Off Season Odyssey – Part 17: Nowhere Rugby


I’m driving through some town in NSW. I’ve well lost count of names and details. It looks like a beaut. Rural. No coast for miles. Nothing but giant waves of mountains. They’re everywhere, weaving into and out of horizons.

The people in this place are different to those on the coast. They live here, and, more often than not, have always lived here. There’s no bullshit in

the way they talk,

the way they walk,

the cars they drive.

Everything, straight down the line.


I head up to the sports oval. The surface is rock hard, with one patch of green, where somebody put a sprinkler, but nobody bothered to move it. The scoreboard only has room for double digit numbers. The clubrooms are a small, square fist of orange bricks. All of it seems tiny. Even the oval, which is a rectangle.

Welcome to country rugby.

It baffles me that such big blokes can play on something so small. It’s like they have no time for that wanker running stuff. “Just leave enough room for us to charge.” To bash into each other. To crash and thump in lines, and break through lines and try to score.

You don’t play in rugby, you do battle.

I get out the footy and kick a few sausage rolls through the uprights.




But that’s why I do it.

How do you have a kick on your own with rugby? How do you have a lazy punt with a mate? It’s a man’s game. Everything about it seems all or nothing.

I feel some eyes burning into my back. A couple of kids on their bikes are watching.

“Idiot!” one of the shouts, and they peddle out of there.

View from rugby field


I bet when it rains all those mountains and valleys disappear. That there’s only grey. That it snows. I’d give my eye-tooth to watch a game of rugby up here. In the cold, in the mud. To then drink in those windowless little club rooms. But life is too short. I’ve already given my eye-tooth to an Aussie Rules club in nowhere Tasmania.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    Candelo-Bemboka? Mexicans have taken over the coast, but few in the hinterlands.

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    This is a fact, Skip.

    C-B, not sure, but think not.

Leave a Comment