REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Time for an amnesty so frustrated fans can swap clubs

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PROUD AS PUNCH: Cohen Jarrett of Katherine in the NT from back in 2017 with the headgear worn by the great man himself, Johnathan Thurston.

PROUD AS PUNCH: Cohen Jarrett of Katherine in the NT from back in 2017 with the headgear worn by the great man himself, Johnathan Thurston.

We need to have a year when sports fans are free to swap teams.

No guilt, no shame, no recriminations.

Sort of like a firearms amnesty.

For a designated period, let's say 2022, you get to hand in your old club and pick a new one.

It's a tough ride being a rusted on supporter.

I'm too long in the tooth to change horses now but I am making the suggestion for another.

My eldest daughter.

I'm to blame for all the pain she has suffered over the years, I want to remove that monkey off her back and let her start anew.

Many years ago when I was five, my Dad suggested it was time I followed a particular team.

Our sport down south is AFL.

PROUD MOMENT: Rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston picks out the Katherine boy from the crowd. Picture: Getty Images.

PROUD MOMENT: Rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston picks out the Katherine boy from the crowd. Picture: Getty Images.

After living the past five years in the Northern Territory, it was rugby league.

That was simple.

I knew nothing about league.

Early on I wrote a story on a young fellow who had received a helmet from former star Johnathan Thurston during a break in a game.

Mr Thurston regularly used to hand his sweaty headpieces to fans.

This kid I interviewed said he'd never be the same again and I could see he meant it.

He let me try it on, na, nothing.

None of the great man's greatness rubbed off.

But good family friends up there barracked for the Townsville Cowboys as well, so that was locked in.

When my Dad suggested I follow a team, I think I just asked who the best team was.

At that time it was St Kilda, they had just won the VFL premiership.

With a lifelong habit of wanting to pick the frontrunner, I was left with the underdog.

St Kilda has never won another flag, and this season is shaping as one of our usual - they were supposed to be better, but gee they're not.

I have resigned myself to a life of disappointment.

But I did not wish that on my girl.

Saints coach Brett Ratten has a face which looks as though it is used to laughing, but not so much lately.

Saints coach Brett Ratten has a face which looks as though it is used to laughing, but not so much lately.

All our family follows the Saints, it was either that or find somewhere else to sleep.

My son bucked the trend, he wanted out after a string of losses.

I couldn't blame him, so my wife and I acquiesced.

"As long as you don't pick Collingwood."

That was non-negotiable.

He ended up going with Gold Coast, I've never been certain why but he has never been as passionate about AFL as the eldest.

For 10 years she has been a Saints member, fronting up to games in the freezing cold.

She loves it, she is a terrific supporter but then again all Saints' fans are.

This season looks like going the way of seasons of old.

This year it's because we didn't pick enough kids in the draft, last time it was because we had too many and had to top up with 100 gamers.

Bit sad really.

Crushed together with strangers as we walk across the railway bridge from Southern Cross to Marvel Stadium, I remind myself that pies and chips always taste better at the footy.

One year, at one game, a jubilant Richmond fan turned to me and offered to teach me the Richmond club song.

I already know it, I know them all.

It hurt, but that's footy.

And any flag, if it ever comes, will be all the more sweeter.

So what do you reckon, just for one year, change of teams and no questions asked?

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