Round 17 – A tale of two AFL venues: ES and SO

Round 17
Saturday 25th July 2015


Like the glassy playfield of a pinball machine the pill is flipped and ramped from end to end in a scoring frenzy at Etihad Stadium (ES). In orbits, ricochets and glances the Sherrin inevitably drains towards the goals while spectators sit in theatre-view seats oblivious to the weather outside the Docklands ‘cabinet’. Flashing lights illuminate the backglass around the arcade boundary and ding sounds reverberate. Silky skills are on show: mark > play on > handball > kick to a hit-up target on the run or slingshot it long > mark > kick > goal. Hardly a bumper in sight in the modern game, even stoppers struggle to ply their trade tonight. And as targets are hit with precision and kickers amass goals, it seems as though both teams are winning. Scores are level at three-quarter time. It appears the only blemishes come from the men in lorikeet-green with their occasional skew-wiff centre bounces, legally recalled and re-popped, well mostly! “Should be a TILT against the umpies” the Bombers crowd roar in disgust. Wingard the Wizard kicks a crucial steadying goal around the alley and when the score reviews are completed Port are in front on the final siren. The Power have accumulated the most points in a pulsating goal feast.

and Day

Like the footy grounds of old, the wind whistles between and straight over the low stands fanning the field of play as papers fly at StarTrack Oval (SO). Toby Greene starts proceedings with an innovative method: shrug off two opponents, turn away from the big sticks and kick it over your head, goal! More often supporters watch expectantly as the pig skin floats across the face of goal and flies out on the full or drops suddenly into the arms of an unsuspecting loose man. Defenders stare quizzically at one another with how-did-that-happen looks on their faces. The fortuitous forward converts the set shot from a tight angle only metres out. The breeze seems to favour neither end, yet the losing side may console itself in the knowledge that “we kicked against the wind for four quarters”. Attendants in the old MCG scoreboard fidget in the crisp Canberra air with little to do apart from racking up the Cats’ behinds. Only Big Tom Hawkins has the goals squarely in his sights and the wind subdued, kicking five match-winning ‘sausage rolls’. When the final siren blasts, the Kardinia Cats, not unfamiliar with today’s tricky conditions, run to the sheds for hot showers while the vanquished Giants could be excused for dreaming of a high scoring indoor game sometime soon.


Night: Port Adelaide 20.9 (129) defeated Essendon 17. 14 (116)

and Day: Geelong 9.15 (69) defeated GWS 6.6 (42)


About Peter Clark

is a lifetime Geelong supporter. Hailing from the Riverina, he is now entrenched on the NSW South Coast. His passion for footy was ignited by attending Ovens and Murray League matches in the 1960's with his father. After years of watching, playing and coaching, now it is time for some serious writing about his favourite subjects… footy, especially country footy, and cricket.


  1. Commentators on the Canberra game have tended to view it through the lens of what is possible at ES.

    Sitting near the goal at the Cathedral end it was amazing what the wind did with the ball once it got any elevation. Looking at kicking down at the other end the cross movement was amazing. Hawkins deserves more praise than he got for a 5 goals one behind result under the conditions.

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