Man vs AFL

[Bear Intro bit ] I’m Bear Grylls. I’m gonna show you what it takes to get out alive from some of the most dangerous places on earth. I’ve gotta make it through a week of challenges in the sort of places you wouldn’t last a day without the right survival skills. And flippin Nora, the really hard thing is having to talk it up as being really really scary when it’s often really really pissy.


[Bear voice over] OK, this week I’m in the AFL. It’s round one. I’m primed to take to the field at the MCG.


[Bear on camera] Right, I’m bursting through the banner now. What a rush. And I’m lucky not to have tripped up. Just last season, a well-known AFL star went arse over tit. When he got back home that evening, his ashamed wife had left him. She then took him to the cleaners in the settlement and got custody of both kids. Just goes to show what a cutthroat world the AFL is – but more so the cutthroat world of trophy wives.


OK, I’m running a warm up lap. Gotta stay hydrated. The best way to do so is flagging down a trainer. OK, I’ve flagged down a trainer. Right he’s now rushing my way. Oh bugger, he’s caught sight of our marquee player. He’s now detoured towards our team’s burly centre half forward. That’s a constant challenge in this environment. Marquee players are always the priority for trainers and masseurs. Lesser players have to play second fiddle. Jeepers, if I don’t get hydrated soon, I’ll be forced to drink my own urine.


Right, the captains have tossed and we’re kicking to the punt road end. I’m now making my way to the centre bounce. Oh blimey, I’ve been given a hard tag. Hard tags are an absolute scourge in this environment. They can stick to you like leeches in a tropical rainforest. The one I’ve got today likes to bump alot. He’s also likes to dish out backhanders, and I’ve already taken one before the bounce. Gotta be wary that he doesn’t clean me up behind the play.


Whoa, and there’s the bounce. It’s absolute mayhem out here. Already a big pack has formed and I’m at the bottom of it. My tagger’s dived in after me and has zeroed in on my nuts. Also to my left, a sniper has lined me up for a hip and shoulder. This could all go horribly wrong


[Back from ad break]


[Bear voice over] I’m playing the AFL and I’ve just been lined up for an almighty bump. Also, I’m dealing with a tagger who’s trying to squirrel grip my nuts.


[Bear in action] Argh … and I’ve fended off the hip and shoulder, but my tagger’s just crunched my family jewels. Blimey, that’s painful. This tagger’s gonna make life difficult for me out here. Just last year a tagger stuck so tight to a player that the player had to have post match surgery to have the tagger removed. Another player had so much trouble with a tagger that he eventually had to take out a restraining order on the blighter. (I believe the tagger had got so carried away that he stalked the player on his Xmas break.)


Right, I’ve now recovered from the squirrel grip, and the umpire’s again bounced the ball. This time it’s been cleared and is well up the field. Time to catch my breath. And there’s a trainer. I’m trying to wave him down for some hydration. Bugger, he’s detoured again; this time towards a promising junior. If my luck doesn’t change soon I’ll be drinking you know what.


Our team has just kicked a goal. There’s pandemonium all round. All the players have huddled around the goalscorer. This is a good opportunity to build camaraderie with your teammates. There’s a maelstrom of high fives and bottom pats. Mostly bottom pats in this huddle … think I’ll sit this one out.


The balls now making its way back to the centre and I’ve noticed the runner coming towards me.


“Grylls, to the forward pocket.”


Right, I’ve been instructed to play out of the forward pocket. This is good news. If the umps make a shocking decision, I can count on enraged fans throwing food and containers out on the field. Being in the pocket, I’ll be close by. It’ll be a good opportunity to get some sustenance.


I’m now in the forward pocket and I’ve shaken my tag. My new opponent is playing an offensive role so I’m free to roam unmolestered. And the whistles just gone up the field. And great, it’s a dodgy free. The fans have gone nuts and the opposing players are remonstrating in the ump’s face. This could be the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.


[Back from ad break.]


[Bear voice over.] I’m playing in the AFL and I’m in dire need of sustenance. The umpires have just paid a dodgy in the back and the fans are out of their seats. I need this one to go my way.


[Bear on camera.] Whoa, the whistle’s just blown again and the umpire’s measuring a 50. The fans have gone ape-shit and pies and hot dogs are now raining down all round. It’s an absolute bonanza. Four and twenty might not taste as good as bugs and lizards but it’s packed with proteins and carbs. [Bear is now holding a pie before his grimacing mouth. He then puts it in, chews disgustedly and forces it down.] Blawgh, just as horrible as it looks. But can’t be choosy out here.


OK, I’ve just taken in some well needed sustenance, now for hydration. Plenty of empty drink containers now out on the oval thanks to that dodgy in the back. [Bear leans over and grabs container and then stuffs it in his shorts.] That’ll come in handy if I have to drink you know what.


Right the fans have calmed down now. Our player missed his shot for goal and the ball has been cleared to the other side of the field. My opponent has gone kick chasing and I’m now free to continue my reconnaissance. I’ve just found some loose studs in the turf. These might come in handy later so I’ve stashed them in my shorts. In the wild you’ve gotta make use of anything that you come across. Loose studs, spat out mouth-guards, discarded bandages – they can all make all the difference to your survival … that and they can fetch a pretty penny as memorabilia.


OK, the balls now coming my way again. But flippin Nora, it’s gonna drop just over me. I’ll have to backpedal blind on this one. And I’m backpedaling and  …. [crunch!]


[Back from ad break.]



[Bear voice over] I’m playing the AFL and I’ve just been KOed. I had to backpedal blind into a pack and was crunched by a nuggety back pocket. Those blighters can be your worst enemy out here. I was out for a few seconds and when I came too, I was being stretchered off. I later found myself in the rooms.


[Bear on camera.] Whoa, what happened?


[Trainer.] You were knocked out. How many fingers do you see?


[Bear on camera.] Fourteen.


[Bear voice over] The trainer then left me and I noticed a sink to the right of the rooms. These places are great for finding clean running water, but in a place like Melbourne, it’s not worth risking it. Just last year a tourist drank water from a Melbourne tap and had dysentery for 3 weeks. You’re better off drinking your own urine. [Bear wees in his stashed cup and does so.]


[Bear on camera.] Right, now where’s that freak with the fourteen fingers?





Next time in ‘Man vs AFL’: the rest of the first quarter.

About Punxsutawney Pete

Punxsutawney Pete see's a shadow: twelve more months of winter


  1. Tom Bally says

    The real Bear would’ve turned the half back inside out to make a sleeping bag (and probably enjoyed it too.)

  2. Hey Tom

    Yeah that was a great Bear moment … tunring that sheep inside out and using it that way. Crazy blighter. Good pick up. Wish I’d thought to use it.

  3. mickey randall says

    loved the article. outstanding satire. imagine izzy is joining bear on the next series given that he’s not yet been signed by the ‘man v wild’ code.

  4. Great stuff T Bone, laughed my way through it. The recurring drinking his own urine stuff was hilarious. Nearly up there with your work on Viv Tufnell! Keep up the great work.

  5. thanks for the kind words Luke and Mickey

    There’ll be a couple more coming. Next time Bear deals with his first coach’s address, being on the end of a hospital pass and the pandemonium of kicking his first goal in Australian rules football. Given that he’s as much of a gimmick as Izzy and Karmichael Hunt, he’ll be bracing himself for the same hysteria that their first goals generated.

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