On the eve of footy!

Photo Courtesy of Carlton FC

On the eve of the ALFW competition, and with what has happened in our world this past year, I want to reflect a bit. With the lead up to the sounds of footy’s being bounced, sirens, yells, shouts, the many, many, many discussions surrounding the game that we love, I have become a bit more reflective of the game that I love so very much. Last year during the men’s season, we saw racial discrimination permeate on social media pages. We saw players leave the game for a while because of mental health issues. We have recently learned that Richmond legendary player Shane Tuck had one of the most horrific CTE brain trauma that researchers had ever seen. This brings me to what I want to say on the eve of the start of the AFLW season and the lead up to the beginning of the AFL season.

One of our very own players left the hubs last year to focus on his mental health issues. We cannot and must not belittle nor dismiss the issues our players across the board suffer from. At Hawthorn we have seen Tom Scully leave the game indefinitely for reasons we do not know nor should we, but whatever the reason is, we have to understand that for that person, the issues are very real and very personal. They feel that they cannot achieve their best on-field and off-field they are not up to their best.

There are those in the footy world who want to harper back to a game and a world where the term “suck it up” or “harden up” is rife. This is not the world we are in today and we cannot and must not go back to that world, for that world allows a player who gets knocked out, or suffers from concussion, to either continue playing or to play again at the next game. We have evolved in our knowledge of what players go through not only physically, but mentally as well. We cannot dismiss this and tell them to “suck it up” for the damage long-term is one where a person thinks that life is just not worth it anymore and we mourn not only their shorten lives, but we mourn who they were – our footy heroes.

Then there is the issue of racism that seems to be prolific in some fan’s circles. Those who believe that making a flippant or comment that to them and others seem to be a joke, but for the person/s who it is aimed at, it is hurtful and belittling. They don’t see nor understand how comments such as these can affect a person. We must not and cannot go back to a time when comments about a person’s race, religion or even sexuality becomes fodder for a “joke” or a “jibe” and that a person gets offended because someone else is, well offended. We have to be better than that.

We cannot go back in time when the game seemed to be more than what it is today. That it was accepting of racial taunting, name-calling and allowing players to be playing when they shouldn’t. We cannot allow players, young players to walk away from a game they loved and strived to play for many years. While I understand that the AFL changes the rules far too often sometimes, we have to allow the game to evolve in such a way that allows players to feel not only secure in their minds, but in their bodies as well.
As a society, we have to teach our young players that some behaviors are not acceptable on and off the field. As a society, we have to understand that discrimination of any kind is just not – well, sport! As a society, we have to accept that the way the players, all players, play the game, that sometimes their well-being is far more important than winning a game.

I want to see my club, Carlton, become the successful club that I know and can see it can become, but not if it means watching a talented player walk away because they are being taunted because of their race, color, creed, or even their sexuality. I want to see the best players out there playing because they are proud to wear the Navy Blue, but I also want to make sure that they know, that we as a code, a club, care about their mental and physical well-being.

As we start the AFLW season and head into the AFL season, I truly believe that Carlton will start their rise up and we will achieve this because we have respect for the players and who they are and what they do to ensure that we as a club, can achieve greatness.


Season 2020…reflections!

Every year, without a doubt, I look forward to the start of footy. The distant smell of fresh grass, sounds of Sherrin’s manufactured permeate my imagination and the call of the siren that signifies the beginning of a game rings pleasantly in my ears. This anticipation as with every new day, the date comes closer and closer.

Every year, I plan my year based on games and their location. I book accommodation and flights if they are not in Victoria. My social calendar reflects the dates of games. For part of the year, I know where I will be and who I will be with at this time.

This process gets me through a season that I am not particularly fond of; I’m not too fond of summer, but it becomes a bridge that I have to cross to get to where I want to be – the start of the footy season.

Now I am a positive-outlook type of person. I see things half-glass full. I take every negative experience and see the positive. I look at the mistakes as a lesson and a chance to change it into successes, but I am realistic and understand that circumstances and situations can alter a course. Yet all through this, I always had the knowledge that every week from the start of the footy season, I would be able to see my team play and be with those who I consider family. It became a cathartic experience that would make all the ills of the world and anything that was not great in a week, disappear; this changed in 2020.

From the onset, when the AFLW season was halted and stopped. When we knew that we could be at the opening match of the AFL season that eventually led into us, Victorian’s not able to attend any game. There was no planning, no excitement of going to matches, no flights booked, no meeting up with friends from interstate that has become a part of my life. It was gone, taken away by the most unfathomable situation – a bloody virus, a damn pandemic.

I would not be able to see friends, or experience that extraordinary euphoria and disappointment that comes with going to a game. I felt left out, separate from a game that made me feel the exact opposite other times.
The games on the whole were, and I am not referring to just Carlton games, but the AFL on the whole, was, well, boring. Those games that got me on the edge of my seat (at home), were few and far between, yet I felt disjointed as if I was watching a game, but one that seemed unreal. The canned noise, while was good, made the games feel staged at times.

Without a doubt, some fantastic, epic, mind-blowing games resulted in spectacular marks, unbelievable close games, and who can ever really forget that goal at the end of the match between Carlton and Fremantle. It still blows my mind, but the little bubbles of sadness peak through because I could not be there.

The footy for me is an avenue of getting away from everyday life. It is a way to get together with people who share the same passion as me about the game and the team that I love. It is that excitement that starts after summer when you know that there is not long to go before that smell of fresh-cut grass fills the air, the knowledge that the Sherrin factory is getting ready and that in the distance the echoes of a siren flitters through.

As summer approaches, there is that disjointed feeling that the start of the footy will be a long, long, long, long way away when all I want is it to come, well, now. As Victorian’s, we had to watch our beloved game being played everywhere else, except here. I am in no way taking away the impressive feat that the other states have achieved in continuing our 2020 season and how our interstate supporters were able to cheer on their team. Still, for me, as a Victorian, it is bitter-sweet.

As we head into December and the end of what has been, well, a year that really upset the cart, the hope that in 2021 we in Victoria will be able to get to games looms large and loud in our heads.

Season 2020 is fading away and season 2021 looms. I hope that I can plan some sort of normality in my footy calendar and look forward to leaving behind the trials and tribulations of a week and as I scan in my membership, leave that outside of the stadiums. The many experiences I have had over the years being at the footy, the good and the bad, far outweigh anything else. I want that back.

Here’s to 2021 having some sort of normality and here’s to hopefully, attending games. I want that sore throat at the end of the match. I want to feel that euphoria and sometimes disappointment that comes at the end of the game. I want to chant, sing, swear and yell, hug friends and banter with strangers and fellow supporters. I missed that in 2020.



Reflections! Hope! Excitement!

When the new year started, I for one was excited and hopeful of what this year would bring. The AFLW team was going great, and I was looking forward to attending the last games of their season and hopefully a Grand Final’s berth. I was super excited to see what the new season was going to bring for the AFL team. I could not wait for the first bounce of season 2020, even if it did mean watching a Premiership team unfurl their winning flag.

The atmosphere would be electric, and I was going to be a part of that. I had made a vow, this season I would attend every single game, no matter where it was; last year I missed two games. The one against Freemantle and the Western Bulldogs game as I was in Byron Bay. Not this season, I was going to be at every single game.

In the group chats I was in; we could not wait to start the season: season 2020. But little did we know that something would happen that shook us all to our very core. That we could not see out the final games of the AFLW season and that we, Victorian’s, would not attend one single AFL match.
Media and social media were full of this thing called COVID19. We did not understand what was happening or what this COVID19 thing was.

Theories floated around the world about this thing, this virus, this very deadly virus. The more we learned, the more we realized that this was a serious, a severe and fatal virus. Thrown into a pandemic, one where the world had not seen since 1918, we asked ourselves, how on earth were we to deal with this? We could predict, and it did happen bushfires. We could predict flooding around the world, even a war that could plunge the world into the depths of catastrophic despair was always in the backs of our minds, but this! A virus! How could anyone have seen this coming? (Conspiracy theorists please no diatribe!)

We all had our own opinions on whether the footy season should start and how was this going to affect the season and the AFLW season. After much deliberation by the AFL, the AFLW season stopped, no definite winner would be pronounced. But the AFL season would start with Round One, with no fans at the game.

Watching a game that would have been a sold-out blockbuster with no-one at the MCG was heartbreaking, to be honest. I, along with others, was grateful to see the season start but devastated that we were not there. Then the season stopped, and we were all placed into lockdowns, for the speed of the virus in our world grew, and people were getting sicker and sicker and dying.

Finally, the season would start up again, and it would start up in places that would make Victorians’ barred from attending – hubs. Without a doubt, the states that had these hubs saved the AFL season, albeit, a shorter one. But we, Victorian’s would not be able to plan trips to the footy. We had the doors firmly shut on our season, and we could only support from the comfort of our living rooms, which may be warm and cosy, we would have given anything to be at the games, through the cold and rain. But alas, we could not.

The debates heated as to whether the winner of this season should have an asterisk beside their name. No matter which side of the fence you sat, in the end, the team that won, deserve the win. In the end, for Carlton, it was a season that had so much excitement and some disappointments that made it, for me, a season that showed glimpses of the immense possibilities for the future.

The devastating final siren loss to Port Adelaide, but the thrilling, nay bloody memorable win against Fremantle after the siren. All the time wishing I was there, for both games. The revelation that showed the type of player Sam Walsh was becoming. The extraordinary prowess of our young ruckman, TDK and how after only a few games, he is proving to be that missing factor that we have been without with Kreuz being unable to play. It has seen the bloody fantastic chest punching euphoria of when Cottrell kicks a goal and the electric possibilities of what Hazza would become, to name a few.

We were not able to be there to send off two players who deserve all the accolades that one can give, Kreuz and Simmo as they retire from the game. We had seen how the team won when no-one thought they could or would. We have seen how the team is growing and developing. We have had the incredible lows and the enthralling and exhilarating highs, and we Victorian’s were not there.

Season 2020 has been one that we have lived through all the time not quite believing that it happened. We have come out from this just a little bit more fragile at the tenuous state of our world and our game. I have to hope that season 2021 will be one where I can go to watch the games, no matter where and no matter if it is the AFLW or AFL. I am hopeful that I will be able to see in person another epic finish similar to what I consider the highlight of the year – Jack Newnes goal after the siren. For it was not only the goal that epitomized the result but the way the celebration at the ground, in the living rooms around the country and the hotel hub for the club. For it showed that despite what was being thrown at us, we the footy loving world would never give up on the game we love so much.

For most of us, we could not attend a season where there was much hope for the future of this great club and we thank those that cheered the boys on and made them feel the support that we Victorian’s could not give in person. We are all hoping that we can be there for season 2021, to see the club rise further up and I cannot wait for the season to start. It’s going to be an extra long period until it starts.

In a year filled with events that were out of our control, making us all retreat into our homes, it will be nice to get out and stand behind four white posts, all the while we get decked out in navy blue chanting with full voices “Carlton! Carlton!” It’s exciting, and the anticipation is palpable. GO BLUES!


Sorry SOS…Disagree!

Disclaimer: This article comes with a warning. The warning is that there will be those that disagree with me, and they have that right, but I will not tolerate those that disagree by name-calling or that I have no idea. Come at me with rational arguments, not diatribe of irrelevant musings that are based on emotion and not rationale.

Social media and the media, in general, have gone ablaze with the interview on SEN with Stephen Silvagni, ex-list manager of Carlton. I listened with interest, that turned to anger. I was not angry at the Club but SOS himself, and the more I thought about it, I got angrier and angrier.

SOS’s statements regarding how the club treated him is pure and merely sour grapes and all about him. He stated that Mark Loguidice told him that he had tried to fight for him to keep his position. He said that Cain Liddle, who has brought in more memberships this year than in our history, that Cain was scared that he would sabotage the club as a List Manager. The hosts of the show never had the “balls” to delve in deeper to those statements. So, let’s go through it.

In the interview, he had told the club that he was thinking of leaving either at the end of his contract or this year. He stated that he was told that his contract would not be renewed because it was “complex.”

Statement of fact here – no person, no matter who they think they are, will ever be subjective when it comes to their offspring in an organization, never. People in the medical profession don’t treat family as their objectivity can be clouded by emotion; same scenario here.

SOS stated that he wanted to clear the record straight and tell us, the supporters what the club wasn’t willing to say. Here I say, what a hypocrite. When interviewed on Footy Classified in the past, SOS brushed aside questions that didn’t suit him; same scenario here except that he made a statement that worked for him. Herein lies the issue. The comments are HIS perspective and his alone, and there is an underlying agenda attached to them.

So, let’s take this a bit further. The SEN hosts had the chance to ask relevant questions about this notion of Cain Liddle’s view that SOS could sabotage the club. I agree, and here is why. If SOS was still around and given the fact that we have reduced list sizes, would he have delisted Ben? Would he have been able to let him go? Given how he carried himself today, he probably wouldn’t answer that. Would he have kept an untried and rather lazy player over another player who may be untried, but puts their heart and soul into a game? He cannot be objective in this matter, because it would mean that the Coach has wanted this player gone, but the list manager, being who he is, would disagree.

That is sabotage because he is putting the personal connection above the needs and the requirements of the club, and what a position to be in, when you are a prominent person at a club, and you have to justify keeping a player, your son, when in any other club or circumstance, he would have been let go.

Then there is Jack. If SOS tries to convince Jack to leave because of the way SOS has been treated, then this again shows the hand of sabotaging the club.

He must be brave enough to distance himself from the club in all facets and allow his son to make his own decision without the looming presence of his father and accept that decision. If not, then he is sabotaging not only his son’s career but the club as well.

I would have had more respect for a great player of this club, if he had just answered the questions about his leaving the club, in the same way he did when grilled on Footy Classified. I have no respect for him now. He is putting his own agenda above that of his professed love for the club. He is putting his needs above that of his son still at the club, Jack.

For some fans, they have said that it was time someone put some clarity on SOS’s dismissal. Why? Because of his surname? Because of who he is? Why now? SOS has not said anything previously, otherwise, why would he not of said it before? There is a hidden agenda here for SOS, he is pushing his own agenda, putting his own son in danger. I just hope Jack has the strength to push that aside and look at his needs, for I believe he has the ability to be a great player and one that is not under the constant shadow of his father.

Sorry SOS, but this interview was for you and you alone, showing how you harbor bitterness and sour grapes instead of letting it go and look at what is going to be best for your sons, not you. Respect gone!



This time of the year!

Photo courtesy of Carlton FC

First of all: Congratulations Mr Sam Walsh! Another achievement for a future leader of the club!

Now. The season hasn’t ended entirely yet, and still, trades are going on around us, or are they? We have heard from Carlton about who is not going to get another contract moving forward.

So the club says goodbye to Darcy Lang, Hugh Goddard, Finbar O’Dwyer and Ben Silvagni, and because of the last name to be delisted, the “shit” hit the fan literally.

On social media, people went “off their face” about Ben’s delisting and then took the word of a journalist who said that Jack Silvagni was next. The vitriol aimed at the club was and still, is not warranted and completely unjustified.

The romance behind the name that is Silvagni is just that: a romance. To have a player, two players whose surnames is Silvagni in a club where their father and grandfather were stars, is outstanding, for sure, but we cannot expect them to have a carte blanche path staying at the club because of their surname. They have to be able to perform at a senior level.

The fact that some are still levelling hate regarding the dismissal of Stephen Silvagni is not logical. I loved what SOS did for the club and will always, however, to have two of your children at the club and not be objective is narrow-minded. He finished his contract last year, and the club decided not to renew it. It wasn’t one person’s decision, as some are alluding to with regards to Cain Liddle. The foul names that he and even the entire Board are getting called is downright disrespectful and not warranted. If you disagree, disagree, but come at it with a rational point. Name-calling proves nothing, achieves nothing.

Let’s get one thing clear here: list sizes of ALL clubs have been cut, due to COVID-19. Players that could have had more time to develop or grow, may have to be delisted because of smaller squad size. So, a player on the fringe, and out of contract, could be delisted. Ben Silvagni is one of those players. Just because he bears a surname linked to the club, does not mean that he should stay if he is just not up to it. Will he get picked to another club? I doubt it.

Then there was talk that some media person stated that Jack Silvagni is asking for a trade and will be leaving. Now that sent social media into a frenzy. Jack is a contracted player until 2021 and was injured for most of this year after suffering from a severe bout of gastro. He is not going, nor is he going to be traded. However, put that aside, and ask yourself: Do you want a player that is there because of his surname, or do you want a player who is there because he is and has the potential to be a great player?

I do believe that Jack can be a top player. He needs a bit more time to develop, and also needs to shake off the stigma of his surname, and this is why I believe that the decision not to renew SOS’s contract was the right one. Hopefully, he will have a great pre-season and come back better than ever.

The trade period will see media spouting something to fill the air, and write conclusions on a team or player based on their determinations; this does not mean that it is true. Before posts are made about the likelihood of player coming or going, check the source, review the information and then wait and see what the club and the player will state. Don’t fall down the trap of assuming that what you read or hear from sources that are not credible, are credible.

Also, the fact that others have said that Carlton’s year has been a failure are just saying this for clickbait. I said at the beginning of the year that I would love to see Carlton sit at the top of the bottom 8. Most media put them finishing between 13th and 16th, nothing higher. We finished 11th! How is that a failure? Because we couldn’t get into the top 8? We were not ready this year, and this season has taught us what we can be capable of and what we need to work on and strive for next year. This is not a failure, by any means.

We all want to see Carlton great again. It will happen, and I will say this now – Carlton will be in the top 8 in 2021. That is my view and opinion, and if you disagree, then that is your right. I won’t call you names, promise!


Mr Kade Simpson…

As the news travels on social media, and the media in general, Carlton fans are stunned at the retirement of one of it’s greatest players and most loved player. Our world reverberated with the announcement from Kade Simpson of his retiring and that the game against Brisbane Lions this week on Saturday night, would be his last.

I was on Blue Abroad this week, and when asked the question about who was my favourite player, I said that for me, the player who gives the game his all, who lays it all on the line for every game, and who may not be a forward or the star of the game, but that player who never gives up or gives in. Who is dynamic around the ground. Who, no matter what is in front of them, whether it be the conditions or the state of the game, they play with heart and soul. That is an apt description of Kade Simpson – Simmo.

For the past seasons, we have seen how this stalwart of a player, wearing the long sleeve jumper, and the number 6 on his back, came out in every game to play his heart out. He plays as if his life depends on it. That ball to the face a few weeks ago epitomizes the type of person and player he is. He got whacked, shook his head, got up and played on. That is the type player that I love and the person that is Simmo.

I always felt that his attitude to the game could affect not only his health but his well-being. The hit to the head by a ball, made me ponder that maybe his time should be up as a player. We have seen him battle his way through no matter what, and given the current status of head injuries and injuries, in general, that could affect a player as they age, I don’t want to see Simmo become a player who left on terms that were not made by himself. I did not want him to retire because he was injured; I wanted him to retire because he felt it was time.

I would have loved him to be a part of a team that raised that 17th Cup, but I don’t think his body could take much more. His heart could; his mind could, but not his body.

Kade Simpson will always be that player that I love in this game. That player who puts on the guernsey and plays for the pride of wearing it. Who still plays his heart out and with the satisfaction of playing for Carlton.

Simmo will always be that player that every upcoming player should try to emulate. He may not have the star quality skills or showmanship, but he has heart, and that heart was for the Carlton FC. He retires with his head, a little bruised, but held high. He goes out with the immense love and respect of all supporters, players, coaches and administrators who know that this quiet, little man gave it his all for the Carlton FC.

I hope Simmo that you achieve so much in your life after retiring from the game. You are one of a kind and for me, the type of player that I love.

From ALL OF US…we thank you, and we will miss you.


See the growth…

Great image of great sportsmanship!

The game against the bottom team is one where, well, we should have won, or should we? Expectations directed towards Carlton and even Adelaide for that matter showed that the outcome was, well for the most, a given. Carlton would win and keep their finals hopes alive. But let’s be a bit honest here, it was a goal that was just a tad out of reach in this season. All pieces of a complicated puzzle, had to be in place for us to make it to the top 8, and well for season 2020, it was not going to happen.

Social media has taken a few “nuffy” pills given the comments made leveled against not only the coach but players and even supporters. To state the coach should be sacked, is well, showing a level of understanding and footy knowledge lacks any credibility or validity. The comments made against Murphy and Simmo in carrying off a person who is one of their closest friends, after that player, who played his heart out for Carlton, Bryce Gibbs, announced his retirement, is well downright the opposite of what their actions were – a show of great sportsmanship.

The somewhat idiotic blasting of how terrible Carlton is and to some on social media always will be, shows once again how they don’t seem to get it. Let’s take off those rose-colored glasses and understand the season for Carlton this year.

Carlton was going to be the team that finished near the bottom of the ladder, according to most, and it was either last or second last. We had no hope of rising slightly. So, what did we do this year? Well, we climbed. From being a team that finished 16th in 2019, we are likely to finish either 11th or 12th. That signifies that the team in 2020 has not gone back to what it was in previous years but has grown, maybe not the speed that some believe we should have, but they have grown.

Without a doubt, there were some players on the weekend that didn’t step up, and there is no point naming them because I’ll leave that to others, as this is not my focus in this blog. The focus is to look at the team and the club as a whole. To discuss how, after years of mishandling, we need to see growth in the players under a coach who understand what it will take to make the club successful again. He has done it as a player and will do it as a coach. Because this year, we have seen growth in the team.

We are all “long-suffering” supporters of a great club that has been through really, well shit times, but for the first time in a while, I can see growth in the team and the club. Indeed, there are gaps in our playing group that need to be “plugged”, and through the draft, we will get players that can seal those gaps.

We need to “calm-the-farm” down! We need to look at the bigger picture. We need not feel despair because we did not finish in the top 8 this year when there was always going to be too many factors conspiring against us to do that.

We have achieved more than most thought this year, and in season 2021, we will achieve more again. I believe this wholeheartedly because if you watch the games and watch how some players are growing and developing, we have the talent to get us there.

We will get there, but this constant barrage of disparaging the coaches and the players achieves nothing and gets nothing. Understand the progress, understand the growth and then you can understand where we are at in terms of setting us up for season 2021 and more.


P.S. Some have also come out and made comments about Gibbs and his decision to leave Carlton. No matter his reasons, to lay blame when you don’t have the real truth, is tantamount to bullying. No matter what decision a player makes for their lives, their family, it is theirs and theirs alone. Gibbs loved Carlton and still does. Enjoy your next journey sir!

Dear Mr Kreuzer…

Dear Mr Matthew Kruezer

The heart and soul of any organisation, no matter if it is a business, school or a sporting team, is what one person can bring to the organisation. In footy, especially Carlton, there has always been those players that step through the doors at Ikon Park, bringing with them heart and a determination to play the best way possible with quiet grit and love for the club. That is what you have delivered at Carlton.

As a supporter, watching you go about your role on the field and seeing you in the ruck, seeing you around the ground and kicking a goal, every single supporter at the game, yelled out the words ‘Kreuzz’.

You wanted no limelight, no front-page headlines; you just wanted to play footy and play it for one club only – Carlton. Your loyalty towards the club, the players, the fans was what defined you as a person.

I had the privilege of sitting at your table during a breakfast function and what you see on the ground, is what you get in person. Your demeanor is one of respect. That’s it. You have respect for the supporters, the club and game that is footy.

The issues you have had with your health and injuries, must have been frustrating not only for you but for supporters as well, because all we wanted to see was the big man – Kreuz, run out on the field and we knew that the ruck was in good, no, great hands. Despite the issues you faced, you carried yourself with dignity and humility, and that is what makes you such a beloved person, not only at Carlton but in the AFL as a whole.

I want to thank you for being you; for being that heart and soul of our club and for giving us all that you could provide. I, together with every single AFL fan, wish you nothing but success for whatever it is you will be doing after your time in the AFL as a player has ended.

You are what every player should aspire to be. You are one of a kind. The chant of ‘Kreuz’ will lie dormant now, but our memories of you playing will not.

Lots of success and enjoy your time as a non-player.

Love you Kreuz! And ALL OF US, love you.


What A Ride!

Photo Courtesy of Carlton FC

I sit down and strap myself in – waiting. The equipment checked, making sure all is in place. A button pushed. The sound of motion reverberates, and screams and yells echo. It has begun.

It starts slow, laborious and disappointing. Then momentum begins, and fear takes hold. Then you rise, and as you do, you feel nervous, as trepidation sets in, because you know there is going to be a downside.

There it is. That fear as you slide down, then something happens—a change. You rise again. Excitement brews tingled with a feeling of nervousness as that little voice inside your head that tells you, that you will fall again. But no, you don’t. You glide bumpily to the end.

Then you stop. You stand up, legs shaking, and a feeling of euphoria shows on your face, and you say out loud, ‘What just happened?’

This analogy is how it feels to be a Carlton supporter right now. Where you take a seat in season 2020 that is like a roller-coaster ride, yet you never leave the ground or the safety of your own home (if you can’t get to the matches). That is how it felt like in the game against Sydney on Tuesday 8th September 2020.

Every supporter was pretty flat from the game against GWS and even though our expectations that we were going to beat Sydney, we had that niggling feeling that it could go pear-shaped.

For the first part of the game, that was how it felt. However, the boys dug in and dug in deep. As the minutes counted down, in the end, it became another game where the last few minutes decided the eventual outcome.

It was an ugly, gruesome game to start with and our decision making and inadequate entrance to our forward line, was, as David Teague has said, inefficient and needs some work. Yet despite that, the players never gave up or gave in. This level of grit is something that in previous seasons, would have seen the team falter and get hammered on the scoreboard.

This year is different, and the match on Tuesday night showed that.
They refused to give up or give in, and with little tweaks, when the ride came to a close, we came out winners: ugly, but a win.

If you watch that game again, really from the time of our first goal, two things. TDK! That’s it, just TDK. At only 21, his skills as a ruckman are getting better and better with each game played. As a young ruckman, as he experiences more senior games, his abilities will become more robust, and the mistakes made will disappear as he learns how to handle the pressure.

Matthew Cottrell! Nothing else. Why? Well because a player who has only played five senior games, steps over that line of being unsure, to that line of, yep, I can do this. He flew in the air, taking with him, every supporter. He kicked that goal, bringing with him every supporter. He celebrated in a way, where every supporter celebrated with him. He made a small moment of a game, to become a significant one. Here’s why.

When everything was bleak, Cottrell, pushed aside those around him and leapt into the air making a statement that, ‘This ball is mine!’ The poise to settle himself down and kick that goal shows how far he has come as a senior player and how, at only twenty years old, with more senior games, he will be that extra zing on-field that every club needs.

We may get to the top eight this year, we may not; but either way, season 2021 is looking just that little bit brighter and exciting, and even if some of us, including myself, do not like roller-coasters, this ride, I will go on again.

The only way to celebrate this week, well, I will leave that to Cottrell, for no-one does it better!

Photo Courtesy of Carlton FC



Photo courtesy of The Herald Sun

The match against GWS started with that small tingle of hope, and by the last quarter, the legs got weary, the mind got foggy and tired, and stamina oozed out of the pores from sweat.

The players couldn’t hold on or make any real dent in our once third-quarter lead. I’m a “half-glass” full person, and I try to see the positives, the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I try to think, rationalise and come to a conclusion that for me, I can understand and be content.

So, for my “half-glass” full view on the game, here it is. We could not hold on for another twenty minutes. We were not the dynamic playing group that we were in the first three quarters, but we are not as bad as some may think or say and I know there will be those who disagree with me and that is your right, but to be perfectly honest, “it ain’t all doom and gloom!”

I have stated and will continue to say that 2020 will see the club move up the ladder and be in the top half of the bottom eight. Last year we finished 16th, this year, a year where most believed we would finish either the same as 2019 or lower. They could not see us rising. This year, we are sitting 12th and could, possibly rise a bit higher.

No-one, not even most supporters believed that we would be sitting where we are now. So why all the gut-wrenching disappointment that we are not in the top 8?

Because we had hope, hope that given the games that we had won, we could’ve made it to the top 8, but we didn’t and we won’t – this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved to have seen the team in the top 8, but I’m not so disappointed that we aren’t – yet. I fully expect that the team will be in the top 8 in 2021, nothing else will be acceptable, but for now, I want one thing for the team this year – to give us, the supporters who have stuck by the team a simple four-letter word – HOPE!

I want to see them play these last three games with all the guts and determination that we will expect to see in 2021. I want them to play and give us the supporters, hope that we are heading in the right direction. I want them to understand that playing and winning the last three games will provide the supporters with a belief and a hope that we are going to be a club that opponents will fear, and vying for prime positions within the top 8 in 2021.

We have waited a long time to be once again a club that others fear, and we will be, slowly, diligently where we will be a club that can and does play all four quarters. But right now, I want to see the players give the supporters hope and show those who have not been able to attend any games and those lucky ones who have, that there is hope in the future of this team. Show that, and I will be content at this season’s end.

That is what I want to see for the next three games. HOPE!