Round 12 – Brisbane v Fremantle: Fixer-Uppers


Brisbane vs Fremantle

4:35pm, Saturday, 10th June

The Gabba, Brisbane

Jamie Simmons


Mel and I have been house hunting.


Looking for potential new homes is exhausting but not without its benefits. For one thing, when looking, most places expect you to take your shoes off, which I just love. Some days I could leave the house in thongs and arrive home in a glorious pair of Julius Marlowe’s.


But it was completely worthwhile. We did it. We found the one.


Buying our first home is not altogether unlike barracking for the Lions. For one thing, it’s important to adjust your short term expectations in accordance with your resources.  You may need to accept that some recent modifications were a tad optimistic, executed poorly, thus facilitating greater repair down the track.


It’s ok to get excited by the long term vision. In fact, I recommend it. You just need to be realistic and accept that what you are investing in is a little bit of a “fixer-upper” and will require patience.


You quickly learn to smile politely as the man out front, sells the positives whilst deftly manoeuvring himself between you, the termite damage and bullet holes that would otherwise serve to discourage you. Emphatically imploring you to fixate on what “could be” ahead of “what presently is”.


But here we are again. Once more we Lion faithful are being urged to see past the cracks in the walls and rising damp and nod agreeably at how some silk cushions and a dreamcatcher over the back door can breathe new life into the old place.
And that is why we find ourselves at The Gabba once more. Cold and increasingly alone with each home game that passes but we are here nonetheless, because we want it to be true. Taking her seat once more Mel announces that the Lions “never win”. It’s a brutal assessment.


Recent performances have taken a toll on her immune system. Influenza has been running a heavy tag on her for some time now and her output has been significantly curbed in terms of positivity.


In her defence, for her two seasons of membership she is yet to be present at a Lions home victory so it’s important that I explain that Lions victories are more like charismatic cab drivers or literate Port Adelaide supporters: rare, but they have been known to occur.


The scattered patrons are lightly toasted by the wonderful new HD replay screen that beams across the gloomy Gabba twilight. I wonder what they did with the old one? A TV screen of that magnitude could make for an interesting Kerbside collection in Wooloongabba next month.


It has incredible clarity, you can almost see what the players are thinking… except for maybe Cam McCarthy. With his wispy, dandelion moustache and man bun it’s impossible to know what he’s thinking really.


I’ve commented on the man bun before and I maintain that there are precious few that can make the bun work. 5 of the 7 Samurai (Kyuzo & Gorobei were kidding themselves) and, at a stretch, Wilma Flinstone if that’s what you’re into but that’s about it. Thankfully it’s a trend that appears to be destined to wane so, like fidget spinners and the music of James Blunt, we’ll just have to wade this one out.
A partially mummified Rockliff is back into the fray and that affords us a little hope.


What transpires over the ensuing first half of play is some wonderful transition football which provides a glorious glimpse into our not too distant future.
Mundy and Neale are typically stoic whilst Bradley Hill remains annoyingly elusive throughout for Fremantle. The usually wonderful Fyfe offers the inconsistency of a man who hasn’t decided whether or not he wants his mail re-directed next year.


Conversely, Brisbane look, for the first time in a while, to be a sensible long-term investment. We’ve finally stopped painting over the cracks and rolling rugs over the coffee stains. The young talent on display for Brisbane tonight are all value-adds. Tasteful furnishings to adorn a solid foundation. Squizzy Taylor, Mayes, Gardiner, Barrett, Mathieson. I could go on… and I will.


Eric Hipwood launches from outside 50 to start the second half and effectively kill off the contest. Still at war with his body (he’s grown 5cm since drafted) there is no denying his ungainliness. Tall and boyishly handsome, to the unfamiliar he’ll look a little like Rafael Nadal riding an emu but this kid can play. Believe the hype.


It occurs to me that there aren’t nearly enough Eric’s playing football. I think it’s the name. You want a guy in overalls to flush out your plumbing? Give Eric a call. You’re in the market for a reliable chimney sweep? Eric’s your main man but, until now at least, I never thought I would look to an Eric to fill the void in a developing forward line.


Let us not deny Harris Andrews his due though. Poor Cam McCarthy is destroyed by Andrews on the night. I hope Cam asked for his autograph while he was there because this kid will not look out of place in an All Australian side, someday very soon.


These feisty urchins are ably led by the light garnishing of experience Brisbane has to offer. Zorko is a conjurer, extracting opportunity where none seems possible and Beams never fumbles.


Even with the contest put to bed, tucked in and read a story midway through the third quarter we are still grappling with the idea of a Brisbane win, deep into the last. What is the protocol in these situations?


I can’t tell if it’s the rain trickling down my cheeks or tears of joy but it all makes for the best walk back to the car in quite some time.


We sing the song, recount the highlights with gusto and all the while laughing in winter’s fat, miserable face.


On the drive home, talk soon turns to the impending move into our first home together. We can’t wait to start building a life there, furnishing each room with wonderful memories. The future looks bright for us.

The Lions too.


Brisbane   6.0   11.3   15.11   18.13 (121)

Fremantle  2.2  6.7   7.7   9.10 (64)



Brisbane- Taylor 4, Cutler 3, Zorko, Barrett 2, Rockliff, Beams, Bastinac,

Hipwood, Berry, Mathieson, McCluggage 1

Fremantle-  Fyfe, B.Hill 2, Walters, Neale, Weller, S.Hill, McCarthy 1



Brisbane- Taylor, Beams, Zorko, Andrews, Mayes, Barrett

Fremantle- Neale, B.Hill, Walters, Fyfe

Umpires:  Foot, Stevic, Williamson                                              Attendance:   11,742

Our Votes: Taylor (B) 3, D.Beams (B) Zorko (B) 1

About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.


  1. There were so many manbuns there on Saturday night it looked like Fyfe was everywhere and had 50 possessions. Alas it turns out that was the combined possessions for all manbuns on the ground. A pleasing win.

  2. Great read!

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