Footy Almanac 2008 Round 20 Bombers vs Crows
The debut game for Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield...
A big day for Moggs Creek...
And a big win for Williamstown...
The Footy Almanac 2008: The AFL season one game at a time edited by John Harms and Paul Daffey is available in bookshops.
SOME FANS MAY BE ABLE TO WATCH ONE GAME and listen to another at the same time. But are they doing that while perched in a wind-battered tin box in charge of a 1970s manual scoreboard?
It’s the debut match for the Adelaide Crows’ Patrick Dangerfield, the highschool student from Moggs Creek. He has spent the year studying Year 12 in Geelong and playing an extra season for the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup, but now his moment has arrived.
Standing in the cold tin box I’ve got divided loyalties mixed in with scoreboard responsibilities. I’ve known the Dangerfields for 35 summers, since my parents built a log cabin just off the Great Ocean Road, not far from Patrick’s grandparents. I’d like to be at Telstra Dome, or at Moggs Creek, but here I am at Williamstown in my home-game hideaway, hanging up the yellow numbers on the rusty hooks as the Seagulls play the Bendigo Bombers in the VFL.
To compound matters, I’m a fair-weather Essendon supporter so I’m hoping that the Crows lose (but that Dangerfield gets a run) and that Williamstown win (but that the Bendigo Bombers, being the Essendon reserves, play OK).
What happens? Essendon play one and a half quarters of decent footy and then fall over in a heap. Dangerfield gets a few good touches.
And I’m so busy in the scoreboard that I turn off the radio early in the Telstra Dome game to make sure I can keep up with my six times tables. (Not that I’m out of practice. There were 36 goals kicked in the curtain-raiser – by just one team.)
The Dangerfield debut, I decide, would be better appreciated via DVD, on the couch a few days after the game.
He comes onto the ground halfway through the first quarter, replacing David Mackay (who last played for Carlton back in the 1970s). Dangerfield shows a few glimpses of class from limited opportunities and then takes centre stage just before half-time.
Essendon had hung on for nearly half a game but Dangerfield’s goal on the siren is the beginning of the end for the Bombers. He marked a pass from Brent Reilly 30 metres out directly in front. The pass might have been meant for Graham Johncock but no matter: a few minutes earlier Simon Goodwin had goaled after intercepting a Dangerfield lead.
It being the amorphous Telstra Dome I couldn’t tell whether Dangerfield was kicking to the Footscray Road end or the Yarra River end but I like to think he was kicking to the Moggs Creek end.
As Dangerfield stood there and took a brief word of encouragement from Johncock there were, according to a later Angela Pippos sports news report, 46 members of the Dangerfield clan at The Telstra Big Tin Shed all holding their breath. That would have included 80 year-old grandmother Betty, parents John and Jeanette, younger sister Bethany, Uncle Greg, Auntie Debbie…
And as he quickly kicked his first goal with his first kick there would have been shrieks of delight from cousins Sam, Abby, Ruby, Madison, Max, Hermione, Lincoln, Rebecca, Brianna, Jake, Emily… all those sandy-haired beach-goers who surf at Moggs Creek every summer.
The electronic Telstra Dome scoreboard (no hooks and nails and the risk of septicaemia up there, I bet) recorded the Dangerfield goal and Adelaide never looked back.
At the same time, in the tin box overlooking the bay, the Bendigo side of the scoreboard had barely moved in six quarters, the reserves registering all of two points in their game and the seniors kicking only 1.2 (8) by half-time.
While I was busy with the Seagulls’ day-long avalanche, it was relatively calm up in the box. The local bunch of unruly teenagers waited until the last quarter to use the scoreboard as target practice for the new Olympic sport of rock-throwing.
Fortunately the rain chased them away and they were last seen trying to upend the porta-loo near the half-forward flank. They didn’t seem to care that one of the game’s greatest modern-day players, and one of the Bulldogs’ all-time greats, was playing footy for the first and, as it turned out, last time since April.
Yes, Scott West pulled on the Williamstown jumper, following in the footsteps of his brother Troy, who played just over 200 games at full-back for the blue and gold.
As West’s career tried to resuscitate itself in the mud and rain at Williamstown, Patrick Dangerfield’s was just beginning, on the manicured grass under the roof that purports to be a dome. (There are no such luxuries at Moggs Creek. There’s not even a football ground, unless you put a few sticks in the sand at low tide.)
Dangerfield looked like he belonged as the Crows did as they pleased, much like Williamstown who, by the way, had 50 scoring shots to five: 23.27 (165) to 1.4 (10).
It was good to be busy in that little tin shed.
Essendon 10.13 (73) Adelaide (129)