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Published: October 11th 2010
..... As we made our way to the ground you couldn't help but notice the signs a lot of people were holding.... "wanted ..one ticket for desperate fan" ..... "was here in '66 ....pleeeasee give me a ticket" . In a way it was sad, and in another it made me feel a little guilty that I didn't support either team. In the end you reap what you sow and I was glad to be able to be at this game with the TRICK crew. Teresa and I had been to a few GF's but for Carmel, Irena and Keara it was their first.
We made our way to our seats hmmmm Gate 1 Section 33 Row QQ....QQ I thought omg these are going to be sitting on the roof. After a few pitstops on our ascent and replenishing of the oxygen tanks, we sat down, a little short of breath but very pleasantly surprised. You couldn't have got more in centre of the goals, the view from our seats in the Ponsford Stand was simply AWESOME!!!! Admitedly if the play was down the other end a quick lift of the eyes to the well placed big screen was required but we mastered that by midway through the first quarter.
I was looking forward to the pre game entertainment. INXS.... Need I say more for us less young. Teresa and I were lucky enough to see a surprise cameo by these guys earlier in the year at the end of the Rob Thomas concert. That night they ROCKED. Today, on the biggest stage, they sucked. I don't know if it was the playlist, which included Suicide Blonde and New Sensation, or JD Fortune trying to be something that he isn't or the hideous position that these guys were made to play in, which was in the stand. It looked as if they bought tickets with similar rows to us and decided on an impromptu gig, it actually sounded like it too.
The Pregame entertainment continued, a giant hot air football was tethered by 4 toyotas and supplied the Premiership Cup to Tom Harley the Cup ambassador. The recent retirees including everyones loathed guy, Jason Akermanis, were paraded around the ground, but missing was the usual colour and hundreds of kids and dancing etc that has been a feature of previous Grand Finals. It looked more like a quickly put together Grand Final Replay pre game program more than one that's been planned for months.
Game On!!!!! The game started at a rapid pace and the thoughts of "DAMN" crossed my mind when after 22 seconds Collingwood pushed the ball forward quickly and kicked the opening goal. Was this going to be a whitewash? I shouldn't have known better, this is football and anything could happen. But as the game unfolded and the Magpies went 4 goals up before half time, most would have been thinking the same. I lent across to Carmel and said it was still going to be a draw. She glared at me and said " Don't" we feasted on the obligatory Hotdog and drinks during the main break.
It never ceases to amaze me how different teams supporters view the game. In today's instance it was a stark contrast. The Saints supporters, to which there were many, come out in their colours, both young and old. Cheered and jeered but on the whole with what I saw, they didn't rag their players, they accepted the imps decision most of the time, and they seemed to be living on the fear of last years loss, somewhat like the players had spoken about in the media. Now, on the other hand. The magpies, the woods, the black and white army, Eddies troops, however you want to name them, they were Freaks! From the pre game entertainment, I heard one fan saying" I bet there are less black and white balloons because the AFL hate us" I scratched my head. There were NO balloons at all!!! That was the mind set we were seeing. A guy in front kept getting to his feet yelling at the umpire even when it was a Collingwood free. The other noticeable trait by the magpie supporters was their "war paint". I'm not just talking about face paints and streamers and the odd application of colored hair spray. I'm talking about the badly spelt tattoos, the full back tatts on 75 year old grannies where you just about have to iron their back to see it properly. Note to self... Spellcheck and nooooo full back tattoo.
The game became tighter and you could see the look of hope on the Saints supporters faces which in contrast it was the look of desperation and denial on the magpies fans faces. Carmel glanced across again and repeated the Don't. You knew something was wrong when the a supporter yelled" Don't do this to me again Collingwood" pointing to the heartbreak of losing 20 odd Grand Finals previously. Keara had been listening to the iPod during the half time break and continued to during the third quarter, understandable for an 11 year old, but this was such a game that by half way through, the headphones were off and she was getting into itband cheering fir the saints with every goal.
The next quarter and a half was a bit of a blur. The desperation on the field was amazing, it may not have looked the prettiest style of football, but it was intense, the atmosphere was absolutely electric. The saints hit the front for the first time in the match, the Roar from the Saints was only just a little louder than the silence of the magpies. But when Leon Davis snapped a goal, it seemed he had redeemed himself, but that was short lived as a Brendan Goddard screamer in the square put the game in the balance. The scores were level, a quick glance across and I saw Carmel not only biting her nails but down past her first knuckle. I heard a Saint fan behind her with an ear piece in say 7 seconds. OMG it was a draw, the siren sounded and it was a surreal moment. There was an initial cheer from Saints fans at the realization that they didn't lose a game they well could have, the look on everyones faces that supported one of the 2 teams was priceless. They really didn't know how to feel. I felt that I had witnessed one of the classics, the reason why I love this game.
100,017 people were at the "G". Everyone got their moneys worth, well you would have thought so..... But no. All I could hear was people saying they should get free tickets for the replay, they wanted reimbursement to get back for it. Geeeez some people make me mad. I won't get into an argument here, but my view is a replay is the only option. 26 weeks of football should not be won in 10 minutes. This is only the third draw in 114 years in the big one.
We walked back to our hotel, which by the way was fantastic, the Citidene on Bourke 2 bedroom apartment, kitchen, lounge, 2 bathrooms and a gorgeous view.
Carmel and Teresa washed into the early hours ready for our early morning trip to the airport for our 10am Qantas flight to Los Angeles.
Anyway I've dribbled enough. I really need to get these girls writing this.
Hopefully I will work out how to upload pics to the iPad so we can add some here.
USA here we come!
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