WANYE AT THE ANZAC GAME

Wanye
April 26 2014 01:52AM

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Every year the Oilers fail to make the post season and every year we are sent out screaming into the world on a backpacking trip, prevented from scratching out our eyes, being caught bawling in front of a closed Rexall Place or worse.

This year we are in Australia, the land of Bundy Rums, babes that disappointingly don’t go crazy with desire at the sound of a Canadian accent and the AFL.

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Wanye Manor roommate Sam Brown recently retired from a top drawer career with the Morningside Panthers – an AFL-Q team in Brisbane. Over the past year he has explained the awesomeness and many nuances of the AFL game in detail and it was agreed that going to the ANZAC game – the Remembrance Day of Australia and New Zealand – would be the Aussie equivalent of going to the Superbowl.

And so we found ourselves the cheapest airfare that Hotwire cared to offer and boarded a plane for Australia to attend the match between the Essendon Bombers (the good guys) and the Collingwood Magpies (the evil guys) with @17samb, @thesquir3, @sgreener82, @mrsyakupov and 91,131 of our closest mates.

Guernseys

Like any good bandwagon jumping fans we knew walking into the gigantic arena – the Melbourne Cricket Grounds or the MCG – that we needed a hat, a foam finger, a Bombers branded airhorn and whatever else they would sell us.

Down here everything is exactly the same as home but with slight differences. Take the spelling of jerseys for example. Pretty straight forward right? The same all around the English speaking world one would think – correct? Incorrect. 

Guernseys are for sale down here though if you are interested.

Troops

The ANZAC game is a classy affair as it honours the sacrifices of the troops throughout the history of Australia and New Zealand. These guys do it right, with soldiers of the past 75 years attending the game and being treated to rousing applause throughout the game with video features on the scoreboard.

We couldn't help but get goose bumps as we stood stock still among 91,000 people for a moment of silence prior to the start of the game. It was something to see.

AND NOW TO THE GAME

BeerArray

For your ol’ pal Wanye the most important thing about any place, event or time in human history is the beer. Specifically how is the beer? Is said beer cheap? How fast can you get a beer? Well brother if there is one thing the MCG gets and gets good it’s the beer. Or as they call it down here “the Lager mate.”

Have you ever in your life seen a 4 tap beer array?! Sweet Nuge’s beard it’s about time scientists got around to an innovation like this. Unsurprisingly this thing being expertly worked by a concession staffer gets you a beer 4x as fast. 

And where do you put your four beers? How about in a four beer tray you can carry in one hand. Man if they had these in Edmonton they would need a line of ambulances waiting on standby outside for blocks.

beertray

The AFL is interesting in that one city can have multiple teams, all the teams are owned by the league and they all share stadiums. The result is that fans are mixed together like peas and carrots – Melbourne has 94% of the leagues teams all in one city. So us Bombers fans were mixed in with the Magpie cretins (who are super nice by the by) and this led to occasional fights fueled by the beer arrays.

Essendon got out to a gigantic lead in the first quarter up 40 points which in AFL terms means “you are getting pumped son.” But Collingwood climbed back in the second quarter with the wind at their backs and it went into half time almost tied. Then the damned Magpies turned on the jets in the 3rd quarter and laid a beating on the beloved Bombers 83-60.

SOME EMOTIONAL MUSINGS

Fans

Following sports teams is a lot like falling in love. Many people never allow themselves to fall head over heels, they end up with a safe play and a safe relationship. Those that do fall hard for their favourite teams place themselves in extreme risk of heartache year after year but also experience the dizzying highs when the team performs.  

Bandwagon jumpers never make a full emotional commitment to a team. They are there for the good times and don’t feel the crushing heart ache if say their team fails to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

At the same time it is impossible to be in love with two teams at the same time. When someone says “I am a big fan of the Oilers and the Bruins” or whatever these are the same type of people who get busted one day having a second family two provinces over. You can only be in true love once.

We watched the Essendon fans cheer and rage and pull their hair out as the damned ‘pies stormed back from a first quarter deficit to win the game. They cursed the opposition, blamed the referees and every thing else under the sun. We could appreciate what was going on much like we can appreciate a hot babe walking down the street in the Melbourne sun.

ATM

Yes, the game is a ripping good time. Yes, she has legs for days and a face that launched a thousand ships. I can buy the hat (check) the “Guernsey” (strange but check) and stand at attention for a moment of silence honouring the ANZAC troops that have sacrificed their lives for this wonderful part of the world.

But it's not love.

Even at this game in the middle of paradise I was thinking of my beloved stupid Oilers a half a world away. Even though it had nothing to do with anything I found myself wishing the roaring crowds of the MCG were instead at Rexall Place cheering on a team of hard nosed legends smashing away on some overmatched playoff foe. Instead we are perennially last, riddled with incompetency and breaking hearts year after year.

But dammit that’s the team I fell for so long ago and they will own my heart for all eternity.

Damn you to hell Edmonton Oilers. I will ride with you till the casket drops. If you could kindly get your shit together so we aren’t in last place every single year that would be just fantastic.

Tonight I go to see the Sydney Swans and my man crush Buddy Franklin who was recently in crap for inexplicably smashing up 4 cars in the middle of the night in his model girlfriend's Jeep. Article to follow.

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Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#2 Rebecca
April 26 2014, 02:38AM
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That's the first thing foreigners should learn about the AFL, that Collingwood are evil. As the first thing I learnt about hockey in Canada was to say 'Leafs suck'.

And go Swans!!

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#3 Dave-O
April 26 2014, 02:43AM
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I'm a die hard oiler fan from Edmonton, and I've been living in Perth Australia for the last 3 years. I read every article on the nation but have never commented. I felt obligated to seems how I'm sitting down watching a footy (AFL) game and reading oilersnation. I cheer for one of my local AFL teams the Fremantle Dockers (the purple team). From what I understand they were the laughing stock of the league for the last decade. Due to years of high drafting they are now a high end team, and even made the grand finals lasts year. So have hope oilers fans, years of terrible play can sometimes be worth it.

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#4 beloch
April 26 2014, 02:10AM
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As the ozzies would say, strewth.

The Oilers suck. The Flames suck (slightly less). It's dark days for hockey fans in Alberta. The city of lottery picks and underdogtown will one day be the league's death valley once again, but it's hard to see the path to that gleaming future just now. The Oilers desperately need to sack everyone right down to the very last octane ice girl. The Flames need 2-3 years of patience from Brian Burke: the man too impatient for neck-ties and combs. At least we can all join hands, sing kumbaya, and rejoice in the karmic retribution currently being visited upon the Canucks for years of dirty diving, whining, and the occasional locker-room raiding shenanigan.

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#5 G-reg
April 26 2014, 02:37AM
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Too bad the beer in Australian stadiums are truly terrible and AFL is the most ridiculous game..

(as someone who lives in Melbourne I know)

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#6 Hockeyfan
April 26 2014, 02:35AM
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This is the greatest post in Oilersnation history. Thank you for sharing. Love AFL.

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#7 Czar
April 26 2014, 11:32AM
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That 4 beer tray is a beautiful thing!

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#8 Almaric
April 26 2014, 04:41AM
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@Dave-O

- Edmonton does not develop players well if at all.

- there's no point in picking ingredients if you do not prepare them to cook.

- after all australia's fine weather and beaches make for good cure for icy game in bettmans world

- if I had australia I would sen kevin lowe a starfish and a prayer.

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#9 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 26 2014, 11:51AM
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Hey Wanye ....any rumours over there of Katz moving the team to Melbourne?

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#10 Fatbob24
April 26 2014, 12:36PM
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I read that whole article with an Australian accent in my head, lol.

*that's not a knife...

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#11 SydScout
April 26 2014, 05:31PM
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@SuntanOil

Mate the team you need to support is the (Sydney) Swans.

Red and white, Canadian colours - yes we also spell colour correctly.

Periods of perennial, hoboesque bottom dwelling - the 90's were truly awful.

Blue collar work ethic. So much so that the Swans have a 'no dickhead' policy. True story.

And most importantly, my hero Mike Pyke. A deadset legend. Sent a video to the Swans to get a try out after playing rugby for Canada. The Swans took a chance on him, took years of hard work, completely retraining his skillset and changing his body shape to adapt. Won the whole damn thing with the Swans a couple of years back and was in my mind, the best player on the field that Grand Final.

Imagine an Aussie trying that in hockey... I can dream but it ain't happening.

Great sport AFL, but we dingoes down here haven't got hockey. Best game on the planet, by a mile.

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#12 The Towel Boy
April 26 2014, 09:24AM
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I've forgotten what it feels like to be excited by the Oilers.

These are dark times, BUT WE WILL PERSEVERE.

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#13 VK63
April 26 2014, 10:18AM
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Brilliant writing as usual Wanye.

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#14 David S
April 26 2014, 12:09PM
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Anzac. Anzac! ANZAC! ANZAC!!!

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#15 PJ
April 26 2014, 12:39PM
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try to check out an NRL game while you are there as well. Rugby League is an UNREAL sport and wildly exciting.

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#16 Dave-O
April 26 2014, 07:52PM
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Butters wrote:

I have a Freemantle Dockers bottle opener. It (presumably) sings their fight song when I use it. Can't make out the words though.

"Freo Way to Go Hit Em Real Hard Send Them Down Below Freo Give em The Old Heave-Ho We Are the Freo Dockers"

Now you can sing along when your crackin open a cold one.

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#17 AussieOil
April 26 2014, 10:34PM
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Looks like a lot of Aussie Oiler fans on here! I myself live minutes away from the MCG, and will now have to find where the ON Poster is located on the Yarra!

And Wayne, the accent works trust me! Try the country towns, the big city girls are much tougher to crack!!

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#18 Spikey
April 26 2014, 02:05AM
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thank you for not talking about asada

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#19 Sean
April 26 2014, 06:11AM
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I hope you're taking the time to see some AIHL games while you're in Australia!

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#20 SuntanOil
April 26 2014, 01:33PM
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Well, I learned something today. Many years back I met an Aussie girl traveling through this part of the world. She had been married to an Aussie rules player at one time, a Collingwood Magpie to be exact, and even though the marriage didn't work, she was as big a fan of that team as any fan of any team I have ever met. She introduced me to the weird world of Aussie Rules Football, and I have been a fan ever since, usually cheering on the Crows since that is what I had learned. However, not being able to travel there yet, I have only been able to form my opinions on the game based on the tiny amount of coverage we get here in Canada - the odd highlight package and the Grand Finals if one stumbles upon them. At least three quarters of the time this involved the Callingwood Crew, and yet I never did the math enough to realize that Magpies were the New York Yankees of the AFL!

As an Oiler fan I could NEVER cheer for a front runner like the Yankees, not while my hometown team wallows in the depths of inadequacy. So now I guess I will have to find another team to follow. Thanks Wanye, and go ... ... Carlton??

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#21 Butters
April 26 2014, 04:18PM
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Dave-O wrote:

I'm a die hard oiler fan from Edmonton, and I've been living in Perth Australia for the last 3 years. I read every article on the nation but have never commented. I felt obligated to seems how I'm sitting down watching a footy (AFL) game and reading oilersnation. I cheer for one of my local AFL teams the Fremantle Dockers (the purple team). From what I understand they were the laughing stock of the league for the last decade. Due to years of high drafting they are now a high end team, and even made the grand finals lasts year. So have hope oilers fans, years of terrible play can sometimes be worth it.

I have a Freemantle Dockers bottle opener. It (presumably) sings their fight song when I use it. Can't make out the words though.

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#22 MacTastic
April 28 2014, 09:47AM
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From Wanye:

Bandwagon jumpers never make a full emotional commitment to a team. They are there for the good times and don’t feel the crushing heart ache if say their team fails to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Uh, Wanye, have I lost count or have you? Seven years out of the playoffs or eight? Or are you perhaps referring to some other bottom-feeding team in some other sporting league, of which you are also a heartfelt supporter, that has finished outside of the playoffs for seven seasons? If so, I pity your sadness and admire your strength.

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#23 scootch
April 26 2014, 02:05AM
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Please tell me you went to play 2up

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#24 SVeasy
April 26 2014, 10:53PM
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First piece by you that I've read and I have to say this is the best damn thing I've read all day, great job!

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#25 scootch
April 26 2014, 02:05AM
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Please tell me you went to play 2up

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#26 Chainsawz
April 26 2014, 11:28AM
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Fluffier than Strudwick covered in cotton candy.

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#27 Butters
April 27 2014, 10:46AM
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Dave-O wrote:

"Freo Way to Go Hit Em Real Hard Send Them Down Below Freo Give em The Old Heave-Ho We Are the Freo Dockers"

Now you can sing along when your crackin open a cold one.

Awsome, thanks for that.

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#28 Locky
April 28 2014, 02:01AM
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Dave-O wrote:

I'm a die hard oiler fan from Edmonton, and I've been living in Perth Australia for the last 3 years. I read every article on the nation but have never commented. I felt obligated to seems how I'm sitting down watching a footy (AFL) game and reading oilersnation. I cheer for one of my local AFL teams the Fremantle Dockers (the purple team). From what I understand they were the laughing stock of the league for the last decade. Due to years of high drafting they are now a high end team, and even made the grand finals lasts year. So have hope oilers fans, years of terrible play can sometimes be worth it.

Haha mate, our rise only happened after a complete management overhaul (goodbye Lowe equivalent Cameron Schwab) and surprisingly, good later round drafting.

For the Oilers try the Melbourne Demons. :P

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#29 Locky
April 28 2014, 02:02AM
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P.S. Wayne, you're holding the beer thing wrong!

Hand position is correct but thumb on top in between the beers and fingers underneath in the groove made by that raised bit.

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#30 Locky
April 28 2014, 02:02AM
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P.S. Wayne, you're holding the beer thing wrong!

Hand position is correct but thumb on top in between the beers and fingers underneath in the groove made by that raised bit.

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#31 HockeyNightinSydney
April 28 2014, 09:53PM
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To say that AFL is the "Superbowl" of Australia is just ridiculous. There are 4 codes of football in Oz (soccer, AFL, NRL, Union) and the latter three have relatively similar overall followings in different parts of the country. Your point is immediately underminded when you admit that 94% of the league's teams are in one city, lol.

Big fan of the blog overall boys but you've sold a bill of goods here ... What about State of Origin for example? (an Rugby League event that pits players from NSW against Queensland)

In all honesty, cricket is the uniting sport over here (I mean in the way hockey is back home ... though not as crazy) and all of your observations about the stadium would still apply. But it isn't a collision sport so I guess I see why you opted for a football code. If you want to see REAL CRAZY collision sport followings? Pop over to NZ and watch some union ... that may be one of the only places in the world where a population cares about any sport the way we care about hockey.

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