Standin’ on the Outside Lookin’ in

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear Canberra., happy birthday to you. Who would have thought that the much loved national capital is 100 years old . And what a ripper party it has been. There has been cake stalls, big balloons, recitals and lots of crackers. It really has taken one’s breath away with the cherry on the cake being the National Sheep Dog Trials, commencing on the birth date itself. Director Robyn Archer is the be congratulated on bringing  together such as plethora of events. Pity everyone went to the coast on Friday on Friday and miss a truly magic celebration . I’m sure there having some appropriate commemorative activities at Batemans Bay. Sparklers and poppers going off like a frog in a sock.

Same may say that Canberra lacks a heart. Rubbish! Canberra is all ventricles and aorta. You just had to be amongst the throngs on Friday night at Manuka Oval to feel a pulse like a Brazilian rumba. The big show came to town as the Bombers took on the Gnats, under lights, in a NAB Cup thriller. This was the first AFL game played under lights in the capital, just as the  recent ODI was the first ODI under lights. Yes, we have light in Canberra, just like the big kids. However, What we don’t have, based on reports from Friday night, is pies.

There were kebabs, souvalki, lattes, humus and cheese dips, but not one bloody pie. I realise that the boys from the GWS were playing but they were hardly going to bus down the entire Lebanese community for a practice match in\ Canberra. To add insult to injury, they placed the catering on a vacant block, outside the ground, on the hollowed turf of the former Returned Service Club, colloquially referred to as Shell Shock Hut, which sadly burnt to the ground some two years ago. Hell. what would the diggers be thinking  “They put food stalls on a site of remembrance and not one f^#king pie to be seen. Heathen bastards”

People here wonder why Canberra gets a bad wrap (apparently plenty of good wraps on sale) Perhaps it was some subversive leftie plot to secede from the states. Let’s pretend we have no discernible connection to the rest of Australia (Some cruel people already think this to be the case, those non-tertiary educated, poorly remunerate whingers). Brilliant, what sort of Australian’s don’t heat pies. Well, Canberra people obviously. Let’s throw them out of the Commonwealth. That can be the only explanation or could it possibly be another oversight by the catering gurus at Manuka who have presided over one stuff up after another this summer. But gee, the lights were good, even if the Gnats were shit, falling to a 91 point flogging at the hands of the Injectors. Mind you even peptides have pies in them.

If the Canberra is to taken seriously on the national sporting front, we must have pies at the footy. Not bloody Villis pies either.  Four and Twenties and nothing lees. There were 20,000 wagon jumper out at Bruce Stadium for the Brumbies the following night compared to 8,000 at Manuka. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to work our why. Even the leather elbow patch mob had pies to accompany their Bundy and cokes. I hope the AFL is having a close look at this as heads need to roll.

There was another major surprise on the evening. My son Dylan, the indoctrinated nephew of misguides Kangaroo supporting uncles, finally saw the light ( No, not those lights, which were fantastic by the way.) He of short arms and long pockets eschewed 18 year of inflicted cruelty by becoming a member of the Gnats. He even spent $80 a T-shirt.  This is a kid that still has ten cents tied in the corner of his first hanky. What a fillip for the new boys. To garner the support of an impressionable young man, who had been in the purgatory which is following team of nomadic mercenaries, must be music to the ears of the AFL marketing men. It was certainly music to the ear of a father who can now shed the house of the horrendous North Ballarat/Hobart paraphernalia which litters Dylan’s bedroom. (Archer’s signed Shinbones jumper can stay in the office) Dylan’s  rationale? “Their the local team”. Well I’ll be buggered. GWS a local team. And I thought Sheedy was only in town for the Canberra Cup and the Black Opal.

Surely this will bring joy to the floundering fortunes of the  ALP given Canberra’s traditional penchant for voting slightly left of centre. Moving the seats of Fraser and Canberra to the western suburbs of Sydney will be more effective that an week of walking about in Humping Knoll. Still, I can see what he means. The Gnats have committed to 10 years in Canberra, for a poultry $24M, and have put in huge effort to promote elite junior football. Some of these kids will go on to play for the Gnats and the interest is perpetuated.

That can’t be bad for Canberra footy, if only you could get a [email protected]&king pie.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    Ha, ha, no pies . The wraps were deilcious though Tony .
    What good taste your son has ! When are YOU going to become a local?
    Do you know what are they are going to do with that block of land where the food stalls were? Who actually owns it?

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