AFL Round 14 – Richmond v Sydney: Friday Night Maulball v Old School v MTV

It sounds like the same old song, or the same new song, because it is. Despite escapes into other programs. Early on I watched the aesthetic Josie Taylor (who was interviewing the Kookaburra, Alec Epis, Ken Fraser and Barry Capuano about Essendon’s loss of respect and profiling the Reclink Cup), then had a long break with the less aesthetic boys of Old School (Bryan Brown and Sam Neil) and added occasional wanderings into music TV. But there was also a footy game of sorts going on.

It was, in the blue corner, Richmond and in the red corner, the Swans at the MCG on the shortest day of the year in what seemed like the slowest and longest match of the year, except for the fact it was tight in the clinches and on the scoreboard.

And the score, here given in lazy mode, of 62 d 51, as there was so little scoring – in fact the Tigers did not score another major after the 17th minute of the second quarter according to the experts.

34,000 turned up at the Tigers vs one of the two premiership favourites.

Although often even more benighted than the players in popular opinion, the TV and radio commentators summed it up.

So, here it goes, verbatim, at different points in the last quarter of the arm-wrestling at the MCG, and after the weary watchers and players heard the final bell for the end of the bout.

In the third quarter Dennis Commetti, gentleman turned the golden voice on a sixpence, declaring mildly, with 8 minutes to go on the countdown clock, ‘It’s not an easy game on the eye I have got to say.’

On the 7/Fox commentary, fourth quarter, by countdown clock, from Lethal Leigh Matthews, Mr Stats, Bruce McAvaney, and Centimetre Perfect Dennis Cometti the picture became even clearer, or did we all mean murkier:

15:20   Dennis Cometti …’ a close game not a pretty game’

12:00 Leigh Matthews… ‘lucky they are close. It’s not much of a spectacle.’

Bruce ‘Stats’ McAvaney… ‘we need a count of rolling mauls tonight’

10:56 Bruce McAvaney.’ …they must have been watching the World Cup, not much scoring’… ‘Someone please do something!!’

Post-match, Post-mortem on Fox Footy and SEN

Eddie McGuire thought there would not be much demand for the video under ‘Name a game’ and went on…

‘you wouldn’t want to put this game up against the World Cup …it was a shocker’

Barry Hall… ‘it was terrible to watch’

Gerard Healy …’the rolling maul hit a new level tonight’

Mark Fine on SEN ….the most unsightly football I can remember….not like anything I’ve seen in footy before….[arguing that less ballups lead to more rolling mauls and greater congestion]

Robbo’s Punchlines on SEN Crunch time regarding Damian Hardwick and his ‘war of attrition’ football and the game – ‘I had to sit and watch that garbage last night’.

Except for Sydney, coach and players, or anyone else with a similar interest ‘it wasn’t pretty but its 4 more points’

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the ball game as well as the ABC drama and the music channel. In a tight finish, footy came in second, at best, maybe even third.


Steve Alomes’ book Australian Football The People’s Game 1958-2058 (available from developed early arguments against what he has called ‘Tackleball’ and ‘Stoppageball’ and Ted Hopkins called Ugby. After his January RMIT art exhibition Peptides….and also he has now created the WebExhibtion, ‘Les théatres des femmes…’ 

It has only two footy images: Kelli Underwood and a certain St Kilda schoolgirl.


  1. Keiran Croker says

    Well summed up Steve. Being a Swans fan I had to watch it. Fortunately I had a bung Achilles resting on ice and was saved from the fate of having to actually be there at the G.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Diabolical and as a umpire the idiotic instruction to allow the mauls to occur instead of paying the 1st free kick and balling it up quickly when there is as scrimmage not allowing 20 players to be around the ball every time when a ball up finally occurs .
    A classic of a top side having a let down after the week before the bottom team get a little bit of a run on then the top team lifts and does enough to win
    A shocking game and the lack of spectators says it all about the standard of so many games thanks , Stephen spot on

Leave a Comment