AFL Round 5 – Brisbane v Melbourne: Another Demon Anointed

Three Generations. Two teams. One very unlikely result.

What am I speaking of? Well, Sunday 28 April 2013 brought together three generations of Melbourne supporters to witness the Lions v Demons clash at the Gabba. Myself, my son and my father. As well as my father-in-law and my sister and brother-in-law. And of course the ‘very unlikely result’ refers to our hopes and aspirations of a Melbourne win on a warm and sunny Brisbane afternoon.

Of course the leadup to the game had been very ‘interesting’ as Melbourne’s start to the season could not have gone any worse, unless of course you consider the year before. Heavy losses, tanking scandals and the CEO being sacked topped the list, and all of this going on just as my three year old was starting to really take to the footy and wanting to cheer on ‘our’ team the Dees.

So I bought him a jersey and he wore it to bed the first few nights. I was proud, but I was also worried. Very worried. Because the life of a Melbourne supporter is not easy and I myself have had a lifetime of pain inflicted upon me by my father’s decision to anoint me a Demon.

But in the end there was no dilemma. Despite all the pain and despite all the frustration, my heart beats true for the red and the blue and I’ll never give up on them. So I decided to go down that very path with my son as well. Actually, I had no choice. He’d taken to the Demons with the fervour of a recent convert and nothing was going to convince him otherwise.

With all that in mind, I walked down Main Street to the Gabba with the son on my shoulders to meet the rest of our family crew for the big game (big for Brisbane and Melbourne supporters – probably no-one else). There were plenty of other Demons jerseys around which was pleasing to see and my son pointed at every one of them like they were a member of the Wiggles (Dad! See! See!).

We all then met in the blazing sun on the Stanley Street corner with hearty hellos but shrugged shoulders when the inevitable topic of how the boys would go came around. Tickets exchanged, the move into the stadium commenced and we sat down just minutes before the Anzac Day ceremony prior to the bounce.

Bang. A quick kick out of the first bounce and Jonathon Brown dived forward for a chest mark 40m out. He went back almost immediately and proceeded to slot it through the middle for the first Lions goal within the first minute of the game. I exchanged raised eyebrows with my father and had to reply in the negative when my son asked if the Demons had scored (he was obviously struggling with the Dees playing in their white away strip).

Our concerns were quickly erased though when Melbourne kicked their first a few minutes later with big Maxxy Gawn taking a mark on the lead and kicking truly. The rest of the quarter was quite a high standard with both teams moving the ball quickly with precision skills and using the whole width of the ground. On the scoreboard, it went goal for goal which made it 33 a piece at the first break. Our crew did its own version of an inning stretch and comments were shared that just maybe something had clicked in that last quarter the week before against GWS.

The Lions had most of it in the first five minutes of the second quarter though and that folks is all I know. The son’s attention span had succumbed (not surprising for a three year old) and it was into the bowels of the Gabba for me as we took a walk and kicked a footy in the concourse under the stadium. I tried my best to catch a glimpse of a nearby telly but it was no good and I had to rely on the roar of the crowd to tell if the Lions had kicked a goal and complete utter silence if the Demons had kicked one. We returned to our seats just in time for the half-time break with Brisbane six points up, 53-47.

The rest of the family filled me in and it seemed that the Lions had been wasteful but the Demons had kept coming at them. Despite some measure of optimism, we knew the third quarter was next and it had proven to be Melbourne’s downfall in most games this year. Personally, I was just glad to be watching some footy again as my son loved every moment of watching the Auskickers go around.

And then it came. The dreaded third quarter blues. The Lions kicked three goals in the first six minutes with majors to Leuenberger, Polkinghorne and Brown. It took a while before the Demons replied through Tapscott but then came another two from the Lions. Brisbane’s clearance work was exemplary, mainly through Moloney (how that hurt) and Rockliff, while the spread of McGrath and Zorko was excellent.

Mark Neeld obviously needed to do something and Watts was moved forward to create an option. It paid dividends straight away with him kicking two goals either side of Bewick kicking one for the Lions. End result being a 25 point lead to Brisbane at the last break. By this stage, I was no longer sitting with the rest of the family, having moved up the stands to allow my son plenty of room to run around and play. He was engaged in the game for the most part and regularly yelled out “Go Demons”, but mostly at inappropriate times like a Lions goal.

We returned to the rest of the family for the last quarter though and it opened with a goal to McKenzie and Melbourne were showing signs of some sort of momentum. We all moved a little forward to the edge of our seats and pondered “Surely not”. But then Brisbane got the next one through Adcock to kill the vibe completely and the game was dead and buried after the Lions kicked two more.

The game was most definitely lost by now and I hoped it didn’t blow out from here which had been the Melbourne way of late. The son had hit the boredom button by this stage and his queries about when we could go were almost surrendered to. Alas, the Demons came away with a few junk time goals, including a brilliant snap from the boundary line from Pedersen right in front of us. The son came to life with that and the image of absolute joy and excitement on his face is the memory I’ve chosen to take away from the day. That and him standing to attention during the Last Post.

In the end, I was glad of the final siren but reasonably content with Melbourne ‘only’ going down by 28 points, 122-94. Our expectations at the start of the game were met in a Brisbane victory but the Demons had some good passages of play to come away with a respectable loss. Something yet to be achieved this season. Plenty of losses mind you. There’d just been no respectability to them.

So the family exchanged goodbyes and we all moved in different directions to make our journeys home. The son and I walked hand-in-hand back up Main Street towards the Pineapple Hotel and I was proud again when he asked when we’ll see the Demons again. Yep, history does repeat after all. Another son anointed as a Demon. Let’s just hope his childhood experiences are a lot different to mine.


BRISBANE LIONS:   5.3   7.11   13.14   17.20   (122)

MELBOURNE DEMONS:   5.3   7.5   10.7   14.10   (94)


Brisbane Lions:  Brown 3, Leuenberger 3, Zorko 3, Cornelius 2, Polkinghorne, Adcock, Redden, Paparone, Bewick, Rockliff

Melbourne Demons:  Howe 2, Gawn 2, Watts 2, Tapscott 2, Bail, N Jones, Jamar, McKenzie, Rodan, Pederson


Brisbane Lions:  Moloney, Zorko, Leuenberger, Rockliff, McGrath

Melbourne:  Grimes, Trengove, Watts, Terlich, Sylvia

Umpires:  McBurney, Bannister, Leppard

Official crowd:  19,018 at the Gabba

My Votes:  3 Moloney (BL), 2 Zorko (BL), 1 Grimes (Melb)

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