Desperate times…

By Vickie Lustig/Carole Fabian


Football Federation of Australia CEO Ben Buckley reacts swiftly to the disaster in South Africa by turning to his old mates and colleagues in the AFL.  He convinces Frank Lowy to retire immediately as Chairman, replacing him with old boss Andrew Demetriou.  The AFL vacancy is filled on a caretaker basis by Kevin Sheedy, who promptly agrees to fill the AFL with NRL stars, releasing all AFL stars for Socceroos duty.

Pim Verbeek is summarily dismissed and put into police protection for the term of his natural life.  His job is taken over by Mark Thompson, with Nathan Buckley as his assistant.  Captain Lucas Neil welcomes the level of Collingwood involvement in the Australian camp.  “We really need someone who can kick a lot of behinds,” he says.  Mick Malthouse is kept on a commission basis to turn purple in the face and scare the Italians, while Mark Williams is employed on a similar basis to do his famous tie-choking act and give the English coach ideas about what to do with goalkeeper, Robert Green. Ben Cousins is retained to distract Diego Maradona with sly offers of cheap cocaine.  Jason Akermanis handles all press conferences so the coaching staff can concentrate on coaching.  Brad Johnson is named as the resident injury worry, allowing Harry Kewell to go home and rest.  Shane Crawford is named Beckham-style team mascot, and stands on the sidelines for  every game, looking pretty in a three piece suit, or a G-string and rabbit ears, as the mood takes him.

Demetriou smooth-talks FIFA into allowing a replay of the Australia v Germany match by threatening to send home all the Australian tourists from the World Cup, thereby causing a catastrophic collapse in ticket sales.  When this at first fails to move Sepp Blatter and Co, Demetriou threatens to send home all the Australian tourists and replace them with the Collingwood cheer squad.  FIFA gives in immediately.

In the replay match, Germany again score four goals, but Jack Riewoldt scores ten so Australia wins.  Barry Hall growls at Bastian Schweinsteiger and gets a red card, but wins the appeal when video footage reveals he was actually on the bench at the time of the incident. Brendan Fevola dives several times, but only when the ball is up the other end, so nobody notices.  Josh Kennedy of Melbourne says he is Josh Kennedy of Australia so gets sent on as a striker.  He is delighted that he can strike and not get reported.

Gary Ablett, wearing a pudding bowl wig to disguise himself from the screaming fans, is detained at the gate and bundled off to the Argentinian camp, security guards mistaking him for Lionel Messi.  He happily plays the remainder of the group matches with the South Americans, wondering why the blue and white stripes on his jumper have suddenly become vertical.  Ablett scores five goals per match and nobody asks any questions.  Messi, meanwhile, shaves his head in despair, gets picked up by Sam Newman who is doing vox pop interviews in the streets of Durban, and gets flown to Australia to shore up a gaping hole in the Geelongmidfield.

Back home, Buddy Franklin and Steven Milne each score 15 tries for the Manley Sea Eagles and Brisbane Broncos respectively, and Melbourne Storm accept an invitation to join the Italian Serie A where their salary cap exploits are considered supremely elegant, and they can again win points for winning games.

Nic Natanui is so confused by what is going on that he decides to join the Melbourne Vixens as Goal Shooter and helps the struggling Victorians back into the finals of the trans-Tasman netball championship.

And who are any of us to complain??   It’s all in the game. . . . .

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