Nallei Jerring – My Footy Story: Can a Kangaroo become a Bulldog?

by Kelly Johnson, Western Bulldogs Community Engagement Coordinator


In my household, when it came to footy, there was no option other than being a Roo-boy or Roo-girl. My entire family barracked for North Melbourne. My brother and I were raised with the belief that North were the only team in the AFL!

Even when we discovered that there were actually other teams in the competition, we wouldn’t dare even entertain the thought of switching teams, for fear of being exiled from the family!

I can remember going to games when I was younger, watching Wayne Carey and Boomer Harvey play, with all of my cousins and aunties and uncles.

I even remember exactly where I was when I first opened the first Harry Potter book when it was published – at a North game!

Isn’t it strange the little random details you remember?

I remember what I was wearing and which cousin I was sitting next to. I remember the Extra chewing gum I had stashed in my pocket, chewing away to keep me warm in the cold Melbourne winter chill of a twilight footy match!

Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, my entire family spent a great deal of time gathered in the stands at the MCG, at Arden Street watching the Kangaroos train, or in front of the TV watching a match. So a few months ago when I was offered a full-time contract to work at the Western Bulldogs as their Community Engagement Coordinator, I was face with some wrenching mixed emotions!

My family were completely torn between being ecstatic for me at landing such a great job, and being furious that it was for the Bulldogs! The first words of congratulations I received from my Mum were: “That’s great sweetie, but if you trade teams you’re no daughter of mine.”

With the law very strictly and clearly laid down about where my true allegiance had to remain, I have managed to strike a very even balance between the Doggies and my Rooboys, however I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing Jason McCartney around Whitten Oval in clothes other than a North Melbourne jumper!

Go the mighty DOOS! (DOGS-ROOS!)


About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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