Saturday, 29 August 2009

Best mates, different teams

Today we visited Melbourne's true spiritual home - the MCG - Melbourne Cricket Gound, known as "The G".

One of the great clichés about Melbourne is that the locals regard Australian football - "the footy" as a religion, and that the atmosphere at the G when two home town teams are playing is unmatched anywhere else.

Well, like all stereotypes, it's based on nothing less than truth. We joined 77 275 other people to watch Hawthorn - the Hawks - (yellow and brown) play Essendon - the Bombers - (red and black). I've been to a Rugby League Grand Final in Sydney, the Olympic soccer, cricket at the SCG (pretty damn atmospheric), The Australian Open tennis at Melbourne Park (pretty bloody atmospheric!), baseball at Dodger Stadium, ice hockey at Anaheim...and I have NEVER seen or heard anything like the roar of the crowd at The G.

It was the last round before the finals, and the Final 8 is being decided. Hawthorn and Essendon were numbers 9 and 8 on the ladder, with two points separating them. So this game mattered. It was a true nail biter - Hawthorn lead for the first three quaters and then Essendon overtook them and ran away with the match.

As exciting as it is, as passionate as the crowd is, there is no segregation of supporters in the European style. Mates barrack for different teams and argue the merits of the match at the pub afterwards, but as high spirited as the barracking is, it is amicable.

Best comment I heard: from a Bombers supporter when a Hawk went down injured : "Oh, he's injured his hair style!".

And of course we ate meat pies. What would the footy be without a pie????


  1. Sydney's sporty Sally spotted some southern sport spectators sitting!

  2. I am interested in trying that meatpie!

  3. Nice to see that rivalry can be peaceful and friendly. I'm not a football fan, but can't understand why there's often violence over something which is basically entertainment.