Game on / by Mario Mirabile

Autumn in Melbourne is the best time of the year. The weather tends to be balmy, the winds light and the move toward winter so gentle it's almost unnoticeable. Most importantly of all though, it marks the start of the football season. Australian football is, in my humble and completely unbiased opinion, the greatest game on earth. It doesn't hurt that my team - the Geelong Cats - are going through an era of sustained greatness I never thought I'd live to see. Since 2007, I've seen three premierships, more wins than some teams have experienced in 20 years, and some of the greatest players of the modern era proudly wearing Geelong's hooped jumper.

Today I made my way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to see Geelong take on our fiercest rival of recent years, the Hawthorn Hawks. Both teams are undefeated four games into the season, so interest is high. Outside the imposing structure that is the G, tribal colors are everywhere, with playful kick-to-kicks giving a taste of what's to come. Gradually the the fans begin streaming into the ground, building to a crowd of more than 80,000.  

At our last meeting, Hawthorn prevailed in a preliminary final and went on to win the premiership the following week (the night shot of the ground is from that night). Today, Geelong won a tough and tightly contested game, typical of recent contests between these two great teams. Hopefully it's a portent of things to come, but it's a long season and anything could happen before we meet again on August 23, and perhaps again in the finals after that. I'm on board for the ride.