The Curse of Mama Bear AKA Fremantle v Geelong


by Dennis Gedling

It’s not every day that 20 or so people stop talking to point and laugh at you when you enter a room but I was able to cross that honour off the bucket list deep in Dockers territory on a Round 1 Saturday night. The day had started off so well too at in the lush surroundings of the new venue for the Perth Cats who were under a new president and with the added spring in our step of coming off another unbelievable premiership season. The off season hadn’t been too laborious this time around, it may have had something to do with being content as a Cat or it may have been Perth Glory getting their groove back in the summer. Along with being surrounded with hundreds of quite chuffed like minded souls I had the very rare privilege of holding the premiership cup and meeting the man who captained us to said cup. The thrill of holding such a cherished item resulted in my texting of god knows how many people with some small love of Aussie Rules to tell them of this fact.

“Like holding God’s genitalia!” may or may not have been the text.

Along with seeing John K Watts and various impressed board members with the Perth Cats set up I listened to our esteemed Almanac editor John Harms preach fire and brimstone from the pulpit on stage about what it was about being a Cats fan that was so wonderful and at the same time hilariously cruel. Talking to people and seeing the highlights of previous flags on the big screen along with the kids in their jumpers with their favourite player’s numbers on the back also reminded you of how lucky it was to support such a wonderful club and not jump ship in either 1987 or 1995 to support a Western Australian team.

But, alas, despite that here I was some hours later, the only one in blue and white stripes in a cheap games room full of purple with people roaring with laughter and finger pointing gestations inspired by an absorbing match played an hour or so earlier. That wonderful afternoon with the cup, with Lingy, with what seemed like a Footy Almanac version of Ian Paisley preaching the good word had now seemed it was like last season, like it was longer ago then when Varcoe had scrubbed through his sealer against the Pies. The loud and boisterous Perth Cats supporters bus ride to the game was followed up with a somber trip back to home base where the game was dissected and people answered to the provocative texts sent to them by friends and supporters of the opposition who had pressed ‘send’ within a nanosecond of the final siren going. After all of that I was now in this room mentally drained and being used as a verbal piñata for those who are proud, loyal and passionate as well as being on their third bottle of Jamiesons for the evening.

The reason I was in this situation was that I had made it down to the very Irish pre-wake “Wake” in Maddington in the South Eastern suburbs of Perth to celebrate the life of a close friend’s mother who had passed away that morning after a long illness. ‘Mama Bear’ (as she was called by her many children) had been the matriarch of my close friend’s family and made sure everyone in the family supported the Dockers when they came along in 1995 because they looked ‘a bit more catholic’.

Mama Bear had timed her passing well. Her sons had all come back to Perth from various places from Turkey to Canberra and they came to the conclusion that she had decided to pass on now so all that her sons could see the Dockers, the Perth Glory and the Pogues all play in Perth in one weekend while they were in town to mourn her. Perhaps it was her beyond the grave influence with the football gods that had made Matthew Stokes and Tom Hawkins miss sitters in the third quarter that should have given Geelong a handy lead at the last change of yet another pulsating Dockers V Cats game at Subi. Perhaps Mama Bear had used her influence with the big guy upstairs to make Matty Scarlett lose his usual composure and almost belt the face off Haydn Ballantyne. Perhaps Mama Bear wanted revenge on me for being sick in her garden after a party at her house when I was 17 by putting a young Dockers fan that had the screech of a banshee and the same decibel level of a large jet engine right behind my seat for the match when I was trying to overanalyse the game and point out the obvious to another tragic marking the goals in his footy record and listening to ABC radio next to me.

Whatever supernatural spin you could put on it, I still had a drink or two for Mama Bear and then discussed the game with her Dockers supporting family after the laughter had died down and the reality of my ‘See you in September’ retort hit home. All the while on this night I wondered in the back of my mind if any Hawks fans had accidently crossed her over the years like I had and if their comeuppance was coming up on the following Easter Monday. Thanks for the epic game at Subi Mama Bear, you’ve settled in up there quite quickly it must be said.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.


  1. Great stuff, Dennis. And you got to meet the Premiership captain? That means you can also cross “Gedling gets Ling” off your bucket list.

  2. John Harms says


    I really enjoyed your piece. Thanks for sending it in.

    I am sorry to hear of Mama Bear’s passing.

    It was terrific to meet you over the weekend, and what a super crew the Perth Cats are.

    Looking forward to more trips to Perth and more wins for the Cats.


  3. Dennis – great to see the flag flying over in Perth for the mighty Cats.

    When you talk about the thrill of holding the cherished item I assume you’re talking about the Cup and not Lingy’s goolies?

  4. Basso Divor says

    ” …laughter and finger pointing gestations …” I’m not sure pregnancy is that funny! Seriously Dennis, thanks for great debut and welcome to the frat house!

  5. Dennis Gedling says

    Ah! Gesturing I may have meant. This probably isn’t a good time to admit that proof reading is a major part of day job but I was sneaking in words for this peice whilst skiving off work yesterday. Hadyn should be spelt Hayden or something not so nice too.

    Dips, I did have a run in with Lingy in 2006 in London when he was over there for the game at the Oval against Port Adelaide but that involved snake bites and backpackers and not anything bawdy.

Leave a Comment