North Melbourne free zone

A few weeks ago Kristine said we have to talk.  It’s never a good way to initiate a conversation, because the recipient of those words is usually in trouble.  I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything.


‘It’s about the bedroom,’ she said.


‘What about the bedroom?’


‘About what’s on the bed.’


I went to the bedroom, stood in the doorway and looked at the bed.  Kristine followed me.  The bed was neatly made.  There was nothing unusual on it.


‘I don’t want to sleep with North Melbourne anymore,’ she said.


My eyes darted from the bed to her.  ‘What’s wrong with North Melbourne?’


She rolled her eyes.  ‘Don’t you think you’re a bit old for a North Melbourne doona cover?’


I shook my head.  ‘You’re never too old for a North Melbourne doona cover.’


‘Don’t you think it’s time to give the North Melbourne doona and pillows to Angus?’


I held a pose, arms in front, palms up.  ‘What’s wrong with a cartoon Kangaroo on the bed?’


‘It’s got to go.’


My doona cover had just been banned from the bedroom.  I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything.  At least I had a few days left before the next rotation.


When Kristine and I met, every room in the house except my bedroom and bathroom were decorated with North memorabilia.   Premiership posters hung in the lounge and spare room.  A print of Jamie Cooper’s Victory Demands Dedication hung in the kitchen.


She’d seen drawers were filled with videos and DVDs, heard me talk footy daily with mates and knew I was a club member.  She had concerns.


‘My life doesn’t revolve around football,’ I said.


Kristine didn’t believe me.  She’d seen the North Melbourne hand towels, coffee mugs, stubby holders, clothes, footballs, coasters, beer glasses, calendars, fridge magnets, phone cover and hats.


Everywhere she went she saw North Melbourne.


When Kristine moved in, I took the print from the kitchen and hung it in the lounge.  It meant three rooms in the house weren’t decorated by North Melbourne.  Without asking, I bought her a couple of North t-shirts.  She wore them.

In 2011, our holiday to Western Australia coincided with a game against Fremantle.  Kristine bought a white North Melbourne cap at Subiaco.  Even though we lost she enjoyed the game and she loved being in Western Australia.


During our South Australian holiday, we spent days listening to Australia playing New Zealand in Tasmania.


Kristine likes watching footy and cricket.  I like that.  She’s never complained about North Melbourne unless they lose.  I like that too.  I don’t sit for three hours and watch every televised game.  She likes that.  I listen to the footy through my phone when I’m doing domestic chores.  She likes that too.


The house is still decorated with North Melbourne stuff.  I like that she doesn’t mind.


When Angus was born, Kristine paid for his AFL membership, with North Melbourne affiliation, just like mine.


The day we moved Angus from the sleep-out into the spare bedroom, she asked me to take the boxing posters down.  I left the 1996 and 1999 autographed WEG posters on his wall.


Angus has North Melbourne t-shirts, footballs and hat.  We’re starting to watch footy together.  He recognises the Roos logo.


Last week Kristine changed the sheets on Angus’s bed.  She used the North pillowcase.  It looked good.  When I read him books later that night, I asked him who was on the pillowcase.


‘Roos,’ he said.


‘I used to love my Roos pillow,’ I said.  ‘And now it’s yours.’


The North Melbourne bed set was a birthday gift from my parents.  It is fifteen years old.  I liked sleeping with North Melbourne, especially after we’d won.


I’m thinking of getting the doona cover cut down so it fits Angus’s single bed doona.  It will give him a fine reason to go to bed.


Perhaps it’s brainwashing by association, but I think most fathers want their son’s to become a generational supporter.  Angus doesn’t stand a chance.


Kristine didn’t either.  She adopted North Melbourne as her team but she won’t have to sleep with them anymore.


The bedroom is now a North Melbourne free zone.


But there’s this website selling North Melbourne bed sets.  They’ve got the club logo, basically a cartoon kangaroo, but it’s a more serious caricature of a kangaroo than the set Kristine banned from the bedroom.


The royal blue would look great on the bed…


About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Neil Anderson says

    Do you realize what a good run you have had? I put up a poster in the kitchen of EJ in that classic high-kicking pose, during our rise from second-last to third in 1997. I also painted our rural mailbox in red, white and blue and put streamers up in all the sheds. I made the mistake of thinking everyone else was just as excited with Footscray heading towards the Grand Final as I was.
    I got the stink-eye re the poster straight away and had to take it down as soon as that horrible Prelim was over.

  2. I have to agree with Kristine on this one.

  3. David Zampatti says

    I was pretty excited by your headline, Matt. Thought it might have been a preview of tonight’s game.

  4. David,
    It may well turn out to be a preview…

  5. george smith says

    In 1977 i was staying in Kensington on the eve of the grand final. A friend drove us round the neighborhood to see all these little cottages festooned in blue and white with toy kangaroos. I made up my mind that if I got my chance I would decorate my house in a similar fashion. Well it took 33 years and another drawn grand final but finally, a father and daughter project set up black and white balloons, steamers, and photocopied Weg posters, making it the only decorated house, not just in Granville, NSW, but the entire Parramatta area. This lasted until Christmas, when the same daughter insisted on magpies coming down and Chistmas decorations going up. Still waiting for another chance.

  6. George that is a great memory.
    Well done on keeping the decorations so long.

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