Your grand-fi­nal grub, sorted.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

TWO codes, two pre­mier­ships, two grand fi­nals – next week­end is a feast for those of us who love odd-shaped balls. The big ques­tion is what to serve fel­low footie fans on the big day. With ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in my kids’ footy club can­teen, as well as three sea­sons work­ing with one of the world’s great­est foot­ball clubs on their pres­i­dent’s lunch, I’ve got a lit­tle bit of in­sight.

Let’s set a few ground rules. Firstly, what­ever you serve should never get in the way of you join­ing with your mates to shout at the telly for as much of the game as pos­si­ble. Se­condly, give all the dishes nick­names as homage to the two Tyran­nosaurus Rexes of commentary, Hunt and Mos­sop.

While it’s great to serve pulled hammy and pineap­ple pizza, or have a plate of ap­ple turnovers to of­fer ri­val fans when their play­ers drop the ball along with the im­mor­tal words, “an­other turnover?”, if it can’t be served with sauce it has no place on a footy menu.

So party pies and sausage rolls are a must but call them 40/20 pies or, well, ac­tu­ally “sausage roll” is al­ready AFL slang for a goal, so there’s no need to be cute with a nick­name here as the job’s al­ready done!


Form a 3:1 ra­tio of coarse ground beef brisket and smoked ba­con into wide, flat burg­ers. Fry hard, on a well pre­heated BBQ grill or fry­pan. When one side is crusty, flip, lay on a cheese square, cover the pan and fin­ish cook­ing. Leave in the warm pan un­til needed.

Toast thin slices of bread – two slices in each slot – to dou­ble your toast pro­duc­tion dur­ing half time. Place a burger on the soft sides of the toast with pick­led chill­ies, ice­berg let­tuce and mayo or, in­stead of greens, a bit of claret sauce or horse­rad­ish. En­cour­age your friends to dig in with the im­mor­tal words, “Go the biff (burg­ers).”


There is noth­ing AFL fans love more than howl­ing “BALL!” at the um­pire when an op­po­si­tion player gets nailed in a tackle.

Let ev­ery­one mar­vel at your ball-han­dling skills and make a huge mound of meat­balls. Sea­son with lemon juice, a gen­er­ous pinch of salt and serve with tooth­picks and sauce.

Or dust with dukkah and serve with a dip­ping sauce of Greek yo­ghurt whipped with crushed feta and finely sliced mint. Put a pile of cu­cum­ber ba­tons on the side for some­thing green other than the pitch.

It’s not oblig­a­tory to yell “BALL!” ev­ery time you take one, but you will.


The bump and the shep­herd, while acts of gross vil­lainy in other codes, are cel­e­brated in Aussie Rules, so serv­ing your mates in­di­vid­ual shep­herd’s pies baked in muf­fin tins (with a layer of sauce in be­tween the lamb mince and the mash top­ping) is won­der­fully ap­pro­pri­ate.

If serv­ing to NRL fans, call them 1907s and sug­gest (but never out­right claim) that shep­herd’s pie was on the menu at the Bate­man’s Crys­tal Ho­tel in Ge­orge St on that fate­ful Au­gust 8.


My ma­roon-wear­ing chums from Townsville tell me that win­ning the NRL grand fi­nal is all about the wings and there is no bet­ter set-and-for­get recipe for wing suc­cess than this one.

Serve th­ese sticky wings in the se­cond half with rum and cokes, sauce on the side and lots of nap­kins.

Note that this is a pretty evil recipe so make it only once a year, ide­ally on grand fi­nal day. You’ll find my recipe on­line at de­li­


Stir a good dol­lop of mas­car­pone, grated parme­san and the finely sliced whites of spring onions through freshly drained small grained pasta like risoni or orzo. Rain with in­sults – or black pep­per – when dish­ing up. For this one, though, keep the sauce on the side.

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