AFLW Round 1 – Melbourne v Brisbane: Singing in the Rain

Casey Fields
Melbourne v Brisbane, February 5, 2017
Attendance: 6,500


We can learn a lot about Women’s Football from just the opening round. We learn these women are incredibly fit, skilled and determined to grab this opportunity of their own league and run with it.


We can also learn a lot about geography, as 6,500 fans plugged ‘Casey Fields, Cranbourne’ into their devices on Sunday and boggled at the travel times.


People want facts about the match, but emotions are important too. I won’t lie, the tears were flowing on the approach to the Cranbourne turnoff, seeing the traffic banking up with so many fans heading to the game. Plus, I had Polina Gagarina’s 2015 Eurovision anthem, A Million Voices hitting me right in the feels. (She was robbed, ps, but that’s a topic for another day.)


They were pouring in with an hour still to go. Melbourne legend Ron Barassi was in high demand for photo ops and the ‘Demon Army’ handed out pom-poms, banners and flags to the families on the hill behind the goal posts. Dangerous place, just behind the goal posts – it’s where the players hammered in their practice shots. I got a touch, but fumbled. Guess that’s why I’m on my side of the fence.


Once the full-contact audience participation was done, the game kicked off in style. The weather was the biggest player on the day. At the centre bounce (ball toss) the temperature was 26 degrees and as muggy as Satan’s armpit. Melbourne dominated the first quarter, but their nerves and the swirling wind restricted the side to just three behinds – and Brisbane had nothing on the board yet.


Was it nerves that saw Melbourne’s Richelle Cranston take out Brisbane’s Jamie Stanton in the first five minutes? Stanton was down for a while, but she’s made of tough stuff, and just like the Chumbawumba song, she got knocked down and she got up again.


The tables turned big-time in the second quarter – as did the weather. Sorrow-grey clouds rolled overhead, the lights came on, and Jasmine Grierson got the Dee’s first goal. The crowd cheered and the thunder clapped.


Lightning cracked the sky and the umpires halted play. The rain poured in. If you want to feel what it was like, just walk into your shower, fully clothed with shoes on. Then stay there for half an hour. Then switch it off for a minute, then back on again.


Families started going home. I don’t blame them. If they called off the game right now, Melbourne would win by default with their one goal and three points. No such luck, once the worst of the electrical storm passed, they played the last few minutes of the second quarter – and Brisbane started to dominate. The Lions posted a goal. The crowd went mad, and even though I was barracking for Melbourne, I gave the red and blue pom pom a hard shake (which sprayed more water everywhere) because it was a great one. Then Brisbane scored another major and all Melbourne could answer with was a point.


Half time, this was tight, only two points in it, but with the weather this awful, scores were rare.
Also, the tuck shop on the hill ran out of hot food.
Double also, the women’s toilets ran out of paper. I used the men’s because needs must and they were individual cubicles and anyway who cares, right?


A shortened half-time break leading into the third quarter and things went from bad to worse for the Melbourne mob. Two Brisbane supporters behind me were virtually singing in the rain. And why not? Brisbane kicked another point, Melbourne, despite plenty of possessions, couldn’t convert. In fact, Melbourne were scoreless for the entire second half.


A Clash song played in my head: “Should I stay or should I go?” In the end, the answer was simple – as long as they were playing, I was staying. Drenched of body and squelchy of walk, my team, my newly minted team of determined, amazing, inspiring women, were out there. Playing hard. I had the easy job, all I had to do was keep on cheering.


In the fourth quarter, Brisbane kicked two more goals and it was all over. You’d think I’d be crying at the loss, but joy warmed me from within. The official crowd was 6,500, I’d witnessed history and because of the low-scoring match, Melbourne was only in 5th position on the league ladder. Who’s on the bottom? Awww Collingwood! Melbourne meets them next week. I’ll be there, ready to sing.


Scoreboard. With identical scoring shots, Melbourne will have to do something about their accuracy in the games to come.
MELBOURNE: 0.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 15
BRISBANE: 0.0 2.0 2.1 4.1 25

GOALS: Grierson (Melbourne), McCarthy, Campbell, Gibson, Frederick-Traub (Brisbane)

VOTES: 3 – Weather (Melbourne) 2 – Tahlia Randall (Brisbane) 1 – Karen Paxman (Melbourne)


FA Write from the heart


Ebony McKenna is a total show off and has trouble shutting up. The most important reason she's here at The Footy Almanac is because she's Rod Oaten's daughter.


  1. John Butler says

    G’day Ebony. Following in a fine family tradition there. Well played.

    As the thunder clouds rolled over Ballarat, my mind turned to the complete lack of shelter at Casey Fields. I think the Collingwood and Melbourne venues for this comp will be an ongoing issue. We might be welcoming you to Princes Park next weekend.


  2. Hi John,
    I spent my high school years in Ballarat, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as soaked as I was on Sunday at Cranbourne. Except for those swimming safety exercises where they make you get in the pool with your clothes on.
    I’ll be packing the extra poncho and adding a few more layers of waterproofing to my ‘rain’ coat for Saturday night, just in case.

  3. Ebony, women’s footy will not catch on if the food runs out. I’ll bring plenty of supplies when I catch a game.

  4. Maybe they sold out because the crowd was so big – which is a nice problem to have. They also had to turn some of the cookers off while the lightning was going on . . .but then they got the boilers going again and produced hotdogs in bread rolls with a slice of cheese. Bizarre and yet it hit the spot midway through the last quarter – I needed to keep warm somehow. Also, soft bread rolls are no match for heavy rain. (Rookie mistake on my part.)

  5. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Ebony, lovely getting soaked in your company. It added to the party atmosphere and got rid of most of the crowd. If you look at the replay, you can see my yellow poncho over and over as the women were on the far side of the ground. So if you look at the last quarter, you’ll see yourself too! It will be interesting to see how Melbourne goes next week. I hope to get to that game too, if they have it at Ikon again. Well written up. Some very funny lines. I loved the advice to walk into the shower fully clothed. So true.

  6. Is it right to view the Lions as a bit of a dark horse in this comp, or were the conditions such that it’s too difficult to reach conclusions one way or the other?

  7. Yvette, it was awesome joining you in the “shower” hahahaha! Aren’t we idiots, standing there in the pelting rain eh? What a great way to spend a Sunday evening! So glad I could find you, visibility was pretty poor with all that rain.

  8. Joey, it’s so hard to tell, this early on. But if Brisbane can keep putting on pressure like that, they’ll be tough to beat. They kept Melbourne scoreless for the second half, so they were effective at shutting the opposition down and still mananging to score in tough conditions.

  9. Yvette Wroby says

    It’s the old story with interstate teams… we r blind to what they are like til we see them in action. To be powerful like that in terrible conditions… they will be great on a fine day!

Leave a Comment