Belerive Oval sorry Blundstone Arena (Why is it called an arena not a stadium? Not enough stands?) hosted it’s fifth AFL match on the weekend in the third season of North Melbourne’s foray to the Apple Isle. In the first season, 2012, the Kangaroos two trips to Hobart were neatly spaced, occurring in April and July, both during school holidays.
In 2013 however the plan seemed to change and the Kangaroo’s Hobart matches were bunched together, being just 3 weeks apart on April 13 and May 4. Now after a 434 day wait the good folk of Hobart are treated to two AFL matches in the space of 6 weeks: July 12 and August 23. I can only assume it is marketing strategy by the AFL to play North Melbourne’s two games per season in Hobart close together.
Those with long memories will recall North are not the first team to play in Hobart, Fitzroy played games at North Hobart Oval in the early 1990’s – two games in each of 1991 and 1992. The venture started badly with the Roys first match a 157 point belting by Hawthorn who kicked 36 goals with Ben Allan and Darren Jarman snagging 7 each, Dunstall 6 and Paul Hudson 5. The Lions also lost to St Kilda in 1991 but in 1992 the Roys beat eventual premiers West Coast and fell just 3 points short of defeating Essendon. Hard to imagine Essendon making a trip to Hobart now! North are currently 3 wins and 2 losses from their 5 games.
Crowds haven’t changed much across the decades, Fitzroy averaged 11,542 across its 4 games in 1991-2 and North have averaged 11,874 in it’s 5 games so far with a peak of 14,113. I guess that says more about the size of the stands at the arena than anything else.
The only previous VFL/AFL game in Hobart was in round 8, 1952 when games were taken to all parts of the country – Albury, Brisbane, Euroa, Hobart, Sydney and Yallourn – as part of the one and only ‘National Day’ to promote the code in other states. Once again it was Fitzroy playing a home game in Hobart. They defeated Melbourne at North Hobart Oval in front of a crowd of 18, 387. Still the biggest crowd to an VFL/AFL match in Hobart!
“It’s time for the AFL Commission to come and have a cup of coffee with a few people and let’s get the war room going because you know what we have got to do? We have got to get back to having some fun. It’s like going to the tax office at the moment”
“I know I lead with my chin sometimes and I need to walk away from fights rather than into them sometimes but the other clubs have got to start putting their hands up. Now they are all lobbying around the back of the room and the rest of it, no one will say anything, so I have to go up the front sometimes.”
“I am not playing martyr here. But I am getting a bit tired of it.”
At least Sydney Swans new CEO Ander Plydom called Eddie out for his cliche usage
“There’s no point having coffees or beers, or martinis or anything if it’s just words and the behaviours don’t stop”
“I have nothing against Eddie, what I have objection to is when he gets away with saying things that aren’t true and they become law.”
As for that last statement: here, here.
Don’t forget it’s a split round so that means no AFL on free to air TV for the next two Sunday afternoons. Enjoy!