Round 15 – Fremantle v Carlton: Oh me of little faith

When I read that Captain Fantastic wasn’t heading west to play, I dropped my head. McKay as well just compounded the problem. Yes, Jones was back, but would that be enough? My heart told me no. I mentally prepared for a drubbing. That’s mostly what I’ve know since becoming a Blues fan anyway, and the great boo factory fortress of the West is a challenge for any visiting side, so I held little hope.


The first quarter score updates relayed by ABC Grandstand in breaks from the Lions v Dees coverage were not unexpected, but still disappointing. Is this it, then? 5 goals down. Ugh. Despite this, I headed out to the pub to watch some of the match at least – I don’t want to be that fan who gives up when the chips are down. It was just as I arrived, well into the second quarter, that Carlton celebrated their first goal of the match.


It was a sign – I would surely now have to stay at the pub for the rest of the match as my presence there was clearly a good luck charm. Then I saw the replay vision of Charlie hobbling off earlier. Bloody hell. Another strike against us! But with growing excitement, I watched as Samo followed up Gibbons’s opening goal, then Paddy, then Mitch. Well hang on – we had ourselves a game here!


During the long break, I decided I really couldn’t afford to stay even if I was the lucky charm, as I needed food. So I reluctantly finished my drink, packed up my things, and reached for my coat. Then I saw it – the thing that changed everything.


Levi kicked straight. Through the big sticks. He darn well lined up a set shot and bloody nailed it.


Hang the cost, I decided; I’ve got to see this one out. I waved a piece of plastic at the bar, ordered some food and settled in, along with a table of vocal fellow Carlton supporters nearby.


The seesawing back and forward of the second half was heart stopping, frustrating, exhilarating and terrifying, all at the same time. I almost didn’t believe it when we hit the front; losing it again was no surprise. Every turn around in the Blues’ fortunes brought cheers, claps and increasing table banging from those of us in the room invested in the game. I dreamed, I hoped, I wondered – could we do it?


Even still, for most of that fourth quarter, even when we hit the front, I felt myself preparing the “oh well, we didn’t get steamrolled/we put up a good fight” lines that have become my stock responses to close losses. “We’ll take some confidence from this” and “so many good signs of what’s to come”.


And that’s what I’ve become – an unbeliever. Always optimistic about our future, but not quite capable of believing in now. Even when the signs are more than good. Even in that match we won against Brisbane, as I watched from the stands in the dying minutes of the match, I still expected us to lose. I was still preparing those defense lines – “we put in a good showing at least” – when we already had the match won.


How long is it going to take me to turn those thoughts around? To settle into the idea that we can be winners, and now?


Well, we’re already at 50% more wins than the whole of last season, and hopefully I get some more practice in for the rest of this season. (It still breaks my heart that Bolts can’t be here to enjoy the wins; but I don’t mind Teague at all. He’ll do.) But for now, I’m basking in the glory of the most unlikely of upset wins. In the absence of so many of the players we’ve come to rely on, our youngsters stood up, our experienced heads led from the front (top work Ed!), and everyone pulled their weight. It was bloody exciting to watch.


Next up: the Dees at home. Doable, surely? Dare I believe?


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



Writer, cricket tragic, occasional musician.


  1. Yvette, what hurts the most – the pain of Carlton’s ongoing underachievement or the frustration that comes after one of these green shoots emerges and withers away just as quickly? Maybe it’s a ‘Y’ thing because Yoshi’s regular offering today on his beloved Saints is full of uncharacteristic frustration. Hang in there, Yvette, believers of all faiths (footy and others) go through their periods of drought and accompanying doubt.

  2. John Butler says

    Yvette, few of us were encouraged by the injury outs. And once again, the first quarter didn’t do anything to turn us around.

    But what can you say?

    I don’t know what to make of our strategy of getting five goals down before we really do anything, I doubt Teague really knows what’s going on either. But at least the guys are giving it everything once they get going.

    And Teague is making some astute adjustments as games progress, which is one criticism of Bolts that probably had some merit.

    Hang in for the ride. :)

  3. Bolton and Teague? It’s like reminiscing fondly about your first boy/girlfriend because they were “dreamy” and then remembering they were also a dropkick loser.

  4. John Butler says

    PB, I would have thought you’d be happy we upset the local rival.

    Golf game gone off?


  5. Hopefully Carlton is on the rise. I don’t really enjoy any team being smashed. The best of Carlton isn’t too bad, they just need to show it more often. Likewise with St Kilda and, dare I say it – the Crows, whose form goes from excellent to pathetic from one week to the next. I’m positive they have too many GEMINIS in the side. Only joking.

  6. Ian – it’s definitely hope being dashed that hurts the most! I’ve mostly known underperformance, so anytime things work well, I think “this is it, they’ve turned the corner” but that hasn’t been the case. Tough!

    Thanks JB as always for encouragement and insight. I’m sticking around for sure, this is one hell of a ride! When we win the premiership – and I don’t care how long it takes – having been around for the entire journey from the lowest of lows will make it that much sweeter.

    Fisho, totally know what you mean! As much as I want Carlton to not finish bottom this year so that we’re at least heading in the right direction, I don’t enjoy seeing others get smashed all the time either. Any massively one-sided game is hard to watch and enjoy, even if my team is on the winning side of it!

Leave a Comment