“I’m here today with Marj, who is in charge of Image Development, Internal Operations and Coaching Youth with the AFL.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to get the job?”

“Thanks John.  As you know the AFL has been spending an enormous amount of time and money recently on Image Development, and particularly counseling for players, staff and club officials who find themselves in trouble.  There has been counseling for what you said; counseling for what someone said you said; and counseling for what they thought you said.  And that was only the start of it.  Then there was counseling for the coaches and club officials who had to deal with you after you had your counseling.  And of course counselors need counseling to debrief and relieve the stress of all that counseling.  It was threatening to chew up all the money from the new broadcast deal.” 

“So I asked Andrew around to show him the results I was getting with new OMO for overcoming mouth offs.  It all started when young Matthew came home with ground-in frankness stains all over his Crows jumper.  I put him straight in the wash along with the jumper.  Came out clean as a whistle.  Now he’s good as gold, and ready for his new job with the AFL.  Then Jason and Aaron came home this week with ‘he said you said’ grime all over them.  Same story.  2 cups of OMO and 45 minutes on the heavy duty scrub and rinse cycle, and they’ll both be right to go this weekend.”

“That’s amazing Marj, no wonder the AFL want to use you on a permanent basis.  Is OMO the only product you use?”

“Well John, I do find it’s the most effective.  I tried FAB for a while for dealing with footballer’s addiction blues.  But I found that while it got them clean for a while, the stains always seemed to come back.”

“That’s a shame, Marj.  Still you tried everything.  Are there any stains that OMO won’t shift?”

“Well the Geelong boys came back from Perth with Ballantyne spray all over their jumpers.  I’ve lent Chris Scott my OMO but he says it won’t all come off.  He may have to try easy-off  BAM for the Ballantyne antagonism marks on their white shorts.  I find it’s the only thing for getting the scum ring off white porcelain in the bathroom sink.  Still, he’ll have to hang young Matthew on the line for at least 3 weeks and hope that the sun fades off the last of the marks.”

“Thanks Marj.  Now that you’ve shown what it can do at AFL level, I am sure all the mums at home will be using OMO to get those in-ground nasty habits out of dad and the kids.”


  1. Mulcaster says

    Suitable whitewashing music

  2. Rick Kane says

    Not quite sure what the Hymn of the Soviet Republic reference is for Mulcaster but it is nothing if not a stirring, rousing anthem. Makes that stupid song people stand for at the footy (and why the standing? It’s such an American or nationalistic observance) sound all the more staid, strained and stained. By the way, funniest thing about following the hyperlink to the You Tube clip was watching the ad before the clip started. Communism has nothing on capitalism for stirring emotions.

    PB, noice mocking jibe at the AFL. And if there’s a corporation (beyond filthy, greedy mining conglomerates) that deserve mocking and more it’s sporting bodies such as the AFL.

    However, I think the road the AFL is on (increasing awareness and respect of diversity; social inclusion; and appreciation that community should not be monopolized by dominant forces) is better than where things were at 10, 20 and 30 years ago. Also, footy cannot be immune to the great ideological struggles of the 20 Century. It is within (a tiny part) the great paradigm shifts in regard to breaking down discrimination on the grounds of race, gender and sexual identity. So the AFL stumbles and embarrasses itself as it forges a path down a road to greater enlightenment. That is way better than alternatives, as expressed by the likes of Sam Newman, who can barely contain their inarticulate and inchoate rage that someone (not him or his mates) is getting special treatment. Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, no less, advocates positive discrimination to get more people with a disability into employment. Paul Kelly wrote a song 20 years ago called Special Treatment to answer the ignorant claims that Aboriginal people are given more and better opportunities than the general population. While it is fine to mock the new jargon and structures the AFL and others attempt to be better corporate citizens, we must be ever careful that we are not condoning behaviours that are in their dying stages. (I am reminded, as a slight digression, that when Stan Alves was dropped as the Saints coach a young player was asked his opinion of the outgoing coach. The kid wasn’t sad to see him go because apparently he didn’t like that Alves yelled a lot. As older members of the community we might think the kid should grow a pair but that would be missing the point. The old model is outmoded.

    Two small (perhaps picky) points about your mock interview. In you’re reference Matt Rendell his dirty laundry is referred to as “ground-in frankness stains”. I think you are inadvertently letting him off in a way that is quite disproportionate to the way you don’t let Ballantyne off the hook. I would argue, based on what your mock interview seems to be playing with (political correctness) that Rendell stain is something much deeper than ‘frankness’ and in the scheme of societal meaning and historical development of relationships a far weightier error of judgement than Ballantyne’s ‘spray’.

    Also, the reference to Mum being the moral adjudicator and cleaner is left to either be read as a mocking of gender roles or a reinforcement of the same. The point should be clearer IMHO.

    I like the joke style adopted here as a throwaway. Having read and enjoyed much of your stuff on this site and the robust discussions with you I feel the need to highlight creaks in the position the essay takes if it is read as something beyond just a throwaway piece.


  3. What’s your point here Peter?

  4. Satire is the art of making the ridiculous look ridiculous. If it needs to be explained it has missed its mark.
    My views on the Rendell/racism issue have already been thoroughly expressed in a serious piece on the website, and the ongoing soap opera only confirms me in all those views.
    The footy meedja (hello Caroline) has its head so far up its own self important/self appointed (insert where Matthew dropped Haydyn), and is only serving to add ink to the fish and chips. The Bold and the Beautiful has a more relevant and meaningful plot line.
    Having done some personal hard yards I particularly object to the way that counselling/rehab is used as a throwaway solution to deeper issues of all kinds. If they can be ‘counselled away’ in a week or a session they were never important to start with. If they were significant, then that level of intervention is a drop in the bucket.
    Those of you old enough may remember the old Rugby League commentator (was it John Harkin?) doing the soap powder ads.
    Symobilsm becomes tokenism becomes trivialisation. I’m voting Liberal next election. If we are going to have a vapid, tokenistic conservative (Julia or Andrew take your pick) – we may as well have a real one that I can hate properly.

  5. Jeff Dowsing says

    I’m with you Peter, the only ones benefiting from the AFL’s social engineering and warped attempts to protect their image are ‘counsellors’. It’s just an easy throwaway solution.

    Heaven help the valid issues identified in all these private meetings actually be taken seriously and honestly (as opposed to knee-jerk posturing). Then we may actually achieve some progress on the challenges that professional AFL football poses indiginous players.

  6. Good onya Peter, I reckon your piece hit the mark . The AFL and the media appear and behave as one and the same. To my mind, the pap that they serve up is mirrored perfectly in the words of Daffy Duck: “That makes no sense, and neither do I.”

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Absolutely spot on Peter totally agree with the whole article and in particular the Rendell part the AFL and the Crows were pathetic over this whole matter behind the scenes we could see where Mat is coming from blah bla but can’t let him sat that publicly
    Another sad steign on Andy Ds time in charge
    Thanks Peter

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