The Original Football Jersey

As read by the Dobe Newton
As read by the author.

Just south of Terrabaginarf,
And north of Upson Downs,
The bush is mostly lifeless,
Except for two small towns.

Now Wilgama and Bilgen,
Lie nestled in the hills,
And every year they’d have a match,
To test their football skills.

The game was rugby league of course,
A man’s game through and through,
They really had no choice,
It was the only game they knew.

A wager rested on the game,
Whichever team got beat,
Had to go out to the winners’ farms,
And help them harvest wheat.

Bill Johnson owned the football,
The only one in town,
But it somehow got a puncture,
And it kept on going done.

He said “I’ll make another one.”
His mates just stood and laughed,
“But you haven’t got a pigskin!”,
“So, I’ll have to use a calf.”

Bess the jersey house cow,
Had just produced a daughter,
And for the sake of sporting ties,
Bill took it to the slaughter.

She saw her daughter murdered,
And she made a quiet vow,
That some day soon she’d seek revenge,
From people who killed cows.

Next day the rugby game was held,
The crowd was just immense,
(There were two girls on the sideline,
And a bloke up near the fence.)

At first Bilgen was winning,
Then Wilgama kicked a goal,
And Bilgen’s left wing broke his leg,
When he fell down a hole.

With one man short they lacked defence,
Wilgama surged ahead,
At half time the score was even,
In the second half, they led.

Bilgen managed to fight back,
With minutes left to play,
Wilgama led with fourteen points,
And Bilgen two away.

When Bess arrived a minute
Was left in the second half,
She charged the scrum and grabbed
The ball that used to be her calf.

She raced on up the field of play,
The game approached full time,
Wilgama fellas tackled her,
Just as she crossed the line.

And Bilgen yelled, “She’s our reserve!
Replacing number two,”
The referee allowed the try,
Just as the siren blew.

So Bilgen were victorious,
The sight had to be seen,
Bess was carried off the field,
On the shoulders of the team.

Though cows are banned from football,
She’s remembered to this day,
And that’s why players everywhere,
Wear ‘Jerseys’ when they play.

© copyright A Jack. 1985

Songs and Stories of Australia Volume 3This poem appeared on the ABC cassette “Songs and Stories of Australia Volume 3”

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