Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 1, 2011

Saturday 1st October 2011 – signs of Winter, rain, cloudy skies & the heater is back on!! It’s GRAND FINAL Day.

Not a good description for a day that is usually the highlight of the Australian football season – AFL Grand Final Saturday! Despite that, the two competing teams are sure to attract a huge crowd to the Melbourne Cricket Ground [MCG] prepared to sit in the rain and cold [I mean, the Grand Final Parade in the city yesterday attracted tens of thousands in similar conditions, simply to watch their football stars drive past!!]. Mmmmm, well that was me about 15/20 years ago, but a little wiser now!! The comfort of a warm lounge room is a better option at about 2pm today!!!

A new month, and a new edition of my favourite magazine these days – ABC’s Classic FM ‘Limelight’ from which I draw much of my education, and information for my Sunday morning radio program. There are a couple of major festivals taking place in Melbourne this month. One is the ‘Melbourne Festival’ which is essentially arts and music related, although as one critic described it ‘Bucking the trend of certain arts festivals this year, which have eschewed so-called ‘artsy-fartsy’ performers [i.e., classical musicians], the Melbourne International Arts Festival has a spectacular line-up showing just how alive the art form is. An African version of  The Magic Flute [‘Mozart] is just one of the many highlights’. On a slightly different note, we have a week long ‘Seniors Festival’ which means what it says – a program of events for us ‘oldies’ – and this goes over a whole range of differing events – a concert series, golf classic, dance, theatre & performances, galleries & exhibitions, museums, genealogy, walking tours, poetry, books & writing, crafts & antiques, lunches & morning teas [exciting stuff], historic sites and buildings tours, seminars & lectures, active living, health & wellbeing, life activities and so on  – as can be seen, virtually anything one could have an interest in is covered in some way!  Yes, there are events at both festivals I’d love the opportunity to get to, but not this year. Hopefully from 2012 onwards I will have the opportunity to enjoy for eg, some of the events put on by the annual Seniors Festivals. But whether I’m involved or not, these things as always get a degree of promotion from this radio presenter!

Susie managed to get off to her part time job early this morning – a good effort after a 12 hour concert she attended yesterday in the city, at ‘Festival Hall’ I think, a popular young people’s concert venue these days. In my younger days, the venue tended to feature boxing and wrestling contests, samples of both which I attended on the odd occasion. I didn’t even bother to ask who was performing, as I imagine most of the names would not have been familiar to me in any case.  Meanwhile, at 10am this morning, thousands of football fans were converging on Melbourne, and the MCG in particular. I about to go out into the weather myself shortly for a bit of shopping, etc, and maybe even a visit to one of the local car sales places, an asset I am going to be short of in a few weeks time!! I shall return with this blog in an ongoing basis as we delve into the afternoon’s activities at Melbourne’s sporting centre.


Saturday afternoon,  and this writer is settling down to about 6 hours of football [two varieties], and I warn readers now that most of the balance of today’s contribution will be sports orientated, no apologies for that, that’s one of this blogger’s loves in life, so deal with it, lol!

Over in the New Zealand town of Nelson, at Trafalgar Square, Australia comes up against Russia in our final first round match of the Rugby World Cup before the quarterfinal stage is reached  – I’m hoping the end of that game will come well before the start of our AFL Grand Final!!  Before the rugby began, we were treated to a rather interesting little documentary and historical piece on the town of Nelson, where apparently the first rugby match was played in New Zealand. Quite an  historical heritage about the place overall.  Down in the far south west corner of Victoria, we also have a town of Nelson, but looking at the pictures coming out NZ, our Nelson is but a dot on the map compared to the venue for today’s rugby.  Australia are expected to win this game against Russia –this seems  to be assumed, the big concern is the aim of avoiding any more injuries, something that has plagued the Aussie team through  this tournament. Don’t often get to hear the Russian National Anthem, a pleasant change to share the Aussie anthem with the Russians.  Lots of supporters for Australia there today, but also a lot of New Zealand fans – pretending to be Russian fans!!!

Well, after 20 minutes, the dominance was rather obvious – 4 tries to Australia, and leading 26-0. Another Try to Australia, and then at 34 minutes, the ‘house’ is brought down when the Russians score a Try!! Quick response  by the Aussies however!!  The rain starts to fall in Nelson, as halftime is reached.  Australia 47. Russia 5.  Meanwhile, looking out the window here, the weather looks just as miserable – very cold in Melbourne [and here in Sunbury] this afternoon , the Spring season seems to have briefly deserted us completely. The 2nd half in the rugby began very quickly as the first had ended – with another converted Try for Australia as the score raced to 54-5.  Not sure if this is a great ‘hit-out’ before the Quarter Finals, although perhaps it may be to our advantage!

Meantime, at the MCG, some of the pre-match entertainment is about to begin – which includes the ageing American rock star ‘Meatloaf’. An unusual choice of entertainment by the AFL, and at one stage with the threatening weather, there was a possibility his performance might be cancelled for security reasons. When I did the ‘rock n roll’ show on the radio a few years ago, Meatloaf tracks were featured often, and in fact one of his songs I used as my theme for the show [Rock n Roll Dreams Come Through] – in fact, we switched over from the rugby for a couple of minutes just in time to find Meatloaf performing, quite a character, even today ‘You took the words right out of my mouth’ belted out around a wet and soggy MCG, or even ‘/Like a bat out of hell’!!! I don’t know what the younger generation thought of him??  But, back at the rugby, the Russians are making a much better effort of things in the 2nd half, and 69 minutes, the score was 61-22 Australia’s way, and certainly the crowd were also getting into the game more.

It was around 2.15 our time, when the rugby finished [4.15 in Nelson], and the final score saw Australia 68      defeating Russia 22, frustration on the Australian faces for an unsatisfactory finish in  view of the 1st half score- line, although I understand that the Russian coach really got into his team during the halftime break, so a better effort by the Russians should have been anticipated from that point onwards. The game finished in driving rain!!

Let’s get back to the MCG where we will stay for the next 3 hours or so – and a look at the two teams competing here today  –   and I note I’ve had no offers from any of my ‘kids’ to come over ands watch the game with me, so I am here alone. The attraction of enjoying the match with a mob of ‘drinking’ mates a much better option, and I don’t really blame them for that!!

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES vs GEELONG CATS at the MCG – Sat Oct 01, 2:30pm  –  the teams:
Collingwood Magpies:

B: Alan Toovey, Ben Reid, Heritier O’Brien
HB: Nick Maxwell, Chris Tarrant, Heath Shaw
C: Jarryd Blair, Dane Swan, Dale Thomas
HF: Ben Johnson, Leigh Brown, Alan Didak
F: Steele Sidebottom, Travis Cloke, Luke Ball
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Andrew Krakouer
I/C: Leon Davis, Chris Dawes, Sharrod Wellingham, Alex Fasolo
Emg: Tyson Goldsack, Cameron Wood, Ben Sinclair

Geelong Cats:
B: Josh Hunt, Matthew Scarlett, Tom Lonergan
HB: Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, David Wojcinski
C: Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Andrew Mackie
HF: Steve Johnson, Tom Hawkins, Travis Varcoe
F: Trent West, James Podsiadly, Paul Chapman
Foll: Brad Ottens, Cameron Ling, Joel Corey
I/C: James Kelly, Mathew Stokes, Mitch Duncan, Allen Christensen
Emg: Shannon Byrnes, Darren Milburn, Cameron Guthrie
Milestones: Andrew Mackie – 150 games, Travis Varcoe – 100 games

Grand Final statistics:

Head to head: Collingwood 126 Geelong 94 Drawn 1
Head to head in grand finals: Collingwood 2 Geelong 3 Drawn 0
Last time in grand finals: Collingwood 11.11 (77) bt Geelong 8.17 (65) GF 1953, MCG.

1st Quarter, 2011 Grand Final: Craig Willis, who used to be the MC at Susie’s Australian Girls Choir concerts, introduced the National Anthem, sung by Vanessa Amarozi [‘not Meatloaf, lol] – rather a boisterous version for our Anthem, however we are here for the football, not the singing, with the ABC radio commentator describing Meatloaf’s performance as ‘absolutely dreadful!!!@!  Geelong are favourites to win!! This is their 4th Grand final in 5 years [2010 the only year they didn’t get there] for two premierships in 2007 and 2009. Collingwood going for it’s 2nd premiership win in a row.  I’m picking Collingwood, by 13 points, but not sure you I want to see win the match! Interesting point – the two captains, who tossed the coin and shook hands, apparently went to the same school, as teenagers! 

A goal to Geelong’s Travis Varcoe within the first ten seconds – and I very quickly realised that the radio and TV commentaries are not in sequence, the radio had the goal scored before the kicker even had the ball!!! Think I might stick to the TV, and put up with the adverts!!! Geelong off to a strong start with two early goals, but then Travis Cloke [No. 32] responds for Collingwood with two brilliant long shots, and two goals – a player who often destroys Carlton when the teams play. The third Collingwood goal went to Indigenous player,  Andrew Krakoeur, who less than 12 months was in jail.!! Collingwood gave him a new chance at life. Despite the weather, a free flowing high scoring first quarter with the lead changing regularly. Near end of quarter, the rain starts to come down, and the big lights at the MCG are switched on as the natural light begins to deteriorate. At quarter time, the scores as close as could be  – Collingwood 4.2.26  Geelong 4.3.27

2nd Quarter, Three early goals to the Pies, and suddenly, Collingwood starts to creep away.  Susie returns home from work – tells me that in town at the shopping centre [Sunbury Square], crowds are gathered around a small TV screen in the community area cheering on the match, I guess people prefer to share these things in a crowd, rather than alone, like yours truly.  Geelong come back, then a serious injury to a Geelong player, dislocated shoulder, medics tried to put the shoulder back in on the ground, but had to take him off on a stretcher to complete the job [James Podsiadly]. Quick decision by the Cats to put their substitute player on  – commentators felt that Podsiadly could have come back, if they had been able to  fix the dislocated shoulder.  Five minutes to go in the quarter, and Collingwood go to a 15 point lead over a Geelong team with 3 players injured already. And yet, the Cats fight back with two goals, so that at half time, the scores showed Collingwood 9.3.57 to Geelong 8.6.54.

3rd Quarter:  first goal of the quarter to Geelong, puts the cats back in front. Meanwhile, I notice that comments from family members on Facebook, regarding the performance of Meatloaf, were not very favourable, to say the least. The AFL have a habit of bringing out ‘stars’ of the past to entertain us at the MCG, and year after year, they are criticised for doing so! As the quarter progresses, it’s goal for goal, and the lead changes constantly. A high standard of football by both teams in very poor weather conditions [I only have to look at my window for confirmation of that – the nature strip beside my driveway looks like a series of rivulets!!]  At three quarter time, the score was Geelong 13.7.85 to Collingwood 12.6.78. Meantime, the news headlines are suggesting that ‘Meatloaf’ has received a ‘roasting’ for his performance, but I repeat, not his fault, too much expected by the AFL of  these ‘old’ stars –  surely there is plentiful talent here in Australia that could perform the same role!

Final quarter of 2011:  and also the final quarter as Collingwood coach, for Mick Malthouse [already coached three Premiership teams in his career]. The Geelong coach, Chris Scott is in just his first year as a coach.   Geelong start to get on top – 15 minutes to go, suddenly the Cats are 21 points in front, and Eddie McGuire [Collingwood President] is beginning to look desperate!!  But Collingwood never give up, too good a team to write off  yet! Personally, I think the Cats can hang on! Their defence is supreme in the closing part of the quarter. Ten minutes to go, and Geelong in front by 26 points.

Meanwhile, the crowd  –  99,537 at the MCG!!……………………… the clocks ticks down, and Collingwood head towards yet another Grand Final loss………………Cats win the 2011 Premiership as they go away with the game [5 goals to 3 points in the last quarter].  Final score”  GEELONG 18.11.119 defeated COLLINGWOOD 12.9.81


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