The Love Of The Game
Australians love to talk about two things in particular: sport and the weather. And when you move to a new place, whether you are relocating from within Australia or from overseas, you will settle in sooner if you can join in the conversation.
Talking The Talk
Discussing the weather is usually small talk- flippant remarks that ‘break the ice’ before warming into more interesting dialogue. Or, it can be the safe option for polite conversation with people you don’t know well. Many Australians view sport, however, in a completely different category. Sport is the meat in the sandwich that unites (and divides) the nation. If you have recently moved to Perth, Western Australia, one of the easiest ways to assimilate into the West is to find out about the local teams- learn the team names, go and watch them play- maybe even turn up wearing the team colours. It would be foolish to suggest you swap your allegiance from the Springboks or the All Blacks to the Wallabies, or from say Collingwood to the Dockers or the Eagles, (it would be strange if you did), but at least knowing a bit about the local teams will help you fit in and feel more at home.
What Team To Support In Perth?
A word of warning: if your non-Perth team beats the local side and you gloat mercilessly, don’t expect to get welcomed into any Perthite’s inner sanctum. Instead, you will be branded as a foreigner and seen as the perfect target for revenge the next time your team is defeated.
AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)
In Perth, you are either an Eagles or a Dockers fan (unless you have Australian ties somewhere other than in the West). Western Australia has two teams in the AFL: the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Football Club (known as the Dockers or Freo). You may have a hard time finding merchandise for sale in Perth for any other team. Both sides play their home games at Subiaco Oval, which is the longest ground in the AFL competition. It can seat 43,500 people.
There is also a local West Australian Football League (WAFL) with nine clubs representing metropolitan regions.
Western Australia’s state cricket team is the Western Warriors, based at the WACA (Western Australian Cricket Association Ground). The Warriors play in the Sheffield Shield, which is the domestic first-class cricket competition, as well as the Australian one-day competitions. Their team colours are gold and black. The Perth Scorchers take on the Twenty20 Big Bash competition and wear orange.
The Western Fury represent WA in the Women's National Cricket League.
The WACAalso hosts international Test and One Day International cricket matches.
Western Australia is the home of the Western Force, a team in the Super Rugby union competition. Their home ground is NIB Stadium in Perth and their uniform is blue.
Western Australia’s team in the trans-Tasman netball competition is the West Coast Fever. The Fever play their home games at Challenge Stadium in Floreat, Perth, and are coached by former Australian netball team coach, Norma Plummer. The team colours are black and green.
The successful Perth Wildcats represent Western Australia in the men’s National Basketball League. If you go to one of their games, wear red.
The West Coast Waves play in the Women’s National Basketball League.
Perth Glory competes in the national A-League competition. Their team colours are purple, white and orange. Perth Glory have made two finals appearances in the past three seasons, including a 2-1 Grand Final loss to the Brisbane Roar in 2012. The 2013 season begins in October.
The Perth Thundersticks (men) and the WA Diamonds (women) represent Western Australia in hockey. Their home is the 6,000 seat Perth Hockey Stadium, located at Curtin University.
Some might say Western Australia is parochial, (we need to stick together when we’re thousands of kilometres from our rivals), but we don’t mind if you keep supporting your favourite team when you move to Perth. Provided we win, it will sweeten our sense of victory. You don’t have to barrack for all the Western Australian teams, but take an interest in who is who, and you will still have something to say when the conversation has moved on from the weather.