A Good Mean Club Song.

Fengal rock up to play us. Their reserves have three men as old as me. At one stage, one of them fair bowls me over, then helps me up.
“You’re my vintage.” he says.
Later, I try to run through him, as he would me. In play, it’s all respect and fair.
We win easy, I do okay. Even get a spell on the forward line. I kick one in the first minute I’m there, and remind the coach six times.
At one point, towards the end, another pack mark sticks. I hear one of the younger players state:
“Dog, you are. A. Dead. Set. Legend!” as if he’s proud.
To some of us, we’re not reserves players, we’re footballers. Shit like that, at any level, means the world.
After the game I don’t feel spent. The goals would be nice, but I’ve been a backman/ruckman my whole life. I like to work. Who the hell would want to be a full-forward?

The weather’s cleared by the time I get out from the showers. The skies are blue and cold. I spent most of the senior game watching small clouds run across the Mt. Slough. It towers over the oval and town. A shifting mass of trees that gives way to boulders and rock slides. It always feels god to know that buried in that, at the back of a small clearing about half way up, is my home.
And, by extension, this oval, and town, are my home. That the view from its peak is the land I own.
The seniors come from two goals down into a strong wind, to win. In the weatherboard hall that is our change-rooms they thump out that club song! Thump it! Smash their feet down with every word. They shout it! From the chest, from the heart.
It shakes the bird shit and walls. It echoes for miles. It tells everybody and everything, as a club we’re here and dangerous, and alive. It lets the opposition know, clear and loud, everything there is to know about intimidation and football.
A good club song, when sung right, is a healthy, mean thing. Tribal. Primal.

Nothing less, nothing more.

Today, ours has kicked off the night’s festivities just fine.

Fengal is a coal mining town up in the highlands. People call their ground the Valley of Pain. We’re due to play them there at the height of winter, when it snows. I hope it snows. As much as I’ll hate it, I’ll love it. My fingers and toes will hurt, I’ll swear and try to go harder and get shitty and, later, laugh, and all will be fine.


  1. Who do you play with Matt?

    Is that the same Fengal (Fingal) that was kept scoreless by Old Scotch in last year’s Grand Final.

  2. Matt Zurbo says


    I like to keep physical and jumper descriptions to a minimum and mix up the names, so it’s not about me and my footy club, but about the club next to you, and the players you see in the street, working, shopping, being locals.

    But, you might be close to the mark.

  3. graham from rocherlea says

    matt you couldn’t knock over a tub of yoghurt

  4. Matt Zurbo says

    Yadda, yadda,, yadda.

    Thought Rocha were going to have a year off. They’re slaying it.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great read Old Dog and spot on re your a legend at any level does mean the world !
    Love how you take us all there to the place and paint the picture of where the game and event is happening this is a major strength in your writing . Club songs ar generally sung with far more gusto and meaning at amateur level than the elite level
    ( Richmond song is magnificent tho ) Thanks Old Dog

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