Round 5 – Melbourne v Richmond: First outing to the G as a Melburnian

As it was my first weekend living in Melbourne the opportunity to go to the football presented itself, in the form of the Anzac Day Eve clash between Melbourne and Richmond at the MCG. We were heading to the footy via the bus, something I had never done before.  I was assured this would be quicker and get us closer to the ground than the tram; the stop was closer to our house which was the reason also.


While waiting for the bus in St Kilda to head to the G, my fellow football goers, my sister and her friend were anxious about what lies ahead, both not confident as past (this year and past years) form for both sides has not been great. As we were slowly heading along the route to take us to the G (traffic a nightmare), the bus slowly stated to fill with fellow football goers. As it was a slow journey to the ground our discussion turns to what drinks are going to be had, as my sister does not like beer and the alcoholic options aren’t great. While on the bus, that seemed to be going nowhere, I was on my phone and saw the news that Brett Deledio was not playing, big out for the Tigers as the reliance on him had been substantial over the last few years. As I told my sister the news that Deledio was not player, her confidence took a hit.


Finally arriving to our stop of departure, we got off the bus and joined the hordes of people walking to the ground. Both sets of supporters eagerly discussing what may lie ahead in the hours to come. On the walk to the ground the Demons song was being played on a trumpet by a local busker, which was a nice touch and it was met with cheers by half and boos by the other. We got to the ground and there were people everywhere. There was a queue a mile long to get tickets and into the ground; it was going to be a great crowd and hopefully a great game to go with it. Once our tickets were bought and bags were checked, we made the climb up to level four to find some seats and boy did we find some great seats with a great view of the whole ground.  Before the game at 6:40 the lights went out at the G and the MC for the night told everyone to turn their flashlights on and they did without question, it was a wonderful sight.


The flame from the Shrine of Remembrance then entered into the arena on horseback by Australian soldiers and proceeded to do a lap of the oval. What was great to see was the show of respect by the crowd, who clapped as the flame did the lap. The flame was then handed to parents who had lost their son in service and the cauldron was lit. There was then a minute’s silence, followed by the Last Post and the ceremony finished with the national anthem. Then as soon as the anthem finished there was the roar of the crowd and with that roar you knew it was going to be an electric crowd all night.


So the pre match service had been done and it was time to get the game underway. It was Melbourne who struck the opening blow with a nice goal to Angus Brayshaw and just like that the Melbourne chants had started early. Then the Melbourne fans had more to cheer about as Bernie Vince got their second after Garlett almost took a hanger. The Tigers supporters were starting to get worried, this was clear by the chatter that was going around me. That worry completely disappeared in the space of 10 minutes as Tigers kicked two quick goals. They had hit the lead. The Demons immediately hit back the front through with a goal to the much maligned Jack Watts. The contentious deliberate rule came into question as Dees supporters were shouting deliberate before it actually went out, funny stuff. Jesse Hogan had a shot on goal early and missed which led to a crowd member shout ‘good kick Flinstone!’ After some end to end play and extraordinary turnovers, Melbourne kicked two goals to Garlett and Gawn respectively. This gave the Dees a handy 16 point lead heading into quarter time. So as the quarter time siren went the Demons had a handy lead of 16 points and the Dees supporters stood as one to applaud. On the other hand the Tigers supporters were restless and worried. As the two sides were heading into their respective huddles a couple of Demons players went into the Tigers huddle and a melee began to the oohs and aahs of the crowd. Dees were on top with 5.1 to 2.3.


As the second quarter got underway, the second started like the first with a goal to the Demons. Tigers quickly then nullified that goal with a goal of their own, to the cheer of the Tigers fans. This was followed by two quick goals to the Tigers and the margin had been cut back to four points. The belief and enthusiasm had been restored in the Tigers fans. Then the sides traded goals which had both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats. As it looked like the Tigers were going to score, a chain of handballs by the Demons took the ball from defence to attack and most importantly a goal. Then another and regained the lead of 16 points they had at quarter time. The Tigers did get one back but then the Dees got one straight back and then another, which extends the margin to 22. The second one happening just as the half time siren went. Boy did it get the Demons supporters up and about and on the flip side the Tigers supporters were wondering if it was going to be another disappointing year. So at half time it was the Demons up by 22 and playing the better footy, score was 11.3 to 7.5. So the half time activities begin, with Auskickers running out on the ground to have a kick on the G and as most kids games go there is a pack following the ball around.


As the third quarter got underway the Tigers were still in the game but the first goal was going to be crucial. It was the Tigers who not only got the crucial opening goal of the quarter but the first two opening goals. This reduced the margin back to 9. Tigers had the momentum early but this momentum was halted after a coast to coast goal by the Demons. Then Garlett snaps a goal and heads started to go into hands from Tigers supporters; they feared the worst. The Tigers supporters’ spirits were raised after a couple of quick goals, this reduced the margin under 10 points. The crowd was well into this game cheering every important mark and spoil. Every free kick given and not given was getting a cheer and boo (thanks Razor Ray). Then when it looked like that was all she wrote, the Demons goaled and the Dees’ supporters rose as one. Siren: Dees were up by 16 but the Tigers were no means out of the game, score was 14.7 to 11.9


The last quarter got underway and again the first goal was going to be crucial. It was the Demons who got the all important first and second goal of the last and this put a huge dent in the Tiger’s supporter’s hopes of a comeback. The Tigers did get a goal back quickly which filled the Tigers supporters with some hope. The Tigers then got another and boos rang out around the G (from Dees supporters), I believe that was from a supposed non free kick paid. That was quickly forgotten as the Dees took the ball up their end and scored. As the quarter was going on the chance of a Tigers win was getting less likely. The ball then for the next few minutes or so went up and down the ground. As this was happening my ears diverted to a conversation being had by a group of guys, getting into one guy in their group about not getting a round of beer (bad move mate). Back to the game, the Demons put an end to any chance of a Tigers win with a goal. With that goal a lot of the Tigers supporters had seen enough and they started to file up the aisles, while copping a friendly goodbye from the Dees supporters. Another melee broke out after Watts got wacked in the back of the head by Rance but this wasn’t going to stop the Demon party. The Dees got another couple of goals and with that the trumpet player was out, playing the Demons theme song. So the siren went to the delight of the Demons supporters as they had won by 33 points. It was a good win by the Dees. It was further pain for the Tigers and their supporters, as they were now 1 and 4 and have lost their fourth game in a row.


Then came the task of walking to the tram with the hordes of people, half were happy while the other half was contemplating life as a Tigers supporter. We eventually got to the tram and lucky for us it wasn’t busy at all. It was a good outing to the footy, hopefully the first of many as I now live in Melbourne.

About Nick Weidmann

Former Honours student in Journalism at the University of Tasmania and passionate Essendon supporter

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