Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Unions: The Royal Con
National Focus: Around the Grounds
Economics: The Secret War on Trade
International: United Front
History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
The Locker Room
The Fog of War
Trots Bomb Back
The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
And another thing/ I've been wondering lately/ Is it crazy/ To believe in ideals - Whats My Scene (Hoodoo Gurus)
Apparently so, Dave Faulkner.
It's that time of the year when we put the flannels away and drag musty beanies and scarves from the closet and scrape the mud off the boots from 2002's flogging in the last round and replace the genteel summer pursuits of Tennis and Cricket for the more erudite winter codes.
Ever since Tina Turner coached the Kangaroos to their undefeated tour of Britain and France Rugby League has been getting out of the blocks earlier and earlier. The sight of the big blokes going round in the heat isn't right.
Not that the NRL has a monopoly on this, we've seen the same shenanigans with the Harry Potter Cup in the AFL.
I have a copy of Rugby League Week from the late seventies that shows round one starting on April the first, as it rightly should. In those days Penrith wore brown and were aptly known as the chocolate soldiers, dutifully propping up the ladder with Norths [sorry Ed.] and Balmain. Theses days they look like Cronulla with these post modern football jumpers that change quicker than the set at a Kiss concert.
I went down to Penrith...errr...Stadium to watch the local blokes have a go at the forces of evil from north of the Tweed. In the sparsely populated arena that once sat opposite a television factory, when Australia had such things, I watched Penrith do the right thing.
The game was largely a non event. There were no local blokes after all and Talliss's blue with the Penrith prop was a bit of a sideshow, but what did restore my faith was that when Talliss got sidelined he was pelted with stuff from the crowd! How good was that!
In this day and age of sport as an electronic soporific it was good to see a bit of good old fashioned audience participation. The only thing that could have made me happier was a dog on the field.
Me and The Ghost Who Walks did the right thing and left with ten minutes to go and returned to the pub in the mountains to conduct the post-mortem. Penrith really are a shining example of sports administration in this country. The largest Junior Rugby League in the world, the biggest licensed club and they still can't string together three wins on the trot. Mind you, it didn't help that from where we were swaying most of the Penrith supporters were either failed science experiments or blokes I went to school with.
The footy will drag the punters in one way or another. We've moved on from Tina Turner to Dave Faulkner. The League tries hard. They did the right thing at the Grand Final by getting Billy Idol all the way out here and then not letting him sing. That was a stroke of genius that endeared the NRL to the hearts of music lovers across the country.
It's hard for an old westie like me to accept, but Australian Football still is the real deal when it comes to crowds and the Swannies do not disappoint. With their own variety of science experiments in the stands the Swannies have made a successful transition to the White Elephant at Homebush.
With Draft Concessions and the like you'd think that the AFL would be keen to promote the game in NSW. Well, think again. Sure, they're keen to promote the Swans, but lo betide any mug over AFL recruitment age who wants to actually get off the lounge and have a go at the game. There is not one red cent available to support senior football in NSW at a club level.
It shows that the Franchise is king, not the sport.
Even so, your humble correspondent will be battling it out with Dozer, Shirley, Bondy and the coal mining boys from Lithgow this year with the Katoomba-Lithgow Mountain Lions Australian Football Club, because sport is about having a go.
Then again I might be an idiot, which is very possible, and sport might actually be about advancing marketing opportunities within a defined franchise.
Even so, I'll still be getting mud on my boots, and more power to anyone else who is doing the same, or making it possible. I'd like to think it's about community, and sacrifice and discipline and doing something with your mates.
What's my team? My mates. That's my team.
Kicking a wobbly shot on goal that dribbles out of bounds.
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