VAFA Premier C – Fitzroy v Old Mentonians: You know the season has started when…

You Know the Season Has Started when….


Fitzroy were at home, the BSO (Brunswick Street Oval), playing Old Mentonians on Saturday, the first game of the season. Now the first game, in some ways, is like starting to go out with an old girlfriend again. You may be excited but everyone is scared it may turn out like last time. The first game is also like going to a grand aunt’s funeral as there are all these women that you have to give a peck on the cheek and blokes, largely cousins, that you get on really well with, but you don’t see enough of.


My day started with greeting Joan, Sharon, Susan, Smailie, the Tramconductors, those footballing gurus who inhabit the goal square, and a host of others too numerous to mention. Where do they all go during the cricket season?


I know when a cricket season has well and truly started. After these three things have happened in a games I have umpired I know we are on our way:


1.       Players, after I knock back an LBW, say, “But it hit him on the full Phil”.

2.       A batsman is run out because he doesn’t ground his bat

3.       A simple catch is missed as the deep fieldsman has come off the fence (where the captain originally put him). The ball just lobs over his head as I hear the captain is muttering, “F….g idiot”.


Well you always know when the footy season is well and truly up and running, now hang on, I am getting in front of myself.


My day started with watching the Under 19s going down to Uni Blues in a high standard game. It blew out in the last quarter but there is lots to work on there.


We gave the Old Mentonian seconds an absolute bath winning by 183 points. They only scored once. Benny Too Many, a Fitzroy identity, came down with a footy and a mate and thought he would have a kick, out on the ground, up at their goals while the match was going on. “I won’t be in the way!!” he exclaimed.


I got chatting to Mel Speers, an Old Mentonian supporter who decided to go to the pub rather than watch this debacle, and he entertained me with stories of going to the BSO with his Dad in the 50s and 60s. He related a fight breaking out next to the kiosk serving hot chips. The combatants crashed into the kiosk, causing the bloke serving to get splashed with hot oil. He jumped out of the kiosk, gave both the fighters a real pasting, and went back to serving his chips.


Mel loves coming to the BSO as he is a lifelong Essendon supporter and sits down in the change rooms and wonders if he is sitting in Coleman’s spot, or Reynolds possie. Without our grounding in history we would be quite lost. As you age the short term memory goes first, and I don’t really care as the distant past, when you were younger, is always golden. It would be awful if our long term memory went first.


I had a busy day putting up our score of 23.21 but I was constantly interrupted by people complaining that I was either too lazy, or a complete bastard, so would not put up the Old Mentonian score. Now I was up and down like an Indian wicket keeper with spinners bowling several balls per minute so I was certainly not lazy.


Two new, big blokes in the seconds caught my eye: Sam Turner from Warrandyte and Chris Brown, who played for Uni of Queensland. Both will push for senior selection as the season progresses. I was also impressed that Brisbane has a Uni now. I think it is about time we had a second one in Melbourne as Melbourne has grown so much that Parkville is no longer anywhere near the centre of Melbourne.


The season started with Fitzroy locking the ball in our forward line and scrambling  a few scores but Old Mentonians ran the ball forward, twice with purpose, and their big full forward Lachie Boyd kicked a couple, putting them in front for the only time on the day. Then it happened. Then all the Tramconductors knew that the season had started. The call came. The thing that always happens when you are losing. Footy supporters all yell, “Ball”, much to my annoyance. I think they yell “ball” so they don’t have to actually read the rules of the game. I am sure that every time you yell ‘ball’ your IQ drops five points.


I could go on but here it is. Now the season is under way. The call came, “Sack the coach” was the utterance of the Tramconductors Legal Eagle (TLB). Lots of other comments were flying along the lines of, “Can’t put up with this all season”. “Umpires have crucified us all year”, etc. etc..


The Tramconductors were flying, tossing around friendly jibes, enjoying the ground (it looked a picture), enjoying the game and enjoying each other’s company. Jules was flying as well kicking five or six goals for the day. The drop in standard from B Grade was noticeable. Nathan J played at full forward and kicked a few*, but his real value to the team was it meant that Jules, playing in the pocket, was picked up by the third tall defender who wouldn’t get a game in a B Grade side.


We won easing down in the last quarter, with Mentone refusing to kick the ball forward for long periods of time. The final margin was about forty points. Three new blokes had their debuts Martin Deasey, Thomas O’Donnell and Donovan Toohey and good luck to them.


Maxie Ellis doubled the number of goals he has kicked in his 120 or so games, kicking truly after the first quarter bell. Sammy Baker did the Baker procedure on two of the Old Mentonian players in the third quarter. They didn’t realise that they were outnumbered one to two, the one being our hard as nails Baker. Sam crashed backwards into the contest. One of their blokes was flattened (fairly and he took five minutes to get up) and the other looked a bit the worse for the experience as well.


Hopefully Nino will be back next week (slight hammie strain) but to get back to B Grade will be a big ask. Jules was the cream on Saturday, but Sam is the meat and veggies. We need both.


See you next week and come on the Roys.


*The match details are HERE


Leave a Comment