This Queensland Life

Going to Queensland changes your life.

It is different, and you live differently. Footy is different here. We have been up here for a few days; we’re having a lovely time, but a different time.

Most of this is very, very good. And we love it. Collingwood, for example, do not appear to be as strong a football club when I am in Queensland.

The weather is outstanding. When we left Melbourne on Thursday morning the forecast for Brisbane was for fine and sunny weather and the next seven days were to be 21, 21, 21, 21, 21, 21 and 21. No joke. That has been revised. Two of the days will now be 22 degrees.

But we have headed up to the Darling Downs where it was frosty this morning and is now perfectly clear and still with the temperature set to reach 19 or so by late morning – when I take Theo and Anna for a hit on the Royal Oakey Golf Club.

Golf has been in the conversation for obvious reasons, but I am not tired this morning. I am staying in a Fox-challenged home, and despite hunting around on the internet last night, I could not find a live streaming option that wouldn’t have me sending both my credit card details and my older daughter to the Daley family of London. So I went to bed. I am keen to see what happened to Adam Scott (one day).

Indeed, I did not see one shot of this British Open. That would be the first time that has happened in almost 40 years. It is just plain wrong. And it is very frustrating.

I have also struggled to keep an eye and ear on the footy across the weekend. You really do have to make a footy plan here in Queensland.

In 2012 in Queensland there is no question about it: you just have to have Fox else it feels like it did in 1975, when from a house in little Oakey I used to listen to the VFL coverage on Radio Australia (or try to).  Fox has won the battle.

But what I great weekend in footy it was. (Which is why Fox wins the battle).

Friday night. I am in MJ’s Bar in the Roma Street Station precinct. Hawky is talking up the Hawks, and so is Sasha Lennon, and the Cats have opened brilliantly, with an intensity not seen for some time. There is a danger that they can only keep this up for a quarter and a bit. But their pressure rattles the Dons who eventually break.

Saturday arvo and my brother and nephew (who has played for Coorparoo Under 10s that morning) are driving down the Gold Coast freeway to Metricon Stadium, the old Carrara. We can hardly pass a theme park without Hawthorn kicking a goal. It really is raining goals at the MCG. The Pies are more gone than they were last weekend. Much more gone. (I still haven’t seen any of that match and I am keen to read explanations from those jaundiced by the prejudice of loving and loathing the Carringbush).

The game at Carrara includes possibly the worst three quarters of footy I have ever seen. In perfect conditions neither side has the skills or the will to make it a spectacle. But then it becomes a cracking last quarter: a classic of the genre where the better side inches towards their opponent kicking point after point – eight in a row – until they edge ahead, only to concede a couple of goals and lose. Absolutely spirit-breaking.

It’s a terrific venue: the open, stadium-in-the-parkland feel is really well done. A design triumph. Unlike the logistics of getting out. There is no parking so over 10000 people get buses out. That’s a lot of buses.

Driving home we station surf. The Reds are on the Queensland ABC, there’s rugby league from Sydney, and we can get 774 Melbourne intermittently, to hear the match from Darwin.

On Sunday, I retreat to the internet radio coverage, which is a bit patchy where I am, even though in frustration and preparation I have been to the Bigpond shop to upgrade my dongle. Brisbane wireless broadband is not served well by the geography and I had spent Thursday and Friday going nuts.

I do eventually turn on North and Richmond, which is on the third Channel 7 station (7 Mate) here. And a bonzer game it is, sitting watching the magnificent Darling Downs sunset which turns the temperature from 17 to 9 in a matter of minutes. You really can feel the cold descending on the plain, as we did when we went to rugby league training all those years ago.

I catch a few Freo scores but that was always going to be a smashing.

The roast lamb is very nice.

So, despite, the difficulties experienced keeping up with it all I did learn a few things.

Firstly, that Collingwood are in strife – on and off the field. That was jumping through the speakers of the car as we trekked south past the Beenleigh rum factory, Ormeau and Coomera. Secondly, that car travel is at its most pleasant when the Pies are being hammered. Thirdly, that the Cats are still alive, but have a lot to do to be sure of making the Top 8.

Finally the weekend confirmed one of life’s truths: that the Richmond Football Club is good for football. I kept an eye on the match with the sound down. But really, had I just woken from a 30 year sleep and the players were in the nude I’d have known I was watching Richmond: screaming at the umpires, 50 metre penalties, spectacular goals, missed shots, turnovers, slaughtered opportunities, arguing, the lot. It was all so Richmond.

So worth seeking out.


John Harms is having ten days up north. His thoughts on the Geelong-Essendon game will appear later this week.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Great leadership by Deledio when he gave the umpire a serve and was penalised 50 metres. The expression on his face afterwards was: Well, what can you do? Stupid umpires.

    Great leadership.

  2. It sounds so tranquil up there! Wasn’t tranquil down the Punt Road end last night! Tears, jubilation, anger, frustration, humour….it was all there. But you’re right…the Tiges are good for football!

    Am looking forward to seeing the new Carrara live…it seems so airy and light with a good atmosphere. Sure beats the old temporary stand!!

  3. John, those Hawks were just ‘on’ against the Pies, and to think, no Hodge, no Lance and no Guerra. I’m still wary of those Cats though.

  4. Don’t worry about the Cats, Sasha. Of course they’ll beat you in Round 19 (by under 10 points) but you’ll beat them when it counts, if necessary – in September.

  5. Yes, as an AFL fan up here in Queensland I’ve come to realise I’ll need Fox next year. This year has been good with 7mate meaning I can watch Friday night games for the first time, but the organisation and effort that went into trying to find somewhere to watch my beloved Demons on Saturday night was enormous. And in the end, I would have been better off just missing it me thinks.

  6. I’m happy with that Gigs

  7. JTH – congratulations. Last week you nominated the Pies as “GORN” and we saw howls of protest from confident Pie supporters pointing to the scoreboard but ignoring the signs.

    They are gone. At least for now………………….

  8. John, I was at the Tigers-North game with the (Tiger-supporting) beloved. No disrespect to North, but boy can the Tigers find ways to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory? Two weeks in a row. Beloved not happy.

    Must pay tribute to Drew Petrie though. That last quarter was one of the best rag-dolling of key defender performances I’ve seen. Right up there with Tom Hawkins in last year’s GF. Wonder if the Collingwood key forwards were watching?

  9. Mulcaster says

    “The roast lamb was very nice”…..well, you’ve really earned your cravat with that assesment. The error you make is to equate Queensland with the southeast corner. The powers that be seem to think Queensland ends at the Pine River. The distances in Queensland are massive. As the Crow flies Cairns is 50 kl further away from Brisbane than Melbourne is. The tip of Cape York is still another 400 kl north. Queensland improves the further you get away from Brisbane. As for your “nice” roast lamb, if you really want to eat, get into chilli mudcrab or a decent coral trout.

  10. Mulcaster – when does North QLD become FNQ? Draw a line on the map please.

  11. Mulcaster says

    Fhe NQ/FNQ thing derives from the Cairns- Townsville rivalry. It is rather senselesss but has taken traction, As with all these things it depends more on perspective than anything else. The two larger towns between Townsville and Cairns are Ingham and Innisfail. I suppose the boundary is where people either drive north or south for shopping etc. For myself I like to think that El Arish marks the border. El Arish is inland from Mission beach and was opened up for Soldier settlement after World War . It was named for an Egyptian city where the Light Horse was based. Everything North of El Arish goes north, although people of Tully and Cardwell might disagree. Probably a better boundary would be the Cardwell Range, as the highway peaks you get a brilliant view of Hinchinbrook Island, which is were God mores his boat in October..

  12. The Wrap says

    Loved the Richmond analogy Harmsie. Maybe Dimma’s not hard enough on them. We keep doing it. It’s a fine line between character building & spirit breaking. I’ve been nursing a 12-year old grandson through this phase of The Tiger Saga, it ain’t easy Mate, for either of us. You don’t mind if I don’t show him your piece, do you? I don’t think he’s ready for it just at the moment.

  13. Paul Daffey says

    I took the kids up to see relatives in the Mallee a fortnight ago.

    No footy on the radio, just talking books.

    On seeing the magnificent sunset I was reminded once again why I love heading north.

  14. Paul Daffey says

    PS. Richmond are on the right track.

    Well, they are.

  15. Darwin sunsets for me next week Daff! And, as well as 3 race meetings, probably NT Thunder v southport and the aussie cricketers playing practice games pre-SriLanks 20/20 tour. I hope the “head north” charm rescues me from our winter malaise.
    And….I was at the MCG and thought the right team won. Not a quality game, but competitive and a ripper last term.

  16. Sunset and Richmond Daff.

    Black and gold falling off the horizon.

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