The REAL North-South divide

One of the lesser known marital pressures on Australian couples is the North-South football divide. Hailing from Sydney as I do, I occasionally have an urge to watch rugby union or league (and sometimes even to play the former). But it’s almost impossible to watch a rugby game on television at our place, because jen grew up in Melbourne and gleefully exhibits a loud-mouthed disdain for both codes.

Look, he’s trying to root that bloke on the ground” does nothing for one’s appreciation of the elegant brutality of a classic three man tackle. “There’s not a straight man on the field, and all the spectators are fag hags” is usually the last straw, resulting in a rueful surrender of the remote control and retreat to blogging.

Lucky jen hasn’t heard about Ian Roberts or John “Hoppa” Hopoate, both of whom played for the ironically-named Manly team, where I grew up and which I still fitfully support.

Incidentally, I see the cretins at Channel 7 tried to get Ian Roberts to wear a pink outfit in the recent final of Dancing With the Stars (in which he was runner-up):

Roberts said he sometimes had heated words behind the scenes when they tried to make him wear a pink suit, a leather skirt and once when they wanted him to go shirtless.

“I’m not going to portray a stereotype for some cheap laugh for anyone, ever,” he said of the requests. “It’s not who I am.

“It’s much more valuable to just be yourself, regardless of anything else.”

Just thought I’d give jen a couple of cheap laughs. Anything for domestic harmony.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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14 Responses to The REAL North-South divide

  1. Mixed marriages never worked.

    Here in Adelaide the divide is between Crows and Power fans and I got so much shit from my Power-loving girlfriend that I was provoked into supporting Newcastle United in UK football just to piss her off. (She really is from Manchester and supports Manure).

    It wasn’t the reason we broke up, but I would have found it intolerable to be with a Power fan last year.

  2. EASTS TO WIN says:

    When the AFL comes on, complain about the endless stream of knock-ons. Talk about useless ball handling skills. Ask about the apparent lack of rules. And the obvious girly-men in tight shorts and hairstyles that play that game. What’s with the ball-punching? And getting a point for missing. Useless.

    That game has no warrior spirit.

    I was lucky, my Tassie-born wife hated AFL at school. I could introduce her to the joys of a good fast paced game of league, on a close-in stadium like the SFS.

  3. mark says:

    A Manure supporter that’s actually from Manchester, Scott? You should’ve hung onto that bird, if only for the rarity value…

  4. Irant says:

    Ken, ever wonder that the root cause of the problem is that you are a Manly supporter?

  5. Rafe says:

    Rugby union is too cerebral for me, coming from the deep south, even though I played half a season in the second row for Lincoln College when I move to Crow territory. I also played half a season at pivot (centre) for the Adelaide Uni fifth eighteen, captained by Greg Harcourt.

    In Sydney I discovered rugby league on TV and found it more satisfying than the VFL because the camera work was so primitive in 1969 that you couldn’t see what was happening properly in Melbourne. I also enjoyed a short playing career in rubgy league in the front row.

    In case anyone wants to exchange gossip on the footie on a regular basis I have set up a blog for that purpose at

  6. jen says:

    yes irant
    the root cause of the Parish problem is that as much deep satisfaction as he and the boys at Manly get from his manly support, the truth is that Parish wants to play in public, tool around on the field, give as good as he gets etc, etc, etc

  7. Rafe says:

    Sorry, the full address is

    for young players, Greg Harcourt was Professor of Economics, a leading neo-Keynesian who is now back at his spiritual home in Cambridge. He was so addicted to Australian football that he stayed out here as long as he was capable of playing in a cometition.

  8. David Tiley says:

    According to your mate Warbo, there is a horrible rugby team in Darwin for oldsters.

    If you went and played for it, would Jen be even more attracted to you?

    As our Right Wing friends say, with a coy toss of their locks at this point:

    “Just asking..”

  9. Ken Parish says:


    I assume the “horrible rugby team in Darwin for oldsters” he’s referring to is the Darwin Stubbies. I DO play for them on occasion, but their local games have been few and far between over the last year or so. There’s another team named Casuarina Stray Cats (for which Wayne Wood now plays) that seems to play more frequently, but they do so by playing the army and other younger, fitter teams, which is a very good way to get hurt IMO. It’s not a risk I’m prepared to take at age 51.

  10. Graham says:

    Well, the dividing line _used_ to be somewhere between Albury and Wagga, though it’s probably north of Wagga now. Teachers posted to my school from elsewhere in NSW would boggle at the dominance of Aussie Rules, and the League would often be referred to as the Bumsniffers.

    I grew up watching both codes (Union was that weird scrummy thing with the Wallabies, but we’d watch that too).

    I casually follow Manly so it’s nice to see them doing well again, but for the most part I find the code very linear and lacks variety.

    People just don’t go as mental over League on a mass scale as they do about the national game, it seems very much an adjunct to the culture of Sydney. Brisbane is a different matter again, though.

  11. Warbo says:

    Flattered to get a mention, David (“The only thing worse than being talked about…”), but I don’t think that tip came from me, as I know sweet FA about the Darwin rugby scene.

  12. Mark U says:

    Rafe, it is Geoff Harcourt (not Greg)

  13. David Tiley says:

    Sometimes I think that reading Ozblogistan is like lurching around a very big pub full of funny, fascinating people. After a while it can get a bit hard to tell them apart in the general roar.

    Will try harder.

  14. EASTS TO WIN says:

    Graham, Aussie Rules is not the national sport. Give it up. In Sydney and Brisbane it just doesn’t rate.

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