Round 6 – North Melbourne v Richmond: Thwarted in Hobart – why Smokie Dawson kept his boots on

Dirty Weekend

North Melbourne versus Richmond

1.45pm, Saturday, 9 May

Blundstone Arena, Hobart


My initial plans for a weekend away in Hobart with my wife Marg were simple: a little sightseeing, a game of footy, and then a romantic dinner followed by some cosying up in front of an open fire, after which nature would inevitably take its course. Or so I had hoped. When the missus asked our youngest son Luke if we would like to join us – and he jumped at the chance – all thoughts of a good old-fashioned pre-children dirty weekend were set aside.

In truth, Luke is an excellent travelling companion, possessing the rare ability – for a 16 year-old – to sense the moments to be serious, funny, or sarcastic. He has a knack for lightening the mood with a witty comment, and is genuinely excited to be visiting Hobart for the first time. Following the brief flight, the three of us settle into our digs then venture out to the docks and Salamanca, where we share a wonderful match-eve dinner at a Greek restaurant. The entire area is buzzing with tourists decked out in their teams’ colours, and it’s quite evident that the yellow and black of the Tigers is predominant.

The next morning, Luke and I set off early for Bellerive to ensure we can find a parking spot close to the famous Blundstone Arena. Even though I booked our tickets the day after they went on sale, I was unable to secure two seats in the same bay – let alone adjacent to each other. I have a perfect view up high in the Ponting Stand, while Luke is not unhappy to be down near the fence. It is almost as the ground is being dragged into a future it is unsure it wants to be a part of: the hill in the outer, with its well signposted “Dry” and “Wet” Areas, retain a delightful rural charm, while the new stand is an impressively modern structure. It’s a nice combination of rustic old Australia with all its character and functional new Australia with its nod to comfort.

It’s all so very Tassie as well. Even the name: Blundstone Arena. They’re an old Tassie company. I spend my work week in my Blunnies, and have for years. They’re like old friends.

Smokie Blundstones

The Smokie Dawson work boots: Blunnies

It is a perfect day for football, slightly overcast with not a breath of wind. Which makes the appalling number of basic skill errors in the first half – by both teams – unfathomable. Targets are missed by hand and foot, marks are regularly spilled, and hand-ball receives juggled and fumbled. The Tiger fan next to me mutters “these two teams are in a different league to Fremantle”. And there is plenty of truth in his comment. Boomer’s long goal after the half-time siren is probably the highlight of an even, but underwhelming, first half.

For the crowd, it is a source of both relief (Kangaroos) and frustration (Tigers) that Richmond continue to turn the ball over, and that North Melbourne are able to capitalise on their opponents’ mistakes. In the space of 18 minutes, North boots six goals to end the match as a contest. All but one of these majors is the culmination of a Tiger error. With the three-quarter time deficit at 41 points, both teams do little more than go through the motions in playing out the final term. My first game at this venue has been uninspiring.

Luke meets me back at the car. He is easier to please, thrilled with the win. We pick up his mum and head out for another enjoyable dinner. Later in the evening, Luke sincerely thanks his parents for bringing him along for the weekend.

As my wife and I cling to the last strands of our sons’ childhoods, we are thankful that the youngest of the trio still wants to spend at least some of his time with us. Hopefully, there will be plenty of time in the future for her and I to enjoy a ‘dirty weekend’ – maybe even in Hobart. But on this particular weekend, it turns out to be dirty only for the Tigers – and Damien Hardwick.

North Melbourne:  3.2  6.8  13.10  16.13 (109)

Richmond:              2.1  5.8  6.11  10.14 (74)


North Melbourne:



North Melbourne: Harvey, Goldstein, Petrie, Brown, Zeibell, Thomas, Wright.

Richmond: Martin, Miles, Reiwoldt, Maric, Grigg, Edwards.


UMPIRES: Meredith, Foot, Mollison.                                    CROWD: 16,131


OUR VOTES: 3. Goldstein (NM), 2. Brown (NM), 1. Harvey (NM).




About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Smokie, there’s usually only one reason why the other half invites the kid(s) along.

    Another view of it is that Marg ruined a perfectly good boys’ weekend by coming along for the ride.

    Most Saturday nights in front of the fire at our place inevitably lead to BT, Darce and Basil, passion killers all.

  2. Ah the interruptions of kids.
    One day they will understand…
    Shame you couldn’t sit next to your boy but at least you were there.
    I look forward to moments like this when my boys get older.

Leave a Comment