The 2015 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Fifteen

Greetings Tipsters


How does Rohan Connolly do it? Every day he has to crank out several hundred words about footy. My first attempt on this week’s column went past 200 words, mostly about the bicycle menace, before I got to Hird’s tumble with the line “Still, the very idea of a superfit alpha male with a denialist attitude coming a cropper on his pushy is not without its karmic elements” and I had no idea where to go from there unless it was to continue the analysis of bicycles and traffic.


But this is meant to be a football column, so let’s start with a match played nearly a week ago (‘cos I’ve been working and looking for a new house, the owner of this wonderful place has decided to cash in on Sydney’s property bubble while she can and we’ve been priced out of the inner west and are crossing the river to Earlwood, which is something of a psychological wrench for me, having lived within ten minutes walk of Oxford, Cleveland or King St for thirty years, let alone the new place being within three suburbs of where I grew up and not having a back lane where I can unload vast amounts of cut branches and dug-up crap like agapanthus and dump them in the backyard to await a convenient time to take them to the tip but it does have a concrete slab in the backyard beneath an awning where I can safely park Rita, Triumph Sprint ST1050, and do oil changes and similar.)


Where was I? Oh, right, football, a week ago.


Will Collingwood collapse in a heap like they did last year? Sure, they’ve been valiant in defeat the last three matches, but look what happened to the Valiant car company. Anyone want a VH hardtop? No, didn’t think so. Anyway, Nat wants them to make more of an effort when it comes to congratulating blokes who kick goals. “That’s an outlier for us because that’s something we’ve done pretty well, to support each other, to encourage each other through public displays of affection.”
What does he mean by ‘outlier’? I checked it on the online Oxford Dictionary which informed me that it’s “A person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system.”


I’ll leave it to you, Dear Reader, to ponder the impications and explications of that comment. Dad and I were shouted a trip to Melbourne in ’07 by my sister to see Sydney play Collingwood at the MCG and we noticed how Nat was coaching on the field, directing players, setting things up. I’m not surprised that he is a good coach, who seems to be getting better.


The 4&20s won that match, Dad and I walked back to our CBD hotel via a pub or two, we were having a last drink in the hotel and Dad said “It’s been a long time since I had a beer after midnight” and went on to tell me about an Australia v England Rugby League match that was telecast live from the Old Dart around 1971. We were living in Padstow and John Owen, Dad’s best mate since high-school, was living down the road. John came over to watch the match, very late, and they stayed up til dawn and drank all the beer that Dad – Frank to his friends, Francis to his mum – had put aside for Christmas.


Oh boy, I loved that anecdote. Having seen many sunrises, through any number of enhanced filters, it was a connection. My hard-working, responsible Dad, a father of four, had drank until dawn.


Growing up in Sydney, Dad was a Rugby League fan. His father, Bill, played Australian Football. Born in Nathalia March 1900, moved to West Wyalong when 12, in his early 20s he’d take the train to Sydney, once the harvest was in, and play for East Sydney. Grandad had a nose like a potato, courtesy of the Daniher’s grandad, who gave that cheeky rover a good thump one afternoon in the Riverina.


Terry, we’ve unfinished family business to tend to.


The Moore family lived across the paddock from the O’Neill family in Lakemba in the 1940s. Peter Moore became secretary of Canterbury-Bankstown and the key figure in the club becoming a power in Rugby League, his brother Ray was, is, one of Dad’s close friends. I’ve got a few of those 1940s hardbound ‘Adventure Tales For Boys’ books and one of them has ‘Happy Birthday Ray’ written inside.


There’s many a tale to be told of my family’s connection with Belmore Oval, including my cousin Peter O’Neill being the League’s top try scorer in 1976 – and I won’t say anything about Cocker Roach and the king-hit on the Gold Coast – but Grandad was always an Aussie Rules bloke and a North fan. I remember him complaining about “too much bloody handball” in the late 1970s.


Consequently, I watched the VFL with Dad, there’d be one hour of a match on telly on Sunday. Fast-forward twenty years and, disgusted with the Super League imbroglio, Dad joined me for a match at the SCG. Brisbane and, if memory serves, it was the game where I picked Aker for the Brownlow.


Mum had never been a football fan until then, my folks became Swans members and remained so for several years until the fees became ludicrous. Naturally, they wrote the club in protest and informed in rational detail their reasons for not renewing.


They took reserved seats in the Brewongle, until then they sat on the Hill. One afternoon, Essendon were up here, they were sitting near a crowd of Bombers. Two chaps came over and said much like “We’re drinking and we’ll probably be swearing a lot so we apologise in advance if we offend you.” Mum and Dad appreciated that thoughtfulness.


Cheers, Tipsters


P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.

Brought to you with the assistance of a fantastic string of live Faces gigs on utoob.



About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Love the family connection and the “good old days” memories. I turn 60 in a few weeks time, and was wandering the streets today trying to dig up my earliest sporting memories. Around 1962 I reckon. Clearer than memories of last month.
    Cheers Earl.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Good one Earl.

    The world needs more thoughtfulness and you’ve delivered once more.

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