Finals Week 1 – Monaros v Footscray: Where has this performance been hiding?

GWS Monaros v Footscray
3:20pm, Saturday September 7
Giants Stadium


Dimi’s a Melbourne boy. He grew up standing in the outer at the Western Oval. Now he runs the local and he, his wife and boys are all paid-up members and it was the work of a few minutes for him to grab a dozen or so tickets.


It was hell-windy in our part of Sydney, hilly, near the coast, which I feared may not bode well for a tall forward line but a good deal calmer at the Showground several miles northwest. Dimi brandished his tricoloured scarf he’d had since 1985. I wore a checkered orange and black scarf I got in Cambodia in 2012. We endured a ‘match day experience’ courtesy of the loudspeakers.


The Sherrin hit the turf, arced high, a scramble at the fall and within seconds the Dogs had goaled. I noted “Are they betting against themselves? (missed tackles, misdirection) Sloppy skills. OOF again. Lachie knows how to kick.”


Twelve minutes in, the match settled down a bit. Monaros ‘locked it in the forward line’ and Toby kicked a goal. 2.4. I’d have been a lot happier with 4.2 but we were the better team on the whole. Still, I was being (‘stretchered off’, suggests MS Word) especially vocal. I haven’t been to an ‘AFL’ game for years, I had some venting to do, like advising the players “the big sticks, you bloody goose!”


3.5 to 2.0 at the first break. For a long while from the start of the second the Monaros couldn’t kick a goal, the Dogs couldn’t get past halfback. There was too much profligate play. There was an incredible level of physicality. Thump, bang! Where has this been all year? Dogs were going down like pins at a bowling championship game.


JF goaled, about bloody time we kicked one. A surprising piece of fluid play led to a goal from Harry. Then, I saw it happen, right in front of me. The Dogs had the ball on the left half-back flank, I saw that ol’ run and spread, and for the next six or seven minutes they played some good football, kicked three goals, they looked smooth, assured, made options, profited from a few dodgy free kicks.


That turned out to be the only time in the match they kicked consecutive goals. 6.9 to 5.5 at the long break, I went out for a smoke. The Showground has some designated smoking areas with seats, sand ashtrays and a border of potted murrayas. It’s nice to not be treated like a meth chemist. I got talking to Shannon and Shae, who’d driven up from Melbourne, about football, stadiums, traffic; they were good folks.


Back for the second half and your correspondent noted:


Notes from the GWS-ground.


Further, “a mistake begets a goal to JF, 9.11 – 7.6. DL marks in the square, 10.11 – 7.6. I almost feel sorry for the Dog who made that mistake, 12.11 – 7.6. That didn’t take long, 13. JC, 14.”


And, man, that was all she wrote. Couple minutes into the fourth we left the members’ stand and headed for the concourse. I offered my complimentary orange flag to Dimi’s eldest but he refused it, good on him. We stood behind the northern goals and talked for a bit, then Perky Girl and I left early to grab an uber.


It was a worthy performance. Details that infuriated me at the time were part of the game, intense, physical, part of modern football like the grim irony of “Lock it in the forward line” (say it aloud). Had the Monaros played like this over the last few months they’d be into the Prelim now.


Shannon said that, while he hated GWS, he liked their marketing and organisation, that it’d been 80/20 Footscray for the ’16 prelim but 60/40 today. DAFL, GAFL, Netball, the club is making an imprint. But…


I quit the GWS FB fans group a few months ago. After every loss, even that humiliating fiasco in Canberra when bloody Freo beat us, I’d read comments like “Our boys did their best, they’ll be better next week” and Chappy SuperTerrier would have to listen to me carry on.


“You’re like fans in Melbourne” said Dimi after I’d ranted about the first consecutive goal-free second halves since 1911. GWS have attracted new fans who are, naturally, clueless about the game, the history, who don’t DEMAND in the manner that is second-nature to a Richmond or Collingwood fan. The club has converted people to the game, if they’ve converted fans from other teams, they’d be like me, watching on telly now; tho we were members for a few years.


The Monaros need fans who will yell “you stupid bloody goose”, “there’s no goals on the wing”, “hey umpire, take off the tricoloured glasses.”


Dimi said this evening “I’m – not gutted. I’m disappointed.” GWS were the better team and where are you watching the semi?


We debated pubs, decided on his place. He has a big screen and it’s good to watch a football match with a mate who knows what he’s talking about.



MONAROS         3.5    6.9    12.11    16.17 (113)
FOOTSCRAY     2.0    5.5     7.6     8.7 (55)


Monaros: Finlayson 3, Greene 3, Kelly 3, Lloyd 2, Himmelberg 2, Cameron 2, Whitfield
Footscray: Naughton 2, Suckling, McLean, English, Schache, Richards, Lloyd


Monaros: Whitfield, Taranto, Hopper, Greene, de Boer, Shaw, Finlayson
Footscray: Macrae, Wood, Suckling, Hunter, Lipinski


Crowd: 19,218



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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Dig your work Earl. I’m still laughing from you giving the GWs players a spray . The Big sticks , ????

  2. Nice work Earl
    Great to hear the thoughts of Sydney people on Footy
    Great people Dimi, Effie and the boys
    Respect Dimi’s loyalty to Dogs after extended time in Steak and Kidney

  3. Let GWS know that I am available Earl. Frothing fan sprays a specialty. Chris Masten not sending Xmas cards, but Big Jack is in the good books now. Knew he’d listen if I yelled at him loud and long enough. Worked for my primary school teachers. Coniglio on board (good Swan Districts boy) is a big plus.
    Have no time for Greene, and hope Hodgey gets a couple of free whacks granted on Satdy. Then again Whitfield and Davis are faves. Kudos to Cameron and the Monaros for saying this is finals – not letting Bont and MaCrae play basketball.
    Fancy you as GF material now. Lions not ready. Magpies have injuries and unbalanced with no forward height. See you at the NFA on GF Day. Western Sydney and Western Australia. Wouldn’t that make Victorians froth?
    What happened to the music? Have Trans Demential gone bust?

  4. Earl O'Neill says

    Dimi, Neil – thanx.
    Peter – WC v WS GF will be one for the ages. Toby kicks the winning goal after the siren. As for music, match reviews have different rules.

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