Upon moving to Melbourne about three decades ago, I was quite taken with Australian football – this strange game adored by millions but played only, or mostly, in a single country … and a single city (mostly) at that.
As I established a new life for myself, and being as I knew few people, it was not unusual for me to attend three VFL/AFL games a weekend – imagine the cost of doing that these days!
I never got serious about barracking for any particular team, but usually went for the underdogs in any given game.
All that was long enough ago that I actually made it to some of the old-school suburban grounds – in fact, IIRC, I may have actually attended the final ever seniors game at the Western Oval.
So I am really quite excited to front up for the return of Footscray – in the form of the Western Bulldogs’ stand-alone VFL side – to the Western/Whitten Oval.
Marley and her family, Maddie, Ruby and Rory.
Even if I have reverted to other football codes in terms of my active sports interests.
I arrive in time for the start of the second quarter, end up staying to the final siren and have a ball.
There’s gratifyingly big crowd on hand, kids and families and dogs everywhere – none of whom have had to pay for their suburban footy fix.
It being after breakfast but too early for lunch, I’d envisaged grabbing a coffee from the Bulldog HQ eatery The Pound …
… but the queue nixes that idea right off.
However, I am delighted to find that among the array of eats being provided at the train-line end of the ground are Remi and his super-gorgeous Airstream Happy Camper Pizza van.
Too early for lunch? Nah, time to try a whole Happy Camper Pizza for the first time ever!
My $12 margherita is perfection in every way – hot, fresh, excellent ingredients in just the right proportions and very, very tasty!
There are old-school footy traditions going on everywhere, including kids and balls and dads on the ground at half-time and anyone with an interest taking in the three-quarter-time huddle.
I run into and enjoy the company of CTS readers and footy buffs (from left) Michael, Footy Maths Institute, Sian and The Holy Boot’s Football Emporium.
Also met but unphotographed is Dugald Jellie, whose report on the occasion can be seen here.
I understand there are about five more VFL home games for Footscray this season – it’s a CTS recommended activity!
(BTW, Footscray thrashed Richmond …)
I’m not a Dogs supporter, but I love to see this. Local, community enthusiasm. If you want to pick an underdog, old Footscray is a great choice.
Was very cool, indeed!
It was great to meet twitter buddy Footy Maths Institute, catch up with you again and meet some new suburban footy fans – and the gold coin entry cost, can’t ask for much more in the way of value! It’s so different being able to wander down to the boundary line and be a metre from the action, let alone all the people on the ground – even moments after the siren there were kids kicking footies and the players hadn’t even caught their breath yet!
Yes! Whoops – I thought it was free. The Oval’s mostly unfenced …
I was a member of Hawthorn in the 1990s, and I used to go to watch them practise during the week at the club oval. Afterwards, we’d all go to the club pavilion, where there’d be snags and a sherbert on two, so to speak. Despite their celebrity, the players would happily mingle, and anyone would have thought you were at a country footy meet, not an AFL team practice.
Wow – just learned something new about you! 🙂
Hah! thought you’d say that. I still have my scarf from that time, dated as it is now—but I like it because of that. And believe it or not, I always liked going to Waverley Park for games better than I liked the MCG. There was something very cute about Glenferrie Oval, still like an old fashioned footy club, though games hadn’t actually been played there for a long time. I also belonged to the coach’s club, which put on a special dinner with a meet-and-greet night.
But really, as you know, I’m a rugby union girl. Can’t ever support any team as much as I do the All Blacks.
Yep, with you on that. I spent a lot of time doing the train/bus routine to Waverley, too.
It was a great fun morning at the local footy. Relaxed atmosphere, happy crowd, and a great win to the Bulldogs. Food prices were old school too… A friend of mine got an enormous bag of hot chips for $3.
We lasted until half time when a certain 2 year old decided that the playground on Barkly St was more interesting than the footy. But impressed he stuck it out that long.
Looking forward to seeing some other games there during the season.
Me too! I do love my sport, but the sheer sophistication of the TV coverage, the cheapness of Foxtel and Bennie’s disinterest have combined to keep me from actually attending for many years!
Maybe we should have a CTS coterie? 🙂 Or at least pick a spot to meet up … preferably near the food vans!
It was terrific that they had the food vans there. Hope they become a regular feature of Doggies games. Where else can you buy a gourmet pizza and watch AFL-listed players do their thing?
I’m up for a CTS meet-up at the next Bulldogs home game. April 20 vs Carlton (Northern Blues). See you on the food truck wing? 😉