Footy’s back!!!! (with a Swedish connection)

After a looooooong cricket season, southern Australia can breathe a collective sigh of relief – footy’s back.

Tonight, my beloved Carlton Football Club will take on Richmond in the traditional season opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I’ll be at home, on the edge of my seat, willing the Blues on to another Round 1 rout of the Tigers.

Two of the guys to watch tonight will be Tasmanian, Mitch Robinson (#12) and Carlton’s captain Chris Judd (#5).

Robbo’s playing his 50th game tonight and will hopefully attack the contest with his usual vigour (see the video, below). For those non-Aussies watching, all these things are good….. 🙂

Chris Judd is just a freak…..

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For fans of all things Swedish, here’s the Abba girls in Carlton tops, circa 1977.

Whatever the AFL forked out for AC/DC’s anthem It’s A Long Way To The Top, it’s presumably more than the pair of dark Navy Blue guernseys it cost the then Carlton General Manager Keith “Caper” McKenzie to stitch up Swedish supergroup ABBA way back in ’77.

With the League landing Australia’s unofficial national anthem for use through 2012, thoughts turn to ABBA, specifically its old music clip “Chiquitita”, in which Agnetha Fältskog can be seen belting out the hit sporting the famous CFC across her front.

McKenzie, who turns 90 in April, vividly recalled the chain of events which led to Anna and her fellow ABBA songstress Frida Lyngstad getting decked out in dark Navy Blue 35 years ago this month.

“When we knew they were about to land at Tullamarine I told our marketing bloke Michael Whitewood, ‘Grab a couple of guernseys, get up to the airport and take them out to ABBA’,” said McKenzie of one of the all-time great club marketing triumphs.

“The band later headed out to Western Australia to play for shows wearing the jumpers. I don’t know what guernsey numbers they got, but it was a real coup.”

SO there you go….. a Swedish connection.

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Ah, footy. Welcome back.

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18 Comments

  1. Ah, the best sport in the world– been trying to get back up to speed by watching the NTFL’s (whose season just finished) YouTube channel, but nothing beats the real thing.

    Once again us Yanks get the short end of the stick. Other than paying to see the matches online via LiveAFL.tv, our other options are (1.) an obscure cable network that will show exactly one heavily edited match one week after it happens and (2.) Something called Fox Soccer Plus, another obscure pay per view network which will show only 2 games per week– live. Which means start times between 1am -4am for most matches. Fox Soccer has a 3-year contract to show AFL games. While us diehards will continue to watch, I sincerely doubt there will be a lot of new fan conquests with this sort of shoddy coverage. So… another lost opportunity for footy to expand it s fan base in North America. Shame. But at least I get to see some games this year!

  2. An arm-chair sports critic AND an AFL fan … this is almost too much. Good job you’re a good motoring journalist and a SAABisti. Stay with the Car stuff MOSTLY 🙂

    1. Footy’s the only thing I love more than cars, Ian. Yep, I’m that far gone 🙂

      Won’t be much footy stuff here, though.

  3. I think you’ll find Swade that the footy has been gracing our teevs for four rounds now already.
    Go the Dragons

    1. Ha!

      Can’t compare that neckless bash-n-crash with our graceful, athletic and skilled sport. Karmichael and Izzy are learning all about athleticism now (and I hope they make it).

    1. Robbo’s a madman. White line fever. Will run through a brick wall for the team, which is why he’s become a cult figure in less than 50 games.

    1. Actually, around 15 years ago, Saab used to have signage at Carlton’s home ground and quite a few of the execs were driving them. Saab convertibles were used extensively for the player parades in the lead up to the Grand Final each year, too.

      Today, Toyota’s the main AFL sponsor and they use Hi-Lux utes instead. So classy.

  4. I do not like football where your foot actually touches the ball mostly, as is common in Europe. The best thing about AFL however to me is the way the refs swing their arms when a goal is scored. Fantastic move, highly recommended amongst mates while drunk in a bar 😀

  5. Looks like a demolition derby. What’s the casualty rate? How many games, matches, contests, whatever does a man play before he’s all washed up?

    1. The games record is over 400 senior games, but that’s unlikely to ever be matched.

      A good player will have a 200+ game career.

      Sadly, the player who holds the record for most consecutive games (never missed through either bad form or injury) died last week at just age 45 from cancer. He played 244 consecutive games, which with a 22 game season, plus ‘playoffs’, means he didn’t miss a game in around 10 years.

      1. Aussies must laugh their heads off when they compare footy to the low-grade but nonetheless dangerous mayhem of American professional football.

        1. I think there are many things about American sports that people all round the world just accept as peculiar. Your habit of calling yourselves World Champions for winning a domestic competition is one (NBA, MLB). The way the sports are tailored almost equally for consumption as well as for playing is another (NFL, Nascar).

          I enjoy most of them, regardless.

  6. I watch the AFL on the MHz Network here in the States where it’s broadcast on the Monday night following the match. I usually watch the first half on their website since it conflicts with my wife’s favorite TV show, then switch to the TV broadcast once her show ends. Given the number of youngsters on the new Giants team I thought they actually made a reasonable showing against the Swans for their first ever match. My wife admits to liking Collingwood but I suspect it’s just because of her favorite player, Steele Sidebottom. She readily admits his name has a certain humorous appeal. I would generally pull for Geelong but, now that Cameron Ling has retired and gone to work for Seven Network, I just look forward to a good, competitive match. I would love to witness a match firsthand at the MCG one day.

    1. Always good to hear from off-shore footy fans.

      I assume you’re aware of the cultural landscape, but for the benefit of others, Collingwood is the team everyone loves to hate. They have the largest supporter base, a very working class background and have had a very successful last few years. If you don’t support Collingwood, then you absolutely hate them.

      Geelong have been one of my favourite teams over the last 7 years or so. Not just because they’ve been successful, but also because they’ve been so much fun to watch. Imagine Don Nelson small-ball era Mavericks actually winning, building a dynasty. That’s what Geelong did. Everyone else usually wins with a solid defence. The Cats had a solid defence, but won people over with free flowing offensive play. Great to watch and should be good again this year, too.

      The MCG’s an experience, for sure. Put it on your bucket list. Just make sure it’s two of the following teams playing one another: Carlton, Richmond, Collingwood and Essendon. All four are traditional rivals and games involving any combination of the two will almost guarantee 60,000 people (drop by 10K if Richmond’s playing).

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