Hard-running Melbourne midfielder Bernie Vince covered plenty of ground on his way to a 32-possession performance against Richmond, but few spectators would have realised how many kilometers the former Crow actually ran on Friday night.
While there was plenty of sprinting going on at Etihad Stadium, Vince’s aerobic workout started before he even made it to the ground. Driving to the game, the 28-year-old found himself stuck in traffic and destined to be late. In a bold move, he abandoned his car on Flinders street, ran a kilometer and caught a tram before sprinting another kilometer to get to the ground.
Though he was 45 minutes late, he made it there in time for the warm-up. By that point though, he’d already had one.
As well as he played – his 32 possessions, seven marks and five clearances played a big part in the Demons’ win – it’s unlikely Vince stick to the same pre-match warm-up. In future, he’ll know the traffic on a Friday afternoon is a little worse in Melbourne than he was used to in Adelaide.
In 2013 young Collingwood forward Ben Kennedy had a similar experience, forgetting how bad traffic can be in Melbourne on a Friday night.
“I didn’t take peak hour traffic into account at all so when I got to Collins street and I moved about 20 metres in 20 minutes, my instincts were to jump out of the car and run to the game,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy was concerned his tardiness might cost him a spot in the side and put him in the bad books with the coach.
“I thought that Bucks might have seen it as; if I’m not to going rock up to the game on time I didn’t want it that badly, therefore I would be withdrawn and someone would come in and play for me.
“When things like that happen, the worst case scenario runs through your head. But once I got to the ground Bucks said it was ok. A few blokes were running late anyway because of the traffic.”
“It took me until the start of the game to relax and get over the anxiety I was feeling.”
Since that night Kennedy has made sure he gets to the ground early each week – Vince may well follow his lead. The Dees’ season opener is against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on March 22 – a Saturday night. Vince has shown he can do clever things in heavy traffic on the footy field; beating heavy traffic on the way to the ground is the next step.