to a continent of surf, steak and bananas, the so called astute (England) can now only sit and marvel at what is certainly histories greatest invention, Australian Rules Football.
A game that takes the best traits of all other games, mixes them just so, adds a bounce and a few extra posts and before you can boil a cup of tea you've got yourself a sausage, a cold one and 100 minutes of the greatest show on earth, plus time one.
Once a year a gathering of nomadic souls descend upon the Witches Tavern for the ultimate expression of manliness and courage, the Aussie Rules Grand Final. They mark this special occasion (the last Saturday in September) by momentarily substituting champagne for beer and chicken for sausages.
While the digression is always fleeting it does serve to remind us that we are a cultured bunch, regardless of what is said and how many calculators are broken at the Moonshine. Invariably though, footy is what it is, the peoples game. And we, of course, are the people.
If Rugby is played in Heaven then Aussie Rules is played at the foot of a Cold Chisel concert that your best ever girlfriend bought you tickets to and said not to come back until next Sunday. Bob Hawke is passed out on the city circle tram, Home and Away just got extended for another season, your mums calling to check you aren't drinking and from somewhere in the breaches there streams a persistent cry of You Beauty! It's only fitting.
Just ask Herbert. Herbert flanked a group of Thailand tigers recently as they sat fixated on another cracking final, this one happened to be taking place between West Coast and Collingwood. The game was deep into the final quarter, tighter than Howard's umpiring and Herbert was clearly possessed by the wild beauty of it all.
The siren sounds, it's a draw and extra time will decide the winner. Herbert doesn't mind: it's Friday, the beer is flowing and until now no-one has realized he's Austrian. For the record Herbert's wife is Victorian, loves football, enjoys green leaves (in her tea) and barracks for Collingwood - however as the players go to their huddles she is stuck at home taking care of the kids. There is no coverage of the game at Herbert's house but according to Herbert she doesn't mind at all.
I beg to differ.
So hello, good morning, how you do; we could all use a sausage and a beer or two and 100 minutes (plus time on) with Ralphy, Rowdy, Ablett and all the boys.
I have plans this weekend, footy. I'm not the only one.
To the Witches!
(If rugby is indeed played in heaven then why are it's best exponents so misproportioned and unsexy.