was glad that the AFL had space for them in the first place. And I’m glad that my daughter has space for me.

Ian Latham


  1. I took Theo (6) and Anna (4). They went the distance – mainly due to their passion for colouring in and their love of Muesli Bars. It was a reminder of time past. Very generational. Thanks for the piece Ian.

  2. steve duffy says

    Last year Young Master spent 1/2 to 3/4 of the game on the iPad. This year he spends pretty much the entire game down by the fence.

    Really enjoyed your piece.

  3. For a variety of reasons, we haven’t made the trip south for game this year. Might have to put the effort in soon. Cheers Ian..

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