Almanac Family News: Cielo Zurbo




My great mate Rory Mansell rings from Sydney. He’s a Tassie brother, who’s work takes him away sometimes. A brilliant footballer – tough and tall and smart – who just hung up the boots.


He did it well. After dragging his failing body through a few seasons, including this one, he patched it together for one last Grand Final, and was best three in a flag. A great time to retire.


“How you feeling, Bruz?” he asks. Makes me wish he was here for a beer. And glad he’s not. It’s just me and Elena and the new baby. Cielo. Spanish for Sky and Heaven. Cielo Zurbo.


I watch her. She’s tiny. 2.4kgs. A rover in the women’s league. A scientist, a punk rocker, a solid worker in a straight job. Whatever she wants to do or be… This dollop of sun, burning, churning, ready to cast light.


“Its true mate,” I say. “The second you hold ’em…”


“Much more important: How’s the mum?” he asks.


“Brilliant! More and more beautiful. A born mother. I could fucking eat her glow!” I tell him. “And what she went through… Bruz…!


“Yeah,” Rory says. “They reckon it changes a bloke.”


“After witnessing that up close, footballers are a bunch of wimps!


“That’s what I meant. A lot of teammates say it changes your view of what’s tough.”


And we shut up, best of mates, over distance, over a phone connection, contemplating what’s what…




  1. Congratulations Matt and Elena! It’s the delighting news.

    Having a Spanish name is nice by the way.



  2. Welcome Cielo Zurbo.

  3. Well done old dog. This doesn’t just change you, it changes the world.

    Welcome Cielo. What a precious little thing.

  4. Mark Duffett says

    Truly stellar. Reckon you could add ‘writer’ to the constellation of potentialities.


  5. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    A tear for the beautiful, new wee life you hold in your hands Matt.

    May Cielo’s particular sky be one that even horizons can’t bind. And may you always remember the pure power of her mum and help her protect and grow it always. Alongside that of your daughter.

    And to you, having never met you in person, what a perceptive Dad I reckon you’ll be. It’s stunning the way she will accompany you both and broaden everything in your world. And I bet your glance is wide enough to take it all in! Look forward to all the stories.

  6. Marcus Holt says

    Congratulations Matt.
    And in further good news, I bought your book yesterday and I’m loving it, top stuff.

    All the best with parenthood…

  7. Matt Zurbo says

    Cheers muchly crew. A family I’ve never met, but know well! xo

  8. Welcome Cielo.
    May you find your way.

  9. I’m with Mathilde Matt, with a dad like you, she’s in pretty safe (if gnarly) hands

    welcome Cielo, well done all


  10. Felicidades por tu nuevo bebé Cielo.
    (I had to Google Translate that. Never got past dos cervevas and buenos dias in 6 weeks myself.)
    Beautiful name. Congrats Elena and Matt.
    I reckon Cielo just got the best possible start to life and you got the best possible epilogue.
    Live, love, learn and leave a legacy.

  11. Cat from the Country says

    Congratulations to you and you family on the safe arrival of your daughter Cielo.
    Life just got a whole lot better.
    Enjoy as she will be grown up before you know it

  12. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Congrats Matt and Elena. Cielo has a ton of stories to hear and read ahead. Enjoy the adventure !!

  13. Malby Dangles says

    Good stuff!!

  14. Some corker wishes in here. It’s true, write from the heart! Thank you all. A very happy Old D!

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