A merger with the Cervantes Tiger Sharks


by Damian  Callinan

‘Do you mind if we start another 15 late? The chef wants to do the dishes now so he can f*#k off home?’


As I changed into my costume behind the modest screen that only barely concealed me from the queue for the kitchen bain maries and didn’t at all conceal me from ‘The Cervantes Country Club’ car park, I pondered whether Olivier had ever been asked something similar before trotting out Hamlet at Drury Lane.


Dishes done, bar closed and lights dimmed I finally appeared on the stage dressed as a whirling dervish and began to spin in front of the club’s tropical fish mural that ‘JK Robertson’ lovingly crafted in 2007. The high hat of the Sufi had to be tilted slightly to avoid the ceiling fan, brought closer to head height by the temporary stage, but the laughs started when I revealed my skirt tucked into my undies and flowed easily once the dervish had completed the transformation into a goal umpire.


Cervantes was stop 7 on my recent Country Arts WA tour of my one man show ‘The Merger’, the story of the struggling Bodgy Creek Roosters who find the solution to their dwindling numbers on Christmas Island [if only the ALP could]


The Country Club at Cervantes [200 odd clicks north ofPerth] is home to the footy, bowls and golf club and currently managed by Cervantes Tiger Sharks Legend and President, Dale ‘Whaler’ Simmons.


Dale’s mum stared the club back in the early 80’s when they moved from nearbyJurienBay. She was buggered if she was going to keep driving her boys back and forth for footy training so she started a new club. By Dale’s own reckoning ‘the club was a disgrace for the first few years.’ They reached their nadir in the last game of the home and away season of season 3. The senior team arrived at the ground to play a distant foe to find that no-one had rembered to pack the team jumpers. After being whipped by a 3 figure margin wearing t-shirts with chalk numbers drawn on the back, something broke.


The club has now won 15 premierships in 24 years and 11 of the past 13 and are despised by their opposition ‘because of our success’ according to Whaler but as my alter ego Roosters coach Troy Carrington pointed out on stage, the ill feeling may have more to do with how often Tiger Shark conversations are punctuated with their premiership statistics.


’11 out of 13 is usually followed by ‘Did you know the ‘Le Cras’ boys played here.’ It was fortunate this was pointed out as I had simply dismissed the several hundred references to Mark Le Cras on the fake wood panelling as simply a regional anomaly.


‘See that mounted crayfish up there, Mark Le Cras has probably looked at that.’


The Tiger Sharks are rightly proud of their success. With a population of around 300 they are far and away the smallest town represented in the Central Midlands Coastal League and only a handful of blokes commute fromPerth. They were also the smallest town on the tour and close the biggest audience. Whaler even organised a bust to shuttle audience from the enemy zone of JurienBay.


I will never forget the woman who sat through the whole show with a cigarette in her hand who won a t-shirt at the end of the show for guessing correctly that the tour was sponsored by ‘Smoke Free WA’


I will never forget the big bloke in the front row whom I admonished savagely in my half time address who simply uttered the word ‘prison’ menacingly when pressed for his occupation.


I will never forget Mitford’s laugh: ridiculous in formation but joyous in intent.


I will never forget the warmth of that community and that they presented me with the Number 34 jersey at the end of the night. Who did wear 34 for The Tiger Sharks? Whoever he was he’s probably won a shit load of premierships and met one of the Le Cras boys.

Damian Callinan’s play “The Merger” starts its Melbourne season next Tuesday with a Victorian regional tour to follow in October and November. Details below.


Melbourne Season

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat – The Runcible Spoon Theatre
Address: 34 Swan Street, Richmond (opposite Richmond Railway Station)
Dates: Tuesday September 13 – Sunday September 18
Tickets: All tix $22 online
Times: All shows 7.30pm

Bookings: www.owlandcat.com.au/themerger.html

Website: www.dirtywork.net
Victorian Regional Tour dates


Oct 7 – Portland
Oct 8 – Tallarook
Oct 13 – Warragul
Oct 14 – Bruthen
Oct 15 – Drysdale
Oct 16 – Shepparton
Oct 18 – Dookie
Oct 19 – Bendigo
Oct 20 – Heathcote
Oct 21 – Pyramid Hill
Oct 22 – Elmore
Oct 23 – Castlemaine
Oct 25 – Bairnsdale
Oct 27 – Mt Beauty
Oct 28 – Upwey
Oct 29 – Wodonga
Oct 31 – Morwell
Nov 2 – Cavendish
Nov 3 – Penshurst
Nov 4 – Coleraine
Nov 5 – Rosebud


Damian Callinan in “The Merger”

The Barry Award – nominated show for the best of the 2010 Melbourne Comedy Festival returns, for a strictly limited and very timely season.

Damian Callinan is looking for recruits for the Bodgy Creek Football Team … but not where you might expect!

Poor old Bodgy Creek has seen better days – sadly typical of hollowed-out rural towns all over Australia, the local footy club is struggling to field a side. So the club will either have to fold or merge with their arch rivals – The Hudson’s Flat Cougars.

But prodigal son, coach Troy Carrington, has other ideas.  To save the club and serve his socially aware agenda, he embarks on a program to recruit players from the Asylum Seekers Refuge Centre.

Will the new players cope with pre season training whilst fasting for Ramadan?;

The Merger was the third show for which Damian Callinan has been nominated for the prestigious Melbourne Comedy Festival Barry Award. After selling out season in Adelaide and Melbourne and featuring on the Comedy Festival Gala on Network Ten, Damian’s been travelling it widely, recently returning from a WA tour.

Before setting off on another, extensive tour of regional Victoria, Damian brings the show back to metro Melbourne for a strictly limited season – just in time for AFL finals week!

“Television executives be told: With Bodgy Creek Football Club, Damian Callinan has created a ready-to-go one-man sitcom, offering credible characters and a funny, sometimes touching, script. It could be the next Summer Heights High.” – Chortle

“…stirs your soul while jolting the funny bone.” Footy Almanac



Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat – The Runcible Spoon Theatre

Address: 34 Swan Street, Richmond (opposite Richmond Railway Station)

Dates: Tuesday September 13 – Sunday September 18

Tickets: All tix $22 online

Times: All shows 7.30pm

Bookings: www.owlandcat.com.au/themerger.html

Website: www.dirtywork.net.au


Toby Sullivan, Dirty Work Comedy Ph: 03 9329 9336 M: 0408 033 251



  1. Damian, Congrats on the show, and thanks for the article. I once went to the footy at Cervantes, a beautiful sandy oval, and they were playing Jurien Bay that day. WE were en route to The Pinnacles one of the most over-hyped natural features I’ve been sucked into visiting.

  2. Damian Callinan says

    Yes John, even the locals are a little underwhelmed by the Pinnacles. One of the club legends revealed that it was 5 years before he bothered to see them and it was only that one of his mates was getting married there that motivated the visit.

  3. watt price tully says

    Does anyone know where in Upwey Damiens The merger wil be playing?

  4. watt price tully says

    I ought to have noted Damien’s show is on 28 October 2011 in Upwey.

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