AFL Round 5 – Brisbane v Melbourne: Honourable Honours

By Geoff Woolcock

An honourable loss…  as we approached the Gabba on a glorious Autumn arvo, this was what the Dee devoted company amongst us including my father, my U16’s sunny team manager and his affable son all concluded would be an apt outcome for an ANZAC weekend clash, well at least before the ANZAC legend started to become virtually fetishized as our national Good Friday. We were also coming to terms with a 10 goal spanking earlier in the day from one of the local super clubs Aspley who with over 70 players to choose from in their U16s alone, had such a bevvy of choices over our interchange-less side that “reasonable” if not honourable was being uttered in post-match sooth-saying.

Just what might margin constitute an honourable loss then was all on our minds as the resident bugler did a fine Last Post, coming off the dozen goal final quarter bonanza v the GWS the week before whilst our poorly performed hosts, the NAB Cup front runners sans Black, Rich & Hanley, were again putting heat on local hero coach Vossy. Suddenly the freedom of arriving with zero expectations that has come with attending virtually every Dees’ appearance at the Gabba over recent years was replaced with the pressure of speculating how close we might actually go. And then before any agreement on what the honourable loss would amount to was reached, the game unfolded with honourable efforts all over the ground, goals were being kicked from the boundary, and even though the Lions were butchering their weight of possession, the umps were giving us most of the line-ball decisions. Come half-time, we had enough optimism and texts from Dee sympathisers to wallow in a little dreaming ala Eagles at the same stage a fortnight earlier. Another recent tradition of willing the Dee-kitted Auskick outfit to victory was bearing fruit and at the other end of the ground a motley bunch of U18 Lions Academy prospects managed to send a dozen collective set shots on goal from about 15 metres all out on the full, putting the state’s moniker of banana-benders to shame.

Then the Dees seniors re-entered the arena and normalcy circa 2011-2013 was restored. Our scrubber midfield got monstered out of the middle especially by our ex Moloney, Watts down forward and Chip Frawley down back put in a series of appalling chases that drew audible laughter from the stands and the old man and I had resumed our familiar refrain about whether anyone in our current starting XVIII would make the starting line-up of any other AFL club. Adding insult to injury was the stereotypical dawky nerd teenage fan sitting behind us in the Lions Members whose feeble, unfunny whinings were enough for my own Lions Academy, Carlton-supporting son to state that this was precisely why he would never support his home town AFL team.

But then with an honourable loss fast slipping away, along came a couple of majors either side of the ¾ time oranges and if the eternal disappointment Sylvia had nailed a v.gettable one on the run we could’ve been within striking distance. That would’ve been to ignore the lack of legs though, best exemplified in the sad shadow of Flash Davey who was bizarrely subbed on for Blease, our only player with serious pace, only to be absolutely cooked less than a quarter later. The amateurs physique of Pederson squirreled in another from the boundary and easily our best on the day Terlich spotted up Howe to keep us in honourable territory by the time the siren sounded and the French national anthem blared. As we made our way onto the arena ducking the post-match sea of footies, the resigned voices of home supporters lamenting the lost opportunity for a percentage boost cast more doubt on honourable margins. I returned to find that coach Neeld had set the Demonland bloggers on fire with his after-match tweet “We thought that under 5 goals on the road was a positive”, further adding to his undoubted prowess at straw-clutching, a trait all of us Demonics have been forced to acquire. For me – apart from recovering from the bewildering call of the AFL website to name Trengrove & Watts as our two best – there was honestly some solace in avoiding a shellacking, coupled somewhat paradoxically I suppose with the thought that this might be about as good as it gets interstate in season 2013 for the MFC. Perhaps honouring honesty is the most honourable way of seeing our way through this decadus horribilis



BRISBANE LIONS 5.3   7.11    13.14    17.20 (122)

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



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

Melbourne: Trengove, Watts, Terlich, Grimes, Sylvia


Umpires: McBurney, Bannister, Leppard


Official crowd: 19,018 at the Gabba

Our Votes: 3 Moloney (BL) 2 Mayes (BL) 1 Terlich (Melb)

About Geoffrey Woolcock

Geoff Woolcock's parents were newcomers to Melbourne when the Dees won the flag in 64. Alas a curse was put on their offspring. When not defending tanking, Geoff ekes out a living at Griffith University.


  1. A nice tale Geoff, thanks for sharing. I watched the game from home with the son and wondered how you were dealing with the purgatory in which all MFC members must reside. Blogging seems to be as good an outlet as any.
    Just a thought – I wonder if anyone has analysed changes in rates of alcoholism, violence, or divorce of devout MFC supporters in the last few years? Such a wonderful rich history, but such an ordinary performance of late.
    I’m sure you’ll keep the faith, and more power to you.

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