A League Of Their Own


The kids aren’t enjoying watching rugby league at all – they are straight up LOVING it.

“We scored a goal, Dad!” Miss3 told me at the top of her lungs. I knew this: I was in the room.

“I think it’s called a try, sweetie,” I told her. I guess she pays more attention at Master8’s soccer matches than I thought.

No, I’ve got to say, this family experiment into watching sport on a weekend is really going well – the action, the banter, the food. They’re so wrapped up in footy fever they’re actually asking me when the next game is. It’s hard not to get caught up in their excitement. In a huge surprise, I’m actually enjoying it too.

A pleasing unexpected bonus from the kids watching footy has been how educational it can be – you know, with all the maths it encourages. No wonder footballers are so smart. Not long into our first game I’d explained about the six tackles and even our three year old can probably rattle off from one to six now because the kids were keeping count out loud. I’m just glad we missed the Cowboys vs Sharks game, because the whole 7th tackle debacle, which was all over the news, would have confused the hell out of them, potentially making homework even harder and more unbearable.

But the biggest surprise for me was finding out how hard football is to follow. Not on the field so much: I played Rugby Union at school (badly) so I think I’ve got the basic rules down. Where I’m having all manner of trouble is working out who’s playing who and when. To give you an idea how bad I am at this, last Saturday I sent out the following desperate Facebook plea to a friend of mine who’s a die hard footy fan:

Okay, I’m confused. How come, when I look up the NRL website it tells me the Roosters are playing two games today? One against the Panthers at 1.30 and one against Sea Eagles at 7pm? Won’t they be tired??

Turns out they have more than one team and the earlier game was Holden Cup for the under 20’s. Who knew?

The first game the kids and I watched was The Avengers vs The Easter Bunnies: you might know them as Storm and Rabbitohs.

Of course, Miss9 and Miss3 were very disappointed their teams, The Cowgirls and The Chickens, weren’t playing, but I told them to pick a side each and they could still have some fun.

“Easter Bunnies!” they both yelled, leaving poor Master8 all on his lonesome to barrack for Storm.

“I’ll back the mighty Storm,” I told him. He looked at me funny. “The Avengers, mate.” He’d named them this because their mascot is Thor. “Your team: they’re actually called Storm. You and me vs the girls. Alright?” He seemed happy with that.

During the game there was some quality name calling going on between the two camps too.

“Storm sucks!” I heard Miss9 telling her brother.

“Yeah, well your teams named after smelly rabbit feet, so you suck too!” he shot back. I assume he meant rabbit toes.

Yep, real quality stuff.

Meanwhile, proving she’s my daughter, Miss6 was making sure I kept up my end of the bargain.

“More popcorn,” she said at various intervals, handing me an empty bowl. She’s cottoned on to footy = food. She’s a girl after my own heart.

There was an instance where I had to stand in front of the screen to shield it from my kids, because they kept showing a bloke hurting his neck in a bad fall. I wasn’t being an over protective parent, my kids told me to stand there until they stopped playing it and got on with the game.

Sadly, Master8 and I suffered a disappointing loss to the girls in that first game, with the Storm losing in a well fought match.

Then we had The Chickens vs Sea Eagles, which provided me with another opportunity to stand in front of the screen, again at the kids request.

Tracey and I were in the kitchen when Master8 came racing out to tell us about what he considered the high point of the game so far.

“Mum! Dad! You should see what they’re showing on the television! It’s sooo funny. You could see his bum crack, Mum!” Master8 said excitedly to his mother as a chorus of affront broke out in the lounge room.

And while I raced in to protect my little daughters’ tender eyes, Master8 did a reenactment. He turned around and stuck his bum out, hooked his thumb in and then began lowering his pants very, very slowly. Why? “They keep showing it in slow motion!”

Even more unusual for me, I got a joke today which, thanks to the Sharks beating Miss3’s Cowgirls, would otherwise have gone over my head.

How do you count to six like a New South Welshman? One, two, three, four, five, six, six.

Look at me, dissing the southerners. I may get the hang of this football caper after all.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to feed the team while you enjoy the coming games in the lead up to the Grand Final, here’s a link to the IGA online catalogues – they’ve got you well and truly sorted. But if you want to really score points with the coach, here’s an idea that’s simple yet impressive to slap down on the table and munch between tries and beers:.


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 This is not so much a recipe as a guide because mostly what you’re doing is opening yummy tubs straight from the supermarket.

If you’re looking for something simple but awesome to set in front of the telly as you watch the NRL finals, you really can’t go past this sort of thing. It can all be prepared ahead of time (that generally just means ‘bought’) and takes only minutes to assemble and set up on the coffee table.

We’ve only recently been introduced to this style of eating and the kids go nuts for it, taking the bread and dipping it in whatever takes their fancy. Best of all, it feels like you’re giving them something super special to eat but in actual fact, depending on whether you make your own hummus or baba ganoush, it takes less time from pantry to plate than a simple spag bog.

We found all these ingredients at our local IGA (click on link to find where yours is).

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You will need:

Turkish Bread, two long loaves

Olive Oil, 100ml

Natural Yogurt, 500g tub

Hummus, 200g tub

Dukkah, 60g (we used Saltbush Wild Dukkah)

Moroccan Seasoning, 1-2 teaspoons

Baba Ganoush (eggplant dip)

STEP ONE: Either lightly toast the Turkish bread in a toaster oven, or heat up in an ordinary oven until just warm.

STEP TWO: Meanwhile, start opening tubs and filling ramekins or small bowls with each ingredient, keeping them all separate – olive oil, hummus, baba ganoush, dukkah, and split the yogurt into two ramekins, because you’re now going to mix a teaspoon of the Moroccan spice (to taste) in with one of them.

STEP THREE: Bread should be done by now, so bring it out and start cutting into thick slices.

STEP FOUR: Your work is done. Place on a table. Watch footy.

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’

If you enjoyed this post I’d really appreciate it if you would please like it and share it with your friends 🙂

this was a sponsored post for the good people at IGA, but the fun was all our own 🙂

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