Redemption in The Burrow (Part I): Bar-hopping and Bunny-hopping

It was beginning to feel a whole lot like deja vu: one year ago, I came to Sydney for my first Rabbitohs game, only to see the red and green get toppled by the Sydney Roosters.  At least one year ago at ANZ Stadium, the Bunnies led most of the game.  This time around, I arrived to see the Rabbitohs get beaten again by the Roosters on their own turf at Allianz Stadium; a lackluster performance, but at least the Bunnies put up a great fight nearly coming back in the last fifteen minutes.  Still, everything felt a bit too familiar, but I was not about to let that sour my time in Sydney.  Tonight, I was gearing up for my second match (or rather, my fourth Rabbitohs match).  I gathered almost every piece of Rabbitohs swag that I had, threw on my Rabbitohs cape, grabbed my ticket, and headed out of my hotel.  Tonight, it was a chance for South Sydney to redeem itself from last week, as well as last year.  We were up against the Manly Sea Eagles, the very same team that denied us a berth in the 2013 NRL Grand Final.  Tonight, redemption would be spelled R-A-B-B-I-T-O-H-S.

My return to Allianz Stadium began early in the afternoon, around 1:30 pm.  I walked across the street from Central Station in search of the Aurora Hotel, where I agreed to rendezvous with my fellow bunny brethren.  For those who aren’t fluent in Aussie vernacular, a “hotel” is not a place where you’ll find beds and bellhops, but rather it is the place where everyone meets together for a drink.  Essentially, it is the quintessential Australian watering hole.  Old, Victorian or Edwardian-era buildings filled with ice-cold VB or Tooheys followed by the cacophony of sports on TV.  Good times!

Located just across the street from where all the trains scoot back and forth along Elizabeth Street was the Aurora Hotel.  My heart racing with anticipation, I eagerly climbed the stairs towards the sports bar where I saw my red and green comrades drinking; right place, right time!  I ordered up a quick lunch of a pulled pork roll and chips with a Tooheys.  What I got, however, was a massive pulled-pork sandwich!  But I’m not complaining!

Pulled Pork Roll and Chips

Pulled Pork Roll and Chips

After lunch, I dashed into the bathroom to add one more piece of Souths gear to my already impressive wardrobe: tattoos!  Don’t worry, these were temporary tats, but looked really cool.  It wasn’t my neatest application, but in just seconds, I had red and green tribal colors plastered on both my cheeks.  Add to that the intrepid looking rabbit to my cranium, and I was deemed worthy of The Burrow!  It would have been even cooler if I had etched those floral tribal prints Bunnymund has.  But I digress.  I emerged from the loo with my tattoos.  Now, I was dressed appropriately!

"I've got Bunnies on the brain!"

“I’ve got Bunnies on the brain!”

I'm red, white, and blue on the outside...But I'm red and green on the inside!"

I’m red, white, and blue on the outside…But I’m red and green on the inside!”

It felt really good to be around my Rabbitohs mates again!  I didn’t have the chance to do so when I arrived in Sydney.  I was so whipped from my long flight and I had promised a friend of mine that he would drive me to the match.  This time around, I was going to have the authentic experience.  Unlike last year, where all of my pre-game drinking took place at The Brewery outside ANZ Stadium, I was about to embark on an adventure that is as Australian as footy, kangaroos, and well, drinking!  The time honored tradition of the Aussie pub-crawl is a sacred act among footy fans that is done before game time.  Why waste time getting loaded on booze during the game when you get all you drinking done ahead of time?  After all, judging from what I have seen, Aussies spend less time drinking at the game, and more time cheering, singing, and cursing.  And with all that beer fueling their fan-driven rage, they have got energy to burn!  It’s like stuffing your face on carbs the night before running a marathon.  Smart move, my bunny brethren!

After lunch and two Tooheys at the Aurora Hotel, we packed up shop and headed around the corner around Foveaux Street, en route to Allianz Stadium.  All the gang was there!  There was Mark, a wily and very enthusiastic fan who kept shouting “Yeee, heee!” every chance he got.  There was Paul, a fellow with a big, bald head who gave the most enthusiastic selfies with me.  One might mistake him for an Australian Kojak!  Michelle, a very nice woman who had procured me my stub for the match, trotted along with another sheila named Brigitte, who I met last year at the Rabbitohs VS Roosters match.  Another familiar face  was Vicki, whom I see on a regular basis online commenting and posting news about the Rabbitohs to Facebook.

Me and Vicki

Me and Vicki

Paul and Brigitte

Paul and Brigitte

Pub Crawling with the Bunnies

Pub Crawling with the Bunnies

Our pub crawl continued all the way up to the Captain Cook Hotel, just across the street from Moore Park and Anzac Parade, just a stone’s throw from Allianz Stadium.  According to my friends, this hotel was one of the oldest in Sydney, and one of the most recognizable as it is home to many live band shows and is always filled with footy fans.  Not one minute inside this noisy pub, and we hear the beautiful opening of “Glory Glory to South Sydney”, our club song!  Pretty rare considering that this bar is located across from where the Roosters play.  It was here that I was introduced to a few more Rabbitohs fans from Facebook.  There was Kellie, who ran one of the Rabbitohs fans-only group pages.  Then, there was Tammie, who was practically tickled pink to see me, as she told me that she was a big fan of my devotion to the Rabbitohs.  And there was Lorraine, who later I would find out, would provide me with endless cheering during the game.  These fans posed endlessly for photos with me, sipped beer with me, and couldn’t help but brag to other bar-goers that this one fan came all the way from America to see a Souths game.  I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t digging the attention, but more importantly, the close-knit feeling that all the fans shared was unmatched in other professional sporting clubs.  Yankee fans love to congregate outside on River Ave., Rangers fans scream outside Penn Station, and NY Giants fans gorge themselves in the parking lot during the traditional tailgate party.  Rabbitohs fans, however, seem to have the whole pre-game festivities nailed!  Rather than just stay in one place and listen to the game on the radio, they go from one pub to another, meet up with more fans, then, like picking up members of a traveling circus, they bring their new mates with them to the next pub, and the fun begins again!  Also, I gotta say: cold beer and hot meat pies are AWESOME together!

Me and Lorraine

Me and Lorraine

Kellie and Tammie.

Kellie and Tammie.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next Time:  Our traveling group of red and green performers finally head to Allianz to see our Bunnies do battle.  Oh, and you will introduced to Cracka and Macca!

 

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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One Response to Redemption in The Burrow (Part I): Bar-hopping and Bunny-hopping

  1. Paul Condon says:

    Keep up the yarns Jared :)
    Regards Paul. SSTID

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