No Footy!

Today I commenced a period of mourning for the 2020 VAFA football season. In the face of the worsening Covid infection rate in Melbourne over the past couple of weeks, the Ammos have made the decision to cancel the 2020 season. It was a predictable outcome, and the correct call, if a little delayed; but I will not criticise any sporting organisation in the current climate, for to do so would be churlish in the extreme. And now, because we cannot attend the Fearon to watch the CY’s, for us there is no footy until next season.


I understand that we have all been navigating perilous waters, some a little less cautiously than others. The headwinds remain strong and are buffeting us still. I also understand that this virus is highly infectious, can kill, and continues to kill. But these facts have not dulled the palpable sense of loss I have felt with the absence of local footy. How I have yearned to watch the CY’s make their long-awaited ‘B’ Grade debut. How I have longed to stand on the boundary line and, at close quarters, give an old-fashioned Fearon welcome to clubs such as Old Haileyburians and De La Salle. I hanker for the day when the oval ball will again be bounced on the Fez…but for now, there is no footy.


For now, we will be made to wait a little longer to see the new scoreboard unveiled. For now, the goalposts are silent sentinels. For now, the changerooms echo only with the sound of tradesmen’s tools, not the primal throaty pre-match roars. There is no footy!


I have missed the blokes with whom I catch up only during footy season. I lament the loss of those rituals, so slight but so important when we cannot partake in them: the quarter-time huddle, the sneaky half-time beers at the lacrosse club, the joyous post-match banter, the wearing of something blue and gold, that intangible tribal feel, and that fabric which binds us all together on match day and makes us a small part of something special. The post-match raffle, the president’s speech. I crave them all, but those cravings will not be satisfied while there is no footy.


“What about the AFL?” I hear you ask. The AFL is not footy. At least not this Frankenstein’s monster of a season, which is continuing only for the appeasement of broadcasters and sponsors. Sure, I watch games, I support my team, but in no way can I get enthused about a season which is more compromised than usual. I have even surprised myself by feeling sympathy for ringmaster Gil McLachlan in his valiant attempts to keep the entire circus together. Who would take on such a task? Without local football, real football, community football, for me the season is over.


Bring on 2021. When, I pray, we shall all meet up at the Fearon once again. And we will gather with greater gusto, and broader humour, and offer even more support to the players and the club as a whole. For we will, and we must, make up for this lost year of no footy.



To read more from Smokie, click here.



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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Smokie, what a kick in the guts this pandemic has been. The rituals we’ve taken for granted taken from us. I really miss attending games, live music, Almanac lunches. None of this seems likely anytime soon in Victoria. My oldest son was due to play his first season of club football at under 13 level, there’s talk a short season may still happen but yet to be confirmed. At least he has another year in that age group.
    Hopefully there’s some cricket in October at the Fearon Reserve to look forward to.

  2. Rulebook says

    Smokie I reckon thinking about it deep down have I missed footy yeah but it’s the social side of it as you describe is what I’ve missed far more,I admit we are lucky enough in SA to be in a better position at this time with Sanfl starting last week end and community footy tomorrow how long for is anyone’s guess

  3. This is a deep loss Smokie. Like many I wouldn’t be overly troubled if Gill put the jalopy in the garage as I’m more engaged by local footy here with Glenelg playing at home next week and local footy starting soon. Of course, the actual game is important but not as much as the rich context in which it’s played and I watch.

    Go well.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    We now starkly understand “the things about football” Smokie. What footy is, and what footy isn’t. And what isn’t footy.

  5. Welll said Smokie ! You have captured the emotions of our Club. We have all lived in hope but with the ever-growing feeling of the eventuallity of no footy this year ! I hope we can have an opening of the Scoreboard with all the pomp & circusinstance it deserves. Thanks Mate for your thoughts !

  6. Kasey Symons says

    I feel your pain Smokie. Seeing first hand how gutted all the Roy Boys and Roy Girls are this week is killing me. They were so keen to get back and have been amazing at training these past few weeks, taking all the RTP protocols in stride, and now it’s all gone. I completely understand why it had to be cancelled, but I was so looking forward to my Saturdays back at BSO. But we’ll look forward to 2021! Stay well Smokie.

  7. Good work Smoke. The upper echelon doesn’t understand your cry. They will debate silly little rules and political manoeuvres and miss the point: footy is about the people; the Tao.

    Will our rituals change forever? I feel like someone is holding me upside down by the ankles and shaking.

  8. Paul Daffey says

    Well said, Smoke.

    The rituals bind us.

    As they do in all aspects of life.

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