The Discarded – ‘For the love of the game …’

22 May 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

For those that haven’t been following #matttheintern on Twitter, I’ve just completed my second week of a three-week internship at Crikey. It’s been an eye-opening experience thus far and my first week and a bit has presented me with equal parts despair and satisfaction.

I was lucky enough to have had a couple of pieces published in my first week. First there was my wrap-up of the UK election, with a little help from deputy editor Jason Whittaker. Then there was a silly little post for Crikey’s travel blog ‘Back in a Bit’, about my relationship with airports. And on Friday my piece about the Adelaide Advertiser’s decision not to run an Australian Sex Party ad made it to the front page of Crikey.

As fun as it is to talk about the pieces that I have had published, I’m also keen to share with you the pieces that didn’t get published. Early last week I wrote up a silly little piece about a local footy team that recently managed to get beaten by 401 points. The piece didn’t pass Crikey’s quality control checks (which are decidedly more stringent than the ones I impose on myself here) and as a result it didn’t get published.

The good news for you, dear reader, is that Crikey’s decision not to publish the piece doesn’t mean you won’t get to read it. Without further ado it’s my pleasure to introduce ‘The Discarded’, the pieces that didn’t quite make the grade, and episode one, ‘For the love of the game…’

To all the Richmond fans who have been lamenting their side’s fortunes this season, spare a thought for the North Sunshine Football Club. According to a recent piece in The Age, the Roadrunners haven’t managed a single win in their last two seasons of football and Saturday’s match against the Albanvale Cobras did little to buck that trend.

The Cobras piled on a staggering 67 goals and 22 behinds to pummel the Roadrunners by 401 points – the sixth largest margin in the game’s history, according to The Age. Three Cobras players managed to kick 10 or more goals with 14 players making it to the goal-kickers list. Matthew Mallach was the only Roadrunner to kick multiple goals, snagging two of North Sunshine’s three.

While Saturday’s 65 goal loss is an obvious lowlight for the club, it’s not the first time this season that the Roadrunners have been defeated by an extravagant margin. In their four matches prior to the Cobras loss, North Sunshine has lost by 236 points, 231 points, 184 points and a comparatively successful 88 points.

But it’s not all bad news for the Roadrunners with former Richmond star Matthew Richardson offering to hold a training session with the team. Club President Mark Neicho told The Age that Richo’s offer would help to motivate the ailing squad.

‘Knowing he’s going to come down and do a training run might pep the guys up enough and keep them motivated.’

I’m no sports psychology expert but I reckon it’s going to take a bit more than a single training session to motivate the team after a loss like that. As a junior footballer I played in one particular match where we found ourselves losing by the comparatively respectable margin of 20 goals. The memory of that slaughter at the hands of the Under-12 powerhouse that was the Vermont Football Club sticks with me some 12 years later; I can only imagine what it must be like to lose by 65 goals.

However, full credit must go to North Sunshine club president Mark Neicho for facing up to the flurry of interview requests that have come his way since the weekend. His ability to put a positive spin on things is quite impressive.

‘These guys are local boys that enjoy playing for a local side and enjoy the mateship – playing football with their friends’, he told The Age.

I enjoy team sport and the associated camaraderie as much as the next guy but I can tell you now, there would be nothing enjoyable about being beaten by 401 points.

Matt de Neef is upstart co-editor, and blogs at A Cursory Glance. where this piece was first posted.  So far, every other story he has written for Crikey during his internship has been published on their site.