Round 22 – Brisbane v Geelong: Two Words


Brisbane versus Geelong

2.10pm, Saturday, 17th August

The Gabba, Brisbane

Jamie Simmons


Two words. That’s all it took.


Normally, after such an incredible win I would set straight to work, looking to lend my keen insights into the game’s technical nuances before my inevitable distraction at the hands of crowd behaviour or umpiring whimsies.


Today, I am happy to leave analysis of team structure and strategy to others more qualified and likely to offer fewer grammatical errors than me.


Instead I thought I might just linger here in the euphoria of what Brisbane is becoming as a club. No sweeping statements about premiership glory, no standing over the twitching carcass of the vanquished, chest skyward.


So what prompts such a dramatic realignment of one’s values?


Two words.


Two words from a wife guaranteed to cast any upbeat husband into catatonia.


“Foxtel’s down?”, “Shoe Sale?”, “Mum’s here?!”


No, though all are worthy nominees. Rather: “I’m pregnant!”


I had scarcely mounted the driveway and Mel was out the door.


So…I’m going to help raise a child. For the last two years, I have tried unsuccessfully to raise a lawn! How can I be expected to coach a small human into adulthood? After how many poor seasons can I expect her to offer me the board’s “full support” before moving me on?


“Are you sure you’re the mother?” I reply nervously. Agreed, not my finest moment but she sees the funny side as I peel her from the bonnet of my car.


There will a period of adjustment. I’m used to being the most immature person in the house and now I find out that this status is likely to change, for at least the first two years of the baby’s life anyhow.


It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I asked Mel to make me the happiest man alive. She declined of course, successfully arguing that it was far too wet and windy to be standing up on a roof and holding an aerial in place for 3 hours just so that I could watch the footy.


I married her anyway, shortly after that.


Usual pre-game routines are abandoned in favour of an ultrasound.


A faint, tiny heart beat flutters back at me at around 140 beats per minute. My own catches up shortly thereafter.


We’re only at eight weeks and the cloudy images dancing before me appear to suggest that the baby is mostly head at this stage, confirming my role in this tiny miracle.


Any pre-game anxiety that ever dared to surface is replaced by tranquil reflection.


We’ve caught the bus for this one. A raging torrent of supporters flood across Ipswich Road. It’s exciting for Mel. It’s an atmosphere she’s never experienced before. For five seasons she’s thought it was normal to hear the players cough between goals. Not so today.


This marks the first sell out since April 2010. Just to give that context, in April 2010 Kevin Rudd’s Prime Ministership was fanning frantically at the pungent whiff of rebellion. Instagram was not around (#unbelievable #wtf), the Apple iPad was only a week old and a feisty little volcano in Iceland (Eyjafjallajokull – which got its name from a malfunctioning keyboard) was grounding flights and confusing spellchecks all over Europe.


It’s hardly surprising then that Security is caught napping. The lines in aren’t progressing as fast as we are used to. My guard thoroughly searches a mob of Geelong supporters in front of me. It gives me piece of mind. You can’t be too careful with their kind.


Bemused and slightly confused looking Brisbane supporters mill incoherently inside the gates. The rustling of their paper tickets gives their flexible loyalties away. With the Broncos and Reds not presently dominating, their interest in AFL has suddenly been rekindled. You can tell who the lapsed fans are on sight. When the numbers on their jerseys are in Roman numerals, you know they haven’t been for a while.


The player introductions greet us on entry. My mind wanders.


Eric Hipwood. Eric. You don’t see many Erics around these days. Eric Simmons? With naming a child comes huge responsibility. The baby books provide far too many options. The one Mel bought was as thick as a Twilight novel and marginally more entertaining. I got as far as Adolph and decided there had to be a better way to do this. This will be harder than I thought.  Hugh, Charlie, Harris, and Lachie all parade for consideration on the big screen. What makes this all the more difficult is that Mel is a teacher and the list of taboo names is healthy. Lachie Neale might win a Brownlow but he’ll go voteless with Mel, if we have a boy. As far as she’s concerned Lachie is the guy who eats the glue sticks and wets himself periodically…and he’s the Teacher’s Aid! Don’t even get her started on the students. I think it will work best for everybody if we have ourselves a lovely little girl.


The ball explodes skywards and Neale moves quickly into his new, preferred starting position of face down and bleeding. He’s back quickly enough though. That said, whoever taped him has clearly studied the way I wrap Christmas presents: forcefully and with considerable apathy.


Geelong scurry for the shade at quarter time. It’s not really all that hot. I want to heckle. I want to offer to run them out a cocktail and a banana lounge but I resist calmly. I can’t even find the motivation to question the Umpire’s parentage. Life is good. I’m just too happy to fire up.


I think maybe I’m becoming like one of those pears you buy at Coles. A rock hard exterior and of no practical use for what seems an eternity, before finally starting to soften with the promise of sweetness inside.


I am a little daunted by the road ahead. My own experiences at being fathered weren’t textbook. My father had an overly enthusiastic hands on, fists clenched approach to parenting.


Chris Fagan has cut quite the father-like figure during his tenure so far, nurturing this talented young group. Maybe I could learn something from him.


He has bounced them on his knee and blown on their grazed elbows when they fell for the better part of three seasons now. No doubt he’s handed out his fair share of time outs along the way and steered them away from the evils of modern technology (“No more looking at that Score Review System please, it rots the brain. Now off to bed with you”).


They are ready to go forth into the competition and start pushing some of the other teams off the monkey bars. He must be very proud.


For my own part, I like to think I’ve hit the ground running, having poured considerable time into developing my Dad’s body, proudly sponsored by the good people at Cadbury’s.


I can’t help but imagine, what if they did go all the way in 2019? In Round 1, on Lions TV, I proclaimed to the tens of dozens of fans watching that episode, that Brisbane would go all the way.


Admittedly, not only was tongue planted firmly in cheek but I ensured it was my own cheek for a change. People may be fooled into thinking of me as some form of oracle. A Yoda-like figure. And why not? I already have the haircut, bad posture and carefree fashion sense for the gig.


Financially, it is unlikely that I will be able to be around much for their future games. For one thing, once Mel leaves work, I’ll be far too busy washing windshields down at the traffic lights to watch footy for a while.


I’m Ok with it all. I really am. I’d feel more guilty if they were still sliding toward irrelevance.


I have been there for the hard times, enduring poor form and even worse food for quite some time. A tiny person needs me now and my Lions are all grown up.


They’ll be OK. They’re up on two wheels, wobbling off into a bright, beautiful horizon. I’m so very proud of them but it’s time to let them go.


Even in the final seconds as poor Jack Henry finds himself wearing a Lincoln McCarthy hat, I’m excited but mostly reflective.


I wouldn’t change a thing.


I just have two words of my own now: Brisbane’s back!



Brisbane  1.3  4.8  6.12  10.15   (75)

Geelong  2.2  7.7  8.9  10.14  (74)



Brisbane – Cameron 5 McCluggage, Zorko, Neale, Lyons, McCarthy 1

Geelong   – Miers, Ratugolea 2 Dalhaus, Guthrie, Duncan, Bews, Narkle, Dangerfield 1



Brisbane –  Adams, Lyons, Neale, Cameron, Martin, Zorko

Geelong – Dangerfield, Stewart, Ratugolea, Kelly, Duncan, Ablett


Umpires :  Donlon, Foot, Hosking                                 Crowd:   35,608

Our Votes:  Dangerfield (G) 3, Adams (B) 2, Lyons (B) 1



For more of Jamie’s work, 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.


  1. John Butler says

    Congratulations to you Mel (and Jamie).

    Are you sure you’re not going with Adolph?

    Footy wasn’t bad, either.

  2. Sheer delight watching that match on T V Jamie. Those former Crows, Dangerfield (Geelong) and Cameron (Brisbane) in full flight were simply inspirational. How I wish they were still playing for Adelaide – nuff said.

  3. roger lowrey says

    Great read Jamie. Congratulations on both your news and the footy outcome from a Cat who thought we were over the line with ten minutes to go. You know, Danger kicks that goal and we go to 22 points in front…but alas! Now you come down here and play in a real winter.

    BTW, I luuuved those three other two word suggestions to make a male panic.

  4. New life at 8 tiny weeks. A beating heart. Someone. Brilliant.

    And new life in the Lions.

  5. Great stuff. Thats the 2037 Lions Draft sorted then. It will be gender neutral AFLWMGBTQI by then.

  6. Brilliant. Funny and fantastic. Great news. Special times ahead for you and your footy club, Jamie. I can hardly wait for the match and birth report. That’ll be one for the ages.

  7. Brilliant Jamie v v clever and congrats to !

  8. Jamie, I wrote the following a couple of days ago but it didn’t appear in the Comments for some reason. Anyway, here it is.Fatherhood is such a joy. Heather (Mrs Fisho) and I waited (rather impatiently) for 9 long years after our marriage for baby Karen to arrive. Being present for the birth was amazing (I didn’t faint). Leeanne arrived 2 years later followed by David a year further on. The stork then got the message – our family was complete. Being a parent is the best thing in the world.

    Getting back to the footy, next weekend’s matches are full of interest. Who will sneak into the 8. It probably won’t matter, I believe the team finishing eighth will just be there to make up the numbers, but, then again,should it be the Power who knows what team will turn up – the good, the bad or the ugly.

  9. Dave Brown says

    Hilarious as always, Jamie, and congratulations. As the now former coach of Freo was wont to tweet, “strap yourself in”. I didn’t get to much footy in the years after the arrival of my two. I firmly believe that the people you see who bring a baby to the footy, fluffy earmuffs and all, are proof that we are living in a computer simulation because they can’t possibly be real.

    Your Lions are more than wobbling on two wheels – they are tearing down the road on their three gear dragster with their own footy cards clacking in the rear spokes. Enjoy the ride!

  10. Jamie Simmons says

    What a wonderful bunch of people the Almanac community is. A rich tapestry of characters. Very high on my bucket list is to attend an Almanac lunch down there in the football heartland one day. People say I need to set the bar a little higher. I disagree.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Congrats Mel and Jamie.

    A hard earned tip – when you do take your very young infant to their first game of footy, make sure you know how to fold the pram down properly when you get back to the car. (No, I don’t know how I got it folded and into the car on the way there initially).

  12. Congrats Jamie and Mel. Brilliant.

    And brought to our attention in the most amusing and engaging way. Many a laugh in there. Timely.

    I was feeling pretty nostalgic watching the lead up to the Gabba game on Saturday arvo. Those skies. The Gabba. I could smell the steaks from the Lord Stanley. And then the footy itself.

    And an intriguing game. Much to love about your Lions.

    PS. I wouldn’t bet on the arrival of a child interfering with your maturity status.

  13. Jan courtin says

    Must say I’m excited about the Lions too, Jamie. Have a definite soft spot for them having lived in Brissie for 23 years.
    Such a shame that supporters drop away when teams are going through bad times (especially in non footy states), but hepofully Lions’ fans will find their voice again.
    Keep enjoying their current, pretty amazing success, and keep enjoying the lead up to your first baby! All the very best.

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