You could say it was a low-stakes AFLW game at Fremantle Oval on Saturday afternoon – the winner would avoid the wooden spoon. But it was serious, tense, high scoring and highlighted by some acts of real sporting courage.
I couldn’t stand it and left at half time.
Something horrible has forced its way into our game and judging by Saturday’s evidence someone is bloody serious about it. It’s noise. And the effort being made to bring it to us. I first noticed the DJ at Perth Stadium in round two – in a prime spot operating thousands of dollars worth of equipment to provide something totally unnecessary. There’s also a ground announcer who has the job of telling us that our team is coming out onto the ground, what the score is at breaks and to remind us to make some noise.
Obviously someone had identified an issue in the lead up to this game. Not enough noise. And, despite the efforts of the ground announcer, we couldn’t rely on the purple army. So extra speakers had been secured around the boundary fence. The music blasted from well before bouncedown right up to the bounce. Someone’s thought it through.
The captains walk to the centre for the toss…
“Meet me in the middle…”
The players head to their positions…
“Let’s get loud…”
The umpire prepares for the first bounce and it’s back to…
“Meet me in the middle…”
The Dockers score their first goal…
“I wanna go out dancin’…” What? Someone put thought into that?
Oh the relief when the game started and the relative peace. The real sounds of footy – crowd noise, players’ voices, the whistle and bodies clashing. And didn’t they clash. Fremantle’s Gaby O’Sullivan and Carlton’s Shae Audley went off dazed and didn’t return. Docker Hayley Miller took the full force of Tayla Harris and somehow lived to tell the tale… Tayla Bresland wandered away as collateral damage from that third quarter collision.
The game was good but the noise went on. Quarter time siren. Ground announcer tells us the score and then noise. “We’re not gonna sit in silence…” screeches Mr Farnham. How perfect. No let up for the whole quarter time break. No chance to chat. No chance to think.
My allegience was being tested. Carlton goals did not warrant music. They received applause and encouragement from the suprisingly vocal Blues fans. Fremantle fans were cut off. Drowned out by the DJ. Not trusted. Not loud enough.
The speakers were in prime viewing spots on the fence. My ears were ringing. It’s early Monday morning and they’re still ringing.
It was too much for me. I scrurried home and caught the second half on TV. Ashley Sharp holding her nerve and running from outside 50 to kick a crucial goal into the wind. Dana Hooker continuing to take the hits and display clean skills. Amy Lavell riding into retirement with a neat two-goal game. Carlton captain Sarah Hosking doing her best to keep the game alive.
Great game between two not-so-great teams.
Something needs to change. We must snatch our game back from those who don’t have faith in it. Those who think the game is not entertaining enough.
Maybe at the next marketing meeting someone… it might even be a CEO… will be brave enough to say, “Do we need this?” And. “How much is it costing?”
Give peace a chance.
FREMANTLE 2.2 3.2 6.4 9.5 (59)
CARLTON 2.0 3.5 5.7 6.12 (48)
Fremantle: Lavell 2, Donnellan, Miller, Webb, Gibson, Sharp, Antonio, Hooker
Carlton: Harris 2, Downie 2, Vescio, Loynes
Fremantle: Hooker, Antonio, Miller, Sharp, Lavell, Webb.
Carlton: S.Hosking, Harris, Moody, Loynes, Downie, Gay.
Umpires: Rawlings, Simmonds, McPhee
Official crowd: About 1,000. Nobody was counting at the entrance.