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My night out at the Wallabies-Lions Test

Spectators look on during the first tour match between the Western Force and the British and Irish Lions at Patersons Stadium in Perth, Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Guru
11th July, 2013
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1792 Reads

Last week Spiro wrote: “I was on one of the first trains out of ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, a mouse scuttling away from the good ship. There were only Wallabies supporters on the train. They were stunned and silent.”

Logging on to this site, the next couple of days were filled with doom gloom and hand wringing.

At the ARU the action was swift and final with Robbie Deans given his marching orders six months early and Ewen McKenzie invited into the challenging seat that guides the Wallabies.

Spiro was clearly not alone getting out of the stadium, with a large number of Wallaby fans leaving even before the final whistle.

I have to say those fans missed out. The Lions supporters are one of the best crowds in world sport and my brother and I in full Wallabies regalia hung around for a few beers after the match before jumping on a long bus ride back towards home.

Lions fans definitely outnumbered Wallabies fans on this later bus but supporters from both sides were in good spirits despite the score line.

We got underway and good natured jibes were traded but as usually occurs with rugby groups on buses the songs soon started.

There was a child on board so I shelved my regular songs of ‘Jack the Necrophiliac’, ‘When I Was Younger In My Prime’, ‘Has Anybody Seen JC’, ‘Yogi Bear’ and my favourite ‘I Used to Work in Chicago’.

Instead a Scottish couple started us off with ‘Flower of Scotland’ and pretty soon the whole bus was commenting on Proud Edward’s dubious parentage.

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A Welsh fan then led us onto ‘Land of My Fathers’ and followed it up with a sensational solo in Welsh which was very warmly received.

We tried to get ‘Molly Malone’ and ‘Fields of Athen Rye’ going but discovered that we had no Irish on board and I was the only one who knew the words (my voice not being up to standard following the Welsh chap these petered out).

The English fans patiently waited their turn and gave us the obligatory ‘Swing Low’ and every single one of the rest of us helpfully jumped in on the chorus with instructions on where they could stick those chariots.

It was then the Aussie’s turn and we gave a fairly cringe worthy rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ followed by a vastly superior ‘I Come from a Land Downunder’ complete with vocal impersonation of the flute solo which had everyone back in good spirits.

The banter continued and when one Lions supporter suggested that my brother and I were unlucky to have had our side lost like that – my response was that I’m very lucky, I’m still Australian!

I then asked him how he was enjoying our Aussie winter – luckily the weather in Sydney the week of the Lions Test was sensational!

The bus ride was full of good humour and by the time we hopped off my brother and I had made friends with the Scottish couple – after working out that she was the obstetrics nurse for the delivery of his second child! Such a small world.

Anyway the four of us headed to the pub together when we got off the bus and joined some other rugby fans from both sides in a cracking night that only ended when the pub shut.

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All up I had a super night and the fact that the Aussies made some boneheaded basic errors and wound up smashed on the scoreboard couldn’t dampen my experience.

I actually got a kick out of the team fighting back from 19-3 back to 19-16 before the floodgates opened.

Hats off to the Lions for the win and for their supporters who brought great noise and energy to the stands and banter, craic and good times outside the grounds.

To Spiro and the others who slunk away and rode home in stunned silence, you robbed yourselves of a top night.

Since this is The Roar and the idea is to generate discussion I have to ask how do we get Aussie fans to generate noise and support on a similar level to what the Lions fans brought?

Their simple chant of Lions, Lions, Lions… rang out around the ground and we didn’t have an answer to it. The bloke next to me tried to chant Wallaby, Wallaby, Wallaby each time it happened but it never took off, I believe due to too many syllables.

Perhaps a simple Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie may have worked better.

I have to add one further anecdote – back in HK and at Happy Valley races last night there were still a couple of Lions supporters out in their red tops – I really had to admire the dedication.

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If we were to get a national rugby song to match those of our northern cousins – should it be ‘Waltzing Matilda’?

Personally I’m partial to the old Woodley and Newton number ‘I Am Australian’. We are one, but we are many………

What do you lot think? Anyone else have a cracker out with the Lions supporters?

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