Want to know what the life of a footy WAG is like? How about what rugby league groupies get up to? Then you need to read the brand new book by Shireen Lolesi, “Wives and Girlfriends”. Shireen was married to ex Raider, Tiger and Canterbury Bulldogs footballer, Jamaal Lolesi, for nine years so she knows all about it! Here’s an extract …

Early October

“The day’s first sunrays beamed down through the north facing picture windows and warmed the bedroom where Angelique Blakely lay in bed beside her husband, Drew. She was wide awake. Drew was snoring softly. Ask her friends, ask the fans who saw her at the games, and they’d say that Angel, as she liked to be called, led the perfect life: a newly decorated million-dollar apartment in the sought-after beachside suburb of Bronte in the east of Sydney, married to a famous and handsome rugby league star, mother of their gorgeous two and a half month old son, Charlie.

Angel sighed deeply and looked at the face of her husband of five years. He was twenty-eight, two years older than she was. She scanned his body from his thick, wavy, dark brown hair, meticulously cut almost weekly by his regular barber, to his brows scarred from the battle wounds of a long and successful first grade career to his eyes, now closed. She remembered how once those eyes, hazel-brown and flecked with gold, gazed at her adoringly, honouring her as the centre of his universe. Her eyes moved to his chiselled cleft chin and his crooked nose, broken again and again by tackles, but beautiful in its imperfection. Finally, she looked at his full lips, which used to kiss her passionately every night. Closing her eyes, she struggled to remember the last time she had felt them intensely upon her own. She wondered what had happened to their golden life.

Oblivious to Angel’s appraisal, Drew turned in his sleep, his naked, heavily muscled body brushing against hers. Angel moved away and kicked off the bedclothes. She lay restlessly trying to return to sleep. She spun onto her tummy, her face buried in her soft latex pillow and her long light brown hair sprawled out in every direction.

Today was grand final day. At 7.30 tonight, Drew’s club, rugby league’s reigning premiers, the Gladiators, would run onto the stadium ground to defend their title against the Lions, the very team they had narrowly beaten in last year’s grand final. The Lions had definitely improved since last year: they had won the minor premiership and the experts were predicting a close and ferociously fought match. A number of commentators believed the result would hinge on the ability of Drew Blakely, the miracle-man prop in the number 10 jersey, to dominate his opposite number.

On the football field, Drew was known as hard but fair, and one of the best players in a code that ignites enormous passion among fans, and generates tens of thousands of column inches in the press and countless hours of analysis on television and radio. It is said that rugby league is the team sport that most closely replicates trench warfare and seeing players turn themselves into human missiles in attack and defence, Angel found it impossible to disagree.

The warriors of rugby league train for hours, almost every day for at least nine months a year to be strong, fast, durable and brave in order to inflict as much damage upon opponents as the rules allow. Usually the team that does the most battering finishes on top. It is instilled into players that they must dominate their opponents physically and mentally. Do whatever it takes to win. Even mild-mannered men become beasts with the blast of the referee’s whistle.

During footy season, Angel’s life hinged on the result of that week’s match. If the Gladiators won, Drew would be in a good mood all week – after he’d sobered up from celebrating, that is. A loss, and Drew would drown his sorrows with his mates at the local and then be bad-tempered and uncommunicative, until he returned to the winner’s list.

In the Blakely household, any game day throughout the season was the most important day of the week. Then Angel had no role other than to cater to Drew’s every whim. Her existence on grand final day centred solely around her husband’s comfort and peace of mind, helping him prepare physically and mentally and preserve his strength for the match. Drew habitually spent the day in a belligerent, demanding mood. Anything could set off an angry tirade. Heaven help Angel if she neglected her duty and created a bad atmosphere for her warrior. Heaven help her if Charlie should want his dad or cry. Today’s grand final day, she knew, would be a thousand times more intense.”


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