AFL Round 14: The big game from The Liars in Broadbeach

By John Dunne

THE 6.10 airbus out of Tullamarine bound for the Gold Coast on Saturday morning housed a healthy contingent of the Richmond faithful.

Donning beanies and scarves, the Tigers supporters were more than happy to combine the Surfers winter sunshine with an honorable loss to Adelaide later that night at Carrara.

There was a bizarre confidence in the knowledge that another loss would get them closer to the spoon and in turn tantalizingly close to securing fanatical Yellow and Black supporter Tom Scully, who just happens to be the anointed number one pick in the next  AFL draft.

But with the Punt Road wish list out of the road early in the flight, conversation quickly turned to THE Big Game.

Perhaps it was my Cats Premiers 2007 cap, but the only match up for discussion from the skies of Albury to Coolangatta was THE Big Game.

“Can Harry hold Reiwoldt? Who will go to Koschitzke? Who will take it up to the Saints if there is an early hit on Gazza from Colac’s favorite son S. Baker?

I was bombarded by questions from these Tigers, who I suppose, can only ponder wistfully if they were ever subjected to such pre match interrogation.

They started to file in to the Liars Bar at the Broadbeach Hotel at around 2pm, as they would have done for the bounce at any normal game.

But the magnitude of THE Big Game necessitated a television network to determine a new starting time of 3.10pm.

From my vantage point directly under the screen, it appeared the Liars Bar goers watched on in stunned silence as the Saints bounded out of the blocks to open up a five goals to nil lead.

“Johnno hasn’t been near it,” I spat out to anyone within earshot as the Fisher slotted through St Kilda’s fifth unanswered goal.

As if on cue, the cameras panned to Johnno perched back in his seat in the stands resplendent in coat and tie.

If I was tempted to partake of the $2.50 on offer for the Saints prior to the game, the knowledge that the only ‘sausage rolls’ Johnno would partake in during the afternoon required sauce would have had me reaching into the pocket.

Goals in the first half were treated largely with disdain by those in attendance, but when Joel manufactured a left foot goal out of nothing in the third quarter the front bar of the Liars erupted.

It was then I realized I was nestled securely among allies – a throng of Cats supporters.

When Stokesy (who is still the best overhead mark for his size in the caper) goaled to level the scores with a minute to play the suspense became too much.

Unable to watch, I made a beeline for the adjoining TAB to watch the last trot race on opening day at Tabcorp Park.

With one eye on Sky Channel and an ear to proceedings in the Liars, I heard the words ‘what a grab’ amid a huge roar.

My mind raced.

Had the Hairy Cat plucked one in the square or had The Tomahawk finally found the footy just at the right time?

No, the unlikely figure of discarded Eagle and notorious bad boy Michael Gardiner emerged from the ‘stacks on the mill’ with the footy in hand.

THE Big Game had come down to inside the last minute of an epic battle.

As I strolled down the restaurant precinct of Surf Parade later in the evening I found solace in a pair of Cats supporters mulling over their meal.

“We’ll be right,” I offered as I walked past.

A quick post mortem between the three of us agreed.

Surely, Stevie J and a fit Ottens are worth more than six points to the Cats!

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