Round 1 – Fremantle v Western Bulldogs: Beer and footy make for a pleasant Sunday afternoon

by Andrew Gigacz


Round 1 for the Doggies means a trip to Subiaco to play the Dockers. It also means I need to find a place to watch the game because it’s not on free-to-air. My moral compass (that, and my scabbiness) dictates that pay-TV is evil and shall never enter our household.


Fortunately that moral compass isn’t so rigid that I can’t go round to our St Kilda-supporting mates’ house and swap a bottle of wine for a couple of hours on their couch. A quick Saturday morning text to Saint Vic to confirm the deal is met with the devastating news that they won’t be hooking up to Fox Sports until mid-April because St Kilda’s first three games are on free-to-air. Bugger.


Luckily, I have a back-up plan. The plan involves Roller Girl, who lives in the next street. Her household has Fox Sports, which has always struck me as a bit odd, because no-one there is into sports. But who am I to question Roller Girl’s logic? I nick round to her house, only to find that Roller Girl has questioned her own logic and recently cancelled the sporting part of their pay TV subscription. Double-bugger.


I don’t have a plan C. I head out for a walk. As luck would have it, my walk takes me past the Recreation Hotel, and plan C beams out at me through the pub doors. A quick check reveals that they WILL be showing the game on Sunday night. Now I can relax – almost. It’s hard not to be at least a bit toey before first game.


Sunday evening and I leave the wife and kids behind making pizzas. Hopefully the pub fare is good. Fifteen minutes walk and I’m through the doors in time to see the first bounce. Before I’ve taken up my barstool the Dockers have a goal. As I look up to order my first ale, I discover they have eight different beers on tap. I make my own game-plan: one beer per quarter plus a half-time bonus if we’re winning.


First up it’s Carlton draught, the pub standard. Unfortunately the Dogs have started below standard; Freo have another goal and we haven’t looked like going forward. But my first sip brings a sudden spark to the Doggies and they slot five goals in barely the blink of an eye. Griffen’s on fire and the team has switched on, like they’ve been waiting for me to settle in. At quarter-time it’s us by 9.


As the second term gets underway, I see the boys next to me are on the green Coopers. That’ll do me, so a Pale Ale it is; crisp and sparkling. The Dogs reflect this by blowing the game apart with lighting-fast ball-movement and some sparkle of their own. 35 points at the half and I’m feeling good. Also a bit peckish. I select the Little Creatures Pilsner as my half-time reward and scan the menu. At $9.99, the dahl with rice, yoghurt and roti looks good.


I strike up a chat with one of the group next to me. He’s a fellow Doggy so the conversation flows and before I know it half-time’s over, the dahl’s arrived and I can’t remember anything about the Little Creatures I just knocked down.


With the third quarter comes news that the Fremantle Doctor has arrived and the Dockers will have a four-goal breeze. To their credit they use it pretty well and narrow the gap to just 10 points. Though the dahl is beautiful, I suddenly don’t feel so good. My third-quarter beer is Pure Blonde and as I drink, Shaun Higgins, perhaps our only pure blonde, produces a couple of moments of magic, allowing the Bulldogs to get two late-quarter goals and ease my heartburn.


With a gale behind us in the last quarter it’s time to take the bull by the horns and ram home the advantage, so I select the Fat Yak as my last quarter brew. It’s the strongest one of the night, as is the Dogs last quarter. Seven goals to one, before, as I drain my last drop, Eagleton drains the last bit of life out of Freo with a last-second goal.


Great start to the season. At least four good beers and four quarters of pretty ferocious footy from the Dogs. The “forward line with no focal point” has functioned as well as I’ve seen it, to the point where each forward-50 entry almost guaranteed a score.


Best Dog – Giansiracusa. Best Docker – Brett Peake. And best beer? I’ll go the Fat Yak, although the Little Creatures deserves another go because I can’t remember anything about it.


Roll on Round 2 and Boomer Harvey’s Kangaroos. There’s a bounce in my step and the fifteen minute walk home takes only ten.

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Three and a half years later and I need a beer or two – or maybe three – to drown my sorrows. The Recreation Hotel is gone, as is the wife. The kids are grown up and the Dogs next victory over the Dockers looks a long way away.

    But there’s always next year!

  2. PS If you’re wondering what I’m doing in September 2012 commenting on an article I wrote in March 2009, it’s all thanks to the Footy Almanac home page allowing me to jump straight to page 291!

    Ah, the memories…

Leave a Comment