AFL Round 2 – Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne: Crush and Boom

Daniel “Crusher” Currie has a foot and 20 kg on Brent Harvey.

The last time he was shorter than Boomer was probably in 1996 when Boomer debuted for North and Currie was a 7-year-old Auskicker, presumably running around with an #18 on his North guernsey. Could have been 2 or 4 or 11 I guess, or 31 or 33, or even Fridge’s 22. Lots of good North numbers for a kid to choose from in the ’90s.

In his first few years, Boomer’s jumper looked more like billowing jockey’s silks than the form-fitting hi-tech business they get around in now. He had plenty of pace and goal sense though, and was a regular in the firsts by his second year. Now at almost 36 he is a ball of muscle; a compact, hard-running freak whose reputation and legacy are, if anything, being enhanced in his post-300 game indian summer.

In 2007, Crusher’s first year on Sydney’s list, Boomer was approaching 250 games and had arguably his best year in an age when some players are starting to wane. He was All-Australian and North B&F (each for the third time), runner-up in the Brownlow with 36 goals, and had almost 600 disposals for the season. According to Wikipedia, he won the Lou Richards medal that year too, which I can only guess is some sort of award for the best player under 5′ 8″.

Crusher was never blessed with good timing. Couldn’t get his body right at Sydney, and when he did Mike Pyke had broken through. He was delisted in 2011 after 5 years and 0 games.

As blokes do, he went to the state leagues and kept hoping. It only took a year for North to spot him, having acceded to Hamish McIntosh’s request for a trade and lacking a bit of ruck depth. He tore up the preseason, to the extent that some were wondering whether he might have outplayed Todd Goldstein for a round 1 spot. I’m sure the coaches say that sort of thing in press conferences to see what sort of far-fetched crap they can talk the journos into writing.

That was not to be, of course, and his bad timing continued. With Tarrant and Daw unable to stay on the park for enough of 2013, Currie was sidelined by his own thumb injury and saw out the season with Werribee. And this season, with Taz and Majak out again he couldn’t quite press his claim on a forward spot in the preseason games.

His debut this week was suitably lacking in fanfare. A late in for Sam Wright on a Sunday twilight. No midweek debut video on the club website or anything like that.

After a nervous start he finally got on the end of a strong lead, bobbling the chest mark but holding on. With a minute to go in the half and two points in it.

Of course you know what happened next. Lindsay Bloody Thomas chose that moment to lash out at his tagger and give away the free downfield. Crusher’s first kick would have to wait until after half time.

When it came, it was worth it. He outworked Roughead to earn a free on the 50, laid off a little pass to Aaron Black, then worked forward to mark Black’s own errant shot. His first goal put the Kangas back in front and didn’t the kids love it.

Meanwhile, Boomer spent most of the second half putting on a clinic, taking the side on his shoulders again to break the game open – bustling, running, making and finding space where there shouldn’t be any, kicking and setting up goals. He’ll probably get to 400 games. Crusher might not get to 50. But after 7 years dammit, now he’s at least played one.

Nothing else of interest happened in this wretched game.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Currie’s is a great, journeyman story. I’m so happy for him. And i hope BS persists with him because we need to play two ruckmen. Extremely well told Rob, well done.

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