AFLW Round 5 – Melbourne v Brisbane: The Cranbourne Identity

The Cranbourne Identity


Melbourne v Brisbane
605pm, Friday, 2nd March
Casey Fields, Cranbourne


Jamie Simmons



Today’s game and accompanying report will be an exercise in delayed disappointment for me. Time has granted me another trip around the Sun and my fiancé demands that such things are to be celebrated.


Mel proudly announces we’ll be loaning a seafood restaurant our patronage for the evening, stating that it’s my favourite. Truth is, it’s only one of an impressive list of favourites of mine. The list of things that I won’t ingest is considerably shorter. There’s really only two that come to mind: kale and my own cooking. That said, faced with that choice and confronted by starvation…I would concede to eating my own cooking.


I’m not saying kale is entirely useless. It makes for an excellent bin liner. Flies won’t go anywhere near it. They too have reputations to think of. That said, if you’re the sort of person who likes to wear bike pants to the supermarket, then you’ll probably love it.


Eating shellfish is quite the skill and one totally foreign to me. Generally I find that the broad arsenal of probing and stabbing tools they provide only serve to act as tiny catapults. They could have fired my meal at me from a cannon and it would have made less mess than the one I manufactured. Content, we leave the frantic staff to extract crab shards from out of light fittings and the hair of other patrons, settle our account and head home to watch the game.


My only birthday wish is for a Lions win, one that will almost certainly guarantee a shot at Grand Final redemption. Sadly, on the short drive home, our local radio station (yep, a community station. The type that likes to “crank things up a notch” by playing LRB), kindly announces the result and only minutes from my home. Disaster!


Mel beats a hasty path to the other end of the house. I’m terrible company when we lose. I will pout, roll my eyes and I leak sarcasm at an alarming rate. I will try to present a balanced report but when it comes to my ego, I’m fighting a much larger opponent.


I have always struggled with the game day experience when I can’t be there. I need to feel immersed in the sights and sounds.


I corresponded briefly with Danielle Spicer about this recently, namely: how does one best replicate the surroundings of the televised game you are watching, given its vastly inferior nature to the experience of being there?


So, what can anybody tell me about Cranbourne? The internet is useless. All it tells me is that there is a botanical garden and a library there. Wow…apparently the internet was actually my 82 year old Aunty Doris this whole time? Who knew? I know there’s a racetrack there. I backed a Clydesdale there once. I’m exaggerating of course, but it was slow. It ran last in my race …and third last in the following race before finally exiting.


Knowing little of Cranbourne, I attempt to garner what I can by scanning the vista where the coverage allows and judging by the rolling hills and tree lined horizon I estimate a decidedly semi-rural feel to things. How I replicate this in my living space is anybody’s guess. I own neither overalls nor a banjo. I kick the shoes off and opt for a cider. This will have to do.


The trees do make for a lovely backdrop. I note two generously bearded gents perched comfortably atop a hefty branch. From what I’ve observed so far, this could very well be Cranbourne’s Council Chambers.


The Nat Exon mullet is suggesting a two goal breeze to Melbourne’s end.


Already knowing the result it becomes quickly apparent where the difference will lie. The Melbourne engine room is simply sublime. They don’t just wrest control of stoppages away from you, they dangle it over your head with your lunch money. We’re all familiar with the superlatives that surround Daisy Pearce and for those that don’t, Fox commentary are happy to provide regular 30 second updates but how long before O’Dea and Paxman are given their due? Each are strong, balanced, quality ball users. We simply don’t have the capacity to match their clearance work.


I would sell a perfectly good kidney, though probably not my own, for us to have a strong bodied midfielder.


Surprise! The umpires are annoying me again. I’d like to see the three umpire system overhauled but preferably scrapped in the women’s game. I fear the gap in experience makes for a broader range in confusing interpretations.


The Lions should look at raising funds to help buy Leah Kaslar a head, because apparently she doesn’t have one! Melbourne have tap danced across her forehead all evening but it seems anything below her scalp is fair game. I’m wearing shorts older than at least two of these umpires and I’m fairly certain that I saw both of them colouring in during the half time break.


I like a lot about the Demons. Their tackling game is relentless and their list is seasoned generously with size and mobility. Eden Zanker shows promise on debut. She leads hard and straight and has reliable hands.


Pearce has been granted too much space early on and it takes a second goal before she’s assigned any real company. It matters little. She revels in confined space. Daisy Pearce could make a Sydney apartment look spacious.


For Brisbane, Lutkins has been outstanding again. I didn’t write this line, I didn’t have to, I can just cut and paste it from any previous match review such is her season.


The TV coverage sweeps briefly over to the Melbourne coaching staff, where my earliest assessments of Cranbourne are confirmed. The coach is communicating via a rotary phone! I love this! It’s probably Doris reminding him to get his library book back on time but it lends things a beautifully nostalgic ambience.


Tegan Cunningham reaches her cherry picker arms high into the night sky and plucks a wonderfully contested mark in front of goal and converts. It should put the game beyond doubt. It’s just a shame she won’t remember it.


Only minutes later and still bathed in the afterglow of her previous efforts, Cunningham finds herself summoned to the high ball once more. Only this time Nicole Hildebrand hurtles towards her, equally entranced by the Sherrin’s trajectory.


It’s a fearful collision. The sort of impact that would invite car alarms to chirp in spontaneous unison and dislodge local Councillors from tree branches. There is blood and genuine concern in equal doses. Thankfully, both are ok but will take no further part in the game.


It is then, as both teams huddle, that I notice Melissa Hickey’s arms. She is quite the impressive athlete, though it’s unlikely she would ever sneak up on you. You’d hear her rippling long before she entered the room.


Unsurprisingly, Melbourne settle quickest after the break in play and Kate Hore’s snap out of congestion is all class. Surely that clinches it.


Sabrina Frederick-Traub tosses Lauren Pearce aside contemptuously, like she were kale on a hamburger, for her third goal of the night and offers the faintest glimmer of hope for Brisbane.


The ball rattles around frenetically inside the Brisbane forward line. Infringements abound both ways, the umpies are tired (it’s way past their bed time) but time will not be denied. It’s a six point differential comes game’s end but I can’t help but feel the margin flatters us a little.


It’s a difficult result to accept as the faint embers of my birthday grow further dim and slumber calls to me seductively.


The Grand Final dream is still very much alive however, so I must brush off all negativity, as though it were the last lingering traces of the crustacean that I now spy clinging to the underside of my collar.



Melbourne  2.3  2.6  3.10   4.10  (34)
Brisbane   0.0   1.1  2.2   4.4 (28)


Melbourne – D.Pearce 2 Cunningham, Hore  1
Brisbane – Frederick-Traub 3, Gibson 1


Melbourne – D.Pearce, O’Dea, Paxman, Hore, Cranston
Brisbane– Lutkins, Frederick-Traub, Ashmore, Anderson, Bates


Umpires:  Dore, Buwalda, Atkins               Crowd: 2,100


Our Votes: D.Pearce (M) 3, Lutkins (B) 2, O’Dea  (M) 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.


  1. John Butler says

    Brilliant title Jamie.

    If it’s any help, I once met a car thief from Cranbourne. I believe he moved to a better area.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Love this Jamie. The good thing about finding bits of crab later is it still tastes yummy. Except if it’s much much later.

    And Cranbourne Botanical is amazing. These two teams need to win to take this gran final. I hope you nerves survive either way

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Hmmm. Am wondering if there’ll be another match report after this game today. I think you need to get some comfort food happening. Or comfort wine!

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