Round 21 – Hawthorn v Geelong: Reporting Antisocial Behaviour


A disagreeable chill sweeps rain across Birrarung Marr and underneath umbrellas. A perfect day for antisocial football. A king-hit behind play set the cantankerous tone last round. Though, it looked more like an undercut gone-wrong to me.


I fully endorse issuing red cards – for journalists (and sundry knee-jerking commentators).


There are many times I would’ve happily red-carded the AFL as well.


Fittingly, the Cats battle the unsociable Hawks today. A neighbour-favour allows last minute attendance.


Top tier at the ‘G goes me. Where, by now, a blinding sun pierces from above the MCC members stand, shadowing privilege. My slice of terrace is soon surrounded by a large flock of Hawk fans intent on raucous ramblings.


While a ground-level spruiker commands attention and a microphone, and makes a lot of noise trying to get the crowd to make a lot of noise.


He then turns attention to something called Late Cam and superfluously, desperately, exposes tardy fans searching for a seat. No spectator being ‘camed’ appears to be aware of it.


Behind, speakers proceed to bellow out Benatar’s “All Fired Up” – a golden oldie I disliked the first time around. I only want to know if this mob of Moggies will live and learn from their mistakes.


The non-stop entertainment serves its purpose of suppressing any possible moment for quiet reflection, or conversation, but it is eventually interrupted by the start of a football match.


From the high-up view, today, time and space appears more available than the scrappy footy suggests. We finally break the goal-impasse half way through the first quarter. I have grouched ad infinitum about the Cats’ over-possessing, handball game, so only head-shake now when we break free from centre-bounces with time to kick but, instead, handpass to a teammate under the hammer. Turnovers. Minds aren’t right, again.


Sometimes, though, we do handball because we’re under pressure.


We control the first stanza, but don’t do enough with it. Then it’s the Hawks turn – they’re more effective. And get in our faces.


Hostile hawk fans, meanwhile, boo anyone and everything not gold and brown.


The umps disrespect with decision-making – soft frees are paid, genuine ones let go, marks not awarded, taps deemed throws, and throws called handballs. It irks, regardless of which team is on the receiving end.


Especially on antisocial days.


Half time allows the resumption of ‘entertainment’. The Auskickers should be enough.


When the scoreboard displays a phone number for dobbing-in anti-social behaviour I’m tempted to report ground management for the disruptive decibels now pummelling eardrums.


Anyone got a red card?


Instead, I descend to food outlets and, with a mind not right, select a pie from the display – it’s soggy underneath, crusty on top and blistering inside. I testily douse it in dead horse. (I’m aware of the irony).


And move to quieter seats.


In the third quarter, we show temporary promise, fumble, grub and misdirect – there’s little semblance of system. Though, I’m perfectly okay about blitzkrieg football, if that’s what we really intend (Chris Scott has the media conned and cowed? He’s way too clever and evasive for their predictable parries).


I’m about to give-up on errant felines when we launch a comeback that quiets squawkers and offers belated bliss. Tom H. can bring us within a goal. His shot is astray. Last chance saloon. Again, we play badly, but nearly win.


On the footbridge leading back to Birrarung Marr, inconsiderate showers turn to hail with crabby consternation, but don’t drown out the Federation Bells chiming “We’re a happy team at Hawthorn…”.


I beeline for V-line.


The train service is agreeable these days, having recovered from neo-liberal neglect.


I parle with affable fellow-passenger, John, who reveals he played a few games for Collingwood, but many more for Wycheproof, including back-to-back and a coach called Rose (not the Bob one). A successful farmer, he’s retired and now living in Geelong. A man of many stories about the Australian Wheat Board demise, drought, Mt Wycheproof and bush poets.


Setting sol soothes through denim skies.

About Paul Spinks

I have writing published and performed in various mediums, but usually not enough of it to pay the rent. Had many jobs, travelled a lot, so I think this experience allows a broad perception of society. I'm not an academic, though did complete a BA as a mature-age student. Below are links to some published written pieces.


  1. A nice write-up, Paul. Cheers

  2. Mark Duffett says

    Bit of a bake for Pie Girl there, hope she’s onto her staff with the customer feedback – though in fairness, there may well be those who like their pies as described

  3. Paul Spinks says

    Thanks, Smokie, much appreciated.

    Ha. Not Pie Girl’s fault, Mark. Shoulda known better than to pick one that had been sitting on the bottom of the tray. I’ll try to improve me pie awareness at training.

  4. Just wondering if the denim skies were acid-wash, Paul?

  5. Paul Spinks says

    Spot on, Froggy. Bleached with white substance.

  6. If the cats continue to go round and round into traffic aimlessly then I am afraid for my sanity and safety. My spouse is itching to inflict some domage on the nearest piece of furniture when the cats do this. Kick the damn ball.

  7. Paul Spinks says

    Gauge501: I reckon your spouse might’ve been ready to let fly in the first Q against Freo, but happy with the Cats’ directness after that.

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