David Campese


Oh deary, deary me.

Deep breath…

You are a boofhead, David Campese!

The former Wallabies great has tweeted this gem.



*Headdesk* as they say on Twitter.

That’s code for when you read something so imbecilic it makes you slump face-forward into your keyboard and produce someting like this: ^&$^%_)|}gfciurenwcvg48(*&))(VJYUKJHKL



Mere weeks ago The Hoopla brought you Kate Fitzpatrick’s yarn about being a member of the Channel Nine cricket commentary team in the 80s.

“It’s fair to say our local heroes hated me on sight. They did not speak to me unless they were forced. Only if we were On Air, and more often than not, to mock,” she wrote.

(I am pleased to say that, due to that story, Kate has received an invitation into the ABC commentary box for the Sydney Test as going some way to achieving “closure”.)

But Kate’s experience happened THIRTY YEARS AGO!

Fast forward to 2012 ,Campese’s Twitter blooper, and his explantion for the brain snap: “I made a mistake with the way I said it. But Gillard’s trying to use the sexist thing about everything right now in Australia – I’m not sexist but the way it came out wasn’t right.”

Uh huh.

Campese was a legend in his day.

Campese supported by Roger Gould and Andrew Slack against Wales in 1984. The Wallabies defeated Wales 28-9.

And you could write off his comment as being from someone who has spent too long securing his ears to his head with gaffer tape …except that it’s an attitude all to common in Australian sport.

Tim Cowie, writing in Crikey, nominated some of his favourite sports writers. Many of the best in the business are women, he said. He cited a stellar roll call which included Caroline Wilson, Emma Quayle, Sam Lane, Kelli Underwood, Karen Tighe, Debbie Spillane, Simone Thurtell, Chloe Saltau, Rebecca Wilson and Jaquelin Magnay.

“And then there are the countless female hacks who cover all codes right from the grassroots to the professional leagues, ” he added.


Time to blow the whistle on this sexist rubbish to which female sports writers are subjected.

It has been heartening to read so many comments from male sports writers and fans telling Campo to have a long lie down and a good, hard think.

I am a Rugby League fan (Manly tragic),  founder of the Eagles Angels along with Sarah Murdoch, as many would know.

We celebrated out 10 year anniversary last year. That’s me with some of the ladies (left). Spot the Olympic and world champs who also love League.

That means I go to the game, watch on TV, read about the code and take in all the commentary with like-minded women.

I write about League too – in fact one of my pieces made it into The Best Ever Australian Sports Writing – A 200 Year Collection. 

I also contributed to an anthology entitled My Sporting Hero (by the afore-mentioned Greg Growden) and wrote about Geoff Toovey – now Manly coach. I’ve been a contributor for the past seven years to the Sea Eagles News, the freebie newspaper given out to fans at the match.

Is a woman, (sorry, a “girl”) disqualified from writing on the game because she has never laced up a boot?

That seems to be the thinking… if there’s any thought at all in play here.

“I was a keen rugby league player as a little kid. And I was rather held back both by asthma and by lack of talent”.

Who said that?

It was League fan, Thomas Keneally AO, winner of the Man Booker Prize and author of The Utility Player: The Des Hasler Story.

Let’s get real. Half of the men who write about footy haven’t played since they left school. And it doesn’t stop them having a go at writing about women’s snychronised swimming – even though they’ve never clamped a sequinned peg on their nose.

Long story, short. Great sports writers will have an audience, regardless of their gender. Those who can’t write, won’t. 

Considering the parlous state of attendance for the domestic Union competition (and let’s not mention the Super15 who limped through a disastrous 2012), I would have thought that every (pert?) bum on a seat was a total bonus. In fact, all who love the game should be given a green and gold Wallabies jersey and a keyboard!

Play on, you excellent, professional women sports writers. I’ve got your back.

And a note to all in sports management: You don’t get boys and men playing footy when you piss off mothers, wives and girlfriends!

I guess I’m one of the few who write about the game of Rugby League without getting into the nitty gritty of the politics and results, preferring to take the Sideline Less Travelled.  See over for a mad piece I wrote when we played St. George in the finals, 2010. We lost. Horribly. Sob.

“Was there ever a more exquisite form of torture devised than finals football?

This time of the year is a cruel and unusual punishment for footy fans. A hundred thousand lives freeze-framed, just hovering somewhere between triumph and tragedy. No plans can be made. No projects begun, nor finished. No undertakings given. Where will you be on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday until Grand Final day?

Dunno. Depends. Don’t ask.

The days of the week drag by, but at the same time you don’t want the game to come too soon .The heady mix of possibility, anticipation and dread is strangely addictive. Too much of it could be bad for your health.

You rehearse the outcomes in your head, attempting to prepare yourself for a stunning victory or a tragic loss. Trying to somehow sandbag your emotions. But it’s a futile exercise. The disappointment will always be more bitter; the exhilaration sweeter than you can imagine. You know that, in the end your defences will be overrun.

You have a desperate need for more information. You read and talk about the game until you think you might go mad. But if you don’t do that, you’ll go mad anyway with the tension of it all.

At odd moments you stop and realise your mind is running statistics of past games, turning over possible plays, player combinations, factors of the weather, the effect of the crowd.

And then you stop dead with the referee. He’s the wild card that reduces any plans you to might make to pure, dumb luck.

You offer a silent prayer for the ref: Please make him the upholder of truth and justice this weekend. And try to see things our way, for once.

There must be more of a clue as to how things might go. It can’t just be left to chance or fate. You listen to the opinions of those blokes on the radio and TV, scan the newspapers. You read between the lines, listen for the nuance.

But, like the so-called experts might somehow know more than you do. As if ? They haven’t all year, why would they start now?

And so the day of sudden death dawns. It’s better this way, you think. A part of you wants it over and done with. But the end won’t come suddenly.

The mourning of the death of the dream will take all year. Maybe years and years. Like an old footy player you’ll carry a niggling injury that will never quite heal.

Here you are then.

You can’t see how you could have done any more to prepare yourself.

You’ve got your lucky hat, your favourite scarf, talismans and tokens tucked into pockets. You’re as ready as you’ll ever be. Fingers crossed. Bring it on.

Go Manly!


Michael Robertson, Jamie Lyon and Brett Stewart of the Sea Eagles celebrate with the premiership trophy after winning the 2011 NRL Grand Final. 




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  • Reply November 28, 2012


    I found it hard to believe when I first read this tweet. What a neanderthal. Glad to see so many jounalists speak out and bring him to task. My advice Mr Campese think first tweet second.

  • Reply November 28, 2012

    Old Fred

    Campo…. Manly supporter

    • Reply November 28, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      hahhahhahha… hardly.

  • Reply November 28, 2012

    William Marshall

    this is another facepalm moment from the old boys club! clearly Campase wasn’t thinking! also, GO BOMBERS! Essendon, that is!!

  • Reply November 28, 2012


    My hubby watches very little sport. I am a test cricket tragic and drove from newcastle to the sacred ground of the MCG to see the fabulous win by the marvelous Sydney swans.
    If anyone was going to write about sport in my house it would be me. But, in the words of Gwen Stefani, I’m just a girl.

  • Reply November 28, 2012


    And the use of the term ‘girl’ grrrrrrr. We’ve seen this bandied around too much lately. Imagine if we threw around the term ‘boy’ when referring to professionals in their field? Really over it!

  • Reply November 28, 2012


    Can I just give a big up to Amy Lawrence, the footballers answer to Nigella.
    Helps that like Ms Spilane , she supports the right teams. Ciao Gilbert, – smiles and waves red and white scarf
    PS well known fact – wingers are not known for their brains

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    And then, bless him, Campese’s 2nd tweet blamed our prime minister’s misogyny speech. Guess with all that blow hard gas this footie elder emits he’ll be up for an extra carbon tax too.

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    The ‘explanation’ is worse than the original tweet. Julia Gillard is to blame for his big mouth?!

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Lisa Lintern

    In some ways we should be grateful that we have yet another excellent example of why we still need feminism. I was so angry when I saw this yesterday, but heartened by the comments left under his so-called explanation on The Roar.

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    And yet Campese’s obnoxious tweet let us see some of the best of men and hope for the next generation. Just how very fabulous is David Pocock with his comment:

    “Really sad to see journos attacked based on their gender. Or a grown woman referred to as a ‘girl’ #destroyingthejoint”

    • Reply November 29, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      Yes, agree with you wholeheartedly, Dee! Good to see such dinosaur attitudes facing extinction.

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    Using David Campeses’s logic no one could be a war correspondent unless you’ve first been a soldier!

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    Around the same time Kate Fitzpatrick copped abuse from the cricket commentary team, I was told off for playing football with the other grade 7 lads, because “it was obscene for girls to play football with boys”. I swore off football – watching or supporting it from that moment, never forgot the look of venom on that (male) teacher’s face.

    There are 25+ tv shows alone on men’s football. One sport. Women’s sports have to beg for scraps of airtime, mostly on good old ABC, and therefore suffer in terms of sponsorship and development. There are more female journalists than male, but they get fewer opportunities to further their careers.

    The attitude of David Campese is appalling and he can take his ‘sorry but not really, here’s a retweet from a supporter that agrees with me’ and shove it.

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    Good grief, the synchronised swimming article is unbelieveable!

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    Maybe Campo should pop back into the kitchen and whip up some beautiful Barilla…..afterall he knows alot about how to do that.. Just saying…

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    On youse for calling sport. I am often quite disinterested unless it is in a comedy context~ but I very much get the lack of coverage of womens’ sports…

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    On youse for vocalising action~ whatever your gender is I am quite likely to tune out~ even as I note how there is a big disparity between coverage of womens’ and mens’ sports~ though I have at times enjoyed greater gender parity in coverage in a comedy context..

  • Reply November 29, 2012


    On a side note, does the journo he is refering to actually know anything about the sport? He makes that comment too. Maybe he is angry about that and chose a bad way to express it.

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