Thursday night training was a shortened affair. Outside the clubrooms Artie was counting nervously.
Artie sighed loudly, relieved. Enough people had been able to attend the fundraiser.
“Well done!” congratulates Reg.
“Thanks.” replies Artie. “Seriously it was close there….”
Artie was going to explain how, as the week progressed, the number of people not able to attend the fundraiser kept shrinking. He didn’t because he was interrupted by Steve, the club President.
“Attention!” he shouted. “Oi! Shut it!” Steve waited till the hubbub died down. “Teams are up on facebook and the cricket app. Most people have gone home. Bar closes in thirty minutes.”
In unison those gathered chanted “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
“Right!” responded President Steve.
“Which teams have a chance for the finals?” asks old Mick to Reg.
“We were out of it before Christmas.” Replies Reg. “But I think the twos have enough for the finals.”
“And the threes…” chimes in Brayden. “That’s why Depesh is playing down in the threes, so he can qualify for both twos and threes.”
“I thought the Fours had a chance.” adds old Mick.
“We need to win more games than the Angels to make it.” informs Artie who was lurking nearby and heard his team mentioned.
The conversations continue till the President Steve closes the bar. A few consider a coup, but its Thursday night and most have to go to work and school tomorrow. Then cricket on Saturday.
Circuit Breaker Lockdown
Around mid-day on Friday a few stray posts on facebook and twitter begin to speculate about the press conference Dan Andrews has scheduled for 1pm. President Steve is inundated with e-mails, text messages and facebook posts. No one really knows what is going to happen. The association has put out a post that they will respond after the conference.
At 1:30pm club secretary Rohan posts the associations e-mail which declares what everyone guessed was going to happen. Due to the snap lockdown all cricket is cancelled.
No Cricket During Lockdown
Its Saturday now and outside the local shops Rohan, in club reusable mask, sees Shaun, in blue disposable mask, waiting for take-away coffee.
“Hey!” greets Rohan
“Ro.” acknowledges Shaun. “We should be playing right now.”
“No ones playing.” states Rohan. “Even Friday night games were cancelled.”
“The juniors too, before midnight?” replies Shaun surprised.
“Yeah the association was very proactive.” nods Rohan.
“So are they going to reschedule this round?” asks Shaun.
“Look if this its only five days then maybe they can.” answers Rohan. “But there’s information that lockdown could be for two weeks.”
“There was only three rounds to go. Could still play games on Saturday and Sunday.” calculates Shaun trying to save the season that looks like it is slipping away.
Talking Over the Fence
Elsewhere other Lions players are able to meet due to being neighbours.
“Bloody Tennis!” fumes Reg to Frank.
“The missus says it wasn’t from the Tennis hotel.” corrects Frank. “Where’s Brayden?”
“Playstation.” grumps Reg. “He wont be there long though. His boss called him in knowing he wont be playing cricket today.”
“Now that sucks.” says Frank in consolation.
“Nah! Its worse.” adds Reg. “His girlfriend’s more than five kay away.”
“Oh yeah. Valentines Day.” chuckles Frank. “Tell him to detour on his pizza delivery and drop some flowers off.”
“Who do you think you are Frank, cupid?” snaps Reg jokingly.
“How do think I’ve stayed married this long?” smirks Frank
“I know how.” replies Franks wife Lisa from behind Frank. “Because he used to spend half the week at the club. Almost divorced him last lockdown. I thought you were mowing the lawn Franklin.”
The two men look awkwardly at each other.
“She who must be obeyed.” whispers Frank who nods to Reg and moves back to the lawn mower.
Posts on Lionzlads the clubs facebook group were creative and echoed the start of the last lockdown. Artie posted Boom Crash Opera’s ‘Dancing in the Storm’ adding the chorus. Here we go, Here we go one more time Victoria. Live streams of backyard matches even happened.
Reg and Frank had a lockdown beer session on Sunday evening.
“How did Brayden go?” enquired Frank wanting to know if his idea was a hit or not.
“Haven’t heard it went bad. Brayden didn’t get back till after 10:30.” answered Reg. “He’s back out again now. Said Amirah will be accidentally walking by the pizza shop at 10 tonight.”
“Cupid strikes again ‘eh.” smiles Frank. “Young love ‘eh.”
“Did you hear about Lachy Reid?” asks Reg changing the subject.
“Didn’t he get sacked in second lockdown?” responds Frank.
“He got a new job in December.” continues Reg. “Still he’s hurting. Lost his lease and has to move in with his granddad.”
“No wonder he posted that “Sack Dan Andrews” stuff.” said Frank. “You know what Lisa said last night. She reckoned all those hotel quarantine people should be on Christmas Island.”
“You know what looks good now Frank.” asks Reg. “Moving to Tasmania.”
“Yep.” agrees Frank. “When your right, your right.”
The cool southerly breeze hits the two men and they call it a night. Summer is almost over. Despite the forecast of four days above thirty degrees in the coming week, winter is calling. While the Lions players hope to get back to training on Thursday, they know it could all be over. Because thats what happened in March last year.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.