Over on the Herald-Sun website, fans of soccer and Australian football are having a fairly predictable hissy fit over whose code is the more violent. The argument isn’t especially (or indeed, at all) interesting. What struck me, though, was the knock-offery of one of the names involved.

One team whose supporters were involved in the brawl the subject of the story is the Western Sydney Wanderers. Call me cynical, but I think it’s a safe assumption the name is a knockoff from the English team of Bolton Wanderers. This then got me thinking of the number of other team names which seem to have resulted from nothing more than looking abroad. For example, the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the New York Giants. Or the appropriation of name and badges by the North Queensland Cowboys …

Cowboys NQ badge

… from the Dallas Cowboys …

Cowboys Dallas badge

… or the Brisbane Broncos …

Broncos Brisbane badge

… from the Denver Broncos …

Broncos Denver badge

Consider also the suspicious similarity between the badges of the Adelaide Crows …

Crows Adelaide

And the Baltimore Ravens …

Ravens Baltimore

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not on a riff about American – or even foreign – influence generally. I’m probably the most pro-American non-American in the world (a line I have shamelessly knocked off from Mark Steyn). I get deeply exasperated by the sort of precious insecurity that produces ‘poems’ like Jim Haynes’ “I’ll have chips” –

I’ll have chips of course, with good old tomato sauce
Foreign stuff called ketchup, it’ll never pass my lips
This is still Australia mate, it’s not an American state
When they ask if you want fries Say no thanks, I’ll have chips!
When they ask would you like fries Say no mate … I’ll have chips!

The relentless insular-and-proud-of-it mentality of Australia All Over always strikes me as less an attitude and more a symptom. All that said, though, looking at the lack of imagination in the mecca of popular sport leaves me asking: aren’t Australian sports fans capable of better?