Round 15 – Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs: Misadventure was eventually worth it


If you’re a regular reader of my articles you’ll know by now that I travel near and far, here and there and by any and every means possible (well almost, haven’t gone overly old school and gone to a game by boat but don’t rule that out just yet!) This time heading to Cairns for their yearly dose of elite level football was another such occasion where simplicity was thrown out the window. Normal people in my position would just book a flight from my home base to Cairns via Brisbane where almost every flight departs to. But given I’m not normal it shouldn’t be a shock that I took the overnight bus down the Brisbane to ensure I made it to the morning flight to Cairns with plenty of time to spare.


After usual stopovers to ditch luggage, walk to the ground despite a hardy local offering me assistance, and a prematch luncheon (there’s a Hungry Jacks at the DFO outlet close to the ground for those wanting a little Lonely Planet style guide to eating near Cazaly’s,) I had to wait a number of minutes as the lady in the ticket outlet scrambled to actually locate my “upgrade” from the outer City side grass to the lower bowl seating near the Bulldog players race and out of range of the old Gabba stand. The ground is underused at the moment given the main tenant club Manunda Hawks are suspended from the Cairns league for something relating to a forfeit owing to the safety of a player they had recruited last year (details are a bit sketchy, readmission path has been laid out but what it is hasn’t been made public). Still it was a little concerning that the ground was cut up before the start of the main game, even allowing for the academy curtain raiser which I missed thanks to the lunch break. It would also explain why a number of centre bounces would be recalled, for an inspection after the game saw a distinct reverse ridge where the ball would normally be bounced (Moeen Ali would have loved to see that, that’s how deep it was.)


In what would be ideal conditions for many (yet for the prima donnas of the elite competition and the mainstream media they’d complain about the non existent heat), the home team struggled to make an impact for the entire first half. Gold Coast sprung quicker than the dog from the red box in the first at Dapto, and held a decisive advantage at the quarter time break despite losing local hero Charlie Dixon early, probably a victim of the cut up surface. His loss was offset in the second quarter by the hospitalization of Koby Stevens with what was believed to be bruising of the lungs. The sight of him shirtless made some girls drool, the sight on the ground from the Bulldogs despite winning the second quarter would have made some bandwagoners puke.


If a few fans left the ground disgusted at the performance at the interval (information disclosed by the cabbie that ferried me to the Airport at 4:30AM on Monday Morning, I told him I stayed for the $9 Roast Beef and Gravy roll), many may have left the ground at the final change (but certainly not the lass 2 seats down with the oxygen tank and the apparatus attached to the nasal area, now there’s commitment). At one stage the Suns extended the margin to over 6 goals, which was only slightly pegged back to 26 upon the last interval. It really should have been shorter with the Bulldogs dominant for all but the first 5 minutes of the quarter across two thirds of the ground. Regrettably the marking inside the forward 50 was about as useful as a Shane Watson DRS against yet another LBW (almost topical too, Cazaly’s has hosted test cricket in the past). Whilst the Suns showed the greatest respect to Jake Stringer’s abilities by using number 1 defender Steven May as his marker, the remaining forwards spilled mark after mark much like the intoxicated would spill rum and coke after rum and coke (author’s note: CANNED beer and soft drink at this venue, no plastic to be seen). The belief of the traveling army would surely have been tested to the max.


Then in the last quarter came the moment where I knew the Suns were finished. With the margin at 17 points I didn’t fail to notice that the only genuine ruckman that the Suns selected in Tom Nicholls slowly left the ground. He rarely had a spell in the previous week’s game and was probably on top against Will Minson but the lack of speed showed when he left the arena and the time it had taken to massage the lower legs told me they weren’t going so well. Suddenly the run and carry attempted in the previous quarters without major success were coming off to maximum effect. Marks were being held in the forward line, helped by a continuation of the useful disposal shown prior to the spilled grabs in the third term. Long goals set up by decisive ball movement from defence (the skipper leading from the front in this department) brought the 9500 strong crowd (less the Suns fans and corporates in the stand who were as interested as Shane Watson actually NOT reviewing an LBW) to their feet and to maximum volume. Late goals to Dahlhaus and after the siren to Talia (swung forward after some early difficulties in the back half relating to loose checking) and the game was done.


The joy in the Bulldogs became obvious away from the prying eyes of the supporters who were pleasantly surprised to see a 10 goal blast to end proceedings. As for the Suns who exited unnoticed, it’s certainly back to the drawing board and more importantly for them the recovery room if they are to get close to climbing out of the cellar. The future of Cairns as a host city for an AFL match hasn’t been confirmed, but judging by the relatively strong crowd which could even have been better if some empty spaces were filled, let’s hope more footy makes it’s way to the north. If anything the so called gun journalists can then keep on whinging about nothing in particular as usual.


P.S: In attending this game I missed local proceedings back in Rocky. Unfortunately there was a very unsavory incident involving one of our players, a 17 year old kid no less, being allegedly king hit from behind and being hospitalised. It’s sad that a kid who genuinely enjoys the game (and likes playing 2 games on a weekend) isn’t driven away by the actions of someone who hopefully would have shown some remorse upon reflection.





GOLD COAST 11.7.73


DOGS: Redpath 3.2, Stringer 2.1, Talia 2.1, Dahlhaus 2.0, Bontempelli 2.0, Macrae 1.2, Wallis 1.1, Dickson 1.0, T.Boyd 0.1, M.Boyd 0.1, Hunter 0.1
SUNS: Lynch 2.3, Matera 2.0, A.Hall 2.0, Number 9 1.0, Malceski 1.0, Day 1.0, Dixon 1.0, RUSHED 0.3, Miller 0.1


DOGS: Picken, Bontempelli, Murphy, Macrae, Redpath, M.Boyd, Grant
SUNS: Number 9, May, Kolodjashnij, Nicholls, Lynch


1: Number 9 (SUNS)


FIELD: Chris DONLON, Heath RYAN, Jacob MOLLISON (EM: Terry Wallace’s son Brent)
GOAL: Daniel WILSON, Adam WOJCIK (EM: Kumar Dharmasena….or was it really Jason Venkataya)


CROWD: 9,449


PPS: In case you haven’t worked out who number 9 is, I think he has little hair on top, has been recently engaged and has a pretty famous dad who shares his name and played in 4 losing GF’s for Geelong. Don’t know where this Gary Ablett came from…….


About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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