Happy 103rd Birthday to the Mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs

Souths Logo

It was on this day in 1908 that the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club was founded at Redfern Town Hall, giving birth to the most successful professional Rugby League Club of all time.

South Sydney – also known as ‘The Pride of the League’ – was the third Rugby League club founded in Australia after Glebe and Newtown who unfortunately no longer exist at the elite level.

The Rabbitohs have won 20 premierships over the past 103 years including the inaugural Grand Final held in 1908 where they beat North Sydney 11 – 7 at Birchgrove Oval.

With strategic player recruitment, a strong and successful pool of junior talent, plus healthy corporate and celebrity backing, the Rabbitohs are heading in the right direction to claim premiership number 21.

Glory, Glory to South Sydney! Share

iDad – The Bare Essentials

Sorry I didn’t post anything new for you all last week. I ended up in New Zealand on business and time simply got away on me. The good news is that iDad found himself being published in the online magazine Bare Essentials. Chief Editor Ms. Inga Yandell is an amazing woman with a passion for fitness and nature, who produces an eco-friendly bi-monthly title centred around adventure and lifestyle. After reading some of my work Inga asked me to contribute to the Inspiration / Knowledge section of her magazine and I was very happy to oblige.

For a sneaky peak at Bare Essentials please click on the image of iDad. The password is wolves16 and iDad is on page 79

About the magazine.

Bare Essentials Magazine embodies the philosophy that the natural world is rich in resources and by recognizing and respecting our wild heritage our spirits will be free to enjoy and experience more.

“Bare Essentials is dedicated to effective exercise and education that supports independence and strength of character!”

Our back to nature resource centers on improving self-image through appreciation for newly developed skills and abilities whilst raising funds and awareness for wildlife.

Serving up a combination of adrenaline sports, extreme nature and pure action.

To subscribe to Bare Essentials click on the banner below.

The Botany Gentlemen’s Club

It was the 3rd of November, 2001 and in the beer-soaked front bar of the old Endeavour Hotel five of Botany’s brightest entrepreneurs had gathered to watch the title fight between American loudmouth Zabdiel Judah and the softly spoken Aussie, Kostya Tszyu. The pre-match interviews featured a brazen Judah inflating his own self-importance and declaring that he was about to make history. Tszyu on the other hand simply complimented his opponent’s ability and assured his fans that he had trained well. Zab entered the ring with Mike Tyson in his entourage and an American flag wrapped around his neck.

The Endeavour’s patrons booed.

Judah’s reach was a good two inches longer than Tszyu’s, which tested the Australian’s maneuverability. Kostya ducked and weaved throughout the entire first round and although a few of Zab’s blows found their mark the first three minutes ended fairly even.

Round 2 however was an entirely different story.

It was as if the Aussie boxer had heard the advice of the Botany Entrepreneurs for as soon as the bell went he was up in Judah’s face. The  southpaw New Yorker could not get back far enough to throw a decent punch and with only moments to go in the second stanza Kostya tapped him gently with a left and then planted his right fist flush in the middle of the Brooklyn bragger’s nose.

The Endeavour Hotel erupted as Judah hit the canvas.

History was made that day. Firstly by the diminutive Australia pugilist becoming the first man in thirty years to unify the belts in the Junior Welterweight division, and secondly by the amalgamation of these ‘Captains of Industry’ into the Botany Gentlemen’s Club.

The flamboyant behaviour of the BGC (as they quickly became known) epitomised the Noughties. Frequent revenue raising activities at Randwick Race Course resulted in an equitable distribution of wealth amongst hotel staff, pro-shops, bookmakers and restaurants of the little industrial suburb. Topless waitresses flocked to the Captain Cook Hotel every Thursday so that these local legends could help them with their college tuition fees, whilst meat-raffle merchants knew they could count on the Entrepreneur’s donations.

No social activity was ignored. School trivia nights and Blues Brothers Revivals all benefited from the BGC’s largess, as did the local cricket club with BGC members cajoling the flirty nurses at the Royal hotel to support the boys and girls.

And when the time came to cast the deciding vote that gave Russell Crowe ownership of the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs Football Club, this League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were on hand to deliver the Bunnies their salvation.

Original Cast.

Formed over packet of Parker’s Pretzels and a schooner of Victoria Bitter, the BGC are indeed twenty-first century versions of Robin Hood and his band of merry men.

But who are the founding fathers of the Botany Gentlemen’s Club? Preferring anonymity to the praise they rightly deserve, these pillars of society can be identified as follows:

El Presidenté: Betting legend and dictator for life the BGC’s beloved President is a prince amongst men. Organiser of Christmas Parties, drinker of beer and member of the Guy Sebastian Fan Club, El Presidenté has never missed a planning meeting or a call to arms. Nor will you see him drunkenly abusing his minions because they refuse to watch that God-awful movie, Blues Brother 2000. El Presidenté is the only man who knows the babes from Bombshells by name and always makes eye contact when he engages them in conversation.

The Treasurer: Paul Keating’s got nothing on this guy. From his chipped little china teapot hidden away at the back of the pantry, the Treasurer managed the barren bankroll during the early days of the BGC, ensuring their financial stability and success for the years to come. As a share holder in Carlton United Breweries the Treasurer became the first man in history to build his children an above-ground swimming pool made entirely out of empty VB beer cans. With his innate ability to sleep standing up, the Treasurer has never shirked his responsibilities donating both his home and his brazier to the BGC’s bonfire requirements.

The Skipper: The BGC’s resident boating enthusiast (who’s afraid to go fishing outside the heads) has a fondness for Tyrells’ Old Winery Cabinet Merlot and James Boags Premium Lager. Although this man lacks a Gilligan he does have his very own Mary-Anne who, upon his command, will fetch him a beer or a sandwich and make sure the BGC members get home ok. The Skipper never thinks twice about paying a little extra at the silent auctions on school trivia nights and will wait until everyone is over the ales and onto the bourbon before he has his shout.

The Burglar: With two solo golf titles to his name and a handicap that would shame Tiger Woods, the Burglar is the youngest of the founding members. His skill at selling meat trays to vegetarians came in handy during those early years of fund raising and his penchant for winning seafood platters fed the BGC at times when their money was all but exhausted. A raconteur of literary repute, the Burglar partnered with the Treasurer to take out the 2010 BGC Pool Championship and, together with the Skipper and the Probie, he recently claimed the Inaugural Ambrose BGC Golf Trophy.

Blisters: So named because he would turn up after the work was done, Blisters went to the pub during one of the BGC’s early camping trips and was never seen again.

New Recruits.

With the groundwork done the founding fathers (sans one) refused to rest on their laurels and expansion quickly came to mind. The BGC’s notoriety had spread to soccer clubs, netball squads and touch football teams so a recruitment program was quickly put into place. Identification of possible candidates though was no mean feat. Selection criteria included the ability to drink beer from both aluminium cans and plastic bottles (if the need arose), an unfailing support of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and a like-minded, yet somewhat evil, sense of humour. Wannabes were culled thick and fast but the following outstanding applicants were successful.

The Signmaker: A humble, giant of a man with a passion for surfing and bonfires, the Signmaker brought brazier destruction and Bundaberg Rum to the BGC. With calloused hands harder than steel the new member could feed razor sharp palm fronds into the fire faster than the Flash. A misspent youth and wicked stories to match made the Signmaker a welcome addition to the BGC team.

Mr Email: Mr. Email is the only member who can simultaneously shut down the servers of several major international corporations with a simple electronic communication. His fondness for g-strings and the height impaired is legendary, as is his winning try for the BGC touch footy team. Unfortunately he talks a better pool game than he plays and his penchant for effeminate cocktails and wanting to ‘spoon the Probie’ frequently causes the Founding Fathers to look sideways at him.

The Probie: The newest addition to the BGC likes to brew his own beer and listen to doof doof music. He also has a man crush on ex Rugby League player Brett Kimmorley and only supports the Rabbitohs as his second side. In spite of his rugged good looks and rakish charm the question still remains how he got past the review committee.

With new talent on board the BGC quickly began to spread their wealth up and down the NSW coast. Una Voce, Gwandalan and Culburra were identified as towns in need of patronage and the BGC obliged. Cash was flashed at jukeboxes, bars, coffee shops and RSL clubs by loyal BGCers as their goodwill rampaged north and south. Discarded building materials and unwanted fence posts were properly disposed of in thirty foot infernos that provided warmth to all the local inhabitants whilst beer kegs were emptied and refreshed in all the regional bowling clubs.

So what’s next for this philanthropic band of brothers?

Following on from a successful stint as backing vocalists for Richard Clapton and The Neil Diamond Show there was a very real possibility that this charismatic cadre would go head-to-head with the rock star wannabes on Australian Idol. However, the BGC have always made it their mission to provide support for those that need it most and with the current condition of the Wallabies Rugby Union side and the NSW State of Origin team you can bet that interstate and indeed international expansion is certainly on the cards.

We call rest assured though that whatever happens it will be for the benefit of the lucky community that the BGC next sets their sights upon.

God bless you boys!

Ambrosia

I’d like to preface this post with a brief apology. This is not the most brilliant piece of literature I have ever penned to paper (or pawed onto the iPad as circumstances would have it), but I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the good people at the Park Café on Chalmers Street.

You see, I have been sitting in the stands at Redfern Oval since 8ish this morning with my red Rabbitoh hoodie pulled over my head and silently regretting the decision to go for that short haircut last week. The clear blue skies and bright sunshine belie the fact that the temperature is struggling to get above eleven degrees and my shivering fingers are making it increasingly more difficult to type.

As the under sixes swarmed around the paddock in font of me, and the buffoon two rows down decided to argue with the ground staff over the placement of the rubbish bin, my grumbling gut delivered the message,

“I’m hungry! Time for breakfast.”

Now I have become something of a connoisseur of footy food, having spent the last four months sampling the finest fare from fields all over Sydney’s southeast. The BBQ put on by the Botany Rams at Booralee is absolutely brilliant, as is the pie and chips from Pioneers Park. For sheer indulgence though you cannot go past the Rover’s Special at Erskineville Oval. This elongated, yeasty extravaganza is crammed with crispy bacon, plump sausage, al dente onions and an egg that oozes a river of rich orange yoke down your forearm to dribble off your elbow. It is absolute drool fuel, unequalled anywhere outside of a five star resort.

So it was with mixed expectations that I decided to wander over to the Park Café on Chalmers Street to peruse the breakfast menu. Any apprehensions I had to the available victuals were quickly put to rest as I rounded the corner. The snap, crackle and pop of the pork fat and the sizzling of butter soaked albumen was second only to the wafting aroma of roasted Arabica beans. My esophagus concurred with my duodenum with its declaration of,

“Oh yeah baby!”

The morning munchies arrived in the form of a crusty focaccia filled with smokey bacon, swimming in barbecue sauce and topped off by a fat, fluffy egg. The golden goo exploded in my mouth eliciting rapturous applause from titillated taste buds before my stunned tongue was sent to ambrosial nirvana. Pan fried pig flesh peppered my senses with a salvo of savory scrumptiousness, delicately complimented by the herb encrusted Italian masterpiece.

Unfortunately it was over all to soon so, with my arteries suitably clogged, I headed back to the frosty stadium with a large cappuccino to warm my soul. As I sipped the second best brew in Sydney (number one being the All Press coffee shop in Epsom Road, Rosebery) I was grateful that my cholesterol check was not for another few weeks. Having said that I am resolved to return to the Park Café on Chalmers Street. Their tummy tempters would satisfy any hungry man and for the girls there is the chance you’ll catch a glimpse of League hunks such as Sam Burgess and Roy Asotasi 😉

Bon appetit.

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Hooligans, Hotties and Clairvoyant Cephalopods

The 2010 Soccer World Cup came to an end on Sunday night and I must say I have mixed feelings about the series. Let me state for the record that soccer is not my cup of tea. I like to see a result in my sporting contests and quite frankly, I find the concept of watching two hours of too-ing and fro-ing for a nil all draw rather boring. It is no wonder that there are riots. Sitting in the stands all day, drinking warm beer and leaving drunk and frustrated is bound to result in a case of ‘The English Disease’. Its not just the yobbos from the UK who wield the wooden cosh. Over the years there have been fighting in Argentina (Cordoba – 2002 World Cup), Italy (Rome – 2004, Turin – 2007), Belgium (Brussels – 1985), Ireland (Dublin – 1995), Switzerland (The Disgrace of Basel – 2006), France (Bordeaux – 2008), Russia (Moscow – 2002 World Cup), Germany (Dortmund – 2006) and many, many more. Even Australia has had issues although not as violent as those stated above.

Hooliganism.

Hooliganism goes way beyond spontaneous riots. Clashes between rival gangs, or ‘Firms’ as they are known, are often organised to take place at pre-arranged locations. Wikipedia has a list of Hooligan Firms from around the world http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hooligan_firms some of whom have featured in literature and movies about organised soccer violence such as Ultrà in 1990 and The Football Factory in 2004.

There is plenty of debate as to what makes a soccer hooligan. Certainly alcohol plays a part but it is not always the main contributor. Racism has been blamed by many sections of the media whilst others have suggested that confrontational policing has fueled the fires – see the Football Industry Group fact sheet published by the University of Liverpool.

Some have also proposed that the “game of football has been associated with violence since its beginnings in 13th century England.”- Social Issues Research Centre UK. But does that make it right, or even acceptable?  I’m not claiming to have the answers but perhaps a simple widening of the goal mouth to allow some points to be scored might help. A little less theatrics by some of the players might improve the spectacle as well (hands up all those who think Tim Cahill looks like a twat when he spars against the corner flag after scoring a goal?).

Thankfully this type of antisocial behaviour is on the decrease (fan related violence that is, not the ham acting) and in spite of my obvious prejudices toward the game I do have some memorable soccer moments.

Paul the Psychic Octopus Picks The Next Winner

My top four would be:

1.) When my son kicked his first goal in the Pagewood FC Under 10s. Steve Martin’s performance in Parenthood had nothing on my sideline antics that morning. They went on to win the grand final that year and I got to run the lines.

2.) The afternoon I spent with my brother-in-law in a noisy Berlin pub as the local team lost narrowly to the visitors. Although there was not much English spoken the atmosphere was warm, the locals friendly and the beer was fragrant and flat – with a somewhat serious kick 😉

3.) I was there at Telstra Stadium in 2007 when David Beckham bent one in from the corner to score his only goal in Australia. More than 80,000 people witnessed that moment and watched as Sydney FC went on to beat LA Galaxy 5 – 3.

4.) Australia’s performance at the 2006 World Cup where we showed the world that we can do more that supply talent to the European sides.

The 2010 Highlight Reel

For me the 2010 competition highlight reel offered a lot of excitement and intrigue accompanied by the deafening hum of vuvuzelas and an octopus with the foresight of Nostradamus.

I say ‘highlight reel’ because with Australia beginning our campaign on the back of a 4 nil drubbing by the Germans (with some questionable refereeing I must add), well my resolve to get up at 4:30 in the morning was somewhat diminished (Don’t give me that look. I have a family and small children don’t care if daddy was up all night watching television.)

I loved the pinball style effort from Denmark when they scored the first ‘own goal’ of the tournament and I’m sure that when Maicon slotted that beauty against North Korea from such an obtuse and impossible angle the streets of Rio erupted into an impromptu Carnivalé.

Diving is still a big factor in the game. The Italians did it to the New Zealanders in a display reminiscent of Fabio Grosso’s famous penalty against Australia in 2006. In both instances the southern hemisphere sides were robbed of victories. In my opinion this is blatant cheating and its about time that FIFA implemented a video review system.

Penalties played a major factor for many sides. Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar in extra time, which resulted in Uruguay wining the eventual shoot out 4 -2. However, the most devastating penalty was the one that put Paraguay out of contention and Larrisa Riquelme, the model with the remarkable mobile phone pouch who promised to run naked through the streets if Paraguay won, was let off the hook.

Larissa Riquelme

But it was Iniesta’s solitary Spanish goal in the 116th minute of the final that was the most climactic. It was not a particularly fancy strike of the ball but the lead up was superb. The Dutch had defended well all day and showed no signs of cracking despite Spain having some eighteen shots at goal. Frustration must have taken its toll though as their play became more niggling and spiteful which drew nine yellow cards and an eventual send off for John Heitinga midway through the extra period. As Spain held the trophy high Nelson Mandela appeared on the field, putting a familiar face to South Africa’s national pride as Shakira ‘Waka Waka-ed’ her backside along with hundreds of other performers at the closing ceremony.

Unfortunately the Socceroos average of one win, one loss and one draw was not good enough to qualify but I was very impressed by the kiwis three draws for their first ever visit to soccer’s world stage.  The All Whites have gone from unknowns to heroes with an undefeated World Cup campaign. I for one would love to see a regular match between the All Whites and the Socceroos played yearly in a style akin to the Bledisloe Cup. Surely this would boost the competitiveness of both sides leading into 2014.

One final comment, I hope you all will spare a thought for the 74 people killed by terrorists in Uganda as they watched the World Cup final. This is a despicable, cowardly act perpetrated by the lowest form of humanity.

Viva España!

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