Tony Wilson: ' By the end of tomorrow we’ll know which side will miss Chris Yarran more in season 2016', Uni Blacks AFL Season Commencement Breakfast - 2016

23 March 2016, Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Ladies and gentleman welcome to the Arts Centre for 7th annual Uni Blacks AFL Season Commencement Breakfast.

My name’s Tony Wilson ... I’m in my sixth year as MC of the breakfast. I had one year off in the middle there. A lot of my playing mates over on the table there know that I’m angling for life membership through this very unusual route of only providing twenty minutes of service a year, I asked Andy Smith how many breakfasts I’d have to do, he’s been the time keeper for over 50 years, and he said I’d have to do 187 years before I’d get life membership of the club, so thank you Andy.

That first commencement breakfast, seven years ago at the Australia Club we had Joel Bowden and Chris Connolly as the guest speakers in that inaugural year... the former because he could play great football while looking like he wasn’t trying ... and the latter because he was assistant coach of Melbourne, whoplayed terrible football that year while actually not trying.

My welcome that day went as follows:

“Hardly anybody has commencement breakfasts. I’ve always thought this was a shame, as breakfast is at the commencement of the day, and so that if you’re really serious about commencing something, you should do it at breakfast time. But people don’t think like me. If you google "commencement dinner" you get 820,000 hits. Google "commencement breakfast" and you get 4070. This very function is listed twice, at number one and number three. That means at the one minute mark of the club’s first ever commencement breakfast, we’re the most prestigious commencement breakfast, not just that’s occurring anywhere in the world right now, but that’s ever occurred anywhere in the world. It’s a lofty place from which to start. We can only screw it up from here”

I know what you’re thinking. Some of you are thinking - shit I hope we’re not paying him much this year. He’s just reading out his intros from seven years ago.

And others of you are thinking - shit, 4070 google matches for "commencement breakfasts" in 2010! That’s fascinating, tony. Please tell us how those google numbers have changed, so I don’t have to look it up for myself when I get home.

Well I’ve got good news on both fronts.

The  Blacks hierarchy are continuing to resist the temptation to pay me too much;

And …  hold onto your socks … the 4070 matches for commencement breakfasts seven years ago has … plunged to 3,490. That means, since we started this event, 680 commencement breakfasts have been erased from commencement breakfast existence, have ceased to be, … and … yes, I’ll save you asking later …  we’ve lost our number one spot to the Peace Prize for International Students at NYU. Honestly - it seems ridiculous to me. We’ve won an A-Grade flag since then, and have the international students at NYU brought World Peace? Syria anyone? It’s an outrage.

We’re still at number 10, locked in a first page of google relegation fight that will go down to the wire, and later on this morning I’ll be talking to senior coach Cam Roberts, and my first question will be whether it’s worth investing in Google adwords  to see if we can hold off the challenge from the #11 commencement breakfast, which just happens to be the Melbourne Football Club’s Commencement Breakfast, or at the very least offer them some incentives to stop trying.

We are now one big sleep away from the AFL season proper, and by the end of tomorrow we’ll know which side will miss Chris Yarran more in season 2016.

Yes it’s just one more sleep until  another blessed season takes hold.

And only three sleeps until the Gold Coast take on Essendon at Metricon.

I’ve decided to set my recorder for that one. Not just because I want to spend time with the kids on a Saturday afternoon , but also because there’s a great episode of Diff'rent Strokes running on 7Flix at the same time.

What a season this should be. It’s such an even year. The battle to find out who gets thumped by Hawthorn on the last Saturday in September has never been this wide open.

As a Hawthorn supporter, I realise there is a certain insufferableness to this seemingly never ending tide of success. A St Kilda supporting friend of mine said to me the other day, ‘but don’t you think you’re missing out on something? Don’t you think your footy life is too easy? Don’t you think you’d appreciate it more, if you had to climb and climb, and fall along the way, and you scuff your knees and blister your hands, but eventually you climb that mountain, and the view from the summit is all the grander for what you’ve gone through, for the brutal journey, for the suffering?'

And do you know what I said?


Another Western Bulldogs friend said to me, ‘I wish you a spectacular demise. You deserve it. The Hawks hubris is unbelievable.’

I wasn’t exactly sure what he was talking about, but I think Hawks Hubris but from the alliterative sound of it, I think it might be the successor game plan to Clarko’s Cluster, and if Mitchell and Hodge can stay fit, I’ve no doubt it will be unbelievable.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for supporting the Uni Blacks with your attendance here today .