Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hawks in Grand Final Parade

Mum and I sent off this morning, into town, in balmy sunny Melbourne spring weather. We met Melissa in Collins Street, and secured a spot along the barricade for the Grand Final Parade.

The city was filled with a sea of brown and yellow, and blue and white, kids and fans ready to cheer on the lads as they came past. It wasn't long before groups of street performers came past, doing their bit, and then police on horseback, and the Army bands playing the two anthems.

The Geelong team followed the Brownlow medalist along the street, and the much coveted Premiership Cup had a car all of it's own.

But then the boys of Hawthorn came along, in their twos. Birchall and Young, and then Sewell and Brown, followed by coach Clark and captain Mitchell. Gilham and a very calm Hodge, followed by Bateman and Ladson.

Soon it was Croad and Crawford, each with their young kids travelling along with them, clearly excited to be part of this day. A very calm Hodge, and Guerra, then Murphy, and Lewis and Roughead.

Mission impossible style security surrounded the car with Franklin and Williams, Buddy with sunglasses and that freshly shaven head in full glory.

The parade culminated at the top of Collins Street, with both team presented, and then both captains holding up the desired Cup - to massive crowd roar.

Mum and I headed along to Southbank afterward, for lunch at the Blue Train Cafe, before wandering through Crown's atrium for the Focus on Footy photo exhibition.

Now, just a nervous wait for the big day to arrive! Go Hawks!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Whitlams and MSO

Last night, I met Melissa and Alice for a pre-gig glass of red, before heading into Hamer Hall for The Whitlams with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Having booked this long before Grand Final week was determined, it was an interlude to the Footy obsession for the week.

Tim actually made comment that it was nice to see 2000 people in Melbourne who weren't watching The Footy Show - but joked that he knew many of the audience are probably taping it! At the end of the show, he thanked Melbourne for letting them play during our holy week!

The band and orchestra started smack on time, with our arrival in the middle of No Aphrodesic, echoing outside in the halls with such powerful sound. The band were set up on stage, with the full Orchestra behind - makes you wonder how the musicians felt, playing this music for a change.

Ballad's like Her Floor Is My Ceiling Fondess Makes The Heart Grow Absent and Melbourne were lovely, with introductions from Tim with his storytelling. Met My Match, Made Me Hard and You Sound Like Louis Burdett never sounded so full and charged, with a extra orchestral bridge in Out The Back being very special.

A solo Tim with The Curse Stops Here for the encore, was quite an emotionally charged moment, and ending the night with a full-bodied Gough. Pretty amazing blend of music, such a great night.

Hello Boys! Grand Final Training

This morning, Mum drove down from Ballarat, and then we drove out to Waverley Park. Parking arranged by the club at Monash Uni, with buses for the masses, we grabbbed a park and a spot on the brown and yellow decorated bus to see the players go through their last public run before the big match on the weekend.

The streets around the ground were streaming with Hawk fans, kids in their jumpers, little Buddy's and little Crawf's everywhere. Going to the ground that was our home game for many, many years was a little trip down memory lane, with houses where the car park once was, and half built homes around the oval, where we used to sit every week.

We joined Melissa and Rick amoung the crowd, which swelled as former players were around us, and interviewed over the loud speaker. Clarko was the first to emerge from the race, to a massive cheer.

Soon the team were running out, after a 'Happy Team at Hawthorn' was sung, and the lads were put through their paces. No issues from where we stood, all accounted for, and all moving fine. Very exciting! Much discussion around about selection choices, and what the different training drills and groupings were indicating for the big match.

After about a 45 minute run, with goal kicking practice looking very good - Ozzie drilling his freaky kicks, and Young and Brown bombing them in from just outside the centre square, the boys slowing came in, to massive cheers. Buddy first, who stopped to sign autographs.

Shane Crawford, of course, got the biggest cheer, and stayed out amongst the faithful the longest. So excited for him, and his Grand Final berth.

Once the session was over, and we were returned to our car, we headed to Chadstone Shopping Centre for lunch and a wander around - and happened to see Hodgey, Croady and Goo (Guerra) walking around out there too. Hello boys!

It's just wrong that Jessie and Jenny aren't here for this. Silly girls!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Footy Finals Mayhem

Three weekends ago, being Week One of the AFL Footy Finals, the Hawks played the Bulldogs on the Friday night, in the Second Qualifying Final.

The build up to our return to Finals Footy, and the hype about the game was week long. Quite nervous about the game, it happened to be Footy Colours Day which I insisted on in our office, making the day a footy fueled day from the start!

I met Melissa and Rick for a beer at Feddish on the way down to the MCG, where we met up with Mum and Jenny to go in and find our seats. Being finals, getting tickets is not as easy as other games, and so our seats for this game were up on Level 2, which was a bit of a treat! Upon arrival, we spotted past players like Chris Langford and Scott McGuinness milling around, adding to the excitement of the night!

The game kicked off, and after some initial settling minutes of the first quarter, the Hawks dominated. So good! Turned into the Buddy show, with him finding goals that noone had a right to pull off! His talent is just ridiculous! So glad he's on our team! His freakishness seemed to spill over, with other goal treats from the likes of Osbourne also having us on our feet.

At half time, I popped around to a corporate box on our level, to catch up with Jim. I stayed in there for a quarter, and half a beer, but felt the stifled, quite church like atmosphere in there all too sterile! I mean, if I could drink, and it wasn't my team out there and I wasn't emotionally involved in the match....

Winning in Week One meant the Hawks had the next week off, whilst waiting for an opponent. St Kilda emerged from Week Two as our Preliminary Final challenge, and with memories of a sickening second half in Round 16, the nerves were back!

Melissa and I set about a plan for lining up for tickets at the Arts Centre, and headed in very early on the Monday morning. Arriving first, and making her way downstairs, Melissa grabbed 6th place in the line...nice. Grabbing breakfast for the two of us, and then making my way to join Melissa, I sensed tension the moment I got there - and by the look on her face. Being yelled at by a Geelong supporter behind us about me pushing in, I let it be known that I was merely supplying my purchaser of the weekend's ticket with breakfast, and would have no impact on the line up structure. People!

A two hour wait of tension followed, with heated debate from the two old Saints fans in front of us in the line, about who really deserved the first few spots in the queue....mainly due to the ensuing crankiness of their 4am start, really! Anyway, eventually the outlet was opened and we, and all the others in line, got tickets for the two matches on for the weekend. Pretty funny experience.

So, the build up all week to Saturday's game was massive. Being a night game, the week and Saturday seemed to go on and on! Melissa and I joined the Melbourne based West Indies tour Flaggers for a boozy catch up in Richmond on Friday night, helping to speed the wait along.

Saturday, after putting in some hours at work, I met Rick and Melissa at Hotel Lindrum to watch them have a nerve-calming beer, before we made our way to the 'G for the match. Ground Level this week, there was some concern about rain and whether we would get rained on initially...before the anthem was played, and it was game on.

Well, maybe for half a quarter! The Hawks dominated, again. Great game for us, tough, fast and accurate skills, the committment these boys are showing is so exciting! Not allowing ourselves to get too carried away too early, having all been at the match in Round 16, it took most of the match before we could admit out loud that we were now, actually, in the Grand Final!!

So, so excited. And so proud! Go Hawks!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anika Moa

On Wednesday night, I met Nicole for dinner at The Lounge - where I had a monster size parma! - before heading across Swanston Street to the Toff in Town. A great little space, another find in Melbourne city for live music.

Anika Moa, New Zealander recently moved to Melbourne, singer/songwriter graced the little stage. She started her show by setting out some disclaimers, like that she may well forget some words, and that she may offend some people...full of personality and wit, she interacted with the audience in such a real, and personal way. Was refreshing (said with the worst Kiwi accent!).

Each of her songs come with a story, which I always love, many about love ended. Day In Day Out, and Falling In Love Again stand outs, all being very self deprecating and reflective. My Old Man, about her Dad, and the mind space she was in when she wrote it, was very sweet and real.

A great talent, and exciting that she is now a Melbourne girl, given her stage presence. Her album is soon to be launched, and will certainly be worth hearing live again!

Good one, Nicole, again!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Out Of The Question!

Last night four of us from work went down to the Docklands Channel 7 studios for the filming of Out Of The Question, since Mary had free audience tickets. Having not heard of the show (in all honesty!), the offer of complimentary drinks got us in on the adventure.

We were greeted at the door, and before long Mary, Bree, Stacey and I were invited to take the front row in the studio...clearly the most appealing of the gathering! How funny! The crowd was ushered through back stairways to the studio, after the warm up address by Brian Nankervis - and front row was very close!!

The audience warm up was pretty funny, including a call to Bree's mum and a crowd message on her answering machine, along with other challenges throughout the breaks between filming.

The show's host Glenn Robbins welcomed us all, and explained that since being axed last year, Channel 7 were looking to give the show another shot. All very self depricating, and funny, he was very polished, and a real gentleman to the crowd. His guests for the night were Ed Kavalee, Marty Sheargold and Lawrence Mooney, all from radio, and girl of the moment, Virginia Gay, from All Saints.

Set up as a quiz show about current affairs, or events in the last week, the show was played out and filmed in front of us, with commerical breaks taken - mainly for conferences on what worked and what needed adjusting - and for Brain to stir up crowd participation.

Right at the end, after a substitution to allow Marty to return to the birthing suite for a pening arrival, and a test segment, they announced that this filming was a test run, so probably won't be shown. Bummer! We were right up the front, hard to miss!

Monday, September 01, 2008

100 Buddy Goals

Yesterday I attended two matches of footy back to back, one at the MCG and then one at the Telstra Dome. The last round of footy, and what a big day!

The first match was North Melbourne and Port Adelaide, and I went along to accompany Steve to one of the few matches he has been to all year on his membership. We convinced Nikki, new Melbournian from Sydney, to come along, and we met in Fed Square before making our way along the Yarra to the 'G.

A woeful game in the end, but so nice to watch one without any emotional involvement at all, the Roos were beated horrifically - to the point when Stevie wanted to abandon - which we did for a pot at Transport, before covering the length of the city for the next game.

Sold out in general admission and standing room, the Hawthorn v Carlton clash was set for a big game, with the possibility of Buddy kicking 100 goals for the season, and a slim chance that Fevola could do the same from the other end.

As the game started, Buddy on 98 kicked his first fairly quickly - and then the decision to move downstairs from the top level for the run on the ground to congratulate him was on amongst our group - to run or not to run! Much media coverage all week had been given to the strict security measures, and the massive fines to be dished out for anyone out on the a nagging reminder about my doctor's advice not to run, nor put myself in a risk environment (like being crushed out on the Telstra Dome in the Buddy pack!)...but also my fellow attendees reluctance, we didn't move...

90 seconds later, Buddy has the ball again, and sails it through for his 100th goal this season. A massive feat, given his inaccuracy, but also given the length of time since this feat has been managed. Up on our feet and cheering the accomplishment - and watching the crowd stream on, unharmed. Devastated I didn't run out - I mean, we did it for Dunstall many times over!

The excitement of the ton over, the Hawks set about winning the last game of the season by 70 odd points. Poor Fevola, having many a chance throughout the game, kicked 7 goals, and finished the season on 99. Buddy Franklin becoming the first indigenous player to kick 100 goals in a season, and setting the stage for a massive finals series, with Hawthorn finishing 2nd on the ladder.
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