How to Watch Footy (part 11): Seconds, guests and postcodes

By Vin Maskell

Williamstown v Bendigo Gold, Round 7, Victorian Football League.  Burbank Oval, Williamstown

Viewing spot: timekeepers’ room, top of the new grandstand.

Responsibilities: electronic scoreboard.

Distractions:  someone’s fiddled with the timer settings on the electronic scoreboard so that for the first minute of each quarter the clock shows not just the seconds but the tenths of seconds. I nearly have a heart attack as the orange digits flash by in a seeming mad rush. I’m thinking, the games going to be all over in five minutes at this rate. Then, after 60 seconds, the clock calms down, my heart rate slows  and life is almost back to normal. (Until the start of the next quarter, and the next, and the next.)

Challenge: to ignore the madcap digital clock and just keep up with Williamstown: 7.9 in the first quarter, 13.4 in the second, 8.8 in the third – and 2.6 in the last. (Bendigo finish with 5.2)

Back-up: I record the scores in black pen in a little palm-size notepad as well as pressing the buttons on the scoreboard console –keyboard thing.

Six letters: the electronic scoreboard only allows for six letters for team names, so Williamstown is Willy and Bendigo Gold is B-Gold. Not ideal, but so it goes.

Guest: the scoreboard console –keyboard thing does not display the team names at all. It just says Home and Guest. Quaint. One day I’d like the scoreboard itself to say Home and Guest, rather than Willy and B-Gold, or Willy and C’wood, or Willy and F’ston, or Willy and W’bee, or Willy and North B.

Postcodes: At half-time the home team has kicked 20.13 (133) to the Guests’ 3.0 (8). Any interest in the game is down to whether, or when, Willy will kick its postcode: 30.16. They get to 23.16 in the third quarter and then kick a point, which rather mucks things up because I don’t know NSW postcodes at all.  (Gigs, we needed you there up in the timekeepers’ box.) The final score of 30.27 is not quite archrivals Werribee (3030). The timekeepers and I are wondering if it might be WRFL teams Hoppers Crossing or Laverton or Amateurs team Point Cook. (Extensive research a few days later reveals 3027 to be the postcode of the new suburb of Williams Landing, between Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook. No footy team yet at Williams Landing but it won’t take long.)

Inequity: a 175 point victory is good for the home team’s percentage but it’s not much good for the Guests. Or the competition itself.  Aussie Jones’ Bendigo Gold is a new club, replacing the aligned Bendigo Bombers, and they are struggling, really struggling. Against Williamstown, in its final year of alignment with the Western Bulldogs, the young Gold guests were seriously mis-matched, their opponents including Daniel Cross, Patrick Veszpremi, Mitch Wallis, Christian Howard and several other Bulldogs players. The story, and the margin, might be a little different next year when Williamstown, like Bendigo, is a stand-alone team.

Votes: 3 to the Guests. They got flogged but they kept having a go. As the two teams walked up the players’ races I noticed, from my glassed-in citadel, that no-one, seemingly no-one, acknowledged them at all.

About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.


  1. Andrew Fithall says


    I like your attitude: guests rather than visitors. On a similar line, I was watching the final of the US women’s NCAA lacrosse on TV last night. After two periods of extra time it went into “sudden victory” time. How much better does that sound than “sudden death”?

    I watched the first half of the Willy B-Gold game you describe from the wing. In the first quarter there was a Willy set-shot for goal and the bloke beside me said “who is that kicking for goal?” I pointed out it was his own son, David Iaccarino, playing his first game for Williamstown. “I thought I recognised the kicking style. Must wear my glasses next time.” was the father’s response. It was the first of David’s two goals. He is back with Western Jets this week.


  2. Rocket Nguyen says

    Just why is there a team called the Bendigo Gold playing in the VFL!?

    There are not a club like North Ballaratt. Or Willy, or Port, or Frankston.

    Good to see them get beaten. Love to see them fold.
    Want them to stop taking players from Rochy.

    They’re just not real.

  3. Rocket, i totally concur with your point re clubs which are artificial, being set up without the organic base clubs require. The sad fact is none of this is new; since South Melbourne was forced into Sydney back in the 1980’s this has happened. I can not accept any linkage between South Melbourne and Sydney, ditto Fitzroy and Brisbane. Those two old Melbourne clubs are long dead and buried. Let the two new northern AFL sides create their own culture and identity, not usurp those of proud clubs that have no links to these new footballing entities.


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