Football appreciation grows as game passes

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

I HATE being called a girly-girl, but when it comes to footy, I'm the biggest frilliest, heels-wearing girl.

But yesterday I went to my first-ever footy match. It was the grand final I was told, between the Brothers (blue and white) and the Wallabys (orange).

The stadium was overflowing along the fences with kids, and guys who take their footy seriously.

One dad sternly told his three-year-old daughter whose interest had wandered, "watch the footy''.

Pushing past footy blokes I shuffle apologetically to a plastic foldaway thing, sure everyone knows I'm a fraud. And then it starts.

I've been told by many a guy that if you appreciate footy, there's tactics involved, that it's like ballet.

Strangely enough it does resemble gymnastics a little.

Orange, blue and white cartwheeling through a tackle until the bone-crunching thud of a burly boulder hits another or the ground.

The crowd leans forward, crunch, whether or not you hear the thud, you wince or cheer with the crowd, the bigger the biff the louder the roar from the crowd.

As the game rolls on, and with each new try the crowd gets louder, there was a scuffle, the testosterone level rises and I even hear of a narrow escape with the law at last year's grand final ? it was a rollicking match.

Freezing in the winter breeze that whipped around the stand and for the full footy experience, I ventured down to the pig pen.

About three players have left the field because of injury by now, much to the crowd's pleasure.

Four guys are lined up, back to the wall, beer in hand, serious.

They see me coming a mile off and muster expressionless faces into looks of bemusement.

I try to chat to them about the footy.

These guys don't chat and time's running out.

The final score, 40-18. I leave a little wiser, windblown hair full of knots and with a begrudging appreciation of a good footy match.



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