Months ago, when the AFL fixture was released, I was forced to make a difficult decision. My beloved Swans were schedule to play St Kilda in a second round NAB Cup match at the same time as Melbourne Victory were to be playing at AAMI Park. Even then (in October) I knew that I would end up going to the footy because I would have seen all Melbourne Victory home games by this time. I was really annoyed that both games were scheduled at the same time. It would have been great if the soccer had been on a different day or even earlier in the day so I could have hopped on the train to Etihad Stadium.
It was a beautiful, warm day, so I went into the city early so I could go to Myer then walked around the city, finally ending up at Etihad Stadium on the city’s western side.
The Swans came out firing in the first quarter and continued on until the Saints turned the tables and ran away to win by 23 points. It was a good chance to watch some of the players for my fantasy footy sides first hand. Most of all it was great to be able to say that footy is back!!!
This was the first game of the Big Bash League which runs until January 19th. In a bid to promote cross-town rivalries this and Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers were two of the games in the first round. In front of a crowd of approx 22,000 the Renegades easily beat my team, the Stars, captained by Shane Warne. Aaron Finch (Renegades captain) hit a magnificent century to guide his team home. Unfortunately Warne had terrible bowling figures of 42 runs off two overs. It was great to see international players playing for both teams. Lasith Malinga plays for the Stars and Muttiah Muralidharan (Murali) for the Renegades. Murali currently holds the record for the highest number of wickets taken. That record may not be broken for a long time. To see three of the world’s greatest (retired) bowlers from two different countries in the one game was an opportunity not to be missed.
Last week during the innings break at the T20 game between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades there was a motorcross display. They did so many jumps. Many more than the crowd expected. It was awesome to see them. Motorcross is only something I’ve been slightly interested in the past but this has made me want to see more. I couldn’t really hear the ground announcer but he mentioned Crusty Demons a few times so I’m not sure if some of the riders wore from the Demons. The final jump had them on fire with two riders doing the jump. It was fantastic.
It was an exciting 2-2 draw in front of just under 20,000 mostly Melbourne Victory supporters. The media and match day commentators have widely said that the first half was the best of the season so far. It was a great contest and had everything you want from a game; goals, exciting contents, flair, and (unwanted) also one red card for each team which will have an impact for both sides in their next game. I’ll admit to being totally biased but Victory had more opportunities to win the game. The ball spent much of the second half at the Victory end and if we’d had players in front of goal at crucial moments we could have scored at least two more goals.
It looks like things are finally starting to change and improve at Melbourne Victory. Last night we played Wellington Phoenix at Etihad Stadium and beat them 3-2. Although they were 3-0 with about 10 mins to the end of the game. It made those final 10 mins very tense. Even more annoying when a group of kids start hanging around the fence in front of us hoping to get the free soccer balls the players give out after the game.
Marco Rojas got 2 goals and Marcos Flores 1. Archie Thompson got his usual off-sides but couldn’t buy a goal. He was never quite in the right spot at the right second and could have scored a couple of goals. He did have some great assists though. The pace of the game was very fast and has shown that Ang Postocoglou has made the right decision in moving on some of the older, slower players.
The club also put on a tritbute to Danny Allsopp who retired two weeks ago. It’s always sad to see one of the best players retire but I wish him all the best in the future. He was presented with an award and walked a lap of honour, giving us all the chance to say goodbye.
Celebrating one of Rojas’ goals from an Archie Thompson assist