This week we celebrate the career of an AFL great, a man who at multiple clubs brought joy to supporters and yet has polarised members of the media and footy fans alike. A figure whose name is known by the great masses, yet when the roar of the crowd subsides and the lights of the arenas are dimmed what do we really know about this flawed genius? Rather than focus on his faults, let us as disciples of the great game of Aussie Rules stand as one and thank the footy gods that we were able to enjoy Colin Sylvia for as long as we did. And what a better time than this weekend where the Dockers and the Dees, the two sides who were lucky enough to have the “Coltrain” represent them, let’s hope each year they can play for the Sylvia medal.
Some unsavoury incidents involving the general public and an AFL coach and Brownlow medallist. What has society come to when you can’t drink your own weight in alcohol, harass, abuse and enter a perfect stranger’s personal space while a mate records it on his phone without copping an abrupt shove? Can’t your average everyday moron take illicit substances and challenge an AFL player to a fight when they are provocatively attempting to eat lunch?
Also this week Mick Malthouse celebrates his own piece of history by becoming number one on the list of games coached at VFL/AFL level. One of coaching’s elite, Malthouse steered the Bulldogs to the finals, won premierships at the Eagles and Magpies and is currently waiting for Bruce Mathieson to tell Carlton when when he will be sacked.
My fondest memories of Malthouse are as a 24 year old when I sent around a video of my dominating performances to the then 16 AFL coaches in a hope of being drafted as a mature recruit. As the weeks went by I became more and more despondent and disillusioned that I had received no feedback at all, seemingly crushing my dream of playing in the big time. Then I received a lovely hand written letter from Mick himself letting me know I was unsuccessful this time around, because of his old school cursive style and superior vocabulary I was unable to fully understand most of the letter, although the words recalcitrant, maladroit and dullard were mentioned more than once. He signed off his letter to me with “never give up” although the word never was missing, I laminated it and it is proudly blue tacked on the back of my toilet door, where I come to expel the refuse of both the mind and body.
Carlton got their first win of the season over the Saints at one of Aussie Rules traditional strongholds in New Zealand, as an early Australian ad made famous the saying “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars”, in the land of the long white cloud they had their own jingle. “Football, fush and chups, permissive sheep and Massey Ferguson tractors”. The atmosphere at the ground was electric for the dozen or so people who were coerced in to entering the ground, when they realised that Dave Dobbyn would not be performing they were initially angry but as the game went on they were only mildly annoyed, one attendee was even overheard saying it was slightly better than being sodomised with a rusty pipe.
Melbourne had a great win last week, moving the ball quickly and being able to overcome adversity. Kent was subbed off early with a hamstring injury, Jetta left the ground for an extended period with a concussion test and Jack Watts.
The Tigers meanwhile have turned back the clock and have started to debate if Damian Hardwick is the right man to lead the Tigers, Richmond faithful believe that they need to look within and appoint a Richmond person, the jungle drums are beating and I’m hearing the name Adam Fiora.
In the first quarter at Adelaide Oval Hawthorn were made to look as impotent as Barney the dinosaur who was castrated in a boating accident. Port made the footy seem like an unattainable woman for the Hawks, however much they tried, they couldn’t get their hands on it. If this trend had of continued throughout the game it would have become embarrassing, in a similar vein to the one way man crush by pommy MKR contestants Will and Steve. It can become uncomfortable viewing watching Will looking adoringly at Steve, berating himself for “letting Steve down” and making a casual hug weirdly intense
Crowd numbers at Geelong home games are down compared to their glory years just past, it seems fans are less likely to endure freezing cold winds and sleeting rain when they are not pummelling sides each week by 10 goals or more. Geelong officials have suggested reducing the time of quarters and divide the league into conferences where they will be grouped with whoever is in the bottom 4.
Crows coach Phil Walsh decided to punish his team for a lacklustre display with an early morning dip in the ocean, Walsh himself donned the budgie smugglers which should be a deterrent in itself. There’s something unsettling about a fit middle aged bloke a little too pleased with his physique, they fill coffee shops around the country, their cleats clipping along in unison with the shooshing of their body hugging Lycra. Somehow looking like sporty spice in a transvestite tribute band and voluntarily using a form of transport favoured by children becomes popular once getting up before dawn and talking loudly is enjoyable.