When Dog Hopes Were High

Round 12 2010: Western Bulldogs vs. Brisbane Lions

-Sunday 13tf of June

-Etihad stadium

By Cam Hargraves

Living in the ACT, I’m usually limited to 2 to 3 (providing we can make the finals) live games a year in Melbourne. And on Friday the 11th of June my mother, father and I (all diehard dogs supporters) hit the Hume highway, on the road to Melbourne. This was my second trip down south of the border for the year, to see my beloved red white and blue. Trip number one was way back in round three, with the omission of my mum, and the inclusion my brother Simon.

Those were way simpler times back in round three. Yet now in round twelve, the middle of the year, the scrutiny of the media was on just about everyone in the AFL….or was it? When arriving in Victoria I was keenly awaiting the barrage of footy media, and yet it was being overshadowed…by the F.I.F.A world cup! I remember thinking something like “bloody hell, I can cop this in Canberra, but not in the ‘big V’”.

Our stay in Melbourne was at my Uncle’s place in Roweville, a suburb way out east from the hustle and bustle of the big city. We’ve stayed here a couple of times and it’s been quite nice, the long drives back to his place after a game, listening to all the talk-back after a nice win has been all well and good. But trust me, after a loss, that long drive back to Roweville….not so much fun. One not very nice memory of this was when my uncle was driving us back to their place, after that devastating prelim final night back in ’09. All of us completely gut wrenched, aside from my uncle who was just plain angry. . The loss had an adverse affect on him, and him driving back home probably wasn’t the best of ideas for our health and wellbeing.

Yet here I am in 2010, different season, a renewed hope, and a big bustling monster at full forward. Finally we’ve got someone in the forward 50 who can take a big grab and convert the kick! By Sunday afternoon I was in my seat on the third level on the wing at Etihad stadium, and I couldn’t help but think “this is the best stadium to watch football from”. Etihad may not be the biggest of all stadiums, yet being able to just sit there in your seat and be able to watch a game of football, with no wind, no cold, no hooligans (I suppose you could put Pies fans in this category) is just amazing.

The late omission of Brisbane skipper Jono Brown put any thoughts of a third loss on the trot to bed. Big Wilbur Minson snagged the first of the afternoon against opponent Jared Brennan, who looked like he’d just woken up. The Lions showed resistance for the first half, until at one point in the third quarter the flood gates opened up. Big Will was at it again, plucking a specky and then playing on to bag one from fifty five off the left! When big Minno is doing these kinds of things we’re usually dominating. We ended up winning quite comfortably in the end, by about ten goals. There wasn’t really much of whimper from the Lions after half time. Rischitelli and Black tried hard all day for Brisbane, but they didn’t really have any mates helping them out.

The big bald fella finished the day with a solid bag of six, which kept him right up there for Coleman medal contention. The likes of Lake, Cooney, Griffen and Giansiracusa all had good days, without being destructive. Back line buddies Lake and Morris double teamed ‘the Fev’ all day, as there was no real match up for the all Australian full back. Fevola didn’t really cope that well without his buddy Jonathon Brown being there. He seemed to finish the day with more verbal abuse, from the few Brisbane supporters there, than kicks. And with that, it was a good afternoon for me and the family, another peaceful long drive back to Roweville listening to all the talkback about the game, and absolutely no risk on any road rage.

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