They will shirk the ways of the common man to file into stretch limousines too big to park outside the Witches tavern and which possibly boast a rare collection of vintage Neil Diamond vinyl – a collection that may or may not ironically include the crowd pleasing favourite “Forever in Blue Jeans”. Money talks but it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk or play footy. The Tigers by turn will casually make their way to the battle ground in their blue jeans and shaggy sneakers and be noticeably focused on the task at hand. They will arrive on a big old bus leaving an even bigger carbon footprint and as they disembark they will be unmoved by their opposition’s extravagance, kiss their wives and girlfriends (who will wish them luck) and get ready to play.
The ANZAC clash is the biggest game outside of the Asian champs. It symbolizes mateship but so does every other game! It’s us against them but when is it not? It’s the game that every one wants to play but when don’t we want to play footy? It’s the game everyone gives 110 per cent in but how is that possible? It’s just a game like any other except for one thing – you are in Kanchanaburi and nothing seems the same: you shake a digger’s hand, you visit sights of historical significance from “real” wars and you get the feeling from blokes who have done it before that playing there is a privelage. The whole experience musters a different atmosphere and everyone is just so happy to be involved. Quite simply it’s a bloody big one “mates” and it’s time to pull your laces a little tighter.
Jakarta is considered a force of Asian footy. Despite having limited success in recent years they are tough, respected, organized and have the backing of some of Australia’s leading financial institutions. It’s rumored that they are members of the church of Scientology but the paper trail is difficult to follow beyond a number of vague offshore holdings.
The Tigers on the other hand have are seen as the best of the rest, a mere footnote in Asia, a glorious yet motley crew of dedicated piss pots that aspire to nothing greater than survival and who can be placed at long odds at the commencement of yearly betting.
It could all go so wrong…for Jakarta!