AFL Round 7 – Melbourne v Gold Coast: For You, Blue

By Justin Fris

As a Gold Coaster living in Perth, adapting to increased cost of living ($11 for a pint of Carlton Draught at my local, c’mon umpire!) is one thing. Successfully walking around town with Suns gear on and not receiving bemused looks is another.

The best thing about following the Suns in a mainstream footy market is that no one hates us yet, so we are tolerated. Criticism of our efforts is kept to a minimum, as over here, it’s all Eagles. But many like me just quietly cheer on and hold our own.

But this story isn’t about me or any other Suns supporter in the West. It’s about the main WA connection of the club, Guy ‘Bluey’ McKenna.

Bluey has been doing it tough lately, especially after the poor showing against Freo last Saturday at the ‘Salad Bowl’ (when you think of it, Metricon’s roof looks like one).

After that game, he sat alone in the box for an age, looking like Christmas had been cancelled. I’m certainly glad I wasn’t in the rooms for him to break the news.

As a coach, Bluey holds responsibility and be strong for his mentors. Coaching is tough and you live and die by results, but ultimately your players have to help you out. If they don’t, grey hair and increased blood pressure follows.

As a junior, McKenna starred for Claremont in the WAFL and later as a West Coast Eagle. Winning became not a dream but a habit. Renowned for being a serial practical joker, he has had little to joke about in recent times.

But the Suns have talent and time in front of them. Melbourne on the other hand, has little hope, spark or competitive flame. As both teams enter the ‘G, I sit perched on the comfy leather couch at my uncles house, while family festivities hold court.

The start is blistering; just like awful sunburn you can get from a day at Wet ‘N’ Wild in January. The Suns are playing the Dees like a pinball machine and quickly its five goals to zip.

The ABC radio crew are lamenting the poor Demons effort, but that fails to do justice to the Gold Coast charge. Finally, albeit against lesser opposition, these Suns are shining on the biggest stage in football.

As the second term begins, so does my options of consuming the game. My uncle busts out the Ipad and hastily subscribes to AFL Live. A few hurried passages of play later and I literally have the game in my fingertips. Technology of being able to watch footy anywhere is simply beautiful.

Cameras pan on Bluey in the box, and he looks anything but over confident. Despite a hefty lead, his emotions are in check. Just like Gary Ablett, who again has the ball on a string.

The Dees supporters are unearthing hellish ranting of their own at half time of this Mothers Day hiding. Words their mothers would use soup to wash their mouths with, but sadly the AFL hasn’t provided this outlet yet.

As festivities wind up and the car snakes its way around the Swan River under cloudy skies, the Suns are conquering two sets of MCG demons. Even the scores of seagulls on the wing are showing more commitment and heart as a group than the Dees.

But this performance should be about the success of the Suns young rays. Matt Shaw, Dion Prestia and Zac Smith led the way all day with polished skill in the clinches.

In my life, I have never seen a team unravel like the Demons have in recent seasons. The club appears to have been damaged on a multitude of levels. The fans have every right to be up in arms. They are questioning at three quarter time. They are hurting. Neeld is shuffling that deck like a Detroit hustler.

And for a few moments in the final term, the Dees reduce the margin. But, Bluey’s boys ensure that the trip back to Coolangatta includes four points and a ten goal margin on hallowed turf.

A solid football club has been carved along the golden shores of ocean and bright lights. This win was for you, Blue.

MELBOURNE 0.2 3.7 4.10 7.12 (54)
GOLD COAST 5.5 9.8 14.12 16.18 (114)

Melbourne: Howe 3, Gawn 2, Strauss, Sylvia 1
Gold Coast: Smith 3, Brown 3, Lynch 2, Hall 2, May, McKenzie, Day, Shaw, Bennell, Harbrow 1.

Melbourne: Viney, Howe, N.Jones
Gold Coast: Smith, Ablett, Prestia, Shaw, Bennell

Umpires: McBurney, Harris, Armstrong

Our Votes: 3 Smith (GC), 2 Ablett (GC), 1 Bennell (GC)
Crowd: 13,304 at the MCG

About Justin Fris

Journalism student, with an unquenchable thirst for all things sport. I love putting words onto pages and sharing all that encompasses sport

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