fibros and silver tails – Willem Tibben

                                 – ‘dallas’ john donnelly at lidcombe oval  7th may  1978…

i never heard the grandstand like that roaring afternoon

dallas burst through   manly forwards bouncing off him

like tossed potato chips   and then his square bulk

running down their winger smashing him into the corner post


i was having a beer in the railway hotel after my day at the office

dallas was there in the public bar   on his tenth rum and coke

he said   looking at me   smiling   wide as he was tall

reckon us fibros will flog the silvertails this sunday


crafty roy masterminded that   club rivalry as class warfare

some bloody good fights   we won   and the minor premiership

but the grand final went to manly   again   history rolled on

we disappeared into wests-tigers   manly still the fucking silvertails


never lost a single home game all that larrikin season…

… dallas’s weight ballooned him to byron bay as player-coach

then i read how he drowned in the surf   someone found him

beached   the ocean’s roar washing over him…


my night train passed the gallipoli mosque   and slowed

lidcombe oval   goalposts the last post   its lone grandstand

exacting lights   wreathing steam from a scattered handful

ghosts of the mighty fibros   at some sort of midweek training