THE MICKITY-MULGA FOOTBALL MATCH

“The Mickity-Mulga Football Match” is a poem about a fictitious rugby game played in central-western New South Wales c.1900. Written by reporter, journalist and sometime amateur poet, W.T. Goodge, it was included in a collection of his verses published in 1904.

Now the township of Mickity-Mulga,
Which lies on the bank of the Bland,
Is entirely surrounded by cockies
Who are rough in the speech and the hand;
And there’s pretty rough coves in the village,.
And you can’t pick on one for a tug,.
But the biggest and roughest, the strongest and toughest’s
A bloke they call Billy the Pug.

There’s a pub out at Mickity-Mulga
(And there used to be one or two more
‘Fore the traffic was killed by the railway),
And a goodish-sized general store;
And a butcher’s shop, too, and a smithy,
Where the business is still pretty snug,
For a man as can graft at a shoe or a shaft,
And the blacksmith is Billy the Pug.

He has shoulders as wide as a giant’s,
He is over six feet as he stands,
And he’d make yer sing out “lemme go, Bill,”
With his grip as he went to shake hands;
And the coves from out back who’d been shearing,
Did n’t challenge the crowd for a plug,
Even Slogger McGee was polite as could be.
In the presence of Billy the Pug!

Now some ten miles from Mickity-Mulga
There’s a town they call Johnsonville, and
It considered, regarding of football,
It could lick anything on the Bland.
But the blokes out at Mickity-Mulga,
Had defeated the chaps at the Scrub,.
So the schoolmaster wrote a polite little note.
For to challenge the Johnsonville club.

Well, the challenge of course was accepted
By the Johnsonville chaps, who would take
A trip out and play ‘em at Mulga,
Which is just when they made the mistake!
And the Johnsonville chaps brought an umpire,
Who was small, though a very big bug,
But the Mickity crew said they wanted one too,
And their umpire’d be Billy the Pug.

So they started with four bound’ry umpires,
And with two in the centre as well;
And the Johnsonville team had the science,
And their hearts were as sound as a bell;
But the other blokes’ size was enormous,
And you should have seen Johnsonville’s mug
And the look of surprise in the Johnsonville eyes
At the rulings of Billy the Pug!

For the other umpire was n’t in it;
He, no doubt, was a judge of the game,
But if Billy decided it one way,
Why, the Johnsonville bloke did the same;
And the free kicks for Mickity-Mulga,
You can bet they were frequent, of course,
But the champion trick was when Carrotty Mick
Was awarded three points for a force!

Billy said he had not had much practice,
But he thought he’d get on pretty right,
And on Johnsonville notions of Rugby
Bill threw quite a different light;
If a Johnsonville cove got the leather
And got clean through the lot like a plum,
You would hear Billy blow on the whistle, you know,
And they’d have to come back for a scrum!

And if anyone grumbled, why, Billy
Would ask what they grumbled about;
When the other umpire said the very same thing
How could anyone have any doubt?
Oh, he might n’t know much about football,
And at points he perhaps was a mug,
But the Johnsonville best was n’t game to contest
The decisions of Billy the Pug!

Well, of course, it was Mickity-Mulga
That won the great battle that day,
And the score it was thirteen to nothing
And the game it was what you’d call gay;
And they had a great supper that evening
And exclaimed, as they passed round the jug,
And they tackled the grub of the Mickity club,
“Here’s good fortune to Billy the Pug!”

From “Hits! Skits! and Jingles!” – W.T. Goodge, 1904

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