Geoff Sinclair’s Home and Away Games: Rd 6


Essendon versus Hawthorn

Saturday, May 1st., M.C.G. (Night)

At one and five, our season is in tatters.

Avoidance of the issue is no longer an option.  Last week Tommy and me had our heads in the sand so long, we ended up with gravel rash.  This time, we have to come out and face the awful truth, to ask some serious, holistic questions, and by god we do: does the Essendon Football Club have the cattle on their playing list to succeed and do we have the coach to guide and mentor these cattle?    (You’ll hear “holistic” coming from me quite a bit.  It’s on a sandwich board outside a flat facing Huntleigh Road, and I’m rather taken by it.)

In other words, is the team that was gutted by Collingwood on Anzac Day, a team that was nowhere near as hard in body and mind as the opposition, going to lead us to a seventeenth premiership?

The old bloke and me go through the playing list player by player.  We come across names we’ve never heard of.  It’s quite an educational experience.  It takes most of one morning and about six cups of green tea and several rounds of sandwiches, while outside the leaves pile up, the bins fill, stinking fish oil cascades down the stairwell and the vacuum-cleaner lies cold and idle.  Our labour results in a very cautiously-worded (unwritten and unpublished) communique: our recruiting could have been better – consistent with every other club in the competition – and it is too early to make a statement regarding the future tenure of our coach.

I haven’t done so much conceptual-type brain-work since I failed Year 11, so it’s a relief to get back outside and get busy.

I worry about Tommy Hubble’s state of mind, especially when I’m vacuuming stairwells.  I have concerns that the Anzac Day defeat may send him as deep into despair as the carpark at Huntleigh Mews, in fact, into the blackest mood I’ve experienced since the bank foreclosed on our farm, which sent my father plummeting into a total misery-guts situation until a heart-attack released him from his pain.  But surely there’s a difference between losing your livelihood – like my old man – and your football team being rubbish.  Tommy needs to snap out of it, and accept the fact that we’re going to finish in the bottom four.  As previously advertised, I attempt a holistic approach.

I put it to him, looking at it from a broad perspective, what has he got to grizzle about?  Imagine if he’d been born into a family who barracked for St.Kilda or the Western Bulldogs.  They’ve both won only one premiership in more than a hundred years.  What an miserable journey that would have been for him.  Virtually every year of his life he would have watched his team begin with hope pumping through his veins only to be disappointed, as his team settled among the also-rans.

My attempt has little or no effect.  He’s stays as miserable as sin.  Tandberg of The Age doesn’t help.  On Tuesday he has a cartoon of an unhappy bunch of Essendon footballers in row boats gazing forlornly up at an impenetrable cliff-face at a jubilant bunch of Collingwood players ready to pick them off at will.  It’s brilliant, and I cut it out and put it on the fridge door, only to sneak out of bed one night and remove it when I start to worry it might tip the old bloke over the edge.  (I hope he didn’t see it.)

The Bombers’ performances send Tommy into the arms of comfort food.  (He’s a rotund little bloke, likely to get more rotund if the Bombers’ form doesn’t improve.)  At every break in the day he presents with a mountain of good old three-quarter-time-at-the-footy-style sandwiches – bacon and egg, egg and lettuce, ham and pickles, corn beef and mustard, tomato and cheese, and his crowning achievement, banana and peanut butter, which remind me of some of the items I fish out of the bottom of rubbish bins before disciplining them with the pressure hose.

Also he’s been working the phones and we’re having a Mob get-together on Friday night.  Could I provide another of my leek-and-feta pies?

Occasionally he fires up, and gives me a spray on a work-related matter, just like he was my old man.  He is not impressed with me providing the Carlton terror from the upper terrace with a key to the electrical room for her bike.  He tells me, he and that woman have a history.  Ever since she moved in there’s been complaints from neighbours about the noise she makes, and there have been reports from Elaine Sidebottom, the elderly lady who has the flat diagonally across from the terror, that the odour drifting across from that young woman’s balcony is not the same as ordinary cigarettes.  Plus she’s gone against Body Corporate rules and carried her bike up the stairs – the terror, not Ms Sidebottom who would need help to carry a wet paper bag up the stairs – causing marking on the walls.

“And think about it, Peter.  It sets an ugly precedent.  Now everyone has the right to store their bikes in the electrical room.  Is there room for a hundred bikes in there?”

What a smart-arse, grumpy old man question.  I treat it with the contempt it deserves.

I wonder whether Tommy is lonely.  Maybe getting the four of us together was a desperate move to fill up a hole.  From what I can make out, none of the friendships he made when he was an accountant have survived, which is not surprising seeing as he was made redundant about twenty times when he came back to the city.  He’s never mentioned anyone, nor have I seen anyone whom I’d consider a serious friend to him.  I think there is nothing left of the Beaumont network he and his wife Yvonne had in their married life.  I know of one couple – he was the Anglican minister at Beaumont – who have gone interstate, and the bloke who was best man at his wedding died, drowned in a boating accident in Queensland.  One thing he did mention in passing, not long after I began my duties here, is that after Yvonne passed over he didn’t make enough effort to stay in touch with the people on their Christmas list.  She always was meticulous about that, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, but Tommy let it slide.

He left Beaumont behind fifteen years ago.  He’s never been back.

He has lots of acquaintances, such is the nature of his job.  Everyone at Huntleigh Mews knows Tommy.  But that’s all, they know him.  They come and they go: they borrow a key, collect a parcel, ask for another carpark or thank him for watering their balcony plants.  Nor does he appear to have any female companionship, which is sad.  No-one to cuddle of a night-time is not right, to my way of thinking.

Which brings me to my own desperately dysfunctional relationship balls-up.  Naturally I have been avoiding Labrini, successfully as it turns out.  I expect a spray from her vis-a-vis the shellacking my team received at the hands of her mob.  I can cope with that.  It’s the other (personal) issue that rankles with me.

I cancelled my Wednesday dancing appointment.  The idea of me doing the social foxtrot with a woman I have let down in the profoundest way a man can let a woman down – a Collingwood supporter at that – is too much for me to bear.  I will continue to treat Ms Labrini Houdalakis with courtesy, as befits a valued resident of Huntleigh Mews.  I will place myself at her disposal for any professional, non-toilet related matter that should befall her.  I will snuff out the demon desire which raised its head the moment I set eyes on her, and which is raising its head now come to think of it, her skunk-like splash of white hair, her olive skin and silken lingerie pushing themselves into the nightclub of my mind, despite the bouncers I have employed to deny access to lustful Labrini thoughts.

But I am determined.  If I decide to do something, I usually succeed, and at morning tea time on Thursday I am preening myself over another successful act of self-discipline.  The boss and me are punching a hole in a tower of curried egg sandwiches – I’m taking life one round at a time – when Tommy arises and waddles to answer the  doorbell.

“A Miss Houdini wishes to speak to Mr. Schofield,” he says, returning to his chair.

“Houdalakis.  It’s not that hard,” I hiss.

The lady herself is standing four-square on the landing, surrounded by the forest of Tommy’s hormone-enriched geraniums.  She’s got her arms folded across her chest.  She’s looking severe, and terribly attractive.

“Well?” she says.

“Well what?”

“You cancelled your dancing lesson.  With me.”

“Yes, sorry, I . . . ”

“You seem to have recovered from the ‘flu.  What did you take, Viagra?”

“No, well, yes, I thought . . . Hey, that’s very cruel.”

“Yes, it is.”

“That’s hitting below the belt,” I say, trying to lighten things up.

We giggle.  Then she gives me the stare, with a sly, suspicious smile and a tilt of the head as a bonus.  “Idiot.  I don’t invite Bomber boys onto my doona and expect them to disappear the next day.  Is that what Bomber chicks do, eh?”


“Shush yourself.  Is he your father?”

I shake my head and close the door.  (I think I can hear Tommy’s ears flapping.)  She’s got me on the rails, and I’m loving it.

“I’ve re-scheduled you for Monday.”

“What time?”

“Midday.”  Labrini puts a finger to the side of her mouth.   “You’ve got something . . . just here.”

“Oh.  Egg.  Curried egg.”  I wipe it off.

“Oh god, how awful.  You country boys.  Come on, I’ve got time for a quick coffee before work.”

On the way down the stairs she skips ahead, and calls back at me, “Who kicked five goals in the 1990 grand final?” and before I can say anything she follows up with, “Who kicked seven goals to none in the first quarter of the Anzac Day game in 2010?”

“Shut up.”

When we reach ground-level, she rams her arm through mine.  “Whoa, Rabbit-man, sixty-five points.  We flogged youse.  Whoa.”

“Shut up,” I say again, but I actually don’t put any feeling into it.

She pulls me closer as we head towards the gate.  The bouncers who are supposed to keep certain thoughts out, have neglected their duty.

. . . / / / . . .

The week disappears as quickly as I rumble the recycle bins out onto Huntleigh Road, five minutes before pick-up time.  Suddenly it’s Friday night, which is Mob night.  Lots of Jonesy’s top-shelf booze, my leek-and-feta pie plus a green salad and Tommy’s prunes and ice cream – no kidding – gets tongues wagging.

Early in the evening, I realise the solution to Tommy’s dark moods – company.  We should have a team for tea every night, and bang on about football until we’re talking utter nonsense.  After that, I’ll arrange a woman for him.

Tommy holds the floor.  He could talk under wet concrete when he gets wound up.  He’s into the coach.  “The idea of a coach coming out and suggesting the rough-house of the Round 22 of last season would continue in tomorrow night’s game is utterly preposterous,” he rumbles.  “He’s virtually inciting riot.  That’s okay if you’ve got a mature, experienced team who know when to get on with the game.  Remember the ‘Line-in-the-Sand’ game way back in 2004?  Well, I reckon Hawthorn landed more hits than we did, but hey, after the fight we blew them away.  We kicked something like 10 goals straight.”

“Eight, Tommy,” purrs Jonesy.  “But point taken.”

“There won’t be any rough-house stuff,” suggests Bulldog.  “It’s the usual media beat-up.”

“Thank goodness for Matthew Lloyd,” continues Tommy, who often doesn’t hear what other people say.  “At least in the newspaper he’s advising both teams to get on with the game.  I wonder whether he has any influence on the coaching staff?”

Personally, I think if there’s going to be biffo, we’ll probably come off worse.  We’re not experienced enough to get on with the game.

We move on to the other issues, making sure we deal with the situation holistically: the problem in our midfield, whether the team is being coached to play a game that is too attacking and therefore leaks too many goals, the team’s inability to stem an onslaught of goals by a rampant opposition.  Plus the really big one: Why don’t they kick the bloody thing, instead of hand-balling themselves into a shit-heap of trouble?  Next we have individual player talk: Tayte Pears is a big loss, out for six to eight weeks with a broken arm.  He was one of the few players who could hold his head up last week.  Mark Williams, the forward, is still not right, and Kyle Reimers has a broken hand.  Are the replacements up to it?

Hawthorn have only won one, and that was against Richmond, who are cellar-dwellers.  They are weak in the ruck.

The football conversation stutters to a halt after a few holistic platitudes along the lines of, “well, this is our last chance,” and, “yep, lose this one, and it’s all over, red rover,” and, “well, we’ll be there giving our all”.

Then Jonesy changes tack.  He mentions that there was a strong whiff of incense wafting from the half-open door of the flat fronting Huntleigh Road as he came in, also a glimpse of red light behind a thin curtain and a sandwich board outside the door proclaiming weight reduction, self-confidence, body re-shaping, eliminating unwanted emotions and past-life regression.  He’s referring to the same sandwich board which has boosted my vocabulary.

“What’s going on, Mr Manager?” Jonesy asks.  “You sure it’s not a knocking shop?”

“Absolutely sure.  I wouldn’t allow that of course.”

Jonesy’s bent on mischief.  I can tell when he’s in this sort of mood.  He niggles, looking for an opening, and when he finds it, he’s in faster than a rat up a drainpipe.  Now he’s a millionaire, he knows no boundaries, and he has no fear.

Bulldog launches into a lecture on past-life regression.  There’s a lot of stuff about current personality disorders being traced back to previous lives, and hypnotherapy can unearth them and cleanse you.  It sounds like a load of manure to me.  (Bulldog can also talk under wet concrete on anything, especially when alcohol-affected, as is the case now.)

Jonesy’s all ears.  He puts the theory into practice.  All of a sudden he’s unearthed the most dreadful subject on earth.  “Let’s regress to 1990 grand final, the last in the Beaumont Football Club’s long and undistinguished history . . . “

“Is this a good idea, Geoffrey?” enquires Tommy.

“Fuck me,” I add, thoughtfully.

Jonesy won’t be stopped, because he’s wealthy.  “It all boils down to one incident.  There’s what? Thirty seconds left on the clock, and young Rabbit Schofield has the ball deep in the Beaumont forward line.  Now, if the lad had used his brains and kicked the bloody ball instead of will I, won’t I, oops, sorry fellas . . . ”

This is more than I can take.  I am out of my monster chair and standing in front of Geoffrey Jones, crouched in my most threatening stance, with a clear mind, which is entirely convinced of the justice of bloodying the smooth, ski-run nose to the point where it requires re-setting.  Tommy is by my side as quick as, laying a hand on my shoulder, coaxing me with, “Relax Peter, it’s water under the bridge,” and Bulldog has his fingers knitted in a steeple under his chin and is intoning “boys, boys,” as if he were in a temple with our saffron-robed brothers.

“Take it easy, fellas,” warns Tommy.  “And please keep your voices down.  It’s late.”

So I sit down as Bulldog unknits his fingers and drags his lanky frame to the front of his chair, where he perches, like a great condor.  “I think it apposite,” he says, still sounding – and looking – like the father of all creation, “that I give you the definitive version of events of that fateful day.”  He burps.  (He’s pissed, I’m absolutely certain now.)  “Another glass of Dr Geoffrey’s shiraz, if you please, inn-keeper.”

Tommy fills his glass.  Bulldog takes half-an-hour to swirl the wine, sniff it, and find his gravelly voice again.  “First, the undeniable, ineluctable, indisputable facts of the case.”

“Get on with it Bulldog,” sighs Jonesy.  If Bulldog is pissed, Jonesy is pissed off.

“The facts as they stand.  The result of the 1990 Grand Final was, the Glendale Parrots,  15.14.104 defeated the Beaumont Bombers 15.13.103.”

It’s amazing, but after he says this no-one passes a single comment for at least twenty seconds, which in this case is a huge amount of time, because we’ve been talking out tits off for hours.  There’s glances exchanged, there’s a mutter and a murmur and a shifting in the chairs, and Tommy’s head shakes and a kind of death smile follows the movement, and someone sniffs.

The cold, hard facts – a one-point loss in excruciating circumstances – sounds worse than the fall of the Roman Empire.

Bulldog starts again, and his tone is not as flippant now.  “I remember the ball-up in their back line.  It was a crook bounce, it came my way, so I swung my fist at it  as hard as I could.  Maybe I should have grabbed it, but I didn’t.  It didn’t go that far, so I charged after it, and a scrimmage developed.  I mean it was the last quarter, nothing between the sides, everyone out on their feet, and one break would seal it for either side.”

“It was a hot footy,” says Tommy.

“Anyway, I’m expecting another bounce by umpire Fat-Bottom . . . ”

“Shorty McMillan . . . ”

“Thanks Tommy.  I was expecting another bounce because the ball looked buried to me, but suddenly it squirts free, and I have a clear run at it, but do you think I could pick the damn thing up?”

“You grew up playing basketball, Bulldog.  It’s a long way down for you, when the pill’s at your feet,” says Jonesy, who’s minding his manners for the moment.

“You had a great game, Bulldog,” says Tommy.  “You rucked all the last quarter.”

The big bloke ignores the compliment.  This is the fragment of football action that is burned into our memories.  This is possibly the real reason why we have come together, the four of us.  Now we want him to keep going – it’s like torture therapy, if there is such a thing.  “Anyway, I couldn’t pick it up, it just kept dribbling out of my reach, my calloused hands refusing to obey my exhausted brain, so in the end I can feel someone breathing down my neck and grabbing my arms and about to tackle me if I get hold of it.  So I just put my foot into the thing just to get the bloody thing out of my zone, and guess where it went?”

“It looked to me as though it was heading out of bounds!”

“Tommy please.  My question is rhetorical.  Had it gone out of bounds I may not be giving this as a live performance tonight.  An angry mob of Beaumont citizenry may have pursued me and strung me up from the clock tower in Federation Street.”

“But as it turned out . . . ” yells Jonesy.

“Shh,” warns Tommy.

Bulldog continues in a stage whisper. “As it turned out, it didn’t go out of bounds, because of the efforts of an amazing seventeen-year-old tyro, the youngest member of the team, son of club president, the late Warren Schofield, a young man already well on the way to achieving a set of dismal academic results in his fifth year of secondary education . . . ”

“Get on with it Bulldog, for christ’s sake.”

“Jonesy.  Please, not so loud,” says Tommy.

“Yes, not so loud.  The tyro hurls himself into the air, plucks the Sherrin in his young, calloused hands and sets off on a run.  He bounced it once, he bounced it twice, he bounced it thrice . . . ”

Tommy interrupts.  “He broke two tackles, and fended one off . . . ”

“And I’m screaming for it in the goal square . . . ”

“Quiet, Jonesy, you’ll wake the whole block up.”

“But no, the goal-hungry tyro keeps bouncing, bouncing . . . ”

“Why didn’t you lead, Jonesy?  Get your big arse moving, eh?”

“My story.  Boys, shut up.”  Bulldog holds his hand up.  “A moment’s indecision is all that separates heaven from hell.  The young man eventually decided, after an eternity but what was probably only a few seconds, to handball instead of kicking.  And what happened?”

“Oh fuck!”

“Shhhh, Jonesy.”

“The god of all small things intervened.  She arranged for a grubby, calloused paw to stretch out, well beyond its usual, everyday range . . .”

“Jason Dickbrain Waddingham,” interjects Jonesy.  My opponent, against whom I’d had already kicked six, the big, bony, loud-mouthed prick . . . ”

“Glendale’s rugged full-back, Jason Waddingham, thick as two planks, lunges desperately with his calloused dairy-farmer’s paw, and knocks the ball clear, and it is swept away, and the siren sounds and the Parakeets have won by a solitary point.  The Beaumont Bombers have victory snatched from their grasp, and stand as though turned to salt.”

We descend into silence.  Jonesy says, “There were a lot of calloused hands playing that day, Bulldog,” but no-one can find a laugh.

I can’t help myself.  “Jonesy stood in the goal-square screaming his nuts off, instead of doing something, like shepherding . . . ”

Jonesy won’t be baited.  “I was calling for you to kick it Rabbito.  You could have kicked it as soon as you got it, but no, you had to be a hero.  How many times had I outmarked Waddingham?  Ten times?”

“Leave it now boys,” urges Tommy.  He looks around at the walls like they’re going to collapse.  “We’re all responsible in some way or other.  We had our chances.”

As if on cue, the door bell chimes.

“Ah,” says Bulldog, slumping back into his chair.  “The auditors have arrived to reveal the Glendale Parrots rorted the salary cap by millions in 1990.  Let them in, barman.  Jason Waddingham alone received two semi loads of hay, a cow with six teats and an all-expenses paid night in Bendigo, over and above his base salary.”

Tommy returns from his trip to the door holding a woman’s hand, and ushering her into the middle of the room.  She is wearing an extremely short leather dress.  She has a mass of silver hair, frizzed, and her face is meticulously made up.  I’ve seen her before, but never holding Tommy’s hand.  “This is Mrs Averling, our neighbour,”  he announces looking like a cat who’s won a lifetime’s supply of full-cream milk.

Bulldog Nankervis has returned to his upright position.  “A vision,” he mutters.

Tommy glances meaningfully at each of us.  “Claudia is concerned with the amount of noise emanating from this apartment.”

“Well, stop emanating, and get the lady a drink, Thomas,” says Jonesy.

The lady – Claudia Averling – doesn’t appear at all upset about the noise.  She perches on a cushion between Jonesy and me, tugging pointlessly at her minute dress.  “You have a small party, boys?” she asks, heavily accented.

“We were.  In fact we are.”  Jonesy intercepts the glass of wine Tommy is holding – what a sleaze – and presents it to Mrs Averling.  “It’s part of a long-term reunion.  We’re heading into Round Six.”

Claudia Averling looks bemused, so Tommy launches into an explanation of the reunion, the football season, our commitment to Essendon, and our former club in Beaumont.  The woman’s clouded expression doesn’t change, despite the fact that by the time Tommy is near the end of his explanation, he is speaking slowly and loudly, like the lady has a poor grasp of English or is educationally sub-normal.  (She obviously doesn’t speak football.)  In desperation, he finishes with, “We’re old friends, mates,” and does the obligatory, individual, personalised introductions.

We shake hands.  Claudia Averling says, “I wonder if there is a fight, yes.  It is noise like someone is getting very emotional.”

“Ah,” explains Bulldog, quick as a flash.  “That’s Geoffrey here.  He’s a very emotional person.  Right fellas?”

We murmur our agreement, while Jonesy does his oily smile at Mrs Averling.  “We were actually discussing the day we lost a grand final.  Your arrival is most timely – every wake needs at least one good woman.”

. . . / / / . . .

The introduction of Mrs Claudia Averling into the mix – football retard notwithstanding – stimulated the party to a level of conviviality not previously achieved by either forensic conversation vis-a-vis football or past-life regressions vis-a-vis lost grand finals.  Bulldog found a CD  called “A Rough Guide to Salsa” and dancing was seen to happen.  (I wasn’t able to participate due to there not being enough room for Claudia and I to do even a basic of the social foxtrot.  My repertoire is still rather narrow.)

It was like a coming out party for Tommy Hubble.  He actually does have someone to cuddle, night-time-wise.  Although, I am outdoors a lot during the daytime . . .

Consequently, it is a subdued Mob which takes its seats on the first level of the Northern Stand at the M.C.G. to watch the Rivalry Round against the Hawthorn Hawks.  Except for myself – I am pumped.  I am INVOLVED.  It’s captain Jobe Watson’s one hundredth game, conditions are perfect and it’s an ENORMOUS match because whoever loses . . . IT’S CURTAINS.

I’m so pumped, I’m even THINKING in capitol letters!

What a start.  Is this the best place in the world to be?  What a spectacle!  The teams go at it FEROCIOUSLY.  The pace is FRENETIC.  Essendon has most of the play in the first five minutes, but fail to kick a goal WHICH IS PAR FOR THE COURSE, and the Hawks kick one as soon as they penetrate our defence.


But I’m ignoring my subdued, hungover mates who are not INVOLVED.  Jonesy’s got his smug-duck, self-satisfied grin going, like he knows the result of the game already; Bulldog’s cracking hardy, although I’d say his head is feeling – and sounding – like a bowling ball; and Mr Hubble is industriously making notes in his Footy Record, although it wouldn’t surprise me if they were Mrs Averling sketches.

Goal to Sam Lonergan!  Love that boy.  Patrick Ryder looks in good touch; in fact the whole team is HAVING A RED-HOT GO.  A free to Hurley for a high tackle – throat! – and another goal.  We’re more decisive, we’re winning contests, and it’s hard, hard footy and fast!  Up and down the paddock – Gumbleton goals with a banana from the boundary – MAGNIFICENT.

Normally, I bottle it up, but tonight I’m punching the air, yelling my tits off and punching Bulldog on the arm because I know HE HATES IT!!

At quarter time it’s 5-4-34 to us, 1-5-11 to them.  The other three wimps in my party summon up enough energy to make several low-key comments about how much better we look, before going back into their shells.

I’m ferociously upset about the trend of the game in the second quarter, and yell my disapproval when Zaharakis misses a shot on goal, and every time Lance Franklin kicks a goal for the Hawks I plop down on my seat and mutter some really filthy, shearing-shed terminology which only Bulldog and perhaps the expressionless Essendon bloke next to me can hear.  (It happens three times.  Franklin’s incredibly strong, and thinks he can push and bump his way through anything.  He nearly does.)  But Hurley kicks a couple for us and then, with only a few seconds of the quarter remaining, David Hille barrels into a Hawk who has just taken a mark.  He gets a fifty-metre penalty and they kick a goal from 10 millimetres out.

More shearing shed expressions, often relating to sheep behaviour.  We are only 10 points up.

I drink beer at the football only in exceptional circumstances, such as tonight.  I offer to buy a round, but get knock-backs from my seedy companions.  I make sure I wave my plastic bucket of beer under their noses.

There’s an awesome DEADLOCK at the beginning of the third quarter.  It’s tough old footy, where neither side can score SUCH IS THE PRESSURE.  Suddenly – and I’m pumping the air again – Zaharakis goals.  Not only is his family from the same part of the world as Labrini’s, HE’S A CHAMPION BOMBER!

The deadlock is broken, Gumbleton and Watson goal and we are 23 points up.  Then something OUTRAGEOUS occurs.  Hawthorn get a free kick – and a free goal – because the umpire reckons Henry Slattery takes the ball over the goal-line deliberately and when he wasn’t under pressure.  I am on my feet.  I am booing.  I am outraged.  This is DIVINE, no COSMIC injustice.  Heads will roll over this.  Then the suave bull-dozer Mr Franklin goals for the Hawks and our comfortable lead disappears.

Then Bomber Stanton gets a free kick plus fifty metres for us – no-one in my row, including my neighbour Mr Expressionless knows why but we’ll take it – and we goal.  It’s goal-for-goal for the rest of the quarter, and we finish a couple up and I need a leak and another beer with which to tantalise my colleagues.

The last quarter begins with GOAL to Alwyn Davies.  19 points up.  Welcome back to the team, Alwyn.

David Hille goals.

Prismall goals.

Hurley goals.


I am serene.  Mr Expressionless leaves (idiot), and Hawthorn supporters start to leave.  I ask one lot why they are going, and Tommy suggests I shut up and stop being unpleasant.

Our season is still alive, although still on life support.

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