Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sesh’s are the best.

There’s something lazy about them. Sloppy. All the gloss and polish of game day and Sat night has been belted off.

We’re in a new player’s shed, in town, eating deer on a spit, either drinking slow, easy and constant, or going the hack. The Swans are playing the Hawks in the background. None of us care.

Little Fred’s a mess. He’s had no sleep and is trying to keep up with the men, strutting his chest out, picking fights he’s never going to win, being a pain. The runner finally sorts him out. Nobody says anything. Somebody had to.

The Statewide player takes on the former Captain in a push-up contest. The Statewide player is a jet. Way too good to be playing with us. But he’s from our town, so drinks with us, and comes to our games when he can, and hangs around our training when his is done. He stays local, because some people come from a place, others are it, even if bastard things like talent move them on.

“Tell you what, if you win, I’ll come back and play with yas!” Statewide boasts.

We all laugh and cheer and knock him about. Career suicide. Let the good times roll.

“He’s cocky,” I say.

“You have to be, at that level,” Betsy insists.

“Bullshit,” I tell him.  “Harvey wasn’t cocky. Doull wasn’t.”

“Stop dating yourself,” he says.

We throw in bets on Statewide and the former Captain. I watch Statewide. He’s skinny, ripped, with no fat on him. He runs smooth, like McLeod. The former Captain is a hard drinking, wombat of a man. The belly’s there, the stubble. He barely trains, but, at our level, makes up for it with pride. He plays tough.

I throw a twenty on Statewide.

“You serious?” Betsy says.

“I ain’t going to be fooled by personality,” I tell him. “We’re betting on push-ups, not good blokes.”

By forty-or-fifty something, the former Captain’s starting to waver. His arse is shaking, not doing its push-ups in time with his chest. Statewide stops for a second, because a leaking eskie is fucking with his footing and he needs to hop his toes into better grip.

The former Captain sees his opening, leaps up and charges Statewide, chest out, yelling:

“Ahh! You stopped! I fucking got ya!”

We all swamp Statewide, cheering, drowning out his protests about footing. He tries to shout his innocence, demand a rematch, but we’re all over him like crazy monkeys with beer and food and slaps on the back.

“Ooooh… HE’S COMING HOME, HE’S COMING HOME!” one of the players shouts/sings in Statewide’s panicked face.

We all sing it, chanting his name, raising the roof, scruffing him up. The whole block shakes with it. Our Sunday, in just another shed, in suburbia somewhere.


When we’re doing laughing, Besty’s beside me again, drinking, waiting.

“Statewide could have done fifty more,” I grumble, handing him his twenty.

“You didn’t wanna bet on personality,” he says, with a big, fat beer grin.

Eventually, cabs and girlfriends and sunset come to drag us all over the place. To the Irish pub to keep drinking, to homes. I’m done and head for the bush.

Statewide will avoid us for a week until we’ve died down. We know he won’t come back. Not while he’s in his prime. It would be madness.

But so what?


  1. Andrew Starkie says


    yeah, Sunday sessions. Best after a big night, followed by training in the morning. Ordered by the coach after a shit performance the day before.

    Sore, tired, hung, washed up.

    Sunday’s a world away from Saturday.

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    Too right, Starkie. I’m lucky to be at a great club with one of the best Presidents you could ever meet. As a bloke and as a prez. It makes Sudays worth playing for.

  3. Had a few Sunday sessions at the NTCA ground in the 70’s and 80’s Matt.

    One lap of the ground and then the serious stuff. The sort of bonding premierships were made of.

    Played in a few of those reserves Flags hanging up on the wall at the back area of the bar. 80, 81 (State) and 82.

    Who is the M Zurbo named in the best players for Lilydale twos in the Sunday Examiner today?

    My first home was the old Pear Arch orchard at Lalla. I know that part of the world well. My father used to drive the tractor along the railway line from Lallla to Lilydale to go to the pub just after WW2. He remembers Lilydale as a very tough town.

    I thought I would suss you out eventually. I come up from the NW Coast for finals. Might seek you out.


  4. Matt Zurbo says

    Phantom. IF the twos make the finals!. Be good to hook up, for sure.

  5. OSCFC two’s going for 5 in a row. They have done that once before. 1980 -84. Stuff the AFL Northern Amateurs ‘B’ Grade is the gear.

    Your seniors look as a chance but you probably need a few more Bardenhagen’s, Erb’s, Mainkeins, Staubi’s and Klieb’s to get back to your German Town roots.

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