Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sons of God have a good Easter - levremance

Being the son of a deity is no easy cross to bear, just ask …well you know who. It goes without saying that an over-achieving father can beget a singular burden on his son. One option for the offspring, when omnipotence is the yardstick, is simply to walk away.

Without creating all that lies beneath the firmament, Don Bradman assumed god-like status in Australia. So to dodge the universal hankering for a second coming the Don’s son changed his surname to Bradfield. Only in recent times has John Bradman felt comfortable enough to change it back again.

Where Aussie Rules is the winter religion, Gary Ablett earned the nickname of ‘God’ for his mercurial deeds on the field. Like Bradman, he was ‘half the side’ when he played. With the build of a middleweight and a bustling gait he could control the midfield or kick a swag of goals (and often did both on the same day). In possibly the greatest game ever played, the ‘89 Grand Final, he kicked nine goals only for Geelong to fall a whisker short. These days the old Cat fights his battles with the black dog and other demons.

Long-suffering Geelong fans must be pleased that the weight of expectation did not deter the ‘sons of God’ and now they have two new messiahs to believe in. Gary Ablett Jnr was best on ground last Saturday night with 28 possessions while younger brother Nathan came of age kicking five from full forward as the Cats thrashed Carlton by 78 points.

West Coast, described as ‘evil’ by columnist Robert Walls, met their new mascot, the West Coke Eagle, at Sydney airport courtesy of The Chaser comedy show. The oversized bird speckled with white powder on its orange beak cracked-up a number of players but only drew a wry smile from coach ‘Woosher’ Worsfold. Nothing stops the Eagles juggernaut though and while the Magpie faithful may feel their team was crucified by shoddy umpiring, Collingwood supremo Mick Malthouse blamed ‘missing targets’ for leaving Subiaco without the four points.

Last Thursday night the Lions exposed the Saints shortcomings with a comfortable 8 goal win at the Gabba. Port added to the Kangaroos misery with a narrow win at home while the Adelaide Crows shattered some Bulldog dreams winning in a canter. Essendon proved that Round 1 was no fluke by fending off the Dockers by 10 points while Hawthorn over-ran injury hit Melbourne in the 3rd quarter and then withstood a late charge in the last. Sydney rebounded from its first round loss to see off the Tigers at the MCG by 2 goals.

Tips for Round 3: Collingwood to bounce back over the hapless Tigers, Essendon to flog Carlton, Adelaide to take the wind out of Port’s sails, the Saints to exploit the Bulldogs lack of height, Fremantle to surprise West Coast, Geelong over the old rivals Melbourne, the Kangaroos to break through against Hawthorn and finally Sydney to send the Lions to the bottom of the harbour.


MotM said...

I enjoy these pieces very much, even if I don't know the details of the Aussie Rules season. Consequently, I was a bit disappointed to see the "Son of God" motif disappear so quickly - I guess I ought to write something on those lines myself!

I knew that about Bradman's son, but no more than that - was he happier as a Bradfield? What happened when he was recognised? How did his life turn out etc?

Always good to hear from the Aussies generally and Lev particularly - thanks.

nesta said...

Good to read some homegrown Lev,

Bradman's son John changed his name in 1972 to John Bradsen. He returned to his original in 1999.

In a 1972 newspaper article, John Bradman, then aged 32, said he had changed his name so he could step out of his father's shadow.

''I'm tired of people 'discovering' who I am. I'm me,'' John Bradman wrote.

''And I am no longer prepared to accept being seriously introduced as simply someone's son. I'm an individual, not a social souvenir.''

''I was popped into a metaphorical glass cage to be peered at and discussed like the other exhibits,'' he said.

Sir Donald was quoted at the time as saying he respected his son's decision.

''Only those who have had to live with the incessant strain of publicity can have any idea of its impact,'' Sir Donald was reported as saying.

''I understand and appreciate what John has had to endure and hope this action will enable him to enjoy the privacy he seeks and which is his right.''
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
He now lives in the old Bradman family home in Kensington where Sir Donald and Lady Jesse lived.

He is employed as a lecturer in constitutional and environmental law in Adelaide.

There's also an article at the link below with a more personal view of the relationship between Sir Don and his son.

MotM said...

Good to have that Nesta. I'm going to read the link after the cricket.

nesta said...

The pleasure was all mine motm. I find it curious that John Bradman never took up the willow. He has very little interest in cricket from what I can ascertain.

Zeph said...

Makes sense to me - if he found it so hard to live in his father's shadow, better to leave cricket alone. But the choice of Bradsen (Brad's son) is quite touching, I find... stepping back, but not rejecting.

Thanks for continuing our education, Levremance - passion for the sport breathes from every sentence!

mimi said...

Lev: good to have some news on the Rules. One thing to remember about the God Ablett, and ironically really, is that of course he was built with virtually no neck! Reading your pieces, I can almost hear the snick as the VB is cracked open, and Jan screaming, come on Geelong!

hannibalbrooks said...

A 'Gary Ablett' is the slang term for an ecstasy tablet around these here parts. Nothing to do with the son of a god but everything to do with the former Liverpool and Everton player.

BlueinBetis said...


Thats exactly what I thought when I read that.

Weird. Thanks Lev, it's a sport I know nothing about, but have incredible respect for those that play, fast and entertaining. Keep it up!

levremance said...

Thanks for filling in the gaps Nesta and detailing the full story. My memory isn't as good as I thought it was.

Mimi - "he had shoulders like a coke bottle" was applied to Mick Jagger by locals when he was here filming Ned Kelly in the late 60's. It fits for Gazza too.

Mouth - Its not a bad theme, the sons of guns, I guess I just wanted to open up an angle. Plenty of room for more stories.

HB, Blue - I get a feeling the ryhming slang works here in the appropriate subculture.

There's a link under "West coke eagle" which is a bit of a laugh if you missed it.

nesta said...

With all the hoo ha about the 75th anniversary of the Sydney coathanger, the Bradfield name has been prominent in the media of late. Just details Lev. Your article is a good one.

Good comeback by the Magpies but why are they always chasing the scoreboard in the final quarter. Coach Mick is unsatisfied and broody. That's a good sign. If they can consistently play for 4 quarters they might just beat an interstate team or two. Love to see them there in September. Go Bloods.

levremance said...

Yes Nesta the Pies need to win their games outside Victoria. I seem to recall a good win on their last visit to Sydney :)

Here’s my Round 3 round-up and prophetic punditry for this week:

Rivalry round produced two ding-dong struggles between the ancient adversaries of Victorian football.

Carlton produced their greatest ever comeback to overhaul Essendon’s eight goal second term lead and triumph by three points in front of 65,000 stunned fans. Blues bad boy Brendan Fevola was outstanding kicking 8 goals. Mark McVeigh provided a bright spot in an otherwise dirty day for the Bombers when he soared like Achilles to drag down the mark of the round over Carlton’s Brett Thornton.

Collingwood won the battle of Punt Road before 70,000 at the MCG last Friday night with a comeback win over Richmond. The Pies turned a 22 point half-time deficit into solid four goal win to leave the Tigers winless after 3 games and their fans contemplating another grim and desolate winter. Adelaide beat their cross-town rivals Port by 4 goals after the Power kicked away their chances with early inaccuracy in front of goal. St Kilda flogged the much-fancied Bulldogs by 50 points exposing a one-trick game plan in the process.

West Coast enhanced their ‘Us against Them’ image by out-swearing, out-sledging and out-scoring the Dockers in a spite-filled western derby. Sydney over-ran Brisbane in the last quarter to win by five goals at the SCG. The Randwick end currently a hard-hat zone and the old scoreboard and the Doug Walters Stand are no more.

Geelong flogged Melbourne by 52 points and wunderkind and yet another son-of-a-gun Tom Hawkins starring with 4 goals in his second game. Finally the Hawks downed the fast finishing Kangaroos by 3 and a half goals to give the coaching rumour mill some early season grist with regard to Dean Laidley’s tenure.

Tips for round 4: The Tigers to break through for a win against the Bulldogs, Collingwood too good at home for Port, St Kilda on a roll against Essendon, Brisbane to crush the Kangaroos, Adelaide back in town over Sydney, Geelong continuing on its winning way over the Hawks, Melbourne or Fremantle to break their duck, my guess is Fremantle and finally West Coast (who don’t appear to care what you or I think) to prevail over the Blues at the House of Pain.

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