All posts by jimbob

MAtch report 20/06/2024

Nannas 3 plays Sporting Kunse 5

Att: CG, JH (3, MOM), RH, JM, AW, IZZY, TW

It started with the perineum. Actually it didn’t start there but for the sake of argument that’s where we’ll begin.
Hmmm, how did we get on to the perineum again? That part eludes me, even this close to the event.
It was funny though. James made a crack about Bendigo being in its general vicinity. I guess you had to be there.
Anyway, we lost. It really didn’t feel like that. The score 5-3, that means we were defeated but the happiness of being on court, the freedom of it probably meant more.
I could really dig Andy tonight. Playing shoulder to shoulder with his son. Izzy, a massive game. I’d never seen him play before but the speed, the footwork, the strength and poise on the ball, the vision. He’s quite good. On another night, he would have buried that last toe poke, we would have been four each and that would have been a fair result.
But as it happens, they got the last one after Gilla, with twenty seconds on the clock, tried for all or nothing. It looked good for a second, the last roll of the dice, after about six or seven attempts when we in control and were really coming. The one before Gilla’s from Izzy who went round a couple of dudes, steadied, hit it (super) sweet with his right toe, maybe straight at the keeper (I was in the sideline at the time) but man it looked good even if it was stopped.
Before that another attempt by me. I loitered at the back of the court with James in front of me on the ball, I ran past him. Like we’d been doing all night he slid it my way, I went past one, then two, but they were closing in. The second dude came again. I got past him but had lost control by that stage, the third dude mopping up.
That was after we’d gone a goal down in the second half, making it 4-3, their way, with about eight on the clock. I can’t remember how that happened. Actually, I don’t remember many of their goals. I recall the one in the first half down the right side when both Gilla and I heard a whistle. Maybe it was GHBG, perhaps it was the shrill noise, resembling authority maybe. For a second we forgot what was happening because of our collective fugue state. That’s when their goal scorer, from an acute angle out on our right, scored.
I remember our goals. That’s because I scored them.
The third. That man James. I don’t remember the lead up. I ran deep right, classic back post. James had the ball on the left hand side mid court. Like he’d been doing all night he had his eyes up and spotted me. The ball came cross court. I had a vision in my head. Hit it first time. First time. So I did. It missed inside the right upright by a a millimetre, just like Gilla squeeeeezing past the lady of stern face in her big SUV, who refused to acknowledge us as we existed the car park after the game.
Our second. In my humble estimation the goal of the night, my favourite, in other words.
Just after half time. According to Tao it wasn’t our kickoff but somehow I remember it different. Anyway, James was on the ball again and I had slipped deep inside their front quarter. This time left. Does James not ever not look up? It’s that skill of scanning movements and being one step ahead. For a second I believed the ball coming my way too good to be true. Similar to a screw gauge perfectly calibrated it hit me in the sweet spot. When it arrived I had only the keeper in front. I steadied and found net.
Preceding that I got our first goal. They had three on the board at that stage. The Nannas sucker punch. The Brown backdoor ambush. That’s when you slide under the perineum, and find the vicinity close to the outer rim, almost like Bendigo, but you never get there because your ultimate goal is all mesh. I found that, nutmegging the keeping and his perineum.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t point out that yes, we did come back from three nil down. We held them there at three apiece for around ten minutes until they scored their fourth and in the last seconds of the match with Gilla off his line searching for an all or nothing miracle they got a fifth.
Notable mentions go to:
Gilla: immense in goals. Some exceeding good saves (as per usual) and nice distribution.
Tao: great defence and hustle but shouted too much.
James and Izzy: exceptional.
Hinkley: only put one foot wrong: could have done better with a golden opportunity early in the match.
Andy: solid alongside said son. A lot of pride in that family tonight.

Match report 23-05-2024

Nannas 4 plays Exports 9

Att: CB (sustained an achilles tendon injury half way through the second half), SB, DC (1), CG (K), JH (3, MOM), RH, TW

The night started with the realisation that 23 May is not 30 May, a further insight became evident after this too: the game for 6:30 pm was not the time for this week either, the Nannas stood on the side of the court feeling rather stupid wondering what possessed Tao, he would later say, and I quote, ‘Why did no one see that?!’
All was not lost, after Cocky did some mental arithmetic about how much time he could squeeze in doing more artistic endeavours in the period before kickoff (not much), James suggested Sushi 10 for a meal before the game, can you imagine? and so the Brown troop chuffed off in search of sushi, Change Set Speed, and good times pre match, with the Captain revealing he had stood in dog shit (I have to admit this confused me; who on earth takes a dog to the sports ground, and who lets it shit, and who wouldn’t pick that shit up? I felt for Rhian).
In the vehicle back toward Carlton conversations were had about novellas, novelettes, and 10 mm errors, upon arrival at the vicinity for repast Change Set Speed was engaged in, with Cocky refusing, a decision I feel was probably in his favour but maybe not for the forthcoming match.
The banquet was at first cold, as we had to seat ourselves outdoors, with visions of Hinkley picking canine faeces out of his shoe, but upon the leaving of various patrons we shifted inside where there was warmth (and no more shit picking), not just in the air but the general atmosphere, our host shifting various tables to accommodate first six Nanna but then seven and a Nanna youngling.
After we supped, the meal still of an incredibly high standard (how do they do it, every-single-time?), Sol suggested we stroll to get our digestive juices flowing, but it also gave rise to flowing conversation this time about bowels: first we again discussed dog shit, a certain Maremma did, after a course of antibiotics when sedated at the vets, loose his bowels dropping what the vet described as something similar to a horse’s pad, second, Cocky was forthright in his knowledge that one shouldn’t sit too long on the shitter as a colonoscopist said this was bad, third, James took a short cut through a park, which brought back bad memories for our beloved Captain, still thinking of dog shit on his shoe as he was.
After a night already had, the Nannas descended on the footsal stadium, we were early, and Change Set Speed really started to pump as we kicked the ball around and watched our adversaries from weeks past play, the Craic was good, as was keeping the ball in the air, I did wonder how Gilla was feeling at this point, as my body felt sluggish, somewhat floaty, but at the same time my left foot felt a certain twinge of happiness to once again collude with its brother Nanna feet on the field of battle.
I started not on court, and suddenly I remembered our opposition from having watched them in weeks past, they are us from twenty years ago (somewhat scraggly, free flowing hair, a few talls, a few shorts), but only with better foot skills, and even though they were one below us on the table, the Nannas were up against it.
The early exchanges revealed the Nannas would have to be on their game defensively, something that last night I’m not sure we entirely managed, at about midnight last night trying to get to sleep I recalled their goals, there were about three or four by that tall skinny guy with dark hair, he could bust a few moves, and he could hit them with substantial power and precision, there two that were unlucky as James tangled with one of their dudes from a corner/side ball which wrong footed Gilla, there was also another like this late in the match, which Tao shook his head at, and there was that one goal where they had about five one-touch cross-court passes with a clinical finish (which was one of the goals of the match, but not the goal of the match), apart from these there were also a couple where Nannas were caught ball/player watching as their players ran with the ball up the field leaving our magnificent keeper (who did again did make some stupendous saves), now there is a very quick point I will make here, yes by all means yell at your team mates to pick up a man and run back when the opposition steals the ball midcourt but please don’t yell at them after the goal has been scored especially if you too weren’t running but standing there caught ball/player watching but yelling at your brother Nannas to run back.
Now to our lovely goals, there were four of them, three scored by James and one by our striker, I will get to the hattrick first, Change Set Speed was kicking in by this point, and making me feel curiously hungry to kick hard, to compete hard, to be hard, I was feeling it, I must have had a least a dozen shots on goal, and I think I did put half of them on target (I thought I was particularly unlucky with one which I struck very sweetly only to see it saved by an outstretched hand high and right, they may not have had a dedicated goalie but they were good in goals), the first goal came from a pass from Sol, somehow I found myself deep in their half down the right side (I don’t remember how I got there or the play leading up to it), I took the ball turned and kicked hard, as unlikely as it sounds, it managed to nutmeg the defender on me and their keeper as well, the second, again I don’t remember the preceding play only to say it was a corner (I have sneaking suspicion the corner came from a shot I had from a restart which their keeper tipped over the bar, but am not 100% sure on this), anyway, so I was wrestling on the front post with one of their dudes, the ball was played to me, I heard shouts of pass, I thought yeah I probably should, but something possessed me and I hit with my heal, backward, a backheel, I turned expecting the ball to be in play somewhere and to feel sheepish about attempting this but everyone was congratulating me and their keeper seemed flummoxed, yay! and for my final trick Gilla threw me a long one, we were looking for the tip on (our patented move) but somehow (again I couldn’t tell you how this happened) the ball seemed to spin against my face for a split second until it dropped, whereupon I popped it past their keeper and in the back of the net, I did think my goals very special but that was until Striker got the ball deep in their half on the left with one and their keeper to beat, Striker upon receiving said ball seemed weirdly uninterested, his head down almost like he’d noticed his shoe untied and thought to himself, Geez, I’ll probably need to fix that at some point, as he used his left to skip past his man, flipping the ball over the defender’s outstretched hoof he still had this same curious countenance, but like his head and body were unconnected, his legs drove him toward goal whereupon he produced another fine piece of skill to sumptuously slide the ball home, I was on the sideline communing with the ref at this point who said, and I quote: ‘You did have the goal of the game, but that one, wow!’

Match report 5 October 2023

Attendees: CB 1, DC, JH 2 (MOM), AW 1, CARL 1 (MOM), JOEL (GK MOM).
Score: Nannas 5 plays Sporting Kunse 2/3 (?)
The game’s afoot: follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry ‘God for Brown, ABKIT, and The Mighty Fighting Nannas!’
So, here I was, with a stomach filled with a packet of chips (at about five p.m. wandering out of work I suddenly felt peckish, and the Seven Eleven, like a Siren, called to me. I spied donuts, chocolate beckoned, as did many fizzy drinks, but I thought a small pack of crisps would do it).
They did indeed! After the briefest of warm ups, we turned to face our foes, and whereas two minutes previous I had butterflies, now the fried potatoes sitting in my stomach hung heavy.
I ran, but it didn’t feel good. Lumbering more than sprinting, I felt a snail barely discernible in its movement, but there was Cocky taking off down the right side. I knew I’d never get to the mouth of goal, so meandered to somewhere near its front. I’m not sure how the Cock saw me, but he crossed and I thought, sheesh, I’m in the right place at the right time, how on god’s green earth did that happen? I hit it with the right. It struck the left upright, the net billowing soon after.
The Nannas were passing well, our substitute keeper held up his end (he and Gilla would do well to discuss distribution, as Gilla could learn one or three million things from him). Carl used his foot skills (sublimely), and Chassy ran (hither and dither).
I would have thought him (the Renking Penis of Lady Chastity) a worthy MOM last eve. He still sometimes is too much action when a breathe and look up would better suit, but his shoot first, ask questions after did produce our second goal.
We were winning the battle of the midfield. For the most part our passes stuck. And they, while young and somewhat faster than us, were feeling pressure.
In the middle of the half, our enemies lost it in their back third (as they did a lot), and Chassy popped up and without a second thought struck deep and true (yes, I know what you’re thinking, and you’d be right). The net billowed.
By this stage, the crisps dwelling in my guts were settling, and my legs were propelling me slightly faster, and like the Nannas, I went into the break starting to get on top of things.
Oranges were administered at the interval, as were words of encouragement, and I went off for the first two minutes of the second half.
I’m not sure if it was my absence (it probably was), or the oranges and what was said (not likely), but in those first two minutes after break, we gave up two goals and our lead.
So, I had to come on again, which wasn’t easy for me all night. I’m not sure Cocky knows this (probably best not to tell him), but he is difficult to dislodge from court. You can yell at him, ‘Sub Cocky!’ He looks like nothing’s happened. You scream again, ‘COCKY sub!’ He stays on the far side of the court, his eyes avoiding yours. And once more you shriek to the depth of your lungs, ‘COCKY, you motherfvcking, motherfvcker, drag your sorry arse to the side of the court.’ He keeps playing, with a hand shielding his face, so you can’t see what he’s looking at.
Eventually, after getting the ref to stop the game, I had to walk on court, tap him heavily on the shoulder, at which point he turns, like he’s deaf, and says, ‘What, me?!’
Anyway, once I came on all was right in the world. My stomach had managed to coat said crisps in some intestinal juices, and move them toward the intestine, and again, we controlled the midfield, our marking and defence stifling most of their attack.
Carl and his sublime foot skills once more appeared before me, in the enemy’s half of the court. I could see Carl thinking, how can I turn my opponent (more on this in a bit), but as I stood behind him I softly called to him, ‘Carl, I am free.’ Duly, he fed the ball back, where I duly slammed it low and hard, to once more billow the net.
Players were beginning to tire, and the game had opened up. One of their men had some moves and speed (and rather a strong shot. From one free kick he managed to almost fell me, after kicking it straight at my nuts. I had both hands covering the testis, but it still felt like my balls needed to retreat in the recesses of my lower guts) and threatened but Joel (let’s call him second string) had it under control.
That’s when we put them to bed. First, Carl and those sublime skills found himself in their half of the court, with his back to goal and one man to beat. Sublime skills turned that one man, and he found himself one v one with their keeper. His left foot billowed the right side of their net.
And then there was Andy. I haven’t mentioned the Andy yet, and this is not because he didn’t play well, or wasn’t integral to our win, he was (I was just saving the best for last).
The match was no longer in the balance. We knew we were better than them, that we would score more, and Andy kept popping up left side close to their by-line looking for an opportunity to finish with a flourish.
I got one to him, but he was blocked out by two of the enemy. The next time he found himself in a similar position, two of them would only be one, their keeper. Andy toyed with him: the feints, the step overs, the drop of the shoulder, it was all there. And just when he’d tied the keeper up in knots, and finally sat him on his arse, Andy picked his spot, shooting high into the net, for the most prestigious and exclamation point billow of the night.
I don’t remember how they scored their third, or if they even did. It mattered little. We went happily to the NSC to eat steak and talk of separation packages and energy.

The old forgotten glove match report: 2 June 2022

Nannas 5 play Harchester United 2

CG, JH: 3, TK, TW 1, Prince, Jerry

Playing with the Nannas last night was like slipping into an old forgotten glove: at first glance it looked old and wrinkly but felt so smooth once slipped on.

And the question came to me on my long drive home last night, are the Nannas ageless?

Admittedly when playing indoor, the court is small. Like infinitesimal in comparison to eleven a side. The distances travelled miniscule, the ball, flat and heavy, a reflection that to move too far in one direction you’re soon likely to reach a sideline or the end of a court.
Still, there’s lots to be said for operating in small spaces, seeing tiny expanses stretch before you, from which the scope of play is measured in half yards.

While the Nannas might not be able to zip through these half yards like youngers anymore, they know how govern them like men in their prime, with puffed chests, feet still large and moving in the correct direction to intercept any through ball, and sculpted legs spread at just the right angle to display loins potent but far past procreation.

The first half was even. The Prince found himself down the left hand side early on and made it count.

The Little Green men responded soon after, with their best player beating Jim down their right to place a sideway firmly erect shot searing past Gilla.

The Greens as I recall them were a better bunch than what they turned out last night. Their best player is still there, long red locks and all, but their other threat from the days gone by absent. He was tall, with dark hair and good foot skills, and could shoot too.

Apart from the dude with the long red locks, AKA their best player, no one else in their team seemed capable of much. In fact, the brother of said red locks, AKA their best player, seemed to provide as much trouble for his own side as red locks, AKA their best player, was a plus. The brother could pass, but that was about it. For the most part he concerned himself with trying to push Nannas over and subsequently fighting with the ref, and getting chewed out by his brother, red locks, AKA their best player.

Anyway, we found ourselves starting the second half, and I did think, would the Nanna wilt like had happened so many times before? Our second halves post 40 years of age not a strong point.

The answer: a polite no.

We went on to score four, while Gilla at the back continued to defy time, his creaking back and any assault on his goal. Three times he pulled off multiple saves (one that turned into a goalmouth scramble), which a much lesser keeper would have had trouble getting a finger nail to the initial strike.

As to the goals. I got the mighty, most hallowed hattrick.

The first from a free kick, blasted past the marker and keeper. The second from some lovely crosscourt passing between Jim and the Prince, with Jim finishing. And the third from Jim, from the right moving onto his favoured left, squeezing his shot onto the inside of their back post, which turned in from the rebound (a truly lovely and most satisfying goal).

And then there was Tao, ageless, wrestling with the Green’s best player over the ball close to their goal. Like he so often does, he won the battle, and then all he had to do was toe poke under their keeper, which he did with ease, for a fine goal.

They got one late, but by that stage the Nannas knew they had it won, Gilla wisely letting them have one to let the Greens think there was something in the match, but in truth there was only team that was going to win.

A night of nostalgia, MATCH REPORT: 31 October 2019

Nannas 3 plays someone 5

Att: CB, DC, CG, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TK, AW (MOM)

A night of nostalgia. That’s what it felt like looping in with Gilla for the 8:40 game. The drive from north to south was hot. There was traffic too. Gilla skirted it with ease (something I am not sure he would have done 15 years ago). We crossed the Yarra, feeling like it could have been 20 years ago (has it really been that long?).

Then we arrived, not at the Pits, but at the Maori Chief (would have done it the other way around in the past?). It was open (though) at that time of night, so we took pictures to send to our brothers in arms, and walked in. The place was the same, albeit, it had more screens, and less people (not sure how it stays open). We ate (steak sandwiches), we drank (well, I did), and played pool (I took the first game, but from there it was all downhill, as Gilla sensed himself challenged and firmly rubbed that challenger [me] into the dust).

So, we got to the Pits, about half an hour early. It was hot and still, and the moon (half mooned) hung cold and distant in the sky. Underneath, little groups of mixed teams hung around (it could have been 16 years ago, and a Sunday).

Other Nannas arrived in dribs and drabs. First Chas and Kondo, and then the riders: Cocky, Coach and Captain. We had ourselves a team (I am remembering it like it was 17 years ago, except for the loss and greying of hair). We kicked the ball around, we bought gatorades and sugary snakes, talked shit, and waited for the game to begin (definitely 17 years ago, but without the butterflies we had back then). And, and, Andy, turned up late (pick your date) but didn’t play.

The game started at 8:40, seemed like an appropriate time for the Nannas given our history, except now, most of their children can look after themselves, our wives/partners (mostly) aren’t eagerly awaiting our return (to help with said kids), and (most) Nannas aren’t exhausted from getting up at 5 am each morning.

Yet, inexplicably, some Nannas appeared exhausted, disinterested even (no timestamp here). They were statues, standing, rooted to the spot for the most part (I won’t put a time stamp on this, as this has been happening forever). Chassy said afterward, well I think he said this, that on court he is constantly aware of his surroundings, and where everyone is, so he can move in accordance with the game and be ahead of it (well, that’s what I took him to mean).

As Dan Carlin would say, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, but the Nannas would do well to follow his perception.

We were better than the opposition. I don’t remember them really getting the better of us, in terms of their skill or their play or tactics (sort of like the Nannas, pick your date). Yet, they hustled and bustled (the Nannas of five, maybe ten years ago). They took their opportunities (sometimes, sometimes not for the Nannas). They also were constantly after us, locking us down (again, sometimes, sometimes not for the Nannas).
The Nannas on this night wanted to play with smiles on their faces (timestamp here is on and off, as this is not really the Nanna way, unless we are winning). But the question should be asked, does shit football make you smile? Oh my god, I am so sorry, but there was some pretty shit football out there. We really should have done better.

On recent previous occasions (that I have played, at least) we have had possession and used the ball well (no time stamp here, as this is relatively new for the Nannas), we have had cohesion, even teamwork (multiple timestamps here, as backing our Brown Brothers has never been in question), we have even played skilfully (intermittent timestamps here). Not on this evening.

Maybe the heat had overcome us. Maybe the directive to play with a smile on our face was making us feel fake. Maybe the inherent anger that would be our lot if we offered (offered is probably not the most accurate word) a teammate criticism (even if there was also congratulations and encouragement mixed in with this) was overcoming us, clouding our judgement. Maybe it was Tao, who didn’t want to play (because, apparently, he had been so angry last time and needed to go have a long, hard look at himself), had made us feel like we were missing something, something from our past (fierceness, ferocity, fury perhaps)?

Sure, we have to temper (pun intended) that and him (and me alongside him), but just saying, outright and arbitrarily, to always play with a smile on our faces, is just stupid. We are Nannas with emotions, especially on court; it’s how we use these emotions to our best advantage, or bring them back from negativity, is the trick.

Anyway, after, we tried to go to haunts of times past, but the Chief was shut and the Railway was shutting, as was the next place. It did seem like the Bars/Pubs of Melbourne were saying to us, ‘you have too much history, we can feel your dark, downtrodden, mixed feelings from here,’ and closed their doors to us.

Match report: 29 August 2019

Nannas 3 plays Copa Cobana 5

Att: CB, CG, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TW

So, 5:30 pm and we were waiting for Otis. He needed a haircut but, wait for it, he was late. A teenager late, to his own haircut, I hear you say. Fuck off! No, it’s true.

Gilla was looking at his phone, looking at me, looking up the street, scrutinising every tram but where was he? Finally, he figured out what the communication device in his hand was for and called his tardy son. Soon enough, walking like Sarah down the street, the young man arrived.

He sat himself in the chair, as Gilla instructed the hairdresser: 20 minutes, you’ve got 20 minutes, OKAY! Well, 15 minutes was all she needed to bring out a left leaning rats tail and a young man befitting his station.

After he was dusted off and the cut hair removed, we piled into the Emasculator, as Gilla wound it and himself into a frenzy. Speed humps: he doesn’t slow for them. Oncoming traffic: ever heard of Chicken? Sidestreets, tight squeezes and chances: he took ‘em. Drivers going at least 20kph below the speed limit: he got up their arses. Yes, my heart rate was raised by at least 30 BPM, and we almost collided with at least three cyclists.

When we got there Phil, the moustachioed one, wandered into the bathrooms whilst Gilla was in a stall, doing his business. The door was ajar, and as he stood to pull his strides, the moustachioed one looked in. Well, all that was heard were: ‘I can see your penis! I can see it!’ He was visibly shaken.

Obviously not shaken and stirred enough, or maybe he was rising to the occasion, if you take my meaning.

Either way, the Nannas should have done better.

Jim in the first moments had the ball at his feet, with only Joel in front of him, stranded, feet rooted to the spot in goals. Both Jim and Joel thought, fuck! Jim kicked it into the post. It came back to him. He kicked it again, directly at Joel. Cocky said the second ones are always the hardest but he should have buried the first one.

Jim, though, did redeem this lapse, slotting the first for the Nannas, when the opposition were loose at the back, and he did swoop and shoot truly, this time, from an acute angle.

As the game progressed the Nannas were finding space. Every time I looked up I saw a Nanna running, without an opponent in tow. I remember hitting Hinkley, Coach and Tao in such a fashion. And there was a moment when Tom was one out up front, where I had the ball from a side kick in, but he refused to turn his head back to see if he could get on the end of it. I yelled at him (sorry about that).

There were other chances too. I spurned a second one. I found myself out left and in on goal. I toe-hacked (see Hinkley!!!!). It came off the post and back to my right instep. I hit it again, it bounced off one post, off another, and then back onto first one (told you so, Hinkley). I’m pretty sure it went in (just like Andy Wong in the good old days). I thought the opposition was going to concede. The goalie whacked it out. A second one called play on.

In fact, this was a pattern of the game. We had the better of it. We held the ball well. We passed and created chances but couldn’t finish. Gill was right. He said pre-game Cocky was a big loss. So it proved: Tao was off colour; Chas and Hinkley regularly hit side betting; Gilla, although low (no Andy not low like that), blasted wide again and again.

Maybe Cocky is the ballast that keeps us upright, maybe he steers the ship, leading us through the choppy waters of Division 2 with hair that all Nannas recognise as suitably Cock-like. Whatever it is, we truly missed his two, or three on this particular evening.

Afterward, Gilla and I sat on a step and contemplated how h!gh we could get in five minutes, and then we went ate Greek, listening to Tao complain of a busted rib and Jim talk of a working bee.

Match report: 9 August 2019

Att: CB, DC, CG (2), JH (1, MOM), RH (1), TH, TW

Nannas 4 plays Harchester United 3

You had that feeling that we were better than them, that they weren’t going to rip us open.

It felt like we were on top right from the get go. They had the solitary dude who has something and the angry geezer, he held the ball well.

We held it better. There was Nanna work there tonight. Very strong Nanna work. They hardly went around us, through us, over us.

We went past them, through them, over them on a number of occasions. This was the most in control I have seen the Nannas, in terms of holding the ball.

We passed, we ran, we found space (mostly).

Cocky showed us the way. He was our man in mid-field. He ran the lines. He ran the middle. He held the ball up and then duly delivered time and again. He was unlucky not to get one, two. His full, elongated beard, an inspiration to anyone that sighted it.

Chassy, the immense Chassy. Cocky’s co-pilot. The prowler of mid-field. He got there first a lot tonight, coming from behind (no Andy, not like that). Those surprising long legs, that he’s able to get like, high. He was a cat, pouncing, scratching, purring, meowing, lapping, hissing.

The Captain has regained his speed over the first ten to fifteen. His bum still hangs down but when it’s wound up, slugging away , as his legs pump forward, there is no better sight in world football. His work down the right, with the Cock, getting on the end of one, was a great team goal.

Gilla is bending them, from range too. Twice, twice, after some gentle coaxing (he does take encouraging to ping from distance), he plied his skills, striking twice, twice from halfway. Low and hard, that’s what they call him, low and hard (no Andy, not that kind of low and hard).

Tao likes getting in people’s faces. No really, and he’s fucking irresistible. Hard, doesn’t cover it. Competitive, just a word. Crunch, sort of comes close. Smack, almost gets the job done. Thump, very close.

Tommy, the immovable object, Howie, again showed us his awesomeness, how the greatest player ever to play goes about it. He didn’t score this week but he could have, if he had accepted my invitation. I laid it on a platter for him but like the true gentleman he is, he left it for me.

And so, onto me. I was surprised to get a full eight votes (seven and a half would have been fine). Was it my toe hack from the sideline, squeezed in tight at the back post (Andy, if only you had been there, you would have appreciated the angle, the penetration, and how quickly it happened)? Was it my running through the angry guy right on full time provoking him to throw the ball in my face? Was it like the Coach last week but only it was this week, and everyone appreciated how in the zone, on top of the world, like Superman on steroids I was?

Who knows. Chassy said it was a mercy fuck. I’ll take it.

21 March ‘19 Tight Five and All match report

Nannas 4 plays Copa Cobana 3

Time stamp:
Fletcher was officially five months on the day after the game; it had been just under five months since I had played for the Nannas.
Of the Nannas, there were five to take to court, with El taking up a sixth position. It was muted that we get a seventh but six was deemed ample (by those in the know). Yet, the sixth, El, did not end up being the sixth, as he somehow contrived to run into the back of a parked vehicle on the way to the game. Furthermore, for a moment, it did appear that Cocky would not make it either, having to tend to his injured child, but with about five minutes to spare he showed himself.
So, we were five. And what a magnificent vista of manhood we were too. At the back stood Gilla. Resplendent in his keepers kit, huffing it out nicely with his ample chest and sizable thighs. It was obvious, for anyone keen on looking, that getting past him would take some doing. At the other of the court, Cocky took his place. All pace and fury, all movement and magic, the Cock’s intent would be running himself back and forth, making the opposition pay for any look they gave him on goal. Just behind the Cock lurked the Chas. Now let me tell you a thing about the Chas. He might look ungainly, all legs a loping, but in truth they don’t call him the most beautiful Nanna for nothing. At right back was the Captain. With a fresh shave, he was a picture of sculptured sinew and monumental muscle; sleekness, out to cut a swathe through the opponents’ flank. Beside him is where I took up station. From my vantage point the court seemed small, the ball hard, the opposition slight and pink. I felt like we had them.
First half:
The early exchanges were positive. The Nannas took early touches, making favourable forays forward. We had the ball and were going to keep it. Furthermore, it was only a matter of time until we would break them down and score, and so it proved. The ball was delivered to me by Captain (I think) just inside their territory. Cocky could see plenty of space down their right flank and ran to where he hoped the ball would be delivered. I put it in front of him, and he duly slotted home. It was a fine effort given his natural right-footedness and the keeper came to meet him at the near post. 1-zip.
They got one next. It was their only good move for the entire game, opening us up with some fine passing and movement, which the Nannas were hard pressed to counter. 1-1.
Next came our second. I got the ball mid-court on their left with my back to goal. I had one dude to my back, and another loitering to my front. As the dude in front came to challenge, I slipped it passed him and turned the dude to my rear. All I had to do next was finish, which I did, hitting it low and hard, to the keeper’s right. 2-1.
I am pretty sure they got another before half time but can’t remember it.
Half time: 2-2.
At the break the Captain talked to us of pressure and keeping up our previous efforts. His masculinity and silky skin a guide and inspiration for all the Nannas.
Second half:
Chassy took this inspiration to heart, leading the way with those loping legs of his. Early in second stanza he thought he was through but the ball jilted loose, leaving Chassy to run past their goals with nothing to show for it. Yet, as their keeper threw it back in, Chas saw his chance and jumped its intended recipient as the ball rolled toward him. He stole, he turned on goal, he placed it neatly passed their keeper. 3-2.
Their next goal was my fault. The ball came bouncing through. I failed to clear it, only getting a weak touch, which only set them up. 3-3.
This last goal proved a tonic for the Nannas; we knew we were better than these young punks, we knew we could beat them, and we certainly knew we weren’t going to lose. So we pushed forward time and time hitting cross bars, skewing our shots just wide, missing final touches that would have let us in on goal until finally, during one of these attacking raids, the Cock was hauled down just outside their penalty area. He stepped up, sizing up the shot. They put three in the wall, and had one marking Chassy over to on Cocky’s left. That left me unattended, so I wondered over to the right. There I stood all alone, the back of the net beckoning me like David Beckham’s flashing boots. Cocky was given the green light to strike. He pondered his options. He looked at the wall, throwing a cursory glance in my direction. I wondered, will he kick it to me? The moment lingered, until suddenly the ball came my way; the perfect pass, expertly weighted, right in the middle of my stance. All I had to do was lean back and lash into the top right corner, which I did. 4-3.
Then came the last two minutes of the game. We felt in control, we were pushing for a fifth, the killer blow. But somewhere in all that dash and hustle, pushing forward, striving for that final pass, we gave it up, and, in true Nanna fashion, in mid-field too. Well, the opposition saw their chance, could they steal a draw from the clutches of defeat, maybe even get two and take the victory? The Nannas backpedalled, Gilla threw himself this way and that, heaving that huffing chest of his as he repelled shot after shot. Suddenly, all our control and passing deserted us, not being able to even get a touch. Suddenly we were under the pump. But the clock was against them, and we, even though we did panic a little, were resolute.
Final score 4-3.

16 August ‘18—dukes up match report


Nannas 9 plays B West 2

Preamble: it was my penultimate day at the Department, and as so often happens in this situation everyone wanted me to do something for them. To shake this off I went visiting Jezza at the Great Northern for a couple of drinks and smokes.

I did think I may have overdone it as I was feeling just a little jaded riding up to Brunswick but once I arrived I seemed to perk up somewhat. I dunno if it was the stadium, the sight of fit young men playing soccer, or just being in the presence of Nannas. Whatever it was, I started to really feel like playing.

The game: the opposition were five; there were a man down but had a ringer. We were seven. Tao had his times all mixed up and had to do the late extraction but El was more than willing to deputise, that is, after he digested his KFC but let us not hold his dietary choices against him. In those first five minutes El was our shining light. While most of the Nannas lumbered across the court, El belied his tender years and flew from confrontation to challenge, from pass to intercept, and then got our first goal. In these early stages in the match, when we went two goals down, he almost single-handedly brought us back into the game.

It was also El, displaying this same exuberance of youth, that led to a major flashpoint. It was about 10 minutes in and El was hustling and bustling this dude for the ball. Chassy was also there trying to wrest it away as well. El challenged, and then he challenged a third, fourth, and fifth time. Eventually the whistle blew and when it did there was the normal disengagement of bodies, but also the need of opponent to detach from opponent, you know, give him the good ol’ chest push. El gave him one, the dude gave him one back. This is where it would usually end with one or two parting words and a couple of dirty looks shot in the other person’s general direction but on this occasion the dude decided that wasn’t enough for him and that the throwing of blows would be a more fitting finale to their small, and seemingly innocuous meeting. He put his dukes up.

Unsurprisingly Nannas were seen hauling arse from everywhere. In fact, it was the quickest most had seen them moved all night. Phil to his credit stepped in, flashed his red card in the face of the dude and his up-pointed dukes and that was that.

The big question on everyone’s lips after this was: would the Nannas be able to make them pay? Would we hold the ball, pass it around, use the extra man to our advantage, or would we throw it away, pass to no one and just generally fuck ourselves? Well, let’s just say that it was a lot of former and a little of the latter. Yes, there were some few shit moments of play where we couldn’t seem to hold onto it, but for the most part our passing was on target, our teamwork was shit hot and we went on to score eight goals, effectively cutting them up.

Of course, their ringer decided at half time that he would desert the sinking ship that was B West, but Joel did come on for them, and so did one of those very crafty and skilful Iranians but we were too good.

I do remember some great goals: by father and son duo Cocky and El; a couple of toe pokes by yours truly; a fine ball from El setting up the right foot volley also by yours truly; but then there was the full length cross-court pass, with a header to finish.

Yes, this was the goal of the game (which probably earned me MOM) but it was a goody. Gilla fed me at the back. One of their players rushed forward to close me down but I could see Cocky in space at the other end of the court, a couple of metres to the left of goal. I pinged it long and hard, figuring that Cocky would pull it down, turn and shoot. He did nothing of the sort. He threw his sizable melon at it, connecting just at the right angle to force the ball into the back of the net. Cocky did mention after the game that their keeper was well out of position but still, it was a great goal.

21 June ‘18 triple MOM match report—part 1


Nannas 5 plays Green guys 5

This was one of the best games that I can remember the nannas playing for a while. We really should have won but it was one of those things: we went behind, we fought back, they fought back, we weren’t going to let them best us, they kept coming.

Early in the piece it did feel like the Nannas were in for a long night, as we easily gave up possession in mid field and the boys in green strung together about four or five cross-court passes only to find the net at the end of it.

This early goal, however, only seemed to steel the Brown Men to their task. After that we held the ball (the control was huge as compared to the previous week), we passed effectively (hitting our targets time and again), we ran our socks off (Coach would have been proud), and we defended stoutly (about half a dozen times the Green Boys found it hard to find a player).

Then we got our first; I received the ball just outside their area with my back to goal, one-on-one (can’t remember who fed it to me). I turned my man and put in the far corner.

Then the Captain got one. Their keeper was slow clearing his lines, Hinkley could sense it and was on the hunt. He shut him down, the ball spilling to his feet and then he slotted home.

I can’t really recall most of the opposition’s goals but I am pretty sure the pattern was, after those first three goals and we went 2-1 up, they would equalise only for us to pull ahead again.

Anyway, so then it was Tao’s turn to shut down the keeper. Again their shot stopper was slow to clear, and perhaps underestimated the power and fury of his opponent, for as everyone knows Tao can bring both in abundance. Tao got in his face, read the direction he was going to go and when their keeper tried to hoof it downfield and to safety Tao was all over him and from the resulting ricochet the ball found the back of the net.

Next up was the Cock, who I was trying to coerce more movement out of (channelling the Coach). He must have heard me, because, in the very next moment, as I turned to my head following the ball, he had slipped under the radar to position himself perfectly in front of goal. When the ball was duly delivered, he, very stylishly, back heeled it for our fourth.

Cocky also laid on our fifth, with a perfectly weighted ball down the right. I was actually running to the middle and had to change direction and for a minute thought I wouldn’t get there but the pass was millimetre perfect: it drew the keeper out but at the same time allowed me enough time to slip it past him and into the bottom right corner.


Note to Chassy: not sure why no one voted for you, you played okay, but probably best not to give me a big hug so close to kick off, you almost had me in tears.

Note to Kondo: some great distribution and fine shot stopping (as per usual); we just have to work on you drawing the man.

Note to Wal: keep making those backdoor runs, it’s always a delight to see you convert from that position.

Note to Hinkley: make those headers count; that’s the second you’ve missed recently.

Note to Cocky: stop looking so hang-dog, it really doesn’t suit you.

Note to Tao: thanks for some great post-match hosting of the Socceroos game, and just thanks for everything.

14 June ‘18 in memory of Pat Hannan match report

ATT: JH, TH, TK, AW, the two Jameses (the Headmaster and Mr Mercer)

Nannas 4 plays RMIT 12

At the end of work, I must admit I was thinking of going home. I was feeling pretty shit. Then I left work and it was a crappy outside too. It was dark, well windy, and it had that feeling that it might piss down at any moment (more on that later).

But, I dragged myself up to see Jezza. The last couple of weeks, he’d been a bit down himself with his broken leg and all but tonight he was somewhat better and it was good to see him. We went through our usually pre-game ritual; things started to turn around.

For a start, the ride from the Great Northern over to the game was ah-fucking-mazing. It was downhill most of the way, I had the wind coming over my right shoulder, and I was h!gh as a k!te sailing through Princes Park, down past the Juvenile detention centre and then up near the Coach’s old house.

I arrived at the end of the first half of the game before ours and one of the Dynamo Tehran boys asked if I either Andy or I would come on, as one of their players had gone down injured. After my ride, it was exactly what I needed; to get out and keep moving, and get rid of some of the pent up sadness that had been accumulating over the previous week.

I hit three goals for them. Issy on the sideline kept telling me to save it for the Nanna game but the ball kept rolling my way and I kept shooting. That first game ended up 8-4 in our favour.

Then the Nanna game started. I was feeling similarly into it but unlike the previous game we didn’t have as much control, and, crucially, the opposition was somewhat better. On about six or seven occasions we gave away the ball in mid court/our back half and they gratefully accepted the invitation to score.

One gets the feeling that if we weren’t so sloppy in possession we would have been a lot more competitive.

Afterward, we went back to the Great Northern to watch footy (Port versus Dogs). As per usual, I had to leave prematurely to catch my train home. Tommy came out with me, as he had put my bike on the roof of his car, and as we walked to where he had parked the heavens opened.

I was in a quandary: I couldn’t not go, but in that downpour I was going to be soaked within a minute or two, so I asked Tommy if he would give me a lift. Tommy did hesitate, mainly because him, Gilla and I had just visited the funk hole outside only minutes before, and I think he was a bit unsure of how he would handle driving in his state in a torrential rain storm.

He wasn’t the wrong. The windscreen wipers were on full tilt but were only half getting the job done. There were little rivers running over the road, making the lines almost impossible to see. And Tommy was playing some melodic, brain messing Stinky Jim tunes, which were making things only more confusing. But then there was the Nissan Micra of Safety. Oh thank fuck for that little white car that drove slowly just in front of us, leading us all the way down Rathdown and into the city, by which time the water falling from the sky had lessened. And thank fuck for the Coach too.

In loving memory of ‘Pat’ Patrick Francis Hannan: 25-12-1943 to 6-6-2018.

31 May 18 Goalie point-of-view match report


Nannas 3 plays New Team 5

Yes, I was selected to play in goalie on this evening, given that I put my hand up to do it.

We were pitted against the New Team. They were dressed in white.

The Nannas were six: five regulars, with the reliable Ides filling the now customary vacant sixth spot (I’m sorry if that seems like a negative statement; it’s not meant to be).

The game was decided in the first ten minutes; the New Team swiftly scoring four goals. This was mainly the result of marking leaving our fourth string, and somewhat clumsy, keeper exposed.

After this initial flurry we did tighten up our defence significantly but the damage was done.

The new team only got one more goal, which was the last one, sealing the result.

We got three but were largely ineffectual in attack.

As keeper, I had an interesting view of the game. Here are some of my thoughts:
• The Nannas need to belie their name and collective age, especially early in the game and especially in defence. In those first five to ten minutes, there were some Nannas in defence that seemed to get lost on court, almost to the point of not knowing why they were there in the first place: he wanders here, he looks there, he wonders about the meaning of life, he scratches his stubble, he tries to look focused and like he knows what he’s doing but don’t let it fool you.
I tried to wake these bewildered souls up with some judicious and very loud yelling (a quick point here about my shouting: I accept that I need to tone it down and will try to do so in the future but contrary to what was said post game [that I was screaming at people in the heat of the moment and that made some confused], I would postulate that a lot of Nannas were already very perplexed and my yelling was after the fact, trying to warm these muddled souls to the simple task of picking up a man), which seemed to work after a fashion.
• Never let it be said that the Nannas will let anything get in the way of a good chin wag: before the game, during the game, after the game, at the pub, there is always something to chat about. And you’d have to say that we have this same vacuity on court, albeit in something of a different fashion. There is a collective silence when defending, so much so that the Captain actually didn’t believe me three times (check your Bible) when I said that I had told a certain Nanna to pick someone up. Then he told me to be shut it when I tried to get up someone after about three of the opposition broke free in attack. Curious. This same code of silence applies to our attack too. There is no ‘time’, ‘have a shot’, ‘bring it back’, ‘clear it’. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating here a little but I do think it’s true that the Nannas need to be a lot more verbal on court.
• There was no penetration. The Nannas have never lacked for virility, so says Chris Gill, but maybe he wasn’t talking about our probing ability, on court that is. On this evening, the percentage of completed passes from the goalie to outfield Nannas was high, something in the order of 90% (I would estimate). Yet, even though we had lots of ball, and a lot of the time this ball was in advantageous situations, we couldn’t do much with it. There are various things going on here:
-We do lose the ball a lot. This tends to be either as a result of over-eager attacking play where we try something too ambitious for our limited foot skills, or we think we have to move it on quickly and then kick to no one, or a combination of the two. We also lose it because there isn’t a Nanna who can stop and control play, knowing when to go forward, when to retreat, when to stop.
-We do not move. This was very evident in the second half (although I do remember the Captain making a number of industrious runs down the right). Coach has been on at us for ages about his, and, while Tom can be statuesque in his own play, he is right. Watch any good basketball team and the one thing you notice is that they constantly try to get their opposition out of position through continual movement. Sure, some Nannas hardly manage a trot at times but any such effort should be at the service of getting free of your marker.
-There is still a lack of cohesion about the Nannas. I know what you’re thinking: are you fucking serious? Yes I am. Even though we have played together for 15+ years we still are a bit disjointed in attack/defence/general play.

Post game eating. The Captain took us to some very reasonably priced but extremely tasty Vietnamese, where we asked Ides boring questions about his final two years of school. He was much enthused.

Third person match report: 22 Feb 2018

Someone 6 plays Nannas 0

Att: CB, DC, JH, RH, TH, TK, TW

Introductory comments:
The Nannas were looking to bounce back after a particularly terrible performance the week prior. It wasn’t just the score that looked miserable in hindsight but the way we went about it. Once the Nannas went behind, all our bad habits started to re-emerge: Gilla and Tao had a fight over who was take a free kick, and then carried that into the half time talk, and I had to stand between them to try to get them to focus on more constructive matters; speaking of halftime, we had three people, Gilla, Coach and Captain, all vying to try to give the pep talk (I really hate saying this but if you’ve said something the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that, and what you’ve said is not really that strategic/tactical, maybe it’s time to focus on something else, or just shut up already! I am so sorry); and then Coach and Cocky started arguing about something in the second half (I didn’t catch what they were on about but it did seem a little puerile and a lot pathetic).

So, on the day of this game, Jim wrote a long post on the flurry, and curiously he was only banished for a few minutes. Obviously, he wasn’t trying to be a smart arse, which he often finds hard to resist; instead he was honest in his suggestions that the Nannas should wake up to themselves and stop with the taking themselves so seriously and the grumpy old man routine. It had only been a month or so prior that they had been accused of being bullies, so after seeing this performance he felt compelled to say something.

The game:
Before kick off the Captain pulled everyone close and repeated Jim’s very wise words, telling all Nannas that they needed to look deep within themselves to rediscover their inner child and an Espirit de Nanna, which had been so sorely lacking on a number of occasions over the last months.

The game itself should have gone better for the Nannas. The first two goals against us were entirely preventable; our marking in front of goal from set pieces is at present wholeheartedly shit. Essentially, as happened the week before, we got behind our opposite number, leaving our keeper stranded one-on-one at point-blank range. The Nannas who let these goals in, and they know who they are, who had similar lapses last week, need to sharpen the FUCK up. It might seem obvious to say but if you are not as fast as your direct opponent, it’s probably a good idea to give that player a yard or two.

We probably should have pulled one back during this time. The ball fell most fortuitously to Jim who was standing just outside their defensive perimeter for a corner. He hit it pretty sweet with his big toe. It beat everyone, especially their keeper but cannoned off the back post.

Jim would do this twice more before the end of the game. Once when he was one on one with one of their defenders with the keeper still to beat. He thought about trying to go around the defender but once more unleashed his big toe. Like in the previous instance he beat the keeper but not the crossbar. On a third occasion, he was over to the left. He had found space. Tao picked him out. This time, he used his instep, but much to everyone’s bemusement, while the ball a third time eluded everyone, it seemed only destined to ricochet off metalwork and away from goal. The only other real chance we had was Coach trying to chest home from a corner. While he got his chest in good position, he never really found the angle or a sweet spot from his left nipple; he probably should have gone with the right but it’s a hard shot and Coach would have produced a miracle if he had of pulled it off.

One could make the argument that had Jim (and Coach, and maybe Cocky too) converted, the Nannas might have been more competitive and I find this case compelling. It would have given us hope and would have encouraged us to pass more, as we were finding space and did have time on the ball, especially in the first half. What’s more, their third and fourth goals did come from the bounce of the ball going their way but they were able to finish these, unlike Jim.

Moreover, the further we found ourselves behind, the more we exposed ourselves trying the long or miracle ball but most of the time we only succeeded in giving the ball away, which effectively led to their last two goals.

Post match
We went to the Union and talked about Takeshi’s wedding and bucks.

18-01-18 Finals Match report (part 1)

Att: JH, RH, TH, AW (Coach)

Nannas 0 plays Bens Babes 25 +

My day was spent at work, publishing web pages, dealing with staff and trying to walk back the Nannas from their rage over perceived poor treatment by Joel. It was an interesting conversation. According to some, the Nannas had been wronged, and the only course open to them was their continued anger and hatred toward their persecutor.
Note: those who felt most aggrieved felt themselves most justified in their position.

Before that we had spent the best part of the week trying to get subs, ring ins, pinch hitters, deputies, old friends, new friends, our kids, players from the opposing team but no one would come to our aid. And so it came to pass that for the first time in the history of the Nannas were a paltry three for a final. Of those we did have not all of us were of sound constitution—the Captain having contracted a virus of the intestinal variety in Vietnam.
Note: the Breaking of Nanna by-law #56 was almost as bad as the now infamous Chasm incident.

It was hot, damn hot. The mercury was well in excess of 40 degree c. The stadium had exhaust fans in full operation but that only brought down the temp to something in the 35–40 range.

We were able to draft in the ref to play in goals for us but he knew as we all did that we were a shadow of our former selves and nothing would prevent the pounding we were about to endure. And so it proved. The opposition had a good seven players, of which they made full made of, and of which they used to excellent effect. They had the ball, they had control, and from a couple of minutes in they had put at least five past us.
Note: the ref stopped tallying the goals only a few minutes into the game, so it is impossible to tell how many they got.

At around the mid-point of the first half, Tom’s mate, Pat, decided, in his mercy, to join our team. It did give us parity in terms of our numbers but it didn’t really help. Pat ran with us, he tried to pass to us, he occasionally took the ball off an opponent and while all of this did help, it really wasn’t ever going to affect the final result.

As the match wore on, and they put more goals past us, they become more and more confident, and we drained our energy and sweat until we had nothing left. Whereas in the first half, we put the occasional pass together, and had a shot or two on goal, in the second stanza all we could do was try not to lose the ball, but when we did the result was the back of our net bulging again and again.
Note: it’s hard to run when you’re hot, out of breath and the opposition is giving you a towelling; it can be even harder when, like the Captain, you’re recovering from severe gastro-intestinal upheaval.

In the end, it was a killing but an honourable one. We brave three were thanked by the opposition for turning up, even though we only had slightly better than half a team.
Note: according to the Coach, Bens Babes hate our guts, and want to do us harm, but on this evening it could be said that we gained their (grudging) respect.

After, we went to the Retreat, and Captain immediately began the rehydration process with pint after of pint of sugar laden drinks, water and the odd beer.
Note: the Captain did look particularly unwell mid-point through the second half.

We did return to the subject of Joel, well, I did. It was pointed out to me that Joel should have more attentive in his referring. I did try to say that this point should have been made calmly but firmly to Joel in the aftermath of the game, and if it wasn’t heeded it should be raised with his supervisor.
Note: the Nannas never really thought of this, which is somewhat surprising.

I then informed the Nannas that in the aftermath of that game they were now considered bullies, and their behaviour had caused anxiety and mental unrest.
Note: beware the GRUMPY NANNA.

Match Report: 22 June 2017

Attendees: JH (MOM), AW (MOM), TW (MOM), Headmaster James (HJ), Joel

Nannas 5 plays Alberto Melasani FC 5

Two days before my birthday (f#ck you all) and the Nannas all decided that this would be a good week to not play. This happens sometimes when everyone has something on and we are left scrambling to find ringers (to be noted: a couple of Nannas disappeared off the face of the earth after signalling their non-playing intentions; this surprised some Nannas, Tao especially).
So, we thought we had a team with Chas and Guido saying they could join the fray but Chassy did the classic I’m out, no, I’m in, no, I’m out, move (the legend of the enigmatic Chassy continues to grow), while Guido rang me about two hours prior the game saying he had to fly to Brazil the next day and wasn’t going to make it.
So I texted Phil, who said he could come but then didn’t show up. Luckily Joel could deputise but when we got on court he didn’t really play that much. He said it wouldn’t be fair if he played to his full ability (or some shit like that), so he hung out on court, didn’t man up and was more a link man than anything else. To be reasonable, he did pull out a move or two and scored a goal so I can’t diss him too much but we would have creamed them if he had tried (so probably best not to get him again).
I was in goals for the first three quarters of the match and this is what I clearly recollect from that time:
1. There was some very sweet passing and movement, and Tao hit almost the perfect goal after essentially the ideal lead up. I threw it to him standing just on the other side of half way. He laid it off to Andy, who drew in a defender and then passed it back to Tao. Tao had space so he hit it with the outside of the toe. It swerved wickedly from left to right. The keeper had no chance.
2. While we were effervescent in attack, our defence was close to the opposite. There were at least a dozen times when they streamed forward with not a brown player between them and me (I know how Gilla feels). Surprisingly, I did save quite a lot after getting a few early shots hit straight at me (which made me mad but also gave me confidence) but couldn’t get everything.
Then I came out of goals and HJ went in. HJ was as good in goals as he was on court (which was in every way noble and upstanding, befitting a man of his stature and employ); I am pretty sure he didn’t let any in and if it were up to me he would be first choice sub (even though when he wasn’t in goals he missed two or three sitters from directly in front in true Jim Hannan style).
Anyway, I thought we were in front 5-4 when I came out of goals, and not long after, after a bit of a goal-mouth scrap, I put one away. Obviously I didn’t look at the scoreboard but it was 5-5, instead of 6-4 (like I thought).
Anyway, that’s how it ended up, except for one punk talking shit about Gilla after the bell. These guys could be our new arch enemies, and what’s more we can beat them easily (if we were to pull a full-strength team together).
Afterward, we went to our new clubhouse and talked of babies, absent Nannas, flying overseas and trips to the snow (and obviously, I was the tallest one there).

First five Match report 23-02-17

Attendees: CG, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TK, AW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Ruud Boys 1

From now on, there’s a first five. If available, first on the court are: Gilla, Jim, Rhian, Takesh and Andy.

It’s the best team the Nannas have.

Last Thursday proved it, and it wasn’t just because we won, it was in the manner that we did it. It was a full team performance. From back to front every Nanna played his role.

Gilla was rock solid in goals, as always, and saved us a few blushes as the clock wound down and the Nannas tired. But his vastly improving distribution is starting to set the tone for the Nannas (he’s starting to know when to go himself [when we’re tired] and when to pass) and last night wasn’t the first time we scored at least one goals from one of his long passes.

Takesh too had a blinder. I think the main feature of his game over the last weeks has been his defense and his willingness to chase and chase and chase some more. Like a rabid sheep dog, he repeatedly got the better of most of his opposite number, stealing the ball from behind or gut running to make sure he was in the way if one of their team got loose. And then, to put the icing on the cake, he set up Hinkley for our opening goal.

Talking of Hinkley, well, it took a moment of magic to get the Nannas going last week, and his strike from what seemed like an impossible angle was pure gold. Before that we huffed and puffed, and were not putting it together but after, we knew we had ‘em. It takes true leadership to get a team up and going.

And then there’s Andy, everyone’s favourite Nanna, the Nanna everyone wants to be, or shack up with, depending on how we are feeling. Andy too, did a mountain of defensive work, time and again running back to protect our lead or just getting his hands dirty by going the hack. But the enduring vision from this match was Andy striding forward to sweetly lash home, from a corner kick. Many Nannas try this move but most get the balance all wrong, leaning back and usually shoot over the target. Not Andy, from the moment I saw him go forward, I knew it was in the back of the net.

And then there’s me. Well, I wasn’t high this week, which was a disappointment but after Hinkley’s goal and after seeing all the great defensive work by my brother Nannas I felt we couldn’t lose and I put the icing on the cake. Gilla threw a long one, and I got my head to it, not really knowing what I was doing but I hit it perfect and it looped over the keep and into the top right of the goal. Then for my next act, I bent one low into their left corner. That was pretty special, I must admit.

Nanna extreme? I reckon we shouldn’t do the two minute subs anymore, just get the solid tight five going, and Cocky, Chas and Tao can come on if there’s an injury or as a tactical substitution.

Match report 12–01–2017: The Battle of Dawson Street

Nannas 2 plays Unathletico Madrid 1
Attendees: Caesar, Dave, Gilla, Guido, Jim, Jerry (team MOM)

I am not quite sure what it is about this team that fires up the Nannas. Maybe it’s the little Asian dude, who’s forever grabbing at you, pushing you and purposely getting all up in your shit, but the moment you do it back to him, he gets more indignant than Donald Trump at a press conference. Then there’s their keeper and his on-field bunkum. This pecker puller, who can’t help himself but remark on nearly every play of the game, was the same guy that when we played them ages ago threw the ball away from Chassy when they were five or six goals up with a about thirty seconds on the clock. Or is it the guy with the angry eyes. Mr A-Eyes, after I had inadvertently kicked into him and then tried to apologise, went into this transfixed, primeval state with his mate all like ‘ooooh, don’t touch him, ooooooooooh don’t even go near him’ like he was so close to the edge that one more little push was going to see him inflict some sort of berserker rage.

Sure, in the first half, I got into them worse than a bad case of the Clap but it wasn’t like they were blameless in all this, and it wasn’t like we weren’t in a competitive environment where getting your opponent worked up is a good way to put them off their game (these are the same guys we beat in the semi last season).

You will be pleased to know that I did resolve to settle it down a bit after a couple of words from Dave at half time. The only problem was Caesar didn’t get this same advice, or if he did he didn’t heed it. He and Mr A-Eyes had a bit of a set too in the second half, which almost came to blows.

You will also be happy to hear that we were playing some good football. We were holding the ball and passing the ball, Caesar kept running through them, and Dave and I were cleaning up at the back. The first half ended at a goal apiece, and in the second, Caesar got another early on.
As the clock wound down they came at us again and again. They are fast and young, and in those last ten minutes it seemed like we must concede.
Yet they were also way angry and sulky. And like a spoilt child that always gets its way, they expected that the goals would come (but sometimes, like on this evening, this can work against you).

Gilla did pull off some amazing saves (as he always does) but the real turning point was when Jerry arrived with about eight minutes to go (just when some of the older Nannas were starting to tire). It was like the Calvary appearing out of the last afternoon mist after much blood shed and sure enough it tipped the battle in our favour.

As you probably have guessed, we held on.

Afterwards, most of them didn’t shake our hands and they were mutterings like, ‘let’s take it to the carpark’, but all they did out there was cry to the ref and Joel about how dirty we were and how the officiating should have done much, much more to stop this.

What a bunch of babies.

Grand final match report 8-12-2016

Nannas 1 plays Dery 5

Another season done and another very Nanna way of completing a finals series. Yes, we made the granny but it wouldn’t be a Nanna granny without just a little controversy. And coming out of this minor storm upper management will need to answer two key questions before the new season:

1. What’s up with Chassy, or (put another way), is Chassy out of his fucking mind? Now don’t get me wrong, on the one hand I did very much enjoy the flurry that Chassy’s texts created. It was at times hilarious and one of the best flurries that the Nannas have generated in years. But on the other hand, and it’s a big but, there is a time and place for such conversations and given how divergent the Nannas can be on almost every given topic, he must of know that raising such a subject would create 




a brouhaha










a free-for-all

a furore



a hubbub


a mess

a mobocracy


a racket

a rumpus



a struggle

an uproar


within the brown ranks. So starting this conversation only hours before the game, and not letting it go like he did, was, as they say in corporate land, a complete and utter dick move. Sure, we all love Cocky, and as much as we all wanted him to play and we all felt for him that he couldn’t, the conversation about this should have happened way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way earlier. The question I keep coming back to is what was Chassy thinking? Was he trying to undermine us? Was he jealous that we were in the finals? Did he not want us to win? Was he just fucking with us (although this didn’t seem the case given the tenor of his later texts)? Why was it so important that Cocky played, and what did Cocky think about this? And why couldn’t he keep it in his pants and see that he was doing damage to the morale and stability of the Nannas so close to the season decider?

2. What is a Nanna? This is a question that was brought up during the pre-game discussion and it’s one that does need serious attention. Is it someone who’s been in and around the team all 15-16 years or it is someone that is in the team on any particular week? Will there ever be such a thing as an on court, playing Nanna, and an off-court or BeachBox Nanna? And where do ringers fit into the wider scheme of things, especially now that there are one or two Nannas that aren’t playing as much as they used to? Is it fair that we ask ring-ins to fill in and be an integral member of a team for five or six weeks as we go all the way to the finals but then, when we make the granny, we suddenly decide that the ringer be is not good enough and expect them not to play because a Nanna becomes available? Should there a minimum number of games you have to play a season to be a Nanna? Or can you always demand a walk up start for any game, let alone a final, regardless of when you played last? And if you’re not playing do you have the right to try to influence on court matters? What rights do you have if you are not a Nanna original? Would the Nannas ever be picked on form and/or commitment? What is the point of the Nannas? Are we a team or just a bunch of part-timers who pick and choose when we want to play and expect there to be a space ready for us to fill, even if it’s at the expense of the wider team? Do we want to win or are we just happy to turn up, week on week, and take what’s coming to us?
So many questions and as Tao said this will need to be resolved in the Nanna constitution before the next round of finals.

And so to the game. We did okay. It was a totally scrappy and uncontrolled affair, and it was always going to be won by the team who took their chances. They did, we didn’t: end of story. We had a couple of moments of good play, like the five or six minute spell leading up to half time when we started to string a few passes together and Guido buried one from close to half way (but just before the break they got one and got back to 2-1).
The second half was pretty much the same but their striker kept getting goal side and Gilla couldn’t stop him. It’s true we were a bit too fired up and there was no fluidity to how we played, and less passing. Far too often we kicked the ball away or went solo when someone else was open and had a better position than us.
The other team were good though. They hustled us; pretty much did what we did to those young punks last week. They never let us settle and were physical.
It was a bit disappointing. It was a bit frustrating. It was a bit sad.
Afterward, we went to Howler and discussed selling cars, treehouses, weddings, and then I left.

Match report 28-07-16

Attendees: CG, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TH, AW, TW

Result: Nannas 2 plays Dery 1

Another week, another victory for the mighty Nannas.

The Nannas are definitely on a roll. We haven’t won every game over the last four weeks but we haven’t lost one either.

And so it was this week too. We put six on court, in spite of Chassy being off somewhere (seeing something that is best left unsaid; when I was in boarding school there were these two guys who were really into this band, I think they were called the Cure, I never really got what the big deal was, especially seeing that these two guys were into them, which is what I think about anyone who listens to this band now) and Cocky and Kondo having prior engagements.

The Nannas weren’t worried about team-mates missing. They stepped up, they ran, they fucked ‘em hard, and they came out on top.

There was Tao, all purple-faced, running here, running there, screaming his head off, getting some good shots in, giving the opposition what for.

Then the Captain, oh the mighty Captain, what strength, what pace, what fire, what a set of legs. He hasn’t lost it, especially when viewed from behind.

And let’s not forget about Wal, the MAN who all men look up to. The supreme backdoor specialist, and these days one of the Nanna’s best in defence.

The Coach, well, what can you say about him, except that he has the heart of a lion, the balls of a stallion, and the toe of Ronaldo.

And last but by no means least there is the Gilla. Oh Gilla, still the finest keeper in the whole of the APISC, and the worst distributor but slowly but surely working out when to play the percentages or pepper the opposition’s back wall.

These brave Nannas took the lead with an early strike by yours truly. They weren’t really marking up, and I came lumbering up the centre on a corner. Coach rolled one into my path and all I had to do was hit the target.

We almost had another by exactly the same method a few minutes later but Tao didn’t quite make out my immense figure flying through on goal until it was too late, and I snatched at it.

From then, it was end to end stuff, with both teams trying to make inroads but not quite hitting the scoreboard.
They did pull one back after a mis-kick from one of their players that put off Gilla, robbing him of a clean sheet.

I then, duly, stepped up and finished them off. Rhian got the ball just in their half on the left, he whacked it over to me. It came off my elbow, not my hand but, in any case, my arms were by my side. Everyone thought it handball except me and little ref, who said play on. And so I did. From the resultant ricochet off my appendage, it fell to my left, and I was able to steady and bury it.

Then we went to Howler to mix with some very young people and talk about the impending Beach Box.

Birthday Match report 23-06-16

Attendees: DC 1, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TK, AW, Guido

Result: Nannas 4 plays Kent Brockman 10

Well, the Nannas are still having trouble putting a full team on the court. At the start of the week, we were a good seven brave Nannas willing to do battle. But by Thursday, first Tao went down (with flu), Tommy became unavailable because of
his beloved, and Cocky was 50/50 because of his lower leg.

So we brought in some cover in the form of Guido, our Brazilian super sub, who was only too keen to fill in for us.

Our opposition didn’t care for our troubled team line up. In the first five minutes of the game they must have put four passed us in quick succession. It has to be said that this is becoming all too familiar for the Nannas, mainly because we are continually coming up against some very quick, very skilful and very young opponents.

At this point I saw another familiar sight for the Nannas; the look of resignation. Yes, the Nannas over the last year or so have had to put up with being a bit outgunned and playing in the knowledge that we will be on the end of another loss. And tonight it looked like it was going to be a slaughter.

I do think this has had an effect on us, and has affected our form.

And so it was on this night, they put those first four passed us, our heads dropped and we had nothing to look forward to except another massacre. But then something happened. Guido came on, with his first two touches he went round two of their players and then buried his shot in the bottom left corner.

The fightback had begun. Guido was playing link man in the middle (apart from having a lot of pings himself) and laid on the second goal for me. Guido had the ball about ten out with his back to goal. I went passed him on his left and slid the ball to me. The angle was acute but I didn’t have anyone in the middle to pass to so I just tried to bang it into the top of the net. Well, the keeper just seemed to fade as the ball went above him and bulged the top of the goal.

We got two more goals, Guido one and me one too. I don’t remember Guido’s but mine was another good one too. I got the ball in mid court, went passed one of their players and the toe poke slid in at the far post.

There were a couple of moments when I was almost out on my feet but we ran and ran and competed and competed and won the second half two, one. Looking forward to the next game. We just need to start a little better.

The back in the fold Match Report 16 June 2016

Nannas 5 plays Sore Losers (Occasionally United) 4

DC, JH, TW, Guido, Phil

Okay, so only a few weeks after our AGM, where it was discussed that the Nannas need to pull their collective fingers out and turn up more, again we only had three brave brown men turning out.

One of those, me, was at the start still a bit unsure of if he wanted to play. I kinda got the feeling post-match that the Nannas thought my sadness a few weeks back was due to off-court issues (that is, the ex) but it wasn’t (more on that later): I didn’t like someone running up behind me, and screaming in my ear (well, that’s what it felt like) for putting the ball out of play, or being told I was shit when someone got in front of me to get the ball. This sort of thing does affect one’s confidence in the overall team spirit and brotherly love we like to think is the Nannas (which I why I said on the Flurry I thought we were kidding ourselves).

Anyhow, we were five, with Guido and Phil in, the latter in goals.

The opposing team. Well, they weren’t too bad. They were younger than us (not unusual) and had one dude who could play. But the Nannas weren’t too bad either. Cocky couldn’t quite run (he had cramps in his calf); Tao, who played okay, insisted on yelling at him every time he got out of position (I got a couple of blasts too but I did lose my man but the ones at Cocky were a bit much); Guido was in fine fettle, well his big toe was; and Phil was solid at the back and did some fine explorations up field with ball at foot.

The game was pretty tight but we were always in front with Guido and that big toe of his slotting some very fine goals. The best was laid on for him by Cocky, who slid through a glorious diagonal ball that got Guido’s man all out of position, effectively putting our gifted Brazilian through on goal to do what he does best.

The post match was pretty entertaining as the opposition got the shits with Phil, saying that they should have won the match on forfeit or at least got a goal because he (Phil) was playing on our side. Phil told them they should go jump and I added (as delicately as I could) that if we had our ‘proper’ team on the park we would have smashed them (their goalie’s reaction to this was priceless).

It was good to win.

Anyway, to the ex. So Tao dropped the news (after the game) that the ex is seeing someone (which is something I didn’t know up until that point but I must admit I did have my suspicions, mainly because Gilla was always talking about it). Now, to be truthful, this news did rock me for a little while (probably some of Friday) but on reflection I think the Nannas need to get over it. I feel like I am having that conversation with my parents all over again (the one where I have to explain why me and her aren’t getting back together). As much as Justine and I were a fixture for a long time, and in spite of the fact that the kids are still coming to terms with the separation, what has happened is for the best. I am not going to dis the ex, or reiterate all the reasons why I broke it off with her, or why she broke up with me but I will say that if we would have stayed together it would have been bad, like crossing the streams bad. And this is not to say that you shouldn’t be friends with Justine (I will never begrudge you this), or that some part of me still doesn’t have feelings for her but I look at the way I am now and the way I was when I was with her and, as Cocky would say, it’s truly terrifying. Put it like this (as my counsellor often does), if we had stayed together I would have ended up a shell of a human being, hollowed out, eaten up by extreme frustration and misery, waiting and hoping for some happy ending that was never going to arrive.

So, with all love and respect Nannas, do me a favour and let this topic alone, especially when I’m around: I really don’t wanna know and for all intents and purposes I am really trying not to care; a lot harder said than done. I don’t want to have to death blow you like I did my Dad. He’s still getting over it.

Match report 12-11-15

Attendees: DC 1, JH 1 pen. (MOM), RH, TK, TW

Result: Nannas 2 plays Cussi Buttaes 10

Five brave little Nannas showed up on this evening: one was feeling particularly pleased with himself; another was very poorly; two others seemed stuck on the status quo of talking tech; and the last, well, he still has balls of steel.

First half
A couple of their team were late, and the Nannas were feeling pretty good about themselves. This team is young, fast and skilful but we were holding them. In fact, we were doing much better than that; we had the better of the early exchanges and should have been ahead were it not for the two very soft goals we gifted them (by which I mean, one of the Nannas went and placed the ball in front of the opposition who was standing in a one-on-one situation with our keeper).
Cocky scored probably the solo goal of the season. He had three to beat: he went passed one, then another, and then a third, who was initially marking me but then had to deal with the Cock-threat. But Cocky was not to be denied, penetrating their goals with a strike of pure precision.
Yes, their goalie was again proving hard to beat (which makes Cock-wad’s goal just that much the better). As the Captain pointed out after the game, their shot stopper has a way of closing you down, making you try for something special to beat him. However, he did make one mistake by stepping outside his area to field a ball, which gave us spot kick. I duly buried it (even though I totally mis-kicked it).

Second half
So by this time, the opposition had their full complement, at least nine, one of whom was extremely gifted and extremely fast. I took to giving him at least a couple of metres space, which worked for a while until he started to find his range with his passing. It was about this time that the Nannas started to run out of legs. Of course, we did give them another one or two soft goals but they were just younger, faster and had a lot more subs, so a lot more fresh too (it should be mentioned here that Tao was playing on about half a body, due to illness in his family).
We toiled hard but couldn’t hold them and they scored about five or six goals in succession in as many minutes.

Special mentions
Kondo: a lot of great saves and fine distribution. Massive balls of steel.
Cocky: solo goal of the season (see above) and some fine defensive work.
Captain: stepped up with true leadership and some fine control in mid-field.
Tao: great stamina and endurance given his health and mostly encouraged the Nannas, which was a welcome change.
Jimbob: a great penalty, even if my foot wasn’t really sure where it was kicking the ball.

The cook
The cook is back. On this evening we went for impromptu Laksa and discussed the relative merits of sex with new people after being in a long-term relationship. I think the Captain and Cocky were a bit scared but Gilla would have loved it.

The search your feelings match report 29-10-15


Attendees: DC, CG (MOM), JH (MOM), RH, TK, AW, TW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dunno 2

My sincere apologies: this match report contains profuse negativity.

I don’t really know what was going on with the Nannas on this evening but they did seem a bit off. Maybe it was because I had just played another game with far friendlier and more capable teammates or our opposition had forfeited and we were playing a scratch match but whatever it was the Nannas were seriously shit and extremely lucky to win the contest.
Maybe this comes as a surprise but search your feelings Nannas and you will know it to be true.
• There is a little bit too much yelling going on. Yes, I know, I am as guilty of this as the next Browner but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST NANNAS, STOP FUCKING YELLING AT EACH OTHER YOU DICKLESS, SHIT FOR BRAINS, TURD SUCKING FUCK-HEADS. FUCKING GROW UP WILL YOU! FUCK!
• There is a bit too much shit play going on. Again, I know I can’t say that I am immune from the odd shit pass or attempted move that is way above my skill level but there are a lot of instances where we just do really, really shit things and for no particular reason either.
• Also, if you get the ball and you’re the last Nanna, and then lose the ball, don’t turn around and start gesticulating at everyone like someone should have been behind you, saving your arse.

However, it was not all total shit; the Nannas, once again, did get over the line.
• Seven Nannas did again turn out for the game, which does seem the magic number for the Nannas to win.
• There were some truly majestic goals for the Nannas on this evening. Gilla is hitting the target a lot more these days—he just needs to work out which ones he is going to kick into the back wall (or the roof) and then reconsider shooting in these instances and pass the thing instead. The Captain is also on form, after a longer hiatus in front of goal than Wayne Rooney.
• If sometimes our attack and control of the ball is shit, then our defence is saving us. We are very tight at the back and our marking is pretty good.

Hat-trick MOM Match report 27-8-15

Attendees: CG, JH (hat-trick MOM), TK (1), RH, TW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dunno 5

And so to another season. God knows how many we have contested now but this one didn’t start out that well if we are going by commitment: Chassy still has a shit knee; Cock Wad arrived late and without any gear, so he Arse Coached; Coach was babysitting; and Andy was dating (or so he said but isn’t he married and shouldn’t any single Nannas get first dibs?). So it was a tight five, with the true Nanna A but I think these days we always need at least six or seven; we have a much better chance that way.

Random thoughts on the game:
• Goal of the season? All I remember was Tao had the ball on the right hand side of the court and I was running down the left. I yelled at Tao, who delivered the perfect ball (I never broke stride). Phil was slightly out of position and if I hit it first time I had a chance. I really don’t remember the contact at all; I just remember seeing the ball flying into the top left hand corner and thinking holy shit that was good goal. Kinda makes up for all those ones that went sailing over the bar.
• Are the Nannas starting to leave a sour taste in the mouth? The Nannas might want to consider how we are starting to look to others. Are we the fun loving dudes we used to be, or just a bunch of old, sore losers who go on with things for far too long (like after the game)? Now, I don’t want to point any fingers but even though Phil did handle outside the box and he was their last man and it should have been a penalty and the little ref missed it there is a time to let it go and say fair dues; you can’t live in the past, you need to snap to.
• Speaking of the little ref, does he hate us real bad? I am starting to think the answer is not real bad but bad enough. You would have to say that a lot of calls go against us, and if something’s fifty-fifty he usually gives the opposition the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is just paranoia but I do reckon we have hung a bit too much shit on him (see previous point) and he just sees us as a bunch of old, bad sports that deserve to get to get decisions go against them.
• Did Phil let a few in? I had a sneaking suspicion that either Phil was off his game or he let in a few goals in on purpose. It’s hard to tell but I reckon one of mine and one of Takeshi’s may have been a bit soft (sorry Takeshi).
• Nanna aggression is back. Well, I am not sure it ever went away (maybe it was dormant because Tao had been sick) but we did see a few squabbles on court on Thursday and one yellow card if I remember correctly (to them, not us). It’s good to see that the aging Nannas still know how to rise to a challenge and can put a young punk back in his place.
• Cocky sets a new precedent. Yes, Cocky turned up for the game (a little late mind you), he was fit and healthy, and had no excuses. He sat on the sideline and cheered us on. Now, I for one gave him a vote because I thought, good effort, he loves his Nanna brethren, and will see us even if he can’t play. But what was his excuse for not taking to the court I hear you ask? Well, he was going skiing the next week and didn’t want to hurt himself. I am not sure how others read this but I wanted my vote back. And this from Cocky too, the standard bearer for openness and transparency within the Nannas. How the mighty have fallen.

Match report 2-7-15

Nannas 4 plays Dynamo Tehran 4

Attendees: CG, JH (hat-trick MOM), TH, RH, AW

This was the classic game of two halves, the first of which was dominated by the Nannas. In spite our age, our creaking bodies, our lack of numbers (which is all Cocky’s fault), and the fact that some of us thought that we were getting way too old for this caper, the Nannas have found something this season. The Nannas truly are on fire, and this first half was no exception. We were passing well, running into space, making the most of our opposition’s shit touches, and their shit attempts at attack. I really only remember once when the opposition opened us up, but the shot was way off target, so it didn’t come to anything and they came up empty handed.
The Nannas, by contrast, probably should have had four or five. We got two. The first was from Gilla who, left unmarked, ran his full measure out of his goals to unleash his left foot. Their keeper got in a tangle and could not stop it, earning a typical Gilla, goalie goal salute. The second was the patented Nanna sucker punch. Gilla threw long, I got my head to it and in it went. Gilla decided sometime after that just because he threw it, it was his goal but it did touch my head, and as I understand it, the goal belongs to the person who gets the last touch (so there Gilla). And that’s how it stayed until half time. 2-zip.
The second half started somewhat like the first with the Nannas again applying pressure, and we went further in front after we got a penalty just outside their D, and Rhian fed the resulting free kick to me to poke home. It hurt like hell on my busted toe but it felt good to get that kind of goal all the same. 3-0.
At this point, one of two things happened, and I am not sure which. It was either we took our foot of the gas because we were in front with about 12 to go, and we thought had the game sewn up, or it was because Cocky didn’t show up (because of some lame, whopping cock excuse), which meant that we didn’t have a sub, which meant we slowed up a bit. I personally like to think it’s all Cocky’s fault (which it probably was) but it could have been a mix of the two. But then again, Gilla did give them about three or four one-on-one shots after some particularly shit throw/kick ins (he saved all of these except one), and I did the same one time too (but he didn’t save the one off my shit kick in. Typical).
Anyway, whatever it was, once they got those couple of cheap goals, they got a sniff and really started to come at us. They got that one where I thought the ball was well out (because it was going well over my head) and that dude with the killer left foot headed it from right on our goal line somehow getting it over Gilla’s head and into the net from an impossible angle. Three apiece. From there they pushed and pushed and pushed, and finally got a fourth and all of a sudden we were behind 4-3.
It was here, with about four to go, there was another very slight momentum shift, when the Nannas decided to pull their fingers out. Somehow we didn’t concede again (which would have put the game out of reach) but with about two minutes to go, I think it was Tom or Andy that won the ball in midfield, releasing Hinkley into their backcourt. He only had the keeper to beat but he heard my call and fed the ball back to me with an open goal. I only had to tap home, which I did to make it 4-4. And that’s how it ended. The Nannas got out of Dodge.

Match report 14-5-15

Attendees: CG, JH (MOM), TH, RH, TW (MOM)

Result: Nannas 2 plays someone 3

So with the aid of hindsight, if I have bad news again, I will probably deliver it after the game. In some ways I don’t think it affected our performance that much but by the same token I do think it was a bit of a downer to start the night off on. I think when something like this happens it invariably brings up many questions and unexpected emotions. At the moment, given that this has been going for the last nine, ten months, I think I have gone through most of these emotions already, and now I am in the process of moving on. It is a hard time, and takes some getting used to but I think it’s going to be okay.
So it was in this environment that the Nannas took to the field. And it has to be said that we gave a good account of ourselves. After the first half we were ahead, with a nice goal to Tao. We did a lot of defending in that first stanza as they came at us again and again but we were good enough to repel them. They weren’t too bad, but the main thing they had against was youth, being a good ten years younger than us.
The second half was very much like the first, with the Nannas going further ahead courtesy of a fine move involving Tao and the Captain, which was nicely finished by Jim with a very sweet toe poke to the bottom right corner.
But from there, it all went downhill for the Nannas. We let in two very soft goals, the latter from very poor defending, and after that they were awarded a penalty, which on the face of it was very harsh. There was no question a foul was committed after Captain put one of his legs through an opponents from behind but the controversy centred around if the offence was committed inside the box or not. From this correspondent’s view it was the latter but the referee didn’t see it that way, and one of them duly stepped and put the score at 3–2.
And that’s how it stayed until full time. In short, we should have got them, and we will next time.
It has to be said that Gilla was somewhat unlucky not to get MOM. He really was in fine form, pulling out some very fine saves, throwing himself across his goals like a teenager. I think Tao deserved his MOM; I remember at one stage of the match thinking he was playing especially well. Tom and the Captain, well what can you say: they were pretty good, except Captain needs to work on his giving penalties away. And me, I think I just got the mercy fuck because of the big news (but I’ll take it).
Afterward, we went for Korean, a few more questions about the aforementioned news, and then gelati and pool.
It was a somewhat difficult evening but the Nannas really stepped up to show what true brothers they are.

Inaugural Nanna Golf Classic


Attendees: CG (scratch), JH (scratch), RH (9)

Result: CG: 92-16, JH: 85-21, RH: 110-11. Jim takes it.

Format: Stableford

Keilor Public Golf Course. The course is okay, but probably below what the Nannas usually expect from their golfing facilities, being very flat, very straight and the greens not quite up to snuff. It looks to be in the middle of a major overhaul as three quarters of the holes have been upgraded, with bunkers lining fairways and a lot of landscaping being completed, however, the run from 7 to 9 feels very much like playing in Junee.

Gilla and Jim played off scratch, and Rhian got nine shots. The handicapper got it pretty much spot on for Gilla and Jim, however there is still a question mark over what Rhian should be playing off. He was given shots on half the holes on account that he had previously beaten Gilla (no mean feat), however, he probably should sit somewhere around 12 to 14.

Front nine
After the first couple of holes, which were a bit of a mixed bag for all involved, Jim quietly started to establish a slim lead. He hit the green in two on the par 5 third then got nearest the pin on the par 3 6th, with a majestic pitching wedge, and was generally playing solid, getting off the tee nicely and hitting the ball straight if not particularly sweetly with his irons. The one area he wasn’t particularly doing so well at, though, was with his flat stick. He couldn’t buy a putt.
Gilla was hot on his heals. After his abject failure at the 6th, he started to come at Jim, matching him off the tea and generally going stroke for stroke with Jim until the nine, the first hole he won. Gilla’s driver was key, and his chipping, when he missed green, was really making Jim work hard. It seemed like he was settling into groove and was going to streak away from the field.
Rhian meanwhile, was struggling. He repeatedly sliced his driver, which often left him in the tea trees and nothing to work with for his all important approaches. The one thing that Rhian did have going for him was his putting. Mid way through the front nine, he found his range and started banging them in from all over the place.

Back nine
After Gilla’s run culminating in him winning the 9th his back nine got off to a bad start. On the par 5 10th, his tee shot went straight left, not making twenty metres and not getting passed the women’s tea (he owes us all a round), and then he started playing army golf (left, right; left, right). From there he did still play some good golf but was always behind and trying to make it up. It was his work off the tee that was hurting him. The par 3 13th was a classic example. His tee shot he duffed, barely hitting it 30 metres, but stepping up to his second shot, he put it on the dance floor and then holed out for a par.
Rhian, on the other hand, started to pick up. His swing found a bit more rhythm and his putting remained a factor. Mid way the back nine, it looked like he would overtake Gilla, only for him to bomb out on the last three holes. Again his driver let him down, finding the trees right, just when it looked like Gilla was in trouble.
Jim meanwhile, was in the groove. He messed up the par 3 11th, hitting his seven over the green but apart from that he played solid par/bogey golf. He bought a new three wood over Christmas, and coming into the last four to five holes it really started to pay off. He didn’t hit fairway every time but he put the ball way down the fairway, and most times gave himself a short iron to the green. It has to be said if he had been putting better, he would have shot a much lower score, but the greens were a bit of mystery to him.

In the finish
In the finish it was a pretty good day. Apparently the Nannas will be heading out on a monthly basis to do battle again, so we will probably have to look into some better courses. Yarra Bend will come into it (even though this correspondent thinks it’s a bit over-rated, especially after its last facelift), Gisborne will be an option too (if Gilla can get over his nightmares from his last visit there), and Trentham could also be an option (even if it does give Jim a significant advantage).

First match report of the year 22-1-15

Attendees: DC, JH (MOM), TH (MOM), TK (MOM), RH, TW
Result: Nannas 2 plays Lieutenants 12

Well shit, this was a pretty crappy way to start the new year. Yes it was a thumping, and yes the Nannas did get pretty tired pretty quickly, trying to rescue a lost cause in stifling conditions. Tao, pre-match, was talking up his pre-2000 lungs but I think he got his numbers mixed up somewhere, for he like the rest of us did struggle to keep up with our direct opponents, especially in defence.
In attack, we didn’t look too bad, our passing was pretty good, we had movement and when Tommy slotted in an early one from a fine move it looked like we might get a couple.
But then reality struck. While our defence was pretty solid from restarts, when we gave away the ball away they hurt us, and like a jilted wife they hit us where it hurts. Time and again, we would lose the ball in mid-field and before we could say, ‘get the fuck back you fat, bloated, slovenly brown pieces of shit’ they would be up the other end putting the ball in the back of Kondo’s net. The classic example was when we were deep in their half looking likely, when a pass went astray. They picked it up, streaming forward three on one. They had no trouble getting past our last defender, isolating Kondo and sliding one home.
It was a pretty shit night for our number two keeper, who must have been thinking to himself, ‘don’t give it away, don’t give it away, oh shit, they’ve given it away again, oh shit, here are those four angry looking men running at me again with not a Nanna in sight, oh shit, I just hope they don’t pass it to that guy with the massive, exocet missile boot on him again. OH SHIT!!!!!!!’ I know I would have been shitting my dacks but Kondo like the man of massive cast-iron balls that he is kept fronting up, kept trying to save our bacon.
Anyhow, after we went down about half a dozen in the first half we were beaten and never really looked like pulling it back. We did get a late goal, or, more accurately, they scored an own goal off a Tao corner but that was it.
Maybe this is wishful thinking but I do feel like we could be competitive with those guys if we held on to the ball more and put a few more men back in defence. Or maybe they are just deceptively good, lulling you into a false sense of security until all of a sudden you are down about ten without feeling you have played that badly. It’s probably the latter.

Five key questions for the Nannas: (the old) match report 4-9-14

Attendees: CG, JH (MOM), TK, TW,

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dynamo Tehran 6

Will the Nannas ever learn?
A great sports coach once said that you cannot play without the ball. In almost fourteen years of play, the Nannas still haven’t heard this, understood it or brought this basic of soccer into their game. It’s simple: if you keep giving the ball to the opposition, and you do not have it yourself, you can never be competitive.
Thursday night was another classic example. Whether it was our goalie constantly kicking it away, or one of our mid-fielders passing it to no one, again and again we gave the ball on a silver platter to the opposition and invited them with open arms to come at us, which they gleefully did.
On the face of it, the score line for tonight’s game does suggest that the Nannas were in the match but you would be wrong: we never had the ball; they were always in control. It was theirs to lose, never ours to win.

Where is the run going to come from?
There are one or two brown men (okay, most of us) that can hardly muster a trot these days let alone run at top pace, or do that for a full thirty-six minutes. Yes, as much as it hurts to say, the Nannas were consistently a good metre or so behind their direct opponents for most of this evening. They just couldn’t keep up.
And when we were in attack, well, let’s just say that there wasn’t much running around opponents or making darting runs from deep on goal.
I know the Nannas have done a lot of sprint work in the off-season but it really hasn’t helped and the truth has to be faced: the Nannas are getting old and slow.

Will the core of the side ever return?
The Nannas seem like a broken up band that reform only sporadically only to go their separate ways again straight after the gig. Yes once upon a time, there was a core side of Nannas that turned out every week. They were brave and true and lived for Thursday nights.
But the years have changed us. As they have rolled by the excuses have mounted, artistic pretension and work have gotten in the way, one moved far from the city and another overseas, and others, well, their bodies just fell apart.
Do you remember the full team sub, or the sub sheet?

When does a man know to quit?
Steven Waugh was once the greatest cricketer on earth. He brought the Windies back to earth, he flogged the Poms and then flogged them again, and he just loved to grind the Kiwis into the dirt. His ability was natural, his hunger for the game unsurpassed, his fight legendary. But then one day he found that he couldn’t do it anymore. It was like the bat had somehow become different in his hands and he couldn’t wield it like he once used to: he was getting old. Bowlers that he used to flay began to get the better of him. Crowds started hoping instead of expecting. Where once he was feared, respected and hated, suddenly he had become someone to shuffle along, to let a younger, quicker man take his place. The parallels with the Nannas are eerie.
Of course, most of us don’t really want to acknowledge it and we still think we are competitive mainly because of our supremely gifted keeper (keepers can keep playing until they’re fifty, mainly because they hardly ever run), who usually keeps opposition tallies to under ten (when most of the time they should be in the teens or twenties) but we never win anymore, or if we do it’s not like we ever string two, or three together. And the finals, when was the last time we made those? Was it three years ago, or four?
It’s a hard thing when a man doesn’t know it’s time to quit. Steve Waugh knew it, but didn’t want to admit it and he spent those last few years battling demons, his body as well as the quicks that bounced balls around his forehead and an ever impatient public. I say again, the parallels with the Nannas are eerie.

Does Brown always equal futsal?
The question has been asked before and it will be asked again: for the Nannas to remain the Nannas does futsal always have to play a part? Or put another way, will the Nannas still be the Nannas if we aren’t in a structured competition and called the Nannas by another team?
And what does happen when we can’t play soccer anymore, or if only one or two us can still play? Does one, two or three really constitute a full brown team? And let’s not fool ourselves; we are not far off this now.
The Nannas (apparently) have an upper management but if they were really managers (like real managers) surely there would be a succession plan in place. The business case would have been written already: the SWOT analysis would have been done, the case for and against argued and settled, the restructure taken to HR, the stakeholders consulted, the finances found.
Maybe it’s happening already, and it’s the calm before the storm, and they are just waiting for the right time to announce. I for one hope it’s sooner rather than later. I know the impacts will be great, and the shock will be felt far and wide, but it’s long over due and Upper Management knows it, well, they should.

(The all balls) match report 29-5-14

Attendees: JH (MOM), RH, AW, TW, DAVE
Result: Nannas 5 plays Here for Beer 9

So the two teams that played each other only last week, turned out to do battle once again on the hallowed halls of Dawson Street. Except episode two of Nannas versus Here for Beer saw significant changes to both sides. Apparently, or so I was told before the game, the Nannas were fielding a much stronger side, albeit not in our goalkeeping department. The opposition, I was told after the game, had a much-improved line up. One individual in particular, who was not on their team sheet last time out, was here this week, and he was far above anything the Nannas could bring to bear.

As it turned out, these changes in personnel were to have a significant impact on the game, which leads me to goal keeping. So, as the first Nanna goalkeeper selected, I was feeling confident. I thought, if Gilla can do it, then surely I can too. But then in the warm up as Tao started pinging balls past me I started to think, shit, Gilla might be better than me at something (because he will never beat me at golf or table tennis), and so it went in that first half as four went in, which I hardly got a gloveless hand to. Admittedly I was left one on one with the opposition on two occasions after errant back passes but they did score off a re-start (which is a goal keeping cardinal sin); I thought I had it, I thought I had it, but then it hit my hands and went through them.

The other feature about that first half was the Nanna impotency in attack. Maybe it was just hard to see from the keeper’s box but the Nanns in the first half did seem to have trouble holding the ball or, for that matter, penetrating with it. You could say that they were like men without balls: somewhat cowered, almost totally emasculated and with no outlet for any type of release (not that there seemed anything to release). Tao did get one late in those first eighteen minutes saving the Nanna manhood but we took it to the break 4-1.

At the interval, the Captain asked Izzy (the future hope of the Nannas) if he had any words of wisdom for us (which, at the time, was an interesting choice. Was the Captain making a comment on his own Captaincy, or on the Nannas in general?) But maybe the Captain is onto something because Izzy just shrugged his shoulders, and all the Nannas seemed to understand.

The Captain, though, did make one change at half time, switching goalkeepers. This had a positive effect, in that the Nannas’ balls seemed to drop, and we started to get back into the game. I started things off with my first touch, getting the ball just inside their half, going past two, and then slotting home from close range.

Then I got another; Dave fed a sweet pass to me just at the top of their keepers box, and all I had to do was bang it into what appeared to be a gaping hole in their box, which I duly did. Most satisfying. Then Dave and Tao got two more, both from long-range.

It could be said that we were starting to have our way with the opposition and in attack we were. Yet in defence we were still pretty shit, as they kept scoring. After Tao got his goal it was 7-5 and we had hit four in quick time, but they had got three. It was their man, that didn’t play last week. He was doing to the Captain what he did to me in the first half: pinging them in from all over the place and generally ruining his confidence in ever playing goalie again.

So Andy, seeing that we might need a self-assured fifth-choice keeper sometime in the future, took over from him. Also at this time we were trying to get that elusive sixth goal and mounted attack after attack but to no avail. I had the ball deep in their half down the right hand side. I remember trying to turn my opponent, which didn’t work, so then I tried to pass but only gave up possession, and their man scored again. They got one more after this, effectively killing off the contest: we had shot our load and couldn’t come back.

The final act of the game was Andy saving a shot with his nuts (which was all balls of him [no pun intended]) and very symbolic of the Nanna’s night: he gave his all to the Browns (he really did) only to end up prostrate on the ground writhing in agony, his legs in the air, his testis retreating somewhere deep within his stomach.

He did get up again and hopefully his nuts came back down too.

Match report 15-5-14 (PART 1)

Attendees: CB, DC, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TW (MOM)

Result: Nannas 4 versus someone 2

This was a slow evening for the Nannas. We were slow, very slow. Slow in our passing, slow in our movement, slow in our thought processes, slow in our everything really. I do think there were one or two Nannas who were slower than the rest (Cocky) but we did look a little worn around the edges, and this only got worse as the game went on (I am pretty sure it had something to do with the weekend’s activities, which most of us were probably still struggling to get over).

Surprising, and somewhat unexpectedly, the opposition were slower than us. For some reason we were led to believe that we were playing the top-of-the-table side. I think this may have been a ruse on the Captain’s part to keep us on our toes and for the first five or ten minutes I kept expecting them to flick a switch and do something special. But special really wasn’t in their makeup and I think from the very beginning, we knew we could (should) beat them.

I started the scoring. We were attacking their goal and we had a shot that was deflected by their keeper out to our left, where I was standing. I could see the keeper was off his line, so I slid the ball in behind him and into the net. The next two goals I am bit fuzzy on but I do remember one where there was some fine interplay, and we had about four or five passes before we tapped in (but I am not sure who did the tapping). This goal though was indicative of the first half: we seemed to have a lot of the ball, a lot of control and all the shots, and they had nothing. We went to the break three zip up.

For the opening of the second half, I think I put the mocker on the Nannas by saying that we could not let them score in the first few minutes because that’s exactly what they did, pretty much straight after the resumption of play. It was a soft goal and I remember distinctly many Nanna heads held in shame after that one.

They got the next one too (it was 3-2) and again it seemed soft but if the truth be told we really should have put the game out their reach by then. We had our fair share of opportunities but the final pass kept going missing or our shot was off target (an effort from the Captain was a notable example here; on one occasion mid way through the second half he only had the keeper to beat and he went for power from about five metres out but he only managed to hit side netting). This is where the aforementioned Nanna slowness really came into effect. The space we had in the first half, the passes that were sticking, the reading of the game, the shots that were on target, all went missing.

So, there was about five minutes to go and it was getting a little desperate. Sure, we were in front (by a goal) but they were coming and we were slowing and then slowing some more, and there was a feeling like they would get the better of us. Then Tao intervened with the goal of the game. Coach passed him the ball on the left hand touchline just inside his own half. A member of the opposition was on his six so Tao kicked it once, up in the air, to control it. Then he kicked it again in the air, but backward this this time and over the head of the guy who was marking him. From there it was two on one. Tao drew their last man in defence passing to Hinkley, who only had to beat the keeper, which he did (this time). 4-2. The Nannas were home. Everyone went home and slept soundly.

Match report 5-12-13

Nannas 7 plays 3

Attendance: CB, CG, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TW

So it had been a bad week. In fact, it had been a bad month, a shit month in fact. And I am sure it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t played for the Nannas in all that time.

But before I was able to let a month of frustrations out on the court, Hinkley and I went to the pub and things started to turn around. Even though I had to pay for the big man’s beer, it is amazing how much I missed him. It was great to discuss my horrible working arrangements, golf, and other most interesting stuff, and then we turned our attention to the game. We were playing the bottom placed side, and, as Hinkley said, it would be a good test of where we were at in the competition.

Well, the other team weren’t bad. A few of their number had some nice moves and one shot on goal from one of them was particularly impressive (beating Gilla at the near post). Having said all that, they hardly ever broke us down. The Nanna defence was tight and what’s more, we were holding onto the ball very well. To be sure, this was a strong team that the Nannas put out on this evening. Yes, Coach was sick (with what I don’t know), Chassy only had on one knee to run his two legs, Tao was in a fighting mood, and I was grumpier than a young bull during mating season, but we held it together pretty damn well.

I don’t really remember the goals in the first half. I am pretty sure Gilly got a couple of long range efforts, and there was talk of one by Chassy from a Tao pass, or was it the other way around.

Anyway, I think we were in front at half time, 3-2.

The second half is all about me. I know I am being a little self-indulgent here but I think I am sort of justified. I remember thinking as we ran on to the field after the break that I might not have the legs to run out the second half (after so long away from the game) but then I forgot about that and got busy scoring goals. The first was a long-range effort after I picked up the ball in midfield and was given a bit of space. I tried the toe poke, and it came off perfectly. I caught it just on the outside of my foot and I got that sweet that it curved inside out and into the top left corner of the goal. I got a big congratulation from one of the opposition for that one.

Next, I got the ball close to their goal but with my back turned. I heard various cries from my brother Nannas to pass it but I thought fuck it, and pushed the ball out to my left and had a crack. I am not really sure how it went in but I think it got a deflection or two. No matter; now we were 5-2.

After that, Gilla threw a long one, which he made bounce up for my left to follow through on and guide past their keeper and into goal. That one was particularly satisfying it has to be said.

Afterwards, we went for burgers at some place, somewhere north side (the city really does confuse me these days). Gilla brought out the blonde (I think) and from there the night got particularly hazy. It has to be said though, I did have one of the nicest rides (to the train station). The bike path from East Brunswick, through Carlton past Princess Park, Royal Park Golf course, and the Zoo is terribly agreeable at around 9 pm on a balmy night after blonde, burgers and beer. It is very smooth, mostly downhill, although somewhat dark and ominous in places. I almost fell off only once.

Apparently the other Nannas went for blonde later too. I think there might have been ice cream involved. Hard to say.

Match report 5-12-13

Nannas 9 plays Men in Black 6

Attendance: CB (1), GF, CG (1), JH (MOM, 2), RH (3), TW (2)

The night started with beer. Guy Fraser is going away (in case you don’t know), so him and me went to some little bar in the city to meet other RMIT-ers to talk about Web Services and some of the other people he had to work with. The discussion was lively, and many a regret was shared that Guy was leaving RMIT and Melbourne.

Anyhow, then we trained it to the Preston and got there just in time to find the gate locked. While trying to figure out how to get in we sized up the opposition.  They seemed one part old, too parts fat and the last part way too young. But first appearances are often deceiving and so it was on this occasion. The old dude, even though he did have a ciggy just before he came on court, had some moves and a shot on him. The two young fat guys were pretty good also (why is it that dudes who are top heavy always seem to have a low centre of gravity?). And the young guy? He didn’t play.

Anyway, so we got into it. They got a couple in that first stanza but the Nannas were always on top. Gilla got possibly the goal of the match, with a long shot that had more dip on it than a cracker at a early evening boozy BBQ. I slotted two, one from a Captainly pass and another from a long ball again from that man our keeper. I think Chassy got the fourth to round out the half, and we took it to the sheds with a 4-2 lead (Gill and Chassy had a little tete a tete at half time, which although I didn’t see, I did hear about post match. Apparently offence was taken after one teammate told another to play the percentages. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem an unreasonable request [especially since the guilty party is a bit trigger happy in his low percentage play] but obviously the aggrieved party took it in the wrong spirit. I feel for him).

Then to the second half, and as so often happens they came at us early in that interval. If the truth be told we gave them every opportunity, as we coughed up the ball time and again. Sure we did get an early goal (I think I miss kicked it to the Captain who was on hand for the simplest of tap ins) but they got a couple and were just about to get a third when Guy Fraser, four beers in him and all, stepped up and put his mark on the game.

It was a pivotal moment. If they had of scored, it would have been five all, and they would have had all the momentum going into those last ten to twelve minutes. This is how it went down. Gilla was off his line. The ball got past him and was heading for the back of the net. Tao was on hand but couldn’t quite manage to clear it: he was falling, he was trying to coordinate his body to get a foot to it to boof it clear. And then from no-where, like Maverick coming out of the sun going head to head with a commy to save Ice Man’s pearly white arse, Fraser came to the rescue of the Nannas. No one knows where he came from, how he read the play to get himself into that position to make such a stunning goal line clearance, but there he was with those size 13s doing the business.

From there we steadied, scoring four more before the final whistle. The Captain’s header (patented Nanna sucker punch) was the most memorable of these (or the one that I remember). They got two very late but by then the game was over. The only other thing to mention is the Captain’s shoulder charge, which almost caused a fight on court. Sure it was an accident and not really his fault, but you can see why the opposition were a bit upset about it: he really did smash the guy.

After that, we went to Guy’s for bad pizza and possibly the best choice for a Nanna movie ever. If you weren’t there, all I can say is you missed out: never has the rapture been so well represented on the big screen.

Match report 18/10/13

Nannas 8 play Coconut soldiers 8

Attendance: CB 1, GF 3, JH 5, RH, TH (keeper)


We almost had ‘em Nannas. We were close, very close. Had one or two things gone our way, or one or two things gone against them (especially in those last minutes), victory would have been ours and ours alone.

Yet, a draw wasn’t a bad result given how well they started. Within a couple of minutes they had scored twice, and then soon after that they put in a couple more. Tommy did get caught in goals once, but they were quick, and if you gave them half a chance (which I did for their first) they were good at putting them away.

But there was a sense that we weren’t out of it. Even though they went four up within about ten minutes, we were in the game. We were getting heaps of ball and they were letting us have heaps of time and space on it. There were three or four times in that opening stanza when we were running at them and they kept backing off, almost inviting us to shoot, which we did, but couldn’t make it count.

Then we got one. Tommy threw the long ball, which I got my head to and the deflection snuck under their keeper. Then we got another, as the Captain got the ball from a quick side kick in (after the ref penalised them for a slow re-start, which he would do a few more times throughout the match). The Captain and I only had the keeper to beat, which we did (even though I almost fucked it, getting the ball caught under my feet). Half time 4-2.

The second half was much more open. They kept coming at us but we came at them too, and for the most part they came off second best (most of their goals in that second half came from long throws).

The tight five was really working for us on this evening. Maybe because it was the A team. Special mention goes first to Chassy. Yes, he was playing on no knees, hobbling around the court like an old man, he usual speed and verve visibly reduced but he still managed to play the anchor role, cutting off passes in the middle of the park and distributing nicely up the court. Fraser also gets a mention, not only for his committed running but for his positional play up front. The big man has now worked out where to put himself to make the most of his hulking frame and as a result the goals are coming. The Captain too deserves mention. He planted himself in the middle of the park and was integral to most of what the Nannas did. It’s strange with the Captain because I only remember bit and pieces of his involvement or him playing at all (maybe that’s why he go so few MOM votes) but from what I do remember he played well.  Last but not least is Tommy. He again proved that his case to be our number one is very strong, not just for his stopping ability but also his distribution. We were getting heaps of ball and it was all quality.

So, pretty soon the goals were coming thick and fast, and pretty soon after that we had parity, with seven a piece. And then, with about a three or four minutes left on the clock I was loitering in front of their goal on a side kick in and then I stepped out to the left. No one picked me up. Chassy, who saw the opening, fed me the ball; the keeper, sensing the danger, came at me; I, with only one thing on my mind, slotted it under him. 8-7, we were in front for the first time in the game.

After that they came at us and came at us again. We repelled most of their assaults but then they got a corner. They played it in to the middle and the ball bobbled around a bit. Chassy and Ghee were on hand but couldn’t quite get close to it, as the enemy repeatedly pinged at goal and after about four goes, they finally managed to put it away. 8-8.

There was about forty seconds remaining when we kicked off again and somehow the Captain and I found ourselves down the left hand side. Captain got tackled and the ball spilled to me. I lined up, I shot but it went across the face just as the hooter went. 8-8.

Now, there is a little matter of how many goals we scored. I am very sure I got five, Ghee is totally sure he got three and Chassy is claiming the one. There were a couple of times in the match when the ref did get the score mixed up, awarding goals to the wrong team. Did we get shafted?

Match report 10/10/13

Nannas 2 play One hit wonders 5

Attendance: GF, CG (yellow card), JH, TK, TW, Arnaud


It’s tough being a Nanna these days. It’s true we are not the force we once were. It’s also true that we can hardly scrape together a team. The word was put out on the Flurry that this could be the last season we play indoor, and while there a couple of people who were emphatic in shouting this down, there was also an eerie silence from those who used to like to call themselves upper management.

No one knows why the Coach didn’t play but he did turn up immediately after the game to go see a movie with his Brown brothers (at least that’s something). Cocky was in Adelaide and Andy omitted himself due to family commitments (he can be excused after his heroics of the previous weeks). But what of Captain and Chassy? There has been a rumour going around that Chassy is in the permanently injured camp (something about cartilage and knees), while the Captain it was said was out to a play (really?).

However, given all that, the Nannas were okay on this evening. Sure we got beat but it wasn’t all bad. We got out to an early lead courtesy of two goalie long throws: one their keeper turned into his own goal; the other, I slammed home after their keeper again made a mess of it.

From there it looked like we might go on and rack up a score but that only lasted for a minute or so. We lived off scraps: we didn’t hold the ball all that well when we had it, and we never had it all that often.

Our opponents were pretty good, it has to be said. They held the ball well, they shut us down well, they shot well (although Gilla did save well) and well, they were just better than us.

After our early lead, they put five past us, although one was a gift from Gilla who got trapped with the ball close to his own goal.

I thought our ring in was going to provide us with more (after seeing him warm up), but he did say after the game that he hasn’t played in almost a year, after suffering a stroke just before that.

I also thought Tao might slot home a few, after his form from a couple of weeks back, but he really didn’t see that much ball. Guy Fraser was also keen to get on the scoresheet after he told his woman he would get one for her but even he couldn’t manage it.

And then there was the small matter of Gilla getting up the ref. Some people think he’s good but I’m sorry, I am not one of them. He misses a lot (not to mention a goal, which Gilla did score). Having said that, it is not a good idea to berate him, as it only makes him hate you.

19 Sept 2013: The greatest ever Nanna loss

Nannas 6 play FD United 7
Attendees: DC, GF (2), CG (2), JH (2), DAVE

So here I was, a little bit high, a little bit out of breath, a little bit what the fuck do we do now? Cocky, in going for a run up the middle, got his fucked foot stomped on. He was straight off with a, ‘Sorry Nannas, I am out.’

At the time, I thought was a fucking soft cock (after the game it did look pretty bad) and started doing permutations in my head: our four players, they had six; there were still thirty-odd minutes on the clock; they were one goal up; Ghee and I were super high; Dave and Gilla are good but not that good.

The opposition weren’t great. Sure, they had some nice foot skills and they were up for it: being more pushy and aggressive than America in the eighties. Yet, they had a bad habit of shooting from range, instead of taking us on or passing through us. They shot and they shot and they shot some more, but it was all from outside our defensive ring, and Gilla swallowed them up every time. And their one big failing was their keeper, because in that first half we kept scoring against him. Gilla forced a couple of long ones, I got one on the turn, and Ghee tapped home from close range from a side kick in. These last two goals were things of beauty, even if I do say so myself. We went 4-1 up early in the first half.

I think they go one back before half time (my recollection is fuzzy on this, it could have been two). I do remember Gilla on the ground entangled with one of the opposition fighting over the ball in the goal mouth. I thought Gilla had won the fight but in the end he lost and the ref (who, in my opinion at least, was favouring the other side) gave the goal, when it really should have been a foul.

Anyway, we stepped on court for the second half to Ghee saying something like, ‘if we win this we will be heroes.’ He meant it as a pep talk but Dave and I promptly told him to shut up (sorry Gheezer).

The second half was different to the first in that we didn’t get as much ball and the novelty of playing four on five had worn off. What’s more, we were starting to tire, and Gilla was throwing more and more of the ball away. He did tell us at half time that our only hope was to hit them with the sucker punch. I couldn’t quite work out if he was defending his long ball tactics, or if he was forewarning us of what he was going to do in the second half but it mattered little: I was too addled to argue.

For most of that half, we defended, defended, and then defended some more. It was working pretty well. We weren’t marking up but more marking the space, putting our number of three between them and goal. They did get through us a couple of times and I mis-kicked a corner that went straight to one of them, who only had Gilla to beat, but for the most part we frustrated them. It went to 6-4.

And then, just as it looked like we were go to go down, Gilla’s long throw strategy gave birth to a goal, and I forced another from their culpable keeper from a side kick in. He really was shit. So here we were, five minutes to go at 6-6. We were feeling pretty confident: our defence was working, another goal was on the cards, and if we won this thing or least drew it, which looked likely, we truly would be heroes.

Then with thirty seconds they got a corner. They passed to the little guy with the moves. He got through Dave and Ghee. I confronted him, and he went to my left but I couldn’t get close enough to him. He shot. Gilla got his hands to it but couldn’t turn it aside. The final whistle blew. 7-6.

After, on the car ride back to dinner, we discussed the crumbling of the Nannas, how long we would last (about a month most said) and what happened to the commitment to the Brown cause. It was widely agreed that the Nannas were now something we did only if we didn’t have anything else on. And then Cocky cried, and we all cried with him.

Match report 15 November 2012


Nannas 1 play Hampton FC 3

We lost this one in the first thirty seconds. Tommy our keeper hadn’t arrived (so obviously it’s all his fault). I was going to deputise, warming up by getting people to kick balls at me. But then Phil noticed we were a man down and stepped up to do the honours. So, we lined up as five but we weren’t really five, not in spirit anyway. We were more dazed, casual bystanders, watching as our opponents put two very quick and easy goals passed us. I remember feeling at the time that this is how the Nannas will play for evermore: slow, limp, non-moving, non-competitive, almost not there. I remember also apologising to Phil like, shit sorry man, we are really crap.

But then Tommy showed up and for some reason we awoke. I am not sure if it was his presence (if he had been there from the beginning things could have been so different; it’s so all his fault), or if it was us going behind to those two early goals.

So, we started to play and for the rest of match we were good. Our passing and movement seemed to benefit from our limited number. Or maybe it was those who were playing (a new Nanna A perhaps), or maybe it was being on court all match that gave us cohesion and momentum. The only sticking point was their goalie: he was hard to beat. The Captain (he truly is a beautiful man) did it once but no one else could. I remember being one on one with their shot stopper about four or five times and each time he beat away my shot or shut me down before I got a chance to shoot. I also remember another three or four that I pinged from outside three-point range, only for him to again beat them away.

Talking about goalies, Tommy had a very good night in goals (he shoulda been there from the beginning, things could have been so different). He was pulling out saves from everywhere (he surely would have stopped those two early ones).  It was like having Gilla in goals but without the hair and funk (and Tommy is better looking too). But then I fucked him (Tommy, that is). Their keeper was coming out of his goals, taking pot shots at our goal from halfway and beyond. From one of these shots, I kinda felt like an opponent was behind me, and that it would be a good idea to stick out a foot to try to deflect it. As I said to Tommy after, it was only half a thought, which are the worst kind, because I only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Tommy and into our goals (this was my fault and I take full responsibility). This was very bad for us (and I was post match very surprised when I was named MOM, given this transgression), for only minutes before the Captain got his goal, and we were looking likely to overrun them.

Everyone hates losing to the Annual.

Match report 18 October 2012

DC 3, GF, JH (mercy fuck MOM), RH, AW, TW

Nannas 4 play St Kilda 10

T’was a chastening night for the Nannas. We met a somewhat recent foe, but one we had had success against not so long ago, not least in the granny at the end of last year. On that occasion we held their attack in check and got quite a few goals our self (with Chassy playing out of his skin).

This time out, while our attack was serviceable if not brilliant, we had no Chas and we did not hold them in any way shape or form at the back.

The first half was predicable. We were strong and true, letting in a couple (at least one by the keeper was very soft, who completely misjudged the strength of a shot) and got a few of our own.

Cocky had a better night of it, as compared with last week. He snared a couple from pure persistence, dispossessing opponents deep in their half and making them pay each time.

Tao too got on the scoresheet in the first half, running from deep around most of their team to pop up in front of goals and slot home: the goal of the match, from this correspondent’s point of view.

Half time score, 4-3 (I think).

Second half

Then the second half happened and with it about three or four early goals to the opposition. The Nannas need to concentrate on their second half starts, as this is not the first time we have been competitive leading in to the break but out the other side, very quickly letting the game slip from our grasp.

Captain pointed out after the game that most of their team can run, pass, dribble and generally play soccer. An interesting comment. Obviously the point being that some/most Nannas can’t, or the opposition can do all these things better than us. Probably a fair point but for most of the first half we definitely held our own. What was more evident though, was that the Nannas did start to drop their intensity in the second half. There were couple of times when Nannas could be see standing around watching the play instead of being an active participant in it. This is where the Nannas have become less competitive this year, as teams usually find they can run over the top of us in the second half as the Nanns start to flag, or generally become disinterested in the contest.

Upper management recommendation #1
All Nannas take part in conditioning and competiveness training pre-season.

 Goalie’s point of view.

First, it should be said that about three or four goals the goalie let in were particularly soft. He does need to have some time having people kick soccer balls at him at pace, from up close, from range, from all different angles, from crosses, from volleys, from everywhere if he is going to be a regular stand in for other Nanna keepers.

On the flip side, it was interesting to see the difference this keeper made in terms of distribution. Usually the Nannas live off scraps, a lot of long balls trying to pull off the Nanna Sucker Punch™, or see the opposition’s goal or the wall above their goal peppered (this is especially true when our first-choice keeper plays). But when the Nannas get a bit more regular and consistent ball, and if they run to space and their efforts are rewarded with a pass, they do start to get interested in playing, trying to string passes together, link and run; they do start to get some confidence in their foot skills and their play does become somewhat less haphazard and more controlled.

Upper management recommendation #2
All keepers go through distribution training, which will involve classes on: taking the best option; controlling the pace of the game; being an option at the back; limited but strategic use of the Nanna Sucker Punch™; throwing to a Nannas’ chest, head or feet and knowing when and how to accomplish these; knowing when to put the ball at a Nannas’ feet or out in front of him, that is, identifying when a team mate is moving and then choosing the appropriate way to pass to him; the look away; the feint; the cut out; the loop; the weighted drop; the all out throw; the worm burner; the head hunter; the chest tickler; the curve ball; the leg and off break; the off the opposition’s goalies goal; the Garry Owen; and last but not least, when the goalie should come out of his area.

Match report 11 October 2012

DC, GF, JH 3 (MOM), TH 1, RH, TK

Nannas 4 play ??? 6


Five things we learned about the Nannas

  1. GHBG may be dead
    Chas has been going on about the Nans playing clean for years now, and from last night’s evidence he may have a point. The two main standard bearers for the unclean approach, Jim and Ghee, abstained pre-game, as a control. Well, Jim hit three fairly good goals and Ghee, although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, was a tower of strength in defence.
    Of course the third standard bearer for GHBG, Cocky, was a shadow of himself, playing a particularly shit game. So there may be evidence for some Nans to GHBG and some to not.  Further testing will be conducted.
  2. The Nannas are in a funk
    Maybe it because we were up against four at the start of last night’s game (which always lures us in to a false sense of security), maybe it was the earliness of the fixture, maybe it was because Cocky is working on a very big and complex project at the moment, or that RMIT really has gotten to Ghee and Jim, or that the Coach and Captain have been pulling too many late nighters due to their respective birthdays. Whatever it was the Nannas were awful last night, especially in the first half. We were slow, we stood around for half the game waiting for the ball to come to us. There was no passion, no enthusiasm, little in the way of that special Nanna hunger and anger that usually makes us competitive.
  3. Don’t get on the wrong side of the coach
    Well, the Coach was angry. First he was seen arguing with the ref, and then he began yelling at the Nannas. But after that he soon found a place to really vent his fury, which was at a member of the opposition. His first entanglement with him, early in the second half, saw Coach trip his prey over and then land on top of him. But that wasn’t enough for the Coach, for after a penalty was given he did pretty much the same thing on the way back to stand on the mark, again using the object of his hatred to break his fall.
    That was only an entrée. He really went for this guy and not content to use him as a crash mat like he did twice before, he employed the now patented ball palm move and for good measure drove the dude’s head in to the hard floor of Wesley. The lesson: don’t get on the wrong of the Coach. He will tell you something different, but don’t be fooled, if you get him mad, he hurt you and hurt you, and hurt you again.
  4.  The Nanna Achilles heal strikes again
    The Captain and Coach have work to do. The Nannas lost again last night due to our inability to hold on to the ball. Not only that, we gave away at least four very soft goals after passing to a direct opponent. At least two of these four goals, an opponent got the ball with only the keeper to beat, and there was one where the opponent didn’t even have to do that, all he had to do was shoot into an open goal.
    Usually kicking the ball away is something that our #1 keeper is guilty of (we have tried to implement the one in three rule but they don’t call him a small business owner for nothing), but last night striker felt it would be a good idea to kick the ball away. Of course Kondo gave one again too but after last night’s performance Cocky will struggle to hold his place next week.
  5. The Nannas are losing games they should win
    Yes, they did have Phil in their team, who made a big difference. Yes, they did score one particularly good goal that I remember. Yes the Nannas started off real slow. Yes, we could have and probably should have put a couple past them in the first couple of minutes of the game when they were only four. But no, the Nannas aren’t playing that badly. We did pick it up in the second half, and put some moves together, got some goals, and for the most part held firm at the back. I know it smacks of coulda, woulda, shoulda, but we should have won this one.