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!

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