Okay I was planning on holding on to this until the finals with the hopeful news that the Kangaroos made it.
Considering 'we' were 2nd favourite to finish bottom of the ladder, to miss out on the finals by percentage was a pretty good effort for the 'Shinboners'. And probably a fair reflection of where they were.
Top Ten Sports to Watch #1
AFL -North Melbourne Kangaroos
I really started watching AFL in 1984 when my best mate in grade 2 E.J (not Witten) and he was a Kangas fan, so being new to the state I followed along. I'm not quite sure whether my old man cared that I didn't go for his Swans but after the first time I saw the magical Krakouer Brothers play I bled Royal Blue. I'm also proud of the fact that I choose a perennial cellar dweller and not the Hawks for example who were in almost every premiership in the 80's. Most of my students who like AFL in my class follow Geelong, the Saints or Collingwood. Lame!
My dad listened/watched any sport but my fondest memories are of sitting next to him on the coffee table while he rubbed his hands together barracking for Capper and the Red and White.
My faith in a struggling team was repaid when Wayne Carey was appointed captain and Dennis Pagan as Coach. Pagan surrounded a fantastic player with a rock solid core of players.
The Eagles, Crows and Kangaroos all won 2 premierships during the 90's but I feel very strongly that the Kangaroos were 'The Team of the 90's'. The Kangaroos played in another Grand Final and made the Preliminary Final 8 years in a row.
The 00's brought in a new era with Carey's fall from grace and a rebuilding time and 1 more Prelim final in 07.
All of the 'press' has been about the Demons and Tigers and their youth and potential but just this week there was an article exponing how the Kangas have a similarly experienced group yet finished well above them and beat Melbourne 2-0 (convincingly) and Richmond 1-0.
Barring injuries I have a feeling that the Kangaroos are about to enter an era seen as halcyon in years to come.
As for watching the sport itself, I am a fan of many sports but not one has come close to being such a spectacle and crowd pleaser. Every player on the field is a true athlete and it's a truly unique blend of raw energy and ball control.
Top Ten Sport to Play #1
AFL -Karingal Bulls
This is by no means to say that I am good at actually playing but I think I am best suited to this sport. I also enjoy it so much that I often spend my oval duty at school kicking a ball around.
I played junior footy and although I was a good kick and mark I was probably a little soft about the contact part of it. I then had kidney issues at 10 and was not allowed play again.
When the family moved to Brisbane, after the flood, I played school footy and because most of the 'good athletes' at school played League and I was tall for my age I was Captain and centre half forward for the school team. We won the Grand Final that year and I kicked 4 goals so I was getting a taste for playing again. AFL didn't have much of a presence back in 1989 in QLD so I was asked to try out for the State team but alas we moved interstate and I never did try out. I am aware that if we were living in Melbourne I would NOT have had these experiences but man did I enjoy them!
When I was 15 back in Melbourne all my mates played footy so I went to join up, but being born in December meant I had to play under 18's instead of under 16's with my mates. I was apprehensive but wanted to play any way. I was definitely tall enough but coming up against 18 year olds meant I was well under size. In our first game I lined up at Full Forward ???? and my direct opponent had tattoos on his arm and told me the first time I go for the ball he was going to punch me in the back of the head. Remember I was a skinny non-fighter 15 year old. It's fair to say my jocks resembled the Hawks colours and not the red and white Swans colours.
At half time we were down by about 100 points and we had only scored 3 behinds. In the 3rd quarter I had the ball about 45 metres out and instead of passing I went for the torpedo and kicked the first goal for our team. I was dragged by the coach for not passing the ball and hardly played again that game. I lasted 4 more games but didn't really enjoy it and to be honest never went in hard and wasn't doing the team any good.
That was the last of my football career. I did coach the under 13's here in Charters Towers for a year and if Ben ever decides to play I'll become apart of that club.
I still love to have a kick and a run around but now it's more social and with a beer.