Beyond the imposing shadows of grey, concrete stadiums with their over-priced tickets and cold pies, past the lines of debussing, coiffured hair rugby professionals in matching tracksuits and hyper expensive headphones, and somewhere yonder the ramblings of talking heads on TV, we all know that the real heartbeat of rugby lies local. It’s our clubs that drive this game.
I’m a massive believer in the club as being the foundation, the heart and soul, the keeper of lore and the fulcrum of our sport, because I believe the very things that make our game great, its universality, its democracy and its simplicity, are best emulated in what we see and do within our local club.
But what is the club? A club isn’t really a place because on its own a place isn’t much. And it’s not just a group because without identity and place, those people fade away. So, a club is rather undefined. It’s nowt but an abstract noun really. But as per the ramblings of Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it”. It’s a visceral puff of smoke that gives rise to emotions of collegiality, belonging, bonhomie, exaggerations, outright lies, some photos on the wall curling yellow with age, a few random unexplained bits of silverware in a cabinet somewhere, a particular set of colours, maybe a flag and a song whose origins are lost to the legends and lies of time.
But somehow, it’s this ethereal concept that’ll make generally rational, time-poor and self-interested folk do the most inexplicably generous things just so a mob of raucous, headstrong, lunatics can crash about and into each other while one of them tries to put an inflatable bag of rubberised plastic (it used to be leather) over a crooked white line on a paddock somewhere so obscure that even Google Maps struggled to find it, while someone’s mum, a homeless guy and a stray dog watch on.
So “Here’s Cheers” to the clubs everywhere and particularly to the simple, humble collection of misfits and freaks who paint the lines, fix the lights, wash the jerseys, drive the busses, chase the subs (pay up ya bastards), fill out the online registrations, attend the committee meetings after training, who not just cook but then also clean the BBQs, fill the fridges and who do all the seemingly endless other cryptic and unseen mundane little jobs that make the whole shebang work as it does. I salute you. And I owe you all beers. I’ll pay my subs next year. I promise.
And to anyone still fit enough to pull out the boots, then line up a mate to come along and square away the missus (or bring her as well) because remember that your club needs you. On the field, on the sideline and in the committee room, your club needs you. You have a debt to pay the game for the years of joy, anguish and knee surgeries that the game gave you. So pony up. Your debt is being called.
So, we at G&GR wish to pay homage to all clubs with a little thing we will call “Club Corner”.
To explain, I have limited permission to make this site available to promote clubs. Whose clubs? YOUR club. Why? Because you love your club. And we love your club. Well, no, there are a few clubs I don’t love. But we at G&GR know it’s folk like you and YOUR club that makes OUR game and so THIS site possible. And so WE want to give a little something back to reflect that.
So send me YOUR club’s promotional clip. You see them on Facebook and on YouTube all the time. Send them to me and I’ll put them on HERE. It doesn’t have to be George Lucasesque. It can probably be done by someone’s nephew with TikTok skills. Or maybe now’s the time YOU go make one for your club. Or send this article to your club’s President and Committee.
But whatever way, write a blurb and send a YouTube link to NuttaRugby@hotmail.com and (provided it passes the most basic of public decency assessment) we’ll give it its own space on the site as part of Club Corner. And share this article on your Facebook page. Bang the drums and shake the trees. It’s free advertising, recruitment, spruiking and all that. So get on the pony! To be clear, it doesn’t even have to be an Aussie club. Send me stuff from ANY club, from ANYWHERE and we’ll probably put it up. Actually, the more obscure the club or place, the higher the probability we will put it up for the sheer novelty value.
To that end and to get things moving, find a clip below from one of the absolute heart & soul clubs of the Sydney rugby landscape – The Drummoyne Dirty Reds (https://www.facebook.com/drummoyne.rugby/).
Based at the truly spectacular Drummoyne Oval, looking out over Canada Bay, and only 5km from heart of the world’s most iconic harbour city, the Drummoyne Dirty Reds play in the Sydney Suburban 1st Division and boast facilities, culture and history rivalled by few others. With roots reaching back to 1874, the Mighty Double Ds supplied three players in the original Waratahs touring squad that left our shores and brag a host of over 70 national representatives from their ranks ever since, including possibly the toughest Wallaby of all time in William ‘Wild Bill’ Cerutti and also Wallaby captain Greg Davis. They cater for all, from the serious to the novice, with depth reaching from long-time competition dominating first grade, down to the mighty weekend warriors of 5th grade, through into Colts (U21s) and down through the junior age groups for boys and girls alike.
So for the inaugural G&GR Club Corner, I give you the Drummoyne Dirty Reds (‘drink the wine’):
Let us know your thoughts below.
Now, where’s YOUR CLUB clip? Send me the clips. Share this page on your socials. Spread the word.