Almanac Local Footy – Community football: Nothing better

Now that Hawthorn has the rest of September off, I turned my mind to local footy in the nation’s capital this weekend. I had intended to watch the top of the league matches on Saturday, but the wind was gusting at upwards of 50 kmh and Manuka Oval is no place to be on days like that. I would have been disappointed, too, as the Belconnen Magpies (my team) didn’t do so well:


• Second Grade (M): Eastlake (5.3) defeated Belconnen (4.6) in the closest game of the day.
• First Grade (M): Ainslie (13.8) thumped Belconnen (3.11)
• First Grade (W): Belconnen (1.1) were the unfortunate but clear losers to Queanbeyan (8.7).


Manuka is a lovely ground with the old MCG scoreboard in pride of place. It didn’t help Belconnen one bit, though.


So, on Sunday, I accepted my niece Niamh’s invitation to head over to Phillip Oval to watch her team (Ainslie Red) vie for the Granny against a rather willing Ainslie Black in the U16 (W). Niamh’s team finished fourth on the ladder with seven wins and seven losses, so played brilliantly to end up in the preliminary final against the minor premiers who had won twelve of their fourteen matches.


Ainslie Red defeated Eastlake in the elimination final, which they had not expected, so Sunday’s match promised to be difficult.


Spare a thought for Niamh’s parents: Simon and Monique. Their youngest, Margot, was also playing for a spot in the Granny in the U12(W), but on the other side of town at the picturesque Reid Oval, some 15 minutes before Niamh’s game began. They split the duties admirably so that there will be no accusations of favourite child syndrome in years to come. Sadly, for their middle child, Oscar, his team didn’t make the finals but it was a bit of a relief as two parents would not have been enough. This would be a good time to mention that I have nothing but admiration for single parent families!


Ainslie Black started strongly and looked like they would walk over Ainslie Red; scoring behinds quite quickly. Ainslie Red rallied and kicked two smooth and beautiful goals to take a commanding lead.


The third and premiership quarter was fabulous with both teams fighting valiantly to turn the scoreboard over. My team (pay attention: Ainslie Red) still had the upper hand until Ainslie Black scored a goal early in the final quarter. It was a tough quarter with some extraordinary skills on show, especially from Ainslie Red’s ruck. She will surely be playing alongside Niamh in the AFL(W) in years to come, by which stage I will know her name!


Scores were level until the last minute when Ainslie Black scored a behind. It was disappointing for Ainslie Red, but probably a relief for the parents as Margot is in the Granny next weekend and it would be a difficult juggle to manage two grand finals within the same hour.


The sun was shining on these wonderful young women, despite the apparent temperature being 4.3 degrees! Phillip Oval recently had a makeover so that it is a much more comfortable second tier oval for both footy and cricket. The makeover needs to extend to a barista so that snobbish aunts like me are kept happy in the cold!


As Niamh said to me in an email after the match, “women’s footy and the Ainslie Football Club are the winners”. A gracious concession on what was a disappointing day for her.


Niamh (second from right – no. 27) with some Ainslie Red team mates



To read more from Anne Cahill Lambert, click here.



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About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. Kasey Symons says

    Great stuff Anne. That last line is beautiful. Go women’s footy!

  2. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Oh thanks, Kasey! As I said, she was a gracious loser!

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