Round 20 – Brisbane v North Melbourne: Eat, Pray, Spew

Brisbane v North Melbourne

2.10pm, Saturday August 4

The Gabba




Don’t eat the pies at the footy.



In recent correspondence I have documented my struggle with advancing weight issues. I’m pleased to say that I have made steady progress since then. I’ve lost a few kilos and am I’m back to the point where I’m, once again, comfortable seeing myself naked in the mirror. The people who ride the elevator with me aren’t as supportive but screw them, they can take the stairs.



This has been achieved largely through positive eating choices, until today at least, where I have failed in the worst possible way.



I would formally like to blame Queensland Police for today’s appalling culinary choice. I spent a significant portion of game day morning on a phone call with local constabulary, informing me that I’m now, effectively, a fugitive. An indiscretion from 6 months ago, where I have failed to be charged for fuel, now sees me firmly entrenched inside The Redlands’ most wanted list. (Second only to Cleveland’s serial newspaper thief whose reign of terror continues).



It’s not exactly my first bout of persecution at the hands of local authority.



I mean, you can write “wash me” on the back of a dirty car and it’s, apparently, a moment of comedic genius, but do it on the forehead of an woman wearing too much make up and suddenly you’re a menace to society. Nanny state.



Anyway, I suppose I could just pay the outstanding amount but life on the lam holds a certain appeal for me. I could quite easily see myself holding down a permanent bushranger position, living a life of subsistence on grubs, wild berries and Tandoori chicken (our reserve backs onto a shopping complex that has quite a nice little food court).



Slamming the phone down as best one can with a mobile, an hour and a half later, we are somewhat limited in our pre-game dining choices and I grab the first advertised food I see on arrival.



Withered by yet another trip around the sun, two heritage listed pies blink back at me at me from an equally tired looking oven. You just know that some indulgences are going to cost you going in, like the midnight kebab, but the nagging cry of hunger inevitably cancels out any capacity for rationality you may have once boasted.



The use-by dates are written in Roman numerals and the serving suggestion has a gloved hand placing it calmly into a Biohazard bin but “Bag ‘em up” I say to a disinterested attendant, I’m going to eat them anyway.



At least the footy provides a pleasant distraction from what I’m attempting to ingest. We don’t touch the ball early. North are slick. So much better than I ever gave them credit for. It’s pinball football. End to end stuff that is open and entertaining. The version we all grew up loving where nary a rule change was considered.



Nobody really knows what goes into the game day pie but it’s a fair chance that no animals were hurt during the making of this one, well none with four or fewer legs anyway. All tastefully garnished with nothing but the freshest preservatives.



I consider the second pie noticeably better but that’s only because I get 3 bites in before I realise I haven’t removed the wrapper.



Majak is standing tall early for North. Greatly improved, he glistens in the unseasonal warmth. His sculpted chassis is equal parts impressive and intimidating. It makes me consider swearing off nudity altogether. There will likely be no outcry over this.



The biggest ongoing threat to our enjoyment at home games this year has been, what I like to call The Perpetual Family. A constantly moving tribe of about eight who ritualistically file past us, multiple times a quarter, at every single game. This will dictate a change of seating for us next year. We will especially miss the way they stagger their returns instead of favouring a more coordinated reappearance.



They’re on the move again and I am forced to swivel quickly, forgetting momentarily about the chocolate Twirl placed on the seat between my thighs. The only guarantee I had to eat anything remotely satisfying is gone, pancaked to the underside of my pants and officially inedible.



We will miss the family to our immediate right though. Young Darcy, all of about 3 has started finding his voice, employing terms like: “Kick it Mr Beams” and “What are they doing?” with endearing confidence. He’s already more entertaining and informed than Roaming Brian and although he fades fast, he sees more of every game than the annoying nomadic clan that are slowly filtering their way back across my view once more.



It’s officially hot. We’ve hit the forecast 27 degrees. The pale Ben Brown wisely hugs the shadows of the stands, wherever possible. There’s something oddly hypnotic about his movements. He’s like a lava lamp with curls. If he brandished a tambourine I fear I would gladly follow him, chanting and singing around a commune. Or maybe that’s just the talk of a man with two ancient pies entering his bloodstream talking.



Rayner lands a measured bomb from outside fifty. If we’re talking hairstyles he has one uniquely his own too. It’s too wide to claim Mohawk status and a little more like somebody draped a dashmat across his head but I seriously love watching this kid play.



The Perpetuals begin their migration back out across our view once more. This should see them back in time to properly enjoy the half time break.



A beautiful synergy is developing between Ziebell and Razor Ray. Jack merely suggests free kicks and Ray whistles in compliance. No prizes for guessing who’s wearing the shorts in that relationship.



Andrews looks steady under the high ball, which is a pleasing development.



Mitch Robinson nearly has his head harvested and gets nothing from Razor. Ziebell coughs politely and Razor responds accordingly. If he keeps this level of corruption up, expect Ray to be cycling for Team Sky in the Tour de France before long.



I’m getting fired up but the sudden realisation that in doing so, I just spat on the young kid in front of me, brings me back to earth. Perhaps nobody else noticed. Doubtful, it wasn’t just a light dusting. This thing had some serious mass, maybe its own personality, it was big. The kid looks skyward for the anonymous source of precipitation. I affect the blank, clueless visage of perfect innocence that I have offered many a magistrate over the years. I think he bought it.



Needing to cool down, I demolish the water bottle next to me.



Mel points calmly to what have now been revealed as our two bottles on her side. Excellent. It’s not enough I’ve got petrified pastry, commando crawling through my digestive tract or that I’ve taken to spraying innocent children with saliva like some senile puff adder, I’m now ingesting the dribble of a complete stranger. I may as well have French kissed the owner. They must surely have seen me. It’s just another reason to keep looking straight ahead, your honour.



Majak continues to lurch defiantly over every contest. Lower the eyes boys!



The moistened kid in front of me has not returned after half time. Hopefully he’ll consider getting himself scotch guarded for future games.



Brown continues leading hard, arms flailing like a scarecrow but Gardiner has the honours so far. The Ben Brown run up is quite something to behold. Few would consider such a long run up, not without at least two drink stations along the way.



The Big O leaps, his fingertips nudging the stratosphere, plucking a timely grab. He’s fast becoming a fan favourite. He improves every game, but he’s not quick. I’ve seen continents drift faster than Oscar on the lead. He goals! The tide is turning! My stomach along with it. This is going to be touch and go. It’s probably a good thing that kid moved or he might be combing pie shards out of his hair for a week.



The competing roar of the crowd and my intestines have reached parity.



The Perpetuals herd past us one more time. Today has been the best 12 minutes of footy they’ve ever seen.



It’s been high tempo, high pressure footy and it’s bloody fantastic but the whistle threatens to ruin a great contest. Razor Ray is at his melodic best. He forgets himself at one point and starts playing the North Melbourne club song.



Rayner misses at the death and North are home! We’ve learnt to become upbeat in defeat. The young man laments his lost chance but Fagan moves quickly to offer a father’s embrace. It’s beautiful vision. One day soon he’ll be embraced for different reasons.



I too, as the sweats give way to hallucinations, long to be held, preferably by somebody in a St Johns uniform. I am unable to document much beyond that point. I vaguely recall an argument with a talking tree on the way out but am now at a loss to identify whose car that is in my driveway this morning, though I expect a call from my good friends at Queensland Police will clear that up soon enough.



Seriously, don’t eat the pies at the footy.




BRISBANE                          6.0   9.2   13.4   16.8 (104)

NORTH MELBOURNE    5.1   12.6  14.9  16.11 (107)




Brisbane – McCluggage 3 Rayner, Robinson, Mathieson, McInerney, Zorko 2 Hipwood, Taylor,

Christensen 1

North Melbourne  – Ziebell 3 Walker, Atley, Waite, Turner 2 Cunnington, Hrovat, Wood, Simpkin, Brown 1


Brisbane –  McCluggage, Gardiner, Zorko, Berry, Andrews, Beams

North Melbourne – Dumont, Daw, Simpkin, Ziebell, Anderson, Cunnington

Crowd: 18,395

Our Votes: Dumont (3), McCluggage (2), Daw (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. Mark Duffett says

    Loved this! I can add a corollary, never be tempted by the pasties going for a dollar a pop at the end of the game when leaving Norwood Oval (I steadfastly maintain that any intake of the sponsor’s liquid product that may or may not have occurred had nothing to do with what ensued).

  2. Jamie- I do love a story featuring pies, police and Razor. Don’t we all? Yet again you’ve invested a mere game of football with light and welcome absurdity.


  3. Dave Brown says

    Hilarious as always, Jamie. The good footy times at the Gabba aren’t too far away – most entertaining team to watch in the comp at the moment.

  4. A most enjoyable read!!

  5. Very well played, J Simmons.

    I’ll take the stairs.

  6. I was there Jamie. Enjoyed your funny and true description of the participants. I think the Perpetuals were sitting in my row when vacant from yours. I generally avoid all indigestibles at the Gabba unless desperate. The first bite of the pie usually results in a large blister on the roof of my mouth, distracted for the rest of the game as my tongue plays with the flaking skin. I guess we should be grateful that we only see Razor once or twice a year up here. Looking forward to the Weagles.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’m not worthy Jamie.

    Are there still local bakertorial variants available up there at the Gabba or has SEQ been colonised by the Official Footy Pie to the AFL?

  8. Cameron Bennett says

    Thanks for a great read
    The Bakery across the road (diagonally across from gate 2 ) does very nice pies.
    Although i was there supporting the enemy on this occasion i am enjoying watching the development of this Lions side.Finally some good news for Qld footy seems just around the corner.

  9. Jamie- just a minor suggestion for your next report to ensure you insert a reference to Hugh McCluggage, owner of sport’s best handle since Windies cricketer Barrington St Aubyn Browne.


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