Off the rails

They had counted down for weeks and finally the day had arrived. It was marked in red as it was always a big match. However, instead of anticipation, they faced the fixture with an impending sense of dread. It was the Monday Night Bulldogs match out at ANZ stadium and they wanted nothing to do with it.

In an attempt to stave off the ensuing panic, some of the older heads gathered together in the yard to discuss how best to handle it. It didn't start well.

"Last year a pack of them got inside me and had to be forcibly ejected" a voice piped up.

"They drink alcohol and put their feet in places they shouldn't!" said another.

"Last year, they wouldn't get up when a pregnant lady and an elderly couple boarded and asked for a seat" said a third.

The elders blinked their signals and hissed their pneumatic doors in exasperation. They knew what had been said was true but it came down to the fact that they had to provide a service.

"That all happened in the past as you pointed out" said one of the older coaches. "Look at the way that the club has turned itself around on and off the field this season."

The yard collectively reflected on this point. It's true, they'd gone from la st to second in the space of a season.

"They've organised their staff and coaching squad from the rabble it was in 2008 and most importantly they've gotten rid of all the dickheads."

The clean out couldn't be denied either; the player turnover had been tremendous. There was an air of cautious optimism in the yard and they were slightly more at ease until a broken voice sounded.

"You guys would have to be loco to believe this crap."

The voice came from the corner of the shunting yard. Its owner was a battered old carriage, covered in speckles of blue and white paint. It had dents in its paneling and several windows were missing.

"They may be a first class team on the paddock , but their fans don't even deserve to ride in a freight cart. The management, players and coach have changed, but have the fans? You only need to look at what they've done to me."

All eyes went to the scorch marks, the torn upholstery and the graffiti before one of the newer carriages Oscar replied: "What happened to you was a sad incident, but it's repairable. You'll be back on track in no time."

"You think this is recent? This happened to me after their Grand Final win in 2005! I've been waiting 4 years for repairs! Their fans are pests. They just destroy things without any loco-motives! It will happen again."

With that, he shunted back into his corner.

Eager to build on the optimism in the yard before this rather ominous warning, Oscar attempted to rally the gang.

"It'll be fine, in fact I'll be the first one in. I'll even do the Lakemba run. Let's get this into loco-motion! I think I can, I think I can..."

With that , Oscar took off to the supportive whistles of his colleagues. It would be the last time he would be seen alive.


Today ran the article: "League fans blamed for rampage after match." The carriage attack is mentioned in the second paragraph.

"CityRail has confirmed the train, operating between Olympic Park and Lidcombe stations, was attacked...(and) blame Canterbury supporters directly for the damage."

The report goes on to say that seats were destroyed and fires were started, but it doesn't mention that a life was taken that night.

When they hauled Oscar's body back into the yard, he was hardly recognisable. The older carriages were sick and lost their diesel all over the tracks, describing the carnage as the most horrific they had ever seen. Others wept when told the news and are scared about Sunday's match against the Warriors.

Requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals, one of Oscar's colleagues said: "I'm scared. They could do this to any carriage. We need to share the burden and get the fans in on alternate modes of transport like ferries or zeppelins or this will keep happening. Don't let Oscar be a martyr."

So what can you do to help? This weekend, give the trains a break and drive into the game instead. The trains will thank you.

From Round 9 of the Forum Sevens (F7s), 2009
Posted in the F7s Matches forum in August 2009

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