Five great bandwagons in Australian sports
Will Genia training with the Queensland Reds AAP Image/Dan Peled
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There are some labels that as a true sports lover you just don’t want to be branded with. Cheat. Sore loser. Willie Mason sympathiser.
But the most stinging label of all is perhaps the most common:
The fact is, though, that we’ve all at some stage seen a team’s fans whooping it up and thought to ourselves, “Y’know what, that seems more fun than crying myself to sleep in the foetal position after ‘Footy Jersey Friday’”.
Certain teams in the Australian sports market can be seen to have a larger bandwagon element than others, which is either fantastic or deeply irritating depending on whether you’re the club’s marketing manager or the bloke who has sat in the same seat for twenty years watching your team miss the finals.
So here they are, five Great Australian Sports Bandwagons:
5. Queensland Reds
Woah slow down, I hear you scream over your trendy Ballymore brekky, surely you meant the Waratahs right? Everyone knows Sydney fans are fickle, effeminate posers who won’t even leave the house unless their team is guaranteed to score five tries.
That may or may not be true. However, the rate at which the Reds crowds have swelled over the last few years with their success is second only to Matt Dunning’s jowls since dropping out of the Wallabies squad.
Just years ago the Reds were the poor man’s Brisbane side and eyeing off a return to Ballymore, which is a bit like trading in your Lexus 4WD for a second hand Datsun because you’re wife and kids moved interstate without telling you.
Things were grim. But hey, they came good, managed to beat teams besides NSW and got some fans to Lang Park.
It’s just a mystery as to why the extra 20 thousand or so fans had been mistakenly turning up at Ballymore for the previous five years.
4. Richmond Tigers
Again, controversial because Richmond has managed to maintain quite good crowds through years of mediocrity and their superstitious love of the number 9.
However, while the growth of Richmond’s bandwagon might not be directly measured in crowd size, it can almost directly be interpreted by the likelihood of you actually meeting someone who admits to supporting Richmond.
For years I only knew of two people who followed the black and golds, a mate who had a large collection of Matthew Richardson posters and an in-laws in-law who may have snuck into the 1920 grand final.
Suddenly though, this trickle has become a conveniently timed downpour with close friends and work colleagues all pouring out their love for the Tigers, and Jack Reiwoldt, like they are the second coming of Victoria Park.
3. Sydney Roosters
Ahh now here’s the Sydney stereotype you were looking for.
The Roosters are wildly derided through rugby league circles and beyond as having a fan-base that might pop in to have a look at their footy team go round if by chance they happen to be walking home pass the SFS 5min before kick off. On a sunny Sunday afternoon. If they’re top of the table. And probably then still only they’re playing the Dragons or Souths and Brad Fittler is doing sideline commentary.
Despite these appearances, though, there are an alarming number of Roosters fans out there, and come say, week three of the finals or a big match like ANZAC day, it’s as if all the coffee shops in the Eastern Suburbs have been evacuated with Moore Park being the emergency meeting point.
2. The Socceroos
It is unlikely that as a sporting nation will ever see the unashamed bandwagon that the Socceroos achieved in 2006.
While this fever has waned somewhat after everyone realised we might not have to wait 32 years between getting other countries to play us again, come each World Cup that dusty Kewell jersey in the back of the cupboard gets a brush off and Aloisi gets a few thousand more Youtube clicks.
Which for your average Aussie punter keen to revel in national glory is great, provided we don’t have to sit through a televised special of Maguire, Vautin and Fitzsimmons et al telling stories about once listening to a St George Budapest football match on their car radio on the way home from footy the TAB.
1. Any Olympic Team
Yeah y’know? The Dolphins, Kookaburras, Opals, Stingers , Sharks etc. Love em to death I do. All of them.
What, name one of their players? Umm, there’s that Penny Knee-bone chick? And the, ahh, Magnum. He’s pretty good. Yeh.
Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious