It’s often said playing up against your mates is one of the hardest things in sport. It’s also one of the most enjoyable.
Believe it or not and contrary to what normally comes out of my mouth at about the 10 schooner stage, I have never represented my State. As a result I haven’t played for the Blues against the Maroons in anything.
I’ve actually never even played against my friends in a serious competition (although some will argue the Sooty Tour, golf, which I named after myself, was one of the most influential sporting events of the early noughties). As a result, what is happening today takes on a greater significance.
I am refereeing my former touch football team, in last year’s grand final replay. I was a very proud founder and captain of the all conquering Ratpack, but after 10 years, salary cap restrictions forced me into retirement. I didn’t want to be like many captains, who play one season too long and I wanted to walk rather than be pushed.
Today I have the opportunity to referee this motley group of people! It really will be mate against mate. Let’s not lie, I have premeditated metaphors for when they back chat and I would dearly love to put someone in the bin…but of course I’ll just blow the pea, according to what I see.