Standin’ on the outside lookin’ in

The Belconnen U16s mid-year season has been another terrific success with the touring party of Steve, Bernie and I returning safely to Canberra after what had been a weekend full of revelations and surprises. The trip provided insight into the machinations of Melbourne sport unimaginable only 5 days ago. And no bigger surprise came than Friday evening when the group learnt that the Vixens game was actually scheduled for Sunday afternoon. With the itinerary now in tatters, the chaps travelled to the North Fitzroy Arms and took up position in front of the fire place to contemplate our predicament. There was no other option other than to call on the advice from the sage that is John Harms. 2 hours later our new found direction was east. To the MCG where luckily we happened to be staying a mere 200m from the Ponsford Stand at the quaint Mantra on Jolimont. Yep, there was apparently a game of footy between Carlton and Collinwood. Should be good for a laugh Steve and Bernie commented. I looked at my feet.

With all the confidence of an evangelist at a bike’s party, I ascended the stairs to the noise bleeds. The crowd was bubbling and subdued at the same time. The bubbles (and froth) coming from Pies supporters and the palpable apprehension from the Baggers’ faithful. The script was supposed to go something like this. Blues start with a bit of urgency but eventually get towelled to the tune of 76 points and quickly start packing there bags for the end of season trip to Rosebud. Well bugger the script. The Blues were up for it and the intensity of tackling suggested that 1 or 12 careers may have been on the line, no less that of Alfred E. Yep, the boys had been in the room of mirrors and seen the past 6 weeks piled up behind them like buckets of dog turds.

The Pies fans were waiting for someone to flick on the switch and someone did. Nick Duigan. Coach Jug Ears had put the backman down forward to play on Mr Unaccountable, Nick Maxwell, and he jags three goals for the move. The Krueze Controller was left as lone big bloke after Megan’s handbag did his knee in the first quarter. C.Judd was left to go about his business while the other midfielders did the grunt work. This group included Brock McLean who came on as a sub and played a career game (Yes, I said Brock McLean). Going about his business meant getting blokes like Yarran and Garlett involved in a running game and suddenly the Blues looked like the team that handed this mob a flogging in round three. The Pies came back mostly through the efforts of Thomas who had a great third quarter despite the effort of Dawes to undermine any recovery. The Blues squandered 6 gettable shots on goal and someone has retrieved the script from the bin.

When Simpson was cleaned up late things look more lamentable than Australian politics. But, as bewildering as it was, the team from old Carlton town lifted again and went on to to win by 23 points. It was a great win after a horror stretch and but it signaled no more than that unless it can be repeated for the remainder of the year. However, it was two from two over the infidels and that can only be good for one’s soul. And possibly eighth spot.

Tony’s Tip of the Week

Every sporting fan knows the MCG is the heart that pumps the sporting blood of Melbourne. However, few, other than an eclectic gathering of Richmond supporters and the odd visitor from interstate, know of Melbourne’s aorta. The Royal Hotel. A place that gave up the answer to one of life’s greatest quandaries. Why do Richmond supporters keep, well, supporting Richmond? The answer was there for all to see last Saturday lunchtime. Preferably if you’re over the age of 18 and have no moral compass or respect for anything in life other than the Richmond Football Club.

If one ever wishes to see life at its most primal, the Royal’s your place. A sociologist’s dream. I am sure that somewhere discussing the relative merits of the discovery of the Higgs boson or the possibility of the God particle generating another Royce Hart? I’m certain there was some robust talk of the Carbon Tax and in the impact on the amount of gas in beer. Some were also pondering the artistic and athletic abilities of the young “dancers” who were providing pre game entertainment. Yes folks, strippers. At lunchtime. However, all that idle chatter changed when, without notice, the bar ripped into a roaring rendition of We’re from Tiger Land. Suddenly, all the world problem’s and distractions were gone. The masses roared, the masses cheered, and no matter what shit the Tigers have served up for past thirty years, they still have the best song and they love it. You’ve got to live it, just once, and tick it off as one more of life’s experiences that is beyond explanation. Unless you’re from Tigerland.

Tony’s Weekly Dump

In brief, my visit to Melbourne last weekend has cleared my mind of some confusion about the merits of modern football as I proffered last week. After attending two very different games of footy, it beco\ame apparent that my displeasure at what I have been watching was, not so much the result of the deplorable standard of the game itself (although the Dees did everything to support such a theory), but the people who talk about football. The games were so much better without commentators talking absolute bollocks about structures and KPIs and just plain gibberish. The crowd were my commentators and I enjoyed their insights because they were, in fact, offering insights rather than banal, pointless time fillers.

See ya later

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Neil Belford says

    Tony – excellent description in the last line of contemporary football commentary. I’m glad you actually managed to find the MCG – lucky you weren’t using a compass to navigate.

  2. Rutt de dutt de daar, rutt de dutt de daar……………………

  3. Tony Robb says

    Take your brother to the The Royal before a Richmond game. Its a ritual every Tiger fan should do once in as an affirmation of living the dream. Richmond Style

  4. John Butler says


    Immaculate timing. And amen about commentators. Especially 7’s Saturday Night Crue.

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