Song and dance as players relax in Warrnambool

Tuesday, September 02 2008 @ 08:18 pm ACST

Contributed by: Brett Northey

After the Monday round 3 games International Cup players headed to Warrnambool's Brauer College where the vast gym room hosted a relaxed evening of complimentary finger-food, drinks, music, a bit of dancing, and performances by some of the teams.

In much the same style of an evening in Wangaratta when the Cup went there in 2005, speeches were kept to a minimum, with the AFL's Kevin Sheehan doing the basic introductions. The local rockabilly band The Sky Rockats played a few songs (with the unstoppable ground announcer Grilla joining in) and several nations also sang - the Indians gave their rendition of a Bollywood hit, the Americans, unusually self-conscious, sang "You've lost that loving feeling" and the Kiwis started with a gay Austrian impersonation (I'm not sure why) followed by the theme song to popular Aussie soap-opera Home and Away, but couldn't escape before acceding to crowd demands for the Haka. Japan were all energy as they belted out a tune (using the term lightly) and the Irish were deep and strong but didn't burst into any Riverdancing, though at least one began to strike the pose - more threat than intention.

The South Africans as always were a hit with several songs including the regular Shosholoza, a song sung by workers, often heading to their work in the mines. According to Wikipedia the Zulu word Shosholoza means go forward or make way for the next man, and is also reminiscent of the sound made by the steam train (stimela) described in the song, no doubt the reason for the dance that often accompanies it. The Samoans performed what appeared to be a fast paced traditional dance of sorts, and most were keen to get their shirts off - if you've got it, flaunt it. The Papuans, quiet as always, had to be coaxed onto stage for their song, and the Peace Team urged "Halaga" - I'm not sure of the spelling or what it meant but it seemed like a call for peace - we'll get back to you on the exact meaning.

As in 2005 the performances were very enthusiastically received by the players from the other teams and a good night appeared to be had by all - but not too good, as most team management whisked them away after a few hours, with serious Australian football yet to be played.

We'll add some footage of the night to our Youtube worldfooty channel in the next few days.

Tuesday was a rest day, with most teams scheduled to visit local schools for cultural and footy clinics, as well as visiting local attractions such as Tower Hill Reserve which features Australian wildlife.

The Cup is getting plenty of local press, with everyone seemingly aware of it, but saying they couldn't get down to games because they had to work. Hopefully the 5:30 and 7:30pm timeslots for the semi-finals, both at the same ground (Reid) will attract a couple of thousand spectators along and match Wangaratta's 2005 performance.


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