Jabiru impressions of a stormy night

On Friday night I drove in 33 degree heat from Darwin to Jabiru. A roadhouse burger in one hand I jabbed at my crackling radio, willing it to give me some sounds of home… As night fell I found Gerard and Drew on 774 and then (when that dropped out) the genuine ‘insights’ of Rocking Ronnie Burns on National Indigenous Radio. Reports of a rain drenched, cold, MCG and two teams of warriors running out seemed like an old memory. And in the prematch in the darkness of a lonely highway that memory came to life “…Dawson with the spoil, Scarlett toe pokes it back to…. Ablett from long range…. Varcoe, Chappeee, Chappeeeee“. Gerards voice sounded like destiny. With a lump in my throat and a little moisture in my eyes, I thumped my steering wheel and screamed a hefty “go you catters” at my windscreen. I’m sure I saw some dingoes running for cover in the shadows…

I rolled into Jabiru just on half time. The boys sounded good. Ronnie reckons Jnr has all the goal sense of his father… that snap! Gerard confirms Stokesy hasn’t missed a shot on goal this year. But the injuries sounded bad. I was worried about Harry. With the intermittent coverage I couldn’t quite make out what was wrong with Jimmy. And what the hell was all this about Stevie J and that dirty rat Baker??? I locked the car consoled by the fact that finals are a still months away. And anyway, we timed it spot on last year.

I didn’t put the radio on again that night. Just tucked that game away like it was 2007 over again. Somehow success is best celebrated quietly. Not that ‘the lid’ is back, but the last few months have felt like time to consolidate. Especially when there is more work to come.

When I heard the scores the next day I was dumfounded. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. An NT sports jock joked that Germany outscored Geelong in their second half that night.

Still, I was calm… kinda like Bomber with a ham and lettuce sandwich. It didn’t hurt like it used to. Not like losing to Hawthorn in the last round of 2006. That was an old Geelong. One that finished behind Richmond.

Over the next few days the stories about Baker on Johnno started to crystalise. Dirty bastard. Deserved that black eye, I thought. Nothing on a footy field is lower, I believe, than deliberately targeting an injured player. So when I arrived back in the real world late last night, a full 25 degrees colder than where I had left, I thought he got what he deserved. 12 weeks is spot on. Good on the tribunal for coming down like a tonne of bricks. … and then I read the details. Four actions, four suspensions. Only 1 week for hitting Stevie’s broken hand. I bet he gets off on some of them, or has his suspensions reduced. Anyway, 1 week for that low act, no matter how much time he spends on the sideline is a joke. If the tribunal stick to their guns and he doesn’t play this year I think that’s justice, even if for the wrong crimes.

If not, so be it. We’ll still be playing football. For that’s how we do it.

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