AFL Round 6: The visiting Jacksons take in as much footy (two codes) as they can


by Neil Jackson


The ANZAC period of football is becoming iconic, particularly in Melbourne. My family, the Jacksons from Sydney, (with my wife Maree, and children Tom (14), Samantha (12), and Rebecca (10)), joined the Urquharts from Perth, (Maree’s sister Catherine and family), to the Victorian capital to watch lots of footy, and be part of the ANZAC ambience.

It was also our 20th Wedding Anniversary, with a Thursday family lunch at the aptly named Young and Jackson. Then there was the 3.50am wake up on ANZAC Day in order to attend the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

And there was so much footy to watch! We started with the traditional Pies-Bombers game on ANZAC Day at the MCG, immediately followed by an NRL game at the next door AAMI Park between the Storm and the Warriors from New Zealand. Near full houses attended both games.

On the Saturday we watched back to back AFL games at Docklands, (Blues-Eagles), then at the MCG, (Dees-Swans). Not wanting to miss a moment of the Swans game, my son Tom and I left our WA relatives at Docklands with about 15 minutes left of that game. Hence we were to avoid the car accident that was a West Coast capitulation against Carlton.

It was a rush from the Etihad Stadium underground park car in our hired motor vehicle, through the Flinders Street and Wellington Parade early Saturday evening traffic, to eventually park the vehicle in Wellington Parade South, (about 250 metres from Gate 1) ,with 7 minutes to go to the start of the game.  We just made it, nothing missed.

The first bit of information to absorb was that the 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes was named as the Sydney Sub. It has been nearly a year since Goodes last played at the MCG, evoking memories of the infamous racial abuse incident against Collingwood.

There were many other points of anticipation to this game.

Paul Roos, the first man to coach a Sydney-based Swans to a flag, was now coaching Melbourne.  Roos is an icon to Sydney, with a sculpture of him lifting the 2005 Premiership Cup at the entrance of the SCG.

Then there was Buddy. L. Franklin was making his first appearance at the G in Red and White colours; his first appearance there since the 2013 Hawthorn Premiership.  Consistent with his tabloid image in the Emerald City, the previous Wednesday night in Sydney’s trendy Eastern Suburbs, Buddy had crashed his girlfriend’s expensive car into four parked vehicles. No injuries, no alcohol, but lots of publicity.

To use a polite phrase: the game itself was a defenders’ delight. By half time there had been no less than 89 tackles from both sides. The Dees were particularly frantic, with their consistent one on one play led by their tough skipper Nathan Jones. After a 4 goal first term by the Swans, the Demons thwarted their attack leaving the 2012 Premiers goalless in Term 2. This style of game appeared to typify two teams coached by men who had had many years of experience both as players and coaches in the Rugby League domain of New South Wales.

Perhaps the highlight of the game was the appearance of Adam Goodes. He received a thunderous applause from the 25,000 audience when he ran the field in the third quarter. Ironically, he replaced Franklin, suffering apparent knee soreness. Within seconds of running onto the field, Goodes’ first kick was an ambitious shot for goal, just missing main sticks.

The Dees also had some joy with their ‘sub’, with first-round draft pick Christian Salem making his debut and kicking a goal to boot.

Sydney ultimately proved to be too experienced and classy. Dan Hannebery in particular was a standout, playing his best game of the year, with 13 clearances. After a long period of tireless defence the Dees start to lose concentration in the last term. Goals from Ben McGlynn, (from a Goodes kick), and Tom Derickx, saw Sydney extend their lead to 33 points 17 minutes into the fourth quarter.

Not the prettiest game to watch, but all the same a wonderful way for two non-Victorian families to spend a part of an ANZAC weekend in Melbourne.


  1. Peter Fuller says

    Well done Neil, on packing so much into your weekend. You have given expression to that wonderful observation of Roy and HG – when too much sport (or football) is barely enough.

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