Where old footballers go to die

The ball comes in on the bounce.

I’ve been killing it in the air for ours.

The bald No. 13 has been killing it on the ground for his.

When I squint I can imagine Martin Pike.

We reach for it at the same time, knocking it on, then, in heat of moment and snap tempers of proud men, we reach for each other’s jumper, while cocking fists.

But we’re in too close. He grabs my fingers instead, and we’re holding hands.

We shake them free and laugh and get on with taking and dropping marks and thumping into packs.

Leading our teams as best we can.

Giving every damn thing.

The day I stop doing that, I’ll retire.

We go hard under a mountain, tucked into nowhere, with fuck-all crowd.

A few farmers, a logger. Maybe two girlfriends,

somebody’s dog.


  1. Matt, you have inspired a memory out of a long forgotten game. Love your work.

    A ball about to be in dispute
    For a moment, balanced equally between two players
    Only one can gather
    The other knowing it is too late, commits his body to the area
    The first, fearing the consequence, spins and rides a glancing blow,
    Gets the kick and for a moment revels in the sweet ballet.
    They both laugh at the one that got away
    Knowing that it can only come off for one and the other
    Must wait for next time

  2. matt zurbo says:

    Thanks, Gus.

    Grouse piece by y’self, too.

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