Sunday, September 24, 2006

Perth vs Melbourne

Frustrations of a Football Fan in Oz

There was an evil choice to begin with this afternoon as I really wanted to watch this game but it clashed with the social football in Davies Park. I may as well advertise it here, as all are welcome, all ages, men and women. Every Sunday, 4.30pm in Davies Park, West End (corner of Jane St and Montague Rd). Anyway, I did pop along, but without embarassing myself with an excuse, took off quickly to go to the Clarence, one of my preferred pubs for over five years now, for the game on Fox.

It is the last time I will go to the Clarence for any reason. Fortunately I did arrive just in time to witness Reinaldo score for Manchester United against Reading. It was a beautifully placed long shot, expertly between two defenders and taking the goalie quite by surprise. The result of that match was 1:1.

But the barman point-blank refused to put a screen on the soccer, as the cricket final was on. It wasn't clear even whether it was Fox's decision or his, as he was looking at the program saying, "yeah, it was on here, but it's not on because of the cricket final." I was disappointed, to say the least. Finishing my schooner of Gold, I had enough time to carefully observe that noone was watching the cricket on any of the four screens it was playing. If anything I saw one old couple look up and observe the score once, which is about all you need to do with the cricket as far as I can see.

Anyway, I went home frustrated, wishing I had just gone to the kick-about, and discovered on the Net that in fact the football was on the other Fox channel.

Back in my car I went to The Muddy Farmer in Annerley, closer anyway. Upon walking in the football was already on, on the first screen I saw. Sure they were playing the cricket on other screens (still noone watched, and when some kids came in soon after they turned the main screen over to Jurassic Park). But this pub has a new convert. Especially because I can bring Jacob here too, I'll be coming here for the games in future. The Clarence Corner Hotel can officially go f*** itself.

Anyway, I arrived in the 27th minute and was pleasantly surprised to see a very equal looking competition. Ten minutes later Jacob called me - he was following it on the Net. We both wanted Perth to win just so Melbourne wouldn't leap too far ahead of Brisbane on the table. From his internet perspective, Perth was getting most of the possession and goal chances, but from my perspective I could see that they were beng professionally foiled all the same, so it looked pretty equal.

In the second half Melbourne came on meaning business and I do think the best team won, however many times Perth got the ball up the field. Melbourne's defence was very tight. Possibly Perth's relatively inexperienced goalkeeper let them down a bit as well. At the same time, after such a persistent concerted effort the final goal was also deserved. The result was about right from my view.

The final frustration for the evening, and a reason I am rushing this review, is that half way through the second half I was invited to dinner and single malt whiskey with Jacob's coach and the same's housemate (father of Gary, who was the top goal scorer in Jacob's team). The reason that was frustrating is because I was already half way through the Muddy Farmer's Catch of the Day: Steamed fillet filled with jullienne of vegetable on jasmine rice, topped with a mild tomato and sweet basil salsa, grilled prawns, salad and fries. $17.50. Very nice, but unfortunately also a bit filling.

The whiskey at least will be appreciated. Cheers!

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