Back to St George Day

It’s a big week for sport – Tour de France, Wimbeldon, The Ashes, State of Origin……Back to St George Day. I love Olds Park. It’s the home where red and white deoxyribonucleic acid runs deep through a great club. Today players reunite for the Under 19 and Reserve Grade Premierships of 1975 and Under 19 Premierships of 1985 and 1995. Arriving at the ground, salutations are in the usual form between old team mates, “G’day mate”. ”Wanna beer?”. It’s good to go Back to St George. Life’s still uncomplicated.

The ground looks the same – a dust bowl on the near wing and patches of lushness on the far side. The cricket pitch is no longer covered with a truckload of dirt raked on the Thursday night before the first home game of the season but rather some man-made synthetic fibre. The old scoreboard is long gone, where aspiring young Dragons were given a can of drink and a pie for carrying out the duty on the day. The new scoreboard is where young Dragons watch on from. The goal posts look straighter but smaller and the fifty arc looks bigger. The club rooms sit on the hill partnered with a new stand.

Today, a couple of club greats are inducted into the Hall of Fame. 1993 Premiership Captain, Quinny, breaks with protocol and tells a story from a footy trip to the crowd. It’s ok though, it’s just about how Macca, the latest Hall of Famer, met his wife on a footy trip. That’s not the only reason he’s being inducted. He’s a club stalwart who was there in 87.

We are up against East Coast today. New age rivals. The 19’s have started the day with a win. As the honour board suggests, the Dragons have always had good kids. The Ressies too, have dismantled East Coast with a few old campaigners, socks down and kids watching, leading the way.

The crowd gathers on the hill which seems to have got steeper over the years. It is sun-drenched but today there’s some sort of front on its way from Antarctica. The Dragons are showing some front of their own. After a slow start and 3 goals down at quarter time, they are breathing fire and have the premiership favourites knowing they are at Olds. Scores are levelled at 57-57 in the second quarter when I visit the canteen. Loftus Pies aren’t on offer anymore but there is a fancy coffee machine on the bench and I’m glad I’m no longer on the canteen roster. I look around the club which is a sea of red and white, Bobby looking upon us and the 1964 Flag still commanding respect. The carpet deserves a mention – it has stood up well after years of trivia nights, talent quests, pool comps and 70’s nights.

The Dragons are playing good footy and the crowd comes alive. The breeze is pushing to the Forest Road end and the Dragons will kick with it in the last quarter. We just need to hold East Coast in this 3rd quarter. At three quarter time, we head out to the huddle. There’s nothing like a huddle at local footy. Coach Mudge urges his boys in an eloquent football-speech kind of way. Outside of the player group there’s optimism. “How good will it be if we can get up from here?” Some help from the umpires would be nice. Frank is umpiring. He’s done over half a thousand games. He’s the Joop Zoetemelk of the Sydney umpiring fraternity. Towards the end of the last quarter, if it wasn’t for his fluorescent leader’s jersey like t-shirt, we wouldn’t be able to find him. It’s getting dark.

In the last quarter, the sun has gone, the lights are on and the wind has died down. The Dragons can’t find the footy and a win is soon out of reach. They never give in. It’s in their DNA.

When the siren sounds and the crowd moves on, the reminiscing continues. We had some great days here. Great nights too. We want to sing the song but we will have to wait for next time.

About

Demons supporter. 1987 broke my heart. 1988 and 2000 is gone from my memory. The scars still exist. I still want them to do it for Robbie. I dream about the magic day all the time.

Leave a Comment

*