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  • Writer's pictureThe Chief

Taken With A Grain Of Salt

Well, the thing with being a Fremantle supporter is, in the cold hard light of the following day reflection becomes a part of your routine. Either that, or you develop a dedication to day time drinking!

We awake this morning with the harsh reality that our season, saved just seven days earlier, once again, teeters on the brink (if it isn’t already in hibernation), precariously hanging on by an ever diminishing, structurally compromised, synthetic thread.

Why is it we can rapidly build up an immunity or a complacency to many more important, negative, reoccurring events, but 28 years of weekly damage to our purple hearts... the accumulative effect of that inflammation hurts like a bugger!

It’s been a gigantic and whirlwind seven days for myself and colleague Brett “Jojo” McDonnell and this thing we do called The Restump Podcast, or referred to by certain others as ‘a Freo fan group.’

We’re not going to make arrogant assumptions, but there is a chance you may have seen the little beer we brewed up for Friday’s game, the Lobster Tears.

Now footy is our first love, but as long-term Fremantle fans we’re pretty fond of the parochial banter as well. If you don’t indulge and embrace a narrative and possess a game enhancing sense of occasion… I don’t know if we can be friends.

Friday night was about the polarising Rory Lobb. It wasn’t about what he did when he was with us, it wasn't about what he didn't do when he was with us, it wasn’t about that he wanted to leave us, it wasn’t about that he went to the Dogs and it wasn’t about the Dogs themselves. It was wholly and solely about the grenades he, dare we say, lobbed into the club on his way out the door.

When he made those now well documented infamous comments on numerous occasions, our raised eyebrows weren’t our only facial expressions. Our opportunistic eyes lit up as well.

This was real and incredibly unique content. This was something that rightfully irked all us Fremantle fans; well except for the small number of line toeing, highbrow, stick-in-the-mud type purple people. This had legs, we thought, although we didn’t necessarily think the amount of a millipede!

To be truthful, we thought we’d have a bit of fun with it in our tiny little bit of virtual real estate in the Freo fan world. We came up with the idea, put it together, threw it out there and waited to see where it went.

It is safe to say it went a little beyond us. Social media, newspapers, news websites, radio shows and tv coverage. Even the front page of the AFL website and Friday night prime time on Channel 7’s coverage. It spread at such a rate that apparently, out of habit, Mark McGowan had to be deterred from calling a lockdown!

We went along for the ride and ironically, while we continued to throw the odd log on the narrative fire, by the time the game came around we were the ones burned out.

On the Restump Podcast we’re regularly taking light hearted cheap shots at opponents, opposing clubs, our own Freo boys at times and more often than not, even ourselves. It may be the absence of any revenue that restricts the shots from being more expensive but the point is, never is there any hatred or malice behind anything we do. Why would there be? This is football.

We reached out to Rory’s girlfriend, Alexandra Mary, to make it known that the Lobster Tears was, on our part at least, a good natured, light hearted dig. Alexandra, Rory and Rory’s mum actually wanted to buy some of the beers. We tried to arrange it for them but it was too late in the piece and we couldn’t make it happen.

We do hope Rory got hold of a few more than the single can Brian Taylor presented him with. However, more importantly, we were extremely happy the Lobbs and Marys all took it with humour and in the intended manner.

Our beloved Freo boys obviously didn’t get anywhere near the win on the night but, even in our devastated states post-game, we definitely got a good laugh out of Rory and the Western Bulldogs club returning serve. Sometimes you just have to dip your lid and say well played.

While we didn’t seek any media organisations out, we’re grateful to 6PR, Triple M Perth, Perth Now, The West Sport, the AFL website and Channel 7 for picking it up and running with it. (apologies to anyone we’ve missed or don’t know about)

However, we reserve a special thanks to Channel 10, and specifically a gratitude and an appreciation, for the wonderful Ashleigh Nelson and her camera guy 'Krusty' who went to great effort. Ash won over a lot Freo fans and she is now part of the very small group of West Coast supporters who fall into the ‘exception to the rule’ category.

So, with the horrible loss to the Western Bulldogs, came the inevitable post-match “the fanatical focus on Lobb was ridiculous” experts, and the “we should have just been concerned with winning the game” brigade. To the pre and post-match fan and media double dippers... we see you.

Firstly, I personally got delisted from the Armadale Reds under 14s, and at a time they were short for players, so there was no chance I was having any on-field influence. Secondly, Rory had twelve touches and kicked one goal three so he had marginally more impact than I had. Thirdly, if you actually think Rory Lobb and the focus on him is Fremantle’s problem then the interior decorators did a good job with the wallpaper over a couple of previous weeks.

So, those that are disapprovingly shaking their heads, are they inferring that no one ever should stick their necks out about anything, out of fear of trivial repercussions and reprisal, concerned with how they will be viewed if it goes south? Are we really that precious?

Yes, let’s further roboticise the game and the supporting of it. Let’s become more statuesque than our Freo forward line… wait what? See there’s one of those cheap shots at our own expense I was talking about.

We’re Fremantle fans! We have no idea when or if we’ll get to the final ultimate destination so we have to enjoy the journey. The point is, both fans and players should be able to have a bit of fun and a laugh and still be serious enough to want to win. Those two actions can coexist.

At the end of the day we’re all here for the footy… or whatever it was that we served up Friday night. It’s time to put the Lobster Tears to bed… possibly temporarily… let Rory get on with his life until next time we meet and somehow move on to, hopefully, ‘purpler’ pastures.

Thanks to everyone, especially the Restump Podcast listeners, who came along for the ride, got involved and made this happen. We’re incredibly humbled by the overwhelming support for us, our nonsensical campaign and the magnificent Dingo Brewery beer that the talented Alan “The Badger” Loveridge brewed up.

If only we moved the ball Friday night as quickly as the Lobster Tears moved out the door!

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