Almanac Life: A West Australian Out Of Water




A year ago I moved from WA to the other side of the country for a job that was only meant to last nine months.


All things going to plan, by June I was going to be home, back in WA, watching my beloved Freo Dockers with 60,000 other people.

Lots of things have changed since then. I am still in NSW, I haven’t seen my family or friends in six months, I am little chance of being around 60 other people, let alone 60,000. Meanwhile back home there is a crowd of my people doing all the things I wish I was doing.


I am stranded and have some mixed feelings about it all.


WA have their borders closed for a reason, and that is protecting the people I love the most. I am grateful that my grandparents in their 80s feel safe enough to head to the footy each week, scream at Nat Fyfe and praise Justin Longmuir with 20,000 other people, but there is a part of me that burns to do the same thing.


Watching Freo take on Collingwood over the weekend was a mix of emotions.

Seeing Caleb Serong line up at a centre bounce with Fyfe, Mundy, Adams and Sidebottom and not skip a beat filled me with hope, hearing the ‘FREOOOO’ chant ringing around Optus Stadium filled me with pride and knowing that my parents are at the ground enjoying a win that we truly deserved made me feel grateful. I also feel a deep sense of longing as I watched the game on my laptop because it isn’t shown on free-to-air TV here.


My eyes welled up at the end of the win over Collingwood, mostly because I was SO stoked to see JLo’s plan come to fruition, but also partly because I wanted to be there, I wanted to feel those things with 20,000 other people, scream ‘FREOOOO’ until I was hoarse, and talk about the game with strangers on the train ride home. I had no idea how much I would miss those things as soon as I couldn’t do them.


I know I am lucky to still have a job, I am lucky to have a great network of people supporting me and I am so lucky I can still leave the house and have a beer at the pub.


The AFL has done everything they can to keep the game rolling and for that I am eternally thankful, but watching a Freo game on a laptop at home at 8pm on a Sunday just hits differently.


At the moment it serves as a reminder of how far away I am from home, from my family and my friends and the happy feeling that going to the footy gives me.


Looking at the next few months, we have no idea what’s going to happen. I am planning for my first Christmas without family, while quietly hoping things rapidly turn around and I will be able to see them after all.


What I do know though is that Justin Longmuir, like Mark McGowan, has a plan and so far I like it. Being away is hard, but being away and Freo losing is harder.


So to those who are missing their home and their people, stick fat, keep pushing through and give 110%.


To those who are in WA, heading to Freo games – give an extra big ‘FREOOOO’ chant for the people watching on their laptops on the other side of the country.
It fills my little purple heart with joy.




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A proud West Aussie living in NSW, spreading the good word of the Freo Dockers!


  1. David Zampatti says

    Good on you Poppy – put a gap in ‘em!

    There was nothing made you feel more lucky to be hear in WA than being at Optus watching Freo’s kids get over Collingwood – and how strange it was that, despite half-capacity restrictions, the gruesome time slot for the game and some iffy weather, it was still, as far as I can discover, the biggest crowd at a sporting event in the world that day!

    But we do miss you all – we miss our Lily like Matt misses you, Penny. Hope it won’t be too long.

  2. Good to hear from you Poppy. Hope the writing was therapeutic. I think a lot of people empathise with you.


  3. Brilliant piece. Will be thinking of you over there while i’m at the game getting absolutely sloshed in the rain tomorrow night behind the goals

  4. David Zampatti says

    Al, if you’d like to drop me a line ([email protected]) I can improve your vantage point tonight (mightn’t be quite out of the rain, but on the wing) – we can’t make it but have 3 tiks.

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