Off Season Odyssey – Part 34: Punting on a punt

    Eight solid hours of driving through 35degree heat and I hit the ferry well after dark. “Didn’t think I’d make it,” I say to the bloke who steers me on. “Last one for the night,” he smiles, and I cross the Daintree River into the tropics. The ute is still fizzing and popping [Read more]

Short story: Who farted?

Let your imaginations go, to become part of what happened at the Brownlow. (This is a short story)

A Corker Grand Final

How damn brilliant was Jetta taking on Rioli? Something for the ages.

It was like the fight everybody wanted. Everybody expected. As if the two of them had no say in it. As if it wasn’t just a piece of play, as if it wasn’t just a race. There was ownership involved.

Footy Short Story: The Test

by Matt Zurbo
A wedding is scheduled for Grand Final day.

Off Season Odyssey – Part 33: The Real Plugger

  It’s belting down rain on the highway. On the everything. I have two days to get 1,600kms, which is going to take every cent I have. I’m over music, it’s all starting to sound the same. I love driving. Even when I’m hating it, or fighting it and sleep. An open road, a purpose. [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 32: Masters of Stories

  I’m driving through Air Force bases, and Army bases, and American Military bases and palm trees and R.A.A.F museums, when I hear Townsville Sharks Masters Footy Club are having a training run on a stinking hot Sunday morning. I’ve been on the road for a day and a half, and still have to get [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 31: Soothing Rain

  Lucy’s hurting. It breaks my heart. She comes over, all warm smiles, to pick her boys up from where I’m staying the night, just outside Charter Towers. Her ex-husband is camping in the bungalow until he sorts his shit out. It’s been his turn with the kids for a day or two. He’s vanished [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 30: A Legend Called Uzz

  Shortcut, Gladstone. The road winds, just right, through rolling hills and eucalypts. It’s beautifully empty other than the music in the deck and kilometre long coal trains that weave into and out of riding side-saddle with me. They look as if they were made with everything else: the volcanoes, the rocks. Natural. I grew [Read more]

AFL Grand Final: Half-time Legends

  It’s half-time in the big one. The game’s a bottler. We’re all happy little Vegemites, excited, hairy, overgrown children, bundling out of Roland’s beat-up Grand Final shed to piss, fire up the barbie, wince at daylight, and kick the footy. “You in it, Dippa?” I ask. No idea how he got the nickname, he [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 29: Full-Backs

It’s late. I’m all over the road like a goddamn zombie. My left wheel keeps hitting the gravel, I’m constantly falling asleep. I can’t even remember where I’m heading. A central Queensland mining town, I think.

Off Season Odyssey – Part 28: Starting Late

Starting Late. If.   If this Off Season lasted forever I’d hang around at each town, each truck stop and city, until I really got to know the people, the place. I’d stay until that person who I was sure, given time, would be a good mate, became a good mate. If time could be [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 27: Gods, AFL Footballers and Human Beings

    The Gold Coast is L.A. with cane toads. A paradise they’ve layered a blanket of bitumen over, then pinned down with big boats and shopping centres. It oozes money and ex-Victorians. At its heart is Broadbeach. A wonderland of towering, round-edged, honeycomb apartments, swimming around a sea of top dollar restaurants. There are [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 26: Bread and Sports

Somehow, while heading towards work on the Gold Coast, the ute stops at a pub.    Well, I never! How could it not? The town is high in the mountains, full of trees and old school buildings, which make it look much smaller, more forgotten than it is, in good ways. The pub’s the St.Kilda [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 25: What Makes a Champion?

Matt Zurbo reaches Tamworth, and catches up with Greg Champion.

AFL Grand Final: Betting on O’Keefe

    Roland and I are walking through our small town between bouts of sideways rain, doing it easy. I’ve just cut a load of wood to pay for my grog over the Grand Final weekend. We slip into the tavern to be warm for the length of a lazy traveller. “Give me your iThingie,” [Read more]

AFL Grand Final: Let There Be Football

  Right now it’s past midnight. Tomorrow. Saturday. Grand-damn-Final day! Praise be and hallelujah Grand! Final! When jets play on jets. Champions are put on Champions. Redemption stories are put on redemption stories. One tale to be confirmed, etched in stone. The other to be shattered and fade like false dawns. I’ve said it before, [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 24: Addictions

    Jesse’s Aboriginal. Light, like his Mum, who he grew up with down south, in the bush where I’m from. He’s gone to work with his Dad, who is full-blood, on the Central NSW Coast. It’s been ages and is great to see him. He’s nineteen now, but, due to his height, still looks [Read more]

AFL Preliminary Finals – Sydney v Collingwood: Revenge, Redemption and Jetta

    It’s been a huge fortnight. September, surely, is Christmas for footyheads. A whole month of it, longer than we get for holidays. I’ve been to the mainland, watched the game’s oldest, greatest rivals, Port Melbourne and Williamstown slog it out in a VFL Semi, at a ground where you could sit or stand [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 23: Spent… Cooked…Content

Off-season Odyssey Pt. 23 Leo Barry was a good player, no doubt. 200-odd games for the Swans. A struggling forward, and honest backman. A ripper full-back! With nothing more than the build of a flanker. He’s smaller than me, for Christ’s sake! Had it over Gehrig. Knew Fev was a confidence player, so whacked into [Read more]

The Brownlow Medal: Brownlow Thoughts?

Brownlow Thoughts?   Well done Jobe! You are a jet! A superstar! All those other fancy words. A Brownlow winner! A Brownlow! Hell, yeah. And, I thought, a damn worthy one! I loved watching you play this year, your hardness. Your want! Geez, you have want! And you seem like a top bloke! Anyone else [Read more]