SANFL Round 6 – Central District v Norwood: nothing to Bragg about

The lass has become moderately obsessed with Billy Bragg’s 1988 album ‘Workers Playtime’. Let’s face it, what self respecting four year old isn’t these days? It’s the talk of the kindy. Whenever we get in the grey car (the CD resides in its player) she immediately asks for ‘She’s got a new spell’ (Track 1) and happily sings along.

So it’s no surprise as she and I make our mighty long way down Main North Road to the Ponderosa that she’s singing ‘she cut the stars out of the sky (she didn’t really, daddy) and baked them in a pie’. Then onto ‘Must I paint you a picture’. It’s one of those songs, the sort that people ask to have played at their wedding because it sounds like a love song and has some appropriate words when taken out of context. Which is fine, except it’s a song about a break-up. I’ll rant about ‘Holy Grail’ some other time.

Our normally larger family unit has been whittled down by illness, museum visits and scheduling (as we park next to the bowls club and walk through the turnstiles by midday). For the second straight week the Redlegs are up against the Crows. Scheduling the SANFL must be really, really difficult but sometimes it seems like they’re not trying. Or at least getting paying patrons through the gates is not the primary concern, which is kind of the same thing.

Nonetheless as it’s only the lass and me today (we’ve gone to the Dogs again having come to see them play South a couple of weeks earlier), we set up on the outer, basking in the light – sufficiently close to the bouncy castle that I won’t need to leave my seat when she wants a go. Being in the family friendly area means foregoing a beer or two, but given the choices I’m not missing much. It’s bloody hot on a beautiful clear day – one month away from winter and we’re applying sunscreen in 28 degree heat. It’s a cruel, unusual punishment. Hope the climate deniers are proud of themselves.

The game itself (that’s right, I knew I should get to the football eventually) starts off tough and tight with Norwood dominating possession but unable to break through Centrals’ defences. The Dogs have little luck heading in the other direction and Lewis Johnston’s goal cancelled out by Caleb Edmead is all that is managed in the first quarter. As is often the case now, incomprehensible umpiring is on display – surprise, surprise. The prior opportunity bit is still in the rulebook but the umpires apply it inconsistently and seemingly randomly. It only serves to confuse the player wanting to attack the ball.

While the concrete windsock by the Ponderosa scoreboard wasn’t registering much, the players certainly know which way the wind was blowing. Norwood heads drop and Centrals lift straight away in the second when it is clear the Redlegs have blown the breeze. The procession begins: as it all gets tougher Norwood turn the ball over and get caught out in transition. Centrals’ first three goals seemingly involve captain Alex Georgiou, outnumbered in defence, having to leave his man in a last ditch attempt to stop the Dogs walking it in. They walk it in, nonetheless. Seven times for the quarter and a six goal half time lead.

The lass and I join the small number of kick to kickers on the ground without even a mini league to accidentally interrupt. She tumbles a few left footers in my general direction – the chase is always better, thankfully. On the return, no-one handballs more carefully than a person trying not to accidentally hit their child in the face. But as my occasionally fat-lipped kids will happily tell you I’ll never be any good at that game.

So as to not upset us, (ok, I was a bit upset with a bit of screaming and shouting and acting crazy) the third quarter continues in a similar fashion to the way the second left off. Norwood, devoid of ideas on how to move the ball forward, chip the ball around half-back looking for a way through Centrals’ defence. Nothing’s changed. It has been happening since the middle of last year. Norwood have been hit hard by injury and have already used over 30 players this year but are they working hard enough and trusting the next man up the ground? We used to be so brave. Norwood blow any chance they had in the game by missing their last three shots of the quarter, leaving it at a 38 point deficit. As the breeze picks up it’s all over now.

The lass spots a baby amongst the Centrals supporters on a picnic rug near us and heads over for a 45 minute game of peekaboo and popcorn sharing (with said baby’s older sister). Everybody seems happy with that arrangement. Except me as that means I can turn my full attention to the football. When Centrals kick their second goal of the quarter, another transition into an outnumbered defence, I count six Norwood midfielders standing by themselves at the defensive end of the centre square. Sitting and wondering why, I despair loudly enough to distract the baby from peekaboo.

The siren goes confirming a 48 point loss – on this imperfect day we threw it all away. At this point Norwood are a reasonable distance from finals contendership but the shoots are green in young players like Nunn, Villis and Bower. But as for this year, I just don’t know what’s to be done. Roy Laird’s Centrals are always accountable and will always beat a team that isn’t. Ah well, at least the road to return home isn’t too long. ‘The great leap forward’ is on the CD player, the ground will have to wait.

Central District 12.10 82 def Norwood 4.10 34

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. TG White says

    I love the great man Bragg. I took my boys to see him a few years ago and we were wrapped. I found a great mini-concert he did in a bike shop (Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Seattle) in the USA a few years ago. You and your daughter might just enjoy it too.

  2. Love your commitment to family and local footy Dave. I came late to Billy Bragg but he is a favourite now.
    “It’s all over now” (baby blue and red)? Once held it in the palm of my hand but I “threw it all away”.
    Your daughter likes to Bragg, but you are a true Zimmer man.

  3. E.regnans says

    well played D Brown.
    Of the Bragg canon, our kids most like to belt out “Shirley!” to the opening of “Greetings to the new brunette.”
    Their own lyrics dominate after that – strong departures from the original – mostly poo-humour.
    (New loo, as opposed to new room; etc)
    good stuff.

    TG White – thanks for the link.

    the revolution is just a t-shirt away

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    David I must admit I rushed off the ground while being a maggot to check the score I must admit I wasn’t as quick at 3 q time to check the score thanks mate love your passion

  5. TG White says

    The revolution is sometimes just an ethical haircut away!

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Maybe Roy Laird was up all night moving the goalposts.

  7. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments and videos folks.

    TG – love the mini-concert. The lass just needs to come to terms with the fact that BB is a real person with a real guitar and not just a disembodied voice in one of her cars.

    Thanks PB

    Thanks ER – randomly singing loudly ‘Shirley’ has been a feature of our household for many years. We have to introduce the kids to Talking with the Taxman at some point. Poo humour v popular in our house at the moment.

    Thanks Rulebook, as indicated it was pretty uninspiring but a reasonable indication of where we are at. Like the look of Villis and Bower looked ok on debut. Bauldy was getting really frustrated with his crumbers.

    Very good, Swish

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Good stuff Dave.
    “Norwood, devoid of ideas on how to move the ball forward, chip the ball around half-back looking for a way through Centrals’ defence. Nothing’s changed. It has been happening since the middle of last year. Norwood have been hit hard by injury and have already used over 30 players this year but are they working hard enough and trusting the next man up the ground? We used to be so brave.” Sounds like Collingwood.
    Glad the Brown kids are getting a decent musical education.

  9. Mark Duffett says

    SANFL scheduling. About the only good thing about Adelaide reserves’ entry to the SANFL, I thought, was going to an even ten teams, so no more byes. But it seems they are determined to keep having byes anyway. Just about every round has ‘featured’ a gratuitous double bye.

    As luck would have it, I’ll be travelling to Adelaide twice this winter for work, and had hoped to extend this to taking in up to four Centrals games. But no, that won’t be possible because Centrals won’t be playing on one of those weekends.

    Of course the AFL are no better, don’t get me started on the Crows being fixtured on a Thursday night so I have to miss two days work in order to get to their game that ‘weekend’.

    Rant over. A much appreciated report, thank you Mr Brown.

  10. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Luke. It may very well sound like every side transitioning from a period of success to not so much.

    Yep, Mark, pretty much every supposed benefit presented to fans as reasons to allow AFL reserves have not been met (elimination of the bye, 3,000-5,000 Crows fans at every reserves game, increased publicity (most weeks the TV game which the SANFL pays $1 million a year to have televised features one of the AFL teams)). Sorry you won’t catch the Dogs on your visits.

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