This mid-season report comes to you from a rundown diner near Parliament and Queen St. The smack heads and dope fiends hang out with the glitz of Leslieville, all wanting a cup of Joe to get through another hard slog. I wonder if any of them have heard of the St Kilda Football Club? The only difference between a junkie and a footy player is that the footy player has to lay off the crank on game day.
I digress. This journey begins in January. An influx of highly motivated individuals made their way down to a big plastic dome to kick balls at the head of volunteer soccer coaches, yell loudly at each other and sprint up and down a field ad nauseum .
What was surprising is the number of new girls who showed up for this torture and returned the next week. Some huge congratulations to Natalie on this front. Less so for Catriona who brings her Irish mob down to tantalize us with their skills to then piss off on game day.
So a combination of vets and rookies started to come together under the banner of Afrika Bambaataa’s “Unity” and become a football team of note and distinction. The drilling was fierce. Five Star Handball, Cherry Beach, Three Man Weave. The jargon of an Australian Rules Football started to creep and get deep into the minds of the players. Soon dreams of Brad Pitt were replaced by Tony Lockett. This group of girls was becoming “The Blues” and it wouldn’t be long until they were put into the battle field.
And then it hit. That thump of reality. Hamilton. That first game, first quarter, was one of cracked nerves and confusion. In the end the score line didn’t reflect the passion, drive and heart of the team. This was a beat down on the scoreline only. Once the team got their act together, the tackling was fierce. The Cats went back to Hamilton with a Pyrrhic victory. They knew the dislocated shoulders, broken fingers and bruises came from the Blues and The Blues enjoyed giving it to them.
It is well known in Australia that Kangaroos are a pest and The Blues lined up the following week to exterminate a few. Well that backfired, as although the Blues were well prepared and ready for action, the team on the other side lived up to their moniker. Etobicoke are the premier team of the league. It will take a might effort to knock them off. It’s a bit tough taking on a group of star players with years of experience, but like the week before, The Blues only sharpened up late in the game. This is match we won’t dwell on and best wiped from the memory bank.
So, back to Hamilton for week four and this time, the Roman god Mars showed favour with The Blues. The sun baked field left an impression that this game would be played in hell. And wasn’t that first quarter the stuff of nightmares. Hard tackles, courageous collisions, smack, crack, bushwhacked. This was some seriously hard football. As the game went on, the Blues in a deep hole, started to claw their way back and in the end, in that fourth quarter, ruled supreme over the Cats. The punters on the sideline were beginning to mumble that maybe, just maybe The Blues could sustain an effort and win against the Cats next start. My last check on William Hill had the blues at $1.95, so there are fans.
They say Bart Cummings would know his mount was fit and ready for the Melbourne Cup after three tough races. That was a pearl, coach Rossington was relying on as The Blues hit the pitch against The High Park Demons. The Cups King was spot on. Total domination. The aeroplane celebration, which at first glance was met by the crowd with confusion and derision, was soon embraced as a metaphor of the game, the Allies bombing of Dresden. The scorers shared the spoils and the smiles that come with a great victory were shown by many. As the Carlton song echoed amongst the stale buildings of Humber South, you got the feeling that this wouldn’t be the last time the vocal chords would be mustered this year.
So we move forward. One Win, Three Losses, but the knowledge that this Blues team have hardened up. The group is starting to feel like the momentum is on their side. Can they move forward and reach the lofty heights of a Grand Final. We shall soon see.