- General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
- Age range:
- 6 to 9 years old
- Electronic book text
- Publication Date:
- Penguin Australia Pty Ltd
- 8th Edition
- Dimensions (mm):
That was about how long Bruiser's fringe stayed slicked back.
The big guy was in a suit. And Nick was in a suit. And Ella was in a suit.
They'd bought their outfits from a charity store to get into the spirit of Brownlow night. Ella's AFL-star dad – Wally 'Marz' Marwin – was a chance to win the medal, and because it was school holidays they were allowed to stay up late to watch the whole broadcast at Nick's place.
But Nick was beginning to wonder if this had been such a good idea. It was super exciting, but it was also fully nerve-wracking.
Ella had been pacing the lounge room since the votes had been announced for Round 3. Two hours ago.
Finally, the AFL boss was finishing Round 18: 'W . . . Marwin. Three votes!'
'Yeah!' cried Ella, jumping up on the coffee table as Marz hit the lead. 'That's what I'm talkin' about!'
'Hey,' said Nick. 'That's my line.'
'I reckon Marz can do it,' said Bruiser.
'He got thirty-nine touches in the last round. Mind you, Joel Selwood only got one vote in a 2014 match for the same thing.'
On telly, Marz was all suited up, sitting beside Ella's mum. The TV host promised they'd announce the votes for the final rounds . . . right after the break!
Ella hurled a packet of chips at the TV.
Nick had always dreamt about winning the Brownlow. If it came down to choosing between winning a premiership or a Brownlow, Nick would be tempted to go for the individual honour of hearing his name called out on football's night of nights.
'Nicholas Darrel Harvey,' yelled Nick's mum from the hallway. 'I cannot believe what I just found under your bed.'
Under my bed? Nick thought. He swallowed. Had his mum found the footy that he'd injected with glowing purple space goop? Space goop that had the power to cause big-time freakiness.
'Out here right now, young man!'
Nick slowly got to his feet. He hadn't known what to do with the footy. How exactly do you get rid of dangerous intergalactic goop? Does it go in the normal bin or the recycling?
'Anything to say for yourself?' asked Nick's mum, holding something behind her back.
'Um, you really shouldn't be touching that,' said Nick. 'It's probably some kind of toxic waste.'
'I'll say,' said Nick's mum, revealing Nick's lunch box.
She opened it. The stench of a mouldy sandwich and a week-old banana hit Nick.
He staggered back.
'How long has this been under your bed?'
'Gross,' said Nick. 'Sorry, Mum.'
'This will need to be scrubbed clean, young man. You're lucky your friends are here, otherwise I'd make you do it right now,' she said. 'Oh, and where did you get that purple night-light footy that's under your bed?'
'Um,' said Nick. 'I . . . found it.'
'It looks faulty. Possibly dangerous. I'd ditch it, mister.'
'Right. Now try to keep Ella calm till the Brownlow is over, okay?'
Nick glanced back into the lounge room. Ella was hiding behind the couch.
'No worries,' he lied.
Nick slurped on his apple juice as he sat back on the couch.
'Shhhhh!' said Ella over Nick's shoulder. The leaderboard showed Marz had dropped two votes behind. It was the middle of the last round. Only a Best on Ground would win it from here.
'What do you reckon?' whispered Nick to Bruiser. 'You're the stats genius. Can he get the three points?'
'It's doable, but you never know with umps.'
Ella popped up behind them. 'If you two don't shut up I'll knock your heads together.'
'N . . . Fyfe. One vote.' The AFL boss began announcing the votes for Marz's game.
'Why does he do the big pause before the surname?' muttered Ella.
'M . . . Barlow. Two votes.'
'Here we go. Here we go,' said Ella.
'W . . .' announced the AFL boss.
The cameras cut to Marz's table. Ella's mum looked nervous. Marz and his team-mates were listening intently.
'Spit! It! Out!' yelled Ella.
'. . . Minson. Three votes.'
On telly, Marz clapped graciously as the winner was announced.
In Nick's lounge room, Ella popped two packets of chips, kicked over the magazine rack, then dumped the popcorn bowl over her head.
She stood dead still, letting the kernels tumble down her body.
'Um. Bad luck, Ella,' said Nick.
'So close,' said Bruiser, leaning cautiously away from her.
Then Nick's big brother, Lucas, strode into the room. He ignored the bowl on Ella's head and sat on the coffee table in front of Nick. He flicked the channel.
'Hey! We were watching that,' said Nick.
'Cool it, butt brain,' said Lucas. 'I'll be, like, two seconds, max.'
He'd changed it to a sports panel show. The host was mid-sentence. 'And check out this young gun.'
A photo of Nick kicking a goal came up on screen.
'Um, why are you on TV?' asked Bruiser.
'No idea,' said Nick. 'Isn't that our winning goal against the Eels?'
Lucas shrugged. 'Quiet!' he said.
'The Harvster can sure work the camera,' said Nick, pointing to himself.
Ella tilted up the bowl so she could see properly. 'You look constipated.'
'This killer shot is the winner of our sports photography competition,' said the TV host. 'So, well done to young photographer Lucas Harvey!'
Lucas went red.
'Wow,' said Nick. 'Nice one!'
'Lucas has won the opportunity to take photos at Saturday's AFL Grand Final. But that's not all,' the TV host continued. 'Thanks to Lucas, the team in this photo are winners as well. The Cobar Creek Crocs will be playing a half-time exhibition match at the AFL Grand Final.'
Nick dropped his juice. It spilt all over his suit pants, but he barely noticed.
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