Friday, August 04, 2006


(Author's note: As the title suggests, this is about the game of football in Australia. It begins with a light-hearted assessment of football and concludes with an amusing account of an inglorious moment during a Rugby Union match between Australia and New Zealand.)

I enjoy watching the sport coverage on television. There is nothing more exciting than setting yourself up in the reclining lounge chair ready for a day of sport armed with a cold beer, salty snacks and the remote control.

Regarding the beer, it is best not to start too early. If you don’t pace yourself properly you may find that you will nod off sometime during the early afternoon and snore your way through the crucial outcome of the game, match, tournament, event etc. Well, so I have been told.

I enjoy all types of sport but, in winter, it is mainly football that is on offer. We have three main codes of football in Australia – Rugby League, Rugby Union and Australian Rules football. I should also point out that both men and women play these codes but not usually against one another unfortunately.

Okay, okay. I just heard someone scream, “What about the “real football”. The World Game.”

Of course this clown is ranting on about soccer which is not important to the majority of Australians and rarely played by people over 10 years of age.

And that “World Game” thing is a scam. If a reliable study into sport was done and the research and statistics were to be deemed valid, they would find that the “World Game” title belongs to Netball. So there!

Why not use my formula? Add the number of participating countries to the number of card carrying players then multiple it by the civility of the spectators and then divide it by the number of people who give a damn. Netball wins every time!

I have a theory as to the evolution of soccer and it goes like this. One day two teams turned up to play hockey. They soon realised that they forgot the sticks and ball. One bright spark looked across the sports field and saw people playing netball. He scurried over to steal a ball and he returned with a plan.

“Okay. The aim of the game will be basically the same. We will use this big round ball instead of the little ball. We will use our feet and an occasional head instead of the stick. Oh, and no touching or tackling. But dramatic acting whilst feigning injuries will be greatly rewarded.”

Upon hearing this, one player turned to his mate and said, “I think my Mother will approve of this new sport.”

Now, back to the real football, in particular the games of rugby league and rugby union. The games where brave burly blokes run full speed towards the opposing team armed with little more than a mouthguard.

Yes, there is a lot of bruising, blood, black eyes, broken bones, colourful swearing, and the occasional fisticuffs but when it is all over there is a winning team and lots of handshakes and “Good on ya mate” exchanges.

I will admit that I am not so much a fan of the Australian Rules football. It is watch-able and I do like to see those tall athletic blokes in their tight shorts flying in the air or scampering up the back of an opposition player.

What I don’t admire is their “tackles”. They don’t smack into one another to see which one is sturdier. Or grab each other about the ankles with the intent of felling their opponent like a large tree.

No. Their “tackles” look a little too much like a cuddle to my liking.

Now the rugby union match I wish to expand upon was between Australia (Wallabies) and New Zealand (All Blacks).

Our two countries have a sibling-like relationship. We have nothing nice to say about one another, ever. But if an outsider should say anything derogatory about one of us or try to pick a fight then, like siblings, the other one will join in the fight immediately.

A warning to the rest of the world! We were willing to join forces when needed to fight in World War One and we were known as the Anzacs - Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Now, the match I speak of was played in June 2006 in New Zealand. I don’t think that I am giving too much away to say that we Aussies were rightfully thrashed by the better team.

The evening began with the All Blacks doing an energetic rendition of their haka. Words can not do justice to the fear and dread that this ceremonial tradition can evoke in non-New Zealanders. You have to see and hear it to get the full picture.

After the excitement of the haka, the players from both teams were milling about the field before kick-off. The television camera person was scanning the field, eager to record any meaningful activity. Suddenly he focussed upon an All Black player crouched on the field, seemingly attending to his inner thigh. An injury from the haka perhaps?

No. He was, in fact, shaking his penis after taking a quick pee on the field before play.

I turned to my spouse and asked, “Did you see what I just saw?” He confirmed that it was so.

At the very first commercial break I rushed to advise my daughter who was in her room watching a DVD.

“One of the players?” she asked.

“Yes.” I confirmed. “The one with the bleached hair.”

“On the field?”


“Eeww!” She said and then added. “He must have been feeling nervous.”

Now this event featured in my next round of emails to friends and family.

Dave emailed me back with this message:

Hi Michelle, the title of your next blog essay should be: There Is No P in Rugby. What do you think?


Michelle ©

1 comment:

Enyo said...

Hi Michelle,

I'm enjoying your writing and your cartoons (great to find other Aussies out there) ... we'd still be picking lumps of bauxite dust from the guts of our 404 if it (the car) hadn't already fallen apart :). That place clings to us with an amazing tenacity.