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Clarke, Dawe and the PM's good season -

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Clarke, Dawe and the PM's good season


KERRY O'BRIEN: Time now for John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, talking footy with the PM.

BRYAN DAWE (PLAYING THE INTERVIEWER): Mr Howard, thanks for your time.

JOHN HOWARD (PLAYED BY JOHN CLARKE): Always good to see you, Bryan. How are you?

BRYAN DAWE: You've hit a bit of a purple patch, haven't you?

JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, we're having a pretty good season just at the minute, Bryan. I mean, I don't
want to be too complacent, but I'd say we're a pretty confident side.

BRYAN DAWE: What do you put that down to?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, it's cyclical, you know. You go back a few years, we were wooden spooners. I

BRYAN DAWE: Nearly relegated.

JOHN HOWARD: Very nearly relegated. We were in serious strife.

BRYAN DAWE: And who was winning in those days?

JOHN HOWARD: That was the 'Hawkes' era. I mean, the Hawkes won it, you know, every year on the
trot. We didn't get in the final for four years.

BRYAN DAWE: But you recruited well?

JOHN HOWARD: We did, and we built our support base, Bryan. We've got a lot of people...

BRYAN DAWE: How did you do that?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, we did what we'd seen the Hawkes do.

BRYAN DAWE: Yeah, you got a flag.

JOHN HOWARD: We got a flag. We got a great big Australian flag and I wrapped myself in it and I
went and stood in the shopping centre for two hours every lunchtime.

BRYAN DAWE: And it paid off big time, didn't it?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, people love an Australian flag, Bryan, and the newspapers especially love it.
You wrap yourself in the Australian flag and stand in a shopping centre, you're in the paper every

BRYAN DAWE: Which newspapers?

JOHN HOWARD: Oh, the 'Australian', the 'Flag', the 'Australian Flag', 'Le Flag', 'Australian Daily
Tele Herald Flag', the 'Flagging Age' - they all love a flag.

BRYAN DAWE: You've got strength all over the ground now, haven't you?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, I think we've got the combination right now, you know. We've got Ruddock and
Minchin and Abbott up forward, and that, of course, you know, they don't take too many prisoners
and that of course gives, you know, Costello and Downer plenty of room.

BRYAN DAWE: Which they need.

JOHN HOWARD: Well, especially Peter.

BRYAN DAWE: There've been big performers this season, too, haven't there? I mean, Costello, Downer,

JOHN HOWARD: Who's Hill?

BRYAN DAWE: Well, he's been strong in Defence.



JOHN HOWARD: Hill? Don't know Hill. I wonder where his locker is? I'll have a look on Saturday.

BRYAN DAWE: But you have got depth in the side, haven't you?

JOHN HOWARD: Hill? Ah, yeah, yeah, we've got a lot of depth, yeah.

BRYAN DAWE: Although you've lost Vanstone for the moment with the headlock charge.

JOHN HOWARD: Well, we don't know that we've lost her. She's asked for another 4,000 offences to be
taken into account.

BRYAN DAWE: So she'll be rubbed out for, what, two weeks?

JOHN HOWARD: She might not. She's been very open with them about these other offences.

BRYAN DAWE: Why didn't she bring these offences up two years ago when they happened?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, they won't ask her that.

BRYAN DAWE: Well, how do you know that?

JOHN HOWARD: Trust me, Bryan.

BRYAN DAWE: Now, you've had injuries, haven't you? I mean, there was the Costello incident with

JOHN HOWARD: Well, we just bumped into each other. That was just a bit of a mix-up.

BRYAN DAWE: No-one's fault?

JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, it was Peter's fault. He shouldn't have been there. But it was a mix-up.

BRYAN DAWE: Well, didn't you call "Yours"?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, the ball seemed to be coming to Peter and then it sort of moved in the air and
seemed to be coming for me, so I went for it and I yelled out, "You're mine!" And I grabbed it.

BRYAN DAWE: "You're mine"?


BRYAN DAWE: And then you hit him?

JOHN HOWARD: I didn't hit him. He says I hit him. I didn't feel anything. I don't know that I hit

BRYAN DAWE: Who are you playing this week?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, we're playing ourselves a little bit at the moment. We're providing our own
opposition. We had a fixture last week; the opposition didn't turn up.

BRYAN DAWE: This was at Budget Park?

JOHN HOWARD: Budget Park, yeah. No appearance, your worship. We had a walkover.

BRYAN DAWE: So this week you're taking your opposition?

JOHN HOWARD: We're taking our own opposition, yeah, good players from our club who can't get in the
1s and could do with the run.

BRYAN DAWE: Yep - Petro Georgiou...

JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, Russell Broadbent, yeah, Bruce Baird, Judi Moylan, players of that calibre.

BRYAN DAWE: Well, I hope it goes well.

JOHN HOWARD: Oh, we can't lose, Bryan. We're playing ourselves.

BRYAN DAWE: Thanks for your time.

JOHN HOWARD: Go the flag!

BRYAN DAWE: Someone's got to win.