Crio’s Q? Game Abandoned

Did anyone else see the extraordinary finish to the unremarkable Roar v Phoenix game (Sunday)? It goes in to the “I thought I’d seen it all” file.

After halftime the rain began and soon after the pitch was declared unplayable. The 73rd minute 1-2 scoreline was declared a result. Ernie Merrick may even have smiled – such was the rare nature of the afternoon’s events!

The last sports event which I attended that had to be called off was after the “Super Saturday” storm which hit Flemington just as Wanted led a scared herd down Flemington’s straight in the 2010 Newmarket. Old timers with tendencies for “this is nothing…you shoulda been here when…” were moved to shake their heads and declare they’d “never seen the like” – not for Vanderhum nor in the decades preceding.

It takes something remarkable to stop the often TV/gambling driven schedule of modern sports…but nature and accidents can interfere.

Memories please?


  1. IN a regulation Bendigo FL match at Maryborough in the early Nineties the entire Kennington-Strathdale team walked off the arena.
    That’s right. Virtually abandoned the game, even though the exit strategy was in dribs and drabs. Not all together. And this was a senior game, too.
    Not the Twos or the Threes. Club officials, including the senior coach of the day, stated most emphatically that the 2 central umpires weren’t affording any protection to their players, particularly their young men.
    The Saints club doctor attended to a number of Kennington players Sat. Nite and Sunday. He was quoted extensively in Monday’s Bendigo Advertiser.
    The constabulary attended the Princes Park rooms in numbers after the Saturday walk-off. There were a number of upset and irate Maryborough supporters demanding the Kennington side go back out onto the park.
    And the upshot?? Maryborough was granted the four, premiership points and the final scores were adjudged to be what was on the goal umpires’ cards at the time of the walk-off. Percentages for and against were worked out by a slightly involved and difficult process at the conclusion of the home and away season that year.

  2. I saw a match abandoned in the metro Superrules one time and sadly, the weather had nothing to do with it.

    Our Legends team (the over 47s) were playing a game against an outer northern suburbs outfit who were captained/coached by a member of the 1985 Essendon team.

    We supplied the umpire – one of our Masters (nominally the Seconds team) players – who is a fully accredited umpire in his own right (still umpires in the Eastern suburbs competitions) and has never had any issues with players before. Burnsy grabbed a whistle so that there could be a game this particular day.

    One of the conventions with the +47s is that it isn’t anywhere near as competitive as the Supers and Masters. It’s not quite a kick and giggle, but there’s no bullshit like punch ups and behind the play garbage. 99.99% of Legends games are played in fantastic spirit – players from one team will don their opponents kit to help make up the numbers when necessary, teams will match guys of similar age/ability wherever possible and the chance to be out having a kick far outweighs the scoreboard (although be under no illusion that blokes aren’t having a dip!)

    Anyway, on this day, our opponents began playing the man and not the ball. Elbows began to hang out instead of trying to lay tackles, cheap shots began flying, so naturally enough, the umpire started to pay free kicks and warned the opposition to keep the elbows down and to punch the ball, not blokes heads.

    With free kicks going our way, the opposition developed a persecution contest and began abusing the umpire and alleging favouritism – and none of the allegations were tongue in cheek, either.

    After one of our blokes got tackled high and from front on – giving Burnsy no option but to pay a free kick, he called our captain coach – Milan – and the opposing captain/coach aside to try and settle things down. Again, the opposition accused Burnsy of biased umpiring.

    Bu this time the opposing side’s Masters players began to arrive and got in on the abuse act from beyond the fence. As our home game, our Masters – myself included, I have to admit – stared giving some lip back in defence of Burnsy.

    The final straw came when Burnsy had to pay another obvious free kick our way. In response, the captain coach of the opposition cracked the sads and led his players in a walk-off.

    Despite all attempts from wiser heads at our club and the opposition, the former Essendon player throws his toys out of the cot and heads home, sycophantic teammates in tow and verbal abuse flying all around.

    Match abandoned.

    There are no finals played in +47s, there’s no points up for grabs during games and only a nominal ladder is collated each week.

    The League’s response to the incident can only be described as soft at best, spineless at worst. The club involved escaped any sanction whatsoever.

    Our man Burnsy refused to help out with umpiring duties ever again, and whether it was pure circumstance – work, family, fitness/body condition etc. – or not, I don’t know, but his time at the club diminished significantly after this game.

    Funnily enough, a google search on the former Essendon player in question reveals a number of stories in the public domain about suburban clubs who’ve had pretty ordinary experiences with him in recent times.

    Top bloke.

  3. Mark Duffett says

    There was the blackout at St Kilda vs …who was it? in the mid 90s or thereabouts. VFL Park, wasn’t it? But that match was eventually ‘completed’.

  4. I was actually in the Twilight Run half marathon event on Sunday when that got curtailed. The official storm warning came 7 minutes after we started, I heard the call to cancel the half when I passed 7km. Our times were integrated with the 10km runners, a few of whom completed the run. There were too many rapids running across the road to realistically complete the course, much like what Interlagos often endured if it rained heavily for the Brazilian F1GP.

    As for footy, there was one game in 2007 where we had a bus trip and naturally struggled to field 2 teams. We actually started with 19 players for 2 games, we rested about 3 for the Seniors and the other 16 played in the 2’s. With players going down injured throughout the day by the time the last quarter started we had 11 on the park. Our club president (who was doubling up despite being in his mid 40’s) managed to convince an umpire to call off the game (the umpire was probably the right bloke to convince, others may well have told him to you know what). As the 11 “fit” blokes trudged off the park complete with our gear such as water bottles and medical supplies, there was a group of blokes who actually applauded us off the ground. We hoped to get a few headlines, little did we know that there were incidents at another ground that even got those!

  5. Steve, my Superfools experience year before last was similar. My first game after a number of years out of action was marred by several all in blues in the last quarter whereby the ump threatened to end the game. I was told beforehand the comp is played in great spirit yada yada. So I was a tad surprised (at least the other few games I ended up playing were nothing like this).

    I was at the centre of a school match abandoned, I’ve covered it here before;

  6. Mark Duffett, i’m fairly sure it was St Kilda V Essendon match, circa 1976.

    There was the famous encounter in R21, 1971, where Fitzroy played Carlton at the Junction oval, when fog covered part of the oval during the match, prior to bright sunshine returning. The game was not called off, but for a while visibility was nil.


  7. on a tangent, possibly the most notable “non-abandonment” was the 1985 European Cup final which, despite 39 deaths and 600 injuries, went ahead with Juve beating Liverpool 1-0. It is best remembered as the Heysel Stadium Disaster.

  8. Dave Brown says

    The match you are thinking about, Mark, is St Kilda v Essendon in 1996. Lights went out in the 3rd quarter. Pitch invasion and a bit of vandalism ensued. They came back and finished the game three days later.

    Never seen one abandoned at the beloved Parade, but some interesting(ish) delays:
    – 2006 Norwood on the verge of upsetting premiers Centrals. In front by less than a kick in Centrals’ forward 50, half a minute to go. Norwood timekeeper with finger hovering over button accidently taps it. Wild celebrations ensue only to have everyone called back into position a couple of minutes later to finish the match. Thankfully the legs held on but some nasty confrontations between fans followed.
    – a few years back a cover fell off one of the lamps in a light tower during a game. It smashed when it hit the ground, distributing glass over the playing surface and some of the outer. Significant delay while it was cleaned up.
    – a couple of years back at the end of half time kick and catch as people were leaving the ground. Bloke takes a run up towards the fence, gets his foot caught under the fence while his momentum takes the top half over. Broken leg ensues. Some sort of allied health professional, he refuses to let anyone touch him (on the grass on the inside of the fence) let alone move him from the ground until an ambulance arrives. Second half delayed by 30 minutes while this turkey lies on the ground copping abuse from Coopers Hill.

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