THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: LONG LIVE THE OYSTER CHAMPIONS!
To all of our beloved sponsors, parents, friends, supporters, doctor, sports physiotherapist, team psychologist, coach, and players, we would like to apologise for the delay in getting you the most anticipated piece of scripture since the New Testament or Shane Warne’s tell-all memoir… the Final Oysters Circular of 2020.
We sat down last Sunday evening looking forward to drafting some quality, polite and good-natured banter to round out what has been a fantastic season. We were hella keen to include some oceanic metaphors, unrelated tangents and an unprecedented appreciation of oyster anatomy that was quite frankly just plain stupid and only funny because of the randomness element (the highest form of humour). This of course would be complimented with playful roasting of the opposition without conveying the slightest sign of disrespect in fear of offending a small demographic of the Circular-readership (you know all who you are…use this off season to grow some calluses on those soft, sweaty palms of yours). However, as we began to think of what to say, we felt the weight of a thousand worlds upon our shoulders. We had been damned with the unfathomable burden of attempting to articulate into one short publication:
Winning the Grand Final to emerge as undefeated Jeffrey Cup champions in our inaugural year;
The finality of the season coming to the end; and
The emotional implications of (i) and (ii) for all of us, you included.
Exhibit A: Here. We. Go.
Not since the almighty John Eales penalty goal in the 2000 opening Bledisloe clash has there been so much hype around rugby union in Australia. As you can see, this is a task that would take a bit more contemplation, and to make things worse, every time the thought that this would be the final circular of 2020 popped into our heads, we would spiral into uncontrollable fits of crying, screaming, vomiting and the occasional seizure. If we’ve taught you all one thing this season, however, it’s that OYSTERS LOVE ADVERSITY.
After a what has been a week of pure struggle, we have successfully navigated towards a finished product. Whilst the traumatic process has inflicted upon us long-lasting mental debilitation and permanent erectile dysfunction, we are proud to invite you to enjoy the final circular of this year.
[PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING]
Before proceeding, the New South Wales Health Department strongly recommends that you be seated, have ingested at least 14 liters of water in the last hour and have removed all sharp objects from reaching distance. Any readers under the age of 17 require an accompanying parent or adult guardian.
All religious allegories are made in jest per standard from precedent Circular publications.
From the Committee
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, [1:2] the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [1:3] Then God said, "Let there be li-"
[1:4]: In this twisted Oyster-adapted version of the beginning of our world, God was interrupted when the barren pre-creation landscape was obliterated by a hYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE hit up from a large, sandy-haired Novacastrian. [1:5] God paused, stepped back, and bellowed out "Man, you crazy!" [1:5] The universe stood still as it witnessed the forceful impact play of "CRAZY GUS" McClelland (readers: this is no longer a joke – he has been diagnosed as clinically insane and is incredibly unpredictable, so for the sake of society he needs to be institutionalised immediately. WHY WILL NO ONE LISTEN TO US? WHY WON'T ANYONE TAKE US SERIOUSLY? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!) [1:6] Crazy Gus continued to run it hard and run it straight (a favourite from his inspirational half time speeches), before selfishly and unnecessarily flick passing his creation orb (just take it to ground mate you don't have to be the hero every weekend) to his tanned, Ancient Greek compatriot, Lachy "Get the F*** Around" Argiris. [1:7] Together, they bellowed out: LET THERE BE OYSTERS!
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS [2:1]
Prepare yourself: we're getting into oyster anatomy (and general cellular biology).
As the command of creation flew across the earth on the back of mighty gusts, the micro bacteria and other bottom feeders (because that's what we all were before we had this club) inhabiting the pre-Oyster planet began to hum in unison. A powerful vibration of pure ambition and unrelenting desire to BECOME, resonated throughout each and every one of us microscopic entities. This had the uncanny effect of causing our golgi apparatus to partially entwine with the cytoplasm of the adjacent cell, therefore meshing together the nuclei without disturbing the ribosome sub-structure. This had the unexpected effect of forming the beginnings of the helix structure underpinning the protein polysaccharides that compose today's conventional oyster shell. [2:2] Now, a bit of this then happened, and bit of that then happened, and fast forward, the Oyster Buoys found themselves playing touch down as Rushcutters for one of the first couple of Saturday trainings (see Exhibit A below). Whatever happened between the ribosoma-whatever and the Buoys running some HYUUUUUUUUUUUUGE lines is a mystery that the greatest evolutionary scientists have tried to answer but have failed so we'll let that one through to the keeper (that's a cricket reference for all you nerds out there).
Exhibit B: Humble Beginnings…Buoys at one of their first Saturday trainings
[2:3] From being born of the literal dirt, the Oyster Buoys overcame the adversity of thousands of years of evolution to become direct depictions of archetypal, peak, male sporting performance. Like shepherds following the Star of Bethlehem, the Buoys began to follow their own shining beacon of light (yes Biscoe, that's a reference to your pasty, pasty exterior) to the top of the aquatic life pyramid.
Simple and casual games of Saturday touch morphed into weekly Thursday evening trainings down at Rose Bay that sharpened our shells, salted our rubbery oyster flesh, and objectively improved each and every one of our sex lives. [2:4] To give you a sneak-peak into this secretive Oyster conditioning campaign, the Thursday nights would begin with a proprietary and elite warm up: Oysters’ Touch™ (yes it is trademarked by the way: if you would like to adapt or appropriate your own version of this patented activity, please contact our in-house counsel William Pattinson. Any unconsented use or appropriation will be met with the appropriate civil suites according to our rights under New South Wales tort legislation). [2:5] Following a couple of dropped balls from James "the Playmaker" Rickard, Oysters’ Touch™ is retired before Coach Boone gets his sauce bottle out. Like every Kilpatrick needs its Worcestershire and bacon, every Oyster Buoy needs it fair shake of Coach Boone's secret sauce bottle (get your minds OUT OF THE GUTTER, especially you Peper). It’s quite simple really. Coach spends Sunday morning to Friday evening analysing replays of the precedent weekend's game, reads some stuff on Green and Gold, puts all this into a shoe box, shakes it around, and suddenly: TACTICS AND ASSOCIATED DRILLS!
[2:6] As important as this is, however, this is one of many ingredients. If you think of our progression like a layered oyster cake, we start off with:
A polished peak male sporting physique base;
Add Coach Boone's secret sauce (Kil this, Patrick that, blah blah blah);
Bake with some sneaky Tuesday morning fitness for those Oyster Buoys who we were really keen to harden their shells (you guys are heroes);
Sprinkle some "New Fridays at the Light Brigade" hundreds and thousands;
Squeeze on a bit of sponsorship icing (we love you sponsors!); and finally
PLATE UP WITH A SIDE OF HEART, CAMERADERIE, LOVE FOR THE COMMUNITY AND LOVE FOR THE OYSTERS
From zero to hero.
Look at us now, Instagram Royalty (see Exhibit B below).
Exhibit C: Look how far we've come…Instagram Royalty
[2:7] So, there we have it. The book of creation. From nothing, something was born. From dust we came, and toward to dust we will finish, BUT NOT BEFORE HURTLING INTO A BLAZING OCEANIC MASTERPIECE THAT HAS BEEN LABELLED THE WILDEST ADDITION TO AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE SINCE THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HAROLD HOLT. What are we talking about you might be asking? Well…we'll give you a clue. It's the best thing since sliced bread. It’s better than Lego. It's better than Sir Alexander Flemming's discovery of penicillin's use as an antibiotic in 1945. It's even better than getting level 99 fishing on Runescape without botting (if you don’t get this reference, please leave. Looking at you @Dominic Remond).
[2:8] Anyway, yes, you've guessed correctly. We did a little thing called "become undefeated Jeffrey Cup champions in our inaugural year". Pour yourself another drink, make sure your seatbelt is fasted, and continue reading at your own peril.
Interviewers: “Jonny C, how good would it be to come out of an 8 year retirement to play for The Oysters, a team of mates that love footy and love camaraderie?”
Jon Chryssafis: “Would love to mate, as long as it doesn’t lead to temporary blindness”
Interviewers: “So Hamish, so tell me about your footy career, what lights your fire?”
Hamish Robertson: “Well I’ve been on and off the park lately, but really I just need an excuse to get the rig in shape, get down to Sydney as much as I can and find Mrs Robertson. Also I want to sit in the sink a bit more."
Oysters vs Sea Lice. Was bucketing down so no piccies, sorry fam.
Interviewers: “Gussy boy, you’ve seemed to be able to maintain a cool demeanour for most of the season, what’s your secret?”
Angus McClelland: “Yeah look moit, was able to get a handle on my fits of rage through a few midweek yoga sessions, does wonders for the soul as well as hitting those line outs, This all came my psychiatrist.”
Interviewers: “Dormsy, tell us what you want to get out rugby, you’ve mastered the round ball, now it’s time for a change”
Harrison Dormer: “Would love to come down to my new home of Rushcutters, really immerse myself into the culture and even get a few minutes, Subbies Div 5, I should be getting plenty of minutes…right?”
Interviewers: “Yo Shane, tell us about your weekends, how do you manage to fit rugby in?”
Seamus Frost: “Ha, well, I have concluded after much trial and error about the how to get the most out of my Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without missing a beat. Come under Uncle Shane’s wing one Friday and I’ll walk you through it”
Interviewer: “Ranger! Talk to us, enigma on and off the field, how do you do it?”
Jack Remond: (To the tune of J Lo’s “Let’s get Loud” “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH… LET’S GET SHUCKED, LET’S GEEEEEEET SHUUUCKED!”
Interviewers: “Yo Peps, obviously loving being back on the park, plans for next season?”
Nick Peper: “Sorry guys, can't speak right now. Need to focus on putting in a top shelf performance in the grand final.”
Interviewers: “Boonie, you know it would’ve been great to be out on the park, but we feel you’ve really grabbed the coaching roll with both hands”
Louis Bisoce: “Kez, coaching has been hella eets. Really sorry to have to say shlates to the buoys this season… AARRGGHH COLEY!!!! NOOOO!!! NOT THE HAIR!!! I'M DJING TONIGHT AND THERE CHIX!"
Exhibit D: The Chronology
[3:3] Hope you all enjoyed that and shared this to at least 25 friends or else. If you don't, on the next full moon, the ghost of Jon Chrysalis (vale, young price) is going to appear in your driveway on a murderous one-eyed rampage (social media reference to all those parents out there. Our generation sucks).
Read on for the grand finale (make sure you're wearing a belt).
THE HYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE DANCE [4:1]
The week leading up to the Big Dance was defined by nerves and jitters. You know that stupid face Biscoe makes when he's trying to think really hard about something whilst chewing on his pen? That pretty much sums up how fried we all were coming into this week. Monday turned into Tuesday. Tuesday turned into Wednesday. Wednesday turned in Thursday and suddenly training was upon us. Whilst the nerves were out, the hunger was, and the energy was as electric as ever.
[4:2] Come Friday, the Oyster’s self-appointed Sleep Patrol Officer (a Sleep Patrol Officer is a Justice of the Peace whom takes responsibility for ensuring that certain folk in the team do not have huge Friday nights to maximise Saturday performance) Jonah Clarkson was out in force. Jonah was door knocking, Instagram tracking, and doing the type of police-state surveillance that the People's Republic of China wish it had the capability to do. Unsurprisingly, it was all quiet on the Eastern Front as the men from Rushcutters closed their shells (wow haven't had an Oyster reference for a while) and curled up in preparation for the big disco. We all dreamed that night of sweet Jeffrey…oh sweet Jeffrey…
[4:3] GAME DAY BABY! Wow, and here we found ourselves. A culmination of an entire season's hard yakka was in front of us and it translated into a simple task: GETTING OUR SPEARS OUT AND PLUNGING THEM INTO THE HEARTS OF THOSE STUPID SOUTHERN OCEAN DOLPHINS! All we could think about was that succulent shark fin soup we would be drinking out of sweet Jeffrey…oh sweet Jeffrey.
[4:4] It was the 19th day of the 9th month, and my god was there an electric atmosphere at Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Club. They say Easts' Ladies Day is the social event of the year, well that's true for the B.Oy (Before Oysters) era. Post B.OY, however, it is now the Jeffrey Cup final that holds this coveted social event status. It seemed that anyone and everyone who could get their hands on a ticket were scrambling for one…and my oh my did those tickets sell faster than a Queen concert. Yes…that reference was intended…because as you guessed it:
WE ARE THE
CHAMPIONS (…my friend) [doo doo doo]
AND WE'LL KEEP ON FIGHTING
TO THE END [doo doo doo]
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
NO TIME FOR BURRAS
COS WE ARE THE OYSTERS!
[4:5] We did plan on talking about how hard fought and close the game was, but that would be PERJURY. From the kick-off the Oysters were un-be-shucking-lievable, line bending runs from the forwards, finessing from the backs, and plenty of unnecessary flick passes from our favourite novacastrian duo. We'll leave the full play-by-play for the Coach's Corner, but take our word for it: the Dolphins were fish out of water, rolling around on the grass like a Japanese trawler had just mowed through their natural breeding habitat. Such was the excitement, that well-wishes began to roll in from all corners of the globe. Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England also even took time out of her busy schedule to throw us her two cents (see Exhibit D below). Word is one of the plucky Oysters is trying to get her over for the Oyster Ball.
Exhibit E: Queen Elizabeth's personal congratz!!!!
We digress, with the final score 31-17, the Oyster Buoys had taken their birthright and won the 2020 Jeffrey Cup. This is encapsulated in Exhibit E and F below.
Exhibit F: The Oyster Buoys take what's rightfully theirs
Exhibit G: VEEEEECTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finito: the end? [5:1]
Yes, we won the Jeffrey Cup.
[5:2] And on a completely serious note, it's literally too hard to get into words what that means to us. So here's a photo instead – please refer to Exhibit G below:
Exhibit H: The Inaugural Sydney Harbour Rugby Club "The Oysters"; undefeated Jeffrey Cup Champions of 2020
Exhibit G is one of those photos that gives you goose bumps, makes your hair stand on end, and dare I say, jerks a tear into your eye. To those who did not know each other very well before the season started, to those who were only friends "on the fringe" with no real connection, and even to those who had been lifelong friends, it would be an understatement to say that the Oyster Buoys of 2020 are now connected by a bond stronger than anything that can be defined under the umbrella term of "friendship". We are all now forged together by the rare honour of having started something truly special that each and every one of us will remember for the rest of our lives. The passion is boundless and you can see it in our eyes: true nirvana.
A special thanks needs to go out here to all the players, Coach, sports physiotherapist, doctor, supporters, friends, parents and our beloved sponsors, for coming together and creating a community that has brought so much passion and happiness to each and everyone of us in what is a truly dark and backwards time. The Oysters' season is over for now, but what we did this year will remain seared into our memories for years and years to come. Think of this not as the end, but as a beautiful, fairy tale start.
[5:3] Twenty years down the track, when you bump past Chief Justice Mackenzie Bowman on his way to provide a dissenting judgment on highly publicized trial on Constitutional interpretation, or when you see an article in The Australian about Tom Ritchie being incarcerated in Clarence Correctional Supermax (just south of Grafton if you want to visit him), you'll instantly look your fellow Oyster in the eye and say "we were part of that Inaugural team…"
That's pretty bloody special.
Exhibit I: Shuck ‘Em For life
Post-Final Celebrations [6:1]
Nothing to be said here except LONG LIVE THE RAT SHACK!
Exhibit J: Some have been asking: what do Oysters survive off? Well its pretty obvious. Please see above: Breakfast of Champions (Hah, pun intended).
We'll hand it over to the Coach.
“Opportunities to win a premiership in life are very rare, let alone the chance to go undefeated in a club's first season. That is exactly what was at stake for our team last Saturday and the buoys were absolutely raring to go on a cracking afternoon at Easts Rugby Club. The Burraneer Dolphins were the final hurdle in this epic journey and presented a different challenge to KOBs, being a much larger and physical team.
Exhibit K: Boonie Soothing those Pre-Game Jitters
We won the toss and elected to kick; our skipper Angus "Crazy Gus" McClelland set the tone early with a great first hit, forcing a Burraneer clearance under pressure that was taken back and went out on the full. Immediately the Oysters had an attacking lineout on the 22 and looked to build pressure. Harry Williams ran a great angle off inside centre Sam Wood, making a half break off first phase. From there, the buoys looked to work it in tight through our forwards. Despite some good phase-play, the Dolphins were absolutely up for the physical stuff, with some big shots being put on Oliver Hassall and Nick Findlay. We dominated possession and field position early, launching numerous assaults on the Burraneer line. In our previous encounter with the Dolphins, Seamus Frost had a massive impact. They were clearly keen to not let this happen again, and always looked to rush up and jam him in defence.
It was a very tight and physical opening stanza. The Burraneer line-speed in defence was very effective and we struggled to crack the line. Recognizing this, both halves looked to kick and turn their defence around, running their big forwards all over the field and tiring them out in the process. We had a scrum feed on our 40m line about 20 minutes in; Jack Remond executed a perfect 1st phase kick, finding plenty of space close to their try line. Seamus Frost was chasing hard and towed the ball through, he nearly regathered but the Burraneer 11 was Johnny on the spot and scrambled well to recover the ball. A Dolphins clearing kick found Harry Williams, who shifted it across to Hamish Lorang on the other side of the field. He had a good run down the sideline before we received a penalty for a high tackle. Off the attacking lineout, Lachy Argiris had a strong carry after receiving the ball directly off the back jumper. Being inches from the line, Harry Williams picked up the ball and dove over from close for the first try of the game.
Exhibit L: Hard, Straight Running. Without fear or favour of the opposition
The game continued in some back and forth play for the next 10 minutes, with both sides struggling to make major inroads. Roy Harrison caught an errant Dolphins through off a lineout on halfway, instantly looking to find his 12 Sam Wood with a good short ball. Nick Findlay was smacked off the next hit up and the ball went to ground. Burraneer scooped it up and after an offload, made a clean line break and looked certain to score. Daniel Bottrell put in a herculean effort to chase him down with a great covering tackle. They still looked on for all money and got more off loads away metres from the line. However Harry Cole and Seamus Frost had also hurried back and made back to back clutch try-saving tackles. We were then camped on our line for what felt like an eternity, as Burraneer looked to their maul. Despite a yellow card warning the buoys held strong, Jack Remond was particularly valiant in defence; executing some perfect boot-lace tackles on their big ball running number 8 who liked to take it off the back of the scrum.
Our set piece was proving to be a real strength and helped us finally exit our own half after sustaining some serious pressure. With about 10 minutes to go the team had an attacking lineout on the 22 and looked to capitalize. Jack Remond at fly half took it hard to the line in the first phase. Nick Findlay worked hard around the corner to receive the next pass, giving a great tip on to Angus McClelland in the process. Crazy Gus stepped to the outside and got his left arm fend working, beating 2 more tacklers before powering over a third for a classic captains' try. The buoys sensed they had the momentum and took full advantage, scoring again before the half. Seamus Frost hit a hard unders line off Roy Harrison at 9 and busted through. He nearly scored but tripped up just before the line. Crazy Gus dummied the pass off the base of the ruck and dove over next to the posts to cap off a great 1st half, we led 19-0.
Exhibit M: Momentum upfield, en route to an Oyster Demolition.
At half time we spoke about the need to be ruthless and continuing to play the game down at their end in order to build pressure and convert this into points. The buoys picked up where they left off, with Jack Remond slicing through a gap immediately after the break. Dan Bottrell ran a beautiful support line to link up with his 10, before racing away for a quick score. Everything was clicking for us, and the team was doing well to constantly recognize where the space was and shift the ball accordingly. The piggies were working endlessly to lay the platform, Nick Pepper and Justin Sayer were ruthless in their breakdown work and Lachy Argiris never stopped carrying the ball. It was very pleasing to see every team member play with confidence, never hesitating in executing their job. This attitude was evidenced when Dan Bottrell gathered a clearing Burraneer kick, controlling an awkward bounce perfectly with his foot. He shaped to attack right, but then quickly stepped back left before giving the pass to Roy Harrison. Roy suddenly found himself in space with an overlap. He backed himself, pinning the ears back to race way down the left touch line. As the three Dolphin cover defenders finally met him, he layed off a perfect chest pass to Hamish Lorang in support who finished a great try.
Exhibit N: Yep Stace, that is looking like 1 more point to the Oysters.
The remainder of the game saw us lose some intensity, and we too often got caught narrow in our defence which led to points being scored against us. Full credit to a tough Burraneer squad, who continued to fight all game and were always up for the physical battle. The strung together some good team tries and made us work extremely hard for the full 80. The final whistle obviously bought complete elation for the squad who had put in a huge amount of work to get to this stage. It was a pleasure to coach such a great group of guys, the camaraderie and commitment demonstrated on this crazy journey by the players was extraordinary. A special shout out to our skipper Angus "Crazy Gus" McClelland who put in a true captain's knock for the final. Crazy Gus always led by example with his hard play and was a vocal leader throughout the season, I know we couldn't have done it without him. The Oysters celebrate in style, but after the dust has settled, I know everyone can't wait to rip in and go again next season. Bring on 2021.”
- Louis Biscoe a.k.a “Coach Boone”
We did it. Thank you to the sponsors who helped us get here. We say it every week, but now we have reached the end of the first chapter and have something to show for our efforts. We use these inclusive pronouns to encapsulate the importance of what our sponsors have been able to allow us to achieve. This season has been particularly tough to play and even tougher for businesses out there, and it has been very selfless something that has been valued throughout the season.
Again, we can't thank you enough.
Exhibit O: GAME… SET… MATCH!!!
Exhibit P: 7/7 = Glory.
Around the Ground: Presented by Punt Hub
G’day, Mark from PuntHub here with an end of season wrap.
What a season it was, culminating in a grand final victory over the Dolphins. Most of our punters walked away with their pockets full after the short-priced favourites took out the season undefeated.
The post-match did reveal some surprises when Jack Remond, who was 30/1 at the beginning of the season, took out the Jeffery Cup player of the year. Speaking of awards, with the presentation night coming up we have created some lines on what will happen on the night.
Our pick of the bets are:
1. Red Dog to end up in the water by 10pm: 3/1
2. The Oyster song to be sung over 1.5 times: 5/1
3. At least one player to forget its black tie: 6/1
4. Someone’s date to book a water taxi: 3/1
And lastly, we have created a line for post season blow outs: Who is most likely to come back to preseason with most weight added?
- Lachy Argiris: 3/1
- Nick ‘PieMan’ Peper: 7/2
- James Rickard: 4/1
- Justin Sayer: 5/1
- Joel Cheung: 10/1
- Will Lee: 10/1
- Sam Moko Mako: 20/1
That’s a wrap for season 2020.
If you’re having a bet over spring, go to this link to bet with Neds:
And make sure the signup code is PUNTHUB (case sensitive).
(Please note all bets above are for banter purposes and not real bets).
Thanks From Your Circular Co-Authors
From your Circular co-authors, it has been an absolute pleasure to write for you week in week out to help you hold onto that weekend glory for a little while longer. We hope that you can admit that you chuckled at a few of our quality bants and didn't get too offended at our jabs at the opposition, but in any case, we will bid you farewell for this season. We truly hope you had as much fun with the Circular as we did, and we would like to commend the entire community on how special you have made these last couple of months.
Yours in all things Oysters,
Bowman and Cheung, signing off.
Exhibit Q: Thanks for reading!
As always, have a fantastic week, go the Oysters, and above all, SHUCK ‘EM!
Sydney Harbour Rugby Club