Mercedes turns 50

Mercedes celebrated her 50th game with the Darebin Falcons U18s footy team, playing in the Northern Football League on Sunday[i]. The game was played on the higher level oval at Anthony Beale Reserve, not far from the St Helena’s markets against Greensborough, on a warmer than average late July afternoon the day after strong winds with 100km/h gusts almost blew Melbourne off its hinge.


Just after 3pm, under a canopy of puffy cumulus clouds and with a brash sun shining through like she’s all October in July the last game of the home and away season was about to get under way.  But before the first bounce there was the pre-game warm ups and workouts. The Falcs were switched on, focused and yet relaxed. Elise, the Falc’s coach brought the team together in the change rooms for the pep talk. Falc’s were sitting third playing second (by percentage). A win would lock them in second spot and the double chance in the finals.


This was a big game. You could sense that in the change rooms as Elise called order. She was interrupted by one of her leadership players, a damn good forward and a bit of a lair.


She said, “Anyone want some hairspray?”


Before anyone could answer she leaned forward and sprayed the room, to howls of laughter.


Someone replied, “Be careful, there might be asthmatics in the team.”


Someone else,  “I am.”


Lair, “Sorry.”


The coach’s pre-game pep talk centred on a dream she had. The message? The footy gods are saying we need to run. And keep running. Get the run going. Really going. Attack the footy. Oh, and Mercedes, you’re on Number 24, the competition’s leading goal scorer. No pressure.


In the first minutes the Falcs announced their intentions, playing the ball, but hard. Bridgette laid a great tackle to set up a forward attack. Then with a mark and a run and by hook and by crook the Falcs delivered; Heidi running into a goal. Darebin was playing in front and their best players were damaging. Georgia, first a smother then a clearance. Esther as well and Karmen.


The Falcs were kicking with what little wind there was. Greensborough structure was all about getting the ball to their full-forward, Georgia Thomson. She was sitting on 49 goals for the season. Standing next to her was Mercedes. It was yer classic footy set-up. And it would a highlight of the day.


Meanwhile, Honybun to Hesketh to Hallal to the top of the square and Elarmaly and alliteration spins and snaps true. The Falcs finished the quarter with another goal from Heidi, outa nowhere. Mercedes kept Thommo quiet which had her bristling.


In the second, Greensborough (or the Boro’s) should have stood up. They had the run and chances. But the Falc’s defensive efforts were just bang on, with Mercedes stopping three definitive attacks. We may not have scored but we kept them to a solitary point and their gun full forward one shy of her 50.


Our game was led by Peppa’s work in ruck and Chloe’s first and second efforts to get the ball forward. Or Esther’s single handed run down the wing. Or Bridgette’s handpass to Steph and her running goal. And Georgia’s gut-busting efforts. Ella Saunders had a blinder of a quarter. Forget Eddie Everywhere, Ella earned that title today. At three-quarter time the score was Falcs 5.3, Boros 0.3. It was hard to imagine the Boro getting up but, as they say, footy is a funny game.


The Boro won the last (just) and it was the most competitive they were all day. Tommo got her goal (congratulations) but the Falcs did not surrender. Tineka laid the tackle of the day. Mercedes continued her great efforts at full-back. Esther’s tackle had Falc’s fans cheering. Karmen took on four Boro’s and beat ‘em. Ella Grant-Campbell was the very definition of tenacious. Heide finished the game with another goal. Mercedes lowered Tommo’s colours at one end and Heidi, our Full-forward took the chocolates at the other end. The only negative for the day was Georgia M going down in the last. She is our gritty ‘in and under’ mid-fielder. The knock she took could see her on the sidelines next weekend.


Mercedes is in her fifth season at the Darebin Falcons, playing all five seasons with the U18s. In her first year she was injured three games in and missed the rest of the season. From there she has played in three Grand Finals and won two Premierships. Next week they start another Finals campaign, with Montmorency (Latin for too big for their boots) the clear favourite, having not dropped a game and on a staggering 760 percentage. That’s cool. The Falcs are no stranger to a challenge and they have the skills and the spirit to take it on.



[i] Merc’s 50th game attracted the biggest crowd ever seen at a football match, probably even a sporting event. To quote the American President who was at the game,It’s the biggest crowd they’ve ever had, and they were — they were going wild”. Who am I kidding? There were family and friends. And no, POTUS wasn’t there either. I faked that up.


Read the story of one of Mercedes’ premierships, also written by Trucker Slim.

About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Congratulations Mercedes and the Falcons. Love the ‘hairspray’ line. Would have been mentioned in men’s rooms during the ’80s I’m sure !!

  2. Monica Kane says

    So many great lines about what seemed like a great game. Congrats Mercedes – you’re a star.

  3. RK outstading report but don’t like the comment about Montmorency. People from Monty are lovely.

    Well done Mercedes. No mean effort to get to 50 games.

  4. Well played Mercedes. We have enjoyed following your career and remember very well the great Grand Final.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Well done Mercedes, great effort. Look forward to reading about your 100th, and beyond.

  6. well done Mercedes on 50 games
    Well done Rick on lovely writing

  7. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Mercedes is chuffed.

    Postscript: Falcs lost to Monty on Sunday in the Second semi. It was a tough game and except for the Third quarter the Falcs stayed with the Pies. We now play Greensborough in the Prelim. They won the First semi, with their full forward kicking 5 of their 8 goals. So, Mercedes, no pressure!


  8. Yvette Wroby says

    No pressure indeed. Well done Rick and Mercedes. Good luck with the next game.

  9. Congrats Mercedes and good luck this week ( great stuff Trucker Slim )

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