AFL Round 23 – Collingwood v North Melbourne: Drifting

These sides played off in the first round of the year. And now again in the last round of the year. I’m aware of the game. I’m aware of it being scheduled for Sunday by dint of the bizarre floating fixture rigmarole the AFL has foisted upon us. And I’m aware of it NOT being a 2pm game. As others have posted here, the last round conundrum is worthy of consideration – how to avoid meaningless games..?

Still, it’s Father’s Day and we have a summer’s day in Melbourne Town. I’ve woken up hot.

I’ve also woken up with the kind of hangover that follows being introduced to Polish wedding traditions involving vodka. Two enthusiastic little ones have assured me it is in fact morning time.

– Dad, are you awake?

– He’s not.

– Yes he is!

The footy circus has lost me, presently. It’s saturation coverage overloads me. The embarrassing Hird fiasco, the Essendon re-signing him as coach abomination, half-baked AFL decision-making sending a final to Kardinia Park… Where does a sane human take refuge?

It’s gone lunchtime and we’re all out for a ride to the Gelo Bar. Ice creams all round. Stop in for a DVD at the shop. We spot The Phantom Menace. Yum & Ooon have the Star Wars bug. Watched the original three a few times now (on VHS cassette!)

– Dad, it’s not called Star Wars. It’s episode 4. It’s called ‘a new hope.’

Rewriting history.

– I’m going to be Yoda, Dad. Who do you want to be?

– Errr… Obi Wan Kenobi.

– Cool.

– Ooon, Dad is gonna be Obi Wan Kenobi.

We ride home. Head fuzzy. Has the sun ever been brighter?

CJ throws a lamb roast in the oven for dinner. Beauty. It’s getting on for 4pm. I check what confounded time the confounded AFL has scheduled this game for today. I’m reckoning on 4.40pm. Seems to be a favoured time by some genius at AFLHQ. But no. Lo and behold, the game commenced at 3.20pm. Of course it did.

Shaking my head in clear-eyed wonder, I turn on the idiot box to find a surprisingly high scoring game underway. Lots of open space. Lots of running. I wonder if it’s better preparation for an elimination final to be physically exhausted from running or from tackling. I’m sure someone’s done a PhD on that.

S Pendlebury is getting a lot of it. North are swarming.

I turn the roast and set the spuds for the par-boiling. Who gives a stuff about this footy today, anyway?

Yum & Ooon come in from outside.

– Can we watch Episode 1 now?

I’m enjoying the idea of a late afternoon movie with a tea time interval.

– Sure.

And so as the Woods & the Roos run around in the unseasonable heat, I’m with Queen Armadala, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and little Anakin Skywalker.

– Dad, is Jar Jar Binks a goody?

– Dad, did Anakin really build C-3PO?

– Dad, is Jabba the Hutt very old?

It’s time for dinner. Obi-wan has learned of little Anakin’s unprecedented gifts with the Force. We pause the show. After dinner we’ll take on the pod race.

I learn that North have won. Later I’ll also learn that the Woods have picked up some injuries. It’s been a fizzer of a footy week. Let’s hope that the excitement of finals sorts that out soon enough.

And so the season is dead, long live the season.

The season is about to begin.


Where past achievements count for nought.

Nil-all and a ball up.

Carna finals.

Carn footy.

May the administrators make good decisions.

May the umpires make good decisions.

And may the best sides win.


About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He shares the care of two daughters and a dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.


  1. Andrew Fithall says

    It was difficult to get excited about the game David. I missed the first half because of kids’ sporting commitments. Didn’t listen to the radio on the trip home. At least I didn’t have to contend with a hangover. I think you have struck the right chord with the your report. Now we can get excited. And North can go for a drink.


  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Good stuff David. I think several Pies players weren’t overly excited about the game either, D.Swan waltzed around barely out of 1st gear all afternoon.

    Don’t get me started on Jar Jar Binks. Surely a creation of an Essendon fan. It starts at ‘Episode 4’ for me.

  3. Thanks AF and thanks Luke.
    It’s excellent of you to take the time & effort to post here, I reckon.
    If Round 23 was Jar Jar Binks, I’m looking forward to an R2-D2 round of finals.
    The kind full of pluck and character and resourcefulness and good humour.
    The kind where you can understand the mood and the vibe of the message, despite being illiterate in the basic language.
    thanks again.

  4. Another well written tale from north of the city.

    Have my ticket for round 1 and hoping I don’t need to bother with round 2.

    Best of luck to your woods this weekend Obi Wan

    Vader Leia

Leave a Comment