Supporter stereotypes

Les Everett’s excellent preview of the 2014 WAFL season got me thinking about clubs in the various state competitions. What do we know of these interstate clubs and their culture? What type of club supporter represents its generalised stereotype? Watching the Demons kick their way out of a victory against the Saints in Round 1 at Docklands, the television cameras panned the outer to expose forlorn figures in red and blue. But there was no tweed in the outer. These fans weren’t what we think of as the traditional Dees fan. Melbourne supporters are the silvertails, and stereotypically, their type had probably trekked back into Etihad’s elite Medallion Club for a quiet port to soften the blow, or more likely had already slunk off downstairs to the bowels of the stadium to fire up the Range Rover for a trouble-free journey home. I’m from Victoria. I love the Cats and without wanting to sound like someone that has their ascendit caput asini, (well that’s what Google Translate suggests and I’m happy to have my translation corrected) I’m not really sure how other AFL fans perceive us at the Cattery. We’re not moleskin-wearing pastoralists from Victoria’s western districts, as we have been humorously depicted in the past. Collingwood fans have certainly put their stamp on what is a generalised Magpie fan. Apologies to the civilised of the Carringbush fold.

Does the local supporter-base of a WAFL, SANFL, NEAFL, TFL, VFL or NTFL club mimic the demographic of its residing suburb? How are Norwood FC and its fans perceived by other footy followers in Adelaide? Is your typical Subiaco fan a chardonnay-sipping socialist? Which club supporter do you love to hate in Tassie, Queensland, NSW or the ACT? Why? Is there something embryonic about a club supporter, like a typical working-class background, their own migrant history is aligned with a club, or even an Irish/Catholic or Protestant allegiance? Can we actually characterise these clubs or their supporters anymore? Has the nationalised competition washed away the colourful fabric of domestic league clubs?

Growing up in Melbourne back in the 70s/80s I began to discover the breadth of the game. I chose to adopt certain clubs as my interstate team. How I chose a team I knew little about relied on nothing more than vague logic and aesthetics. In the WAFL I picked Claremont. As my interest in the VFL grew, I recall receiving all sorts of literature about Australian rules and its history. I read with astonishment that Graham Moss received 40-something votes in the 1976 Brownlow Medal and thought this bloke must have been amazing, of course knowing nothing of the reformed voting system of ‘76. He was from Claremont, so they became my WAFL side. The SANFL was an easier proposition as it all came down to palindromes. My name is Glen, so Glenelg it was. In Tassie, Wynyard got the nod, thanks to Robert ‘Scratcher’ Neal, whose number 35 I proudly wore on my Geelong jumper as a kid.

Now by adopting these clubs as my preferred choice, what type of supporter does that stereotypically make me? Am I some molar-less bogan with Jim Beam in hand in the outer? Am I from the privileged class, and have comfortably nestled my way into an exclusive coterie group? Do I attend the footy with my grandmother who’s a dyed-in-the-wool supporter and we share a common passion? I’d love to hear from those around the country who have a feel for a supporter-type in their domestic comp. Whether you follow West Perth, Balmain, Southport, New Norfolk or Sturt – anyone! Could respondants list their state domestic clubs and provide their take on what a stereotypical supporter of that club is like. I’d love to hear from those that know.


About Glen Potter

Footy tragic since attending my first game in 1978. Love the Cats but will happily watch footy - anywhere, anytime. Played junior footy with David Schwarz and Peter Berbekov and between the three of us, we've played 225 AFL games. Love playing and coaching cricket and proudly mankaded a cheating non-striker one day many years ago.


  1. Giles Pickford says

    The largest group of people wanted by the Police in Sydney is the Canterbury Bankstown supporter’s Club.

  2. MGLFerguson says

    Testa in culo is a better rendition – asinius is the donkey kind of ass. Testa (literally, “pot”) is just more colloquial than caput. You might think from this that I am a Demons guy, but no: A Cats fan from the US.

  3. Dennis Gedling says

    Speak to anyone over in Perth over the past few years on they’re view of Geelong fans over here and apparently we’re all bandwagoners. The stereotypes are all but gone now. West Perth, long seen as a side supported by all the post ww2 European immigrants played one game last season in a Union Jack because of all the British ex pats in the joondalup area where they now play. The whole west coast fans are yuppies/dockers are the working class stereotype is cute and well off the mark.

  4. Rabid Dog says

    Some SANFL notes:
    Centrals – all Poms and car thieves. Lazy Centrelink dole bludgers;
    Port – Wharfie scum. A/A except not Poms, and they generally have more teeth than IQ (and there aren’t too many teeth in any of ’em);
    Glenelg – surfie types who are more interested in a good time than a win. Once threw BRILLIANT parties (I went to a few in the early 80s – better even than the old Richmond FC preGF party). Best looking female supporters. Most of their supporters now follow the C***s;
    North – Two groups. One a Bit like Centrals, except come from the inner northern suburbs instead of the outer northern suburbs; the other, OLD ladies dressed in red and white, waving umbrellas as weapons, and gently screeching ‘come on Norf’;
    Norwood – two groups. One, posh eastern-suburb types who are a lot like Demons supporters; and a second group of ‘wannabe’ thugs who terrorise children and old ladies in the streets around their home ground after night games. Rulebook to outline to which group he belongs;
    West – Doug Thomas was FOR YEARS the archetype/stereotype for ALL of Westies. In fact, Westies WERE Doug thomas, who WAS westies. Shadowed only by ‘the Richmond Rockers’. Seem to be in a transition phase. Their supporters now tend to be a bit like the SA Labor government – neither one thing nor the other (PS the SA Labor govt is best thought of as ‘wishy-washy social democrats’);
    Sturt – rather like the posh side of Norwood, with a hard-core of working blokes who regularly attend games at home; When I was a kid, it was full of old ladies with bright blue rinses, but times have a-changed;
    Woodville-West Torrens (eagles) – too few supporters to categorise, except they have THE BEST prematch dancing girls. WELL worth a look;
    C***s – Johnny-come-lately C***s. They have no supporters, only ‘interested parties’ and ‘assorted hangers-on’. Although there may be one or two along for a look ‘from an intellectual perspective’;
    South – sadly Souths supporters are ALWAYS three old blokes in hats, and a dog. In the outer. In their car, watching from the mound;
    Trust this helps. Can give my thoughts on the WAFL groups at another time.

    Lastly, I’m with testa in culo – much more colloquial and more what I would’ve expected to find on the streets of ancient Rome. At home it would’ve been something like:
    ?????? ????? ??? ???? ???.
    I’ll leave it to those with better Greek to agree or disagree.
    Rabs. An (almost) life-long Centrals fan, who grew up not far from Doggie Park, Cnetral’s home ground.

  5. sean gorman says

    Eagles = jerks.

  6. Bob Morrow says

    To say I am intelligent , fair , a student of the game , sophisticated yet down to earth , have superior judgement & acumen , shrewd , practical , able , astute , canny , far-sighted , discerning & balanced just says I am a typical Geelong supporter.

  7. Mark Duffett says

    Spot on for mine, Rabid Dog. Sounds like you’ll be joining me in making a point of attending Eagles v Centrals in preference to Adelaide v Sydney on 5 April (one of the very few weekends I’ll be in the same city as either).

  8. Dave Brown says

    Yep, Rabid Dog has pretty much nailed the SANFL – even his own club with their two word vocabularies (the two words being ‘Youuuuu Doooooogs’).

    Suggest we have a few clubs in transition at the moment as the metro areas covered by traditional working class clubs like Port and West gentrify.

    It has amazed me the dormant dislike of ‘arrogant’ Norwood supporters that has bubbled to the surface since we started winning stuff again. It seems inevitable that the most successful club at the time will have the least liked supporters. Although, should it happen one day, I would challenge anybody to dislike South’s hardy band of supporters – those furry little southerners.

  9. Rick Kane says

    re West Perth, while the supporter base may have included many post WW2 European immigrants, I recall that the prevailing stereotype of West Perth supporters was that they were ‘garlic munchers’. This was a stereotype in the sense that stereotypes are usually derogatory over-simplifications of a group. Thankfully such an awful term does not continue but it is important that we do not forget these things. They say much more about those who construct the stereotype as they attempt to say about a particular group.

  10. Rabid Dog says

    I see my greek phrase wasn’t recognised as it wasn’t inRoman alphabet, so here it is in same:
    kepháli mékhri ton kôlo moy


  11. Glen Potter says

    Well done, Rabid Dog. You have offered wonderful insight into the SANFL. I can’t wait for ‘Book’s take on domestic matters, especially Norwood. Equally looking forward to your hard-hitting view of the WAFL. Glenelg’s better halves’ sound interesting. Is there an independent club that could form a minority government with Wests so they could hold the balance of power?

    Bob – If I didn’t understand the perception of Cats’ fans before, I do now. Well said.

    Sean – South? East? At least describe a Claremont supporter for me. I’m resilient enough to deal with the truth.

    Testa in culo – The irony that I didn’t get this in the first place isn’t lost on me.


  12. I hate the stereotypical Brisbane Lions supporter, who yells out ‘come on ref, wasn’t that dropping the man.’
    I used to offer a polite correction, now I just can’t be bothered.
    Most Brisbane supporters don’t know the rules, but they know what ‘bandwagon’ means, and how to get on and get off it.
    Some of them still think Voss and Aker are still playing.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says


    I see you have fallen in to the trap of regurgitating the same tired cliches about Centrals supporters. What you have said may be true of the residents of Elizabeths Park, Downs, Field, West, Craigmore, Broadmeadows and even parts of Elizabeth North, but those upstanding inhabitants of the South (especially), Grove, East, Vale, Centre and even Hillbank, not a car thief or unnaturalised Pom amongst them.

    Cede Nullis

  14. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable subject Glen ( love your work Rabs ) geez a bit of pressure on my take on the mighty redlegs a mixture of classy junkies and decent spooner folk . Our problems at night games have generally been against the letting off of flares mob aka Centrals ! Lucky the dogs have a great doctor Rabs ! I think overall Norwood have the best and classiest supporters in the league and I am not biased what so ever !
    The stereotype of the Crows being the chardy drinking mob BORING !
    Thanks Glen ( Go the legs )

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