Monday 24 September


Hoff and I are sitting on the couch watching Newsroom (his latest TV obsession), when I hear a car pull up outside.

I ask Hoff to pause (he does, reluctantly) telling him I need to go and get my slippers because my feet are cold. He moves to follow me upstairs (presumably to get his own ugg boots) and I spin on my heels. “You have to stay here,” I tell him, and I grab him by the shoulders and push him back to the couch (gently, we don’t want to risk injury). He eyes me suspiciously.

Outside in our driveway and unbeknownst to Hoff, mum and my sister, Tara, are stealthily negotiating a giant platter out of Tara’s boot. Tara has prepared a surprise gift for Ryan – a platter full of mini- cupcakes, coated in different coloured fondant, arranged in the shape of a Storm jersey.

Mum and Tara navigate the cakey creation into our dining room and she presents it to Hoff as a good luck gift for the grand final.

And this is one of my very favourite things about Grand Final week – the well-wishes, excitement and general good-will from friends, family and fans alike.

Already this week Ryan has received emails, phone calls and text messages from friends and family, keen to pass on their best – not to mention a jersey made out of 106 mini cupcakes! Others have contacted me, or my parents, or Ryan’s parents, or the club, to ensure that their message finds its recipient. And I know that Ryan has really appreciated the regular and encouraging tweets that he has been steadily receiving since Friday night. It really is such a lovely time.

The surprise cupcake delivery capped off a busy day in the Hoffman household. Ryan had a full day of media and training at the club, whilst it was business-as-usual for me. Rosie the cat probably just lazed around in the sun as per usual. I have explained to her what’s going on, but she just yawns and continues washing her ears so I don’t think she’s interested.

After such an exciting weekend, it is difficult to focus and to accept that life goes on as per usual for the moment – I’m sure everyone behind the Melbourne Storm is feeling the same. I keep sitting down intending to do homework, then doing other footy-related things instead (like writing these diary entries, for example), and simple tasks take me twice as long as I know they should. I dread to think how Hoff’s homework is going this week. I don’t think I’ll ask.

And so we look to the next couple of days when things really start to get serious. In a few days I’ll be left behind in Melbourne to bang around the house feeling nervous all by myself (cue: violins), until I join the other lovely Storm ladies and head up to Sydney for the serious bit. It seems like the butterfly brigade have arranged to send the odd advanced party to flutter around my belly, but I’m keeping it together for now and I hope everyone else is managing to do the same. Not long now people!

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