VAFA Premier C – Williamstown CYMS v Fitzroy: Smokie’s Second Semi-Final Preview



2nd Semi Final vs. Fitzroy, Sat 2 Sep @ Bill Lawry Oval, Northcote

Faraway, so close

Enid Blyton is not as popular as she once was, and that has nothing to do with the fact that she died about fifty years ago. It is a pity because, while the schoolkids of today are able to enjoy the works of new literary giants such as (Williamstown’s own) Andy Griffiths, most will never get to experience the wonder of the Famous Five, a group of four children and a dog who could solve crimes much more efficiently than any Constable Plod. I am not ashamed to admit that, in primary school, I was an avid reader of old Enid’s back catalogue. Some of my favourites were the books featuring the Magic Faraway Tree.


Who could not but be enchanted by those characters who inhabited the tree: Mr Watzisname, Dame Washalot, The Saucepan Man, The Angry Pixie, and Moon-Face just to name a few. George Lucas could do worse than bringing these characters to the big screen rather than another Star Wars re-hash. By any reckoning, a contemporary perusal of these tomes would have one pondering how it was that Enid had an imagination so vivid – or was in possession of hallucinogens so powerful. There were mysterious lands in the clouds which hovered at the very top of the tree: The Rocking Land; The Land of the Ice and Snow; The Land of Take-What-You-Want; Land of Lizards, Land of Birthdays, Land of Goblins. Who said that mind-altering drugs were an inhibitor of the creative process?


The Faraway Tree and those magical lands atop were brought to mind when I was pondering this Saturday’s second semi-final. In this, our thirty-fifth season in the Ammos, we have arrived at this huge game – undoubtedly the biggest match in those three and a half decades. Because to the victor will go the spoils of a place at the Premier B table. We CYs supporters – like Bessie, Jo and Fannie in the Enchanted Wood – are looking upwards, imagining just what B Grade would be like. Indeed, for the VAFA pioneers of our club such as Dan Henry, Peter Buckley and others, the prospect of climbing so high was unthinkable for year upon year as we battled away in the lower grades. And now here we are, but one victory away.


However, we are not there yet. And two stumbles could have us sliding back down Mr Moonface’s slippery dip to begin the climb all over again.


At the peak of the Faraway Tree was a ladder which, upon ascension, led the book’s characters through the clouds and into whatever magical and terrifying land happened to be passing by at that moment. For us supporters, B Grade is still as unknowable as those lands that existed in my youthful imagination above the mists of the Faraway Tree. As unfamiliar as goblins, pixies and fairies.


But along with the players and coaches and everyone associated with the CYs, after 35 years we are now ready to see for ourselves what lies beyond C Grade.


NB: No mind-altering substances were consumed in the production of this article.


Read Andy Fuller’s terrific story about the Bill Lawry Oval here


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Once again a worthwhile read Smokie, but I have to be excused from the game. I will be on my way to the Marostica Chess festival, via Venice.

    The Reds have been in B Grade before so it is all so ‘oh hum’, for us. Only joking.

    So let’s hope for a draw, with the goal umpires and time keepers disagreeing on the score.

    This has happened in a Redders Grand final.

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