Micro Noises 206: Mozart madness
Making 1 point about Round 1
The men's AFL season kicked off last weekend with a mixture of unsurprising results (Richmond beating Carlton for the 111th time in a row*), upsets (Sydney kicking the sweep as they thrashed Brisbane) and thrillers. One of those thrillers produced a one-point game, Hawthorn's comeback win over Essendon, the second such margin in an opening round in the last three seasons, after St Kilda won by a point against Gold Coast in Round 1, 2019.
Stretching back to the first VFL season in 1897, there have been 17 opening rounds in V/AFL history that have ended with a one-point margin. The very first of those was St Kilda's win over Melbourne at the Junction Oval. That match was notable for a couple of reasons. It was the Saints first-ever win in the league, after 51 consecutive losses, and the win was only awarded to the Saints after a protest about a disallowed behind was upheld several days later. The match had originally been declared a tie.
Surprisingly in a low-scoring era, it would be another 21 years before another one-point margin was recorded in the opening round of a season. The drought was broken in Round 1, 1921 when South Melbourne prevailed by the narrowest of margins, also at the Junction Oval, this time against St Kilda. There were two further one-point Round 1 games in the 1920s, with South amazingly winning both of those as well. The Bloods defeated Carlton by a point in 1927 and Footscray by the same margin in the first game of 1928. It took another 55 years, but the Swans reprised that effort in 1983 as Sydney, holding off a fast-finishing Essendon in their first match of the season.
With four such wins, the Swans are the outright leaders on the 'Round 1 one-point winners' ladder. In second place is Geelong, the Cats having won three season starters by a point (in 1967, 1987 and 2011). Hawthorn and the Bulldogs, who both joined the league in 1925, have each had two Round 1 one-point wins, the Hawks in 1958 and this year, and the Dogs in 1931 and 1951. They are level with the Saints, one-point victors in 1900 and 2019.
Five clubs have achieved the feat once — Richmond (1936), North Melbourne (1941), Essendon (1976), Carlton (2001) and West Coast (2007) — taking the total number of one-point Round 1 wins to 18.
Of the original eight VFL clubs, Collingwood, Fitzroy/Brisbane and Melbourne have gone 125 seasons without recording a one-point win to kick off a season.
* Actually it was only the 11th, but it felt like the 111th, especially to Blues' fans.
Postcode of the week
The Gold Coast Suns burst out of the blocks in their AFLW match against Carlton at Carrara last Friday evening, kicking the first three goals. So frenetic was the pace of the Suns' opening that it could well have been accompanied by the Overture of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which has a tempo marking of presto (i.e. very fast). Unfortunately, the Suns were unable to maintain that pace, and they were overrun by the Blues to the point where, by the end of the match, Mozart's Requiem in D Minor would have been a more appropriate accompaniment. So it's hardly surprising that Gold Coast eventually went down 27-87, because 2787 is the postcode of Mozart.
Ridiculous footy anagram of the week
Congratulations to Miles Bergman who made his AFL debut with Port Adelaide on Sunday. The 19-year-old played a serviceable game, collecting 14 possessions and laying three tackles in the Power's big win over North Melbourne. While we're not suggesting that Bergman is anything other than happy at Alberton, he is originally from Melbourne and we can't help up but wonder if he might be hoping to come back to his home state and some future stage.
In particular, he could be hoping that the AFL's power club of the moment, Richmond, might make phone contact with him through their Senior Club Advisor, Neil Balme. We have absolutely no evidence to support this, but it is an undeniable fact that MILES BERGMAN is an anagram of BALME RINGS ME.
Micro Noises is Andrew Gigacz's occasional, quirky look at all things footy. The name Micro Noises is an anagram of Enrico Misso, who played one game for St Kilda in 1985. He remains the only Enrico and the only Misso to have played footy at the highest level.