In this increasingly fractious world of dilemma and doubt, is there anything better for the soul than winning a meat tray?
Of course not.
About a month back some dear friends moved house. They’re in the same suburb but now are but a tranquil walk to the pub so for the previous three Fridays have invested a lazy hour to finish their week.
This experience is augmented by that lustrous concept: The Happy Hour. Their tavern runs a ripper with cheap drinks, free barbeque and a variety of prizes including that most enigmatic of trophies- the meat tray.
Around 7pm for the last three weeks our phones have pinged that they’ve won a meat tray. Last week they won two. They must be the only family in Australia to go to the pub and come home in an improved financial position. Astonishing. They’re butchering the local butcher.
I spoke with Paul last night before they headed off to their beef-themed El Dorado, to offer some pre-emptive support for that inconceivable day, when they promenade homeward, empty-handed. I’m well qualified.
Rushing out his door Paul added, “I saw young Crow Wayne Milera Junior there last week.”
Beyond loin chops, this got me thinking about a team of Juniors. Here we go-
Junior Wells Clint Eastwood, Jr Junior Murray
Robert Downey, Jr Junior Murvin Marlon Brando, Jr
Robert De Niro, Jr Martin Luther King, Jr Dale Earnhardt, Jr
Floyd Mayweather, Jr Sammy Davis, Jr Hayden Button, Jr
Harry Connick, Jr JR Ewing, Jr Teddy Witten, Jr
JFK, Jr Mark Waugh Junior Seau
Ray Parker, Jr Mickey Rourke, Jr (only two on the bench, as it should be)
I’m in our meat tray-less home ready for the Crows and Giants. Still, I could be in Canberra, bedecked in singlet and thongs.
Josh Jenkins, the Crow who’s more maligned than a mushroom schnitzel, hoofs one and goals, but the Giants respond immediately. It’s a breeze-less, crisp evening in the capital and with the apparent temperature already at -1 the Crows’ hamstrings are nervous.
Both sides trade majors. There seems to be a good crowd in tonight. I guess Lucky Grills isn’t playing Mooseheads Bar this evening. Alliterative forward Harry Himmelberg sets up another score for the locals. So far, the contest is strangely subdued and even hyperventilating commentator Luke Darcy is struggling for hyperbole.
We take the lead but in the shadows of the quarter time post, to mix an arena of sporting metaphors, Tex and Eddie have amassed one possession between them. This is expressive of our season which, somehow, is arithmetically alive.
Having been curiously if welcomely invisible Razor Ray moves himself to centre stage and calls a ludicrous score review. His twitter followers count goes from six to four. During the break I let the dogs out and the Siberian blast makes me delighted I’m not at Manuka where I guess Zooper Dooper sales are slow.
The greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world dream matchup of Keath on Keeffe is yet to eventuate and the second term coasts on until Betts grabs an errant spoil and doofs it through. Before they call the police, I let the dogs back in who show their appreciation by promptly falling asleep.
As Crow Lachy Murphy glides another home I think of our meat tray friends who, I imagine, are recreating a Mongol victory feast. The Giants are bogged and lacking their brisk movement. The ball seems to be slicing prodigiously through the frosty air but then it pings out and Cameron soccers it to the good and the game remains tight.
At half-time I reflect that the match has been subdued and devoid of spectacle. But it’s close and I expect an animated finish. I wander outside and instantly detect barbecue smoke and aroma. Although half a city away, I know exactly the source of this meat tray indulgence. It’s cruel and I console myself with some more tepid eggplant dip.
Razor opens the action with an unplumbed deliberate call against Brodie Smith. As an Irish nun I once knew said, “He’s difficult to love, that Razor.” The Himmelberg disaster gets one and the Giants reclaim the advantage.
They put on three, briskly and I consider muting the telecast and turning on Sammy Davis, Jr.
In a moment that must’ve been orchestrated by a bug-eyed alien, GWS register a clear behind which is then reviewed despite it being a postcode away from the point post. Brain-freeze, methinks.
After an exuberant tackle that’s likely to allow Tex to get to Kuta early, the Crows peg one back. And then Bryce Gibbs steers it through the frozen poles to make it less than a kick. But, Hopper bursts clear and goals and it’s the locals by a couple.
Bonar grabs yet another but this time converts and there’s a canyon opening up in front of the Crows. Cameron and Keath engage in some Greco-Roman wrestling which naturally is paid against the visitor. Luke Darcy reminds us for the nineteenth time that GWS have won their last eight at this ground.
Northern Adelaide meat tray aficionado Wayne Milera Junior is again lively and evasive and this final quarter’s compelling. In what could be season-concluding Adelaide gets a trio of gettable minor scores and Shaw is taken off in the golf buggy.
Milera is then taken without the ball in a way that’s illegal even in Alabama but Razor’s pea is untroubled. Another Crow behind. The clock and our campaign are ticking away. Hopper’s score confirms what we’ve all known.
Adelaide’s (well) done and GWS are a (prime) cut above most.
 Love a Windies ‘keeper
 On the strength of “How to Make Gravy”, of course
 Could bring some Rhys-Jones unpredictability
 I’m assured he could also play tall
 He ain’t afraid of no ghost