The white Mullock heaps

Here is your intrepid sports correspondent reporting in from the white Mullock heaps.

by  George Laslett

Just got back from the footy in Coober Pedy where Mimili Falcons (their reserve side); main team Mimili Blue beat Coober Pedy 20:14 to 14:12. We’d better keep practicing. Looks like Ali will have the pictures up soon. Mimili boys suffered injuries because it was  only the second game together and had never played on grass before.

What an atmosphere. Coober Pedy Council hadn’t cut the grass, because ‘it burns off in the heat’; and the Mimili Falcons, up at 4 am to travel down 90km of dirt from Mimili via Indulkana to the Stuart Highway and then290km South along the bitumen. They will leave after the match 11pm to travel back to keep everyone away from the grog; no alcohol at the match, no entrance and a free sausage sizzle for all attendees.

Some 500 patrons came to watch the match on a warm 39 degree afternoon. The game began at 7pm and the temperature was 32 degrees at 10.30pm

So I entered into another phase of my vocation, ministry, volunteerism; assisting the coaching team by filling the water bottles, replacing water in the wash buckets, and finding the deadly linament.

My colleague nearly made the cardinal mistake of grasping the male organ after rubbing a player down with the sweet smelling linament and remembered in time; otherwise his extra curricula activities could have been painful not to mention banned. That man has reflexes to equal Ian Chappell at first slip, not to mention Boon.

Speaking of Cardinal the goal umpires were  Brian Underwood, deacon at the Anglican church, who owns his own ultra lite and has an airstrip in his front yard and  the Catholic Priest, Father Paul Burke; no graft or corruption in our league.

The game began with a hot sun and 300 spectators wrestling for the shade produced by the coach’s marquee. No grog, what will we do. I slipped down the street at quarter time for a family sized Passiona for myself and a Fruita for some kids we brought. 6 straws for any emergencies.

The game Mimili, only the second time they’d played together were all Aboriginal young men, mostly sleek, mostly natural footballers, ducking , weaving, showing the ball, side stepping, and speed, picking the ball up off the carpet and our players looking surprisingly like rhinos.

We had our Oodnadatta players out because Cyclone Yasi has still closed the road ( huge lake at Fish Hole 100km out)and our professional imports from Pt Augusta weren’t called on, but they had 4 on the board in as many minutes.

The Mimili players were battling with the grass and a number of injuries occurred when players caught there boots in the spongy turf. Ice packs galore and water. I raced to the showers and worked out a fast regime of filling these fancy anti disease bottles while fantasizing that my first go at water boy might jeopardize the side as they waited ‘tired and weary’ for some kapi (water). I really need to see Chris about that catastrophising thing.

Anyway a solid game of footy which would have been less competitive had it not been for ex Madigan Medal player Zaire Mc Kenzie who covered many kilometres of the field, a magnificent goal by Martin Grava, and strong performances by Aboriginal Community Policeman Chris Warrior, and constable Patrick Larkins.

In all a team of gifted naturals on an unfamiliar surface gave a clinic to a group of plodders on their own surface in front of a patriotic crowd of 500 and 30 dogs and one older lady who got so steamed up she walked out to remonstrate with the umpire and was only brought back to the boundary when our coach ran around and told her to ‘cool it’;

At the end of the game I donned an apron and helped cook the onions as everyone lined up for a feed.

One touching aspect was that the club photo at the end of the game was one of both teams in there together, after all they are relatives and it was especially interesting listening to each team box and emergencies chatting to each other on the interchange line in Pitjantjatjarra language

Played in a spirit of brotherly camaraderie against a first half burning sun, replaced but a second half sunset and glowing sky it was a great way to chat and relax.

Oh by the way, during the second quarter I sidled up to the CEO of an Aboriginal Organisation and while she cuddled someone’s Tjitji (child) she informed me that all my financial requirements were met  and they would announce on Monday that I was the new manager of the Drug and Alcohol Centre.

I ended the night with a water fight with some kids while picking up the empties.

They won, we lost but community won, and we think Mimili Falcons might join our league; Mimili Blue have won the last 2 premierships in the Northern league. Not bad for a community of 400 people when there is no grog.

You’ll have to get up here and report your own game for the SANFL.

This also was a night to be time keeper. Gary sat alone in air conditioned comfort in the change rooms although he invited ex Rodeo legend Jack Crombie to join him. I wonder if he needs a third umpire.


  1. johnharms says

    George, Superb. Would love to have been there – although I felt I was as you were describing the gala event. I love the team photo, It’s one of those God’s-Must-Be-Crazy moments when something is done so differently (I’m thinkng of driving th e jeep in reverse).

  2. George Laslett says

    Thanks for your comment. I have been to 2 of the Footy Almanac launchings in Adelaide Made great Christmas gifts for Geelong barrackers GRRH!
    Enjoy your comments on ABC Sundays with my satellite dish I get it from 4 different states at 4 different times. Please keep up the grass roots stuff.

  3. Peter Flynn says


    Thanks for the great read. Many funny references e.g. Passiona.

    How big a weather system was Yasi? Incredible.

    I’d like to experience such a spectacle one day.

  4. George Laslett says

    You’re welcome. Up here we only have 5 teams in the Competition and teams drive 400km to play; usually they drive 340km, sleep in a shearing shed , travel over in the morning and drive home after the game 800km round trip;

    but great cammaraderie.

    You only have to finish above 1 team and your in the finals but pretty compettitive 2 opal mining towns against 3 mining towns.

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