There have been few highlights for us in a season where our biggest win to date has been 15 points. Jordan Ridley looking every bit like Neale Daniher at his best, Andy McGrath buzzing around the packs like a fly on a fresh piece of meat, big Sammy launching himself at opposing ruckman like an oversized kid in a bouncy castle … and of course Mozzie’s second goal.
I rate that goal up there with Longy’s run in 93, Hird’s goal against the Weagles and Zakka’s 2009 ANZAC special. With all of those goals the context is everything, and the context of Mozzie’s goal in the era of Covid 19 is worth remembering for posterity. Most of the Bomber fan base is here in Victoria, and while the first lockdown was a bit of a novelty this second one has been brutal. Evening curfews, no travel more than 5 km from home, everyone either stuck at home alone or trying not to bite the heads off their loved ones, preying-mantis style. And the one area you’d hope for a bit of escapism, a bit of fun, would be the footy. But the footy’s just made things worse – injuries, lopsided (flop-sided?) free kick counts, dubious tribunal outcomes and abysmal performances. During the Great Depression millions of Australians turned to Bradman and Phar Lap for inspiration – who was going to provide that for us?
Dreamtime game in Darwin, three minutes to go in the second quarter, Bombers a point down. McGrath sends a long ball down the wing to a five-on-two (!!) … Bellchambers and Stringer vs Grimes, Vlastuin, Pickett, Baker and Houli. Stringer is kept out by Vlastuin and Tommy B mistimes his leap, barely gets a finger on it. Houli as always sits perfectly positioned at the side of the pack and watches the ball bounce his way. Even before the ball hits the pack you can spot Mozzie accelerating towards the contest from right of screen. Houli reaches out to grab the ball but it’s gone in a blur. James Brayshaw called the goal perfectly: “Long high ball forward, HERE COMES MOSQUITO!! …. Take all the ground young man! … on the left ……. HE HAS KICKED ANOTHER ONE. MAGNIFICENT!!!”
This was a “where were you when ….??” moment. Of course the answer for almost all of us was “stuck at home”, but that’s not the point. Where were you emotionally? How did that goal affect you?
I was watching the game with three friends – Stu, Lu and Jimmy – on a Zoom call. When the goal went through I jumped to my feet, punched the air and screamed out, then sat back down to enjoy the moment with the others. All of us except Stu were watching on C7, which meant that Stu was about 15 seconds behind due to the Kayo streaming delay. My lasting memory will always be of me, Lu and Jimmy staring at the Zoom screen waiting for Stu to catch up and see the goal. For me, reliving the moment vicariously was somehow even sweeter than the first time around. Pure joy – we just haven’t had enough of it.
We’ve still get a few rounds left to go, so there’s always hope, but if that’s the best 2020 has to offer then I guess I’ll take it. At least it gave us something, just for a moment, and in this sh1tty year you take what you can get.