Round 8 – GWS v Adelaide: Benno’s AFL debut

GWS v Adelaide at Sydney Showground – Benno’s AFL Debut.


Dan Hansen                                                                           


Not many people are aware of it but the Almanac has an official meteorologist. Even less would realise the Almanac’s official meteorologist has a four year old son named Benno. Today was a big day for Benno as he was making his AFL debut. Well, as a spectator at least. When his dad told him he was taking him to the football he asked “to see the double blues”? This is because Benno is a Sturt supporter which makes him a bit of a rarity at his North Sydney preschool. Benno wasn’t sure who he was going to support seeing Sturt weren’t playing. But I felt sure he would pick a team before the day finished.


I had been indecisive about going to the game as the weather for the days leading up to it had been patchy. By late morning we had perfect football weather. Cool, mostly sunny and no wind. Soon there were six of us (and Benno) who had decided to go and fifteen minutes later we had managed to arrange enough complimentary tickets for us all. As four of us sat in the stands, two stragglers approached the gate. Instead of waiting for us to come down and give them their tickets Gav decided to try his AFL membership card. The barcode scanner rejected it but Gav just kept walking. This caused much confusion and while the gate personnel watched Gavin disappear into the distance Tim saw the opportunity to perform a ninja style entrance. This saved them five minutes.


GWS won the toss and kicked to the bouncy castle end. Right from the start it was obvious GWS was the better team as they kicked the first five goals in metronomic fashion. The Crows did rally but by quarter time the quicker team were nineteen points up. During the first break I asked Benno who his favourite Sturt players were.  I tried to convince him that Angus Monfries and Toby Thurstans should be high on his list. I was astounded by his confused look when I asked him about the Jumbo Prince.  To the uninitiated, Rick Davies, aka the Jumbo Prince, was a Sturt legend. As a dominant ruckman in the seventies he singlehandedly won the 1976 SANFL Grand Final. After being selected as the All-Australian captain in 1980 he played one season for Hawthorn. He returned to Sturt as a full forward where he smashed many of the goal kicking records. His legendary status was enhanced with his departure from Unley Oval. Apparently when told by the new coach, Merv Keane, he wasn’t going to be selected he offered his services to the reserves team. When told legends don’t play reserves he replied “Well I’m too old to play in the under 19s”. Benno seemed impressed by my story.


Soon after the commencement of the second quarter the Crows kicked a couple of goals. Benno cheered. His South Australian genes were bubbling to the surface. Then GWS kicked a couple of goals and Benno cheered again. He was definitely born in NSW. At halftime Benno went to the bouncy castles and I went to get something to eat. Whilst in the queue I started talking to a Crows supporter. He said the Crows injury list was the difference between the two sides. I informed him that GWS had a few injured players too. He became quite agitated and said “not as bad as ours”. I’ve since looked at the injury lists and the Crows probably had six of their best twenty two unavailable, Brad Crouch, Sloane, Douglas, Otten, Brodie Smith and Jaensch. Only one of them is a top ten draft pick. GWS had seven of their best twenty two unavailable, Whitfield, Patton, Tomlinson, Plowman, Palmer, Sumner and Mohr. This consists of two number one draft picks, four other top ten draft picks and a key position defender.


Benno returned from the bouncy castles with an orange G stencilled on his cheek. Birth place was triumphing over birthright. The Crows looked sharp at the start of the third quarter. They had four clear stand outs. Dangerfield was the Crows only midfielder of substance. Walker was looking threatening, especially when he had a clear shot near the fifty metre arc. Betts was his usual dangerous self and Talia was doing an exceptional job on Jeremy Cameron. The problem for the Crows was they needed two Daniel Talias as GWS unveiled another star forward in the Great McCarthy.  McCarthy kicked three goals in the third quarter to seal the game. With each goal Benno cheared louder and it soon became obvious that he was succumbing to the orange crush.


With a 46 point lead GWS put up the shutters in the final quarter and played plenty of players behind the ball. It was almost as if they knew they had the four points and were conserving energy for the much faster Western Bulldogs next week. At the end of the game Benno did a jig as GWS’s eastern European inspired club song rang out through the stands.


We went down to the fence in anticipation for the post game kick to kick. The GWS players approached the boundary to hand out small signed Sherrins. Tim picked up Benno as Mathew Buntine approached. I decided that only peer pressure could get the desired result and yelled out “Matty, Matty Buntine, over here, the young kid with the G on his cheek”. Buntine seemed surprised that someone in the crowd knew his name and had no hesitation in handing Benno the ball.


Benno enjoyed playing kick to kick with his new ball and I feared Buntine’s gesture may have condemned him to a lifetime of having the fashion sense of a Rajneeshee. There was no doubt GWS had arrived and will give plenty of other teams a headache this year. We talked about GWS’s better players and rattled off two thirds of the team. However none were as good as Mumford. I stated that Mumford was the most important player for GWS and if he maintains his form then GWS is a serious top four contender. Whilst praising Mumford I heard Benno say something. I’m not quite sure but it sounded as if he said “He’s no Jumbo Prince”. Good. He’s still, first and foremost, a Sturt supporter.


GWS                      6.4          8.7          16.10     16.12 (108)

ADELAIDE            3.3          5.5          9.6          12.12 (84)



GWS: McCarthy 4, Greene 3, Cameron 2, Ward, Stewart, Smith, Shiel, Kelly, Buntine, Bugg

Adelaide: Walker 4, Betts 3, Jenkins 2, Lynch, Dangerfield, Jacobs



Greater Western Sydney: Mumford, Smith, McCarthy, Shiel, Griffen, Ward

Adelaide: Dangerfield, Betts, Walker, Talia


Umpires: Donlon, Ryan, Nicholls


Crowd: (Official) 9,481  (Unofficial ) 9,483


Our Votes: 3 Mumford (GWS), 2 Smith (GWS), 1 McCarthy (GWS)





  1. torchbearer38 says

    nice write up danny, a second mention for the year for me! Another point I think the AFL/Giants should hand out the free vodka when the Giants win becuase the Russian theme song lends itself to a shot or two and the crowd needs some help in getting vocal

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Entertaining as always,Danny I would have thought,Benno would have to sing the
    Sturt club song before he got any dinner.Shows GWS depth with who they had out
    they are going to dominate the competition.Glad I could be of assistance re tickets
    ( thanks GWS greatly appreciated)

  3. Well written Dan. The Great McCarthy was indeed very good and I think the competition is bricking itself about the impending return of Generally Greater Patton.
    Buntline was BOG for me though, possibly due to his post game behaviour

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