Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rolling Rambling Rave (and a Recovering Roar)

Now after several very critical blogs about the Brisbane Roar my dear son Jacob is insisting that I write a positive one, and there was some real positives from last night so I shall concentrate on them. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), John over at A Seat At the A-league did a pretty good job of the negatives, so I get to play good cop.

But first an aside about my lad Jacob. His indoor soccer team, 'The West End [censored]', is undefeated after 8 rounds and top of their table. Yesterday they won 21:5 (3 to Jacob). The problem when they're thrashing a team is their game falls apart as each one of them starts taking turns to run at the goal and shoot by themselves, rather than using it as a training game for their real nemesis (The Razor Blades) who they haven't played yet. Their defense fell to bits and they conceded 3 goals in as many minutes (to a team who has only scored 10 in 7 games). I've discovered the strategy of cheering loudly for their opposition to stir them up. Yesterday it seemed to work, and they started slotting their own again, except with decent crossing and maintaining their shape.

I'm also still playing futsal on a Tuesday night, though no longer with the Red Eye Pirates, who are disbanded unfortunately, but with the Ligers. All fun. I might write about this crew some more some time, but yesterday I heard a cool rumour about the futsal centre (at West End Primary School) which I intend to check out tomorrow night. No other than Roar striker Sergio van Dijk plays in goals for a futsal team in that same centre on Monday nights. I'm told his keeping is pretty crap, and I guess it's just a fun way for a bit of extra fitness and sociality for him, but I am very keen to see for myself.

Ok, back to the Brisbane Roar, and the game last night. 0:1 loss to Melbourne, as we know I'm sure. But here are the positives as I see it:

1. It cost Jacob and I $25 to get in. That makes it affordable. It makes it more of a, "Hey, let's go to the football," than a ($65), "Ah, I'll just check my finances to see if we can afford to go to the football." This issue is exacerbated for me as I'm saving my biscuits for the big trip to South Africa in June next year. Much more expensive I know (about $20,000 for Jacob and I for three games), but let's just say I reckon it's worth every penny.

2. The advertising was good. The adds had a parochial (Brisbane) theme (which as I've written before is probably the best angle). I saw one during the final Rove program on Sunday night (the most overrated comedian in Australian television history, but popular all the same). Then I saw one during the shorts before 2012 at the cinema (this movie should be cut to 45 minutes, abolishing all the actors, renamed "The End of the World" and put to a rock n' roll soundtrack, after which it would be quite brilliant viewing). There was some print adds too I spotted, and generally I'd never felt so exposed to a game beforehand as this game. I suspected that this was a big reason for the increased crowd, and it was confirmed anecdotally by a friend I met at half-time who said he saw adds a few times before deciding to go with his girlfriend. He also noted the excellent timeslot, but I know that's more-or-less out of the Roar board's control, especially at this stage of the season.

3. Now, I try not to let my impressions be too educated. That is, I try to reflect what I actually felt at the time, on the assumption that this authentic viewpoint will be shared by many everyday (as contrary to hardcore) punters. So I already know that many people disagree with what I'm about to say, and that perhaps it reflects my hopeless ignorance about the game, but keep in mind that most people are at least as ignorant as me. I thought the lads played as well as I've seen them play. I can not name one player that played badly.

John's comment that we are too slow up front certainly rings true, but all that can be said for sure is that the Melbourne defense beat the Roar's attack. Without an elaborate analysis with high-tech equipment it's really impossible to say whether we were too slow or Melbourne were exceptionally quick to defend. We certainly seemed to dominate and make more convincing attacks, starting from about 90 seconds into the game.

For reasons to do with one of Jacob's mates I was watching Packer's game in particular. I love a wing back who attacks, and his combination with Tiatto attacking up the wing was great to watch. In general there was plenty of combination play. Henrique showed both his speed and inexperience, and missed one good chance in particular, but I still couldn't say he played badly.

But I can't with all integrity get through this without some criticism of the experience. As has been said over and over, the refereeing quality is shocking and inconsistent. Without a replay nobody in the home crowd knew why an apparently clinical goal was disallowed. I had to surf the media to find out. At another point we were sitting precisely behind the linesman, perpendicular to the sideline, when the linesman who was actually looking away incorrectly called Henrique offside. I completely participated in hurling abuse at the stupid bastard, and the crowd around me felt pre-riot. There were other incidents less blatant, and the totality of the experience was... I'm searching for the right words... deeply disturbing. Just left a lump of gunk where your fan's heart is supposed to be. It utterly ruined an otherwise positive experience.

This evening (Ballymore 6pm) I'm off to the last Roar women's homegame of the season, and the reffing issue made me consider one of the reasons I love it so much. Clearly it's not that the reffing's better - that would be a foolish claim I think. It's that the quality of refs and officials can keep up with the relatively slow pace and hence get most things right. Poor decisions on the part of officials, especially when you are denied a replay and have no way of knowing why a decision is made, I am increasingly convinced, is an enormous detraction from enjoying the game.

Anyway, I can't wait for tonight, when for $5 I know I'll have a really wonderful time, win or lose. The girls put the lads to shame when it comes to fair play (see Fiona Crawford's blog on this). When one stays down you know she is injured and you immediately feel for the player's pain because you know it's real. (All the best for a speedy recovery Brooke Spence).

Jacob is too much of a man to enjoy the women's game. He prefers boys. :) Truly, I've even explained to him how many chicks there are of his age there watching, and he's still not convinced. He prefers the pace - along with the diving, theatrics, poor reffing and long journeys on public transport. I can see his perspective of course, but it is my job to give him shit. He gives as good as he gets.

Well that was a ramble. To anyone who got this far, my apologies.

Go girls!!!

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6 Comments:

Anonymous jacob said...

Diving - There was only really one obvious dive in that game and that was by berger. (Not that bad)
As for poor reffing, I guess I cannot argue but like you said yourself it probably does have something to do with the pace of the game. Men are faster, stronger and...better.
Long journey's? Hardley, compared to the trip to ballymore really.
I do also remember you saying that you get more into men's soccer than women's after the game.
There's my 2 cents (:

November 22, 2009 3:22 pm  
Anonymous Neil said...

I've also been known to make an appearance at the West End Primary School futsal competition.

Well, okay I lie I played once for a friends team when I visited him a couple of years back.

Look forward to your piece on the Ligers (excellent name by the way) and may inspire me to write about my futsal team Max Power.

As for the game, as a Melbourne fan I thought we were very fortunate to come away with the 3 points as I couldn't see any reason why the Roar goal was disallowed. But I guess when it is not running your way, it's not running your way.

Am enjoying your more regular posts, maybe I should get off my arse and write some more myself.

November 22, 2009 3:26 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Ha! Thanks for commenting Jacob. I think it's the first time you have.

Emotionally yes, I think I do get more emotionally involved in the men's game. I would never scream, "Get a paper run you fucking idiot," to an official in the women's game, for example.

But I rarely actually feel good after a Roar game. Great way to get out a pile of aggression perhaps, and that's fulfilling in some strange primal way, but not to feel like I've had a great night.

But to get to Ballymore we have to leave about 20 minutes before the game because there's free parking. To get to Suncorp we have to leave my place an hour before, then get home about an hour after the game. So I can't agree with you there.

November 22, 2009 3:32 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Thanks Neil! Always enjoy your writing too.

November 22, 2009 3:33 pm  
Anonymous jacob said...

It's a ten minute train trip and would be a ten minute walk if we went from the train staion. It only took so long because the bus went the wrong way and also because I don't think suncorp expected the semi-decent crowd that came (for once) so the line took ages.

As for not feeling good. Don't tell me that you don't feel good after a win. It's just that the roar havn't had one for a while. Regardless, football is not about that necessarily. It's about all the different emotions (: Just depends what happens on the night.

November 22, 2009 3:56 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Lol Jacob. I'm sure you're right that I'd enjoy the lads more if they could win at home. I have to admit to myself that the consistent success of the girls makes them easy to love. So you're probably on to something there.

In my feeble defense the first W-League game I went to was the Roar's only loss (to Canbera last year, 1:2), and I was hooked then.

About the Roar's apparent incapacity to win at home (with that team, keeping to history, they'd beat any team away), as you know I'm superstitious about this.

Suncorp itself has rejected the Roar. The women's extraordinary success also reinforces my belief that we are SUPPOSED to be at Ballymore. The Roar could have (and hopefully still could) build a brilliant home atmosphere and win home games at that stadium.

And ok, if you time the train perfectly (the 5:14, or 14 minutes past the half hour)), 3 minutes walk to the station plus 15 minutes train and 10 minutes walk to the stadium and 3 minutes to get in to your seat (let's assume we've prebooked on the net, which I should), that's 31 minutes, but we're 15 minutes early, making it a total of 46 minutes before the game we have to leave.

But then going home, 15 minutes to get out of the stadium and to the station, then generally 20 minutes wait for the train, 15 minutes train ride and 3 minutes walk back to my place. 53 minutes. That's keeping it all tight.

Ballymore we can jump in the car 20 minutes before the game and miss nothing, then jump in the car and be home in 20 minutes. Sorry son, you're not gonna win this one.

Love your spirit of debate mate! Your spelling and punctuation improved enormously between the first and second comment too. :)

November 22, 2009 4:19 pm  

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