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

Knocked out Loaded

My brother Robert of Can the Dees fame has jetted over from NZ with his eldest son Phillip to watch son Michael play in the Victorian Soccer League for Bentlieigh in the last game of the year.

Rare Gwyther Football ensemble. From left: Robert Gwyther, Michael Gwyther, Phil Gwyther, Merlyn Gwyther-McCuskey, Fagyn Gwyther-McCuskey, Nicola and Tracey Pearce (Rob’s and my niece)

Being an old demon, I pick up tickets for Rob for the Melbourne V Carlton game with the suspicion that it will be experience akin to the solder retuning to his home in Dresden. My kids Merlyn and Fagyn tag along too along with Phil and Michael’s friend Nicola. Aghast at the cost of MCG goon, they settle into the amber swill that passes, behind CUB sniggers, for beer here.

Punt road end, sun in our face, no wind, rain gone and two geezers in front of us high as a kite on something ramp up the crowd around us with a stream of social commentary in the mannequin of abuse. Particularly insightful was the load the poor bastard one seat down from them copped by wearing Versace sunglasses. Reaching for the anti social mobile number I realise I need to join the umpires affiliation with OPSM. Either that or the pre game pints. Our geezers, not limited to our section, migrate to the next where Police -obviously bored with Melbourne’s efforts – finally boot the boys out. Mr Versace spots the lead Geezer’s coat still hanging in front of us, gives it a Chris Yarran like shake and out falls an unopened 375 millilitre bottle of Jim Beam. Smiling he pockets it knowing full well this prize was worth being called a “cheap bitch” just 5 minutes earlier by our ramped up friend. This is almost like being amongst the Collingwood faithful!

In the middle of all this, Melbourne rehearse the tired old “play harder for the new coach” stanza before Chris Judd kicks a lovely snap in front of us which marks the end of the prologue. After that its emphatically Carlton and sun hits neck patches unvisited by ultraviolet light since March as goal after goal is shot, snapped, driven, pumped, dribbled and kicked around, about and through us. Thank God for Versace.

You just wonder where the leadership is at Melbourne.

Post game, we debate heading to the Storm at AAMI or the Wallabies V All Blacks Tri Nations game at the pub. The pub wins.

Post Game er … Blues

Next day we plan a simple trip to get there after our vehicle falls through but the trip goes something like this:

Tram to City.
Tram to Prarahn
Taxi to Prarahn station. Make train. Get on train. Problem on Line. Train cancelled. Realise train is on wrong line to get to ground.
Walk to Chapel Street
Tram up Chapel
Walk to South Yarra Station
Train to Cheltenham
10 minute bid to hail CAB
Enter ground 5 minutes into game.

Bentleigh sun does wonders for kiwi lads Robert and Phillip Gwyther

Michael goes onto to suffer big defeat 5 Nil One of the worst results Rob has ever seen. Even with JetStar, comes out to around $68 an opposition goal for the return trip…break even if you throw in Melbourne.

Great club Bentliegh. Club President is honoured Rob has come over. Souvlakis and beer all round. In the social club see the Hawks come back in the last 5 to get over a gallant but hard luck story Roos. While digesting, the President gives us nice ride in his baby blue Callais to the station, where buses have replaced trains. Got some toe that Callais, its an auto and the neck gets a bit more sun as we push through the gears at pace.

Post Script. 3 days after the shameful 5 Nil result, Bentleigh now out of the finals play Melbourne Victory in a pre A League season warm up friendly. Bentlieigh win and Michael puts one into the back of the net.

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Hit me on the chest with your centimetre perfect pass