AFLW Round 1 – Brisbane v GWS: Grants, Ants and the allure of Loose Pants

 

Moreton Bay Sports Complex

Brisbane v GWS
4.05pm, Sunday, 3rd February
Burpengary

Jamie Simmons

 

The ScoMo express shunted into town this week, trowelling heavily funded promises off the back of his empty campaign bus, showering the shimmering canopy of hopeful hands like he was the United Nations during war time.

 

Oprah would have been proud: “And you get a Federal grant! AND YOU get a Federal grant!”

 

Not before time too. Some of those outstretched palms belonged to the Brisbane Lions. Eagerly, we scurried off with $15 million for a permanent home ground and training base for our women’s team.

 

The men’s team have long walked the hushed corridors of the Gabba, heads bowed, as second class tenants.

 

Between the rock concerts and the Cirque de Cricke? that whoops and hollers its way through the summer each year, they respectfully wait their opportunity to sit at the big table. But at least with Room and Board comes a permanent peg to hang their blazers on.

 

The poor old women’s team have been shunted off to colonial outposts. To grounds they seldom train on, that fail to appear on all but few conventional parchments and that Matthew Flinders himself would struggle to find.

 

It’s more than just a search for a permanent home. It’s a quest for identity.

 

Granted I have had well documented issues with Brendale, their former “home” ground, in the past but I am willing to concede I may have been a tad hasty in my condemnation. As it turns out, things CAN always be worse.

 

It seems I may have pushed a little too hard for a forced succession of Brendale from sovereign land (a Brenxit if you will).

 

The AFL no doubt considered my complaints at length and responded…by pushing this year’s games even further from the charted territories, out to Burpengary. (One can only assume Norfolk Island was unavailable.)

 

Yes, you read that name right…Burpengary. As far as names go, it’s fine if you play guitar in a Blues band: “One night only, Burpin’ Gary McGee and the Flatulent 5.” Or your the perpetually intoxicated Uncle that regales youngsters at family barbeques with his… “Pull my finger!” routine. But as a suburb name, especially one about to host a nationally televised sporting encounter…it’s embarrassing.

 

I kiss Mel’s head gently, knowing that I won’t be seeing her for some time. I thank her for the supplies: food and water, a sextant to navigate by the stars. I carve my initials in a tree before easing gently out of the driveway.

 

It really is a long way. Voyager 1 hasn’t travelled this far yet.

 

I kind of like watching the greys of urban development fade into greens though. It’s weirdly relaxing.

 

The SUV’s of the suburbs, pasted with My Family stickers, slowly give way to utes and crusted Four Wheel Drives…also carrying My Family stickers but theirs tend to cover more than just the one window for some reason.

 

They’re a funny thing those My Family stickers. My Mother once proudly announced she’d bought me one, which seemed nice at the time, until I wandered out to find she’d taped a large question mark to the back of my car. There has to be a better way to find out that you’re adopted…but I digress.

 

I’m getting close to Burpengary. The thatched rooves of its CBD peek into view.

 

It’s barely a 5 minute mosey out of Ye Olde Caboolture Town. The folk in these here parts don’t take kindly to strangers…or regular bathing practices I’m surmising as I cling nervously to my folding chair en route to the ground.

 

I’m feeling ever so vulnerable. I don’t know what I’d do if confronted, armed only with sarcasm and a blunt sun hat. I have no trinkets or thunder sticks to offer them in return for safe passage.

 

It really is a step back in time. I think I just saw a local sporting a Make New Holland Great Again cap but that may have been the product of paranoia.

 

Reaching the ground, I wrestle my chair high into position on a grassy embankment, splayed against a healthy backdrop of Eucalypts.

 

It isn’t a ground conducive to comfortable viewing with its lack of accessible shade but the women will love playing here. The surface is immaculate.

 

The young man who settles in beside me is wearing socks with Crocs (a choice only Dr Seuss would encourage).

 

Kaslar leads the Lions out in her first gig as Captain, a move I embrace and applaud. She’s old school tough, fierce and fearless. I also read that she’s an Environmental Scientist. I could have used her guidance on a more suitable place to position my chair.

 

I’ve inserted myself neatly into the heart of an ant community. One deeply suspicious of foreigners and none too pleased with my incursion.

 

The allure of loose shorts proves too much and before long I’ve found myself being bitten squarely on the bum. Perfectly acceptable on a second date or when joining the Navy but not so welcome when settling in for your first game of footy for the year.

 

They do seem abnormally aggressive though. I can’t help but wonder if the modern “music” blaring out across the ground further incenses them the way it has me. If so, their demands for deeply considered lyrics and well-crafted chord progressions will not be met any time soon.

 

It does have its upside though. Socks & Crocs has bid a hasty retreat. Nice one guys!

 

Bonner goals first for the Giants. The Irish experiment has proven a happy one for GWS.

 

Cora Staunton is a wonderful athlete. She boasts the perfect chassis for our game, strong through the core and hard to tackle. Those powerful legs allow her to launch the footy great lengths. Once her kicking completes the full transition across from Gaelic, she’s going to launch a few long range missiles. I look forward to that. One wasn’t enough though apparently. Yvonne Bonner is making a wonderful first impression also.

 

Our ball movement is superior early but we fail to make inroads on the scoreboard.

 

The crowd swells late on the hill and with it comes a notable absence of ant based activity. It would seem they have moved on to nibble at better defined buttocks than my own. I can’t help but feel a little offended.

 

GWS have some serious breakaway speed. They are going to hurt a few sides on the turnover this season.

 

The ever crafty Wuetschner snaps truly early in the second quarter to kick start the Lions’s campaign but Christina Bernardi dives at length to mark shortly after and wrest back the advantage. She’ll be a handy addition to the Hi-Vis this year.

 

Kate Lutkins never fumbles. Afflicted with pure class she is a genuine thinker of the game that seems to be two steps ahead of the play, gliding from contest to contest. Shutting down advances like an overbearing parent.

 

The mood is festive and light at the ground. Dogs prance on leads and the slapping of thongs from casually migrating onlookers rises into a beautiful, rhythmic synchronicity.

 

A costly 50 gifts Wuetschner her 2nd goal at the start of the 3rd quarter. Bernardi sets one up another after deftly massaging her opponents spine out through her thorax…with no free kick! Weutschner returns serve, soccering her 3rd out of nowhere. She is the ultimate opportunist and I’ve sung her praises many times. This girl could pick your pocket even if you were wearing hot pants.

 

Sabrina snaps through traffic and momentum has shifted the Lions way. The Giants look tired deep into the 3rd.

 

The last quarter is an exhibition of fierce tackling and missed opportunities. McCarthy overruns a certain chance to ice the game. A last second snap by the Giants is marked on the line by a lunging Campbell.

 

What is it with tense finishes to home games and this team? I’m not sure I can handle another one of these.

 

I asked my Doctor for something likely to put less stress on my heart than AFLW games do. He prescribed me Winfield Reds. This game is not good for me.

 

They’ve done it! The Lions have hung on again and, in the fading light, I look to make the arduous trek back across the International Date Line into Brisbane City limits once more. At least I don’t have to do it alone.

 

Looking over at my backpack I spy around 4,000 tiny stowaways, last seen dining out on my backside, huddled together inside an abandoned chip packet in search of a better life. So that’s where they went. Seems my buttocks isn’t that poorly defined after all.

 

Well, it’s a long road ahead guys and we’ve plenty of time to find out which music you actually do like. So, what’s it going to be my little friends…Bowie? Queen? The Stones?

 

Sit back, stay out of my shorts and enjoy the ride.

 

BRISBANE                                    0.1     1.2     4.3     4.5     (29)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     1.2     2.3     3.3     4.3     (27)

 

GOALS
Brisbane: Wuetschner 3, Frederick-Traub
Greater Western Sydney: Staunton 2, Bonner, Bernardi 

 

BEST
Brisbane: Anderson, Wuetschner, Bates, Campbell, Exon, Lutkins
Greater Western Sydney: Parker, Gum, Staunton, Beeson, Eva, Swanson 

 

INJURIES 
Brisbane: Nil
Greater Western Sydney: Schmidt (elbow) 

 

Reports: Nil 

 

Umpires: Burns, Baigent, Strubos

 

Estimated crowd: 2850 at Moreton Bay Sports Complex, Burpengary

 

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About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.

Comments

  1. Reassuring to hear the Igor voice again. And very pleased you got back from your sojourn to Burpengary. Please send me details of your doc – a packet of Winnie Reds suggests he might be a good one to seek out.

  2. John Butler says:

    Bravo Mr Simmons.

    Until reading this, I was unsure if Burpengary was a place, or some strange northern salutation. Thank you for clarifying.

    Some of that Federal largess has been spread down south, also. Must be an election looming.

    Cheers

  3. Entertaining as always Igor. Loved the “My Family” lines. Look forward to you coming to Perth when the Lions play the Eagles in Innaloo. More double entendre opportunities than a Carry On film.

  4. Yvette Wroby says:

    Love it Jamie,
    It sounds like you and the ants had a great outing. You’ve made new friends and don’t have to deal with crox with sox. The game was intense, you tale of it hilarious as always. These images are forever burnt in my mind…ants in your pants, the crox with sox, Burpengary as a name and your bewilderment in general. Great stuff. Keep it coming.

  5. Brilliant as usual – have booked tickets for the next Burpin’ Gary gig too.

  6. Jamie- you’ve started 2019 in brilliant form. “Socks with crocs”- among many great lines.

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