Yesterday afternoon I took in my first live Australian Rules game and watched Brisbane Lions play Melbourne at the MCG. Melbourne unexpectedly edged the match and won by a single point – 14.9.93 to 13.14.92. The scoring soon made sense: 6 points for a ‘goal’ (the first number) and 1 point for a ‘behind’ (either side of the goals) which are added together for the actual scoreline (the last number).
I had an introduction to AFL last week courtesy of my cousins partners seven-year-old son who had to give a talk to his class on his favourite things and used me to practice his presentation, so I wasn’t completely at a loss as to what was going on. I was confused for a while about the guys in HiViz outfits running around the pitch, seemingly at random. I knew they weren’t officials, water carriers or medical staff. I asked a friend who told me that they were ‘runners’ and ferrying messages from the coach to the players.
It wasn’t the most free-flowing of games but I enjoyed my afternoon. Like a rugby match, integrated seating and being able to have a beer during the game helped the atmosphere. Attendance was over 23,000 but the ground felt bizarrely deserted as the MCG has a capacity of 100,000 or over four times the crowd on the day.
After the match we jumped on to a tram down to St. Kilda – made famous a few years ago in the TV series The Secret Life of Us. We headed home after some people watching, a nice dinner and lots of slobbering as we passed by the multitude of cake shops.