Tourist in Sydney finds ... nothing like Australia

On Sunday I was dragged along to the rugby league at Parramatta to watch Australia v. PNG. I found myself chatting with a lonesome Brazilian lass who, unlike most of her compatriots, prefers rugby/league to soccer. She had travelled out from the city to watch the Kangaroos play.

Unsolicited by me, the conversation turned to how shocked she was to find so few Aussies in Sydney. She's been here two months working and studying and said she knows very few Aussies, about 10.

I told her many Aussies have moved out, and suggested she look outside the city at the Central Coast. She had that dumbfounded look on her face, as if she couldn't comprehend how we could let our country go.

I suspect she was hoping to find a stadium full of Aussies on Sunday. Alas, no such luck. Rather than a celebration of Aussie pride, the whole day was more a Pacific Islander festival. There was a Samoa v. Tonga match before the main game, along with the usual dancing, hakas, and drumming throughout the game. Half the crowd were Pacific Islanders draped in foreign flags doing endless Homer Simpson impersonations.

After the first game, most of the Islanders went home. So we were left sitting in the rain with a small crowd to watch the Aussies thrash PNG. I suspect she went home somewhat disappointed, still having found nothing like Australia.

Maybe next time the league will consider the novel idea of targeting Aussie fans to a test match, instead of using it as a tool of ideology ...

Crowd concern for Kangaroos opener
"The whole purpose of playing at Parramatta - with three teams from the Pacific Islands and the Kangaroos - was to show the support of the cultural diversity to western Sydney and the idea of turning this Sunday afternoon into a celebration of the game out there.

"We're hopeful fans will respond to the fact the Kangaroos are playing their only game in Sydney."
If you want fans to respond, they all seem to be drifting into racial consciousness:

Hopoate calls for Pacific Island Origin
Former NRL star John Hopoate has called for Samoa and Tonga to play-off in an annual three-match country of origin series, which could serve as polynesian rugby league's answer to State of Origin...

"I reckon we have three Tests a year every year, they need to build these countries up," said Hopoate...

"If you're not going to have a State of Origin type series - they have the NRL All Stars and the Aboriginal All Stars - they should have the Islanders' All Stars, because the NRL is full of islander players.

"I had the chance to play for Tonga or Australia and I took Australia only because Australia pay and they look after their players.
Here's a crazy idea. If we have the Aboriginal All Stars, and now calls for Islander games, gee why not have an all-white lead-up game to a test match. Maybe then the stadium will be full of Aussies, and a Brazilian tourist might find the Australia she was looking for.

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