Monday afternoon found me sitting as instructed in the Sheedy CafÃ© at Tullamarine idly watching the rain trickle down the windows distorting my view of the three players having goal kicking practice under the tutelage of Kyle (9 out of 10 in 2014) Hardingham. In front of me a rather desultory tuna wrap and a depressingly health conscious bottle of water. Why had Tiffany called me to this meeting? I was about to find out when the clicking of two sets of high heels announced the arrival of my great friend, the ace reporter, Tiffany in tight shorts and a bizarre t-shirt bearing a picture of a well endowed, medieval woman incongruously clutching a dripping sword below gothic script emblazoned across the front which read â€œDeer Park Damselsâ€. However what was most grabbing my attention was Tiffany‘s companion who clad in a tight, barely holding together leopard skin outfit must have been over seven feet tall (even allowing for the high heels) with a perfectly proportioned, athletic figure surmounted by a striking face illuminated by a huge smile and blazing dark eyes.
â€œJackie, close your mouth and say hello to Lulu the Zulu - she‘s a princess.â€
I gaped with my mouth closed (if that‘s possible) and my extended hand was almost crushed by the proffered handshake. I must have been staring because Tiffany kicked me crossly as they sat and then wasted no time coming to the point.
â€œJackie I have a plan.â€
Why did that always worry me?
â€œI want you to watch Lulu play a game for the Deer Park Damsels. I think she is good enough to be the first female AFL player and if you agree talk to your mates Dodoro and Keane about recruiting her.â€
I could see that Tiff was in no mood to be brooked and the prospect of seeing Princess Lulu in footy shorts intrigued me to say the least so next Saturday found me at a patchy oval in the shadow of the Orica (formerly ICI according to my broker) chemical works approaching with some trepidation the cream brick bunker that served as the changing rooms and I was even more surprised when Tiffany grabbed my arm an dragged me straight into the Damsels‘ inner sanctum.
â€œThe girls want you to say a few words before the game Jackie â€“ they really admire you.â€
This was confirmed by a series of toothless and semi toothless grins (false teeth were in a bucket of water) from a ring of, well frankly frightening, crimson clad damsels.
â€œYeah Jackie give us a rev up as soon as Phyllis‘s girls get here.â€ said an individual with a shaved skull who had been introduced to me as the skipper.
Tiff nudged me and by way of explanation in a stage whisper said â€œThey‘re on day release from the nearby Dame Phyllis Frost Detention Centre to play for the Dragons â€“ its part of their rehab.â€
â€œThey‘re good playersâ€ a barrel with stubby arms and legs informed me â€œbut sometimes they pack shivs in their socksâ€ she said with a grin. (I thought this was a joke until I saw the accompanying screws wand them before they took the field.)
In due course I found myself standing on a bench under the Centrelink sponsor‘s sign, my head still not quite level with Lulu‘s as she stood Colossus like in a tight Damsels‘ jumper too small to cover her navel, tight red shorts and a pair of Adidas miles below at the bottom of those long, long legs.
What should Jackie say in these circumstances I wondered as I surveyed the eager faces before me and I pondered the age old question â€œWhat do women want?â€
â€œLadies they think you‘re weak because you‘re pretty but they‘re mistaken you‘re not pretty you‘re gorgeous and you‘re not weak you‘re terrifying. Smash those ■■■■■■■, straight down the corridor to Hightowerâ€ I said indicating Lulu â€œand grind them into the mud. Remember I‘ll be watching and I‘ll be cheering for you.â€
I thought a short speech would be best in the circumstances and was quite moved by the rumble of unrestrained cheering as the girls rushed out.
â€œBest player gets to go in the spa with Jackie!â€ shouted a fired up Lulu.
Well you can probably guess who was b.o.g. and the spa was more than I could handle (although I did my best). Tiffany was in a huge, huge ■■■■■■ with me afterwards but as I pointed out
â€œLook at it as a sacrifice for the club Tiff â€“ I think I know enough now to say she could make a player I‘ll get Dodoro to check her out.â€
â€œShe can be a fâ€¦ing goalpost for all I care we‘re finished Jackieâ€
Well Tiffany will get over it eventually and if you haven‘t had a spa with a Zulu princess you haven‘t lived. I think we may have unearthed one here and we can rookie her under the special provisions. Lulu the Zulu and Joe on the forward line â€“ unstoppable.