Fathers’ Day: My Dad Shoodabeen a Coodabeen

Anna Pavlou with Champs


In the famous words of Mick Thomas (Weddings Parties Anything) in 1993, ‘…every Saturday is Fathers’ Day…’

For as long as I can remember, every Saturday has belonged to my father and I.

Winter Saturdays take us all over Melbourne (and sometimes further) supporting our boys Power House AFC in the VAFA.

On any other given day of the weekend, you’ll find us anywhere between Kardinia Park and the MCG, following our beloved Geelong Cats.

It’s during these travels that my Dad has opened up about his football past and the life-changing moments etched into his memory.

On these long trips, I’ve learnt a lot about my dad’s football world, filled with muddy boots, all-time highs and all-time lows and the influence that the football world has had on him.

So, this Fathers’ Day, I took my Dad to see the Coodabeen Champions, the football band that intertwines the love of grassroots with the heroes of the bygone.

The Coodabeen Champions summed up every single story I was raised with.

From DiPierdomenico, to Brereton and the MCC Reserve, each song held a specific memory that I had heard, but now was able to comprehend, to fully grasp what old time footy meant to my Dad.

But, these stories of a time I was never a part of, now had meaning behind them, and passion, too.

I finally felt what Dad has wanted to share with me all these years.

I understood what all these stories meant. In a mere two hours, my Dad’s very own history, legacy and life were unraveled through song and humor in front of my very eyes.

And suddenly, this football journey of his (and now mine) made perfect sense.

My mum always reminds us to look to the future, but I know Dad struggles with this concept.

Because some of the greatest times, memories and moments that shaped my Dad, all occurred in his football past.

Whether they be through Gary Ablett Senior’s magic, Brereton’s grit, Drew Morphett’s unique love of our game, or that infamous train to Montmorency, Dad was raised with the Coodabeen Champions.

So now, he shares this with me, his daughter, growing up in such a fast-paced football world, where technology and rules are overused and the true grassroots feel is sadly disappearing.

Greg Champion stated at the end of the show that he ‘didn’t really know what the thing about football was’, but I think I do.

It’s the seamless ability to intertwine such a special history with such a hopeful future, just like my Dad’s football past connecting with my future.

It’s Saturdays at the footy, just Dad and Anna.

About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I was there too Anna. Going through my old Footy Records, the lyrics for many of the songs they played on Sunday were shown in the 1987 Grand Final edition.

    They’ve STTOT (stood the test of time)

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Such a lovely experience to share .thankyou Anna

  3. Cat from the Country says

    This reminded me of my dad, now long passed and his love iof country footy.
    He put the leather studs, which he made, into the boots, to stop the boys slipping.
    This was back in the day of cricket pitches in the middle of the oval, rain and MUD.

  4. danie flesch says

    Great story , Anna , and beautifully written. Looks like you don’t play football yourself but you’ve got the makings of a seriously good writer.

  5. Michael Silva says

    Well done Anna – “It’s enough to make your heart grow glad”, Tear them down……From an old Slushie.

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