The role of orange/water boy for a Renegade Pub Football League team is an important one. Responsibilities include hydrating the players competing on the field as well as the sorry heads on the bench who may have placed more emphasis on ‘pub’ than ‘football’ the night before.
You also have to shoo away the many dogs at the ground who come sniffing around the oranges.
The Renegade Pub Football League (RPFL) is a ragtag bunch of musicians, barflys and football freaks. The competition sees teams representing eight Melbourne pubs, including the Bar Open Bats, Old Bar Unicorns, Labor in Vain Pain and the Tote (just the Tote, thanks).
Like a bizarre take on the Slim Dusty classic A Pub With No Beer, my club, the Eye Gougers, is the sole pub footy team with no pub, since the closure of the East Brunswick Club in 2012. This doesn't stop the brave guys and gals donning their uniform (black T-shirts) and running out onto Brunswick’s Alex Gillon Oval and playing for the pride of ‘the Gouge’.
The Gougers’ opponent for the opening round of 2014 was one of the newer teams to the competition, the Lomond Barracudas. The Gougers started strongly with early goals and strong tackling, and finished the half with a handy lead.
RPFL games can attract up to 500 spectators (and a lot of dogs), with DJs playing from the stands and a canteen selling beers and snacks. While there are no finals, or a premiership, competition is fierce but friendly.
Rejuvenated with fresh oranges, the Gougers started to kick away in the second half and although the ‘cudas played strongly, the Gouge ran away with the win by six goals. Back in the clubrooms, we belted out a rapturous team song – ‘We’re from Gougerland’ – and as players began to crack cold beers, my role as orange boy was done for another week.
Round two of the Renegade Pub Football League is Sunday April 27 at Gillon Oval, Brunswick. First game starts at 1pm. Free entry.
Gougers v Labour in Vain
Old Bar v Bar Open
NM Town Hall v Tote
Byes: Rochester Lions, Lomond