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Roos remain winless, MCG remains timeless

From the Members Tuesday APR 09

There are a number of excellent vantage points from which one can take in the drama and entertainment of a sporting contest at the MCG. And, boy, are we members particularly spoilt for choice in this regard. But rather than randomly choosing a different spot from which to view the game, I suspect most people gravitate towards their tried and trusted position – especially when the crowd is of size that allows the exercising of this choice.


We are creatures of habit, after all. I am certainly no different, and I definitely have a favourite position - the standing area directly in front of the Members’ Pavilion. It is on these steps that I stood for the early sessions of the Boxing Day Test watching the Indian batsmen Pujara and Agarwal grinding the Australian bowlers into the ground. I stood there on balmy summer evenings, enjoying the spectacle of Melbourne Stars Big Bash matches. And it was there that I stood on Sunday, witnessing a depleted Hawthorn put to the sword my North Melbourne team, consigning the Kangaroos to a 0-3 start and possibly putting an early end to any finals ambitions.


The game follows a familiar pattern. North Melbourne get away to a solid start, but are reeled in and then overrun by Hawthorn. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Kangaroos. As a club we are so far away from the competition pacesetters such as West Coast and Geelong, that it is now a major concern for me. We possess a shortage of playing talent and our youngsters just never seem to develop the way they do at leading clubs.


Unfortunately, the match is notable for skill errors by both teams. Given the superb autumn weather conditions, there really is no excuse. Add to this some mystifying decisions from the umpires, and it makes for a frustrating day all round. But really, who would be an umpire in these times of constant rule changes?


Comfort-wise, there are many advantages to be gained when a modest crowd numbering approximately 36,000 is in attendance – particularly when it comes to accessing eating, drinking and toilet facilities. But the greatest benefit is that, from my standing area position, it is distinctly possible to hear the players talking and yelling, and to be able to listen to the thud of the boot on ball. It is a level of intimacy I usually associate with local footy, where one can stand on the boundary-line and take part in the three quarter-time huddle.


At the MCG, I have always preferred standing to sitting, the subtle transferring of weight from one foot to the other as the day wears on. The brushing of shoulders, the banter, the scrambling down the steps to the Bullring for a half-time beverage. Not for me the confines of a seat, where one can be held hostage to the food and toilet break nuances of others in the same row. As long as I am able to stand, I will continue to do so – in those small but convenient rows in front of the Members’ Pavilion.


Speaking of favourites, another facet of a day at the ‘G to which I have quickly become attached is the walk from the MCG back out across Birrarung Marr to Flinders Street Station. The glorious initial view of the south end of the city and then the Yarra River opening up on my left never fails to disappoint. And this evening is no exception, despite the Roos’ disappointing performance.



John Harms claims that Darren ‘Smokie’ Dawson is the greatest stay-at-home full forward to have strapped on a boot for amateur club Williamstown CYMS.



HAWTHORN               1.2       5.3       8.6       13.9 (87)
NORTH MELBOURNE  4.3       6.6       7.11     10.11 (71) 

Hawthorn: Breust 5, Wingard 3, McEvoy 2, Smith, Nash, Henderson
North Melbourne: Ziebell 2, Dumont 2, Brown, Scott, Turner, Higgins, Polec, Hall

Hawthorn: O'Meara, Breust, McEvoy, Henderson, Impey, Worpel, Wingard
North Melbourne: Higgins, Cunnington, Dumont, Pittard, Ziebell