Saturday 29 September


After what seems like an eternity, this latest and final grand final diary comes to you direct from QF422 – we’re on our way to Sydney. Hooray!

The last couple of days have been pretty epic.

Firstly, an embarrassing story. Just as I was tucking myself into bed last night at 10.30pm, our house phone rang. I’m not going lie – I panicked. Everybody knows that late night phone calls rarely contain good news. And when I saw that it was Ryan, I wondered what he could possibly have to tell me since the last time we spoke two hours earlier.

I picked up the phone and demanded to know instantly what was wrong. “Nothing! Relax,” he said cryptically, “I’m just going to pass the phone over for you to chat to someone.”

Next thing I know, Ryan’s sister Carlie’s bubbly voice comes down the line. “Hello Miss Mel!” she said.

The thing is, Carlie was supposed to be London. She lives there. At least that’s where I assumed she was. She had decided to make a surprise last minute visit to cheer on her big brother on Sunday. It’s all so exciting.

The embarrassment kicked in when I recalled my last diary entry. If you missed it, here’s the key excerpt:

I remember that the last time I saw Ryan win a grand final, his sister Carlie, was overseas. Carlie is overseas now too. Good omen. 

(Incidentally, Carlie – if you’re reading this and considering any kind of surprise return for Sunday, I respectfully urge you to reconsider). 

So it turns out my cheeky little blog entry was spookily prophetic. And, as noted, now quite embarrassing. Apparently Ryan’s other sister, Rebecca, knew all along and was having a good old laugh at yours truly as she read my previous piece. She also forwarded it on to Carlie before she left London. Brilliant.

Still, I am forgiven and as if we didn’t have enough to be excited about, the prodigal sister returns for a visit. This is why I love Grand Final week; you really never know what might happen.

(I feel compelled to point out that Carlie was not overseas during the 2007 Grand Final, so for those of you who are superstitious and have any inkling towards bustling her on a plane and sending her back north – you needn’t worry.)

So after only a semi-restful night’s sleep (thanks to a combination of excitement and nerves) I hit the road early this morning.

My first stop was the Slater household were I was greeted by two little bright-eyed cherubs, working their way through breakfast and practicing their “go daddy” cheers. I must say, Jake and Tyla Slater are excellent travel buddies. There is never a dull moment, for example, little Jake likes to put his sock on his hand and pretend that he is Storm Man. So fantastic.

Then off to the airport we went, where we linked up with a few more of our crew on the way. By the time we boarded the plane there was about a dozen of us all told and it’s such a treat to be doing this together. There’s never a dull moment, always a friendly face and most importantly, us adults still outnumber the kids, which makes for some good airport logistical mathematics.

As for me, I am looking forward to arriving in Sydney. I’m looking forward to the warm weather, I’m looking forward to spending some time with my friends, I’m looking forward to seeing my family and most importantly, I’m looking forward to the big game.

I suspect the seat belt light is about to come on, so I’d better sign off for now. I would like to thank all the Melbourne Storm supporters very sincerely for reading this column, but more importantly for the unending support you’ve shown our boys and the club in the lead-up to this weekend. Every cheer, every banner, every tweet and every good luck wish is so greatly appreciated. I look forward to celebrating our grand final appearance with all of you tomorrow. Enjoy the weekend all and most importantly….. GO STORM!!!!!!!

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