Artists impression of the grazing trial at the MCG
Herds of cattle will soon be running on to the hallowed turf of the MCG, the bellowing of these bovine beasts echoing around the famous terraces. Peter Welch, Minister for Agriculture, Water, and Food Security, and Freckled Duck extermination in the Natholine government, announced its intention to run scientific grazing trials on the states sporting ovals, golf courses, and bowling greens.
Mr. Welch explained that the move is a continuation of the state governments “profits led” policy of making “resources” pay. It will also reduce the production costs of financially hard pressed graziers. He said they have been sorely afflicted, by a troika of cost pressures; including a high Australian dollar, rising private school fees, and the steepling wage and paternity claims of comely but capricious nanny’s
In the most controversial feature of this new policy, and specificity as a cost cutting measure, the cattle will remain on the ground, for the full duration of the game. AFL chief, Andrew Demiotiou stressed the surprising success of this adventurous aspect, stating that it will add a uniquely robust element of random chance, not found in effete foreign football codes. “The close proximity of testy 1,000 kg beasts will act as a natural deterrent to flooding of the back-line” he claimed.
“Getting a kick”,” the quality of the cattle”, “Pagans Paddock” and other clichéd phrases will certainly now be given a much more authentic currency.
Mr. Demiotiou said it now can be revealed that secret trials were conducted, under lights, in the very early hours of summer mornings this year, involving players from a range of AFL clubs. An early result of these experiments was the exclusion of black and white Holstein cattle due to confusion amongst Collingwood players, several sharp handballs were directed to startled dairy cows. It may be possible, via selective breeding over several generations, to improve the mental agility of the livestock.
Mr. Demiotiou dismissed claims that the evident deep pugging, and the labyrinth of cow tracks would damage the turf. He stated that with a similar Mediterranean climate, Spain and Portugal regularly run bovines through streets and in arenas. (At this stage, there are no definite plans to publicly terminate the Australian cattle at the conclusion of the match; this gory, yet innovative climax is still awaiting a ruling from the animal ethics committee).
Some members of the Victorian cricket squad reported difficulties in training on the ground, particularly when sliding to prevent boundaries. With resultant increased laundry costs as a consequence. A move away from the traditional “whites” is being considered.
Admittedly there have been several traumatic collisions during training, with players running to take a catch. On the positive side none of the cattle involved in these incidents sustained any serious injuries.
Chairman of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Mr. Bryce Fourntroy Smythe was enthusiastic with the trials at Royal Melbourne. He dismissed criticism from golf purists, that the trampling of the shrubbery had made the course too user friendly. “This had been more than offset, by the extent of bogging around the lakes, and the deep wallows in the sand traps”, he countered.
Distraught traditionalist golfers plan to lobby the Federal Minister for Sport, to invoke federal intervention. They claim that the trials will cause the extinction of rare introduced English plants and trees. Mr.Smythe brusquely brushed aside these plus four clad protesters as, “ferals”, who should go out and get a real job.
It has been reported that amongst some rural bowlers this reacquaintance with the sights, sounds, aromas; and earthy activities of the barnyard, has elicited more than a little nostalgia. Not so their more refined city counterparts, with a dramatic increase in the number of “code red” calls, as shocked metropolitan matrons from the better leafy suburbs, succumbed to culture shock.
The term “green berets” has been adopted to describe the calling cards left by cattle meandering across the greens, certainly a hazard Sir Walter Raleigh did not have to negotiate. Basins have been hurriedly supplied, in which players can wash their balls. Wry bowlers quickly christened these “Baillieu’s biget’s”.
As in other major grazing on public land, access will be strictly limited to the squatoccracy, and no attempt at cost recovery will be made. The soon to be depastured State member for Ripley, Mr. Paul Whopper, expressed his support for this policy, citing it as a welcome return to traditional values.
He said, “These changes will usher in a brave new corporate world, by producing massive private profit, from public assets, combined with significant fire prevention benefits’.”
There have subsequently been some misgivings as to the veracity of this article; if in doubt, readers should note the date of its posting.