I went to my second Super Rugby fixture last Friday night, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I enjoyed it more than my first. There were plenty of tries, there was skill shown by both large and small, and the kicking for goal (I’m pretty sure that’s not the correct turn of phrase) was extremely impressive.

My mate Matty is the person solely responsible for my two rugby outings. Now that he’s sold me on the game day experience, I feel I need to become a fan. Today I added the Rebels website to my list of favourites, but I’m not sure that cuts the mustard.

Matty reckons I should get a Rebels membership. Maybe a 3 game membership to accommodate my rugby outings alongside my own park football, my attendance of all Essendon games that fall outside of Saturday afternoons and, perhaps, all duties/attendance required for the planning of my upcoming wedding.

After perusing through the Rebels 3 game membership package, I’m disappointed that no ‘club gear’ is included in the package. No hat, no t-shirt, and, I’m very sorry to report, no scarf.

I don’t think I’m a fan until I’ve got a scarf.

When Matty bought me the ticket to the first game, I asked whether it included a scarf. He said no. He said the ticket was $68, so if I wanted a scarf I could bloody well buy my own.

Last week, I got a $10 ticket through a promotion on the Rebels website. I probably could’ve got a scarf then, but I didn’t think I was ready.

After bemoaning my scarflessness, Matty had finally had a gutful. He suggested that instead of complaining to me, I should consult my fiancé, who is not only a staunch scarf-wearing Brisbane Lions supporter (grew up in Brunswick, 2nd generation Fitzroy fan) but, more importantly, a psychologist.

Matty’s hypothesis is that I ‘crave the cold’. Or that it’s maybe a manifestation of some kind of attachment issue.

I’m not so sure. I just think that to be a fan, I need a scarf.

My Essendon scarf has the old VFL logo on it. I’ve had it since I used to stand on a box next to my Dad at Windy Hill.

It has flown out of the window of all three cars that I’ve owned, as well as Dad’s various work cars.

When I was a teenager, I would never dream of tying it in a knot around my neck. None of that princess stuff. Straight up, straight down. Now, I’m 30, I’m engaged, and if I’m cold, then I’ll tie my scarf around my neck any bloody way I want to as long as it keeps the cold out.

Although there’s no blood on my scarf, there are sweat and tears. There has definitely been beer spilt on it. It’s probably got heaps of the little red bits from BBQ Shapes rubbed into it too.

A few years back, my girlfriend at the time and I were having a lazy Sunday chat and the conversation turned to the first (material) thing you would save from your house if it was burning. (You know how those conversations get there).  She didn’t care for football much (can’t believe it didn’t last), and stated in a mocking, eye-rolling, tut-tutting way that I would probably save my Essendon scarf first. Needless to say I had to come up with something quick….

At a post-game meal, it sits nicely on the table. At a post-game pub, I often tie it round my waist. At 1am, it’s been known to be stuffed down my pants when I nod to the bouncer.

If you’re a fan, you get a scarf.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I haven’t taken to the A League. It’s a scarf-wearing sport played in summer. I’m not wearing a scarf in January.

About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.


  1. Richard Naco says

    I can really respect a man who has embraced the same scarf for 20 something years (ish).

    Footy means a scarf.

    No ifs. No buts. And no silly baseball caps. (Although I relented & bought one at Manuka to keep the sun out of my eyes.)

    (Now to kick off a discussion on the merits of beanies as headgear of choice …)

  2. Dave Nadel says

    Agreed. Footy needs a scarf. Climate change and the loss of suburban grounds are the reasons that baseball caps have replaced beanies. It isn’t anywhere near as cold and miserable at the footy in the last ten or so years as it used to be. Whether this is because of a specific El Nino effect or generalised global warming is an argument to have somewhere else, but I am convinced that sun in the eyes has been a more of a problem in recent years than a wet freezing head.

    And anyway, in Victoria with a roof on the docklands there are now games where no headwear is required.

  3. Richard Naco says

    Don’t you just miss wet freezing heads. Ah, the good ole days! Try telling that to kids today and they don’t believe ya!

    Any move to going to the footy sans headgear should lead to an evolutionary based increase in team dyed ‘dos. Unless Darwin was wrong (in which case we’ll revert to Katherine’s Theory of Evolution).

  4. John Harms says

    Andrew, I had a hand-knitted Cats scarf that lasted many many Queensland winters. When I came to Melbourne it was so old, and so discoloured, I was occasionally accused of being an Eagles fan. One freezing mid-week evening, when I had taken it out because it was needed, I left it at the Standard Hotel. Ut had been a grand night, and I didn’t twig until the weekend when I was heading off to the footer.

    PS I own a Rebels scarf, thanks to a mate of mine, Grant Fraser, who, at the rectangular stadium (Rebels v Waratahs), went off to get a shout of beers and came back with two scarves as well.

  5. Alovesupreme says

    I assume that you’re a signed-up member (o/wise the rest of this paragraph won’t be justified). How come you have only one scarf (and an antique at that)? Is the Essendon membership department so lousy that they don’t provide one each year you sign up – which I note is your expectation of a rugby club with which you have a casual association?

    My oldest version is a pure wool one superbly knitted by my late and sadly-missed mother-in-law. Her daughter (the long-suffering spouse) began the project, but various distractions and her limited proficiency at knitting prompted Ma to take over.

    I have mutliple acryclic versions, and until recently had a good one that came from the Rugby World Cup, but in the appropriate colours. Unfortunately my son was heading to a Friday night match, and asked to borrow it, and predictably returned without it.

  6. Andrew Else says

    Alovesupreme – I am indeed a member (since 92, reserved seat since 00), but I’ve never collected the ‘pack’ that’s been allocated to me. I’m just happy with the ticket that comes in the mail. Lanyards aren’t my thing, but probably will be one day.

    JTH – The Standard story brought a tear to my eye. Grant Fraser is a helluva guy

    RN/DN – I went through a beanie phase, but I wore one to the 96 prelim in Syd so I gave it the flick. Branded team caps will probably become palatable when I start using my lanyard

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