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Grand Final 2016 – Sydney v Western Bulldogs: Talking to Chooks



There are five minutes left in the Grand Final and I’m talking to bloody chooks.


Where did it all go wrong?


I’m in Borenore – population 621 – at Mum and Dad’s. The whole family’s here for Mum’s 60th. It’s a weekend of celebration and today the whole family is dressed in red and white. Today, the lounge room is a shrine to all things Swan. My sister has bought me a brand new guernsey for god’s sake! This wasn’t supposed to happen.


Mum and Dad have chooks. Lots of them. The chooks have affectionately been named ‘the Grong Grong girls’ after my wonderful Nan and her wonderful sisters, in a nod to their place of origin. Nan’s here too and she’s seeing me carry on like a right old pork chop. Sorry Nan.


I’ve stormed outside in a complete mess of confusion. So many questions, so few answers. I’m seeking solace in the paddocks and I’m feeling cold, vulnerable and alone. My own brother is screaming for the Enemy and we’re three goals down. Who can I turn to? Who can I trust?


I catch Nancy’s orange tinted eye and she’s peering at me sympathetically. The other chooks join in. Come on Joe – let’s get this off your chest. Talk to the chooks.


JM: Why?


Nancy: Why what? I’m not a damn mind reader.


JM: Sorry, I’m out of sorts; it’s been a long day. Why did we not bring our best? I know, it’s been a cracking game, a tough, hard game of footy. The Dogs have been very good, but our best would’ve won that game. Our best would’ve won the flag. I hate losing Grand Finals.


Nancy: Grand Finals are hard to win pal. Remind me please, who are you?


JM: The umpires have had a shocker.


Binnie: Here we go. Lose did you mate?


JM: Well, yeah. But seriously, 20 free kicks to eight against? No frees for the entire second and third terms? None? Remember that rule they brought in when Gary Rohan broke his leg? No sliding in to take a player’s legs out?


Binnie: I’ll take your legs out if you don’t stop your whining.


JM: Anyway, Hanners has done his knee – no free. Paps has his legs taken out, no free – Dogs goal. Kizza has legs taken out and gets a free kick against him! And guess what? Fifty metres to the Dogs – goal to the Dogs – and that’s just one rule. Don’t even get me started on the fifty/fifty calls. Maggots.


Binnie: Where?


JM: Tom Boyd has completely pulled that game straight out of his…


Shirley: Ask.


JM: Ask what?


Shirley: Ask yourself why he’s playing in a Grand Final and you’re standing here talking to chooks. Don’t be so disrespectful.


JM: Fine. Is Joey Kennedy super-human? That man is the most consistent big game performer that I have seen. Thirty-four possessions and three goals in a losing Grand Final must go down as one of the most valiant efforts in history.


Doris: Ever seen Foghorn Leghorn fighting off the Barnyard Dawg?


JM: Ah, no, but is he capable of herculean feats, shrugging tackle after tackle, kicking team-lifting goals while continually winning the hard ball?


Doris: He doesn’t play footy. He’s a chook.


JM: Can you do the chicken dance?


All: What?


JM: You know – na na na na na na na na na na na na….


All: We’re trying to help you here, mate. Don’t mock us.


JM: Sorry. Why does my heart feel so bad? Why does my soul feel so bad?


Marie: Who do you think you are? Moby?


JM: You know what I mean. When you’re so emotionally invested in your footy team, days like this really hurt. You lot wouldn’t know what it’s like. Sometimes you question the sanity levels of pouring so much into supporting a football team. I know how Moby felt.


Marie: Cry me a river. Hasn’t your team played in three of the last five Grand Finals?


JM: Bloody Bob Murphy.


Sadie: What about him?


JM: Nothing. I actually quite like him. I just want someone to blame. Bloody Doug Hawkins. Bloody Danny Southern. Bloody, bloody, bloody!


Sadie: You’ve lost the plot.


JM: Hey. What came first?


All: What are you talking about?


JM: The chicken or the egg?


All: Goodbye.


Dogs d. Swans

Best: Dogs – all 22.

Swans – Kennedy, Heeney, Grundy, Jack, Jones, Naismith, Rampe


Is it 2017 yet?


About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Well played,Joe clever and amusing and yes losing is emotionally draining it sucks big time

  2. Neil Anderson says

    I think the key statement from one of the chooks was saying they’re bloody hard to win …grand finals. Just ask Footscray supporters.
    I know nothing can soothe the savage breast at times like that and it’s no wonder you ended up trippin’ like you did.
    I can only speak about the devastating feeling after losing all those prelims which sent us supporters into a downward spiral of misery and pessimism. One famous Almanacker created a website called the Bulldog Tragician based on how unlucky we were.
    I think I used to take it out on the lawn mower if we lost matches we should have won. It’s a wonder I didn’t pull that cord right out of the mower when I stormed outside.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Love it Joe!
    Wish I’d had chooks to talk to. Just a wall projected picture and lots of space to think into. I was playing the role of the positive philosophical family member while everyone around me got angry. It’s taking a lot of unpicking and sorting now.

  4. Thanks Rulebook – I think this one will burn for a while!

    Huge congrats to you and all the sons and daughters of the ‘Scray, Neil. Well deserved victory. I know that the Bulldogs faithful know heartbreak all too well and if it can’t be my Swannies, I’m happy it was the Dogs! I’m about to fire up the lawnmower actually, so my remaining frustrations might just dissipate.

  5. Thanks Mathilde!

    Tough day wasn’t it? Well played on taking on the philosophical role. I remained positive throughout, until that last final stretch….then lost the plot!

    Outstanding season though. If we keep putting ourselves in this position, we’ll get one again!

  6. Keiran Croker says

    Great stuff Joe. Being there, I only had joyous Doggies to see everywhere! If only I had some chooks to talk to!
    Great season, so many positives. We should be thereabouts again next year.

  7. Very thankful I had some chooks nearby KC!

    Much to look forward to mate. Our most influential players now are either our young kids or those in their absolute prime. Not relying on any veterans. Fantastic season, exceding all expectations!

  8. jan courtin says

    I doubt you could have written this a day or so after the game! Could hardly think, let alone write.
    Great stuff, Joe.
    Cheer cheer

  9. Thanks Jan. Certainly had to wait a few days before I could even consider writing! Therapeutic, perhaps?

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