Come March, I’m at the point where I’m impatient for autumn, for winter, for colder weather.

My September self would laugh; how could you get sick of the sun?

Well, summer goes on longer these days but cricket peters out at the same time. The leather and willow belongs to school holidays – once it’s Australia Day, pull up the stumps.

We don’t have time during the work day or the school day to follow the sublime battle between bat and ball. Summer drags for a bit and carries on past polite hours, staying around like an unwelcome guest that has drunk all your beer and left you terribly unrefreshed.

Yes, it’s the time of year where I’m impatient for autumn, and normally impatient for footy. But not this year, as the ladies’ game is – unfairly, for it’s far from footy weather – played in the bright sun. Happily, the voices of the dim misogynists have failed to rise above the din as most realise the fact: AFLW is quite good footy played by terrific athletes who happen to be women.

Carlton will not make the Grand Final but are far from terrible, which gives me some relief after the second half of previous men’s season.

I will note that there’s cult heroes in the making (or made in the very first game – Darcy Darcy Darcy Darcy), who’ll be fondly remembered when our women footy players have their season extended to include some proper footy weather.

Yes, there have been the pre-season footy games. The pre-season doesn’t count. It doesn’t matter. 2005 and 2007 and all that. But I have enjoyed the game being taken out to true footy country: Bendigo, Noarlunga, Albury, etc. Or at the haunts of the 20th century suburban grounds: Arden Street, Western Oval & Richmond Oval. Not sure who schedules these games but any club that has a home pre-season game at Etihad should have four points deducted from the real thing.

The real thing, it’s almost here. I will await Thursday night and watch a young Carlton team lose (it’ll be closer than you think, honest), and possibly won’t be too disappointed.

I will make sure I’m signed up for tipping and remember to tip.

I will ensure that my September weekends are clear in case I need to fly to Adelaide at the last moment… if it’s actually the Panthers’ year this year.

I have already figured out how I’ll wind up my Swans-supporting friends.

I have put money on GWS to win the flag this year.

I will see if the Doggies can win it for Bob.

I will roll my eyes at anything Essendon-related.

I will laugh at Collingwood heaps.

And I await the feeling of wearing my scarf, yelling into the cold afternoons of footy season. Getting hot fish and chips on a cold Friday night, and sitting down to watch a game. Remembering to tip, somehow remembering to tip. Talking about the footy and reading about the footy, like we do every year and always have done every year.

The oppression of the summer heat is blown away by the crisp, fresh winds of the new season. Even for barrackers of the current lowliest clubs, there is still hope. Which will possibility dissipate quickly, but it is there. It’s always been like that. Every March, there are possibilities and anticipation. (Carlton’s young squadron are going to learn even more quickly.)

Autumn is here.


About The Philby

Inconsistent contrarian. Barracker of Carlton FC and South Adelaide FC. Resident of Sydney. Holder of the record of shortest umpiring career with the South Australian Cricket Association.


  1. Footy season always sneaks up on me. Last Thursday I thought bloody hell the footy is on this time next week.

    I’m with you on cricket season needing to be done by the return of school. The recent T20 against Sri Lanka was a decontextualised feeking nonsense.

    Really nice piece.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Planning any trips to Noarlunga this year?

    Might catch up Round 15, same place, if you are coming down.

Leave a Comment