How to Watch Footy, part 13: The Queen’s decree

By Vin Maskell

Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Essendon v Carlton, Gold Coast v North Melbourne, searching for a local game (Williamstown bye).

Friday night: Four quarters of footy on the telly is about three quarters too many for me, so I time my couch-time for the final quarter, having checked the scores on my silver Sanyo 2 Band Receiver transistor, one of the best Father’s Day presents in the world. Ever.

Adjectives are cheap: Cometti says one player has been ‘magnificent’, McAvaney says two players have had ‘massive games, massive’. Bandying these words around so loosely ultimately dilutes players’ efforts, I reckon. But, gee, that mark in the backline near the end by Jake Carlisle was pretty bloody good, wasn’t it?

Saturday: When did the Queen decree that there be, seemingly, no local footy in much of Melbourne over her birthday weekend? Does this mean the AFL, the VFL and the country leagues are all a bunch of ratbag republicans?

I hop on my bike and go searching. At Spotswood I’m heartened to see a few kids and their dads having a kick on the two ovals. But no sign of the green and gold Woodsmen. I cross the Yarra via the bike punt (you get a good view of the underbelly of Westgate and of 150-metre container ships). I pedal past Melbourne Grammar’s Edwin Flack Park on Todd Road, Port Melbourne. Locked.  I pedal past Woodfull Oval and Aanenson Oval on Williamstown Road. Both empty. (As is the soccer pitch and also  the baseball field). Even though I know the Borough have got the bye I head for North Port Oval. Locked. Why are footy grounds locked up? What have they done wrong?

I consider trying all those open-space Albert Park grounds (the Harry Trott, Ross Gregory, John Blackham, Bill Woodfull, Bob Skilton, and Warwick Armstrong ovals) but opt for a visit to Station Pier, where I resist the temptation to ride into the undercarriage car-park of the Spirit of Tasmania. (Maybe there was a Sunday game in Devonport.)

Saturday night: After some table-tennis in my cousin’s garage (We had some magnificent rallies, and JD played some massive shots, massive), we plonk on the couch for the last-quarter and a bit of the Gold Coast-North game. JD, a Bulldogs supporter, is hoping the Roos can win. I’m looking at the rain bucketing down and thinking, Why isn’t anyone wearing long sleeves? Another one of the Queen’s decrees?

Queen’s Birthday Honours: 3 votes to the kids and their dads having a kick at Spotswood, 3 votes to the Westgate Bike Punt, 3 votes to adjectives – especially superlatives – that are used proper-like. (And no votes, in any circumstances, to officials who lock up footy grounds.)

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. Dare I say it ? Massive article, Vin!

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