Scrimmage and scrap until the Giants break clear at Manuka

Greater Western Sydney v Gold Coast

Manuka Oval,  Saturday May 12th   Official Crowd  8,603

GWS Giants           4.2     5.8    8.13      13.16       94pts

Gold Coast Suns     1.3     7.9    9.11        9.13       67pts

Manuka Oval was in perfect condition for the clash of the novices. The game was probably the worst League game seen by me in 64 years and would compete with many from the late 19th century for Sloppy Ball Control and Hunting in Packs. All of the lessons learned from Soccer and Rugby were on display to make the spectacle worse to the discerning eye. These include backward and sideways passing (Soccer) , endless scrums (Rugby ) and “all players can fit under a blanket” (both).

The first game that I saw at Manuka was the 1950 Grand Final between Manuka and Eastlake which had more than double the crowd of this May. (Populations being noted in all comparisons.)  The League now has smaller total crowds for most rounds than in earlier decades with only six matches on simultaneously! Country football crowds have vanished to the detriment of country life. This is because the League pursues a madcap scheme of full-time footballers playing mainly for television. The reason for transferring South Melbourne in 1982 to The Coathanger and not to Manuka is a mystery to all sensible people. (And me).

The game itself can be briefly spoken of and forgotten. The “older” Gold Coast knew that they had an easy game and played like it. The first stanza got away from them , but they steadied in the second to lead by a couple of goals at the long interval.The third stanza was a slog with Western Sydney gradually catching up by lemon time. This was achieved by boring football of a most congested nature. The scores were almost Even Steven when the final stanza started. This stanza did not rhyme with the rest. A veritable avalanche of goals rained down at the Fingleton End giving the intrastate travellers a majority of four and a half goals at the final bell .

Jack Fingleton winked in the sun and icy breeze muttering something about “bring back Jack Dorman!”

Goals:        GWS       J Giles 3, D Smith 2, A Treloar, C Ward, D Shiel, D Tyson, J Cameron, J Townsend, L Sumner, S Coniglio.

Gold Coast: J Caddy 2, S Day 2, D Swallow, H Bennell, K Horsley, M Rischitelli, S Iles.



Almanac Votes:   J Giles (GWS) 3, C Cornes (GWS) 2, H Bennell (Gold Coast) 1.


  1. Rocket Nguyen says

    Great to hear of Jack Dorman!

    From all reports he was a tough-as-nails footballer for Manuka in the old ACT AFL.

    I met Jack at my first meeting as NSW delegate to the National Football League (originally the ANFC). Jack was the ACT delegate. He operated around the board table as apparently did on the football field. Hard but fair.

    Like Sydney and Brisbane, Canberra had a rich football history. It didn’t start with the AFL, or Kevin Sheedy’s arrival…

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