Queensland footy: Sounds like its been worth the wait

“Well there’s a Great Great Sound in the West of the Town”……Well not exactly up here in Central Queensland anyway, but we do have some similarity with the Greater Western Sydney Giants up here in these parts. Sadly it has nothing to do with attracting the so called elite young talent of Australia thanks to the bottomless resources of the governing body of the competition, but rather with the on-field record between our club and the youngest member of the dysfunctional family of AFL clubs. That’s not saying we don’t have a bunch of young players willing to take the field every week either, some of our better players this season still are in their teenage years. But considering some of the better options in the reserves are closer to the age where many would stake out a seat at the bar on a Saturday with beer in one hand and formguide in the other, it’s something we’re very thankful for.

Just a little background before I try to describe the events of the most recent Saturday afternoon. Neither the Brothers footy club reserves or seniors had won a match for season 2013, the seniors in fact not winning at all since late July 2011 which before last Saturday was a 30 game losing streak. The previous 2 weeks saw us concede over 180 points on both occasions, although this time at least we managed to score a goal against Yeppoon. Glenmore put on 30 goals against us in a game where their full forward nabbed 17 majors and (after chasing tail throughout the 2’s) where I spent most of the day chasing 16 year old kids with twice the speed and skill. To cap it all off, the weekend against Yeppoon saw me umpire the Under 13’s solo whilst battling reasonably thick fog, then at very short notice back up to assist umpiring the Under 15’s (with only a brief interlude to submit Best and Fairest votes for the league, it’s the time of the year where I tend to worry about costing some poor bloke or lass the award by giving someone else vital votes), then get the ankles strapped to play a full game of reserves, where the highlight was a left foot volley and subsequent airplane celebration that would have made Robin Van Persie or Steven Gerrard jealous. To cap it all off, there were 8 of us that were summoned to back up again for the senior fixture, where I spent all day in a back pocket when the other 7 at least had some sort of rest time.

Thankfully this week we played Gladstone, a team that had won just 3 matches this season after making a Grand Final appearance last season, but they were desperate to win to give themselves at least a fighting chance of sneaking into the 4. This time was very different to what I normally expect, and it had nothing to do with the fact that this was our memorial day held on the occasion of the last home game of the season.  The week before I checked the coaches board for the reserves where someone seemed to have a sense of humour with my name put in an on-ball position (didn’t play there all game for the record). This week there was no sign of my name at all, but there was no panic as I assumed correctly that I was being “dropped to the 1’s”, a fact confirmed by an 11AM phone call. At least it did mean I was able to help out with goal umpiring for our women’s team which for once had a clean bill of health after a game. More importantly, it represented a completion of a personal goal for the season 12 months after being cut down with minutes remaining in the last training session before the corresponding match which was the main reason why I wanted to perform well in 2012.

The last time we faced Gladstone on their home patch the match was noted for several fiery incidents and controversial umpiring decisions. This match didn’t feel any different with the interpretations from the umpires tending towards being technically correct rather than controversial for the sake of angering a single side. There was a time where we even were restricted to a 20 man squad, with 2 of our players (and arguably their quickest most influential midfielder) spending time in the ‘Sin Bin’ after a 15 minute yellow card period. I wasn’t immune in my time on the ground either, copping an unseen half stray half deliberate elbow at a stoppage in the first quarter, only to have the same player deliberately poleaxe me well after disposal at a vital stage of the last term again proving that the umpiring left a little to be desired despite my half hearted protestation which would have been more vigorous had we had been trailing. It shouldn’t have come to that given my slowness to engage reverse to take an easy uncontested mark, yet a little control, a broken tackle and the cleanest disposal I had all day offset the minor blemish.

It was a tight contest all day, with not more than a couple of kicks being the margin at each of the intervals which were shortened thanks to the rearrangement of the schedule and the need to get the match completed during daylight hours (not a problem on a warm clear afternoon in Central Queensland). Our experienced players once again lead the way, but with the pressure valve significantly decreased on our back sextet compared to the previous fortnight defensively we only conceded the solitary goal in the final term. The forward line managed to convert a couple of half chances to give us a lead that we didn’t lose. The contrast in the coach’s feelings who refused to believe we were home until we controlled the ball in the last minute compared to me who felt we had the game won with 3 minutes to go couldn’t have been more different, but when the drought has been so long you can be excused for not taking even a single victory for granted.

It was a shame not to be on the ground at the finish, courtesy of some pathetic Gladstone player whom I suspect may have smeared a little claret onto my thigh bandage. But perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, getting a quicker player with better hands on the ground when required. For once there were smiles on a fully fit bench once the siren sounded, a far cry from the normal frowns of the walking wounded. In front of many of the old boys who turned up the outpouring of relief was amongst our winning 22, of which there were only 5 survivors from the 2011 win showing how much a club can change in personnel in a short time.

Sadly there won’t be an encore from me for the final round this weekend. There are no injury concerns at all save for a swollen little finger from the Yeppoon game (it was my error, should have taken an extra step and nailed the douche rather than apply the jersey sling) and I wasn’t reported during or after the game unlike a number of Gladstone players who decided to show their true colours and give the trio in orange some serious verbal abuse. Instead next weekend I will be in Sydney preparing for the City2Surf. A full report on that will appear on my blog (http://mhjeffrey027running.com/) sometime after the run, although I have joked to those watching Channel 7 who are telecasting the event this year to look out for the dark bloke who is NOT a Kenyan. It’s a full schedule for me next weekend, after a text message to see how close we have come to the benchmark BITS combination at their home ground, hopefully I’ll squeeze in the Sydney vs Collingwood game on Saturday night to tick off second bucket list item on the same weekend.


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.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    A lovely way with words. Thanks for sharing your delight in winning last week.

  2. Peter Fuller says

    Well done, Mick, congrats on the win. All footballers cherish the hard-earned long-awaited victory. I hope the City to Surf goes well for you also. It’s a great experience.

  3. Hi Mick,
    I played three seasons of senior football with the Wandal Bulls, who I am assuming are now known as Glenmore?? When I arrived in Rockhampton I called the league president, Bernie Gottke and asked if any club wore North Melbourne jumpers. Brothers were the closest to North Melbourne, but Bernie told me Wandal was the closest club to the University.
    By virtue of location, I ended up playing for Wandal and won back to back flags, missing out on a third grand final in three years due to a broken collar bone.
    I remember the ‘men’ from Gladstone, and their happy knack of knuckling you from behind. I remember being punched in the dick against Parkana and kicked in the calf against Parkhurst.
    The kicker told me if I got another possession he would kick me. I didn’t believe him. But he did, and in front of the umpire, who conveniently didn’t see it.
    The CAFL was a tough league. Most of the aggro was unnecessary, but a lot of men played back then to fight. As a 20-year-old, there were moments I was terrified.
    The umpires must’ve been too, because they only reported the most blatant of acts…

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