Friday II

You ever wake up and think: what happened to the rest of the Clokes?

Where’s Martin Pike these days? Damn, he was a gun! Seeing him line up on a pretty boy like Hird was a compliment to both of them, and football.

How good would Darren Bewick have been if given one more year of football?

Fuck Nick Riewoldt. I wanted to be a battler, like Zac Dawson?

I wonder how many AFL players won’t have sex before a game? I used to do that when I was young and serious. It was the only time my hippy girlfriend wanted to root me. We didn’t last. I guess we liked different sorts of challenges.

Sometimes, at work, do you think about the funny stuff? The opposition captain once called a head count in a gail, with three minutes left, when we were two points dawn and closing. He needed to regroup and stop our run-on. There had just been an altercation, players were rolling around, the coaches flapping their arms, trainers cracking the shits. I saw the bulk of the two teams lining up opposite each other so I stood in the middle and sang the national anthum.

When the game retarted I tried to wipe out the bloke who’d called the count, but the siren went. They won that one.

Do you ever remember random things, like that game I’d been up shagging and drinking all night in Port Campbell? Wasn’t my usual form, but sometimes it happens. My opponent was an old dog. He could smell it on me. “Bourbon?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. He then stood me from the other side, so I was down wind from him.

Just as the ball left the pack, I ran my finger under his nose, then lead for it while he recoiled in horror. I was a bit more old dog than he was.

Good memories.

Ever let injustices at the selection table haunt you forever? Not in themselves, but because you were trying to fit in and didn’t stick up for yourself like you should have? Pride stings forever.

Ever wonder what that girl who molested the St.Kilda Footy Club lookes like? Or how dumb they all were? Especially Ricky. In a few months she’ll be 18, then Zoo Mag will show her to everyone. There are no winners in that sory.

Ever suddenly realise you’ve been working with a chainsaw on a dodgy slope for the past few hours without focussing on it?

Ever wonder endlessly: What if I was a better kick? What if I’d gone for that mark? What if I’d swung at him? What if I hadn’t done my ankle just before the Fitzroy Under 19s pre-season?

Do you ever think: Everyone says Matty Richardson could have been one of the all-time greats if he was in a team that could kick it to him, but they forget he was just as bad a kick? That’s irony.

Do you sometimes think: Shit, I should be thinking abot my girlfriend a bit more? She’s a stunner. I’m lucky.

Then follow up with: Why am I cursed to have girlfrinds or partners who hate football? Man, it doesn’t make it easy!

Have you ever stopped at work to breathe, noticed the hills beneath you, try to spot your footy oval, then get back to it?

Ever stood on top of a mountain and wondered how many football ovals, of what types, are beneath you?

Ever spend the week replaying the game before in your head? Picturing the marks you took. Feeling the leather slotting into your palms? Regretting the ones that slipped through, as if they mattered. As if any of it matters.

Ever wonder if someone has a highlights package of all of Paul Roos’ pack marks?

Or how to get hold of one with Byron Pickett’s hits?

Have you ever tried to imagine life without footy? Really imagine?

Ever watch the Friday footy at the pub, surounded by locals and Friday night juke box and Friday night slipperiness, wearing it like an easy coat, thinking about your game tomorrow?

Ever wonder what your marks look like? All you see is the ball and arms and fingers.

Have you ever suddenly noticed your home again and the day is done and dusted?

Ever wonder where David Cloke is now? He was an honest player. Kicked six in a premiership against Collingwood. They can’t take that away from him.

He desperately wanted to coach AFL. What happens to blokes who never achieve that? On their inside. Size is no barrier. David didn’t. Primus did. Brad Gotch hasn’t.

Does he lie awake thinking about it?

Tomorrow we play Evendale at home. They have a handful of the Ringarooma thug squad with them. Old rivalries. I’m looking forward to it. Always.

Outside my window the wind’s blowing. I don’t care. It’s been years since I checked the weather forecast. It’s out of my hands and just makes me not enjoy my footy.


  1. Matt – I remember when we were kids we used to go on long trips from Melbourne to Brisbane to have a holiday and visit an uncle up there. When we left Victoria and the lines on the road turned from white to yellow and the football goal posts gave way to those ridiculous rugby cross bars I knew I was in NSW and I felt sorry for them; really sorry. They had no footy up there. I couldn’t imagine growing up without it. “Poor kids” I used to think to myself.

  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    Once you’ve grown up with footy ,it becomes embedded in your life,it never leaves your soul, even if you have temporary absences from it.

  3. It is the age old problem of a little never being enough.
    A constant yearning…..

    It is all part of the human condition.

  4. I remember my first game in the twos, selected at full forward despite just having told the new coaching regime that my weaknesses were marking and goalkicking, and despite never having played in the forward line in my life. Were playing an A grade powerhouse and I didn’t expect to see the ball much. My pre-match routine …. rum and cokes until around 4 in the morning. My opponent called out to his mate over the fence regarding my stench. I threatened to spew on him. Can’t remember touching the ball and we lost by over 100 points.

  5. matt zurbo says

    Nice work. Shaken. How did the year pan out?

  6. Andrew Starkie says


    Yes, to all of the above. Even the Clokes.

    Have you ever thought you spend too much time thinking about footy instead of thinking about more important things? And you think you may do so to avoid life’s big issues and questions? And you find that a bit comforting?

    Have you ever landed in a new town and thought, ‘I wonder where the footy oval is’, and then find it within five minutes due to some innate, visceral sense?

    Have you ever wondered what sort of person you’d be if you supported a different club? Dad’s a Bomber, Mum’s family are Cats (I’m a Roo due an Uncle’s early influence). Would I be a different person? In Grade 1, a mate tried to convince me to support the Blues. I even wore a Carlton jumper during a lunchtime match against the Grade 2s. Imagine being a Carlton supporter. I’d be such a wanker.

    I think if Bon Jovi were into footy, they’d go the Roos.

  7. Andrew Starkie says

    And when you find the footy oval in the new town, you stand on the fence on the flank, close your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine the cars around the ground, boys at the bar, and you taking a screamer in the square.

  8. I don’t hate football!

  9. Alovesupreme says

    I know they’re rhetorical questions, Matt, but I don’t wonder where David Cloke is, because he lives just round the road, and does nicely managing his boys, especially the gifted Collingwood forward, who still has trouble with his kicking. David actually had a big windfall backing Travis to win the medal in the Anzac Day clash a couple of years ago.
    I’m pretty sure Jason is still getting a kick in the VFL, but I’m not sure what Cameron has done after Port Adelaide, possibly still playing in the SANFL.
    But hey what about Peter, David’s elder brother who had a brief career with the Tigers in the early ’70s?

  10. Matt Zurbo says

    There is one hazzy mempry. The mid s70s-early 80s were simply Jimmy Jess.

  11. Matt Zurbo says

    Have you ever wondered what sort of person you’d be if you supported a different club?

    Damn good question, Starkie.

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable read Matt a lot of nodding and yep re sticking up for yourself etc
    I totally agree with Dips and do remember a family holiday when younger driving thru NSW feeling sorry for them and thinking thank goodness we were from SA so had real footy . I am a dead set shocker at replaying sport in my head and deep down you are right does any of it matter ! I wonder how life , friendships , experiences would have turned out with out Weathers inviting me out to Ad Uni FC I am so grateful to be part of
    The Worlds Greatest FC
    Thanks Old Dog

Leave a Comment