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The AFL's dirty jobs

Date

Will Brodie

Scariest job in footy right now? A finalist is the shoulder tap man for Ross Lyon. You try telling him when to shut up.

Scariest job in footy right now? A finalist is the shoulder tap man for Ross Lyon. You try telling him when to shut up. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Despite being a multi-million dollar industry, the AFL still depends on lowly-paid or volunteer labour, stalwarts filling vital but unglamorous roles. But there are a few footy jobs not worth having for love or money.  

Shoulder Tap Man

The coach is in full flight at quarter time, urgently delivering his speech to the players, but the sirens have sounded twice, and umpires are blowing whistles. It is time, once more, for the recklessly brave shoulder-tap-man to hazard another alert. Not daring to verbally interrupt the bosses’ words of wisdom, he forcefully prods the top of the coaching shoulder with the end of the fingers. This specific, unmistakeable gesture says 'this time you really do have to shut up and let the players go back to the game'. If this pre-arranged code fails, the STM has to save the club from a fine by resorting to the emasculating power of speech. The best STM’s have season word counts in single figures.

The interchange steward

Bench man. Now there's a job.

Bench man. Now there's a job. Photo: Joe Armao

Where do clubs find persons masochistic enough to try to administer and record the random, simultaneous movements of 22 distracted, exhausted athletes desperate to get off or on the playing field as soon as possible, whilst risking the wrath of a psychotic coach if a red flag is produced by a self-righteous pedant wearing trakkie-daks? Part valet, part bouncer, part train-spotting clipboard-bearing statistics recorder, a person who enjoys such work could only be found by accident, or by scouring the ranks of cast-off transit cops and the bossiest accountants.

The third man (umpire)

Gets to hang out the red flag, if it's a big night. But the rest of the time he is the eunuch at the orgy, doing nothing, at least nothing interesting enough for anyone watching the game to care about. And he gets to look like a dag not doing it. (The trakkie-daks).

MCG car park attendants

Third umpire. Not a good look. Or a good job.

Third umpire. Not a good look. Or a good job. Photo: Joe Armao JAA

This should be a thankless job – shunting the cars of thousands of preoccupied footy fans into available, rather than preferred spaces, but this unique breed actually love their job too much. Yelling at each other from close range, waving contemptuously in the vague general direction of vehicles, and usually at odds with each other, these masters of maouevering assume every driver is a deaf, dumb and blind simpleton, and exude a greater job satisfaction to work undertaken ratio than any other employee in Victoria. Their heyday? Waverley in a cold, dark, wet season. Hundreds of acres filled with cars stuck in mud and traffic jams. For hours. The bliss! The power!

MCC security guard, May 2012

It is hard to imagine that a Melbourne man in his late-50s, who works in the MCG press box on AFL match day, would not enjoy footy. But such a man exists. On this night, the superfluous chair-filler turned his back on the arena, put his feet up on a table, and gave his full attention to (loud) re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.

Dedicated professional got all those cars parked.

Dedicated professional got all those cars parked. Photo: Paul Rovere

The speccy bag man.

The padding looks adequate, and sometimes it is a relatively high-profile and well-paid assistant being jumped upon by the club's high-flyers. But this job should be farmed out to those who need punishing, like sportswriters and forwards who miss set shots from point blank range. In the battle between the spring-heeled lairs and big men and the bag man, it is the latter who ends up with the chiropractor’s bills. Surely it is the victim of dares and loser of bets that gets landed with the schoolyard ignominy of being club stepladder.

The MCG security guard (who loves footy)

My security guard never turns his back on the action.

My security guard never turns his back on the action. Photo: Ken Irwin KEN

Our bay of standing room is governed benevolently by an attendant with an unkempt beardy Catweazle look, the only man in history made a more impressive figure by the donning of a bright yellow overcoat. He leans against the perimeter pillar, supposedly overseeing our behaviour, but apart from occasional furtive glances in search of a boss, he spends his entire game barracking, hard, and laughing at us. His only admonishments come when our barracking contradicts his fanview, which is that bad things should happen to every team except Geelong. Given how hard he laughs when teams make mistakes against the Cats, I figure he will forgive us our minor breaches of decorum in the occasional anxious moment.

The bar staff, Etihad Stadium

Nothing is more likely to make you feel like you are an overbearing consumer, a wannabe rich bastard, or old, like waiting for service from the charming, but sport-ignorant crew on the ground floor at Darklands. With no-one in the bar, except eight smiling, chatting staff members, you enter full of hope that your beer pit-stop will be mercifully brief. But the eight of them keep chatting and smiling, doing approximately nothing to help you get and pay for your alcohol. It is a miracle that so many well-intentioned, seemingly articulate and reasonable young people can’t get the idea between them that persons entering a bar might want a drink, ASAP, so they can return to watching the game. The game being that blurry moving thing out on the green expanse which seems to be making thousands of people make noise. The game being the thing which kind of, like, means they are here in the first place. Oh yeah. Remember the drill: tell them what to do, nicely, and be grateful when it eventually happens, after you've missed the goal of the year. It’s like training a puppy – the modern approach is to encourage, not berate.

Bag-checkers

"Do you have a nuclear warhead in your bag?" No. "OK, you can go through." They do sort of check for cans of soft drink, but I really wish these entry-point, anti-terrorism agents people did their job a little more thoroughly, I suppose the reality is that if bags were checked properly none of us would ever get into a game. On the other hand, if you dare smuggle a can of drink into the footy, don’t expect that contravention of sponsor’s rights to go unpunished. Because there are...

Nameless faceless video police

Bag man. How's your health insurance?

Bag man. How's your health insurance? Photo: Sebastian Costanzo SCZ

They are watching you. Everything you do and say. And yell. In my case, that means there is hundred of hours of footage of me screaming like a deranged hyena, dry-retching with nervousness, hunching foetally, and roaring frighteningly in moments of triumph, hugging strangers. The only solace is that anyone dull enough to prefer monitoring the crowd’s behaviour rather than the footy itself has not got the imagination to use said evidence for purposes of life-ruining blackmail.

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 13:40MCG
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 16:35ANZ
BRI 74 vs COL 86 19:20G
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 13:10ES
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 13:45MCG
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 14:10SO
COL 63 vs ADE 90 16:35ES
GCF 76 vs STK 104 19:20MS
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 13:10SS
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 15:20MCG
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 13:45MCG
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 16:35SCG
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 19:20ES
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 13:10AS
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 15:20SS
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 11:10NZ
ESS 49 vs COL 69 14:40MCG
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 17:40SO
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 20:45Domain Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 13:10G
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 15:20SS
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
STK vs ESS 15:20ES
ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 4 4 0 0 135.32 16
GWS Giants 4 3 1 0 133.22 12
Collingwood 4 3 1 0 128.32 12
Sydney Swans 4 3 1 0 125.00 12
Adelaide Crows 4 3 1 0 123.53 12
Western Bulldogs 4 3 1 0 104.60 12
Hawthorn 4 2 2 0 141.36 8
West Coast Eagles 4 2 2 0 124.48 8
View all
 
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