Dan (oohaah) McGrath
Tokyo Goannas 18.13.121
Osaka Dingoes/Kangaroos 10.10.70
Best Players – team effort
Goals – Dan 9, Jonny H 4, Yasu 2, Flanno 2, Mick Stamos 1
Injuries – team effort
Crowd – 40 (excluding players, officials and people walking their dogs)
The Goannas recently embarked on an epic road trip down to Osaka to play a merged Kansai Kangaroos/Osaka Dingoes outfit for the inaugural GODIKA CUP. Nine gutsy diggers dusted off the footy cobwebs and participated in this awesome trip. Unlike our beloved team mascot the goanna, which is active throughout the year in the north, BUT is inactive in the south in the cooler months the footy/human form of the goanna took this scientific fact to the cleaners as the brave group left the comforts of Tokyo and headed down south to Kansai by car andshinkansen with plans of wreaking havoc.
Most of the squad caught the Saturday night bullet train with aims to sink a few quiet ones and perhaps get a bit of shuteye. Matt Bump and Grind Edmond had other ideas (story behind nickname to come). Now the Goannas are not known for their sophistication and social etiquette so when Bump and Grind (B&G) pulled out the cheese, salami, bickies and top shelf bourbon in the train a hush fell over the group. Two minutes later all was forgiven though as we all stuffed our face with crackers and directed lewd comments to the poor food trolley girl Hashimoto-san. The alcohol also fuelled some anger that was aimed in my direction after yours truly mentioned admiration for the great Aussie hero Stuey Diver, it is well known that “”the goanna is cannibalistic and at times tracks down and digs out other lizards but the lambasting I received was simply frightening. Luckily the attention quickly shifted to Trav, who after downing some liquid courage, finally found his voice and harassed every poor Japanese person that was unfortunate to walk down the aisle before we finally pulled into Shin-Osaka station. By this stage the team was quite ‘scotch mist’ and the tone of the trip had been set.
The rest of the team was waiting for us at the Blarney Stone with a few of the Osaka team’s welcoming committee. After a few jugs of beer a few of the lads noticed a Kansai native who had equalto, if not larger calves than the Goannas own Jaya Thursfield. Word spread to him quickly and sensing some territorial danger we made haste for the exit before a calf/face off nearly erupted in the bar. It should be known that Jaya’s cross-city rival was actually a woman, quite scary and very disturbing. The team piled out of the pub before realizing we didn’t know where the hell the nightclub was. We saw our Osaka contact darting in and out of traffic on his mountain bike so the group scrambled into cabs and in bad nihongo managed to get the drivers to tailgate a bicycle.
Now it is said that “goannas feel most comfortable in warm environments, usually in burrows or holes in the ground so it was no surprise when the Goanna players went down the stairs and felt at ease in a basement bar called the Playpen. The following 5 hours were somewhat of a blur, some of the vague recollections are listed:
– 500 yen drinks had the thirsty Goannas frequenting the bar, unlike the spaceman (Grand final party) the boys knew how to knock back the shots of B-52’s and Cowboys, and knock them back we did!
– the fellas kitted up in the Goannas t-shirts and it wasn’t long before the local talent had swarmed around us finely built athletes like bees to a honeypot.
– Jonny H (the spooning king) wasted no time getting acquainted with a local lass and disappeared into the dark murky corners of the bar in what would prove a fruitless 5 hour waste of conversation and our British recruit Mr Banting, was busy trying to tune, wellfrankly speaking, the local gaijin horse, whilst all these events were busily unfolding the always expanding leadership group were having one of the worst dancing comp’s ever seen north of the equator and whipping the locals into a frenzy with moves such as the chainsaw, the angler, shopping trolley and the often maligned sprinkler, I was just finishing my back stretches to attempt the worm when the music stopped.. (for any questions or tips or punches regarding these moves please see Jonny H, calves or Mick Stamos)
– After initial concerns by the fashion police to whether wearing a surgical mask (pollen allergy) into a bar/club were grounds for immediate team suspension, team pin up boy and surfer Yasu overcame these doubts by carving it up on the D-floor.
– B&G, a closet 50 cent fan, awoke from his slumber on the lounge and took all by surprise by ï¿½eBumping & Grindingï¿½f it big time whilst Trav took a different approach in dancing styles by slow dancing prom style with another team groupieï¿½c..Trav, please explain?
Come sunrise team management decided to pull the pin and get at least a few hours kip in before the big game. Business Hotel Chuo proved a masterstroke, the accommodation was convenient, had a fully stocked beer vending machine, cheap rooms and flimsy dressing gowns which were perfect for strutting around in like a B grade porn star (although, no elastic or belt in the waist/hip region to hold back morning wood as calves nearly gored me as I turned blindly around a corner into the hallway). Mr Banting went close to putting his name in the Guinness Book of Records for how many cans of 500ml Asahi one man can possibly carry in his pockets as we continued to drink/pass out till 9.30am. Somehow, the team managed to scrape themselves off the tatami’s and found ourselves at a cafe; for a late breakfast. The squad split up and headed to the ground by train and Yasu’s car. Those lucky enough to get a seat in the car were treated to the sub woofers pumping out Up there Cazaly from the AFL CD four times in a row, Coach MickStamos meanwhile didn’t bat an eyelid in the back seat and continued to dream with a wry grin on his face about being the bongo drummer in the Kokomo video clip.
The game plan was simple, build a lead big enough so we can’t lose, and then decelerate. The 2 Osaka teams merged and were pretty pumped, completely different to the mood in our camp where bodies were strewn all over the turf dry reaching after our warm up. Graciously the Osaka boys gave us 2 young Japanese lads Tomohiro (pronounced Thommo) and Tsuba (pronounced Sooba) to top up our playing list of 11.
The Goanna’s plan of getting off to a flyer worked well as 6 quick goals were piled on thanks largely to a rampant midfield. Flanno once again left all dumbfounded when a kick (Irish torpedo) for goal defied the law of physics and wobbled 27 different ways before splitting the middle of the big sticks. Jonny H, obviously playing with a point to prove to his team mates after failing to convert the night before, wasted little time making the most of capitalizing on his opportunities on field by threading a couple of great sausage rolls.
The second quarter saw the Goannas again dictate terms and stretched the lead to about 7 goals at half time. Highlight of the term though was our first spew victim, seems B&G couldn’t hold all that WildTurkey in and unleashed a bomb from just outside the 50 meter arc, showing all in the vicinity hisexorcist impersonation Half time also allowed us to perform a blood transfusion on Mr Banting who lost a few litres of claret from his knees.
The third quarter was fairly even as the ball spent a lot of time in the middle. The Osaka boys still couldn’t make any inroads into the lead as Yasu was having a blinder and seemed everywhere, Mick Stamos was the rock down back and Trav was running riot and getting his hands on plenty of the ball. Mr Banting, moulding his game on NBL Hall of Famer Dean Uthoff, was killing them in the ruck, whilst Calves continued to present strongly at both ends of the field. We headed to the 3 quarter time huddle with a safe 8 goal buffer.
In the final quarter the Goannas took the foot of the gas and the clanger count mounted and the game meandered towards the finish line. In the end it was a comfortable 51 point win over a spirited and physical Osaka side.
I’d like to thank Andy down in Osaka for teeing up the ground and making the GODIKA Cup a great success. We are already looking forward to coming down next year and defending the trophy. Thanks also to Byron, who had the unfortunate role of being the dreaded white maggot for the day but did a great job.
Lastly, thanks to the blokes who made the trip, I think we can categorically say it was a raging success. A very solid night out with some classic moments followed by some pretty decent footy. Let’s try and build on this trip and have a season to remember culminating in taking out the Asian Champs in Manila later this year, bring it on!