Two men from opposite sides of the tracks that both claim the same footy team have finally crossed paths over the weekend at the Royal Easter Show – an iconic agricultural fair that takes place in Sydney Olympic Park, which is the official boundary between West and Inner-West.

The 1999 merger between the Western Suburbs Magpies and the Balmain Tigers brought about the unlikely cross-class alliance between Campbelltown and Balmain. 

For over 25 years neither of the two fan bases had any idea the other still existed, both assuming they were the only people that actually cared about the struggling footy team. Until now.

“I’ll be honest, it took me by surprise” exclaimed Atticus Johnson (32), a well-to-do finance worker whose family valiantly gentrified the once humble working class wharfie suburb of Balmain in the 1990s.

“He was wearing Tigers colours but he didn’t strike me as a Balmain boy, he was wearing thongs and footy shorts, and when I asked him if he went to the Leichhardt match last week he just looked at me with a blank stare.”

The man that had rattled Atticus to the core was Quayden Dunphy (53), a 4th generation Campbelltown boy that was forced to swap his beloved black and white team colours for black and orange during rugby league’s restructuring after the Super League War.

“Mate, at first I thought he must’ve been from the country by the look of his cowboy boots, then he opened his mouth and he was using Kings English” said Quayden.

“Why’s he got the tigers colours on? Shouldn’t he be supporting the roosters or something? Maybe the Swans?”

The misunderstanding seemed to bother both men and the question of who were the true original supporters was quickly asked.

“Everyone knows black and orange are the colours of Balmain!” says Atticus.

“Plus, Leichhardt oval is the spiritual home of the Tigers – even if they do only play there twice a year.” Atticus argued

Quayden was quick to respond to these fighting words.

“Are you even listening yourself?”

“Talking about spiritual homes and team colours.. Mate, they play in Campbelltown, end of story fuck ya.” Replied Quayden.

While the two footy fans started off on a confusing note, they were eventually able to bond of their shared suffering of supporting a wildly dysfunctional football club that would have otherwise been completely terminated if it were not for the live-saving Maori flair that flick-passed them into a 2005 Premiership.

“Reckon Benji can save us again?” asked the Campbelltown representative.

“Again?! Wait I thought he retired!” said the Balmain boy.


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