Almanac Footy: The Federation Cup: Collingwood v Carlton.



I still have the magazine, it sits on a shelf, surrounded by my varied interests of travel, history, politics and of course, football! It is the June/July issue of the Collingwood Football club magazine from 2001. Jarrod Molloy? In Collingwood colours? I hastily flick the pages of Merger by William Westerman; no, he definitely went to Brisbane. A Google search, ah he went to Collingwood in 2000.  I flick to page six, on the bottom-right is a photograph of me. Short hair with a slight fringe, squinting. Beside me, with his hand on my shoulder is Eddie McGuire. We’re holding the Federation Cup. The Cup will be won by either Collingwood or Carlton in a match on the weekend, commemorating 100 years of Australian Federation.


It is the Thursday before, at Victoria Park, where the Transport Accident Commission is announcing their sponsorship of Collingwood. Eddie McGuire stands at a podium discussing the player Darren Millane, The Raging Bull. Millane’s life was tragically ended in a car accident, one year after triumphantly throwing the ball in the air, as the siren sounded, at Collingwood’s 1990 Premiership victory. I’m there because I’m a survivor of a horrific car accident. When I was aged four, I suffered a severe brain injury, and my father was killed.  Along with me, is another boy, Sam Seoud, also a car accident survivor, in a wheelchair.  In attendance is coach Mick Malthouse and players Jarrod Molloy, Scott Burns, Nathan Buckley, Josh Fraser, Anthony Rocca and Ryan Lonie.  Sam Seoud and I have been chosen to toss the coin at the up-coming match.


On the day, my mum chose to go by taxi, winding its way through the streets of the western suburbs, before heading for Richmond and the MCG. We find our seats, front row, directly behind the goals, and next to the Collingwood Cheer Squad. My mum remarks it’s the first game she’s attended since 1978, when she went to a South Melbourne game at the Lakeside Oval.


Standing in the centre of the MCG, the 80,000 supporters surrounding me, are a blur. All I see is the vast expanse of grass. Standing nearby is the field umpire, Nathan Buckley and Carlton’s captain Craig Bradley. After shaking hands with Craig Bradley, I’m given a 50-cent coin. It sits on the bridge of my knuckle of my thumb. My hand is sweaty and the toss does not spin, rather it goes sideways, Carlton wins the toss. Oops, sorry Collingwood, if you were hoping for a favourable breeze to kick into, in the first quarter.


At school, the following Monday, someone had asked for my autograph. Callan Ward was in my class, and I’d looked up to him as I thought he was a good footballer, a view shared by the AFL, just saying. For the shy, quiet child I was, it felt kind-of-cool being the centre of attention for a bit.  Since that event, I have read and watched all manner of football related documentaries, biographies, magazines and old games.







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  1. Thanks for sharing this memory, Callum

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