Round 18 – Brisbane v Carlton: Football, solitaire and tiny pirates


Brisbane versus Carlton

4.40pm, Sunday, 23 July

The Gabba, Brisbane

Jamie Simmons


We are moved in. Finally.


It means I am now free to produce a match report and with no other worldly distractions, we are Woolloongabba bound.


Mel is taken back by the navy blue oozing out of The Aussie Nash Hotel and spilling out across Stanley Street. “Wow. It’s all Carlton.” She notes.


“Turds of a feather.” I smirk, outwardly pleased with myself. Mel frowns. Not my best work apparently.


The dark blue begins to dilute as we approach the main gate. There is an impressive gathering of young locals adorned with eye patches and bio degradable swords. Today, one is encouraged to “Dress like a pirate and receive free entry”. I’m not across the significance of the theme but, as the only person dressed as Amelia Earhart, it once more reinforces the need for me to pay closer attention to these things.


Yet again Captain Carlton is a no show at The Gabba. I’m beginning to suspect that he may be on the “no-fly” list. We never get to see him up here. Curiously, Captain Chino (a giant coffee cup with no discernible link to football) is on hand to fill the void and lopes around the ground in ironically lethargic fashion. I’m thinking perhaps there’s a Lygon Street connection there someplace. Maybe next year they should look to establish this more clearly by sending up Sue Verlarki, the quirky kebab and her wheezing pal Winnie Red to stand on ceremony. Take note Carlton Marketing. The first one’s free.


Captain Carlton might not have made the trip but their umpires surely did, awarding 3 free kicks in the opening 60 seconds. They’re on pace for a 200+ game at this stage.


The crowd has thickened out nicely and a vaguely familiar buzz is back. I can’t quite remember how long it’s been since I felt the atmosphere this electric but I seem to remember having had a fringe. Clearly, it’s been a while.


Casboult marks powerfully in the pocket, 15 metres out. His team mates all point towards the goals at his end. It worries me a little when you have to remind your forwards how the scoring process works.


I want to like Carlton. I genuinely do. They’ve suffered enough. And what’s not to like about Brendan Bolton’s boyish glee? I want to buy him a Dagwood Dog, hoist him on to my shoulders and walk him around The Fair, pointing and giggling at the attractions as we go. He’s adorable.


They will, however, always manage to offer up a villain before too long to challenge my benevolent nature. Today it’s Petrevski-Seton (which will get you 87 on a triple word score in Scrabble, in case you were wondering). He’s on a mission to antagonise today and he won’t be denied.


I’m loving the Lion’s flare. The play on at all costs, take risks coming out of defence and Carlton are under siege. The momentum is broken only by one of the modern game’s scourges: The Score Review. The ball appears to be a point to Carlton but umpires converge from all points on the compass. One parachutes in, another on horseback. It’s all very dramatic.


Both teams set up for a behind whilst the AFL investigate using multiple camera angles, a sketch artist and a troupe of mystics from The Orient before concluding that they have no idea and go with the original adjudication of a point…yes, that’s right… all this for a POINT! Where deliberation is concerned, these guys make ASADA look efficient.


Carlton have been shell shocked by a Brisbane first-half blitzkrieg. It’s not all bad news. If nothing else, they are beating Dayne Zorko by 5 points at half time.


Lions fans are ecstatic at the main break. Well, most are. An older gent in front of me has played Solitaire on his phone for almost the entire first half. It makes me wonder what it takes to excite a guy like this. I’d ask his wife but her gaunt, lifeless expression tells me she’s out of ideas too.


Kiss Cam on the big screen gets everybody fired up. Solitaire’s wife looks up, wistfully hopeful. Their honeymoon must have been quite the event.


A new look Carlton emerge in the second half. Decidedly more physical and coupled with Brisbane’s tendency to becoming a little too cute with possession, the Blues surge. Then, as previously forecast, it happens. Erupting out of a stoppage, Zorko explodes. Seton-Petrevski, a man who proves once and for all that it is possible to cut your own hair with a vegetable peeler, extracts the response he wants from Zorko. It doesn’t look good on the replay and I fear that Zorko doesn’t have anywhere near enough neck tattoos to protect him from the MRP.


A second angle provides hope. Seton-Petrevski throws his head back in theatrical fashion like he’s riding The Corkscrew at Seaworld. The umpires applaud his performance. Though it had passion, I felt it lacked depth. It was crying out for a Laurence Olivier style monologue delivered to a skull whilst clutching a dagger, to loan the performance more heart. I gave it 2 and a half stars.


Carlton’s resurgence is spirited but appreciatively brief. Captain Beams bends one around his body, deep into the last to calm the nerves of the home crowd and put it beyond doubt.


Many of the pro-Brisbane patrons are forced to abandon ship. It’s a fact of life that miniature Pirates get tired. Several have taken to jumping impatiently on seats and exploring the personal space of complete strangers.


It occurs to me that the last time Brisbane were seriously relevant as a football team, many on our current list were brazen little buccaneers themselves and, no doubt, equally adept at testing mum and dad’s patience in much the same way.


But here we are now and calmer waters abound. With prolonged success breaching the horizon and an able bodied crew aboard it’s all hands on deck. “Hoist the main sail.” And “Ensure all Me Timbers have been shivered”, because we are on our way.


Brisbane  6.1  12.5   13.7   17.10  (112)

Carlton  0.4   3.6   7.13   11.16  (82)



Brisbane- Zorko , D.Beams 3 Hipwood 2, Walker, Mathieson, McCluggage, Cox, Witherden, Lester, Taylor, Rich, Barrett 1

Carlton – Petrevski-Seton, C.Curnow , Wright 2 Casboult, McKay, Cuningham, Graham, Simpson 1


Brisbane– Zorko, D.Beams, Rockliff, Andrews, Mayes, Taylor

Carlton – Kreuzer, Docherty, Jones, Murphy, Wright, Simpson

Umpires: Haussen, O’Gorman, Hay                                                                        Crowd: 18,847

Our Votes: Zorko (B) 3, D.Beams (B) 2, Rockliff (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. John Butler says

    A piece in rollicking style to suit the game, Jamie.

    Lions jumped off at breakneck pace and it took Carlton a half to get up to speed. Second half was riveting.

    Both these teams are ensconced on the bottom at present, but there was enough top young talent on the field to give hope that won’t last for long.

    Re Sammo, I feel your perspective is biased, though your comment re his hairstyle is completely fair.

    Your truly, Turd of a Feather.

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