Round 19 – Brisbane v Gold Coast: Freedom 21



Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns
3.10pm, Saturday, 24th July
The Gabba, Brisbane


It’s a lonely old drive in for me for this afternoon’s game. Unable to find a babysitter on shorter than normal notice, means that this will be the first time Mel has not accompanied me to a home encounter since she first surrendered to my advances.


I asked around, of course, but met with a parade of dismissive replies that varied mostly between: “I’m busy thanks” and “who are you and how did you get in here?”


Alone with my thoughts and the serenade of FM radio.


Mel is a little despondent. Not because she loves the footy so much but given her vow to always attend games with me. Naturally I too am saddened by her absence. Mostly because her company stops registered healthcare workers asking me: “Are you okay sir?” and “should you be out by yourself?” as I pass.


It does, however, allow me to make an unscheduled stop.


I ran over a small bush a few months back. Not on purpose of course. Where many of my previous violent altercations with shrubberies were motivated by spite or long-standing grievances, this was not personal.


It caused quite the scene at the time. The business owner emerged waving his arms and hurling abuse before I was able to placate him with the promise of a replacement bush.


I decide to check in on its progress.


I spend a good few minutes admiring its glossy foliage and the promise of new shoots. It was a quietly satisfying experience.



Travelling again and George Michael is chirping Freedom 90 through my speakers as I descend Stanley Street toward the Gabba towers. Funny how a song can resonate more within a certain moment in time. Freedom. Yes George, the sentiment is not lost on me.


Half the nation is in lockdown and with large, angry hordes taking to the streets in Sydney, how do I not ponder the big question:


Whatever happened to Andrew Ridgeley?


That one aside, once deprivation of liberty is raised you just know the inevitable comparisons online to Germany and a certain Austrian born despot are destined to surface. It defies comprehension.


Okay sure, there was that whole obsession with genocide thing he had going on but did he ever encroach upon anyone’s desire to pop out for a wheatgrass smoothie? I think not!


That said, my grandmother grew up in Nazi Germany. I heard the stories and it wasn’t all low-carb beer and skittles, let me tell you. She’s not around to ask any more but I’m tipping she’d be leaning marginally toward Australia’s version of fascism.


If I were commissioned to sit down with community leaders and draft ideas for my own pandemic, this would probably be it.


I’d make my demands for an end to any meaningful contact with humanity. The other factions would nod suspiciously before countering with their desire for me to obscure my facial features.


“Deal!” we’d say. Then we’d touch elbows at the door and exit quietly.


It’s a good crowd for a nervous public attending a Gold Coast game on short notice.


I start the game the way I start every home game: with the foot of the bloke behind me wedged between the L4 and L5 vertebrae in my spine.


Normally I just turn and stare in tortured silence until he acknowledges the situation but this whole mask business has filled me with bravado. “Any chance you could remove your foot from ass before the game starts?” I enquire.


I was genuinely proud of Queenslanders on the walk in. We were sufficiently masked up to the very last man. Well done us I thought, until it came time to sit.


The PA system spruiked regular reminders that only those eating or drinking should have their masks off. Keeping your mask on, even whilst sitting, is no big deal. I filled mine with Doritos before leaving home, so I’m good to go but apparently we think all viruses will be stopped at the gate. Granted I think I saw security frogmarching a ticket-less Dengue Fever off the premises earlier but there’s only so much they can do.


I saw many patrons opting to sit long periods with near empty glasses and bottles in hand to avoid putting their masks back on. They must be so proud. These are the same criminal masterminds that incessantly press the button at traffic lights, convinced it makes them change faster.


It saddens me a little. George Michael would be appalled. This was not the vision he had for us.


As has become my custom with reporting on football games, I have neglected to mention the actual game itself. So, a few observations:


  • Our set shot kicking has not improved.
  • Matt Rowell is an immaculately presented footballer. He simply does not crease or wrinkle.
  • Joe Daniher is allergic to the conventional.
  • Mitch Robinson’s head constantly cascades with blood. It’s like chocolate pouring out of one of those fondue fountains. I’d want to dab at him with little wafers as he walked past.
  • In the argument of “who benefitted more from the Ainsworth v McCluggage draft?” the answer is nobody. Both are fine players and equally enjoyable to watch.
  • Isaac Rankine has talent to burn but no matches. He simply doesn’t work hard enough or doesn’t want to be there.
  • In an age where everybody wants to kick around the corner, a well-executed torpedo is a thing of unparalleled beauty.


As I jostle my way out with the departing throng, I pre-emptively spy a couple of old football teammates and come to realise the best thing about masking up (apart from allowing me to indulge my passion for not flossing) is total anonymity. It means not having to take evasive action from anyone likely to want to recognise me (loan sharks mostly).


I simply affect my best James Dean, hunching over with hands in pockets, and shimmy past. Not that there would have been much to talk about these days anyway:


“So Igor…what have you been up to lately?”


“Ummm…killed a bush. You?”


Brisbane:   2.4    4.9   9.14   17.18 (120)
Gold Coast:  3.3   9.6    9.8   10.11 (71)



Brisbane – McCarthy 4 Cameron, Daniher 3 Ah Chee, Robinson 2 McStay, Neale, Zorko
Gold Coast  –  King, Corbett 3 Ainsworth, Rowell, Sexton, Sharp



Brisbane –  McCluggage, McInerney, McCarthy, Lyons, Robinson, Andrews
Gold Coast – Fiorini, Miller, Sharp, Ainsworth, Lukosius


Umpires:       Whetton, Dore, Mollison


Crowd:   16,660


Our Votes:  H.McCluggage (B) 3, B.Fiorini (GC) 2, O.McInerney (B) 1


For more from Jamie, click HERE.


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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.

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