A Barracker’s Guide to Footy Survival

The footy is back. Well, it’ll be proper back in twenty-eight days time. In preparation for a long year ahead, a ten-step survival guide may come in handy. And, as we are repeatedly told in weekly press conferences, it’s all about the preparation. Are you prepared?

1. Indulge in the hype

The post-Christmas pre-season period is the only time of the year when every single club is ‘optimistic’ about their chances. Every player on the list is in ‘top shape’ and players are smashing their ‘PB’s’ in time-trials ’round the Tan. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge yourself in a substantial amount of optimistic visualisation. It’s acceptable to lose yourself in often forbidden thoughts of finals, Grand finals and dare I say it… Premierships. Soak it up, get behind your team and entertain the most outlandish of speculation. Misguided faith belongs here. At least until Round One.

2. Wear your colours

There’s nothing wrong with adult men wearing footy jumpers. There, I’ve said it. Contentious, I know. There is however, something inherently amiss with footy jumpers being worn minus a sleeved top underneath. As much as you’d love to be, you’re not actually playing. In fact, by wearing a sleeveless guernsey on its Pat Malone, you’re doing yourself and your footy club a horrible disservice. AFL footballers exercise for a living. Their arms reflect this. The average punter does not. His arms generally reflect this. If your biceps resemble those of a professional footballer, good luck to you, but you may want to find another hobby. You’re spending too much time attending your own personal ‘gun show’. Sleeves please.

3. Get to the footy

The draw has been available for some time now. If you haven’t perused as yet, what’s wrong with you? You’re falling behind already. This simply must be the highest of priorities. Get a calendar out, clear your schedule and pencil in some much-needed time in the stands. If you have the incredible misfortune to discover that your mate Jimmy’s getting married on the very day Carlton play Collingwood, West Coast take on Freo or whichever derby your team’s involved in, think of an excuse for Jimmy. You may even be the ‘Best Man’, but poor scheduling on Jimmy’s behalf is hardly your fault. Carefully choose your reasoning for not attending and just shoot him a text. Easy. [Harsh, but on balance, fair. – Ed]

4. Mute Bruce

Bruce n’ Den, BT n’ Darce, Hame n’ Basil. Mute them all. This will immediately rule out the possibility of self-combustion due to the untold fury and rage that you will experience when listening to this lot. Flick on the wireless, find your local ABC and revel in some devastatingly enjoyable analytical, tactical and humorous interactions, the type of which our great game deserves. No ‘Woweeeee’s’, no players described as ‘delicious’, and no Bruce. Just Gerard, Whitey, Sellers (occasionally Tadgh – great entertainment) and some good old-fashioned footy nous. The absence of hyperbole is surprisingly refreshing and also unusual within the current commentary landscape.

5. Sledge

Sledge your mates. Sledge your family. Sledge the bloody postman. Too far? Perhaps. Sledging is a part of every barracker’s DNA. Now we’re not talking Steve Waugh-style ‘mental disintegration’ here, just some lighthearted banter which stirs, irritates and ideally, compels the sledgee to engage in some comparable behaviour to yours. If you require assistance in this area, simply seek out the nearest Hawthorn supporter.

6. Join a Tipping Comp

Test your footy knowledge, footy loyalty and patience by signing up for a footy tipping competition. What a great idea. You will commence the season full of hope and bravado. Team announcements will be closely followed, not only to receive the latest Kurt Tippett injury information, but also to assist in the weekend’s tipping. Soon you will be questioning your very own sanity as you suddenly find yourself hurling various objects at the television in support of the Giants toppling the Demons in an otherwise meaningless Sunday twilight fixture. Your attempts to pick the upset that nobody else foresees, will leave you with stories of near misses which are akin to the ‘three-legged quaddie’. It is all in vain however, as before you know it, you have been defeated by your mother-in-law three years in a row. Enjoy.

7. Eat Well

Mexican food is the perfect accompaniment to a game of footy. An unusual match perhaps, but half-time quesadillas, enchiladas or burritos will soon have you under the illusion that Enrique Peña Nieto must have been integral in the invention of the humble handball. My personal favourite is a Chilli Beef Quesadilla. Recipe below:

Step One

Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until the mince changes colour. Add paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until combined and thickened slightly. Set aside for five minutes to cool.

Step Two

Preheat oven to 120°C. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add a tortilla and spoon over one-quarter of the mince mixture. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the cheese and top with a tortilla. Use a spatula to press tortilla down. Cook for one minute or until golden. Turn quesadilla over and cook for a further minute or until golden. Transfer to an oven tray and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil, tortillas, mince and cheese.

Step Three

Meanwhile, combine the avocado and coriander leaves in a small bowl. Cut each quesadilla into wedges. Place on serving plates, dollop with sour cream and top with avocado mixture. Serve immediately.

8. Drink Well

“Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world.” – Jack Nicholson.

Beer must accompany your football viewing. Nothing too heavy though, as you need to be coherent enough to remember the words to your team song at full-time. Recommendations include:

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – Brewed using all Australian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops, Pacific Ale is cloudy and golden with a big fruity aroma and a refreshing finish.

Mountain Goat Summer Ale – In a can! You can enjoy the fresh, dry aromatic ale that uses a blend of new world Kiwi and Aussie hops to create this thirst quenching and flavoursome ale.

Brewdog Punk IPA – This fresh, full flavoured India Pale Ale is a throwback to older styled IPA’s. Punk IPA is golden in colour with an explosion of tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose followed by an assertive, dry palate and biscuit malts leading to a bitter sharp finish.

A post-game Pinot Noir is permitted, however red wine consumption during a match is fraught with danger. Apparently, you can get over excited, enjoying the match and the grapes simultaneously, and perhaps a little too quickly. This may result in the room spinning and you laying shirtless on some cool, soothing bathroom tiles attempting to remedy the predicament you now find yourself in. Apparently.

9. Kick a footy occasionally

Especially after a loss. It’s good for the soul. Be sure to let rip with a few torps, it’ll make you happy.

10. Write

Finally, write about the game and your team. Join the Knackery and let your words express what this game truly means. You will not regret it.

Best of luck to all.


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About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Neil Anderson says

    You must have had me on supporter-cam Joe. I have just come in from sledging the postie who is a Collingwood supporter, but he gave as good as he got. He led with a volley of ” I see you’ve lost your best and fairest from last year! ” over the noise of his bike. I feebly reminded him he had a lot of players under an injury cloud, but he pretended to check the mail while pretending not to hear me.
    As far as footy snacks go, I would encourage everyone to try Mexican because Mission Foods is the major sponsor of the Western Bulldogs. It could be another form of crowd-funding to keep the Club solvent.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Sound advice, Joe. Will keep the guns in the locker. Fully accepting that it’s ok for a grown man to wear a footy jumper, but my question is should it have a number on the back?

    My rule for red wine is if it’s cold and cloudy it’s ok.

  3. A most useful guide Joe. Lots of sage thinking here.

    Like you I’m a bit concerned about the adults in the footy jumpers; agree that guns must be in their holsters.

    I’m now extra keen to get home and to the footy. When I visited Melbourne last July I wrote of my joy at discovering the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale:


    It’s a beauty, sadly absent from the already glum Singapore beer market. I shall buy one at my first convenience!

    And yes, you’ve always got to try a couple torps.


  4. I single-handedly brought Essendon back from the dead in the 1983 Grand Final at my local park after the final siren went that day. Spot on with the kick-to-kick advice.

    Not sure about Mexican though. It sounds like there’s far too much work in the Quesadilla action. Nachos – if I had to choose something south of San Diego but a good pizza during the footy is a lock.

    @Dave Brown. Numbers on jumpers only barely permissible.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Thanks JM, a lot of timely reminders in there, particularly re hydration! Along with your excellent beer suggestions can I add a couple?

    1. Thunder Road Full Stream larger (http://www.thunderroadbrewing.com/beer/full-steam) – it’s named after a Bruce song or a Robert Mitcham movie, either way, that’s a way cool start
    2. Hawthorn Pale Ale (http://hawthornbrewing.com.au/) or any of the other Hawthorn brews on offer – I’ve mentioned (advertised) this beer previously on this site and I’ll do it again, don’t you worry about that. You know, I had a slab of this stuff waiting for me when I got back home following the ’14 GF …

  6. Joe Moore says

    Thanks gents.

    Neil – postman sledging sounds like fun. Not sure which team my postie follows, I’ll have to strike up that conversation. Mission products are certainly looked favourably upon when whipping up some tasty Mexican treats.
    Dave – under normal circumstances I love a red, just not a good idea when I’m watching the footy. As for numbers on the guernsey, I’m not sure…
    Mickey – great read and it is certainly a great drop! Make the most of it upon your return.
    Steve – the joy will always remain in kicking a footy. Pizza also a close 2nd for me!

  7. Joe Moore says

    Absolutely, thanks Rick.

    I might steer clear of the 2nd beer that you have listed there. It’s still too soon!

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great work Joe,
    Hawthorn fans should be banned from wearing the jumper over their business shirts.
    Always up for kick to kick, preferably neat stab passes with no long leads. Cheers.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hey Joe (always wanted to say that), you’ve got the demographic down pat, although I only wear jumpers to Almanac events.

    I reckon the Tipping Comp is a great leveller but also ensures an interest in each game. I think I’m going to be part of the Footy Maths Institute comp this year (for the first time), so even more intrigue.

    Haven’t kicked a footy for a while now that my girls are past it,. There is a big ball-eating tree in Princes Park, Caulfield that still has the results of one of my attempted sky-high show-off dobs.

    Eds – Why ain’t this in Foody Almanac yet?

  10. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Phil. Agree 100% on the ‘long lead’ ban.

    Absolutely agree on the tipping comps Swish. Keeps interest in all games….just bloody frustrating! Hope you get that footy back.

  11. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Evening fellow Swan,
    A few things to add …
    Indulging: I am experiencing unseasonal early interest. And loving it. Maybe it’s that taste in the mouth …
    Colours: Spot on re the guns! Spot on. Similar issues for the girls, esp in the era of fashionably low slung sleevage to induce revelation of under attire. I find my 2005 premiership hooped socks and red clogs suffice.
    Muting Bruce: Might I also suggest replacing him with the National Indigenous Radio Service?
    Tipping: Run a tipping comp. I do find tipping messes with my head in all sorts of ways though. Might find myself hellishly barracking for nemeses. And the battle between head and heart just about does me in by late September; I’m a heart girl.
    Eating: Nachos too. On the rug in front of the box. With a lot of sour cream and a sharp earthy red.
    Drinking: At the game, mid July, western Sydney … the Glenlivet.
    Kicking: On the way home from school. Sun in the eyes.
    Writing: Bien sûr.
    Really enjoyed this. Thanks. The build up’s a little bit catching …

  12. This is a very comprehensive guide. Well done. Was worried about your endorsement of out of shape men wearing footy guernseys at the game but glad you clarified with the long sleeve shirt clause

  13. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Mathilde. A wonderfully uplifting response. I’m also enjoying the building of anticipation that this time of year brings. Nachos, Glenlivet and the National Indigenous Radio Service also fine suggestions.

    Even a T-Shirt under the guernsey is sufficient Jeff. Just as long as there is some form of sleeve involved.

  14. Great advice Joe! The Brew Dog Punk IPA sounds like a nice drop and in a can too!

  15. Luke Reynolds says

    Love this Joe. I’m very partial to an Indian Pale Ale. From any brewery. And agree that a Pinot or Shiraz should be enjoyed, or consoled with, after a game. I still wear the guernsey (with sleeves of course!) but at 35 wondering how much longer I can do this for.

  16. Thanks Luke. IPA’s sit comfortably at the top of my beer drinking preferences. Many out there too. I’m firmly in the ‘wear your guernsey’ camp, if that’s your footy routine. No matter your age. It’s a personal choice.

    Cheers, Martin. Sounds as though you may have sampled some of the Brew Dog’s fine work. Always best in a can!

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