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The Renegade Pub Footy League is adding punk flair to the nation's holy code

The Renegade Pub Footy League [RPFL] has a lot to celebrate at its upcoming ball. The addition of two new teams, on top of substantially increased crowd numbers has allowed the not-for-profit to donate more to charity.

Image source: 
Bitch Diesel

However, the most pertinent cause for celebration is the league’s innovative modifications to the game’s rules which equalise game play for a range of abilities.
 
As the Workers Club and Old Bar battle it out at RPFL’s home, Victoria Park, league vice president Nicole Roberts explains how she got involved with the competition.
 
“I moved to Melbourne just over six and a half years ago and a friend of my sisters who was involved with the Labour in Vain Pain invited me down to training.”
 
Despite having never played footy before, Roberts loved the training sessions and the social side – after training each week the team would have a dinner and catch-up at Brunswick Street’s Labour in Vain. 
 
However, when the season started, the enjoyment Roberts felt at her first training session wasn’t replicated during her first game. 
 
“Back when I first started there were never many girls, which didn’t matter at training, but on game day we didn’t have as much in place around the integration of mixed gender. It felt a bit tokenistic in that ‘Yeah we’ve got girls on the field’ but they’re tucked away in the back pocket,” Roberts says.
 
Instead of accepting this, RPFL did something exceptional – they changed the rules of the game. The rule changes have allowed women to have a greater presence on the field. “In the first and third quarter only girls are in the centre, and it is a minimum of six girls on the field at one time, but most teams work towards having eight girls.”
 
This successful integration has reverberated around the broader football community, however this transcendence of tokenism didn’t come easily. For Roberts, the drive to change rules came from a realisation that, “we don’t want to just say that we are inclusive, we want to do it.”
 
But don’t be misled, when the teams are on the field they go hard. In football tradition, hard fought rivalries are part and parcel of the league.
 
“We have a couple of specific rivalries around. Speaking as a member of The Labour in Vain, we have the ‘Unicorn Cup’ which is the Pain vs the Old Bar Unicorns – the winning team gets to display the trophy inside their respective venue.”
 
Finally, Roberts enthuses about the little heard of and uniquely named Coburg venue, the Batman Royal, which will host this year’s Pub Footy Ball.
 
“It has a capacity of 350 and is a great space, but the best part is that as a not-for-profit we have our own alcohol sponsors and can stock their products accordingly. 
 
“By being able to utilise our sponsors means that we can open up tickets for anyone that wants to come. For your $60 ticket, there’s beer and wine included and the opportunity to see some great bands.”
 
Those bands include The Pretty Littles, Bitch Diesel and The Tarantinos, who will be taking the stage for the ball’s forthcoming instalment. Each outfit has enjoyed their own success of late. The Pretty Littles just dropped their most cohesive album yet, Skeleton Run, and have a national tour slated for later in the year, while Bitch Diesel have consolidated themselves as one of Melbourne’s most powerful all-female acts behind a string of strong releases. The Tarantinos are a household name for their stellar Quentin Tarantino re-imaginations and will be sure to get the party started.

The Renegade Pub League’s Pub Footy Ball will take place on Saturday October 13, featuring The Pretty Littles, Bitch Diesel and The Tarantinos.