A strapping 197 centimetre picture of athletic prowess has today revealed that he’s never being given the opportunity to truck the nut up the middle off the tap.

Local bartender Craig Newcombe (26) is relatively new to Betoota, after relocating from central Queensland to chase hospitality work in our city’s glitter strip of Roma Hills.

As a man that could comfortable be described as a ‘big unit’ – Craig hasn’t really had much trouble cementing himself into the social tapestry of this town. Mostly because he’s constantly being asked to join the local footy side.

While pulling beers at the Lord Kidman Hotel, the 112 kilogram action figure has come into contact with countless stalwarts of both the Betoota Dolphins Rugby League Club and the Betoota Muttaburrasauras Rugby Union Club.

“You gonna come down for a run with the mutts big fella?” asked one leathery pub patron this afternoon.

“You’d make a great second row”

However, this offer to play for the raras has been countered immediately by a local league identity.

“Nah nah nah. Don’t do that. Come play for the Phins!” said the cross-code rival from the other side of the bar.

“We could use a defensive forward like you”

Unfortunately for both of these old men, Craig has no idea what any of these words mean – because he grew up in one of those weird country towns that, for whatever reason, only play hockey.

“I mean, we had footy clubs. But they weren’t much chop. All the talent in my town was holding a stick” he says.

The notion of ‘hockey towns’ is not a new phenomena. Right across the country, regional epicentres like Goulburn, Canberra, Rockhampton and Ballarat are absolutely hooked on this random sport that no one else cares about outside of the Olympics. There is no rhyme or reason as to why these towns have chosen hockey as their vehicle of community and competition, but one thing is for sure is their simple refusal to acknowledge any of the other mainstream domestic sports played in Australia.

Craig is from one of these towns.

He’s never packed a scrum or tackled a winger in his life. And he’s not gonna start now. Because his sport is hockey.

“What a waste” mutters one of the old codgers at the bar.

“Look at the size of this bloke”

“Only to be wasted on astroturf”


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