First in, best dressed

It is hard sometimes following AFL when attending university in NSW. With their obvious passion for league and union, footy comes third at best with the majority of my student colleagues.

I am almost half way through my third year in Bathurst, and in all the time that I have been here, I have never been treated the way I was last night when trying to watch the Saints battle with the Hawks.

It was expected that the Saints game was not aired on free-to-air TV in NSW, because the Swans were playing the Crows at the same time (cracker of a match too!) and naturally Swans get priority in NSW, which was no big deal.

Kudos to channel 7mate for airing the footy at a reasonable time too, it is a big improvement on waiting until 11:30pm for the first bounce!

So in order to watch the Saints play, I had to find the keys to the common room, the only room on residence that has a television with Foxtel. And more importantly, I had to be the first to get my hands on these keys, because as the rules state, ‘first in, best dressed’. So it does not matter if some random wants to watch lacrosse, if they had first hands on the telly, then they get priority.

It was like an episode of the Amazing Race! Thank goodness I was first in! After hunting around for a good 15 minutes I found someone with the keys, and claimed the television half an hour before the first bounce, which is necessary when you’re competing against the odds!

Turns out that students wanting to watch league and union do not agree with this rule when it goes against their choice of drinking goon and yelling at the television with their mates on a Saturday night.

Well too bad fellas, I want to drink my bottle of water and yell at the television on a Saturday night.

Before I had even settled on the couch I faced the challenge of two guys who I have known for two years fighting for the keys to the common room. They wanted to watch the Wests Tigers.

I faced abuse such as “Gay F.L, what a shit sport” and they even tried to pull the majority rules on me, claiming that there were more Tigers supporters than Saints supporters.

“Put your hand up if you support the Tigers…now put your hand up if you support ‘Gay F.L'”

“Okay guys, now put your hand up if you have the keys to the common room.”

Like hell I am going to give up the Saints to a couple of guys who aren’t even respecting me and the sport I love.

So leaving those two throwing tantrums I settled into the common room, but before the first bounce was interrupted on multiple ocassions.

“What the hell? AFL? How long has this got to go?”

“About 3 hours mate, the game is about to start.”

“Any chance you follow union?”


One down….surely I can watch the game now?

Five minutes in and a group of guys (well into their Saturday night drinks) enter the common room.

“Um, this isn’t the Waratahs. The Saints?”

“The game has just started guys, you’re not turning it over.”

These guys leave after 30 seconds, shaking their heads in disgust.

I thought perhaps that might have been the end of it, but it turns out it wasn’t over.

Five minutes later the same group of guys return with about another ten in tow. They turn all the lights on, take all the seats around me and proceed to talk loud enough to drown out the TV.

“AFL? This isn’t the Waratahs!”

“Hey, I thought they couldn’t pass the ball forward! Wait, this isn’t league!”

“Saints are shit, go the Hawks!”

“These teams aren’t even from Sydney.”

“Isn’t this game on channel 7?”

“Well, at least they get a point for trying.”

“Gee, I wonder how the Waratahs are going?”

“The game just started fellas, you’re not changing the channel.”

“Can we just check the score? It’s not like anything interesting is going on.”


“Can we check at quarter time?”

“I  suppose.”

Then they continue to talk for five more minutes, even getting on the phone and inviting their mates over to watch union and have a few drinks. Unbelievable.

A friend of mine joined me in the common room at that stage to watch the game, and faced comments such as “don’t bother, league isn’t on, union isn’t on,  AFL is on.”

“Great, better than both of them!”

Now these guys (who weren’t even from my residence) realised that every TV in the next residence had Foxtel. They FINALLY decided to move along and watch the game over there. Good riddance!

Finally leaving me in peace to watch the Saints, they took their drinks and didn’t hold their comments back on the way out.

Now it looks like I might be getting a reputation around John Oxley Village.

A friend of mine popped in at half time and informed me that a group of guys were complaining to him about not having the common room.

“What they hell mate, there is a chick in there watching AFL?”

I could not believe the nerve of these guys! Trying to bully me out of the common room, scaring me away from the Saints? Really? What an absolute joke.

I honestly thought that after two years I would earn some respect up here by sticking to my guns and not falling into the norm of league and union, and I certainly did not ever think that a group of 15 guys would try to intimidate me into giving up my seat on the couch during a Saints game, so they could watch a game that would be on every other television in every pub and club in Bathurst on a Saturday night.

Unlucky for them, I don’t give into peer pressure, and I certainly don’t put up with bulllies. I don’t care how many beers they had or how many of them were competing against me, there is no way they get priority over the mighty Sainters! And I am prepared to hold my ground every single week if I have too, I believe the AFL deserves that at least!

I bet if you ask those guys who are probably nursing some nasty hangovers, they wouldn’t be so inclined to agree with me.

But tough luck fellas, first in, best dressed.



  1. Dear Kelsey, you are brave and wonderful and you deserved a Saints win with all that effort. I haven’t watched the replay yet. I was at the ground and we are lost at the G. It’s too big and windy and we’re a bit like you, we get bullied. But you have that guts that I find missing in St.Kildas big games, what you had last night was, the “it’s mine”, and “I’m going to take it and no one is going to get it from me”. I have been contemplating over the last few weeks that in all the years I’ve watched the Saints, we’ve only done that once, in our one Grand Final. We just pushed harder in those last moments, something that didn’t happen last night.

    We were outgunned at every level. Kosi was inspired, but was no match on his own against Cyril and Buddy. Their effort was there until the last quarter. We will miss McEvoy (we already do, we were dominated by Hale in the ruck), now we’ll miss Sam Fischer in defense. We need our new boys to really get experience now and I would like our young man Archer to come and learn amongst the bigger boys. If we are going to be fried, especially in the next few weeks, at least get our young ones in so they can get their legs. Our older boys just don’t seem to have the games of the old boys of Geelong, Hawthorn, Carlton, West Coast. All that defeat.

    I hope they (the Saints) read your article and I’m going to write something about that taking instead of conceding that you have described so well.

    Nice to meet another mad Sainter at the Knackery…


  2. Well played Kelsey! Stand up to the broken down hacks of league and union domination.

    Another way to earn respect is to have a crack at playing fullback for a union team. One of the best I ever saw was an Aussie Rules player who had no option at high school. Took to it like a duck to water, could read the play well, always making position for kicks or to make a tackle, (It is fairly 2 dimensional) and could take the high ball like it was laser sighted to his hands only. Was invited to play with any and all of the local union clubs in Brisbane as a schoolboy rep player, but knocked them back to play Aussie Rules. (In a sad post script, he passed away from leukaemia 3 or 4 years later).

  3. Richard Naco says

    Good job, Kelsey.

    When they hit you with the “Gay FL” cliche the next time, ask the repetitive morons which game introduced the squirrel grip and the Hopoate maneuver into Australia’s sporting lexicon. I’ve always understood homophobia to be the first sign of a deeply repressed homosexual anyway.

    Games involving thirteen (or fifteen) boofy blokes shoving their heads up each others’ bums and pushing are not sport, merely foreplay. And while perfectly acceptable between consenting adults, they should never be done in any public place, let alone within coo-ee of any minors.

    Tough luck about the Saints. If you can get to Canberra this next coming Saturday, you’ll be able to enjoy some quality time among fellow true believers of our great indigenous game, all enjoying the enlifting spektarkle of what should prove to be a practise run for the 2018 Grand Final.

  4. pamela sherpa says

    Good on you for standing your ground Kelsey. Enjoy your footy

  5. Rick Kane says

    Well done Kelsey for standing your ground. You showed ’em.

    And you got to see the Mighty Hawks give the Saints a lesson in the fine art of football. Education, it’s a wonderful thing.

    Pity the knuckle draggers who tried to interrupt the Buddy/Cyril Memorial Lecture couldn’t get their peanut brains to focus for a minute or they would have seen the glory of God’s own game and they would have believed. Yes indeed, if they step into the light they will find salvation in the form of a pig skin and the colours, gold and brown.


  6. Richard Naco says

    The “Buddy/ Cyril Memorial Lecture”?

    Which one’s dead?

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