|Issue No 8||09 April 1999|
Terry's Secrets to Footy Tipping
By Terry O'Brien
Daylight Saving ends. The creams have been thrown into a corner and won't move again until sometime after September. Yes, it's the footy season. The preseason silly stuff is out of the way and the real business can begin.
As far as I can work it out, there's only one saving grace that I can attribute to winter - Footy. As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder it becomes increasingly apparent that footy has evolved to compensate us for these long dark months. In my case it's Rules. Aussie Rules that is.
No matter which code you follow the scarves and beanies are divesting themselves of the smell of moth balls and tipping comps are up and running. It gives you a reason to slag off at the person next to you at work. Or, if your team loses, them to have a go at you.
For the past few years I have run a tipping comp, and my idea was to foster "Footy Kulture" in a heathen environment. It 's almost got out of hand, but I'll cope. This year, as the deadline drew near for last tips more punters wanted to join up. It seems there was no fostering needed, just a bit of Swans success, aided by the Rugby League tearing itself apart.
Don't get me wrong, I want League to survive. When I have a hang over on Mondays, (after a Swans win), I want somebody to have a go at. After all, for many dark years they had a lot of fun at my expense.
Talking about tipping comps, I reckon you can tell a lot about people from their tips. It's a bit like an answering machine messages. You know the ones, They go and on. All you wanted to say was "I'll see you at the game and you get an eighteen hour introduction. Nasty if you're ringing STD. Others are so brief they are almost terse.
In fact I run two comps - one, a tip by the week (pick on form, perhaps), and another where your tips for the year are put in before the first game of the season. No changes allowed.
One punter, more than a little daunted by the prospect of doing twenty-two rounds in one go, asked me how to go about it. "Personal prejudice" was my immediate response
I had a look at the years tips. Most punters tip their team every week, even if they know they will lose. This is understandable. Some won't pick the Swans to save their lives. I suspect this because of the myth that they are an Eastern Suburbs based (upper) middle class side. And memories of the megalomaniac Doc Edelsten.
Others tip the Swans except when they are playing their team. This makes sense to me. Other biases and pet hatreds become evident as you look down the lists of tips.
I started out trying to ignore my own advice and take the scientific approach. Pick who you think will end up at the top of the ladder, And bottom.
Don't pick Richmond in "away" games even when they're at home.Don't pick Collingwood in June. If there is the slighted doubt, don't pick Collingwood.And so on.
This approach didn't last. It was doomed from the start. My list of prejudice emerged. In no particular order:
Melbourne is the Establishment team. Essendon has Kevin Sheedy and prominent supporters include Andrew Peacock and Peter Costello. Hawthorn - Jeff Kennett. Carlton - once working class, but no longer. John Elliot is their President. North Melbourne - Wayne Carey and they beat the Swans in the 96 Grand Final. Collingwood are Collingwood.
Then there's all the other teams from Melbourne. Geelong aren't from Melbourne but they are Mexicans. Richmond have too many supporters. They all seem to live in Sydney. Every time they beat us I hear about it for weeks. Fortunately this hasn't happened much recently. St Kilda refused to lose at the SCG. Footscray changed their name to the Western Bulldogs. This makes the tipping comp murder when they play the West Coast.
Brisbane come from Brisbane. Nuff said. Port Adelaide stole our song. They have a saving grace in that the are the original Magpies and it gets up Collingwood supporters nose when you remind them. Now that they have finally beaten the Swans this saving grace is less important. I now have a real reason to hate them. Adelaide keep on flogging us and last year's semi-final loss hurt.
Who's left? The other interstate sides. The West Coast Eagles. The Weagles, Wiggles, Weasels, Wet Coats, call them what you like. They are boring. This is an unforgivable sin in our code. Fremantle refused to let us win until last year. Even now that we have done it, the innate antipathy is ingrained.
As you can see, this approach has its problems. One clearly needs to prioritise the prejudices. This is no mean feat. Sorting out which team you hate more, at any particular time, can cause deep inner conflict. Except when it comes to Collingwood.
It may not win me the big prize at the end of the season, but when I finish I feel a considerable sense of achievement.
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