All hail the Ross scallop pie, especially en route to the footy in Hobart

FEARLESS – Could it get any worse for the Demons? We hope not…


Carlton headed north to the Gabba confident that the preseason woes were behind them. As if to emphasise this, Eddie Betts took two screamers, both requiring Air Traffic Control’s permission to land. After an even first half, the Murphy-led Blues exercised the Premiership Quarter option, blasting the Lions away, a win by 91pts.


Essendon kicked off the 5-game Easter Saturday fixture with a home game against an improved Port team keen on resurrecting their status in the comp. The Bombers surged towards half time leading by 23pts. Despite a late Port rally near the last break, the Bombers kept the lead by 15pts. Jetta 4 goals, 3 Bomber injuries cut deep.


Despite breaking their Sydney hoodoo last year, Fremantle trailed for most of their game at the SCG on Saturday afternoon. Docker Chris Mayne, having assumed the mantle from Sean McManus as player looking most like the Freo mascot, kept the purple haze in it with 4 goals. Bloodsfooty won the day by 13pts. Reid & Jetta 3 each.


What better for Demon coach Mark Neeld’s initiation from hell than a trip west to play the Eagles in Perth? Only after countless controversies was Melbourne to be judged on how they responded in this tough ask/8pt game. It’d be fair to say that the less said about a 108pt loss the better for Demons. Eagles’ % rockets them to the top.


Collingwood hosted a Richmond team intent on improving its 4 qtr performance. The Magpies had regained Taz and the Tigers had regained the feisty pushup King and both then got injured. Inaccurate goalkicking a hallmark of both teams in the first half. Then bang, Pies kicked 5, led by Daisy. Game over, despite Tiger fightback in last.


Adelaide played the Western Bulldogs at AAMI. Crows’ lesser lights Tom Lynch and Jared Petrenko had 2 each by half time as the Dogs trailed the home side by 25 at the half. Coach McCartney must’ve struck a chord with his players, as the Dogs came out and nearly stole the game. Enter Walker Taylor to kick 2 last qtr goals. Crows by 18.


Bellerive/Blundstone Arena was a sea of blue and white as North Melbourne hosted the San Fransisco Giants (copyright lawyers? Google it!) as AFL returned to Hobart for the first time since 1992. 11100 lapped it up as the winds ripped off the Derwent River and across the oval – 4 seasons in 1 day. North by 129 pts, Bastinac 44 touches.


The Suns didn’t stand a chance of shining as the roof was closed at Etihad. St.Kilda was intent on restoring its reputation from last week’s loss to Port. From the outset, the Saints weren’t threatened, sparked by newbie Milera and supported by the old brigade in Roo, BJ and Lenny. Ablett took a speccy and had 40 touches. StK by 97.


Geelong and Hawthorn had played some epic clashes since the 2008 Grand Final and all games were close. Kindly both teams served up another beauty with the Hawks leading for the bulk of the game only to be overrun at the G by the AFL’s best wet weather side. Hawks overcoming a hoodoo, so close but…Jpod’s last 2 goals seal it.





Easter Sunday 2012 – footy returns to Hobart.


As we pulled out of the driveway in Tasmania, footy fever hit. A two-hour drive awaited the 2 club supporters as they embraced a new horizon for their footy club. Much has been made of North’s quest for new members and new avenues to grow the brand. With one foot in both states these days, I felt obliged to make the journey down the Midland Highway from Launceston to Hobart for the North v Greater Western Sydney game, Hobart’s first AFL game since the VFL Essendon v Fitzroy clash in 1992.

The first and only stop was Ross, a picturesque historical village about 40 minutes into the journey. The purpose was simple. Scallop Pies…rarely seen, if ever, on the Australian Continent, these were a Tassie specialty and not to be missed. Two for the road as the saying goes…curried scallops within the usual sized pie. A great start to what turned out to be a great day. The weather was holding up pretty well and there was little traffic on the road heading south for this auspicious occasion. Granted, most people had other things to do like engage in Easter Egg hunts and eat too much at the Sunday dinner table. Given that both of us had young kids, the Easter Egg hunt had definitely concluded by 7.30am, time enough to turn around and do a morning coffee and newspaper run.


After very little deliberation, we decided to bypass the dubiously named “bains-marie of death” at the Epping Forest Service Station. My imagination ran wild with images of ecoli and other unseen bacterium that would require closer examination with a microscope. Feeding off that and other mental images, my own conclusion was simple: it would have been more sanitary to eat dinner off the toilet seat at the servo. I digress..


Bellerive has been rebranded Blundstone Arena to welcome footy back. Of all the stadium names sought and indeed approved over the years, this at least sounded Australian to the core.


Much has been heard about the state of woe that is the Tasmanian economy at present. North has faced its critics in Tasmania for what has been perceived to be taking money that isn’t there. Many people in Tasmania were not overly keen on government funding to football when the state wasn’t economically prospering. So the state government handballed the sponsorship/financial backing to the Spirit of Tasmania, an organisation funded by the Tasmanian government. Politicians wonder why they incur such cynicism for such moves. So the deal to bring North Melbourne to Tasmania to play 2 games a year at Hobart proceeds for the next 3 years. The club promises to engage the community and if it follows Hawthorn’s successful lead in Launceston, then the locals will benefit. It will hopefully also bring in tourism dollars in a manner akin to the Grand Prix in Melbourne. We’ve heard all the arguments against that too, but walk down Armstrong St, Middle Park or nearby suburbs on that weekend and try to get a table at a café or try and book a hotel room night in Melbourne that weekend…


To arrive at Bellerive Oval, was to arrive into a sea of royal blue and white. Not such a sight has been seen since North played games at Manuka Oval in Canberra. Much of that disappeared if the opposition was the Sydney Swans. With 2 teams in NSW now, Canberra should be their backyard to be cultivated in the appropriate manner. Honestly, whomever it was that thought Canberra was halfway between Sydney and Melbourne needed a GPS 100+ years before their invention.


From Canberra, a shotgun wedding ensued for North supporters on the Gold Coast, at the behest of a club administration that has since been proven to be 50% in favour of relocation there. If North board members had holiday homes in and around Carrara, Robina and surrounds, it at least should’ve been made known to the greater NMFC membership, before moving home games from Manuka…are we assumed to be stupid? Naïve? Or both? As for relocation permanently to Carrara and surrounds, well…needless to say my support for James Brayshaw should indicate my thoughts on that front. A random poll I took of all North supporters at the time indicated overwhelmingly the same thing…it would not be the same club. We are not the best-resourced club, nor have we ever been, but we are a Melbourne club with overwhelmingly Melbourne-based supporters.


Indeed, recent struggles of Gold Coast sporting clubs, the NRL’s Titans and the A-League’s GC United, are well documented. Regardless of Clive Palmer’s megalomania, the club is struggling financially as are the Titans. The whole premise makes me hopeful that the Suns are here to stay as the AFL are relatively more stable backers than their opposition. However, it does tend to confirm my belief that we were better off staying in Melbourne. If the AFL did ladders for membership numbers, financial strength etc, we might be always destined to be near the bottom. The TV broadcast rights deal, however, is underpinned by 18 teams though, and that might be many clubs’ salvation. People seem to forget that in 1999, our last premiership year, Geelong and Collingwood were really struggling. And now look at that them in 2012…and good on both of them for turning it around …everyone deserves a chance to right their ship.


As such though we need to seek a secondary market such as Hobart and Ballarat to grow our brand. On that level alone, 11 home games in Melbourne at Etihad becomes financial suicide. This point will be reiterated again in round 5 when North hosts the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad.


The crowd at Bellerive was 11100 or thereabouts. Arguably that’s disappointing but it would appear that for an Easter Sunday, it wasn’t too bad. Maybe scheduling it for a 3pm start may have assisted in getting a better crowd. Who knows? Maybe the prospect of a better game might impact also. Greater Western Sydney might be a good team in years to come, but even the presence of Steve Austin/Tom Scully (the $6 Million Dollar Man) mightn’t inspire people to go and watch them live just yet.


The crowd seemed appreciative of AFL’s return to Hobart. Crowd figures for the next game in July against the West Coast Eagles would be worth considering when known. Has it increased/decreased? Is it closer to capacity of 15-16000? One thing is certain, despite it being mid-winter, a fact that hasn’t generally kept people, especially Tasmanians, away from the footy, the game won’t be in the middle of a long weekend/holiday period, nor on a day of national significance. Time will tell…


You can be blasé about the fortunes of your club or you can care about its future. It’s up to you. For the North faithful, it was a day to enjoy.


  1. Enjoyed your piece. Sounds like a great day all round.
    One qualifier – Scalloped Pies were widely available at the MCG on Friday night.

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