At the time of writing it is Monday evening and the fog has started to clear from a weekend that could only be described as Jurassic Park’s finest hour at the big dance. Although there will probably never be enough liver tone shots produced to repair the damage done on Saturday night, the game face was well and truly on during the carnival and the Dino’s walked away with a clean sweep….a bit more on that later.
The morning of Saturday 24th August was a cracker and by 7.22am we were impressively rolling out of the estate without the usual flurry of phone calls from late arrivals. A man dressed in a dinosaur ones-ie with a go-pro camera on his head was at the wheel, what could go wrong?. There were a few calls to be made however….Diesel was meeting us at the ground (tick), PD was not coming due to the birth of his little dinosaur during the week (the clubs third bub and keeping going the tradition of a baby a year…big up PD and we’ll ask all the appropriate questions that got left unsaid on Sat, around the fire on Thursday) and then the bombshell…Darren ‘Wangerneen, Tripod, “the sneak” Gittos would not be making it back from Melbourne. A quick look into a few boys eyes at this news, sent a shiver down the spine and we went into player counselling sessions immediately…’it was nobodies fault and the infamous coaches curse had not struck down another, it was all about petrol tickets and Gitts simply had none left’ was the line we went with but without any real understanding of why our emergency coach would not be by our side. At that juncture coach Hall handed me a bacon and egg mac muffin burger and things were looking up…or so I thought.
After an hour or so of taking the piss out of each other (but mostly Reever), we were at Rushton Park in Mandurah and ready to rumble. A pleasant surprise was getting our own change rooms which probably reflects the points we have built up in the Masters in three short seasons. We assessed the updated running sheets and found that the Wheatbelt Boomers had pulled out of the carnival so we were up against a hand picked presidents team in the last….wow, we thought, we really have been elevated in this league as one of the heavy hitters. Players busied themselves with the regulation strappings and layers of tiger balm followed by layers of Denco-rub then kicked the dew off the oval in readiness for our first game at 9.30am. My own thoughts turned south as stall 3 in our change rooms got the first of many visits for the day and it wasn’t until after game 2 and I had read all the graffiti on the walls and even added a bit of my own, that my thoughts turned back to that earlier mac muffin burger and I realised that I had most likely become the first victim of the Pest on tour (add alchemist to his CV)….perhaps some kind of diuretic between the egg and the bacon….the result was more giggles during a screening of Schindler’s List than between games for #23.
Game One : 9.30am vs Busso
The siren had gone for the start of play and Busselton were nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later they came running onto the ground and Reever, still dressed in his Dinosaur costume, threw the ball up and it was on like Donkey Kong. St Jones lead and goaled within the first couple of minutes and then clunked a dew covered contested mark like Stewy Lowe in his hey day for another major. The half finished with another 3 goals (2 from Mike Grieve), Hutto nearly snapped himself in half doing a Lee Mathews impersonation by ploughing into the goal post and we had a commanding lead against a side we had never beaten. The second half saw Busso challenge as we knew they would but we ran the game out well with a comfy 9.5 vs 3.5 win, Ace helping himself to a couple of sausage rolls. A brilliant start to the carnival by Jonah, Juice, Camo, Fanta, Rowey, Deano, Hunts, Gunja and Grievesy.
Healz had driven to the game with is two little fellas and set them up on the sidelines with an esky full of drinks and food and spent $10 on a baby sitter in the form of a packet of toy soldiers. As dad went about dismantling the opposition, the Heal boys conducted themselves like little champs…great effort by Dad and kids to make it happen. A new career in childcare may await Jason….a crèche with MMA fighting rather than Giggle and Hoot on the big screen may appeal to a section of the market who believe kids are growing up soft and without independent thought….sign the Keech kids up.
Game Two : 11.30am vs Collie
In game two, we are up against another side that towelled us up during the year but this time they got us at home so things were personal. The fast start of the first game was in full swing again and one of our proven ball winners in Hutto shut down any movement forward. From that point it was over to Deano, Juice and the crew up forward to dominate the game with Camo kicking another 4 to take a strangle hold on the Coleman for the day. The score at the end was 10.5 vs 3.3 with Juice kicking goal of the tourney halfway through the 2nd half and Nico and Fosil both having shots at goal and giving off goal assists. Best: Ace, Juice, Deano, Rowey, Hutto, Fanta, Gunja, and Hunts
During lunch our first paid player, David ‘La Oust’ Haoust and Captain Muzz rolled into the ground and look surprisingly well for a couple of dudes who had lived high on the hog for 3 days in Melbourne….welcome back boys.
Game Three : 1.30pm vs President’s Team
On the main oval now and the word had got around that the boys in tangerine were the ones to watch. This contest was a complete dismantling of the opposition and the game never really got above ¾ pace. Ace continued on his merry way, Kingy started using Muzz as a step ladder and must have been spewing his services weren’t there all carnival, Haousty and Muzz both got on the score board and had the coach wondering what might have been, and the Juice/Deano/Rowey show rolled on. 9.4 vs 2.1
Doolz farmed himself out for yet another game, taking his tally to 5 for the tourney and even then he was still looking for a whistle to do some umpiring…the greatest footy tart the club has ever seen and a man that belies his 50 years. So with coach Hall’s unbeaten record at carnivals in 2013 still in tact it was back to the change rooms for a rinse and to the bar for a well deserved sip and to talk some trash. The Melb boys had a little pantomime going during presentations with Muzz teasing that he had home sickness, next thing Craig was standing on a milk crate and yelling out to the crowd (and the crowd yelling back for him to ‘stand up’) our best players…Ace – BOG with 10 goals and the carni coleman, Juice and Dean with medals and entry into the All Star team, Rowey with the cup that never runs dry for a brilliant three game effort and Corey for a cracking whole hearted display. Other noteables were Fanta, Gunja, Hutto and Jonah.
We loaded onto the bus and within an hour we were at The Alderney and doing bombies in the pool. 7.30pm rolled around and everyone was well and truly on the tooth so it was off to the Chinese soup kitchen where we were greeted like family and fed like kings. The flounder slapping showed signs of getting a little tired and we will probably turn things upside down next year and go for a new restaurant after 3 great years at the Han Palace. From this point the crew started to disappear into the night with a bit of irish dancing at Finnegans’s and the Fosil signing autographs as punters got him confused with his brother from another mother in George Clooney. Home time was beckoning for a few of boys but not our coach… he might have had blocked sinuses all week but as the AM came calling, he had built up a head of steam and was snorting like Puff The Magic Dragon…there was nothing to do but hang on for the ride. After countless stiff drinks we landed at the casino and even James Packer will still be celebrating our visit (mug punters the lot)….at this point the coach was now known as Rodger and the Hall/Haoust show was open for business with one new friend commenting, “I have heard some shit spoken in my day but you two boys would have to take the cake”. Eventually we landed back to the hotel to collect our senses.
After a coffee or two we loaded onto the bus and dragged our weary bums home to the southwest, taxed but with an inner glow that comes from knowing you gave your best and put in until you had no more to put…..and shared some experiences with a group of guys you’ve spent the last 6 months getting to either know better or know for the first time. A fitting end to a year that delivered on every level….until next year boys (if you don’t count the end of year dinner, end of year trip and Day 1 of the first Test at the WACA…probably catch up for the grandy too yeah???…..sorry girls).