First Test cliffhanger


George North almost scores a second try at the Northern end of Suncorp stadium

George North almost scores a second try at the Northern end of Suncorp stadium

We returned from Suncorp Stadium Brisbane late on Saturday night. The one-hour coach ride allowed pulses to settle to normal levels after the last-minute drama surrounding the scrum that led to a penalty that Beale couldn’t convert. The 21-23 win for the Lions was a close call, especially after the Australians lost three players to injury during the game.

We enjoyed the stadium, the build-up to the game (including excellent pre-match drinks organized by Trevor Brennan Rugby Tours), the banter between the different sets of supporters, the noise and buzz in the ground, and most of the match. Our seats were in the “Silver” section of the Northern stand, close to the right-hand corner defended by the Wallabies in the first half. Our position gave us a good view of all of the tries, especially the one scored by George North and the later disallowed attempt. I wasn’t quite sure why the TMO ruled out this try as it looked good in actual time and in the replays on the stadium screens. However, close review on high-definition screens in the media truck often result in different outcomes and the TV replay showed that North’s elbow hit the touchline just before he went over the goal line.

I’m not so sure that I enjoyed the refereeing performance. It’s difficult to get things absolutely right at this level, which is the reason why referees are instructed to concentrate on penalizing “clear and obvious” offences. Some of the penalties, especially those in contact, seemed to come as a mystery to the players and it’s never a good sign when player acceptance of decisions dips as it appeared to, especially in the second half.

On the way into Suncorp Stadium, I was stopped at a bag check because my “camera lens was too big”. The security staff didn’t like the Nikkor 28-300mm zoom attached to my D800. Apparently the stadium is concerned that unaccredited photographers take shots from fans’ seats and later sell the photos. A man was dispatched to contact a supervisor to discuss whether the lens was a problem and we waited to the side. Just then Amy Huberman turned up with Sadie O’Driscoll and distracted the attention of the screeners, who had to examine the 4-month-old’s bottles with care. We took advantage to slip away into the crowd and made our way into the stadium.

Opposite numbers collide in the first Australia vs. British Lions test

Opposite numbers collide in the first Australia vs. British Lions test

It’s true that a 300mm lens can cover a lot of territory in a stadium but really – the digital zooms that are now available in “amateur” cameras or even high-end smartphones are capable of taking good photographs under the floodlit conditions at major sporting events. Perhaps Suncorp Stadium has it in mind to remove every iPhone and Samsung Galaxy that they find on fans for future events.

In any case, we have another day to enjoy in what is now a sunny Surfer’s Paradise (like most resorts, this one looks very different in bright sunshine to the gloomy and depressing place it seemed in the rain) before moving on to Melbourne for the Rebels game next Tuesday and the second test the following Saturday. More later!

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

PS. We solved the problem with crappy hotel Wi-Fi performance by buying a $119 Telstra USB 4G modem. So far it works very well. Let’s hope that it continues to deliver its impressive performance in the other locations on our trip.

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About Tony Redmond ("Thoughts of an Idle Mind")

Exchange MVP, author, and rugby referee
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One Response to First Test cliffhanger

  1. BGeed says:

    Tony– Glad to hear that Sadie rescued ye. The security at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney is way over the top….so beware. Saw a 70+ year-old Scotsman get rung up by the security gorillas for having a nip from his flask at half time of a 2003 RWC pool match. Madness…

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