Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 15, 2012

Monday, 14th May 2012 – Infrastructure and transport issues, and some Monday night football!!

It was about 7 degrees when I left Ballarat this morning – filled the car with fuel, and then instead of having a touch of breakfast and a coffee before I left, as suggested by Heather [through a brief exchange of text and phone greetings], I just headed straight for the highway, intending to stop at my usual coffee haunt in Melton. The drive from Ballarat to there was none too pleasant on the Highway, constant rain throughout the journey including periods of mist, etc,, and then when I reached Melton, my coffee haunt was not yet open. Bought a small coffee across the road, but nothing to eat, didn’t fancy pastries etc at this time of the morning!

I left Ballarat rather early this morning, intending to visit the gymnasium as usual for a Monday, but upon arrival in Sunbury, changed my mind and decided to give this morning’s session a miss. I was waiting to hear the xray results from Saturday’s ultra sound, and with quite a bit of pain still evident around the rib area, and still feeling a little weary overall, thought it might be wiser to bypass today’s activities. Plenty to do at home on a cold morning which was revealing a mix of weak sunshine, and occasional overcast conditions, and short rain showers.

I noticed in this morning’s Ballarat Courier, a report of Ballarat jockey Michelle Payne being injured in a fall at the Donald races yesterday. I had chosen Michelle in one of the races when I gave the country tips on air yesterday morning, but her day had obviously not gone as planned. She was thrown from her horse shortly after the start of  the first race, and suffered four fractured vertebrae, broken ribs together with bruising and lacerations to her face. Michelle is the youngest member of the famous Victorian racing family, and the 8th of 11 children to become a jockey. I hasten to suggest that she has been the most successful of the family jockeys.

In mentioning the Ballarat Courier, I noticed some articles of concern about residents worried about their road being used as a bypass route for the main highway [or Main Road] between Ballarat and Geelong, a road which is also the main route to the University of Ballarat. This was referred to also, in the Editorial of the day, which dealt with the whole question of public infrastructure and transport facilities, etc. It read as follows, under the heading ‘Investment in infrastructure needed with regional push’.

Ballarat residents will probably get a sense of déjà vu when they see the latest round of state government advertising aimed at encouraging people to consider a shift to regional cities.  Similarly jubilant tree changers were splashed across railway billboards by the previous Labor government.  Decentralisation is a political nut that everybody wants to crack as it offers the dual virtues of easing the strain on an increasingly bloated capital city and fosters economic growth in the new destination But much as the idea has merit it should not be ignored that it comes at a cost.  If lifestyle is one of the choicest carrots being dangled before so many imprisoned Melburnians, it should be remembered that a critical mass in this exodus could as easily destroy that lifestyle.

All growth comes at a cost but it is the planning and active preparation for that growth that really dictates the severity of this cost.  One of the reasons most commonly cited for the change is lifestyle and in particular a freedom from congestion that has become a twice-daily migraine for Melbourne commuters. Within a decade of the ring road being built it was at capacity and in need of an overhaul.  “Thirty five minutes from Southbank”, Melton banners once proudly advertised, but that slogan must seem like a bitter joke as Melbourne piles suburb after suburb onto its Western flank with the most cursory attention to infrastructure. The dream home has become encircled by a nightmare of congestion and laughable public transport options.  But before we commiserate too quickly with our big city cousins, we should think about our own Main Road. It has already the signs of big city congestion as twice a day a major arterial is reduced to a crawl. The attempts to upgrade are piecemeal and sporadic, the public transport options are inadequate. The issue of Yankee Flat Road becoming an alternative route as such was almost inevitable. The advent of more 1600 new jobs expected at the University of Ballarat’s technology park is just the kind of growth Ballarat needs. The problem is a once quiet country road is turning into a major arterial with all its attendant problems. Anybody who has sat in the stop-start of Main Road in the morning would hardly blame the people who take this “Rat Run” but how long before it too becomes congested with another 1600 cars? On the other side of town we have a whole new suburb springing up in Lucas, to be serviced by Dysons and Cuthberts roads. It takes little imagination to envisage what awaits these thoroughfares. But these growing pains are just symptomatic of what lies ahead without the proper planning and the investment to follow. Advertising campaigns are all very well to sell a happy message but serious and long-term investments in infrastructure are what is really needed to avoid growth creating a new locality for misery’.

Yes, a problem we know only too well, in the Melbourne metropolitan area, but don’t always consider that a place like Ballarat, could be similarly affected.

Meanwhile, on things closer to my heart,  the Carlton team for tonight’s 7th Round Match shows that coming back into the team, we have  Jarrod Waite, Chris Judd [captain] and Edward Curnow, while Brett Thormnton, Kane Lucas and Joshua Bootsma all were dropped from last week’s team. The record of matches between these two teams shows a bit of a one-sided picture for Carlton, although St Kilda have been dominant in recent years.  Carlton vs St Kilda. Played 208 times. Carlton has won 158. St Kilda has won 48. Drawn twice.Played 13 times at Etihad Stadium\. Carlton has won 4, St Kilda 9. Largest home & away crowd – 55,658 in Round 15, 2008 at the MCG.  If the Blues were to win tonight’s game, they will go to the top of the AFL Ladder, the first time they have been there at the end of Round 7, since 1995 [the Blues’ last Premiership year]…………………………….

It wasn’t to be.  As an Away game which did not cover my Member’s ticket, I had more or less decided to watch this one at home, but when I realised that Susie was going to go down to Jodie’s new place, and watch the game on TV with her while Ash was at work [on shift work], I decided to join them both.  I must admit, that at 6.30 pm when we left home, I would much prefer to have stayed where I was –  out on the roads between here and the city, and more specifically, Ascot Vale,  the traffic was heavy, it was already dark, cold, and raining, at times quite heavily. The kind of night driving conditions I detest these days – but I had decided to take my car, so could blame nobody but myself. We would eventually reach Jodie’s place with time to spare before the match began, at which point, at my expense, Jodie ordered a pizza delivery for a meal tonight – not my preferred food these days, but decided it was the best option on this occasion. My coca cola drinking daughter [unhappy that the pizza place only had pepsi cola available], borrowed my car and went back out in the weather in search of the local milk bar!!

As for my [our] football viewing tonight, there was not much for a Carlton supporter to cheer about!
Carlton missed the chance to go to the top of the AFL ladder after a shock loss to St Kilda in a fiery and entertaining clash at Etihad Stadium on Monday night. The Saints opened a six-goal lead during the third quarter, then survived some nervous moments early in the final term when the Blues closed to within 19 points.
But the underdogs held their nerve and prevailed 19.8 (122) to 14.14 (98). In stark contrast to the pre-game predictions, Scott Watters’ men used speed and creativity to go on a scoring spree against a Carlton side renowned for those exact traits. The Saints’ small forwards led the way, with veteran sharp-shooter Stephen Milne booting four goals, while first-year dynamos Terry Milera and Amed Saad chipped in with another five between them. Brendon Goddard, Farren Ray, Leigh Montagna and Lenny Hayes were also outstanding in the middle of the ground, while Clint Jones held Carlton gun Marc Murphy to only 16 possessions.
Fresh from being rested when the Blues took on Greater Western Sydney last weekend, skipper Chris Judd was tireless in the midfield, gathering 30 touches. David Ellard, who started as Carlton’s substitute and was only brought into the game during the third quarter [far too late], was his team’s leading goalkicker with three. St Kilda set up its fourth victory of the year by kicking six goals to one between the 30-minute mark of the first quarter and the 15-minute mark of the second term. The Saints’ triumph has seen them leapfrog Geelong and Hawthorn into eighth spot on the ladder. The Blues went into the game as red-hot favourites, knowing that a win would see them displace West Coast on top of the table.  But after grabbing an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter, thanks to a miraculous left-foot snap from Eddie Betts and a brilliant long goal from Kade Simpson, they completely lost control of the game.  St Kilda was sparked into action when Carlton defender Aaron Joseph dropped a regulation mark in the back pocket four minutes before quarter-time.  Milne pounced on the loose ball and snapped a great goal, then ran and gave Joseph an earful.  A melee ensued and Milne was booed and cheered by the respective sections of the crowd after he had to leave the field with a torn jumper.
The Saints rarely looked back from there. Having entered the game with victories over lowly Gold Coast, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne to their name, they were finally able to claim a big scalp.\  Carlton, which is now fourth on the ladder with a 5-2 record, faces a big test next Sunday when it takes on third-placed Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. Quarter by quarter scores in a dismal Blues performance were:-

ST KILDA Saints:     5.3.33     11.5.71       16.6.102           Final:  21.14 (140)
CARLTON Blues     5.1.31       8 6.54       12.10.82            Final:  12.12 (84)

And my other opinion, as expressed on Face Book overnight – ‘You win some, you lose some gutsy effort Saints, but, I think it’s time Rats started coaching again from up top instead of down with the boys on the bench, just seems to miss what is obvious to everyone else from down there – leaving changes on the field too late for example!! And perhaps there is too much media access being allowed into the Club, some of these guys believe all that is written/said about them, but forget to do it on the field week by week [of course very easy to criticise from off the field, but I guess that is the ‘animal’ of spectating!!]!! And sorry Joseph, we know Milne is a little mongrel, but he can also be a damn brilliant footballer, and I would have preferred to have seen you guys concentrate on beating him at his game, rather than mouthing him off! That gained you nothing!  Disappointing player and coaching effort, when there was a prize worth winning for, may not get that opportunity again.’

Not surprisingly, a relatively quiet drive back to Sunbury – we actually left Jodie’s place ‘before’ the match ended, such was the disquiet at the loss!!  I was glad to get home – traffic still heavy, rain still about, and with a passenger [who drives her own little car hard] I felt obliged to at least drive close to the speed limit!!  The AFL Top b teams after 7 rounds shows:

  1.  West Coast Eagles……………………24……………138.41
  2. Essendon Bombers……………………24……………136.61
  3. Adelaide Crows……………………….24……………126.08
  4. Carlton Blues………………………….20……………140.22
  5. Sydney Swans…………………………20……………125.51
  6. Fremantle Dockers…………………….20……………114.17
  7. Collingwood Magpies………………..20……………..107.05
  8. St Kilda Saints…………………………16…………….126.13



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