Round 15 – Carlton v Collingwood: Melbourne by foot, Part 2 (fathers-sons)

As I wait by the side of Sydney Road for the #19 tram, a South Aussie expat (so many of them over here, weird mob) spies my Redlegs jacket and comes over to tell me how much he hates them. It’s amazing how many conversations interstate start with that.

Peter is a Bays man (they tend to feature high on the hatred of Norwood tables) who has lived in Victoria for a fair while now. He was at Piranha Park to watch his Bulldogs 2s go around and is heading to a Brunswick pub for a punt and to watch the Bulldogs 1s on the TV. Bet he had a good evening in the end.

Peter has great memories of the SANFL’s glory days and, on our brief tram ride together, we talk of Neil Kerley, Damian Nygaard, John Wynne and plenty of other things that happened before I was born, but I have heard the stories. He has answered the call and bought a Glenelg membership and we speculate on the future of his club and the league. He is firmly of the belief that the competition needs to make contested footy a hideously attractive point of difference from the AFL. I just don’t know.

I’m not sure the league can attract people in numbers to replace those that leave. The reality still is that more people go to watch footy in Adelaide now than even in the SANFL’s salad days (though probably not on a per capita basis). It’s just that they now go to Adelaide Oval once a fortnight rather than a suburban ground each weekend. Beauty is subjective and the non-cosmetic form a niche market.

Next, to the MCG for the first big footy experience of the weekend. There is plenty of beauty to be had here. Joining a tide of people surging from Federation Square over the bridge to the MCG is thrilling, even for a cynical South Australian. There is an air of enterprise about Victorians – whether it be the busker dressed as Elmo playing the bagpipes or the cyclists that think they can ride their bikes across the bridge through this slowly moving wall of people. A greater tolerance of failure, perhaps.

Not sure, but regardless I find a possie in the top deck of the Ponsford stand and am soon joined by fellow knacker Luke Reynolds trailing a flock of Magpie sons and nephews fresh from a VFL win across the road. The boys are incredibly well behaved, paying full attention to the footy and barracking with gusto, leaving us to watch the footy and get acquainted. Anyone who has been to the footy with me and my two knows they will get about 10% of my attention between the kids and the footy.

In amongst the kids and the footy Luke has been in Melbourne for the day for his brother-in-law’s unlikely tilt at Goldstein.

Goldstein: Wilson (Lib) 61.8% def Coote (ALP) 38.2%

I think in the end Sam Jacobs did better at Goldstein last round. Nonetheless, Luke is very generous with his attention (he has every beer drinker’s dream job) as the Pies and Blues play out a tight, error infused contest. Carlton can never quite get their run going fluently and clearly miss their captain. Meanwhile, the Pies’ defence stands strong and many of their more maligned players are important. Cloke is effective as a high half forward, Sinclair is damaging running out of contests and James Aish does a few useful things.

I pay particular attention to Aish, trying to work out why his AFL career has not yet blossomed given how good he was as a 15 year old at Norwood. He is the Redlegs’ youngest ever league player, the SANFL’s youngest ever premiership player and the world seemed very much his oceanic mollusc a few years back. At Norwood he was an effective outside midfielder – could get and cleanly dispose of the footy without ever getting tackled. Tonight he’s playing outside, he and Kerridge playing loose off each other.

Time and again Aish runs into space but his teammates almost never look for him. At Norwood they would seek him out. Is that the difference? It reminds me a lot of the lad playing footy – in previous years of Auskick he would always run into good positions but would rarely receive the ball, such are kids. But now he wins his own ball, throwing himself into contests that belie his slender frame. Not sure that’s the AFL solution for Aish, though.

As for Jack Silvagni, the excitement shown by Carlton fans every time he goes near the ball is genuinely thrilling. Almost thrilling enough to forget that the father-son rule has basically been a Victorian rort for the last 25 years. It has all been said already but he moves so much like his dad and looks just as the progeny of his dad and mum should.

I suspect every male attracted Carlton supporting teenager will have number two on their back before too long. Better than having crap on your shoulder, anyway. Young Jack is not keen on holding onto the ball for a second longer than he needs to but who can blame him in the circumstance. The place would have blown up had he nailed that goal.

Collingwood grind out a tough win but given they probably have a less talented list, Collingwood fans definitely leave happy. That said, no one should get too excited about a competition for 11th spot. Nonetheless, Luke and the little Pies wander happily off into the darkness to start the two hour drive home.

Collingwood 8.9 57 def Carlton 6.9 45

Malarkey medal: 3. Pendlebury (Coll), 2. Reid (Coll), 1. Simpson (Carl)

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About Dave Brown

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


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Dave love the Jacobs-Goldstein line.As a fellow redleg well done on being correctly dressed and good to hear of a bays man jeolous of us always warms the heart.As a massive Aish fan( obviously like you the whole family) James was used superbly at the parade I think his defensive skills and footy brain has not been used correctly at afl level enough I remember fondly the role,Bass handed him against the roosters in 2013,playing as a defensive wingman almost as a quarter back also remember the experience and structures were adhered too and he was used correctly just because it is afl footy does not mean it is more advanced than sanfl in fact in that area I think we have been a mile in front of either of the afl sides he has played for it is also forgotten how good,James was at the lions in 2013 when he was unlucky not to win the rising star.Am I biased bloody oath I am I have full confidence in,James to become a v v good afl player.I think while a lot of us over estimated the pies list and that they lack elite kicking skills in particular injuries have hit hard they have enough v good youth to at least be making the 8 and have under achieved of which there should be massive pressure on the coach

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Dave. Always nice to hear/read something good about your own children!
    Love the interaction with Peter the Glenelg fan.
    Throughly enjoyed sitting with you at the footy, hopefully we’ll do it again one day.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hope Carlton weren’t saving themselves for this weekend.

    The hordes converge on the MCG from many directions, unlike Adelaide Oval, but it doesn’t take that long to do a lap of the outside. There’s always something going on.

    In my couple of trips to AO, it seems that most people want to charge in as quickly as they can. Or am I missing something?

  4. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments, folks. Having Collingwood in the eight before the season starts seems to be a national pastime, Rulebook. A lot of people seduced this year by that quarter against Geelong in the preseason. As you say the skills are lacking and I think their forward set up is not quite right.

    Again it was great to meet you in the flesh, Luke. Definitely up for another game sometime.

    Very different grounds, Swish. As you suggest you can circumnavigate the outside of MCG and the separation of the general admission sections from the MCC and the other restricted section are very different to Adelaide Oval’s members and (contiguous and navigable) outer and require getting to the right spot before moving in. By contrast Adelaide Oval, using mostly its southern entrance, with smaller eastern and northern gates and no western access at all almost encourages you to get in as quickly as possible (through the one entrance) and then work out where you’re supposed to be. Guessing Adelaide Oval’s approach is less staff intensive.

  5. Another top read Dave. Coincidently, I went to the corresponding fixture when I was in Melbourne early May. Going to the footy as a neutral is great, and a Carlton and Collingwood match is a worthy option under these circumstances.

    Glenelg supporters pop up in all sorts of places, but I reckon South might be higher on the hatred table than Norwood, based on recent form and given the strife we now traditionally have with ’em (and pretty much every side, truth be told!).

    Looking forward to the next part.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff Dave,
    Sounds like you had an eventful weekend in South East Adelaide. Wish the Pies and Blues could have given you a better standard game to attend. Fizzer. Remind you of someone?

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