A Whittlesea man is reportedly telling his city slicker mates that he’s especially looking forward to tonight’s “Country Festival” game between Geelong and Essendon at the MCG. Simon O’Connell, who has only recently moved to Whittlesea after spending most of his life living in the suburbs of Melbourne, is supposedly most excited about what he describes as “long overdue recognition for the hard working country folk of Australia”.

Speaking to friends earlier this week, O’Connell said, “Us country people are the heartbeat of this nation. We do it tough out on the land, so that city people can enjoy many of the luxuries they take for granted. So it’s nice for the AFL to give us just a small amount of recognition for the immeasurable impact we have on Australia.”

Friends of O’Connell reacted to his comments mostly with mirth, but some with incredulity. One friend, who asked not to be named, told us, “He’s bloody kidding himself isn’t he? He moved up there late last year, works in an office in Ivanhoe, and wouldn’t know which end of the chainsaw cuts down a tree. Can’t wait for his heartfelt Facebook check-in at the game on Saturday night which, coincidentally, he won’t have to catch a V/Line train to.”

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