Having only started following AFL football and the Demons since the early 2000’s, Trevor Walsh is excited to see his beloved Melbourne Demons battle on the big stage.
Walsh has been barracking for the Demons for 19 years now, thanks to a move to Far West NSW and some fed-up elderly Demons fans.
“I moved to Broken Hill in 2001, came from central-west NSW, played soccer and rugby union, had never played Aussie rules, never saw too much of it.
“When I moved to Broken Hill, obviously being AFL-centric, I had to support a team and I didn’t really take affiliation with anyone,” he said.
After a trip to Melbourne with wife, Stacey, his chosen team was clear.
Originally travelling to watch the Collingwood v Essendon ANZAC Day clash on a Thursday, but with a free night on Friday, they headed to the then Telstra Dome to see “whoever was playing”.
“It was Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs, funnily enough, 19 years ago on the 26th of April 2002,” said Walsh. “We walked in on the forward pocket, and we sat in front of about a dozen ladies knitting blue and red blankets, scarves, whatever. But the youngest one would have been 70, so they’re probably not around to see this Grand Final which is a shame.
“But all they did from the centre bounce to the full-time siren was put shit on Melbourne,” he said. “They rubbished them. I couldn’t believe it. So, from that day on, I thought Melbourne needed a supporter, so I became a member.”
Melbourne last won a Grand Final in 1964, before Walsh was born.
They made it to the Grand Final in 2000, but lost – before Walsh was a footy man.
He is yet to witness the Demons play a Grand Final. Today is a big day.
“It’s exciting,” he says. “I haven’t had much success. I’ve copped a lot of bad press, a lot of bad wraps for being a Melbourne supporter over the years, but they’ve always been triers.”
“I think it was last year they were destined to make the finals – all they had to do was beat Collingwood in the last game and they couldn’t do that. We seem to fall in the big games.”
“But this year they’ve actually done really well. I’m excited for that, but, yeah – it’s still a little bit like; ‘Aw, no, who’s going to turn up on the day?’”
Walsh said he “would’ve tried come hell and high water” to get to the Grand Final if we weren’t in lockdown. Instead, he said he’s likely to be watching by himself.
“I think I’ve been designated to the shed in the backyard. I think Stace and the boys will kick me out.”
Based on their performances of late, Walsh said he likes the Dees chances.
“I’m reasonably confident if the team turns up, like they did against Geelong, they’ll do very well. Grand Final is a big stage so who knows what will happen.”
Walsh believes the players who did well in the Brownlow votes will perform well tonight. “(Christian) Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Max Gawn – against Geelong he was absolutely freakish. Then there’s the younger blokes, such as (Tom) Sparrow who are coming through really well. I’m glad Steven May will be there. I hope he’s not carrying anything with that hamstring.”
“It’s a really good unit. I think the fact that our ex-captain has stepped away – Nathan Jones can’t get a spot in the team after 302 games, I think that’s hard. But, hopefully, they can do something like what the Bulldogs did for Bob Murphy in 2016. I’d like to see the AFL do something for a bloke that’s been a servant when they were really, really poor, so we’ll see.”
This article was first published on 25 September 2021.