This has to do with Australian Rules football, a game at which Aboriginal people excel. So the story makes sense, here is a bit of background on Australian Rules. In a match, teams can kick goals which are worth 6 points (between two high posts) or a point by kicking to the left or right of the high posts, and between it and a smaller post. When a goal is kicked, the umpires take the ball back to the centre of the ground and bounces it to start play again. But when a point is kicked, a player from the opposing team kicks the ball back into play, trying to kick to players of his/her team.

The Rural Football Association was holding a management meeting, and one item was that visiting teams were arriving late far too often to begin matches.

The President of the Association was adamant that this had to stop.

“Umpires come from Perth to umpire, and have to drive back, players have farm work or mining work to do and besides, it’s just plain rude to turn up late. I suggest we make the rule that if the home team’s ready, and the visiting team is late, the umpire can bounce the ball to start the game, and the visiting team will just have to suffer the consequences of the home team freely scoring 20 goals by the time they’re ready to play.”

The Association members like the idea and it was passed unanimously.

The following weekend, Railways was the home team and was due to play Mines, which had to travel some 80 kilometres for the match.

Sure enough, the Railways players were ready but there was no sign of Mines. The umpire waited until right on 2.30, the normal starting time, blew his whistle, the siren sounded and play began.

When the Mines team finally arrived, some ten minutes late, the Railways players were in their positions, but sitting on the ground looking very bored.150px-Nauru_player_kicking_for_goal_1

The Mines captain raced up to the umpire and asked, “What’s going on?”

The umpire rubbed his chin. “Well, I bounced the ball on time like I’m supposed to, the Railways team took the ball down the field. Jimmy McGuire kicked for goal and missed and we’ve been waiting for you mob to arrive to kick the ball back into play.”