Round 9 – Geelong v Western Bulldogs: Cats a Grand Vitesse or Just a TER… Platforms of success and despair out west….


By Stephen Alomes


It was late in the third quarter and finally big Harry kicked his fourth, a reply to the flood of Western Bulldogs, some fortunately behinds as well as goals.


I was following the game closely, via scores and text, on the magic box. I was also able to wander around the radio stations – more controlled ABC except when Gerard thinks the Cats are running like Black Caviar, or worse the opposition are, 3AW and SEN alternating between analysis and intensity, and hoony 3MMM on a night when the footy was getting on top of the jokes.


‘What exactly is going on?’ demanded the deep, loud and would-be controlling voice of the Englishman, speaking to the air.


The Bulldogs had been coming back but were now only just ahead, the Cats within 9 points at three quarter time.


On our platform, the loud Pom was big and, solid, like an old style ruckman who once had more hair, a David Horton character, Vicar-of-Dibleyesque and arrogant….an unlikely Footscray supporter, but it is said they exist.


Except he may have been speaking of his other concern, the train from Annecy in the French alps bound for Lyon, which had become five minutes late, then eight, then more…


I controlled the tension through the diversion method…thoughts of the delayed train floated into the background.. as the last quarter opened with several Geelong goals


Except when the Bulldogs kicked their first goal at the City end,


I was getting worried …while both teams had been hopeless in recent weeks, the Cats had become known for their sleeping quarters, and for not performing when the chips are down…


But then the Cats came back, Selwood J kicking another goal and soon regaining the lead…


I passed on the good news to my friend who had suggested that a Kpop boy band on TV earlier in the day must have been Collingwood supporters… all due to their black and white striped tops….


She smiled politely at my report of Geelong kicking the next few goals in a row, but was only a little enthused… referred pleasure is not quite the same… just like ‘Once a Catholic, always… Once a Trot…’, the original corruption never goes away….


By now, the ersatz David Horton was becoming more upset. ‘This is ridiculous’ he trumpeted even more loudly and authoritatively. Was he echoing the sounds in the Bulldogs’ coaches box?


Yes, Big Harry had come good as a forward as he kicked his fifth goal, taking the Cats further ahead.


And ersatz David was becoming more unhappy. Neither the Bulldogs train nor the Lyon train showed any signs of arriving.


Finally, un grand foule, a big crowd, started to almost jump up and down, as the train was approaching. They almost threw themselves at the carriage doors, nearly knocking down the lady controller, who was herself feeling the frustrations, as they and we invaded the train..


The Horton grimace mirrored those that were on the Moorabool side of Kardinia Park in the Bulldogs’ coaching box.


So, Ersatz David Horton, with his glasses hanging from a cord, was not the only frustrated man on Friday… Bevo, in earthier tones, was disappointed too.


On the train, we sat down next to a young French frontalier, who worked in verandah building in Switzerland (more pay, stronger Swiss franc and, above all, more jobs available).


Like many young French blue collar workers he travelled with his skateboard. (In fact the next one we met travelled with his online skates and his tatts – he was updating his security workers’ accreditation, which you even need when you are working in a tattoo parlour run by the Hells Angels… but that’s another story….)


It was 27 minutes in and I could hardly contain my excitement as the Cats moved to a strong lead, kicking with the wind… ‘Je suis tres heureux’ I blurted out…


The final siren brought even more relief than when the train had arrived, finally almost 30 minutes late….


The Cats were, at least at the Gare de Moorabool, becoming a TGV for a while, no longer a slow TER or regional ‘express’… definitely ‘the greatest team of all’ at Kardinia Park….


Our new friend was a skateboarder, but he took an interest in this different game, and listened intently, as after the siren, the happy camper, his visage with a sourire like a Cheshire cat, explained the basics of the game and the competition… A happy salesman is the best salesman.


And so we left the ersatz Horton to grumble in the next section of the carriage. Perhaps, just as the Bulldogs missed the four points, he would miss his connection in Lyon…


As footy coaches might soon be saying ‘C’est la vie’  before they elaborate in their best franglais on  how ‘we’re taking it one pas at a time’.




Colonel Blimp award: Ersatz David Horton for services to disappeared empires and to platform open space theatre.


About time award: to Harry Taylor, for five goals on the big stage up front.


Amiable traveller award: the skateboarder and frontalier worker…


NOTE:  The high level Alomeseian fact-checking unit has been underperforming lately due to an excess of southern French coffee and pain au chocolat….




However, even in our era of many platforms, the new 2017 edition of his original book


Australian Football: The People’s Game 1958-2058,


in which history meets futurology, local footy challenges celebrity, and game analysis  transcends the Kinglab…


is now available:  [email protected]


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