Of all the traditions and odd little customs associated with the game of Australian rules football (you win a game and then sing a jaunty little tune with yr m8s, for pete’s sake) running through the banner has gotta be up there with the strangest and best.
Evolving from woven streamers hung across the entrance of the old-style player races in the late 1930s, the banners became progressively larger and more mobile over time, becoming the huge, message-laden beasts that feature prominently in pre-game proceedings today.
Whilst most teams use the banners as a space to either celebrate individual player game milestones or write shelf-standard messages of motivation, the Western Bulldogs realised what they were truly dealing with: A blank text box, and thus an ideal opportunity for comedy.
Melbourne comedian, writer, and overall extremely funny man Danny McGinlay approached the club a couple of years ago and offered to write the messages that would appear on the banners for the club.
They’ve already acquired cult status, much like the club itself. But this year, also like the club, McGinlay has hit top form.
This savage zinger came at the expense of their Grand Final opponents Sydney at their regular season clash back in early July.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) July 2, 2016
Sledging the opposition using the lockout laws? That’s a deep burn.
But then there were others like this unbelievably deep dig into the pile to ether the West Coast Eagles.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) June 5, 2016
Platinum-status zinger, that one.
Hell, he did it again when the Dogs went west to smash the Eagles a few short weeks ago in their Elimination Final, this time taking a rather economic path to the burns ward.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) September 8, 2016
Other interstate verbal bombs included this food-based barb, taking aim at South Australia‘s weird-ass taste in foodstuffs.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) May 7, 2016
Though that said we won’t hear a bad word against pie floaters because they are 100% delish.
North Melbourne copped the wrath of the Dogs’ banner twice this year, firstly with a stinging jab that makes sense if you have an intimate working knowledge of the Melbourne train network…
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) April 29, 2016
…and secondly by taking a little-publicised statistical fact about the game after the Roos’ Brent Harvey broke the all-time VFL/AFL games record.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) August 6, 2016
Then there’s this one, which is both hilarious and a big relief to spring-time bike riders.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) August 12, 2016
‘Course it’s not all simply abject sledging directed at other teams. McGinlay has used the banners to pay respects to club greats from other teams, and to acknowledge and honour Australia’s Indigenous people as well, in a move that’s seriously nothing but class.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) May 22, 2016
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) April 2, 2016
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) August 28, 2016
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) May 29, 2016
But in terms of heat, it seems McGinlay’s zingers caught fire at exactly the same time the Bulldogs did: just as the finals kicked off.
The semi-final banner against Hawthorn was an absolute corker…
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) September 16, 2016
…as was the preliminary final effort against the built-by-design GWS Giants.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) September 24, 2016
Both banners perfectly capturing the working-class “everyone’s second team” aura that the Dogs’ plucky young ‘Scraggers have developed.
As far as Grand Final prep is concerned, McGinlay’s already had a warm-up for the big dance by piecing together this ripper for the Dogs’ winning VFL Grand Final effort this past Sunday:
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) September 25, 2016
They played the Casey Scorpions. Geddit?
But as for what Danny’s got brewing for this Saturday’s AFL Grand Final, we’ve no idea. He’s keeping extremely tight-lipped about it, preferring to reveal all to the world when it gets hoisted into the sky on the hallowed turf of the MCG.
All we know is that it’s gonna take a lot to beat this absolute PEARLER he lobbed at Melbourne earlier this year, which is such a brilliant, layered gag that it should get its own spot in the Hall of Fame.
— Danny McGinlay (@dannymcginlay) May 15, 2016
When you’re dropping the phrase “negative gearing” as a punchline and it’s still bloody hilarious, you know you belong in the AFL.
That’s pro-gag writing, right there.
Photo: Danny McGinlay/Twitter.