3 clubs, 23 rounds, A slab of passion….

Oh! What a Lovely War!

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Ron_Barassi_MCG_1975History is in the air at tonight at Etihad. It adds an edge to spiteful proceedings later.  The Roos are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first VFL premiership, snared during their golden era under Ron Barrassi who is doing a lap in the back of a Tarrago, cup in hand along with captain that day Barry Davis.  Nowadays players move around the clubs like cycling men in lycra. But the 1975 triumph against Hawthorn came after a clever exploitation of a short-lived 10 year rule whereby players of that service could freely move. In what was a great rivalry, the Hawks play the Roos in 10 finals during the mid 70’s, meeting in Grand Finals in 1975, 1976 and 1978. Arden Street admin today maybe scrimping on the brasso as the glittering prize is not cutting through the UV like cups do on that one day in September.

But where is the Kanga’s song on this of all celebratory nights? It’s replaced by YouAmI’s IMG_5594Kangtragic Timmy Rogers dirge like interpretation of the ROOS song thats so reverential it comes across as a Salvation Army soundtrack for which it’s hard to join in the chorus. I hear the plan is to play the original when the lads win, but for me pre game to hear that fox hunt like opening horn in the original genuinely arouses the mind and focuses the emotions of  the fans around sniffing the breeze for vermin on the home estate. Deep in the mix lays a foot stompin’ banjo that conjures up visions of the hillbilly scrub of the 1840’s Errol Street. How to tell the Caberet Band booked for the anniversary dinner dance up on level 2 that their corduroy jackets are backing the wrong side.

Other obscure concepts that have latter day well educated footonian befuddled and offside in terms of inner sanctum concepts like “shinboners”   This misty origin of this most central motif in defining North Melbourne’s football character is narrowed down to a speculative dart board of a local abbaitor, depression era targeting the shinbones of opposition players, or early local butchers who showed their club support  by wrapping up beef leg-bones in the club colours. 

Regardless of history, it’s the Hawks tonight that do the hacking. The Hawks six goal first quarter blitz loses precedence to Luke Hodge’s reflex strike on David Swallow earning him Troo Roo Boo’s for the rest of the game. The melee that ensue bring back some of that 1975 flavour particularly when Jordan Lewis is so late for a spoil he pushes on with the round arm coat hanger that sees Goldstein mark the ball then drop like the proverbial sack of spuds from the blow.

After the pre-game inaugural premiership heroes laps, the electric terrace blue and white strip lighting celebrating the 1975 break through amid endless announcements about this night of history, the Kangas take time out at half time to  stretch the minds of their fans beyond their endless one syllable booing of Luke Hodge with the trivia question “In what year did North Melbourne win their first premiership?” The prize this week is a step up from the usual CD voucher from “North Melbourne Sight and Sound” in the form of a brick to lob onto Hodgey’s roof post game. The roo boos are counter balanced by the hawk fans Brrruessstt with the diminutive forward bagging 4 goals.

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After each goal North fans are implored via the scoreboard to “Make Some Noise” via a circa 2003 Young Christian inspired website animation. This is not needed when Hodge or Lewis gain a possession.

IMG_5574Its a long night with the game start delayed due to sprinklers coming on pre game, endless wrestling and five score reviews as each quarter stretches beyond 32 minutes. This score review system compels umpires not to back themselves with a call lest they stuff up and end up the following week thrusting the thumbs at Yarrawonga recreation reserve. I went to the Mens and in that short space of time, 2 score reviews took place. There’s no pie for me tonight so I go the hot dog, a risky venture at best at the footy, particularly for me with my delicate gastric condition.  This one is sublime, not too mushy, a gentle give in the meat upon the bite which is the true hallmark of the best practice hotdog.

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The music’s good tonight. Normally it sticks in my craw, I prefer the sounds of silence so long as not packaged up with Simon and Garfunkel. During the long 36 hour labour that preceded my sons birth, the maternity wards only cassette was “Simon and Garfunkels Greatest Hits” which is what I wanted to deliver them after the 5th rotation. Sleepless, feeling useless and Cecilia is breaking your heart right down to your troubled waters.  Tonight its all 70’s stuff, but choice cuts, not the bubblegum floss that kicked the stool out from the adult contemporary soft underbellies  of the 1960’s. Here are the songs:

The Roos get close in the third but the Hawks precision kicking and gut running cuts them up. With 8 minutes to go in the game, the Hawks progress from 30 point lead to a 60 point victory with Bruest bagging a long goals from outside 50 after the siren. Cause for concern that the blue and white lads simply dropped intensity at the contest at the death. We never do get to the hear the song as it was heard way back on that historical Roo day.

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