A local footy team is bracing itself for a tough game tomorrow after spending all week dealing with an, at times, chronic shortage of players due to a bunch of their young blokes heading north for a music festival. The playing stocks of the Watsonia Wombats have been decimated by the mass exodus, with some club insiders claiming that up to a dozen of their best 22 have made their excuses and headed to Byron Bay this weekend for the annual Splendour in the Grass.

President of the Wombats, Reg MacDonald, has told The Watsonia Bugle, “It’s a bloody nightmare scenario mate. We’re still a mathematical chance for finals, so tomorrow’s game against the Lower Plenty Killer Pythons is a must-win for our club. The exodus started on Sunday night when a couple of blokes texted the coach to say they have a family wedding this weekend. I mean, c’mon boys, nobody gets married in July. How stupid do they think we are? Then last night at training, the number of blokes reporting hamstring awareness was off the charts. Normal procedure in that case is that injured players are still expected to turn up to games to support their mates, but one of these peanuts reckons his hammy is so aware that he won’t be able to come to the game tomorrow and sit on the sidelines!”

While MacDonald said he would give each of the missing players the benefit of the doubt, the club had employed a squad of social media analysts to monitor the accounts of each player, just in case any Splendour-related content is shared over the weekend. He said, “We’ll be keeping an eye on everything. Young blokes these days can’t help themselves. I reckon the only reason some of them go to these types of things is so they can brag about their attendance on social media. If I see so much as an airport check-in or an Insta story of one of them in some moshpit, I’ll bloody hit the roof mate.”

MacDonald also indicated that tomorrow’s absence could then extend to the following week’s game against the Eltham Eels. He said, “From past experience, the worst thing about it is we don’t just lose them for this week, we often lose them for the following week. They spend this weekend on a massive bender and report back to training on Tuesday looking like they’ve just fallen out of a garbage compactor. A few years back one of them even came back with an actual medical diagnosis of trench foot. He was cooked for the rest of the season after that!”