Round 10 – Carlton v Adelaide: Melbourne by foot, Part 1

Feet are sore, calves are shot, the arthritic big toe does not want to be friends anymore. But, still, I have had a much, much better day than Chris Judd. A few weeks back the significant other made a kind gift of a return ticket to Melbourne. Providing, when I get back, the locks haven’t been changed (they weren’t,) I am indeed a very lucky man. An opportunity to see the Crows at the MCG for the first time in 11 years and the only time this year. Chuck in a game at the Docklands in the evening and that should sate my footy appetite.

Noting that my diet is likely to be appalling and my desire not to interact with the fairly maligned Myki system, I set myself the challenge of going everywhere on this trip by foot (airport transfers aside.) I love walking the streets of Melbourne anyway (in the purest possible sense.) Despite the large scale demolition of old buildings in preparation for the 1956 Olympics, Melbourne retains an intriguing mix of old and new. From the repurposed old buildings and cobblestones in the gutters to the Ferris Wheel that now welcomes you, wide-eyed, to the city.

Sydney always gives the impression of not having had enough time to plan; buildings spring up like toadstools and concrete spreads like couch grass. Adelaide probably too much; every new development must be thoroughly planned, opposed and replanned. Melbourne, delightfully, is somewhere in the middle. Just don’t expect to get a bottle of Victorian wine in the nearest convenience store (I eventually found a Yarra Valley Cabernet Merlot.)

The morning starts with a stroll out to Fitzroy for brunch with an old friend and a visit to my favourite clothes store named after a Crows midfielder. I have been doing this for the best part of 15 years and suspect I am getting to the upper end of their target demographic (in the same way that Port Pirie is at the upper end of Adelaide.) Amongst my purchases is a ‘Western Grandpa’ shirt so I’m feeling age appropriate as the sales assistant semi-complains to me of having to go to the footy with her dad next week… in the Bulldogs president’s box. I express limited sympathies.

Back to the hotel on shanks’ pony for a quick change into something a bit more red, blue and gold appropriate and then off to the MCG. After initially setting up in the Ponsford Stand, by the time I make it over to the Great Southern Stand to meet up with fellow knackers Swish & Bridget Schwerdt, the Crows are our customary three goals down. Third week in a row this has happened – give a good side a three goal lead and you may never see them again. Thankfully today we are not playing a good side.

I pop off to get a beer (by the way, bugger the prices, you Victorians should be complaining about the quality of the beer and the lack of chicken salt at the footy) and Wright kicks the Crows’ first in my brief absence. Clearly I need to buy beer more often.

The Blues do look invigorated post-Mick (re-invigorated would suggest a previous invigoration) and are seeking to run the ball in numbers. The Crows are trying to win it and move quickly and directly into a mismatch laden forward line. Both teams let down by the quality of their disposal and the cleanliness with which they take the ball. Writing home about the standard of this game would lead to charges of using a carriage service to menace.

Then Judd takes a mark in the midfield and goes down. At first sight it doesn’t seem like much. The slow motion replay on the screens in front of our standing position at ground level show the awkward landing on the left leg – a hyperextension with a twist. All of us “medical experts” have seen enough of these to know it is ligament damage – most likely ACL. It is awful and we know it is probably the last time we’ll see Judd as a player. His waves to the crowd as he is carted off seem to carry greater significance.

The beer trick works again buying a goal for Tex early in the second. The game seesaws, reaching no great heights, with the Crows being the fat kid largely controlling the flow of play. Carlton’s ball movement out of defence is comically bad, much to the frustration of the Blues fans in the bays in front of us. Still nowhere near as funny as the Crows forward thrust where a simple four on two is messed up, with the ball eventually getting thrown through the goals having spent at least five seconds on the line, only the umpires realising it was still in play. It is the comical badness as well as Bridget’s discourse on the finer points of pie vending that is keeping us entertained.

A 19 point lead at half time is not sufficient as the Blues wear us down in the third quarter. They are taking more opportunities and the combination of Kreuzer and Casboult is genuinely threatening. Particularly given Casboult appears to have brought his kicking boots. Like many players with a dodgy action Levi is more likely to kick it when he is forced by distance or angle to kick through the ball.

My beer trip boost backfires as I add the hubris of an Eddie Betts badge purchase for the lad to the  routine – Kreuzer gets a goal in my absence. A four point three quarter time lead gets worse as Casboult goals to put Carlton in front – the crowd is loud and we are in trouble. Crows kick the next couple before goals are traded, but halfway through the final quarter of this hilariously poor display of football, Carlton are spent.

The Crows retain control of the footy and are able to get it in quick and close to Jenkins who appears to have remembered that he is huge and fast. With his fifth goal he gives us enough breathing room to hang on for a nine point win. Rory Laird was the standout for me. Danger seemed a bit off the pace at times despite his stats.

Footy trip games usually give you one thing that sticks in your mind to remember it by, other than sore feet. Last time I was at the ‘G for the Crows it was a Wayne Carey run and goal against the Hawks. Sadly, this time it will be Chris Judd’s left knee… oh, and Swish being shorter than I expected.

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    How was Podsiadly and Sons tailors? (Everyone is a midfielder these days)

    Interesting to compare notes with the person next to me, although you may have seen more from your loftier vantage point.

    Unsurprisingly, you’ve said twice as much as me in half as many words.

  2. Great day and recount Dave. Well done to you, Swish and Bridget on getting us across the line. Best game I’ve seen Laird play. Do they nickname him Bruce?

    Please reassure me that upon returning to Adelaide in a few weeks I can purchase personalised license plates with the slogan-

    South Australia: The Chicken Salt State.

    Thanks Dave. Looking forward to Hot Shots! Part Deux.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    We sold our first home to the Mitanis many years ago, so there is a little bit of chicken salt dosh left in the coffers.

  4. Mickey, what about those Bays! Kernas would have been in vintage form.

  5. Crio- It was the ’84 and ’85 premierships reunion over the weekend, and I know lots of boys, including Kernas, were in town. They ran all over the Roosters in the final term. I hope he didn’t go with, “We’re Glenelg, forget the rest!” (you know the one).

    Be good if they could string a few wins together now!

  6. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments. Unsurpisingly, Swish, JPod caters very well for the larger man lacking in the hair department.

    Laird’s nickname is apparently ‘Dos’, Mickey, more’s the pity. Your number plate request has been received by the state government. Expect a response sometime between 2055 and 2098.

    As for the Bays, yep they finally got over the line and a good week to do it too. Things looking a bit grim for Kenny McGregor at Prospect

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Dave rapt re Laird having a break out year as he is the son of ex black,Dean
    agree to differ re danger and yes skills wise esp re changers the game was a shocker.
    Good point re the buildings in Melb persnally I don’t mind the public transport

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    I’m a former sceptic, now a Myki convert. It’s actually quite easy to use.
    Agreed, the beer at the footy is horrible. What a pity Carlton Mid could well be the sole beer representation of an interstate vistiors trip if the main reason for the visit is the footy. We do make good beer and wine in this state!
    Entertaining read Dave.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    Myki was a real pain for casual visitors, as people had to buy a ticket which would be little use after their trip, unless/until a return visit. Now there is a visitor pack available, which offers a convenient facility and concessional entry to a few attractions. In the inner suburbs and certainly to the two football stadiums, the PT system is OK.

  10. Mark Duffett says

    I keep thinking of Central District’s coach every time Laird is called; only one letter different.

  11. Dave Brown says

    Yeah, my anti-Myki tirade was not particularly well considered Luke & Peter. In the end it was as much about the marginal time benefits that would be received. Even to Fitzroy it would have required catching two trams from my hotel. Building in 10 minutes each for the tram to come along plus trip time the time saved might only be 5-10 minutes.

    There’s not enough Roys in modern footy, Mark. I’m sure Fitzroy fans would agree with that statement…

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