Off with the wildebeests

By Paul “Porka” Stephens

It is essential I write a bit about a man who made me, not the re-producing way but in the a way of initiating me into the world of coaching.
I didn’t have a clue when I coached my first game at a new club out the middle of nowhere.
I stood in front of 40 young eyes hanging off my every word plus another 20 older eyes judging my every word, it would be fair to say I was shitting myself.
Taking the reins of a team that had barely won a game in the past three years wasn’t on my to do list but Its done now and I’m a better person for it.
As the boys came in and sang the song for the first time in….well let’s just say a after long time I noticed a rather large bloke standing up the back with a quirky satisfied grin on his face.
I never trained once through the pre-season and it turned out he was coaching me a couple of games later in the day.
His name was Mattie Zurbo a man who snuck me a hundred bucks under the table to go towards the kids footy trip.
“If you tell anyone I won’t be happy” he threatened.
What a weirdo!
If i gave my good money away I would want every bit of the credit but not Zurbs.
Who was I to argue? the bloke stood 6ft something and was built like a brick shit house so I took his money and scurried off.
I remember he would roar at qtr time, for the rest of the game my hands trembled in fear enough that I could barely grab the ball when it came my way.
Before I met him I took footy for granted I looked at the game as a way to get laid and a place to booze till we got silly.
Camaraderie was his favourite word telling us how great this game was and how much it meant to him.
Zurbs taught me what the game was about and what it wasn’t about, hell! he probably kept me from throwing my life down the shitter. The game of footy is an unopened book of yep…I will say it! Camaraderie, mateship and a place you better yourself.
So thanks Zurbs a true bush legend not from just me but several other blokes who will someday realise how much you changed their lives as well.


  1. Matt Zurbo says

    Bloody hell, leave it out, Porker!

  2. Paul Stephens says

    Bush legend brother

  3. Zurbs I think someone has a man crush on you

  4. Nicko the Mysterious says

    Footy is a way to get laid?

  5. Malby Dangles says

    Good stuff!

  6. footy gives you all the spices of life!!!

  7. scratcher says

    I’m sure I saw you at footy training one night Porka, Oh yeah, that would be when the jelly wrestling was on. Good work mate, good article,cya.

  8. Paul Stephens says

    Thanks guys its confidence lifting to get some good feedback, cheers

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