Given that I have reluctantly accepted that God Save The Queen is unlikely to return as our National Anthem, I feel that we really should give serious consideration to adopting Up There Cazaly as our new National Anthem.
There are several good reasons for this. One is that the Second AIF, when going into battle in North Africa during the Second World War, would shout this as their battle cry. Another is that this song is about Australian Rules Football, which is of course very important to most of us. And the third is that this is a generally awesome and stirring song which was a hugely popular unofficial anthem (in Melbourne at least) when it was first released in 1979.
Sadly, I have never seen it performed properly. I have seen Mike Brady perform as a curtain raiser act twice, at a boxing match in Flemington a few years ago, and at the 2016 AFL Grand Final (ie the greatest day in Australian sporting history as the Bulldogs won). Sadly, whilst Mike Brady has a great set of pipes, he is more than willing to butcher the lyrics as seems fit at the time.
So at the boxing, instead of using the c-word (ie Cazaly), he sang ‘Up There The Boxing‘, which was rather corny and disappointing for football tragics like I suspect I am. And at the 2016 Grand Final, he decided to sing, instead of Up There Cazaly, his other classic football anthem, One Day In September. Except that as it was 1st October, he changed the main lyrics to go: ‘One Day in October, Footy’s almost over.’
That was a very minor disappointment for the day. After all, the Western Bulldogs winning an AFL Premiership is reminiscent of a certain Talking Heads song.
The announcement this week that, due to the plague currently running rampant around Victoria, the AFL Grand Final will be played interstate for the second year in a row was something I mostly welcomed. Much as Western Australians go all Barcelona about the rest of the nation on many things, we cannot deny that the Sandgropers do love their Australian Rules Football.
Perth Stadium also would be the best non-Victorian sports stadium, although I do think that they made a sad mistake building it with a 60,000 seat capacity instead of the 80,000 befitting a city of such size and sporting fervour.
It is important for the nation that one of those most unifying aspects of our national culture, Australian Rules Football, is accessible at its highest levels to all Australians, especially those who otherwise express separatist rhetoric so frequently as our Western Australian compatriots.
An unintended but excellent collateral bonus to the decision to have Perth host the AFL Grand Final is that the highly annoying former Collingwood president, Eddie Maguire, has been prohibited from travelling to Western Australia to watch the game. Sadly, that means that he is stuck here in Melbourne with me.
Much as I feel that the MCG is and shall remain the home of Australian Rules Football, and that the AFL Grand Final should be played there most of the time, I do feel that from time to time, there should be some degree of rotation to other places in Australia, provided that they, like Perth, have worthy stadia to host it. I believe that one out of every five AFL Grand Finals should be played interstate, particularly if the following criteria are met:
. the host city has a stadium of at least 60,000 capacity currently (increasing to 70,000 in 20 years’ time)
. a team from the host city has played in an AFL Grand Final at least once in the past 5 years
. Collingwood looks like making it into the Grand Final (OK – I am joking about this one, but imagine all those Collingwood supporters suffering because they have to choose between going to the expense of travelling out of Victoria or paying for their much needed dental work).