A-League’s Melbourne Derby is the hottest ticket in town

Andrew Leonard Roar Pro

By Andrew Leonard, Andrew Leonard is a Roar Pro

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26 Have your say

    Within the space of two seasons, there is already a magic feeling surrounding the Melbourne derby that permeates the city. The derby is starting to transcend sporting lines in a city where football is relegated to smaller column spaces.

    Despite the fact the AFL Record sorry the Herald Sun is back with a vengeance, after that pesky tennis was in the way for a fortnight.

    Notwithstanding the fact the new love affair of glorified backyard cricket (20Twenty) and a one-day international is at the MCG this weekend. Amongst the community, there is a feeling the number one sporting event in town this weekend, will be at AAMI Park where the Victory and Heart go head to head for a sixth time in their already eventful rivalry.

    Speaking with people who love sport but who do not necessarily love the A-League, the resounding feedback is that if you are going to go to an A-League match then head to a Melbourne derby. Short of the ridiculous hyperbole written for previous Melbourne derbies, comparing them to famous derbies around the world, there is no doubt that this match has already stamped itself in Melbourne’s sporting calendar as not just another match but an event.

    Melbourne we know lives and breathes sporting contests, and when the sport is big enough, it gets recognised as an event. We have just had the tennis dominate Melbourne for a fortnight, The Melbourne Cup dominates the spring, AFL has grand final week and the ANZAC Day match; the Formula 1 Grand Prix is in March. All these sports have become events.

    For football this is becoming the way for the derby. Sell-outs and big crowds to particular matches and not others suggests that there is something special about them. With the derby we get that.

    While the build up felt bigger to the Christmas derby, this match is certainly no less important for the Heart and Victory fans. Heart in their second season will be playing for more than bragging rights with a finals berth to be secured. Melbourne Victory are playing for… well, nobody knows this year, because they are not playing for each other, nor their precious coach, and the jury is out on the incumbent as well.

    So the stage is set, we know the costumes and the players, but we don’t know who will take the lead role, nor how the show will end. Nevertheless the audience is pouring in, because recent memories remind them it will deliver.

    Oh, and because it’s the most talked and biggest event in town.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • February 4th 2012 @ 8:44am
      Soccerbot3000 said | February 4th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      The derby is no doubt a significant game of soccer and a big deal for fans of the two teams. To suggest however that it’s the biggest event in town is simply false. Media attention and public interest has been squarely on the cricket, with over 60k at the T20 international last night.

      By all means watch and enjoy the derby, it certainly does attract more interest than most soccer games and has established a strong niche in the city’s sporting calendar. But baseless claims don’t help your cause. From a purely subjective basis, there has been far more discussion about the superbowl at my work place than the soccer, particularly amongst younger people, but I won’t claim that this proves NFL is bigger than soccer in Melbourne.

      • February 4th 2012 @ 10:27am
        Bondy said | February 4th 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        I dont care what Fairfax and News think there is only one football to some and it’s one of the most important games on our calender .To each his own .

        Superbowl, seven hours of men smashing into one another “for technically an hour” that cant think in the first place, and need tactics from a coach on the sideline for the game to run fluently “cough”. “Ya da man” i’ll leave that to the Yanks,seven hours of boredom thanks but no thanks .

        • Roar Guru

          February 4th 2012 @ 11:20am
          Stoffy18 said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Bondy, The NFL is tactically one of the more complex sports. Infact the coaching staff play a more vital role arguably then coaches in most other sports.. Each play requires the coordinators/coach to implement a certain play (one of potentially hundreds).

          Don’t scoff at the the tactics of the game If you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • Roar Guru

            February 4th 2012 @ 11:36am
            Stoffy18 said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            The QB/Linebackers still make the final decision when they get a look at the defence.. However these coaches simply give them one potential play, it’s up to the players to improvise…

            This is a short, sharp tactical sport that requires managerial impact.

            • February 4th 2012 @ 11:39am
              Bondy said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

              No problem mate .

              • Roar Guru

                February 4th 2012 @ 11:43am
                Stoffy18 said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                I hate to come across as a prick, but as you can tell I’m a big NFL fan 😉

    • Roar Guru

      February 4th 2012 @ 11:05am
      Philip Coates said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      There seems to have been a lot less build up to this match than any other derby. Maybe it’s because of both teams poor form going into the match which is a shame because this game is more critical than if both teams were sitting comfortably within the six. Even though there are seven weeks to go a loss to either side tonight is likely to be psychologically crippling and herald the effective end of that teams season. Even a draw for Melbourne Victory is likely to be the final nail in their current campaign. A win on the other hand will bring a huge wave of relief for either side and reignite their push toward the finals. There is much more on the line is tonight’s game than just they usual bragging rights.

    • February 4th 2012 @ 11:11am
      Steve said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Stop trying to gee this game up it’s a myth. I had a mate come around yesterday really pumped up about the derby carrying on about it like a world cup final. We all said to him mate it’s no that big of a deal and he thought about it for a second and said yeah, your right.

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      • February 4th 2012 @ 12:07pm
        Titus said | February 4th 2012 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        Are your mates all volleyball fans?

      • February 4th 2012 @ 12:16pm
        Bondy said | February 4th 2012 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        Is it necessary to play this” BIG” game down. If you don’t feel it has any significance why read or post on the article .

        • February 4th 2012 @ 1:23pm
          Stam said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

          Big game yes, big event no

      • Roar Guru

        February 4th 2012 @ 1:22pm
        Katie Lambeski said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        you clearly want to be watching something else, so don’t bother commenting on blogs/columns like these…personally, the derby is an amazing event and one that is a must see, even if you aren’t a Victory or Heart supporter

        • February 4th 2012 @ 1:59pm
          Soccerbot3000 said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

          The author claimed that the derby is the biggest sporting event in Melbourne this weekend, a contention that is demonstrably false against a significant number of objective criteria.

          • February 4th 2012 @ 3:04pm
            Axelv said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            It is the biggest sporting event this weekend.

            Get a life troll.

            • February 4th 2012 @ 3:10pm
              Soccerbot3000 said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

              It may well be if we are to use metric other than attendance, tv audiences, media coverage or general public interest. Size of ball utilised in play perhaps?

              • February 4th 2012 @ 3:19pm
                Axelv said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Biggest sporting event this weekend, by measure of importance. 🙂

                Nothing you say can convince me otherwise.

              • February 5th 2012 @ 7:30am
                Tizzo said | February 5th 2012 @ 7:30am | ! Report

                Well what is the biggest sporting event this weekend?

    • Roar Guru

      February 4th 2012 @ 1:35pm
      Fussball ist unser leben said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

      Absolutely – for me, in the space of 2 years, the HAL Melbourne Derby is, by far, the biggest sporting event for me in Melbourne. Of course, the HAL GF or a major WCQ would also be huge but, these are not events we can rely on occurring every year.

      Amongst my group of football mates we probably have a few more MHT fans than MVFC and the increased banter this week will reach a crescendo as we gather at the Precinct Hotel to watch CCM v BRI before making the journey to AAMI Park, which is the best sporting venue in Melbourne.

      6 hours to kick off

      • February 4th 2012 @ 1:57pm
        Soccerbot3000 said | February 4th 2012 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        It is indeed a big deal for soccer fans, and certainly not too far behind the super bowl in terms of public interest amongst Melburnians this weekend.

        • Roar Guru

          February 4th 2012 @ 2:08pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | February 4th 2012 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          Well, I’ve just returned from playing my Saturday morning football match and I haven’t heard a single person talk about anything but the Derby today.

          I didn’t even know there was a Cricket International played in Melbourne last night until I heard Matt Thompson on SEN radio devote the opening 1/2 hr of his programme to talking about the disgusting behaviour of the cricket crowd.

          I guess it all depends on the social circle where you mix. For me and everyone that I know, it’s Melbourne Derby and nothing else. To be perfectly honest, since the HAL started, I don’t really care what non-football fans think about anything.

          • February 4th 2012 @ 2:17pm
            Soccerbot3000 said | February 4th 2012 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            Amongst your fellow soccer players there was interst in a soccer match? I suppose to individuals with a limited understanding of data, causality and observer bias this might be considered notable.

            Also, I note with interest your claim to be uninterested in the opinions of non-soccer fans about soccer, and respectfully suggest that this contention is not supported by the observable data – in this case your various postings on this website.

            • Roar Guru

              February 4th 2012 @ 2:38pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 4th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              Soccerbot3000 or should we call you Fake ex-AFL Fan? Why did you change your name … again?

              Good to see you spending so much time talking Football. I’ve go 1730 rendezvous at the Precinct Hotel to kick start of the biggest sporting night we’ve had in Melbourne this year, so I’d better take an afternoon nap.

              Enjoy the Derby, comrade.

            • February 4th 2012 @ 11:14pm
              Bondy said | February 4th 2012 @ 11:14pm | ! Report

              Your easier to read than a cheap novel .

    • February 4th 2012 @ 3:05pm
      It's called soccer said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

      “the biggest sporting Night we’ve had in Melbourne this year” ?
      I think the Australian Open was at night, wasn’t it!

      • February 5th 2012 @ 8:16am
        Punter said | February 5th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        Lovely to see our AFL fans taking such an interest in our game.

    • February 4th 2012 @ 3:51pm
      Axelv said | February 4th 2012 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

      Good article, can’t wait until tonight!

      In some cases you have football fans flying across the country who go for neither team just to see this 😉


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