Melbourne trip

25 09 2007

Our quick trip to Melbourne to watch the AFL Preliminary Final had some other features:

  • The VirginBlue flights were uneventful, and the leg room was much more than on Qantas. Staff were very pleasant.
  • We got to visit my Mum’s sister and her family on Friday, then have lunch with my cousin and her husband. I hadn’t seen any of them for about 10-15 years, so that was good!
  • The rental car was an electric/petrol hybrid—a Toyota Prius. After getting used to the start up/shut down procedure and the lack of noise (!!!) it was a great car to drive. And incredibly fuel efficient. We did 200kms and when I filled the tank before returning the car to the airport, it took only 6 litres! That’s 3L per 100kms. Normal vehicles run about 9-10L/100kms, and 4WDs are upwards of 12L/100kms. The lack of noise was a little disconcerting at first. When you are idling (like at traffic lights or when you first start the car), there is NO engine noise, so it seems like you’ve stalled, except all the dash lights tell you otherwise.
  • The toll road charges are HORRENDOUS! $11 per calendar day whether you use the roads or not. No wonder Victoria can afford such great sporting and arts venues.
  • We walked for about 2 hours around the Yarra on Saturday morning before going to the airport. The weather was absolutely brilliant and Melbourne shone like a Christmas bauble! Photos are here…

Melbourne in the spring

All over for this year

25 09 2007

<sigh> Collingwood were just *so* close to winning the Preliminary Final against Geelong. Had there been another 30 seconds in the game, it could’ve happened—it was *that* close. Collingwood were scrambling for possession on their 50m line when the siren went… and it was all over. Geelong won by 5 points, and history will show that that’s all that matters. Geelong now play Port Adelaide in the Grand Final this Saturday, and if they win, it’ll break a 44 year drought of not winning a Grand Final.

Now, let’s look at the positives…

  • Our hotel was just a 200m walk from the MCG and on the same side as the entrance gate we had to use. Can’t get much closer than that!
  • Our seats were in the premium seating area just behind the city-end goals, and were very comfy, not like those bone shakers at Subiaco Oval!
  • We sat with the Collingwood ‘family’—parents, siblings, wives, girlfriends, children of the players, plus those in the team who weren’t playing (you can tell who they were by their ‘uniform’ of dark suits and black and white striped ties).
  • The MCG is a FANTASTIC venue! Much shorter and rounder than I expected (compared to Subi which is quite long and oval). Walkways, bars and food areas, toilets, etc. were all neat and clean and well-finished. Unlike Subi which is a grey concrete disgrace.
  • The crowd was officially 98,002 (Mum and I reckoned we were the “2”!).
  • Despite the size of the crowd, the noise didn’t sound any louder than the crowds at Subi. Unlike when the Eagles or Dockers play at Subi, the crowd really wasn’t into any chanting, except sporadically. That was a surprise. However “Coll–ing–wood” is such a hard word to chant, unlike “Freee—oooh!” or “Eeeeaa—gles!”
  • The weather was kind. Friday was patchy cloud for much of the day, with a drop of rain about 2 hours before the game. It was bit chilly at the MCG, but my Dockers scarf and a light coat was sufficient.
  • Because it was the footy, Mum and I indulged in a “Four’n’Twenty” pie each, plus a bucket of chips! “Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars…” as the song goes!
  • My nephew kicked 3 of Collingwood’s goals and was their equal highest goal scorer. Gotta be happy with that! Two of the goals he kicked put Collingwood in front, and the final one put them within 5 points of victory. But it wasn’t enough…
  • Photos are here…

Was it worth it? Absolutely! Even despite the loss.

 Some of the 98,002 crowd

MCG before the game