15 March, 2016. 15:15
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
Balmain resident, Nigel Waspey says his brief encounter with Sydney’s working class community will probably be his last.
Despite living in Balmain for over five years, the 48-year-old graphic designer had never been to a live NRL match at nearby Leichhardt oval. That was until yesterday afternoon.
“A lot of the bars and restaurants in the community often hang orange banners around this time of the year. It’s kind of a cute way of paying homage to the working class families that don’t live here any more,”
“I thought I may as well go and watch the match because they don’t happen very often,”
“In fact, I have previously signed petitions for a ban on rugby league in Balmain. But apparently the Wests Tigers supporters hold this area quite close to their hearts,”
Wests Tigers, formerly known as “Balmain Tigers” is a rugby league club based in Sydney’s rapidly gentrifying inner-west.
As a founding member of the New South Wales Rugby League and one of the most successful in the history of the premiership, with eleven titles, they once epitomised the game’s working class roots.
However, in recent years, the area has been overtaken by ‘corporate creative’ residents who resent the concept of contact sport.
Nigel Waspey says his wife and several other neighbours were shocked and appalled at not only the behaviour of the rugby league fans present during Wests 36-22 win over the Manly Sea Eagles yesterday, but also the drinks on offer at the canteen.
“Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be forced to drink out of an aluminium can in the inner-west,”
“Not only was there no pinot on the menu, there was not one wine at all. Red or white,”
“I was forced to drink a mass-produced beer in front of my own children. It’s been very tough for them,”
While Mr Waspey says he can see the merit in the camaraderie that community football team can create, he says maybe rugby league isn’t the right sport for contemporary Balmain.
“I can understand the need to recognise this area’s working class roots. I mean, that’s half the reason we moved here from Potts Point. When the factories were closing down, we were able to move in to the old workers cottages,”
“But, to tell you the truth. That era is dead and gone for Balmain. People like me are more representative of what this area looks like nowadays, not this NRL team. There are definitely no Polynesians living here,”
While Nigel and his family claim to be “real sports nuts” – he says it’s time for Sydney to just acknowledge that the inner-west is more of a soccer or Australian rules hub nowadays.
“AFL is a Melbourne game, and the inner-west is more like Melbourne than anything else – it’s often compared to Europe, so soccer could be a better fit,”
“It really is time for those kinds of people to take their bogan football back out to the areas that still have blue collar workers. Balmain is a different place and it doesn’t belong to them any more,”
“All they needed to do was have a decent wine list and they might’ve been able to win the us locals onside. But they are more concerned about their low-brow canned beer. It’s just so crass.”
Laurie Nichols would be turning in his grave. AFL should be banned, it’s Un-Australian to play a sport that you can’t beat the Pom at.
OMG this guy has peanuts as brains …..GO and drink your bloody wine somewhere else. .balmain is always going to be rugby league whether you like it or not !!!!!!!!!!!GO WEST TIGERS….. SHOVE THE AFL WHERE THE SUN DONT SHINE !!!!!!!!!
How about you go to a mosman point house you ignorant idiot. Balmain and Leichhardt oval have always and will always be a rugby league community you moved there knowing that. The tigers are the heart and soul of that area. They always will be so if you don’t like it. Don’t let the door hityour ass on the way out.
Sums up Balmain. Piss off and leave the footy to us westies.
Surely this is beyond an aggressive retort. Just enjoy the humour that will no doubt elude him for ever.
Lol at the replies….
Umm. I read this as a parody of the attitudes of the gentrifiers. Not great, but quite good.
This guy is an idiot if this is true. Leichhardt has always been a league oval well before you were a twinkle in your old mans eye. Get over it harden up princess.
Is this bloke serious, is this article a comedy skit? Fancy him calling RL and the crowd bogans. I have never heard of such a BOGAN living in Balmain. Maybe the house prices have gone up, but the area’s tradition and memories will never wain. If you have ever worn the black and gold jumper, you have Balmain in your blood forever. Yep, every now and then there is an arrogant bogan snob who think they know everything. I think Nigel, needs to see a bit of the world and unravel the cotton wool from his body.
The guy is a poof! Only poofs drink New!!! Where’s the farking VB mate???? Go back to where you come from!!!!
Aaah, Mr Waspey made me laugh , Good on him I say, we are all allowed to have opinion ,this sort of comment ends up in great conversations.
Oh, Mr Waspey, so true! The area seems to undergo a hideous transmogrification into buffoonery and callowness when the artists formerly known as Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies descend upon our hitherto peaceful harbourside village! My partner Portia and I always check the calendar of the Australian Rugby Guild to make sure we vacate to our coastal holiday retreat in another former working class area – now a lovely village with cafes, wineries, arts & crafts cottages and upmarket, refurbished pubs with locally brewed craft beers.
(BTW, A few of you guys might want to take a look at the rest of the site before you get all hot around the collar).
Mr.Waspey is soooo right, why should we residents have to put up with this bogan monthly invasion of OUR lovely suburb on a Sunday afternoon while we are partaking of the odd grigio & listening to original australian folk music only to be drowned out by the screams & uncouth rantings of the great unwashed from west of Lilyfield Rd. Send Boganball back to Blacktown where it belongs.
I think a few people are a bit confused…. Why don’t you head back to the Telegraph, read some Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine, and talk amongst yourselves about how Trump has the right idea.
It’s hilarious (yet unsurprising) how dumb some football fans are… Eg. The people who believe this story. Hahahaha You’re all dickheads just like Nigel in the article