Back in the early years of a new millennium, then-London club Wasps was regarded as a rehabilitation centre for rugby players who had lost their way in the game.
Six-time premiership player Barry ‘Crackling’ Pork and legendary runner-up Wayne ‘Spanks’ Spankle sit down at the bar for a no-holds-barred chinwag about the week in sport.
CRACKLING: Could you believe Jack Higgins’s goal on Saturday, Spanks? Have you ever seen anything like it?
SPANKS: Of course I have, Crackling. In the Seventies, you’d see two or three goals like that every week. You don’t see them anymore because of all the modern coaching and zone defences and so on.
CRACKLING: But was it a throw?
SPANKS: Maybe you’d call it a throw, if you’re the sort who wants our great game to turn into netball.
CRACKLING: They throw in netball all the time, though.
SPANKS: Exactly. What’s our game coming to if you can’t kick a ball on the opposite side of the post to where you dropped it? That’s one of the fundamental principles of Aussie rules as laid down by Thomas Wills.
CRACKLING: Good point. What did you think of the Waratahs losing to the Lions?
SPANKS: I wasn’t surprised. My old mate Cyril Towers used to have a saying: “Play at sea level, you won’t be bedevilled. Play at altitude, bound to get booed”. And that proved to be true. In the end, Aussies just aren’t made for high places. That’s why Mount Kosciuszko is so short.
CRACKLING: Interesting to see Damien Fitzpatrick sin-binned for “lazy running”. I tell you, if you could get binned for lazy running in my day, we’d have been playing seven-a-side every week!
SPANKS: Haha! Because of all the fat guys!
CRACKLING: Yep! God we were fat.
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SPANKS: Don’t you think it’s a shame there aren’t more fat guys in sport these days?
CRACKLING: I don’t think it’s good for the kids’ body image to see all these non-fat sports stars out there nowadays. What does it to a kid’s self-esteem when everyone on their favourite footy team is such a dreamboat?
SPANKS: Speaking of dreamboats, how about Geraint Thomas? Winning the Tour de France despite the handicap of coming from Wales, a country where bicycles have yet to be introduced.
CRACKLING: It was a massive effort, Spanksy, but the question has to be asked, as it’s asked every year, can you really call something a sport that involves that much artificial assistance?
SPANKS: You mean all the drugs?
CRACKLING: No, I mean the bikes. I mean in my day, an athlete was a fella who relied on his own strength and speed, not a bloody machine to carry him around.
SPANKS: Can you imagine the great Johnny Raper riding a bike through the Wests defence?
CRACKLING: Crikey, I’d have loved to see that! Old Ned Kelly would’ve had a thing or two to say about it!
SPANKS: Didn’t he always?
Unintelligible laughter for several minutes
CRACKLING: But now let’s get back to serious stuff: what’s happened to the Swans?
SPANKS: Well, in 2010 Michael Gira reformed the band without Jarboe, and they have released several critically-acclaimed albums. Following their last shows in 2017, Gira says he plans to reinvent the band with a revolving cast of contributors.
CRACKLING: No, not the experimental rock band. The Sydney football team.
SPANKS: Oh those Swans. Well, look, the problem with the Swans is simply that they are too defensive.
CRACKLING: I agree. That, and their defence is too weak.
SPANKS: Yes. Too reliant on Buddy.
CRACKLING: And they don’t kick it to him enough.
SPANKS: Just what I was about to say. One thing’s for sure, the Swans are no Pies.
CRACKLING: The Pies are hot, Spanks, and I’m not talking about the Etihad kiosks.
SPANKS: HAAAAAAAAAA! But seriously, they were great against the Tiges. The only thing they did wrong was lose.
CRACKLING: Mind you, that’s one of the main things you can do wrong in a game of footy.
SPANKS: Sure, sure. But even Bradman lost sometimes.
CRACKLING: Some might say, most of the time.
SPANKS: They’d be wrong though.
CRACKLING: Absolutely. But the main thing is, it was a cracking weekend of sport, wasn’t it?
SPANKS: Cracking! Up the Doggies!
CRACKLING: In which sport?
SPANKS: Doesn’t matter!
CRACKLING: It’s your shout, Spanks.