Down Under Blog: #39 Airlie Birds in Australia

Pommy Rich gives us all the mis-dealing's in the NRL in his world famous Down Under Blog.

Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything went right? Well, short of winning the NSW lotto, that’s what this week felt like to me.

A couple of very good games of NRL on the telly, and a particularly successful Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings that rose higher than usual. That’s actually very difficult in the humidity we have here, so bugger off, I was chuffed, ok?

Then, on one of my habitual roamings through the Aussie Rugby League media, I came across the rumour that Hull and Wigan were looking at playing a double header against St George and Souths respectively at ANZ stadium in Sydney.

When I’d regained consciousness and stopped screaming, I started feverishly making plans…… first (and I swear I DID do this first) I messaged Dan our esteemed editor to offer my services as a guide, mentioning only pints of Guinness as payment. Then I sent Facebook messages to every Dragons fan I know, starting the trash talk early. My Brother in Law is a mad Dragons fan, as is my best mate over here (although technically he was an Illawarra Steelers fan pre-merger), and with the respective fortunes of our teams never coming to peak at the same time, we’d resigned ourselves to our teams never meeting.

Feeling quite chuffed with my little self, I went to bed and dreamed black and white dreams. Then over the next couple of days, the rumour turned into a confirmed fact, and better than that, TWO games! Count ‘em! TWO! Ha!

The other one of them in Wollongong, which is one of my favourite stadiums in Australia – very “English” in the way the crowd is so close to the pitch, and right beside the ocean too.

Win stadium

I got to work (I am in sales in Aussie local radio) and our national news was talking about the games, people were stopping me and congratulating me – I didn’t really have the heart to tell them that we hadn’t won anything and it wasn’t the world club championship, but who cares, right?

Then I read the terrible news of Brett Kenny, the Parramatta and Wigan great, he’d just announced he’d been diagnosed with stomach cancer. So, I emailed Ray Hadley, the occasional Channel 9 Rugby League commentator and suggested that at the Hull v Wigan game the teams should be led out by Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny. He read out my email and has promised to talk to them as he’s mates with both of those guys so I’d say it would have a great chance of happening.

So, PommyRich is now on a bit of a roll, and I decided to tag every Aussie ex-Hull player I could find on Facebook and see if they would be coming to either game. Craig Greenhill got straight back to me to say he’d be bringing Adam Maher along to the Double header at ANZ, Nathan Blacklock will be there too and David Maiden is going to try and make it down from Northern Queensland.

Personally I reckon the club (or maybe the Hull Ex Players Association) should try to put together a function for all of the fans that come over and invite every living Ex Hull FC Aussie player too – how amazing would that be?

Then of course the week was ended by us tearing Leeds apart and realising that we would be playing Wigan in the Final – a repeat of the 1959, 1985 and 2013 deciders. Just like I predicted we would in my first blog of the year. By now I’m having delusions that I’m the second coming. Add to this West Tigers winning against the odds (and I tipped them!) on Sunday, it’s all been very cool!

Thinking a little deeper about it, the fact that it will be a Hull v Wigan final really ramps up the interest in the games over here for the locals. There is always a real interest in the Challenge Cup final and Hull and Wigan 1985 is always talked about as one of the greatest games of RL ever played on British soil – especially as Sterlo brings it up constantly on TV.

To say I’m a tad excited is probably a small understatement. I’ll be at both games – I’ve already booked time off work. In my coming blogs I’ll give those of you that are going to make the journey over a few hints and tips, and also tell you what to expect at each of the stadiums we’ll be playing at. I’ll list the pubs to drink in around the grounds, good places for us to have after-parties, how to spot a bogan (The Aussie version of a chav) and a bit of a dictionary of Aussie sayings and just how much sunscreen you’ll need to apply if we end up standing on the hill at WIN!

After all these years over here, I feel like I’ve got a renewed sense of purpose, there’s a spring in the old step, I can’t wait to be surrounded by black and white screaming lunatics for the first time in years!

Until next time, Up the Cream, Gerremonsard and Come on you ‘Ull.

Rich – Twitter @pommyrich

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1 Comment on Down Under Blog: #39 Airlie Birds in Australia

  1. A good article Rich. I’ve been telling all my friends in Auz to come along to the games. Just booked my tickets and cant wait. I hope the club put a DO on as it is needed – the fans would have spent a fortune getting to Auz,


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