AFL Round 15: I just love it when Fev cuts loose

By Barbara Smith

Saturday’s game at the MCG between Carlton and Richmond was marred by a swirling wind and promised little. Rain threatened all day but did not eventuate. What would you expect in Melbourne? The strong wind was behaving as badly as school children do on a windy day, and there were willy-willies on the hallowed turf.

After planning to work all day, I changed my mind at the last minute.

“You sure you’ll be all right? Right, I’m off!”

I took off before anyone could reconsider their generosity. I took my traditional route to the ‘G.

My oldest friend (a Geelong supporter) chides me for not using public transport. But I have my routine & public transport is not in it. I drove my tricky way into the MCG car park, disappointed to discover more and more people using my tricky route to Punt Road, and strode to the Members’, wondering what Carlton would dish up for me today.

I don’t eat much junk food these days, but my pre-match routine requires a pie and a Coke. Sitting in the stand gorging on junk, I learned that Setanta O’hAilpin is a late withdrawal. Who will help kick goals? Fev’s not himself lately, and he’s recovering from finger surgery. I saw his pinned finger get punched in a marking contest at Subi, it looked nasty.

It was a dream start: Fisher got one within 16 seconds, courtesy of Kreuzer, Judd & Murph. Then it became a game of attrition. Poor Fev — his recently pinned fingers were worrying him, he kept fiddling with them. He was distracted, couldn’t kick a goal, defenders all over him, never any frees. Should he have been playing? Fev got one point for the quarter, and looked in bad humour.

I must admit it was a scrappy game.Sure, the wind making it difficult, but there was more to it than that. Half way through the first term, I developed a couple of theories: one, that Carlton plays to the level of its competitor. That is, play well against good teams, and poorly against weaker ones. Hmm, what does that mean? The second theory was that the Blue Boys were tired. They had a 6 day break coming back from Perth, arriving home in the middle of the night. Hell, I was tired after my trip to watch them there, and I was only spectating! Theories in place, I sat back prepared to accept whatever mediocre spectacle was served up.

Don’t you love it when you expect little and receive a lot? Fev Mark II came out of the quarter-time huddle, and for the next 3 quarters he provided the 50-odd thousand spectators with every different type of freaky goal you could imagine. My three favourites were the twist-under-your opponent’s arm and kick-a-goal from the boundary type, the hold-your-opponent back-with-one-hand-then scissor-kick-backwards over-your head type, plus the hold-your-opponent-with-one-arm-&-take-a-one-handed-speccy-in-the-goal-sqaure type. We were laughing and so was he. He couldn’t kick a point if he tried to.

I always mark our goal kickers in the Record (never the opposition’s) and it looked like a picket fence next to Fev’s name. But would he break his record of 8 goals in a match?

I read later that Eddie Betts asked Fev in the 3rd quarter how many goals he’d kicked, (6, he told him), then offered to palm off any that came his way. What a guy! The lucky 9th came towards the end of the last quarter, a hand-pass from Eddie, and Fev savoured every second of his 3 slow steps in the goal square before sending it into orbit.

I heard he trotted back to his opponent, Richmond captain Chris Newman, after one beauty, and asked him: what do you think of that? Not much, Newman replied. Well, said Fev, I LIKED IT!

Well, Fev, so did I! You are the most entertaining of footballers I have seen in my 3 decades of watching Carlton. I will take this roller-coaster ride as long as you keep it going. People with a heart condition probably need their full-forwards to kick a reliable, steady 3 goals a week. Not me. I don’t have a heart condition, and I never want to die of boredom. Give me frustrated tantrums, or give me a goal-fest, I just love it!!

Leave a Comment