Posted in City activities, Melbourne

Footy at the MCG

Yesterday I got a last-minute call from a colleague of mine, saying that he had two tickets for the St. KildaCollingwood game left over and if Kai and myself wanted to come. What a rhetorical question!

So we got dressed, had a quick lunch, and off we went.

We were not the only ones heading into the city, as there was another game at Ethiad as well.
We were not the only ones heading into the city, as there was another game at Ethiad Stadium happening at almost the same time as well.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG, or just The ‘G for the initiated, is a very large cricket and footy stadium in the centre of Melbourne. It has room for around 100,000 spectators and is easily reachable either from Flinders Street or Richmond train stations.

On the way from Richmond station, we were greeted by some Scottish music.
On the way from Richmond station, we were greeted by some Scottish music.
In recent years, the AFL has been trying to make footy more of a family sport, including a games area in front of the stadium for the kids.
In recent years, the AFL has been trying to make footy more of a family sport, including a games area in front of the stadium for the kids.

Getting in was a bit of an issue, as we had tickets to the members area. And if you want to get in there, you have to wear a shirt with a collar (so either a dress shirt or a polo). Which, of course, I didn’t. So I ended up buying a St. Kilda Saints shirt from the merchandise stall for silly money. But, I have to say, it does look pretty cool.

We were seated on the third tier, high up under the roof.
We were seated on the top tier, high up under the roof.
The TV camera's were out in force.
The TV camera’s were out in force.
50 years ago this season, the Saints won their first (and only) championship. So for this game, they invited the team from back then into the stadium.
50 years ago this season, the Saints won their first (and only) premiership. So for this game, they invited the team from back then into the stadium.
St. Kilda takes to the field, playing in black as the home team. (For today, the MCG is their "home". But this changes.)
St. Kilda takes to the field, playing in black as the home team. (For today, the MCG is their “home”. Due to the large number of teams and relatively few venues in Melbourne, what is considered “home stadium” changes from game to game.)

What follows are a few impressions from the game. If you don’t know the rules to Aussie Rules, this might not all make complete sense. However, if you do know the rules… well… it still doesn’t always. πŸ™‚

The game starts with a "bounce", where one of the refs bounces the ball off of the field and the players try to get to it by jumping really high.
The game starts with a “bounce”, where one of the refs bounces the ball off of the field and the players try to get to it by jumping really high. Like a “bully” in ice hockey, but in reverse.
When a ball goes out of bounds unintentionally, one of the refs tosses it back in. Backwards. And pretty high.
When a ball goes out of bounds unintentionally, one of the refs tosses it back in. Backwards. And pretty high. I have always wondered if they hold competitions on who can toss the farthest.
One of the players is kicking from inside the Fifty (a semi-circle with a radius of 50 meters from the goal posts) to get the ball between the two tall posts.
One of the players is kicking from inside the Fifty (a semi-circle with a radius of 50 meters from the goal posts) to get the ball between the two tall posts.
And he got the goal, as the ref is indicating.
And he got the goal, as the ref is indicating with his two arms. The St. Kilda crowd is cheering in the background.
After he (or she) has done that, he waves two white flags to indicate to the ref at the other end of the oval that 6 points were scored.
After he (or she) has done that, he waves two white flags to indicate to the ref at the other end of the oval that 6 points were scored.

One arm and one flag would indicate a “behind”, only counting one point. A behind is scored if the ball goes over the line somewhere between the two outer posts while not being kicked between the two centre posts. Confused yet?

There are 7 refs in the game, easily recognizable in their yellow outfits.
There are 7 refs in the game, easily recognizable in their yellow outfits.
Then there is the runner. He comes onto the field to deliver messages to the players. No yelling by the coaches from the sidelines.
Then there is the runner in pink. He comes onto the field to deliver messages to the players. No yelling by the coaches from the sidelines.
Also during the match, the waterboys bring drinks to the players. Sometimes while the ball is in play.
Also during the match, the waterboys bring drinks to the players. Sometimes even while the ball is in play.

If you live in Australia, or come to visit in the fall and winter, I would definitely recommend going to one of the games. It’s a very fast sport with lots of excitement. And the atmosphere in the stadium is always pretty great.

Kai is discussing the state of the game with Ben, one of the sons of my colleague.
Kai is discussing the state of the game with Ben, one of the sons of my colleague.
The stadium was a little more than half full.
The stadium was a little more than half full. The numbers at the bottom of the board indicate that St. Kilda has scored 16 goal and 9 behinds, for a grand total of 105 points. Collingwood has 11 goal, 6 behinds and a total of 72 points. We are 15:05 minutes into the fourth quarter.
And in the end, we won!
And in the end, we won! Must have been my shirt.

It was a fun day out for father and son (while the girls went to see a movie). We will do that again.

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4 thoughts on “Footy at the MCG

  1. Geweldig leuk hoor,Kai ziet er ook stralend uit,geniet er maar van!.Willemijn en Luka hebben vast ook genoten in de film!!πŸ‘πŸ’πŸŒ·πŸ˜΄πŸ’€πŸ˜΄

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