Round 5 – Western Bulldogs v Brisbane: How much is enough

 

How much is enough.

Round 5 Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions

Docklands – 22 April 2017

 

by Damien O’Mahoney

 

About this time last year I was at Docklands when Bob got hurt, and I thought then, about what footballers give up to do what they do.  I haven’t played much football in my life. A short stint in my mid twenties in the reserves at the Seddon Football Club was as far as I got. I was coaxed down by some friends from work who were involved in the club. As it turns out it was the last year as the Seddon Hawks before they packed it up and moved down the road to merge with arch rivals Yarraville.

 

I didn’t give anything up to play footy, and I know nothing of the sacrifices that professional footballers make, but you hear about it from time to time. My friends and I worked locally to the Seddon Football Club at the time, in a profession shared with some great footballers, Jack Dyer, Rex Hunt, Emmet Dunne and probably most famously, Allan Jeans. The link between cops and football is pretty obvious, a close knit group relying on each other at every moment to achieve a common goal, leadership being paramount. A little bit of personal sacrifice as well I reckon.

 

The job revolves around shift work so I miss out on things from time to time. Weddings, Birthday Parties, anything that happens when most people have a day off. Bob Murphy seems like a bloke who has sacrificed things he would like to be doing to play football. I could see him following a band on a tour around Australia, or playing in one for that matter. He must love football. Being on night shift in the week leading into Bob’s 300th game I thought I could make a small sacrifice, of sleep, to go and watch him play.

 

I’d missed out on Round 1 which stung a bit. I’m lucky enough that the good lady wife can roll date night into Friday night football. Round 1 was Dogs versus Collingwood at the ‘G which meant big plans for a meal in the cricket club and balcony seats on the wing. Sure enough, at the end of my day shift, some knucklehead drives a stolen car from Geelong to Oakleigh and I get swept into the chase. When I looked at my watch and it read 5.30pm and I’m standing in Poath Road surrounded by blue and white tape I knew I’d never make the footy, or the date. Not many people can simultaneously stand up their wife and football team.

 

Round 5 was a different story. The day shift turned up at a reasonable time which allowed me to get home and put my head down for a few hours. I planned with the young brother in law to get the public transport to the game at about lunch time. The 232 bus from Altona Gate didn’t let us down and we walked in just in time to hear a classic You Am I song belting out over the loudspeaker, this was indeed Bob’s day.

 

The game itself was like a You Am I gig from the early days. At the start I thought they might have turned up a bit too drunk to play. But the finish was mighty, everyone chipping in and working off each other to play like champions.

 

The Lions were paying well and they were scoring nearly every time they were near the goal in the first half. Eric Hipwood, who looks like a taller, skinnier version of Rafa Nadal, was hurting us deep. Dayne Beams and Tom Rockliff got the ball over and over again and knew how to use it.

 

The Bulldogs kicked poorly, three goals seven and a few on the full in the first quarter was frustrating everyone. The second quarter dried up completely and the Lions pushed on. They kicked twelve in the half and it looked like the Dogs were off beat.

 

Bob was asked on television during the week who his favourite team mate had been during his career. He answered in two. Close mate and the peoples beard Ben Hudson was one, it sounded like Ben looked after Bob and a few others on the footy field. Luke Dahlhaus was the other one, which surprised me.

 

Dahlhaus showed us why today. He ran at every contest like his body didn’t matter. He tackled like he wanted to destroy the world. And then he kicked a difficult late goal on a day when easy goals were made to look impossible. He wasn’t alone in the second half, something had clearly been said about finishing the game in a certain way.

 

The Bulldogs won the game, comfortably in the end. As my daughter rested her head in my lap in the last quarter, Jakey Stringer ran into an open goal to seal the game and I thought about what we’d given up to be there. Not much really, a bus ride on little sleep to see my team win. Easy as.

 

Damien O’Mahoney is a graduate of Deakin University: B.A. (Police Studies and Criminology)

 

 

Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says:

    Really enjoyed your article. A local person talking about his local team. Your details of fitting in shift-work with going to the footy reminded me of the players during the thirties, forties and fifties. They had to put in a Saturday morning’s hard yakka before they played footy in the afternoon.
    One other famous resident from Seddon, Charlie Sutton, used to turn up to training (not sure about match day ) in the work vehicle. His horse and cart.
    I hope you can get to some of the VFL matches at Whitten Oval depending on your work-shifts…and study if you are you still involved.
    It’s great to read stories from new Bulldog writers after the premiership.

  2. damienomahoney says:

    Thanks Neil. We try and get to the Western Oval as much as we can during the year. I love taking the kids there, much more than the Docklands, and seeing two VFL flags raised in two years has only drawn us in further.
    Thanks for your kind words.

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