NAB Cup – GWS v Essendon: Brushing off the cobwebs

GIANTS V BOMBERS, Manuka , Canberra March 8.


The summer has been long and lazy. I’ve spent it swimming in the cool water of Lake Jindabyne and lying in the hammock under the shady tree in the back yard. Football has been a distant thought – except when major scandal woke me from my slumber.


Autumn is my favourite time of the year . The change of season is subtle and glorious.

It’s time to think footy.
Essendon are my lifelong team and I’ve adopted the Giants.


There are certain advantages in following two teams. Essendon are an old established club and are expected to succeed. But if things are going belly up there I can divert my attention  to the the fresh faced, enthusiastic Giants who have the  football world in front of them.

And what  luck it is that my first bit of football action for the year will be  watching the men of the moment, Essendon, and the Giants, play at Manuka Oval in Canberra.


Despite it being a warm day with the temperature nudging 30 degrees, fans arrive wearing footy scarves. Because of the heat I decide to go neutral and wear my Footy Almanac t-shirt. The queue outside the ground is four people wide and extends across the road and a up half a block towards parliament house in the distance. Free  NAB suncaps are handed out along the line and gratefully accepted.


The gates open at precisely 5 pm  for the game to begin just after 6.

There are lights at Manuka now. It’s a perfect night for a game of footy.


Only half of the inside of white picket fence is covered up with advertising banners. There is no ear bursting  music here.  Merely the essentials, such as where you can sit (anywhere except the Bradman stand and the corporate boxes) and there will be kick to kick after the game, are broadcast over the speakers.


The atmosphere is relaxed and casual. Sheeds appears to be taking pics of the Bombers during the warm up.


I meet up with my uncle and auntie from Yass. She barracks for the Bombers, he for North . I point out the Giants to watch . Toby Greene in particular. The Giants have left out their promising young forwards, Cameron and  Patton and Essendon Joe Daniher but otherwise the Bombers have a full strength side including Brendon Goddard.


The Bombers race away to a big lead in the first quarter and continue to dominate for the rest of  the night.

I don’t try to get my head around the different scoring system or care too much what the score is. I’m content  just to watch my first bit of action for the season.



Essendon look  fit and kick to position well against the less experienced Giants, who make mistakes under pressure. Whether the Bombers will press the better teams in the competition remains to be seen though.


At least they have something to smile about tonight.


Some good news for the Giants was seeing Setanta O’hAilpin and Dylan Shiel back playing after suffering major injuries  last season.


For those interested in the score . BOMBERS 1.16.14(119) to the GIANTS 0.4.4(28)


A crowd of  8,054 turned up to get into footy mode. The real thing is not far away now.





  1. Good to hear about the game Pamela!

    Manuka pulled a slightly better crowd than the Giants v Lions in Wagga last weekend.

    I believe the new lights are spectacular. Good for footy and cricket at night.

    Heaps better atmosphere at Manuka Oval than the ubiquitous Canbrra Stadium!

  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    I forgot to mention the superb playing surface too. I do appreciate being able to go to a footy ground without being bombarded with noise pollution. It’s lovely to be able to chat to people and be able to hear them.
    The lights are a great addition to the ground .

  3. Tony Robb says

    But Pam
    there were no bloody pies for sales scandalous. My son become a Giants member on Friday night

  4. Richard Naco says

    The games in Canberra were my most enjoyable ones last year, and the Giants are pursuing a patient & logical path. It is quite a delight to be an eye witness to their evolution, and they have a bunch of really admirable young men in their colours.

    Even though my footy focus has inevitably returned to being Coriocentric now, those lovely days of last season in my favourite Australian city, with the wonderful atmosphere of Manuka, and the company of both my Canberra resident brother and our passionate Pamela still serenade me with their siren song.

    I’ll be there again this year.

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