AFL. What a crock.

I watched a game in its entirety for the first time last week. The Sydney Swans, you know, they’re doing quite well. They can jump, catch, kick and slap with the best of them. And now they’re in the grand final.

Naturally, this has made the front page of every paper; if you express yourself through ball skills, you’re a legend in this country. Of course, it helps to be Big. And Bad. But Lord help you if you live up to those ridiculous expectations.

Barry Hall, one of the Bigger, Badder players (at least that’s how he’s been advertised in order to give this stupid, random sport some flavour), will be playing in this weekend’s Big, Bad decider after a nail-biting (arse-scratching) week of deliberation. You see, he shoved someone last week. I saw it. Disgraceful, it was.

Right there, in front of everyone, he gave a little push. A gentle jab, as the Tele described it. From the limited exposure I’ve allowed myself in the past, this is not uncommon in AFL. Frankly, I’ve never seen such regularly piss-weak excuses for biff in my life.

They slap, they shove, they do everything but scream, You are! These are sporting heroes? I’ve seen better fights between SCEGGS girls.

I find the popularity of AFL seriously baffling. This country, enamoured of manliness and institutionalised thuggery, worships men in hotpants who can barely throw a punch? Think about it. They run around, scramble for a ball, kick it in the right direction if they’re lucky and then, if they get upset, they shove each other like a rabid fan at the front of a queue for Anthony Callea’s autograph.

The Barry Hall incident in question was a joke. The guy he pushed fell to the ground like the worst kind of soccer actor. Hall was charged and faced suspension. This is the biggest issue in perhaps the last 72 years of this club, Swans chairman Richard Colless said.

It’s tragic. That so many gay men have decided to funnel their limited sporting interest into this particular pursuit, even more so. My oldest friend even wears a Swans beanie -“ knitted by his boyfriend. Yeah, okay, they all wear short shorts. In the words of Willy Wonka: I don’t care!

Go, Swannies! Please.

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