AFLW Round 2 – Fremantle v Brisbane: Lions Away

To remind everyone that The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017 will be launched in July (date to be confirmed) here’s one of the pieces from the book. It’s a game by game account of the inaugural AFLW season but our squad of writers. You’ll be hearing more about it over the next few weeks. If you would like to pre-order a copy let us know by email. We’re trying to get an idea of how many to print!


Round 2

Fremantle v Brisbane

by Jamie Simmons


Denied a home game for another week by AFL fixturing, I am writing from within the confines of a domestic setting which is no easy task for me. I’m a method writer. I’m like De Niro in Raging Bull, only minus the prosthetic nose. I need to be immersed fully into the sights and sounds of the fray to properly represent it accurately in print.

My memberships arrived earlier in the week (male and female … don’t worry, separate lanyards and supervised at all times). I want to fan myself with them, geisha-style, en route to the ground but, alas, I must exercise patience. We will eventually get a game up here.

The Lions, however, will not be averse to playing away this weekend. The End of Days has descended on Brisbane in the form of unbearable heat and authorities are strongly discouraging all (camels and volcanologists excluded) from considering outdoor exposure.

The difficulty in writing from home, for me anyway, lies in the distractions. Twilight descends, which means there are dogs that demand walking. Our labrador fixes me with an unwavering stare. She’ll forgive my tardiness. She always does. It is every bit the same gaze of love and unconditional adoration that she offers a tennis ball. This is high praise indeed. The pug is more stoic and therefore harder to read. In the fading light he looks a little like Walter Matthau in a trench coat but, aside from the odd sigh of disapproval, he plays his cards close to his chest.

The commentary wastes no time inflating Fremantle’s chances and introducing a cavalcade of West Australian football dignitaries. The pug sighs impatiently. It’s a rare display of histrionics but we’re now an hour passed walk time. I swear they can tell time.

Focus, Jamie! Oh sure, that’s easy for me to say. My partner Mel is away, which is problematic. I am yet to learn the means by which she is able to prevent food from remaining raw so malnutrition could become a factor.

The crowd is capacity. Why wouldn’t it be? Fremantle Oval is picturesque. Today, unlike last week, there is also nary a monsoon in sight. It is likely to boast quick transitional football, set against a colonial backdrop of sandstone walls and sprawling oak trees. What an idyllic way for locals to complete a weekend.

Jessica Wuetschner opens Brisbane’s account with a clever left-foot snap. She is the third prong of a potent forward line and Fremantle may well lament Ebony Antonio’s sanctioned absence from defence today.

A 50-metre penalty gifts Fremantle their first goal, through Gabby O’Sullivan. I emit a loud puggish sigh in discontent.

The refrigerator stirs without warning. This has become an unhappy commonplace. Its sporadic grumbles and whistles are the death throes of a loyal servant reluctantly aware of its own mortality. It is old, seriously old. The instruction manual is written in Aramaic. If it could, it would lumber off into the scrub to expire, but that is not an option right now. There’s still a week’s worth of shopping in there and ice cream to be nurtured. Hang in there big fella. Just two more pay days, please!

Another fifty-metre penalty against Brisbane, and yet another resulting goal. This could cost us dearly.

The fifty-metre penalty in women’s football is brutal. With scoring opportunities less frequent in this competition, an unimpeded shot at goal is like … well, I won’t say gold – that may be overstating it slightly – more like cashews. I mean seriously, have you seen the price of cashews lately? In sporting terms I feel that it eclipses the double fault of tennis but sits somewhere short of soccer’s own goal.

I briefly consider the list of odd jobs Mel left behind before abandoning me to fend for myself for the weekend. Dog hair removal featured prominently. It occurs to me that if I just train them to lie in the one place, there will be less area for me to vacuum. That is either the stuff of pure genius or it’s the malnutrition talking.

Brisbane’s Sabrina Frederick–Traub is a rare commodity: a bigger body that can dominate in ruck before heading forward to mark and goal. Her value could not be measured in cashews alone. She is beginning to influence this game and I confidently predict this won’t be the last time those words see print.

There is so much more to appreciate about the women’s game when it walks hand in hand with favourable weather. Kate McCarthy and Freo’s Akec Makur Chuot are seriously quick. Both move with a consummate elegance. I doubt that either ever leaves footprints.

The three-quarter time huddles are a mass of nodding ribbons, scrunches and other hair fasteners. Pleasingly, the “man bun” has been returned to its rightful surroundings.

Lion’s Tayla Harris is an unmitigated superstar and it is she who determines the course of this game. I squeal a little when she flies for a mark and clap involuntarily every time she holds on to one (which is often). The pug yawns. He’s seen it all before.

Siren! They’ve done it again. And on foreign soil … again! Perhaps now respect will find them.

There is still work to be done though. Not all is perfect with their 2–0 start to the season. The game’s five leading possession gatherers are Dockers, and we have been clearly taken to task around the stoppages. Another superb defensive effort has set them up for a win but how long before that is not enough?

Conversely, all is not lost for Fremantle. They are a decidedly better outfit than zero and two suggests. With a more definitive presence up forward their fortunes will change.

Some belatedly pro-Brisbane commentary arrives and focus moves briskly to the euphoric scenes among the victor’s ranks.

Pfft … you want to see euphoria? Follow me into the laundry and watch me pull two dog leads from the cupboard.


our votes:     Harris (B) 3, Filocamo (F) 2, Frederick-Traub (F) 1

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.

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