Off Season Odyssey – Part 17: Nowhere Rugby

  I’m driving through some town in NSW. I’ve well lost count of names and details. It looks like a beaut. Rural. No coast for miles. Nothing but giant waves of mountains. They’re everywhere, weaving into and out of horizons. The people in this place are different to those on the coast. They live here, [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 16: Not Every Club Is Roses

Off Season Odyssey Pt.16.   Not every Club is Roses.   The plan is simple. Vaguely bounce through Kingston, S.A., then wobble towards Gypsy Point, somewhere on the other side of the ranges, where there’s work on the coast. About two days away, give or take. But there’s a beaut pub just off the highway, [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 15: The World is Round

  The World Is Round.   The world is round. Drive far enough through any desert and you’ll find a river, or the ocean. I wake up beside what I later figure is the Wimmera River. A superb, muddy thing with no rush to it. The trout let me know they’re there, and I swim [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part14: Kicking Over Wheat Silos

  Kicking Over Wheat Silos   I wake up with four kids staring at me. Blink. Blink, blink. The farm is half way between Bordertown and nowhere. Pete gets off the phone. “There’s no work for you today,” he tells me. I get the impression the boss is the sort of bloke who says “There’s [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 12: Aussie Humour

AUSSIE HUMOUR.   “No tribal colours,” the bouncer tells me, holding his hand out. We both look at the North jumper I’m wearing. “It’s okay, he’s with the band,” Gav says. “I know the band,” the bouncer says. He’s from Warrnambool. So are the Monaros. Like the King and Queen are from England, and David Boon [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 11: New Year’s Without Resolutions

Off Season Odyssey Pt11.   New Year’s Without Resolutions.   Princetown has a beaut oval. Round. Hard. There’s no team any more, no town. Just the reedy wetlands that is the last gasp of the Gellibrand River, where farmers, back in the day, paddled their milk downstream, on longboats, to the Saturday market. Just coastal [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey – Part 10: Pre-season is Serious Business

  “Come have a kick!” I say to Louie. We were teammates at Otway for three years. I have no idea how, yet here he is, on the coast, working in Kenty’s Surf Shop. “Up yours, Zurbo! It’s summer. You haven’t changed.”

Off Season Odyssey – Part 9: The Bandidos

  After a few big days in the bush, spraying in the gullies, and clearing fireweed, I come down from the hills to have a surf not far off sunset – the good, stupid, lazy kind that hurts no-one. Not the kids on boogie boards I can’t dodge, not me or the water. Jumping in [Read more]

Off-Season Odyssey Part 7: Alcohol und Footyball

  This Odyssey is turning me into an alcoholic. Each stop, old teammates badger me: “We haven’t seen you in years! And you don’t want to have a drink with us?!” So we kick, then drink, as if a little run around has earned it. Each stop I pick up a few more good memories [Read more]

Off Season Odyssey Part 6: Excaliball

Footyhead of the Cove… Devil’s Kitchen, Moonlight Head, Victoria. I hope all the Knackers have a corker of a season on and off the oval next year. Matt Zurbo.

Brett’s Last Hurrah

  Hello? Yes, Brett. What? You don’t want me to call you Brett today? Oh. Mr. Ratten? No? Um… Rats? Yes, yes, I can hear you… Oh, I thought you were cursing. Serious? Jesus on a cross? What, as if it’s a name? I know, yes I know you still have three hours to go [Read more]

Discussion: Today’s Champions

    Right now I’m wondering if Martin Pike was a Champion. Four Premierships, All-Australians. A B&F. He did it in winning sides, he did it with no support at Fitzroy. What about John Blakey? Rohan Smith? Both played over 300 games of elite level football. Many say you can’t reach that number without being [Read more]

Footy Poetry: Josh

Matt Zurbo is at a footy-watching, beer-drinking, rock’n’roll, Saturday night thirtieth.

Friday footy is a beautiful thing

Friday Footy is a Beautiful Thing.   I finished work not long after sunset, watching the moon wobble up from, then across, the mountains. It was almost full, but not, as if someone had dropped it on its head. As I came down the logging tracks into the valley, towards the nearest farms, that lead [Read more]

From Matt Zurbo

Readers,   I am addicted to football. I am broke because of it. My body’s a mess because of it. I damn well love it. As do millions.   I wrote the Community Cup piece in haste, and bad mood. And painfully regret it. It IS a great day, for a worthy cause, that many [Read more]