Local Footy: Hot in the (Rum) City Tonight

The best part about pre-season matches, particularly up in Queensland, is that you often have to travel a fair distance just to play in a seemingly meaningless practice match. Last weekend was another such occurrence, as a bunch of weary Roo Boys made the 3 hour trek south to take on the best team in the Wide Bay league, the Across the Waves Eagles.

Well, maybe not everyone. As some of you may know I do have a habit of making simple trips sound like logistical nightmares. So rather than hitch a ride with one of the players or take the small team bus down on the Saturday Morning after voting in council elections (I did a pre-poll vote on the Thursday, sadly no election sausage for me), my commute started on the Friday afternoon straight after work. After spending the night in Brisbane, the next leg was a flight up to Bundaberg at lunchtime on the Saturday. Yes Bundaberg has an airport, the size of which can fit into Tullamarine or Kingsford Smith several times over. With the rest of the team not due into town for a few hours, I decided to walk hauling luggage to a nearby Subway, then onto the ground. Perhaps walking around on a hot, humid, Saturday Afternoon in Bundy wasn’t exactly the greatest idea, but neither was waiting at the airport or hailing a cab with no idea of where I wanted to go.

We managed to cobble together 20 blokes but sadly had nobody to act as a runner or deliver water (had to rely on their water carriers for fluids during play). I’m not using that as an excuse for a poor first quarter, nor am I blaming the trip down, or the unusual start time for us (4PM isn’t a normal starting time in our comp). Simply speaking we couldn’t get our hands on the pill in the middle, and they were able to run at will to give their forwards all the chances they needed, even though they didn’t take all of them.

Slowly but surely we worked our way back into it as their prime movers got tired. We were able to get our game plan going, particularly after half time. Some of our younger players, though lacking in weight were using their strengths in other areas to their advantage. It may be the tale of the season, but what we really needed was a bigger body to attract the footy so they could use their talents more effectively without having to take them away from areas where they are of better use. The chances of that happening though are unfortunately remote at best so I guess that’s why we have to stick with the plans that we have.

On a personal level, I managed to get a few kicks when swung forward as opposed to early when I battled to keep pace with younger opponents who had extra gears when it came to speed. Managed to jag a goal in the 3rd term by selling a hold very well to an umpire who was probably doing his best Ray Chamberlain impersonation (he was about 85 metres away), which was a relief given I was striking them as well as a 25 handicapper playing A-Grade pennant golf before the game. With my participation in a half marathon the next afternoon in mind (HERE is the place to go if you want to know how that went), the coach being mindful of this at least tried to save some of my legs but I still had to work hard when on the ground. Even managed to get into a slanging match with some douche who was trying to use a little “mental disintegration” to unsettle some of our players, although I think the words I used may have worked better than trying to give him a shove as he was being interchanged and I was waiting to come on. Mind you, saying I’ve contributed to the scoreboard (we were behind, coach wasn’t concerned) and saying how many more kicks I had than him (he didn’t get too many) may have been wasted material I could have used on better opponents in the regular season.


With this game being completed and our side being beaten despite having much the better of the second half, my participation in the pre-season is basically complete. Work commitments see me unable to make training sessions as well as the internal trial in Emerald, plus there’s bigger fishes to fry elsewhere. Expect a triple header of reports from the Easter footy in Melbourne to be my next contribution, and then a 50km race in Canberra on the second Sunday in April is my main focus with the season proper starting a week later.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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