“If you knew me in my normal environment then you wouldn’t pick it but I’m certainly a different person at the footy.”

Breust

Last Monday I was at work, rolling about slumped over an exercise ball because it was quiet, and waiting for the Melbourne v Collingwood game to come on. I lifted my head and with a glum expression said to my colleagues, “I really miss Carla. If she was here now she’d be talking about the footy with me.” And it’s true – no one I know can talk about every single facet of football like Carla Coslovich can. Want to have a discussion about the best looking players in the league? Carla can. Want to talk about form centre half forwards in the comp? Carla can. Want to debate media coverage of a complex issue or a rule change or how bad Luke Hodge’s parachute tracksuit was when he got drafted? Carla can do all of that. Sadly for me (though not for her) she’s just started a year’s maternity leave so I collared her on her last day and made her have a serious discussion with me about footy. And by serious, I mean I don’t think we looked at that ripped shirt photo of Matt De Boer even once while we were talking. That’s progress.

Name: Carla Coslovich

Age: 37

Recruited from: Manningham

Occupation: For the next year it’s going to be mum (again)

AFL team followed: Hawthorn Hawks

All time favourite footy moment: 2014 grand final

“I go for Hawthorn. Both my mum and my father barrack for Hawthorn and I grew up in a Hawthorn family dating back years and years. We lived in Linda Crescent, Hawthorn, directly opposite the Glenferrie Oval, so I lived and breathed it from day dot. I think I’d be murdered if I stopped going for them but deep down I just love them so much that I couldn’t even begin to think of barracking for another team. I think when Hawthorn nearly merged with Melbourne in ’96 it was one of the darkest days and I never wanted it to happen. It’s always Hawthorn for me.

The first time I ever went to the footy it was at Princes Park, the old Princes Park that was Carlton’s home ground so Hawthorn always felt like the red headed step child there, it never felt like home. I used to go with my grandparents and my grandfather would take a medicine bottle and fill it up with a little bit of whiskey. My job at the footy was to make him his coffee with his ‘medicine’ and we sat there. It was always the same group of people that went for Hawthorn. The early 80s were good for us. It was 1986 and a premiership year so I remember that first game and that season for all that it was, cause it was a year we ended up on top. It was good.

I became a Hawthorn member in 1978, the year of my birth. My grandparents joined me up so that’s 37 years this year. I go to the game every week as long as it’s in Melbourne. I go with my cousin and we have our memberships that we renew every year. We’re two peas in a pod and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What I love most about it now is that I get to take my daughter every week who’s starting to follow in my footsteps, albeit a much subtler version.

I’m an annoying supporter and I know that. My mum, my brother, my husband refuse to sit with me because I’m so loud. I’m probably too one-eyed and my voice is just so high pitched and annoying. But I can’t help it and I’m not like that in any other forum. I’m pretty reserved and quiet, I mean I like a bit of a laugh, but at the football I’m almost a different person. It’s almost as though I go back to being very primal. I’m just so nervous that I’m annoying to be with.

Oh yeah, I’ve had arguments at the footy. Stand up arguments, pushed each other against the chest, but mainly verbal. These have mostly been on the odd occasion where it hasn’t been Hawthorn’s home game and you’ve got to buy tickets or I use my husband’s MCC to sit there – not often do I have an argument with someone in the MCC though. If I’ve sat in the outer or it hasn’t been our game or it’s an Etihad game then I have quite often had a verbal. If you knew me in my normal environment then you wouldn’t pick it but I’m certainly a different person at the footy.

I can’t stand the one eyed supporters or those ones that get on the bandwagon. I hate the people who don’t have that AFL etiquette whereby if your team doesn’t win, you don’t want to be told on the Monday morning when you get to work or teased; you just take it in your stride, understand you’ve had a bad week and move on. So those uneducated people who come out of the woodwork if their team have had a win and you don’t hear from them for the rest of the season, they annoy me.

I have lots of superstitions. I find I’m exhausted by October because of all the things that I make myself do throughout the footy season, but if I don’t do them then I kill myself. I have the undies, the good luck undies, although they haven’t helped that much this year! I have to listen to my brother’s All For One Hawks podcast every week prior to the game. I have to say a particular saying and prayer in my shower facing a certain direction, on the day of the game. And every year I have to do something, like a ‘value add’ to the year. So a couple of years ago in 2013 when we went back to back, I got a tattoo that’s got to do with Hawthorn. And so on and so on, there’s always something that I add each year that is different. And I have to watch the same video in my bedroom every night when I go to bed for the entire footy season.  So from round one right up until the premiership. It’s Jonathan Creek, a UK TV murder mystery/locked room type mystery show. He’s got about 28 episodes so one of the 28, but I must watch one of his episodes every night for a good six months. In September I don’t eat. If you ask me what month I’m at my thinnest then it’s always September. I live on breathing or smelling food for the month of September, I just get too nervous. So yeah, there’s a couple of superstitions there that leave me exhausted.

I have two favourite players. My favourite player in terms of hotness would be Luke Breust – I can’t even deal with his hotness. I would say though that my overall favourite player has to be Luke Hodge just because he leads from the front. You can hear him directing the players on the ground from where I sit with my membership. He’s very loud, he’s very directive, he’s purposeful and I just love how hard he is at the game. I’ve also got lots of favourites from when I was growing up, mainly because they fall into the hotness category! Otherwise I really loved the combination of Jason Dunstall and Dermott Brereton. I suppose growing up they were really powerful forwards and a good duo up front. Because we were so successful in the 80s and early 90s they were really prominent, so for me they’re in all my best memories.

Looking at our list now in terms of our ballgetters and our clearance players, I would love Joel Selwood. I know he’s sort of coming up to the end as well but just the way he attacks the ball, his tenacity, yeah he might duck a little bit but there’s skill in that as well, and I think he’s a phenomenal leader. So I would love a Joel Selwood at Hawthorn.

I don’t like to admit to this out loud but I love watching Buddy Franklin. For all the heartache that I went through when he left Hawthorn, I do love watching him play. I think his natural ability, his height and his size, the way he runs… his engine is just absolutely phenomenal. He’d have to be a stand out player for me.

I suppose that for me, the teams that I hate would have to be based on modern rivalries. If you speak to some of the older Hawthorn supporters they go for the Hawthorn-Essendon rivalry, but not so much for me. It would have to be Geelong and Sydney because they’ve been our nemeses for the last eight or nine years. In terms of players, I hate the North Melbourne football side in total. Yeah, there’s a few… Tommy Hawkins. And I can’t even pinpoint why, he’s just a big salami and I can’t stand him. I have no basis for that but I cannot stand him. He really just gets under my skin.

I would have to say – and it’s not just because it’s just happened – the 2014 grand final is my best moment because of the year that we had. We lost our coach to a syndrome, we lost about 10 players along the way like Gibson, Mitchell and the like who were out for 9-10 weeks and then you had others who missed significant amounts of time, so in terms of list management it was difficult, we had an interim coach for five weeks who got us through five consecutive wins, no one had us going back to back because of all that we had going on in the year. To get up and to beat Sydney, who we’ve got this rivalry with, it was almost a bit of a grudge match because of the 2012 grand final were we were expected to win. Sydney was on top of the ladder and rightly so because they had a brilliant 2014 season, so to get up and win by that much, everything just fell into place. They ticked every box, they went into it, they were hard, the tackling was hard and it was just tenacious from start to finish. So to win by 63 points in a grand final I actually got to sit there and I enjoyed every moment. The thing for Hawthorn that season, the hashtag in the finals series was #everymoment, and I didn’t realise what that meant until the end of the game. I thought, I did actually enjoy every moment of that.

Football is about how it makes me feel. Not just on the day but the lead up to any game, for the whole week it’s the excitement I feel, the nerves, the anxiety. I love the friendships that I’ve formed as the result of footy and the banter in the office and at home. It brings me and my brother and my parents closer than we’ve ever been because of a football team. I also this it makes us absolutely united as Melburnians and I don’t think that any other state can say that they have that love of footy like we do. So it makes me proud to be a Melburnian because of AFL footy.

Sometimes the off field stuff tends to get in the way of the on field stuff. Some of the political banter that you hear on talkback radio sometimes overshadows the good stuff that happens. So for the last two years Hawthorn have gone back to back and all you hear about is ASADA and Essendon. I think that really overshadowed two sensational seasons that Hawthorn had.

I would change the change. I hate that they change the rules every year just for the sake of change, so that interpretation of the rule really makes things confusing for supporters. One season I know that dropping the ball or incorrect disposal looks like this, the next year I’m looking at it and I don’t get it. I just find that frustrating.

If I was a five-year-old boy and playing with a Power Ranger I would think Hawthorn’s away jumper is a sensational looking uniform. I don’t mind Jack Gunston in it, I think he looks beautiful and if you’ve got a top rig, go for it. But whoever designs our away jumpers needs to be shot.”

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