Another away game meant another dawn departure at Hamburg’s HBF…which usually means a quiet start to any road trip. Then again when you’re holstering a story-telling arsenal as deadly as Manny Gaulding, an early start simply means a few extra hours to unload those narratives on fresh ear drums.
Sitting up front next to the driver, the Dockers’ Bad Boy didn’t let his chance slip…some say he’s still sitting there — one eye on the road, the other watching the driver drift ever deeper into a fairytale world as their bus cruises endlessly back and forth between the Rhine and the Elbe.
Still, with the club’s other seven-footer and returning veteran Fabsy stretched out asleep across the entire back row, Manny’s enthusiasm for tall tales was required — if only for balance.
It’s difficult to overestimate just how long the trip took. A clogged toilet turned the extended ride into a true endurance event and for all involved it’s probably best we move on quickly to the side’s arrival.
Ok so Hamburg was a few hours late to the game, but it turned up having been briefed and warmed up; as soon as the first Docker foot touched firm ground the Purple Rain was ready to downpour.
The Bearded Dragon R Hennessy made his debut and didn’t take long to make his mark, slotting his first major in the opening game against the Rhineland Lions. S Loch’s defensive efforts didn’t go unnoticed, with some even making out-dated references to 70’s Carlton superstar Bruce Doull.
Hamburg’s BatteringRAM (still consumer testing his nickname…Rambo is rating highly) continued to improve his cult status with a RAMpaging (?) smother, resulting in another Dockers’ goal.
But attention quickly turned forward, with spearhead S Gilbert in ominous touch. Gilba was clunking everything coming his way and his conversion netted him five goals by half-time…a second half of the same value would have seen him overtake the sidelined Harry Thring’s nine-goal round one effort. In a display of sportsmanship unseen since Mark Taylor declared on 334 not out to preserve Don Bradman’s Test record, coach Pete Richter moved Gilbert to full back.
Richter slotted three majors of his own but more importantly and perhaps most importantly, Gilbert failed to add to his tally… Thring’s 2019 record would remain intact.
For a little while.
Gilbert bagged five more in the opening half against Munich (a top-of-the-table clash) and he was far from finished. Showing total and some would say immoral disregard for the wishes of coach Richter, Gilbert moved past nine goals for the day, then 12, then 13… he was dining out. 14…15… it was starting to get distasteful.
Making his day easier was the increasing wind in the final half of the day – aiding not only Gilbert’s booming left foot, but the freshly planted trees behind the goals #noplanetB.
They say that behind every great forward is a great midfield and behind every great midfield is a great defence…well all lines were working as one against the Kangaroos, combining to sound a warning to the rest of the competition: The Dockers are on a mission in 2019.
The siren sounded, Gilbert booted his 16th – an incredible effort and club record – and everyone returned to the bus hoping for an express return to our beloved Harbour City.
You can’t always get what you want, however, and in between three cigarette stops and a fuel stop (sort yourself out driver – they sell cigarettes and fuel at the same shop) as well as Half Time Hugh’s birthday party, Fabian, it is said, uttered his only seven words for the entire day:
“I’m never taking a f*****g bus again.”
GOALS: Gilbert 17 (Kicking his 50th for the club in the process…)
BEST: Who do you reckon?
– An Interested Observer
(noch keine deutsche Übersetzung)