Bloody Daicos!

I remember in the early eighties Daicos cut the Cats to shreds on a few occasions. He certainly played a major role in seeing the Cats go out of the 1981 finals series in straight sets. He had that distinctive waddle that looked slow but helped him slip the defenders’ grasp like a snake sliding through rocks in a dry river bed. He was a marvel. Then, out of nowhere, he would kick one of those over the shoulder, bobbling, bouncing, around the corner, up your bum goals that was never going to miss. It was infuriating for opposition supporters but incredible to watch as well. As a mate of mine once said, watching Daicos torment your team was a bit like coming home and finding Dirk Diggler in bed with your wife; disturbing but magnificent.

Bloody Daicos.

But he was a gem. Genius in fact. I never hated him like I did Stan Magro or Tony Bloody Shaw or Ronnie Freakin’ Wearmouth. My brothers and I all barrack for Geelong but as kids would practice our “Daicos goals” in the backyard by dribbling the footy between two bent old gum trees.

“Daicos!” we would yell when the plastic footy staggered through the impossible gap.

I was at a 50th party on Saturday night. It was one of those parties that had an edge to it right from the start. Even at 7.45pm there were blokes with a glint in their eyes and youthful grins on their faces. This was going to get ugly. And it did. Woody sent a groggy text to all and sundry on Sunday morning.

“What a swashbuckling function!” it read. As soon as he’d sent the text he probably slipped straight back into unconsciousness.

I was standing at the party with a fez on my head, not because a fez is my head ware of choice, but because the theme of the party was “Istanbul”. It was a theme that caused me no end of anxiety. What does one wear to such a party? In desperation I went to the local costume shop on Saturday afternoon. The bloke in the shop was very helpful; a neat little man who looked a little too much like an actor. He was dressed in a busy checked shirt with all the buttons done up, an old woollen vest (once again with the buttons done up), and thick, black rimmed glasses. His hair was magnificent.

“Hmmm?” he enquired as I approached.

“What do I wear?” I asked, explaining the whole Istanbul thing.

He looked at me like an actor eyeing an accountant.

“Do you have a white shirt?”

“Yep”

“Black pants?”

“Yep”

“Then all you need is this” he said reaching out and putting a red fez on my head. “You’re done. Ten dollars Please. Next!”

I looked about as Turkish as Kim Jong-un

At the party iPhones and Samsung Galaxy 5s were going off like a bell in a Chinese takeaway. The Pies were playing the Cats. I knew Geelong was in trouble when I received a text that read, “Go Pies!” towards the end of the first quarter. But Pie supporters at the party were more circumspect.

“Long way to go” said Bakes.

Then at half time the same bloke sent another text,

“GOOD OLD COLLINGWOOD FOREVER!”

I knew the Cats were on the mat. But the prick went very quiet at three quarter time. Probably scurried back under his dank little rock from whence he came; quiet as a vintage red in the dungeons of Raheen. But he re-emerged after the final siren.

“GOOD OLD COLLINGWOOD FOREVER!”

“F*** off!” I hinted in reply.

I jammed my phone deep down into my pocket and stormed through the party, in the hope that movement might eradicate Collingwood from my consciousness. I passed people dressed in salubrious Arabic gowns, pirate outfits (???), and belly dancing pieces. I was heading for the deepest, darkest part of the human jungle.

As I barged through the mass of heaving bodies Smithy grabbed me by the arm.

“Dips” he said, “there’s someone here you should meet.”

Now I should point out that Smithy is so Collingwood that I reckon he brushes his teeth with black and white tooth paste. His family has a connection with the great Jack Reagn, Collingwood’s fullback in the thirties. The poor bastard never stood a chance. It was always going to be Collingwood for him.

I knew Smithy was up to no good. The smirk on his face was mischievous and evil. I turned to the bloke he was introducing me to.

“Daicos!” I blurted out spontaneously.

“G’day mate,” he said sticking out his meaty footballer’s hand.

“Dips barracks for Geelong,” Smithy said unable to hide his glee.

“Pleasure to meet you Daics,” I replied “Fu****g Collingwood!”

Daics’ face opened up in a broad grin; the same broken smile that he carried around Waverley Park in 1981 when he put the Cats to the sword. Pretty sure he kicked four that day.

We had a beer and shot the breeze; me with fez and Daics fez-less. He’d arrived at the party sufficiently late that a costume was passé. Good move I reckon. What a ripper bloke.

What odds would I have got in 1981 as I skulked despondently out of the ground muttering “bloody Daicos”, that I would have an ale and a chat with him 32 years later with a fez on my head? I hope next time I meet him at a party the theme is something more conventional; like “jeans and a shirt”.

About Damian O'Donnell

OK - which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought 'The Sorpranos' was the best TV show ever made - by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne's suburbs.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Loved this Dips, so many funny lines. Especially Dirk Diggler. Have never been invited to an “Istanbul” party, my mind is boggling at someone coming up with this as a party theme.

  2. David Wilson says:

    Thanks Dips, that’s a beauty.
    I’ve choked on my (becoming traditional) 9pm glass of port just now reading of yer text message conduit going quiet as the vintage red at 3/4 time. Superb use of “Raheen.”
    My paternal grandfather played back up to Jack Regan at Victoria Park. That’s George Wilson. Found it hard to get a game as full back, when the Prince of Full Backs shared the change rooms, but still. 20- odd games. It was always Collingwood for me, too.
    Incidentally, George is 91 now. His younger sister was Betty Wilson; legendary Australian cricketer- another story for another time.
    Great piece.

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    David-wow, never knew the great Betty Wilson had a brother who played for the pies. Would love to read an article on your famous relatives.

  4. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Dips, this is a pisser. Geelong writers are much more entertaining after a loss. The Diminutive one in a fez comparing Diggler to Daics. Must have been some party!

  5. Thanks Gents.

    David – it sounds like you have some great stories to tell about George and Betty Wilson.

    Luke – glad you understand my anxiety about Istanbul.

    Phil – so are Collingwood supporters!

  6. Peter Flynn says:

    Funny and engaging Dips.

    Can’t wait for the toga party where you are introduced to Nick ‘Bloody’ Davis.

    Even Col Hutchinson calls him that.

    Cheers,

    PJF

  7. Grant Fraser says:

    Costume party Saturday night; get a costume that afternoon. I dig it. Chicks wouldn’t understand.

  8. Andrew Fithall says:

    Great work Dips. I agree with Lord Bogan that Cats writers’ output is much better after a loss. It should happen more often.

    As for your costume, you would have looked a delight. See what I did there.

    AF

  9. AF – no I didn’t look at any lights.

    See what I did there.

    cheers

  10. David Wilson says:

    Dips, I’ve read your piece again today and enjoyed it even more.
    Brilliant similes.
    cheerio, djw

  11. haikubob says:

    I had the good fortune to meet Daics on a couple of occasions. Found him to be a pretty grounded bloke considering all the adulation he receives from tragics like me.

    Yes he did kick 4 that day. He was like a Whirling Dervish, even without the fez.

    HB.

  12. I remember how ridiculous Howard Cunningham looked, wearing a fez in Happy Days. I can only imagine how well you wore it.

  13. David Downer says:

    Amusing, Dips. Like.

    In thirty years maybe Pies fans will have similar encounters at parties with S.Johnson.

    Last fez I remember seeing was Will Ferrell’s Mustafa in Austin Powers. Didn’t end so well for him.

  14. An absolute cracker, Dips – and I admire your commitment to your friends that you went to a costume party (wearing a fez) even though there was a Cats match on. Probably a good choice, on reflection (not the fez part, obviously).

  15. ramondobb says:

    Great story, Dips. In the fullness of time (after the minimum freedom of information time expired), Daics was always destined to be appreciated by the opposition.

    As for the Cats, he always pulled out blinders against the Cats for some reason. That 1981 goal when he took on Ian Nankervis was one of the greatest finals goals of all time (only just shaded by his drawn 1990 QF reverse banana). In R22 1982 he played a blinder to get us up by 5 points, his 8 goals at Vic Park in the shootout against Gary Snr – Daics always seemed to lift when Gary Snr was at the other end!

    Had the great fortune of getting to know Daics in the early/mid 2000s when our pathes crossed regularly through work. All time great guy – down to earth, humble and geniune. He’s as much a legend off the field, as on it!

    Thanks for a great yarn and the quick and pleasant lunchtime distraction from the Friday grind!

  16. Mark Schwerdt says:

    Apparently “Fez” is a pseudonym for a prophylactic device – Steely Dan (the group, not the William Burroughs s*x toy) – “Ain’t gonna do it without the fez on”

    Oh well, it’s Friday afternoon

  17. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Dips what a hilarious read and I don’t reckon there isnt a footy tragic amongst us who hasn’t abused , Daicos but deep down admiring him , mind you he has a lot to answer for how many players try to emulate the, Macedonian marvel when kicking for goal an miss when the more conventional method would have prevailed . Sounds like it was a great party . Thanks Dips

  18. Cheers Malcolm. It was a ripper party. What I remember of it!

  19. Jim Johnson says:

    Peter Daicos. My Best Ever Footballer! He was played as centre / on baller though when he strayed into the forward line he always looked as if that is where he should always be. When Williams came over from Port Adelaide and took over the Centre Position the selectors were forced into playing Daicos on the forward line. I think if he had been left there instead of being put back onto the ball for his last season he would have given us another year or two of the Magic of Peter Daicos. He was the first player I noticed to run backwards out of a tight situation. At 175cm / five foot nine inches, he was a giant in Australian Rules Football. Jim Johnson

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