Beautiful Melbourne day, nary a cloud in the sky. Arrive early to share a kickaround with Markian, who is quite possibly the only person in the world to possess a [signed] Collingberg Warriors ball. The Ukrainian bloke who trialled with them last year got it for him. Mark's missus tags along to act the important role of ball-retriever.
I've already done a boring shite report this week, so not again. Bascially Perth are the leading lights of Hill's vision for a new football in this country. I read with envy the accounts of the lads getting pissed in the shed, chanting politically incorrect slogans - etc.
Carlton are the startup taking on the establishment. A seperate company from the AFL club, they have recruited returning hero Krncevic after distinguished career oseas etc. Markovski, Marusic, Hunter, Lapansky, Grella and Allsopp just some of the names signed up. Impressive, I'm sure I've been here before...
Match tickets are in the Pratt stand, there were plenty of people walking about beforehand so my expectations for a reasonable crowd rose. Bumped into teammates, SU editors, journos etc.
We enter through the new stand, which we obviously think is where the pitch will be aligned. It is rumoured the cost of this stand is the reason why Carlton AFL entered into partnership with CSC... Somewhat to our surprise the pitch is aligned on the other side, away from the stand! The sun is the obvious reason why.
The Music men, famous for their "I can play the cello... what can you play?" quote are trying [in vain] to get the crowd going along. The crowd is a disappointment. It cannot possibly be more than 5,000 and 4,000 seems more reasonable. The contrast with Collingberg's first game (15,000)...
However, there are a *lot* of kids at the game - far more so than at Collingberg. Kids taking "Blues" flags, dabbed in blue is a great sight to see.
We take position down in the front few rows, on the diagonal.. You cannot see jack here, so we moved up into the Flying Doormat stand and got a much better view. A word of advice to those purchasing tickets at the G - 2nd tier or higher up.
Leon's mate John Rigas is a journo for the ABSW, a Knights supporter and is barracking for Perth Glory. I take an instant dislike to him (only kidding John). He, Damian and Leon will be among the few Glory supporters. Southo and Knights men are mean alright.
There a a few glory supporters in the ground - I've never seen the Glory shirt up close before, and in doing so have no desire to see it again. Blue and Orange, yes. Purple and white, yes (sort of). Plain purple, yes. But definitely not Purple and Orange.
Those classic Nike balls have me licking my lips... if I can just get one - they truly look beautiful. But some smarmy kid is first to the rebound and grabs it... bugger (Carlton players kicked about 10 into the stands)
Carlton lineup Anastasiadis (what happened to Batty?) Cervinksi Douglas Atkinson? Trajkovksi Stergiopoulos Marusic Grella Lapansky Danny Boy Vlahos
Markovksi on bench (why?) Sheepgoalie Batty was signed a couple of months ago, but hasn't figured in preseason, and is not down in the squad sheet.
Carlton have bollocked up their squad numbers yet again, they did it at the Southo Carlton game last month. Not promising.
I didn't get Perth's team, but Bobby and Bujuliwhatsis remain, but no Vas up front, and the Wingell bros didn't play. The Nigerian striker Siasa didn't turn up.
Carlton make an impressive start, several close attempts on goal in the opening minutes, Grella flashing a low shot over, Allsopp floating it over the bar. Carlton's first goal came quickly enough, a Grella? left footer (from right beneath us) finding Cervinksi in the box, who made no mistake with his head. Shite goal to give away, the corner wasn't anything special, Cervinski met it at the 6 yard box.
Carlton establish superiority, but Grella's playing in the middle, something of a surprise given that Marusic is playing to the side. I'd rather have the best player in Australia directing things, Eddie K.
Douglas is a neat defender, even if he is of the woolly variety. Good in the air and fast, with a firm tackle, he was captain. Quality defender.
Others to catch the eye were Trajkovksi, playing right flank. He's very fast, a good crosser and favours defence over attack. Allsopp was putting his body on the line, and getting to it as well.
Perth's one good attack early in the half came when a short pass created havoc in the Carlton box, but Anas. was quickly off his line and saving bravely.
Perth would have to change things if they were gonna get back into the game. They did, scoring a beautiful goal after ? drew two defenders to the touchline, the pass was disguised, and the shot simply looped up, over and across Anas, no chance at all.
A disappointing lack of concentration from Carlton, just before the half as well.
Then it's Danny boy's turn to shine. Another header dangerously close. Markovksi comes on, a rocket pass onto Jonesy's feet finds Allsopp in space. I reckon he split the trap, but you know these Aussie refs.
Jonesy then takes the next shot, very similar to Duncan Disorderly's goal against Liverpool last season. Fake, turn, blast that Maras can't hold, yet he unbelievably saves Allsopp's followup.
It's Vlahos who sets up the winning goal. Storms from midfield, I'm screaming for him to take the shot, but he passes behind Buljuwhatsis and Danny turns and shoots, home. The stand really erupts this time.
Perth's option is the counter attack, they break forward on two very dangerous occasions, but held on too long for one, the other the defence recovered.
Then Perth are forward in search of the equaliser. A corner, a rocket header that I think is in, but the bar intervenes. The ball bounces down, fortunately to a blue who whacks it out of sight. That's it.
A game where the excitement just kept building up, and a classic finale. Carlton deserved winners, Perth would have been lucky to get that equaliser.
Good game. Anas 5 Didn't do much Traj 8 Excellent Douglas 7 Good game for the vice captain Cervinksi 6 Good goal, but disappointed in defence Sterigopoulos 4 Poor game, made some elementary mistakes Grella 6 Needs more matches for a definitive opinion Marusic 5 The weak link in midfield Lanpansky 6 Fairly quiet Allsopp 7 Dangerous. He'll score more goals this year Vlahos 5 Disappointed Jonesy 7 Lazy bastard, lazier than Viduka even, but some magic moments (so what else is new)
Jonesy disappointed me with his attitude. After watching Tunisia, I thought the definition of lazy was Viduka, but Jonesy ain't much better. He was running his arse of at the Southo game.
1 step forward for Aussie footie - Carlton winning their first game
1 step backwards - NO games in Melbourne for 2000 Olys
1 step backwards - Cricket pitch going down on the G later this month
1 step backwards - Size of crowd. Hopefully things will mushroom like Perth did.