4 October, 2015. 10:50
IMRAN GASHKORI | Sports Editor | Contact
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a jam-packed Grand Final weekend, the people from every state and sovereignty across this nation have vested interests in some sort of football match.
Whether its the South and West of the country tuning in to watch the Saturday night’s AFL Grand Final between the Hawthorn Hawks and West Coast Eagles – Or whether it’s the Queenslanders and New South Welshmen witnessing the NRL’s all-Queensland derby between North Queensland and Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
The annual clash of sport and state is set to be an explosive one. Particularly for those who plan on watching both matches.
One particular sports-lover, a Victorian man by the name of Mel Barne, says he excited for the busy weekend of beer and Smiths crisps he has ahead of him.
“My team didn’t make it this year in the AFL,” says the 42-year-old Collingwood die-hard.
“I usually take me kids to the games if we make the finals, but the boys choked, so we’ll be watching the big game on the telly this year,”
While Mel has his tips prepared for the AFL on Saturday, he says he has no clue about which Queensland side is going to win the NRL decider.
In fact, the only thing he knows about the Broncos vs Cowboys (NRL) match, is that “there’s a heap of blackfullas playing,”
“..and I’m gonna be at every last one of ’em!” says the slightly overweight father of four.
“I don’t care if they won’t hear me through the telly. It’s tradition,”
As Mr Barne points out, It appears the well-documented Victorian practice of booing high-performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes isn’t restricted to the Australian Football League.
“It’s not about racism, it’s just about letting them know that we don’t appreciate all the Aboriginal stuff,” says the full-time pokie machine sales rep,
“As far as I can see, the NRL is full to the brim of cocky blacks,”
The Maroon derby is one that looks to break records in the competition, as the first rugby league grand final to consist of two Queensland teams, and the first grand final to have two Indigenous captains – a record that threatens Victorians, who are used to Aboriginal footballers knowing their place.
“The whole game is full of Goodesy’s. I mean both the captains are as black as it gets. Right down to the red, black and yellow mouth guards”
“I’ll be booing at them the loudest,”
While Mr Barne may be safe booing Aboriginal players within his own living room, NRL executives have urged Victorians who may be at the NRL Grand Final to avoid heckling Indigenous players at all costs.
“If you want to be at home, that’s your decision,” says former Queensland great, Wally “The King” Lewis.
But if you are at ANZ on Sunday night and plan on booing people purely because of their Aboriginal heritage… You can expect to receive The Bundaberg Smile,”
The Bundaberg Smile, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is described as “The act of forcing a credit card between a victim’s teeth before punching them in the face” – A popular form of assault in Queensland, known for leaving victims with hideous cheek scarring in the shape of an exaggerated “smile”.
“White or black, the fans up here don’t appreciate that kind of prejudice. Good luck making it out of ANZ alive.”