AFL Round 14 – Richmond v Sydney: Wagga United

My mobile rings at 4.30pm and rescues me from a turd of a week at work. The boys have arrived from Wagga and are on the way to my office from Flinders Street. I dash to the latrine and ditch the corporate attire for my Swans Jacket. I head down the lift and the weight of the world is lifted off my shoulders.

I went to primary school with Brad and Tonks. Brad was the best man at my Wedding and Tonks the MC. 30 plus years of mateship. Chris is the newbie, we met him at high school so he has just ticked over 20 years. A leave pass and The Swans at the G on a Friday night with the boys. Bliss.

Blokes from Wagga don’t do hugs. A quick handshake followed by a derogatory remark about said persons fashion, weight gain or hair loss is the welcome. In our own way the warmth is evident. It feels like we are back at high school as we walk up Bourke Street. The more things change…

First stop is Mrs Parma’s restuarant in Little Bourke St. 4 Pints on the table and the talk quickly turns to the relevant topic of comb overs vs the tight cropped look. A consensus is reached that I will be the first to encounter ‘total wipeout’ and that at all costs I should not do what Jason Dunstall did and leave a little tuft at the front. Other big topics covered as we polish off our Parma’s and Pints are why I went dateless at the Mount Austin High year 10 formal and who won the Tolland primary school touch footy comp in 1988.

Next stop the Elephant & Wheelbarrow. Another few Pints and I am feeling semi cut. 6 months of not much drinking will do that. A quick check of the watch says 7pm. We make the walk through the gardens and the talk turns to past trips. Remember the marshmallow final game I ask?

We take our seats on level 2 in the AFL members and are seated immediately behind what I suspect is the remains of the ‘Carlton Crew’. All black jackets, product in the hair and mobile phones going off like pistols. Better not spill a drop down the front of the chair.

It seems the chairs at the G have shrunk. We struggle to fit in 4 abreast as knees, elbows and girth hit. Must be the chairs.

The boys take great delight in pointing out the fact the Tigers have had it over the Swans at the G in recent times. I am worried. I know the abuse is coming from the lads should the Tigers put up a good show. I am the only Swan in the gang with Brad following the Kangas, Tonks the Dees and Chris the Hawks.

I make Brad a $100 bet that the Kangas will not win a flag in his lifetime. He is livid. I ask for a clause to be put in his Will so the debt doesn’t go through to the keeper if he goes first. I dare say I will be wrong but it is good to fire the big man up.

The Tigers get the jump. The Swans look uninterested. Cotchin seems to have his own football and Martin shows his class. Wake up Boys. Alex Rance is doing the job on Buddy and the smile on Brad’s face says it all. Each Tigers goal and the boys slip the knife in.

Quarter time brings some relief on the scoreboard and the bladder (5 pints and I’m in trouble).

The second quarter and it is more of the same. All of a sudden it it 40 to 14 and I’m looking for the exit while the boys are in stitches. If Riewoldt had kicked straight we would be in more trouble. We drag a few back before the main break and it is a manageable 16 point defecit.

The Carlton crew continues to move and shake and we discuss what type of little league coach I would make. I argue with the boys that employing a tagger in the under 8s is probably frowned upon.

Horse must have lined a few up during the break because the Swans come out with some hustle in the third. Kennedy is again the chief mover and Parker continues to develop. The game is not pretty and the slippery ball and wind does players and fans no favours. The Swans grind and the Tigers stop running. Buddy is starting to get going. His kicking is accurate and is saving the game.

The Tigers bag one after the siren to grab a one point lead at the final break.

The Swans play like a team with more to lose in the last quarter and Wagga boy Cunningham finds plenty off it. 4 proud Wagga boys in the stand concur that Wagga is still Australia’s best producer of sporting talent pound for pound. Carey, Kelly, The Elk, Sterlo, Slats, Henry, Tubby just to name a few. Unfortunately the 4 boys in the stand have let down the average!

The Swans get over the line. Glad to bank the points and get home. The Tigers are better than recent weeks and you could not fault the effort tonight.

A few more sledges and I bid the lads farewell still, sides sore from laughing all night and looking forward to the next 30 years of mateship with the boys from Wagga.

Sydney         1.2  4.2  7.5  9.8  (62)

Richmond   4.2  6.4  7.6  7.9  (51)


Sydney: Franklin 4, K. Jack 2, Reid 2, McVeigh

Richmond: Reiwoldt 2, Miles 2, Edwards, Hampson, Deledio


Sydney: Franklin, Cunningham, Kennedy, Parker

Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Maric

Malarkey Medal

3. Franklin 2. Cunningham 1. Cotchin

crowd: 37,633 MCG

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done Craig sounds like a great night catch ups like yours are bloody important for our well being . You guys had a better night than the standard of footy provided .
    Umpiring and the game itself terrible

  2. Dr Rocket says

    Did you deliberately leave Turvey off the list of Wagga greats?

  3. Don Meadows says

    Well done Craig. It sounds as if catching up with mates (and a decent second half from the Swans) made the night worthwhile.
    And maybe you’re right about Wagga Wagga (is the double name obligatory?) – you could add Captain Courageous Paul Kelly to that star-studded list.

  4. craig dodson says

    Cheers Malcolm – you are spot on, a catch up like that does wonders for you.
    Rocket – not deliberately, just punched out the story over a lunch so just plucked a few from the top of my head. I’ll turn my head to do a full list and put an article up later this week if I have time.
    Thanks Don – the double name actually has a meaning – place of many crows. Yep Paul Kelly should be the top of any list…..

  5. Another good article Craig. Being a pedant however i must question one person in your the list of Wagga sporting perrformers; Tubby? Mark Taylor was from Leeton, though he did spend time in Wagga. Henry Lawson is a fine Wagga produced sportsmen.


  6. craig dodson says

    Cheers Glen. The Tubby situation has got me thinking about what constitutes a towns right to claim. Birthplace is the natural one and by right he is a Leeton Product. That being said Tubby did spent 7 years in Wagga from Primary school to the end of high school when he moved to Sydney to Study. He learnt all his cricket in Wagga. I’m biased because he played 6 years for my same local club (Lake Albert). The local council threw him and Slats a tickertape parade after the 1993 Ashes tour… I guess the only person who can give an honest answer about where he calls ‘home’ is Tubby himself

  7. Good point Craig, it makes sense to me.


  8. Jeff Murphy says

    And Tubby was a handy player for the Parramatta Holroyd Goannas in his early years in Sydney while he developed his rep cricket career. He still makes it to the supporter days at the club.

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