VWFL Premier Round 1 – Darebin v Diamond Creek: How’s that for first impressions?

You said we should look out further
I guess it wouldn’t hurt us
We don’t have to be around all these coffee shops.
Now we’ve got that percolator
Never made a latte greater.
I’m savin’ 23 dollars a week

– Courtney Barnett, Depreston

It’s been a big weekend. Last before school goes back.
And I find myself with an hour up my sleeve, no responsibilities. I’m off.
Off to catch my first footy for 2015.

I park the car on the hill in Preston West and walk down to the creek flats. It’s the A.H.Capp reserve; home of the mighty Darebin Falcons. Alongside the mighty Merri Creek. Today they’re in the third quarter as I arrive, facing Diamond Creek in the Victorian Women’s Football League; Premier Division.

Darebin Falcons won the Premier division flag last year, going back-to-back. (Looking this up later, I note they also won five-on-the-trot from 2006-2010. Hmm.)

Their home ground is close to our place. I should have run here. Or at least ridden my bike. Next time. The day is an autumn pearler. Sky a beautiful, cloudless blue.

We drive to a house in Preston
We see police arrestin’
A man with his hand in a bag.
How’s that for first impressions
This place seems depressing
It’s a Californian bungalow in a cul-de-sac

– Courtney Barnett, Depreston

As I ease down the hill, I hear the player’s calls to one another. Umpire’s whistle. Ahh. And there are the players. Diamond Creek with a bright pink outfit and black sash (Richmond-diagonal-style). Darebin with a blue, white and red stylized number. There may be a falcon involved. Hard to be sure.

The Diamond Creek trainer calls out to number 24.
– Full forward, mate!

The game is fast. Everyone with pony-tails. Good run. Good positioning. And crunching tackles. The third quarter is winding up.

– Two minutes left! yells the Darebin bench. Slowing it down.

But the Creekers grab one from a boundary throw-in (handball, shuffle, sidestep, handball to the running player (#44), goal) right on three-quarter time. It’s my first chance to check the scores.

Darebin 9.3.57
Diamond Creek 4.7.31

Similar number of scoring shots, but the result looks shot.

It’s got a lovely garden
A garage for two cars to park in
Or a lot of room for storage if you’ve just got one
And it’s going pretty cheap you say
Well it’s a deceased estate
Aren’t the pressed metal ceilings great?

– Courtney Barnett, Depreston

I’m onto the field for the three quarter time business. It’s may have been 20+ years since I last played, but the huddle is still where I like to be.

Darebin huddle

 

– Maybe just go into our 3 groups and have a bit if a chinwag about what’s working and what’s not.
That’s the captain, I reckon, or someone with leadership, as the coach still has not arrived with his magnetic board.
– Backs over here.
I recognise Daisy’s (#6) name from Martin Flanagan’s stories.

– Time your leads Jess.
– It’s all about clearances.

The coach arrives. There are positional changes, a bit of exhortation, a bit of psychology.
– Let’s have two run past instead of one.
– It’ll take some gut-running.
– It’s up to you how courageous you feel.
– They’re starting to switch kick.
– That means we’re in the game.
– Now let’s see if our pre season was enough.

Eucalypts sway.

Then I see the handrail in the shower
The collection of those canisters for coffee tea and flour
And a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam
And I can’t think of floorboards anymore
Whether the front room faces south or north
And I wonder what she bought it for

– Courtney Barnett, Depreston

We’re back on. It’s tough.
Darebin full forward (#41) marks well on the lead (well-timed) and goals.

– Clear it Georgia!

There’s a Darebin player on the bench with a dog in her lap. Patting.

There’s another tackle from Daisy. She’s swarming around the pack. Starts a chain of pressure. Goal. This last quarter is played at Darebin’s end. Now following a long bomb goal, Diamond Creek place a loose player at half-back. Maybe they’re trying to protect the margin.

Voices are loud.
– Rachel!!
– Katie!!
It’s brilliant.

Diamond Creek fight one goal back. One of their team goes down with cramp, 20 metres from the interchange gates. She tries crawling off. Can’t.

And right on the siren, a Diamond Creek player is taken out, arms outstretched for an overhead mark, by a charging Falcon. It’s a rough note on which to end. Briefly, some verbal barbs are thrown. Mainly by the supporters.
– Report her!

But the on-field voices ring loudest.
– Three cheers for Diamond Creek!
– Hip-hip, Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray!

– Three cheers for the umpires!
– Hip-hip, Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray!

– Three cheers for Darebin!
– Hip-hip, Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray! Hip-hip Hooray!

I’m back over to the hill, trotting, smiling.
A father cycles slowly by on an old BMX; young daughter perched on the crossbar; dog skittering along beside.
2015.
How’s that for first impressions?

Darebin 12.7.79
Diamond Creek 5.10.40

If you’ve got a
Spare half a million
You could knock it down
And start rebuildin’

– Courtney Barnett, Depreston

VWFL info is here

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. One of his stories was judged as a finalist in the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2021. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.

Comments

  1. Love it, mate. And love the women’s footy, I used to watch the falcons play when we lived in Thornbury, not far from there. Harley didn’t believe me when I told him women play footy too and when we happened to pass a game in Reservoir recently he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His brain was trying to process what his eyes were relaying. We’ll be back.

  2. That’s a top afternoon out ER. Reminded me of a friend who loves nothing more than being out in the country, and calling into catch some local footy between two teams he knows nothing about. Having no investment in the game liberates him to really enjoy the experience, as a footy purist.

    Courtney Barnett is fantastic. She was a highlight for me at the Laneway Festival, and her new album is great. Wry, poignant lyrics, charismatic vocals and some blistering guitar.

    Thanks for that.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Great review DW, they are a great team. If you were there earlier in the day you would have seen the Falcons U18s thrash the Creekers and my daughter kick a goal! Love the Falcons

  4. Grand ER. The thing I love most about the Courtney Barnett song (beyond the wry lyrics and gentle twangy melody) is how clearly I can understand all the words. Its like clever poetry set to music.
    So many artists I do “what the” when I hear it. Lucinda Williams comes to mind as someone with great lyrics and tunes who sings in a drunken drawl that I struggle to understand.
    Go Courtney and local footy in all its forms.

  5. G’day all. Thanks.
    Cookie – it’s great to open eyes & present possibilities, isn’t it? I was struck by Yvette’s St Kilda piece in which young Luke asked: “where are all the girls?” The male-dominant world yet to be normalised. Things need not be this way.
    Mickey – I quite like this idea of watching “the game” rather than watching a team. It’s different. The setting, the vibe, the three-cheers, all played a part. On C Barnett; live music has fallen out of my life in recent times – glad to learn of C Barnett storming. She’s long been “one to watch.”
    Rick – I well remember your Grand Final story of last year. Looks a vibrant community down there on the creek flats. Reckon I’ll be back.
    PB – (your last line) hear hear.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff again ER. I haven’t seen womens footy played, will have to rectify that. How good is Courtney Barnett!! Album of the year so far.

  7. E.regnans says

    News online today: One game of women’s footy to be broadcast on free-to-air TV later in 2015. Sam Lane article here (regrettable use of “AFL” in the title rather than “Australian Rules”).
    From little things…
    http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/historic-first-womens-afl-heading-to-freetoair-tv-20150430-1mwy0q.html

  8. Brilliant to see the women’s game on free-to-air yesterday.

    Two young girls in our house lapped it up.
    Well played, all.

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