The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t had an Australian on the roster since Patty Mills left 11 years ago. That’s more than a decade of watching and writing about this team without being able to cheer for one of my own countrymen.
Enter Adelaide’s favorite (OK, so today we’ll spell it favourite) son, Joe Ingles, dealt from the Utah Jazz to the Blazers at the trade deadline as he convalesces from a knee injury that will see him out until at least 2023.
Whether he ever pulls on a Blazers jersey depends on what happens during the coming Australian winter (free agency), but Interim General Manager Joe Cronin has already talked about how fond he is of Ingles and his Bird rights. This doesn’t necessarily mean the 34-year-old plays for Portland but you get the sense he’s more than just an expiring contract.
Last week, Ingles also expressed his enthusiasm for the Blazers, despite the fact that he may not play, adding that he’ll probably arrive in Portland later this month.
To help him acclimate to the Pacific Northwest I thought I’d help the Blazers faithful with some Australianisms to make the big wing feel welcome. By the way Joe, Portland itself is amazing. My wife and I visited just before the pandemic, it’s a lot like Melbourne, my hometown and where your beloved Hawthorn Hawks play.
I also penned a little piece to Ben Simmons last year as trade rumors (or rumours) swirled about him potentially becoming a Blazer.
Anyway, below are a few "rippers" (some good ones) for Blazers fans to keep on hand in case you bump into the big guy down town, strolling through Hawthorne or at Powell's Books if he’s not “flat chat” (busy).
Now, if you really do have “tickets on yourself” (confident) you might be able to combine a few of these in one hit.
But you don’t want to overdo it or he might think you’re just “taking the piss” (to mock), which might lead to Joe “spitting the dummy” or “cracking the s^&%” (getting angry).
To help build bridges, you might want to “shout” (buy a round of) stubbies/tinnies (beers) and if you’re lucky, he might not think you’re a drongo (idiot). And if you didn't feel like visiting a bar, you could always drop into the local "bottle-o" (liquor store). But don’t drink too much, because you'll probably end up doing a “shoey” (drinking beer out of a shoe), “blind” (drunk) and finishing the night “chundering” (vomiting) all over his shoes.
You just hope he responds with “she’ll be right” (don’t worry about it). You’ll also be spending a bit of time in the “dunny” (bathroom/toilet) that night.
The next day you might have to “chuck a sickie” (call in sick at work) because you “can’t be arsed” (can’t be bothered) getting out of bed. Joe would also probably call you a “bludger” (lazy).
Now don’t be confused, if he says “yeah, nah” or “nah, yeah”. He’s real intention is always the latter. For instance, if you were to suggest going to “Maccas” (McDonald’s) after the Blazers game and he says “yeah, nah”, it’s not happening.
Knowing the weather in Portland, it might be worth reminding Joe to bring his “brolly” (umbrella) along or he could end up a bit “crook” (sick, ill). If you do manage to share a cup of coffee and some lunch and he asks for “dead horse” (ketchup, rhyming slang for tomato sauce) with his “chips” (fries), no need to call the ASPCA. Alternatively, he might just prefer to stop by the “servo” (gas station) or a “sausage sizzle” (a fundraising barbecue almost exclusively serving "snags" (sausages) on white bread with onions and dead horse).
And if you’re kind enough to pay for the meal, don’t be surprised if he says “I’ll fix you up next time”, (pay you back), relax, he’s not going to hurt you. Honestly, I’m not telling a “furphy” (an untrue story and a great Australian beer).
Not sure if he’s a betting man, but if he likes a “flutter” (gamble) and things get serious, you might end up “playing for sheep stations” (high stakes).
And because he’s serious about it, he might also add that he’s “not here to f&^% spiders” (sorry about the language but it just means he’s not messing around, he means business).
After all that fun he might finish with, “I’m knackered” (he’s exhausted), adding “cheers” or “ta” (thanks), before leaving you with an “hooroo” (goodbye).
I’ll leave you with one of my personal favorites (favourites). When he asks you which television network covers the Blazers games, don’t be surprised when he grins or even laughs at the word “root”, often used as a slang term for fornicating back home.
Anyway, these are just a few to “keep under your hat” in case you see him. He might even offer up a few “mate’s rates” (discounted) tickets to the next Blazers game.