AFLW Round 6, Collingwood vs Brisbane
4.35pm March 9
South Pine Central Sports Complex (Burpengary, Moreton Bay, QLD)
So, I’m sitting there, on my couch, preparing to write today’s AFLW story on Brisbane vs Collingwood, in a far-away place (at least for me) Burpengary.
Suddenly, I hear a crack and a scream from the front door.
It’s my mum, lying on the front porch, ankle swollen up.
She’s in agony.
This doesn’t look pretty.
Dad gets us in the car and we head to the hospital.
Her foot looks broken to me, but I’m trying to stay positive.
I look at the time, noting that there is only 30 minutes until the Collingwood v Brisbane match, but that’s the least of anyone’s worries.
We’re stuck in the waiting room and my mind temporarily leaves the situation to think of how grateful I really am for my mum, a great, helpful and all-round superstar of a woman.
So many of these pioneer women’s footballers remind me of my very own mother.
From Moana Hope’s heroic comeback, despite what the outside world believed she wasn’t capable of, to Irish star Cora Staunton proving that she can make it in the AFLW just like anyone else.
I think of Carlton captain Brianna Davey, who injured her ACL in her knee at the start of the 2018 season.
And even Kate Sheehan, whose season ended in less than one game last year after her horrific career-ending knee injury.
But despite all the issues they faced, these were the women who continue on their paths.
They keep pushing, even with the numerous setbacks they have previously faced.
Just like my mum.
By the time I can stream the game on my phone, I see that Collingwood have kicked four goals to the Lions one.
Moana Hope has kicked two and the Pies are up by 20 points. Nat Exon gets one back for the Lions, but the Pies seem to be on top.
The rain starts to fall just before quarter time and I wonder how this game will play out.
I look at Mum in the emergency room and she is thinking ahead to tonight and the rest of her weekend and how she is going to manage.
My brother James has planned to have eight of his mates around for their annual sleep over tonight.
On Monday night, she was supposed to see Ed Sheeran in concert.
She’s so disappointed and insists that James carry on with his night, but he cancels anyway.
‘There’s no need to worry,’ I assure her, keeping my mind on one thing at a time.
“You’re such a mum,” I smile, “always thinking of everyone else first.”
I check in again at the end of the first quarter to see that the Pies are leading comfortably.
Brisbane are down by 14 points and Collingwood are buzzing.
Mum’s had some painkillers and has settled in, so we continue to wait.
No one has kicked a goal in the second quarter. The rain has really slowed both teams down.
My mum however has sparked up – the painkillers are working well. She is scrolling Facebook, finding ‘relatable’ posts to show me.
They’re not really that funny, but I laugh like there’s no tomorrow just to make her smile again.
Mum then goes in for her x-ray as Jasmine Garner kicks Collingwood’s fifth goal to start the third quarter.
I sit back alone with my thoughts and think about Mum again.
She’s getting discouraged and I hate to see her like this.
She thinks that she’s somehow letting us down, which, obviously, couldn’t be further from the truth.
I wish I could tell her that she’ll be better in no time and I wish that I could heal her pain faster.
There’s nothing I hate more than seeing my own mother, my power and strength, so disheartened.
Speaking of strength, the Lions team seem to be counteracting the Pies dominance in the last quarter.
They’re fighting back in order to retain second position on the ladder and keep their Grand Final dreams alive.
But they can’t push the more polished side in Collingwood over and their late attempts fall short.
The Magpies come home 14-point winners, but the Lions are still contenders.
I get home from the hospital with my brother at 9pm and collapse on the couch, saddened by the news that Mum needs surgery on her ankle next week.
Much bigger things were put into perspective today and those two hours on a football field, kicking around whatever colour Sherrin the AFL chooses next, seemed miniscule.
My Mum has broken her ankle, but definitely not her spirit.
That’s the thing about my Mum.
She has this mentality, this strength and willpower, to get through anything.
And even though this is a long road to recovery, I know that she’s strong enough to get through.
So, while we wait for her to mend, I guess it will be up to me to cook dinner for the next little while…damn it.
Brisbane 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 5.9 (39)
Collingwood 4.4, 4.4, 6.5, 8.5 (53)
Brisbane: Frederick-Traub, Exon, Wuetschner, Lutkins, Ashmore
Collingwood: Hope 3, Bernardi 3, Garner, Hutchins
Crowd: 2,600 (approx.)
Umpires: Young, Strybos, Curtis
VOTES: Best on ground – My Mum, obviously.
Bernadi (Collingwood) 3, Hope (Collingwood) 2, Frederick-Traub (Brisbane) 1