Round 2 – The View from Shepparton: MCG classic makes up for missed Gabba glory

by Peter Schumacher

What a great round of footy we have just observed, well most of us. For me, after all of my moaning and complaining about delayed telecasts, the Gabba seemingly in outer space somewhere with no communication to or from, here was a live direct telecast and broadcast.”And guess what”? as our fearless leader is apt to ask, I had to miss nearly all of it even though I was home and had TV sets ready to go. And why? I had guests from overseas, a bloke I had been communicating with for 14 years, and his wife, both whom my wife and I met for the first time on Maundy Thursday, NOT “Easter Thursday” as some wish to title it. To be fair I had been looking forward to this meeting for some years and it exceeded all of our expectations. They were fantastic guests and lovely people. Sadly though Filipinos are not really into AFL so it took me all night to say “I’ve got to watch some football, my team is playing”, so I only viewed the last 15 minutes or so.

Thus I missed most of Brown’s 7 goals, Brennan’s blinder, why oh why when he has just struck form does he have to go and get himself suspended? I missed Carlton’s third quarter 7 goal fightback and Brisbane’s counter insurgency, started by a Brown bomb from outside of 50 metres. I did see his goal from the boundary which levelled the scores. The game these days is so much a matter of seconds, none better illustrated than the turnover which resulted in the Simon Black goal. As for Carlton, they can play, losing at the Gabba is no disgrace and they could well have run away with it once they gained the momentum in the third term.

My wife and I made a last minute decision to go to the Collingwood-Melbourne game, and it what a superb match it was, played at almost a frantic pace throughout. Melbourne’s endeavour, tackling, and yes, skills, and will to play on at all costs should have won them the game. They showed real guts to fight back even when they had lost the lead and the momentum in the third quarter. And Bail’s last second run around the half forward flank and kick into goal only to have the ball not marked was the most exciting passage of football I have seen in the last ten years.  I had pencilled in a 75 point win to Collingwood, my wife 40. As I have observed on other occasions I do not go to anywhere near enough matches and hence have trouble identifying many players, particularly those playing for Melbourne who are household names, at least in the eyes of their supporters. Even as the teams were having a run around before their “official” entrances to the ground I thought that Melbourne looked pretty sharp to me. A couple of things stood out, a great mark by Anthony seemingly running away from the ball as he juggled the ball in front of him as it came over his shoulder. He goaled from this. Petterd took what I reckon was the mark of the day in which he ran flat out to a quickly dropping ball and just grabbed a slips catch type of mark at centre half forward. I thought that though he made some errors in disposal O’Brien was a joy to watch, Neon Leon flashed in and out of the play. Green played well in his milestone game although he did miss a gettable shot from about 40 metres out, on an angle in the third quarter. The match was one for the memory. Had Melbourne got up I would have purchased the DVD to reinforce that memory particularly given that my wife and I found ourselves in a nest of a carping Collingwood crowd consistently cursing correct umpiring decisions.

The West Coast Eagles have not got off to a brilliant start but the season is only young yet. Nick  Naitanui is an absolute gun, even though he has only played twelve matches he seems to have the future at his feet. Have to hand it to the Power though, not many sides win over there and they did reel in a large, (in the context of the game), deficit in the last quarter to do so. Can’t say that I would want Mark Williams to be my fitness coach though. Westhoff looked OK, I had always thought that he was too slightly built to be a success in the AFL.

Because of my leftist tendencies I like to read of those who can inspire success by reason rather than ranting, thus I was encouraged by an opinion piece I think in the Herald Sun in which Brad Scott talked up this approach. My wife observed somewhat cynically that in the real world sometimes a direct confrontation has better results. I have to admit that what ever it is that Mr Scott is doing at the moment it didn’t look too flash at that 10 goal to zip scoreline. I suppose that the real test of character and judgement is to know how and when to reassess previous philosophies. St Kilda with Saint Nick in form look pretty OK at this stage.

Do we dare to hope that at last Freo have arrived? They made Essendon look  ordinary but then that might be par for most sides who play the Dons this year.  Barlow, who used to play for the Shepparton Swans, remember? might have already obtained 6 Brownlow votes. Pavlic is another player how is overdue to see his club do really well..

Sydney won well against Adelaide. I am fast losing faith in my ability to pick the final ladder, I had the Crows going top this year, more likely bottom I would say, no skills, no confidence, no anything. Sydney won easily, they are so good at recycling players, McGlynn being the latest example where as Adelaide seem to be content with what they have. Contrast their lack of recruitment with Brisbane’s as well.

Richmond are the same old Richmond, were thrashed by the Western Bulldogs.

I though that Hawthorn had Geelong, but no, the latter were too good. The game next week with Sandilands and Ottens squaring off should be a ripper. I think that Hawthorn look OK really but Geelong still look like the team to beat.

So glad to be living in Australia where we can enjoy the best code of footy that exists.

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer


  1. Great stuff, Peter. The pain of having to miss your team play because of a family/friend commitments is difficult (as I will find out next week, when I attend the wedding of an unnamed Almanacker who will be having the reception while my Doggies take on your Lions at the ‘Gabba).

  2. Finding yourself “in a nest of a carping Collingwood crowd consistently cursing correct umpiring decisions” is par for the course at any Collingwood match I would have thought!

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