Fierce competition at the ‘G

Rhonda Dredge

Saturday afternoon at the MCG might not be as crowded during lockdown but naked ambition won the day during the Hawks-Tigers match.

Five girls and one boy competed to circumnavigate the ground in the fastest time.

The most ambitious was Matilda Holmes of Richmond desperate for $20 for a new Rainbocorn.

Matilda, known as Tilly to her friends, had to beat her friend Harriett and brother Ari to win the prize.

A timekeeper was appointed and the contestants set off from just outside Gate 5.

Soon after, more cyclists arrived ready to compete – Zoe, Laylah and Eden from the same neighbourhood.

That made five girls between the ages of seven and 11 vying for the title, plus a boy of five on the back of his dad’s bike.

The closure of playgrounds and netball court has forced locals to find new places for exercising and the ‘G has grabbed the popular imagination.

“This is the first time we’ve been here,” mum Alice McBroom said. “Some friends have discovered the MCG and told me about it.”

As the kids raced past, two Hawks fans Zoe Crawforth and Annie Worth were trying to watch the game through an obscure window.

They claimed to be the only barrackers at the ground, having sussed out “the best seats in the house” near the AFL members stand.

They’d walked to the ‘G to catch a glimpse of coach Alastair Clarkson on his last day after 17 years in the job.

“I can’t believe we can’t say good-bye to Clarko,” the girls said, listening to the commentary on their “trannie” while giving him their support.

It didn’t take long for the cyclists to pass the crowd of two and enter the home straight.

Tilly clocked in at a fast 2.42, beating her friend Harriet by 30 seconds.

Soon after, Laylah Ross knocked 32 seconds off Tilly’s time, coming in at 2.10.

“It was good,” seven-year-old Tilly said. She won the $20 for beating her brother Ari and friend Harriet in their heat.

But Laylah, the actual record holder, rejected a reward like a true sportswoman, opting instead for the thrill of the race •

Caption: Matilda Holmes wins $20 for circumnavigating the G in 2.42.

Caption: Zoe Crawforth and Annie Worth with the best COVID seats in the house.

Caption: Record holder Laylah Ross with a time of 2.10.

Caption: Sponsors for the race: Alice McBroom and Bec Purdie.


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