Standing on the outside lookin’ in.

At this time of year it seems unavoidable that every columnist in the world is offering their 2012 predictions. As this diary is based around the Melbourne experience from an outsider’s perspective it would be remiss of me not to look into the crystal ball for the SCOTW. There is one common denominator that threads its’ way through the conversation of most Melbourne commentators. What was the crowd? Yes, there seems to be an obsession with how many people turn to up any given event. In fact the success or failings of a game or race seem to ride on the attendance figures. Hence North Melbourne has never been involved in a memorable match since moving from the MCG on Friday nights.

With this in mind I’ve attempted to predict the figures for Melbourne’s major sporting events in 2012.

Australian Tennis Open: Geoff Pollard will stride to the mic mid January declaring this years’ Open to be the biggest dud since moving from Kooyong. Total attendance 962,000 which the Tennis Australia puts down to the surprise men’s final pairing of Roger Federer and some bloke from Namibia. The Herald Sun puts it down to Julia Gillard and the government’s failure to stop foreigners from entering the ‘our tennis Open”.

Australian Grand Prix: Total attendance 1,623 which Ted Baillieu puts down to the later starting time that resulted in the anticipated 230,000 young children not attending because it was a school night. The Age puts is down to unseasonably fine weather and going head to head with the NAB cup.

The opening round of the AFL season: 41,377 (Kardinia Park so technically 0) which Andrew Demetriou puts down to the daring decision to play every other game interstate and giving Collingwood and Carlton the bye. The bye attracts 90,235. Keith Dustan, founder of the Anti-Football League, puts it down to karma.

Geelong v GWS Gnats: 41,377 which Adrian Anderson puts down to the car crash mentality. You know you should look but can’t help yourself. The RSPCA just puts it down.

A Pies v Cats blockbuster: 19,689 which the AFL down to a mix up with the ground booking that saw the game played at Docklands in the week Collo decided to paint the upper decks. Mark Robinson puts it down to sure evidence that Pay TV has ruined the game.

The Grand Final: 100,003 which the MCC put down to the member’s Year Book having a small error about the starting date of the Boxing Day Test. Carolyn Wilson puts it down to sure evidence that, despite Robbo’s negativity, the people’s game is alive and kicking.

The Cox Plate: 5,113 which the MVRC puts down to Channel Nine’s demand to have the race shown at prime time when the other 7 races on the card had been completed some 3 hours earlier. Channel Nine puts it down to punters not wishing to miss the opportunity to purchase one of 500 “exclusive” Black Caviar prints signed by the horse herself.

The Melbourne Cup: 301,262 which the VRC puts down to the tremendous promotion of offering free Vodka Cruisers to every woman over the age of 14. The Age puts it down to the absence of Sandy Roberts at the race presentations.

The Australian Golf Open: 67 which the AGU put down to the tournament being played in Sydney but that they were grateful for the Yarra Bend members who came along to volunteer all the same. Victorian Events Corporation put it down to the uncertainly in Europe and ever tightening effects of the GFC on the corporate dollar. The Geelong Football Club said it wasn’t their fault every likes them more than badly dressed golfers.

The Boxing Day Test: Total Attendance 67,453 which the MCC put down to the poor turn up of members who had “overcommitted” themselves in the first week of October. Robbo put it down to the sure evidence that the Big Bash was now the thinking man’s form of the game.

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.

Leave a Comment