Footy Talk: Choco and Junkyard do Match Committee

In this week’s episode of The Odd Couple, the role of Oscar Madison will be played by Mark Williams, and  Felix Unger will be played by Dean Laidley.

After a drubbing down in Geelong, Felix arrives ready for action at match committee, dossiers and laptop at the ready. He’s a little taken aback at what he finds: Oscar’s running a poker game.

OM: (beckoning with cigar in hand) Felix old buddy! Pull up a chair! Want some chips?

FU: (through pursed lips) No thank you, I don’t gamble.

OM: I meant potato chips. What do you mean you don’t gamble. Life’s a gamble little buddy! Especially footy!

FU: I thought we were going to plan for the Saints.

OM: We’ll get to that soon enough old son. But a man’s got to blow off some steam after a tough weekend. Buddha, could you pass us a beer mate? (assistant coach G Hocking opens the bar fridge)

FU: I think we need to start planning, so we don’t have a repeat of last weekend.

OM: We planned ‘til the cows came home last week. Where did it get us? The Cats were just too good. Truth be told- and this is off the record- the Saints will probably be too good as well.

FU: What sort of attitude is that?

OM: It’s a realistic one. Doesn’t mean we won’t have a crack this week, but unless your plan includes high jacking their team bus before the game, it probably won’t make a difference… And I’ve already checked out the bus idea. The AFL has a rule against it. Typical!

FU: But I’ve done all this scouting of their structures. (holds up dossier)

OM: And I appreciate it old son. But it will still be our boys against their men. We’ll check your homework out in a minute. I’m not saying it won’t help, but what is it really going to tell us that we don’t already know? It’s not like the Saints have been keeping a low profile lately.

FU: (suddenly starts making an alarming honking sound)

OM: Christ! What the hell is that?

FU: It’s the cigar smoke. It affects my sinuses.

OM: Well why didn’t you say so? (stubs cigar out) …That better?

FU: (fanning himself with a dossier) Yes thanks…Aren’t you worried your sister will spring you?

OM: (shudders) No need to bring her into it. It’s her day off, we should be in the clear. Bloody Haysman, his idea of a joke. Tell me another coach who has his sister on staff? He’s full of great ideas our CEO. Wouldn’t let me appoint Shaunie Burgoyne skipper last year, and look what happened there.

FU: The CEO’s got it in for you hasn’t he?

OM: Bastard did everything but use dynamite to move me on last year. But ol’ Oscar’s still in the chair eh! Learnt that under Sheeds. Never quit and never admit. And if they want to sack you, make sure you go kicking and screaming.

FU: Wish I knew a few of your secrets back at North.

OM: (chuckle) Yeah, they got to you in the end. Bit rough. It wasn’t your fault the Roos had no dough. Mind you, it didn’t put you off coming to another broke club did it? Are you a masochist or something?

FU: (starts honking again)

OM: Now what? The smoke’s all cleared.

FU: It’s not the smoke upsetting me now, it’s the topic.

OM: Jeezus, relax will you. I know your problem. Spent too much time under Mad Mick and Pago. Not a lot of laughs between those two. Makes a man too tense. Look at me. We’ve had our ups and downs, but you’ve gotta keep a smile on the dial.

FU: (ponders) You know… you may have a point. I think I will have a beer.

OM: That’s the spirit! Never let the bastards grind you down! I know what’ll cheer you up  further, Mr Tactics and Innovation. Got another one of your video packages? Wanna show us?

FU: What kept you. I’ve edited down the Saints setup from last week. Let me just fire it up.

OM: (winks) Matty, Crippsy, Buddha! Gather ‘round boys.

(Assistant coaches Primus, Cripps and Hocking slide their chairs into viewing position. Cripps makes sure he keeps the chips with him. They watch for 10 or so minutes.)

OM: Hmmm. It’s hardly Citizen Kane is it? Without the Big German, they’re not the most photogenic forward bunch.

FU: But they’re still effective. We could be in for a tough Saturday night.

OM: I tell you what would be really innovative. Fix Tredders’ knee and make him 5 years younger. Then we’d be talking. While you’re at it, give him a full head of hair. (laughs)

FU: Sorry. Used all my miracles up at North. You don’t reckon Ebert will be the answer? (laughs)

OM: If it was Russell maybe. (laughs again, then turns to the others) Remember boys, what’s said at match committee stays at match committee. You know, Clarko was into this stuff when he was here. Had all these diagrams and charts, zones and the like. Always seemed too much like geometry to me. And I hated geometry at school. Anyway, I’ve won as many flags as Clarko! There’s another bloke who could lighten up.

FU: (cracking another stubbie) Urrrgh! Bloody West End. Haven’t we got some Coopers?

OM: (grimace) Sorry, on a tight budget now. Budget Nazis rule the day now.

FU: Makes you pine for the old days doesn’t it? Do you reckon there’ll ever come a day again when coaches don’t have to know their way around PowerPoint?

OM: Now you’re talking my language! Boys, let’s get the poker started up again. I’ve gotta make up for that smaller pay packet. A man’s got a lifestyle to support.

(The others exchange glances, but decline to comment. It dawns on Felix that he ain’t in Kansas anymore.)

About John Butler

John Butler has fled the World's Most Liveable Car Park and now breathes the rarefied air of the Ballarat Plateau. For his sins, he has passed his 40th year as a Carlton member.


  1. hahahah funny stuff John!
    :) lol
    i had a vision of it playing out in my head as i read along, but for some reason i pictured them as hippies..dont know why! lol
    Gotta love Laidley, i have no idea why North let him go, he’s a real spunk!

    Danni ;)

  2. He is not Danni.

    Very funny stuff JB.

  3. John Butler says

    Thanks guys

    Hippies eh Danni?

    Not sure I really I can picture that myself. Especially Junkyard.


  4. John Butler says

    Given tonight’s result, there might be more beers on at match committee!

Leave a Comment