The whole day seemed to revolve around the match. I couldn't get away from it. I went on the tram down to St Kilda, the seaside suburb of Melbourne, there were Lions fans on the tram. I walked on the pier at St Kilda. There were Lions fans on there. I went to the public toilet, there were Lions fans in the queue. I went to Melbourne Museum. There were Lions fans examining the minerals in the geology section. I went ona tour of World Heritage site, it was with Lions fans. Melbourne really was painted red.
In the late afternoon, I went down to the Lion's Den bar, provided by the tour companies. There were three and a half thousand red shirts in there. It rocked. Free beer, free food, 'patriotic' songs , if you can call songs such as Delilah that. Andy Nichol, tour leader, interviewed Jeremy 'Persil' Guscott. I met the match manager of Western Force, one of only four Australian fans in there. She had been given tickets by the Lions for the hospitality they had been showed. (If I ever want Western Force tickets, I'm set.) Andy Nichol kept us in anticipation of some legends who were going to appear. It was the Manic Street Preachers came on, and did an acoustic set. It really was good. They performed about 40 minutes and the fans sang and danced with them. They have headed Gastonbury, and I have seen them at a small gig in a warehouse. All the signs were good.
The Etihad Stadium is an Aussie rules stadium, permanently under cover. Not ideally for rugby, as the fansk are far away from the Action. The noise with the roof was immense, even so, the players must have heard. Whether it was the anticipation of the win, too much expectation, too many red shirts, far more than last week, I don't know. It was a stuttering performance, and the ref can't be blamed this week, as the Lions slipped to the inevitable drawer, the crowd was immense again, probably two thirds Lions fans, and the stadium attendence record was broken for the second week running.
In the end, it wasn't to be, and the Aussies nicked the win from a late try, so the series goes onto the deciding game in Sydney. In the meantime, the players are going to Noosra, and I'm going to Alice Springs and Uluru .