On Price and Freo

I never knew Matt Price. More accurately, I never read Matt Price before he died. I was blissfully unaware of the brilliance that I was missing out on. Having recently discovered Matt, I am in love. The laconic way that he rolls out memorable, witty phrases leaves me in fits of laughter in public places at inappropriate times. If you come across a 30-something year old bloke, tears streaming down his cheeks, chasing after someone trying to justify his hysteria by yelling ‘But its brilliant, honestly, listen, listen… “Anyone odd enough to aspire to such a low rank (AFL umpire or golf officialdom) would, in a perfect world, be instantly disqualified”; come and say hello.

Matt was a mad Fremantle fan. He wrote about them often.  He revelled in their mediocrity; rejoiced in their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So as I sat reading the Sunday paper, basking in the glory of a great victory by my beloved Bombers the previous night, I wondered, ‘what would Matt Price have thought of last night’s match?’

In 2000, when Essendon was virtually unbeatable, Matt declared the Bombers the centre of his football hatred. That hurt to read.  My most recent love insulting my long term one, right to my face.  I weighed this up against the recurring theme of Matt’s sports writing: Fremantle as ‘Connoisseurs of Defeat’. All things considered, I decided that the events of Saturday night would have left both of us happy. Me, because I don’t like losing, Matt because it would have provided him with another way that Freo managed to lose a football match.  To go with ‘ugly and horribly, beautifully and wonderfully’, ‘narrowly and by preposterously gargantuan margins’ we can add that Freo have also lost a match in the last 40 seconds of the third quarter, pathetically.

Paddy Ryder taking a grab and slotting from 55 metres out, quickly followed by a lovely left foot snap by Michael Hurley changed the momentum, and the result of the game. Freo had another 30 minutes to redeem themselves, but they barely let out a whimper in the last quarter.  Forty seconds of brilliance was all it took to break, what for the previous 30 minutes, had seemed unbreakable, Fremantle’s resolve to win the ball and the game.  And somehow I think that the absurdity of the importance of this 40 seconds in a 120 minute match would have given Matt something to delight in.

It may be those moments  that change a game, or it may just be the brilliance of Jobe Watson that compels me to watch the Bombers every week. But it is Matt Price that inspired me to try to write about life. Football was an obvious place to start despite, like all sport, it being nothing more than a distraction, albeit a beautiful one.  So, while I am certain I will never reach the high notes that Matt hit with his writing, I will take some staisfaction that, for this season as least, my footy team seems destined for bigger things than his.  But then again, that may just be exactly how he would want it.

About Glenn Cummings

Part time sports expert, all varieties of course but mainly Australian Football, baseball, basketball and cricket. Occassional writer, but prepared to offer up opinions on all things sport, community and politics related more regularly to anyone within earshot. Full time worker, which unfortunately limits my time to research other more interesting subjects.


  1. Discovering Matt Price’s writing in The Australian lead to a very enjoyable weekend from then on. Up there with the elite.

  2. By far the weakest side Freo have fielded all year Glenn so you did get us at a good time. That said, the last minute of the third was the very disappointing.

    Matt Price is a legend and is sorely missed. ‘Way to Go’ is one of the great books on a football club. My signed copy has pride of place on the bookshelf.

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