Round 13 – Brisbane v Adelaide: Johnny Gastev Is Playing Quite Well

Brisbane v Adelaide


4.35pm, Saturday 27 June


The Gabba, Brisbane


Climbing over Fort Canning I’m sweating buckets. Stewart Loewe-sized buckets.


The wife and boys are this morning back in South Australia, where there’s boots and Nanny’s pumpkin soup and a fire. I’m in Singapore, wrapping our stuff up before jetting to them, and the thrilling, forgotten winter.


Like Adelaide, the Lion City has modest hills. Fort Canning’s among these, and is less intimidating than a wheat silo, so I reckon Billy Brownless could get a torp over the silent cannons and trees, and drop it into the Singapore River.


Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival established his command post here to defend the island from the invading Japanese forces in 1942. Singapore was mostly conquered by bicycle, which is both ghoulish and brilliant.


I stroll on towards neon-drenched Clarke Quay.




I’d love to get to the Gabba again. Last time I was there I saw Greg Ritchie club a quick forty in a shield game. Correct, there was no running between wickets.


The Adelaide Crows are proudly top-knot free in 2015, but with horrid predictability Brisbane opens us up and goals with a decisive movement. As Casey Kasem used to say, “For the thirteenth big week in a row Adelaide begins in a pedestrian fashion.”


The Lions appear to be agile, but we’re fumbling and sporadic, and our forward line is Hong Kong tram while the home side’s is Tanami desert. We’re down by three goals, quickly.




Narrowly edging out Alex Ishchenko, my favourite ever Brisbane player is Johnny Gastev. In an upset win over the Sydney Swans early in 1989, Gastev kicked seven goals after half-time! Beforehand, he’d not kicked a goal all season. Who doesn’t love this story? Not long after his career was ended by a brutal Gary Ablett bump.




During the second quarter my outrage grows as man mountain cum dwarf anthill Josh Jenkins continues to be pushed off the contest. Is he a footballer or an ectoplasm? Then, miraculously, he goals. Suddenly, the Crows find focus and Smith fires a fricken laser. We’re alive despite being outplayed across the ground. Cameron demonstrates singular poise and vision to get the ball to Crows’ forward impersonator Jenkins, who converts.


Brisbane is efficient; meanwhile we launch the footy out of bounds with galactically shite regularity. Half time and the defibrillator’s on its way to our rooms.




Zorko. Zippy Lions forward, but was he a member of the Animal House fraternity? His name suggests Delta Tau Chi frat debauchery with Flounder, Boon, D-Day, Hoover, Bluto, Stork, Otter and Pinto. Based upon today’s performance, Faber College (“Knowledge is Good”) Dean, Vernon Wormer would surely announce the Crows’ grade point average as,


Zero…. Point….. Zero.




Soon after the recommencement, Hanley goals with the cringeworthy effortlessness of a George W gaffe. In the emotional gloom of the Boomarang (sic) Bar I start to hope the TV will switch to a replay of Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral highlights.


With his Grand Tour classical antiquities moustache back on his beak Tex gets one, and crazily still we’re in this. An unscheduled break in Australia’s Funniest AFL Footy Videos allows Cameron to goal with a roost that should generate confidence for the young Crow.


Everyone’s nineteenth favourite Mitch (Robinson) then drives his head into Talia’s groin in an unrehearsed outtake from an adult film I don’t wish to see. His pornographic pluck is rewarded with a free kick. He goals. I reach for a fork.


During the final period the game abandons its dreadful, cartoonish tone, and Adelaide, terrified of the implications, starts to behave. We kick six goals, Betts and Walker metamorphose into the forwards they should be, and the Crows win.




My Eyre Peninsula mate Craig worked in the Minnipa pub, on the highway from Perth to Adelaide, where he’d often amble past the dining room’s Japanese tourists, bewildered and broken by the long, bitumen ribbon. He’d ask,


How was the crow? What! You didn’t have the crow? That’s what we eat ‘round here. Mutton. And crow.


Craig would tell them about the mythical outback station, the Speewah. He’d talk of its continental size and gigantic shearing icon Crooked Mick. He’d describe Mick standing on a towering peak, and peering out across the plains. The mountain was so tall, of course, that he could see the back of his own head.


But Craig especially loved recounting that, “During shearing, the Speewah was so huge, it had six cooks cooking for the cooks.”


Today, at least, unlike those of the Minnipa pub, the Crows are not yet done.


BRISBANE LIONS  4.3  6.5  10.7   10.9   (69)

ADELAIDE              2.3  3.6  5.13  11.16  (82)



Brisbane Lions: Bourke 2, Leuenberger 2, Hanley, Christensen, Robinson, Redden, Taylor, Zorko

Adelaide: Betts 2, Jenkins 2, Walker 2, van Berlo, Cameron, Wright, Smith, Thompson



Brisbane Lions: Zorko, Taylor, Robinson, Beams, Paparone, Leuenberger

Adelaide: Thompson, Crouch, Cameron, Laird, Jenkins, Talia



Brisbane Lions: Hanley (hamstring)

Adelaide: Sloane (fractured cheekbone)



Brisbane Lions: Tom Cutler replaced Pearce Hanley in the third quarter

Adelaide: Cam Ellis-Yolmen replaced Rory Sloane in the third quarter


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Jeffery, Mitchell, Wallace


Official crowd: 18,146 at the Gabba


Our best: Laird, Zorko, Taylor


NB- the title offers homage to Central District Footy Club’s cult fanzine Brendan Maguire Is Playing Quite Well. Brendan’s career really took off when he subsequently moved to the Kapunda Bombers.

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    It was more like Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork for the first three quarters Mickey.

    At least you can watch the Bays upon your return.

  2. Dave Brown says

    As you say Mickey, not yet done. Unlike me who was done with the Leuenberger goal in the 3rd quarter. The key in the last quarter seemed to be taking as many shots as possible directly in front of an unguarded goal.

  3. Never in Almanac history have so many Almanackers owed so much to such a shit game.
    Casey Kasem, footballer impersonators, GW gaffes and the Harry Lee funeral. Throw in Alex Ischenko and a little WW2 history.
    Brilliant Mickey. Like the Elbow you are at your best when your team is at their worst.
    Long may it continue.
    (As for a little WW2 history I remember my mother talking about the SS Minnipa which was the passenger ship between Port Lincoln and Adelaide. She could remember WW2 trips when there was a complete blackout on board, lest they be torpedoed by a Japanese sub going through Investigator Strait between Kangaroo Island and the bottom of Yorke Peninsula. Or was that Backstairs Passage? Or is that another Mitch Robinson movie? As a kid I remember family trips to Cape Spencer at the bottom of Yorke Peninsula and looking out over the stormy Southern Ocean and wondering how scary that trip in the dark must have been for a little girl. RIP Mum.)

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff Mickey thank goodness I missed most of this game revelling in can the blacks crap on the Catholics today and the answe is yes( Swish will remember this line) and saw parts of the last q while selling raffle tickets,at least we got the 4 points.
    Mickey hopefully the blacks and the jets are competing against each other in div 1 next season we can play for the footy almanac cup ?

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Alex Ischenko can still be seen on a Saturday afternoon at the local netball courts, he has a bench to himself.

    I don’t think this is our “Season(s) In The Sun”, which was the first American Top 40 song that grabbed my attention, as it seemed to be on every week in ’74 (I’d listen to it while everyone else was at Pt Parham).

    I missed most of the third quarter, should I bother catching it online?

    PB – one of my early jobs at the Highways Department was the “Troubridge Clerk”, the middleman between the department and the managing agents. It too did the Adelaide – Pt Lincoln run but via Kingscote.

  6. Swish- Ah, The Banana Splits. I was more of a HR Pufnstuff kid. We used to have the Saturday Morning Cartoons CD with classic kids’ show themes played by alternative artists, but it got pinched and we couldn’t find a replacement. It had a great version of “Josie and the Pussycats.”

    Dave- our goal kicking could be the subject of an In Search of… episode narrated by Leonard Nimoy. We also seemed to be spearing them low, rather than giving the footy a higher trajectory when kicking for goal. Strange. Enjoy Glenelg v Norwood today!

    Peter- Casey Kasem’s son Mike is a radio announcer here in Singapore. Not that I listen as most stations offer versions of the two guys and a girl model, but much worse than home. I only ever went to the Minnipa pub a couple of times- generally after cricket. It is an enormous building for such a small town. Minnipa was clearly meant to be some type of outback capital. Thanks also for the SS Minnipa story too. PS- Port Adelaide icon Greg Phillips was born there.

    Malcolm- I wouldn’t spend much time catching up on the first three quarters of the match. I’ll have to look up the Unley Jets, they’re obviously going well. The Almanac Cup? Done!

    Swish- one of my favourite Coodabeens’ songs is Ischenko, using Genghis Khan’s 1980 hit “Moscow.” I reckon it’s on their “Double White” album, the one with the two goal umpires in traditional kit, on the cover!

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  7. Good on ya Mickey, you’ve tied in a diverse range of points. Percival who led the Commonwealth forces to an ignominious debacle in Sydney earned the enmity of the Irish for overseeing the behaviours of the Black’n’Tan crinal thugs in Ireland in the period post WW!.

    Casey Kasem, I recall him on Saturday nights back in the1970’s & 1980’s. A good blast from the past.

    Poor John Gastev. I recall him annoying Gary Ablett at Kardinia Park in the early 90’s as he kept drifting across his lead, frustrating the great man no end. Early in the second term he did it once too often, receiving a corkie, a corkie whish makes Sam Mitchelsl corkie on “Tex” Walker look like a love tap.


  8. Thanks for the update on Percival Glen. Seems he was globally incompetent!

    Of course Casey Kasem’s best work was voicing Shaggy in Scooby Doo. A vital contribution, and a big part of growing up for me. Probably too big!

    I reckon John Gastev would be a good subject for a “Where Are They Now?” interview.

    Thanks Glen.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Was a Gastev fan myself Mickey. Always loved that he’d be included in the Bears best players against Collingwood, even though Daic’s had kicked 6 on him. Or 13.
    All the best for your move back!

  10. Thanks Luke. Gastev would be an excellent guest speaker at an Almanac luncheon. Cult sports figures often have an unlikely quality about them. Obviously JG could play, but he had something enigmatic too.

  11. Bays!

  12. Crio- I know! I was busy during the afternoon and only checked the scores late. Amazing. I wonder if we’re a bit like Melbourne, and have turned the corner. I hope so and that I can see, in person, some strong performances from them when I get home. Nice to see the late Dean Bailey’s son doing well for them too.

    Would’ve been a monster night at Lennies!

  13. The worst thing about being a long and I mean long time Rooster supporter is that we still are smarting and often reminded of defeats at the hands of the Bays(73 still smarts and the middle 80s are still bad.)
    Have you got a position on return to sunny SA?
    Great take on the match

  14. Thanks Oges. Tough times for your Roosters. But you’ll be back. Remember about twenty years ago when Sturt lost over twenty on the trot? That must have been grim.

    Exploring a few options back on the home deck. Things will unfold over the next fortnight.


  15. Ben Footner says

    I lived in Minnipa for a time when I was very little (3 years old) – my dad was the Elders rep for a year or two in the early 80’s. We lived in the house on the corner at the end of the street. I vaguely remember the wide hallway, and his office in the front corner of the house which doubled as the Elders ‘store’. It smelt of chemicals.

    The most/only vivid memory I have of Minnipa is of letting the handbrake off while dad was in paying for petrol at the service station and the car rolling across the road. I clearly remember him sprinting out of the station and diving in the driver seat to yank on the handbrake just before we mounted the opposite kerb and ended up in the pine trees. I would’ve only been 3 1/2 I reckon.

    Anyway, back to the footy – about as ugly win as you could get, but a win nonetheless. According to Kane Cornes on TV on Sunday Adelaide are the most unconvincing side in the eight. Well Kane my man, they’ve done more than your sorry mob could, and I’d rather be the most unconvincing side in the eight than the most convincing side out of it!

  16. Thanks Ben. Seems many of us are connected to Minnipa.

    As you’d know it’s always been sparsely populated, and many towns often struggled to field two senior cricket sides. A burly, untidy bloke was posted to Minnipa as the local policeman when I was out there. Someone asked him if he’d play cricket on Saturday to which he replied, “Cricket? I’m a very handy cricketer. I can’t bat, bowl or field. But I live nearby.”

    I’ve noticed on news websites various comments from Kane on all sorts of topics, including Dangerfield’s future. I’ll email him and ask where to get my tax done, and who has Adelaide’s best fish ‘n’ chips.

    As always, we’ll learn more on Sunday in Geelong.

    Thanks Ben.

  17. Rick Kane says

    Great stuff Mr Randall, I do like your rambling tales and intriguing references. I had forgotten all about John Gastev and now I’m trying to remember if he played for Claremont or West Perth or both.

    By the way, what does “our forward line is Hong Kong tram while the home side’s is Tanami desert” mean? The image is striking and vivid.


  18. West Perth

  19. E.regnans says

    So much going on Mickey.
    Clever, clever stuff.

    Why did you reach for a fork? (Should I be embarrassed for missing this?)

  20. Thanks for your encouragement Rick . Once again you’ve hit upon the central problem: none of us spend enough time thinking about Johnny Gastev. The tram and desert metaphors referred to Adelaide’s congested forward line, and Brisbane’s enormously open one, which was unfathomable to me. As good as we were for three terms against your Hawks, it was as if we’d never seen the game played before, and like the apes at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey were experimenting with tools and processes we really didn’t grasp.

    Thanks for the clarification Les.

    Dave- thanks for the comment. At that point in the game I was ready to self-inflict, metaphorically. Within the muggy confines of the Boomarang Bar my bruschetta fork was within range. It was so, so dreadful. I don’t think it uncharitable to say that after thirteen rounds we’re the worst seventh-placed side in the modern era. But, as always we look to the weekend. As you recently articulated indirectly, any of the top dozen teams can still win it. I reckon this is not so for many major sporting competitions around the planet such as the EPL, which is often done by Christmas, and the NFL, which rarely presents a Cinderella story. Cheers.

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