Wolf, Charlie & Athol Bittley: AFL club songs ranked by ambition and boastfulness

Wolf, Charlie & Athol Bittley

AFL club songs ranked by ambition and boastfulness‘, Thermocow, 27 May 2016

Now that we’ve got your attention … This article on a comedy blog is just a bit of fun but go beyond the quick and funny judgements on the song lyrics and look at the lyrics themselves. Some of the lyrics are quite aggressive and they support the suggestion that the lines in Australian culture between warfare and play are quite blurred. Although Jim Davidson has written about how war is not just sport with guns a culture has grown up around Anzac matches in various codes, sports people are referred to as ‘warriors‘, and, on the other side, the obsession with how well Australians fight in wars – rather than why – tends to reduce war to the level of a football match.

Taking it further, the mateship seen in sports teams has been compared with that among soldiers, missing the point that joint involvement in killing and being killed is not a prerequisite for developing a love of one’s fellows. Doing things together under pressure is the point, regardless of the particular circumstances. Further again, Charles Bean’s famous vignette of dying soldiers’ thoughts could be applied without much effort to a Rugby League or AFL dressing room after a hard fought but narrowly unsuccessful match:

Many a man lying out there at Pozières or in the low scrub at Gallipoli, with his poor tired senses barely working through the fever of his brain, has thought in his last moments: “Well – well – it’s over; but in Australia they will be proud of this”.

David Stephens

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