round one

there was movement at the clubrooms
for the word had passed around
that the black-n-red had got off scot-free

that all the pin-cushion media metaphors
the supplementary sagas
the doping dramas
the sensationalist deadline regimes
had got away

and a hundred-thousand left-wing gripe-mongers
eyes bulging, throats sore from loyal vitriol
can’t quite wipe all that spit, from all those lips

so they’re texting the radio in vociferous packs
shouting in shops at football papers
back-page reasons to complain about
the backward-running maggots,
whistling another unwanted decision

got a mouth full of milk chocolate
18 footy-shaped reasons
to celebrate the longest weekend

but now its a Good Thursday rush
to get your tips in
n get the jumper out
the beanie on
the scarf around ya neck
we sit listless with amber in hand
in team-colour coolers
ice in the esky
barbie cranked for half time

we pray for the first game
stand heads bowed
without a good Friday game
just wait for Good Saturday
and Good Sunday
and Good Monday

thank the good Lord
it’s not a first round/split round
this time round

Dear Lord, on this glorious day, Round One

the gallop of guernseied men
on a flank attack
a blur of hoops n sashes
a pride of docker fists
in the subi cathedral
an early chant
from the port town screamers
and the other port mob
from the middle city dreamers
but this time the enemy untagged
without a smiling assassin
maybe did his back in
ran outta panadol n dencorub

from where I sit
it’s a flurry of biceps
of tattooed necks, a torpedo
a failed mark at forward pocket
unable to kill the scramble
over the line on the full

gimme another egg
coz the shops are shut
it’s a pack, a shove
a rolling maul
in the shopping-centre carpark
leaping the overflowing trolley
a scrap for the last box
of the brown stuff
ball – one metre one metre one metre

on the big screen
they’re giving an impossible
110% - right up to the final siren

with five points in it and a minute to go
umpire’s ball
Its tapped out
scooped up
fumbled, n dropped
then a short stab up the corridor
a tackle
Its a lookaway handpass
selling the candy
classic mid-field One-Two, One-Two
and back
then toe-poked to the 50 metre line

and as the final stanza siren blasts
just after a magic specky
a big grab in the pocket

now its slow motion

pulls up his socks

lines it up

million eyes focused

I’m losing my religion
cutting this hushed reverence
with a machete

and he kicks a point
stuffs my tips up
and we wait

for next week