If dreary soft-rockers Boston, at a mid-tour band meeting, voted for an expansionist nomenclature policy, and re-named itself Massachusetts, would more fans have bought its 1976 single More Than A Feeling?
No, I thought not.
Would it now somehow get more than a single airing on any of the turgid FM No Repeat Workdays? Would Marianne still walk away?
I don’t see why Footscray, with its evocative connotations of Whitten, Sutton and Hawkins, and proud sense of history and place, changed its name to the amorphous Western Bulldogs. From my outsider’s viewpoint it appeared as an ingenuous marketers’ strategy. It’s a cruel dilution. How many new fans pledged allegiance?
The game’s 11am Sunday start suits the unexpected rhythm of my day. Well before dawn I’m awoken by a ferocious thunderstorm. Also electrified, our boys bound from bed in the torrential dark, ready for breakfast and the animated French nihilism of Oggy and the Cockroaches (named Joey, Dee Dee and Marky after The Ramones).
The storm seems to have been conjured by Industrial Light and Magic, and given that we’ve recently endured ten weeks with no precipitation, including the driest month since 1869, we’ll take it. We need to play catch up rain to get to Singapore’s annual average of 95 inches. As happens in the tropics, ambling down to Robertson Quay late morning, all signs of the deluge have evaporated.
The Bulldogs begin brightly, and the Crows spectate, as is their 2014 pattern. Cooney and Boyd collect uncontested disposals, while Adelaide is unable to string anything together. Our tackling is as limp as a British boy band. Suddenly, we’re down by four goals, and the Boomarang Bar’s Martian prices for Heineken look irresistible.
Robert Murphy is a learned footballer, thinker and columnist. I love watching him compete, but will be even more absorbed in his post-playing career. To go dumbly into broadcast media would be beneath him. Why not AFL Writer-in-Residence?
It would be de rigueur to paint him as a Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I reckon his fresh unorthodoxy and scrubby, alert style is more Annie Proulx, of Wyoming Stories fame. He plays wholly unlike the blubbery Newfoundlander Quoyle of The Shipping News, in accumulating many possessions. He might choose to withdraw from public life, but unlike others (BT, Tredrea, Darcy) this would be a loss.
Having put a leash on the rampant Bulldogs, the Crows commence. They re-discover how to tackle, use the football with innovation, and kick eight consecutive goals. Galloping target Josh Jenkins imposes himself.
Revving his modish chassis, Tom Lynch reverberates about the forward line. James Podsiadly has toiled all season for little scoreboard impact, but courtesy of clever marking, steers through two pivotal majors in the middle of the second stanza.
When the AFL salespersons again claw malevolently at our game’s fabric, and players’ names are forever festooned across their backs, the only way Giansiracusa will be readable is if Billy Brownless makes a comeback, and legally adopts this handle.
Typical of the zest is this small forward poleaxing Dangerfield on the three-quarter time siren. However, the subsequent scuffle is brief as all are keen for half an orange and a rub with the magic towel.
The last term is a pulsating classic. Having led early by about five goals, the Western Bulldogs are down by nearly four when they surge, to lead by a point. There are superb solo moments from Wright and the Bulldogs’ boy named Tory and wrestling, attractive football. Betts intercepts an errant goal square handpass, and converts with two minutes left to secure the Crows’ success.
Adelaide’s second Docklands victory in a fortnight gives our season momentum and hope. I head home along the river in the drenching sunlight.