Sunday, November 27, 2005

Trip with the Fanatics supporters to Leeds

This trip came about as a result of Carly's compulsive obsession to enter every web-based competition advertised in the TNT Magazine here. And her efforts were rewarded with an e-mail saying that we'd won a trip for two with The Fanatics to watch Australia play NZ in the Tri-Nations Rugby League grand final match in Leeds.

So yesterday morning at a rediculous and very cold 7:30am we boarded a coach at Paddington Station with 200 other yellow-coloured Fanatics and began the 4 hour road trip from London to Leeds. After watching some very aussie videos on the coach for entertainment (what else but The Castle, and The Geatest Moments in Grand Final Rugby League), we arrived in a very cold and dreary looking Leeds just after lunch, dropped off (of course) outside of the Walkabout Pub.

We gave the pub a miss for a while, and I showed Carly around the centre of Leeds which Dan and I had visited late last year. The shopping up there is pretty impressive for a regional city, and the Victorian-style arcades have all of the big fashion names within some very well regenerated Mews-style buildings just off the main Mall.

But we weren't up here for shopping - we'd come for the footy! So we walked back to the Walkabout to have the first of many Snakebites and Vodka-Red Bulls for the afternoon, and watch New Zealand play Scotland, and England play Samoa in the Rugby Union on the TV during the afternoon. Dan rang us from the England vs Samoa game where he was at Twickenham in London, to warn us that he would be standing out on the side of the field as the English players ran on, and to keep an eye on the tellie. He was there coaching kids from his school who'd played the warm up match, and sure enough, as the players ran out of the tunnel, there was the mug standing there at the end of the row of school kids as the camera followed the players out! We couldn't beleive it!! As we sat there in Leeds watching Fox Sports Live, we could see him at the bottom of the screen in his grey jacket/jumper. We could even see it was him as he took photos of the players from close-up! Not exactly setting a good example to the students!!!

After those televised games were fnished, it was time to rug up and head to the game in a cab. When we got there and found our gate, we discovered that the ground was a dry-ground for League games - we were absoltely gutted, how were we going to keep warm for 2.5 hours!!

We soon found our seats with the others that we'd travelled with, and The Fanatics began their chanting and cheering as the game began.

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Carly in front of the field with her Fanatics shirt on; and with some of the other Fanatics

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Our very yellow section of the crowd; and Anthony Minichielo underneath the goals just in front of our great seats

But it wasn't to be a good result. The Aussies ended up getting flogged by 24-0 by a very impressive NZ team which had the support of every Australian-hating English Rugby League fan in the ground at Elland Road. Our small but vocal 200-strong group sitting behind the goals at one end, down at the front right near the dead-end line didn't stand a chance!

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Carly and I with our crowd of Fanatics

Still with heads held high and flags still waving we ventured back to the meeting point for the buses, and began the 4 hour trip back down to London, arriving back to Paddington at 1:30am, and home a little bit later on the Night Buses. A very long day to be beaten 24-0.



At Wed Nov 30, 10:32:00 pm GMT+10 , Anonymous Rissoles said...

Great day to be a Kiwi...
Not only did we thrash you in the league, The All Blacks beat Scotland, AND the Wallabies racked up another loss against Wales. Oh well...

At Wed Nov 30, 11:31:00 pm GMT+10 , Blogger Shane & Carly said...

You cheeky kiwi sheep-shagger Russell!..

I only just realised it was you seconds before I deleted your posted comment!

Good to hear from you mate, even if it was regarding a very sad day in Australian sport.

At least we made the Football World Cup! I heard you guys got knocked out by Fiji or someone shit like that!!


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