Watching the footy from overseas

By Chris Tinning 

Chris Tinning

Chris Tinning


I work with DFAT and have been posted to Jakarta and twice to Washington. I’ve also done plenty of short-term travel for work.


In Jakarta I watched the footy on Australia Television, which broadcasts five games a week. In Washington I watched through live streaming. I watched the 2009 Grand Final in Brazil.


In Washington, most games were on in the early hours of the morning, so I usually watched on my own, with an occasional grumpy interjection from my wife if the commentators or my comments on the umpiring woke her up!


I usually watched on the iPad in bed, though if the game was close I might have ventured downstairs to stream it through the TV.


Here are two Grand Final Stories.


In 1999 I was in Jakarta. Every year the local footy team, the Jakarta Bintangs, hosts a grand final function which features current and ex-AFL players. The function starts with a champagne breakfast, as the game starts at 10am local time, and the beverages flow.


The function includes an auction, which the organisers schedule towards the end when everyone is well lubricated. In 1999 a signed Buddah Hocking jumper was the first item auctioned, and after too many champagnes, I found myself the proud owner after paying many times the market value. It still has pride of place in our rumpus room.


In 2009 at short notice I had to travel for work over Grand Final week. On Grand Final day I was in Brasilia. The game started at 2am local time, but I had to leave for the airport at 4am local time. I established that not a single hotel in town was showing the game, so I watched the first half streaming through the home computer of a colleague from the Embassy, while he was asleep.


I had arranged for my wife to email updates every 2 minutes during the second half, but when I jumped in the taxi, I had no phone coverage. It was a very long taxi ride to the airport, wondering if the Cats were mounting a comeback. When I got to the airport, I called my wife and in-laws to listen in to the last 10 minutes,  but they were hopeless commentators. Through the yelling and screaming, I managed to decipher that we had won, but it took a decade off my life.


A top priority when scheduling travel back to Australia was planning around a game at Skilled Stadium Park or the MCG. My in-laws live in Colac and are mad Geelong supporters, which makes it easier to arrange.




  1. Earl O'Neill says

    The ’09 Grand Final sounds like a tough one. I watched the ’12 Grand Final in Hoi An –

  2. G’day Chris,

    I love your passionate of footy. Living in Kyoto, I watched St Kilda games live or replay this season apart from the first two rounds. I subscribe Watch AFL Global Pass so that I can watch any game live or replay. Sometimes I was at Coolabah in Osaka to share passionate of footy with others. Even St Kilda didn’t play finals, I watched all Bulldogs matches including GF in September and October.

    Your piece is so interesting. I’m happy to read about following footy from outside Australia. I feel we share the joy.



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