Will this be Wynyard’s year?

Round 1 – Wynyard vs Smithton

First game day is always exciting. There is a gnawing feeling inside and no matter what has happened in the past you believe that this could be your year. The only problem with that is that all the other club’s connections have the same feeling.

I had changed my gate roster to first shift, 8.15 till 10.00am. We could not get into the safe so the gate float was unavailable. President Tom finally arrived but there was no float made up. Swear words, hasty cash sorting and away we go.

Tom was agitated. He had had a big week. When I had spoken to him on the phone the previous evening he was marking the oval in the twilight. “Bloody Council wants $350.00 a time to mark the ground. Stuff that, I’d rather do it myself but I should be home, feeding my dogs”.

Tom’s dogs. There’s a story in itself. After breeding and training greyhounds in a past life Tom was at it again with son Ben and plastering cohort Scott. He had had success with four mainland group one winners a few decades back and was just starting to get some results from a new lot. He was currently using a bitch owned by one Ricky Ponting and the semen came from one of Tony Lockett’s dogs. Ten pups were born on Wednesday morning.

The under 19’s guernseys still had not turned up so there would be problems with the compatibility of numbers in the program. Fortunately Smithton were in the same boat so they were unlikely to complain and ‘Blakey’ (Remember Blakey from on the busses – ‘oim gonna git you Butler, eeh, eeh, eeh’) who runs the league and will slap a fine on you quicker that you can count to 19, will not know.

The crowd is steady through the gates as is the rain through my shift. As soon as I leave the sun comes out. I don’t mind. I have a sav and the first game has just started. No more duties till the end of game bar rush.

There is something earthy and very simple about going to local footy and watching three grades consecutively. At Wynyard, on a fine autumn day, it is a delight. You sense the nearness of the sea, hear the planes coming and going to the Bass Straight Islands or Melbourne, you know the people, the players and you feel you belong. The day evolves. There are footy noises, crowd noises, footy and food smells as the live theatre plays in and around you. Although the cast and the sets are generally the same there is always a sub plot, or two, and you are never quite sure of the ending.

The Unders and the Twos give us a bright start with big wins. The seniors are well prepared and near full strength, but it is Smithton we are playing. They are always competitive and hard; raw boned country boys from further west at the edge of the world. They finished third last year after having a chance at a flag. They are never easy.

We have gone in with a tall and very mobile forward line, two young ruckmen, a hard midfield and a very experienced backline. There are four kids rotating off the bench. We must start well. We must stamp our authority on the season.

Siren; it’s on.

After a bit of bash and crash the ball goes into our forward line to a pack. Talls up, ball spills and is picked up by a running player who goals from a tight angle. Good roving from the 194 centimetre George. Sharmo is into it and has two before the hammy twinge that will give him a two week rest. Nick Pearce is on as well and the drive from midfield is promising. At quarter time we are ten goals seven to two goals on a windless day. Six of our mobile big blokes, including both our rucks, have goals.

As expected the game tightens up and is even for the next two quarters. Scott Bryan plays a lone hand for Smithton. He is one of those country boys who could play anywhere but stayed in the bush.

We break away in the last quarter and although the backline is leaking a little it is an eighty point win. As I walk past the can bar late in the game I see Tom in the packed gallery. He has a lung buster in one hand a Jimmy (Boags) in the other, a glint in his eyes and a smile as wide as Bass Strait.

The song is raucous in the packed sheds. There is more to celebrate. Last year’s grand finalists have both been beaten in boil overs.

Dream start.

Wynyard  26 . 19 (175) def Smithton 14 . 11 (95)


Goal Kickers: N. Pearce 6, G. Walker 3, N. Hall 3, G. Sharman 2, Z. Smith 2, D. Moore 2, C. Stretton , T. Mitchell , S. Matheson , M. Bowen , B. Haneveer , S. Bakes , D. Garland , S. Douglas
Best Players: T. Mitchell, S. Gleeson, B. Haneveer, Z. Smith, C. Betts, D. Fitzpatrick


Goal Kickers: D. Medwin 4, N. Drake 3, J. Smith 2, S. Bryan , R. Morrison , T. Morrison , C. Armstrong , A. Coombe
Best Players: S. Bryan, J. Smith, C. Riley, N. Drake, C. Armstrong, A. Coombe



  1. Looking forward to getting amongst it down there Phanto. Thanks for the piece. Enjoyed it a lot.

  2. pamela sherpa says

    Great day for the locals Phantom.

  3. Carn the Cats. (Only time you’ll hear me say it).

  4. Phantom says


    what was that classic Kev Carmody song?

    From little cats, big cats grow.

    Welcome aboard.

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    Phanto – If in round 9 you are on the early shift on the gate, you will be there on your own. And you will have to walk from your home because we will be keeping the car!

  6. Phantom says


    that could well be the plan, I could get young George to pick me up on the way through from Smithton.

    The only disadvantage for you et al is you wouldn’t want him loose in the kitchen while you were stacking a few extra zzz’s out in the bunk house.

    At 6′ 5″ and over a hundred kilos he is a very dangerous person to have around an unguarded breakfast table. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  7. Hi Phantom, lovely read and now we know what we are in for when we come across the waters. I can hear the thumps around the ground and the smells and the sea already.

    See you soon


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