[Bear Intro bit] I’m Bear Grylls. I’m gonna show you what it takes to get out alive from some of the most dangerous places on earth. I’ve gotta make it through a week of challenges in the sort of places you wouldn’t last a day without the right survival skills. And flippin Nora, the really hard thing is having to talk it up as being really really scary when it’s often really really pissy.
[Bear voice over] I’m playing in the AFL and so far I’ve faced a number of grueling challenges. I’ve been KOed, had to drink my own urine, had to eat four and twenty and been treated by a freak with fourteen fingers. I’ve also been subjected to a jumper puncher, a squirrel gripping tagger, a hospital handpass and an odious coach that’s hatefully benched me. The question is what else can the AFL now serve up?
[Bear on camera] OK, I’m still benched and the weather’s about to close in. That’s always a big challenge when you’re idle in a winter game. If a polar sou’wester blows in when you’re inert, you’re susceptible to hypothermia. Gonna be a real struggle keeping my core body temperature up.
Right, it’s really starting to teem down now. Flippin nora, it’s coming down in sheets. These Melbourne winters can be as cruel as they come. Just last year some holidaying blighters visited here from the UK. To their shock, they found that Melbourne’s winter was almost as cruel as an English summer. The only difference being that the sun actually peaked out once or twice during their stay in Melbourne, whereas in old blighty you only ever read about such phenomena.
“You suck shit Grylls.”
OK, I’ve just been heckled by an AFL fan. Being benched, you’re well within earshot of their scathing criticisms. These AFL fans can be as nasty as they come. Recently an English hooligan came across an AFL heckler and said the heckler used language that had made him wilt. What makes this story really alarming, though, was that the hooligan was a beefy lad from Leeds, whereas the AFL fan was a purple rinsed, nanny from Eaglemont … named Bev.
“You can’t abseil here Grylls. You can’t abseil now you turd.”
This heckler is really getting stuck into me now. If we were out in the wild, I would set up a snare to catch the blighter and then I’d roast him gutted over an open fire. I’d then use his charred bones to make a teepee and then drink a grub soup clean out of his skull. I’d then strip … hang on, I already did all this; it was early on in my second series: the episode where I went cannibal in the Everglades. Or was it in the Bahamas?
“This ain’t the Everglades, Grylls. You can’t pull that Everglades shit here.”
[Bear voice over] With this fan continuing to heckle me, albeit that I was quietly appreciative that he’d helped me sort out where I’d turned cannibal, I then braced myself as my problems typically escalated.
[Bear on camera] Crickey, it’s starting to hail now, huge golf ball sized pellets are raining down on me. All I have to insulate me is this meager dressing gown. Benched AFL players rug themselves in these pitiful robes and it’s a wonder they don’t end up suffering frost bite. [Bear glances at his groin, worrisomely.] Flippin nora, like I’m just about doing now!
[Bear voice over] It was then that something, at long last, went my way. Out on the field, one of the AFL’s most notorious thugs split a pack consisting of a good many of my teammates. Four of them now lay motionless on the ground. Agreeably, this development would mean my hateful coach would have no alternative but to put me back on.
[Back from ad break.]
[Bear voice over.] I’m playing in the AFL and I’m languishing frostbitten and heckled on the bench. My odious coach has hatefully vowed to keep me out of the action, but with several of my teammates knocked out, I’m now expecting he’ll have to suck up his pride and put me back on. Let’s see how this plays.
[Bear on camera] OK, the team’s runner has just taken a call from coach’s box and he’s looking my way and….
“Grylls, you’re back on. But wipe off that smirk: you’re on Sid.”
[Bear voice over.] Flippin nora, I’d thought at that moment. A hard tag on Sid. This will be as tough a challenge as they come.
[Bear on camera] Right, I’m now making my way towards Sid; that’s Sid ‘the butcher’ Finnigan: prison parole and the AFL’s most notorious thug. Sid ‘the butcher’ Finnigan has an infamy that precedes him – mainly because he’s hired a publicist to ramp it up, I should add – but nevertheless, it is one that is as well earned as it is well cultivated. For one, Sid’s the only player going round the AFL who has a crime against humanity charge in his CV. He’s also the only player who doubles as a pro kick boxer. Couple this with his facial tattoos, shaved head and multiple piercings, and you have a truly intimidating foe. Crickey nora, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
OK, I’m now side by side with Sid. The runner said our coach wants me in Sid’s face right away. “Needle him with everything you got,’ he said. Easier said than done.
Right, so I’m now engaging in a little physicality. There’s some pushing and shoving and I’m letting Sid know all about my mandate to give him some bother. [Bear is now in Sid’s face.] C’mon ya chickenshit blighter. Sound off like you’ve got a pair Mr Chickenshit.
[Sid shakes his head, more amused about Bear’s death wish than annoyed.]
“I hear you ate a Koala, mate?”
[Bear stops pushing] Yeah
“What’s it taste like?”
[Bear ponders]. Like Dolphin, I guess.
[The ball than comes Sid and Bear’s way.]
[Bear and Sid than wrestle as a wobbly torpedo tumbles their way. Using a not too subtle maneuver, Sid then wins pole position by shoving Bear in the back. He then takes the mark, but to his absolute disgust, Bear is awarded a free.]
[Bear on camera.] OK, Sid is frothing at the mouth about being denied that mark. The minute I take this kick, he’s gonna come at me with his fists. I’m gonna have to put together an exit strategy real fast.
[Back from ad break.]
[Bear voice over.] I’m playing in the AFL and I’ve got an enraged psychotic at the end of my mark who’s gonna come at me with a shiv right after I kick. I’ve gotta come up with something the instant the ball’s in play. Let’s see how I go.
[Bear on camera.] Boof! And I’ve punted the ball and Sid is now careering at me like a Rhino. [Bear looks above.] But I’ve got a plan.
[Sid cannons towards Bear and just as he is about to plough through him, Bear employs a Special Forces maneuver that springs him off Sid fourteen feet in the air. The camera than pans up and we now see Bear clinging to Spidercam’s cable.]
[Bear on camera.] What a rush! And I’m now clinging to the MCG’s spidercam cable. These cables web across the MCG and are ideal for hasty exit strategies like this. [Bear glances at a crazed looking Sid below.] Better get climbing.
[After a couple of hairy moments as spidercam zeroed in on his nuts, as well as doing a lot of whining about how much your arms and thighs burn in a rope climb, Bear eventually made it to the top of the Great Southern Stand.]
[Bear on camera.] Wow, the view up here is incredible. I can see all across Melbourne’s metro area. Really spectacular stuff.
[Bear now looks at the camera.] Well that brings me to the end of my AFL experience. It took everything I had to get through it, and once or twice there, I thought I was done for. Just glad it’s all over.
[A chopper than appears out of nowhere, drops a cable down to Bear, and flies off with him still climbing – Bear stalling to skylark, at one point, by hanging on with one hand.]
Next time in Man vs AFL
Bear takes on post-season challenges ‘Mad Monday’ and ‘Footy Trips.’ He also recalls the time he ate a Tassie Tiger (It tasted of formaldehyde!)
PS. There is no next time (this time.) Just like doing that ‘Next time’ shtick.