Narromine, Cowra, Orange … where’s the best footy canteen? | Poll

TURN RIGHT FOR DELIGHT: According to Central West footy canteen connoisseur Matt Findlay, the Narromine Gorillas have the best spread in these parts. Photo: FILE PHOTO
TURN RIGHT FOR DELIGHT: According to Central West footy canteen connoisseur Matt Findlay, the Narromine Gorillas have the best spread in these parts. Photo: FILE PHOTO

OUTSIDE sport, Batman and Kelly Clarkson’s music, food is my passion.

Not cooking it, I mean eating it – although I do whip up a mean lasagna.

In my travels playing and covering sport, I’ve been lucky enough to sample countless canteens’ delights across the Central West and beyond.

In fact, I often make a point of arriving at grounds well before the game I’m playing or reporting on just to test out that particular club’s offerings.

I’ll indulge in whatever I please if I’m working, particularly if a canteen has a specialty or a one-time only offer – like the Narromine Gorillas’ chicken and mushroom pies or CSU Bathurst’s Vietnamese rice paper rolls.

But when I’m playing rugby, routine calls for a steak sandwich and can of coke – they just go together perfectly, like wine and cheese, like pen and paper, like Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch.

The steak sandwich is a prop’s staple and even though I’m technically a No.8 now I’ll gleefully be partaking in that Front Rower’s Union tradition week-in, week-out.


Unless I’m at Narromine, then it’s all about those chicken and mushroom pies. Two of three of those bad boys, too.

I cannot stress how good those pies are. Treat yourself if you’re ever in Narromine, or better yet, make the trip specially for one – they won’t disappoint.

Flaky pastry, tender and juicy chicken, wonderfully textured mushrooms and a perfect meat-to-sauce ratio … just superb.

I digress.

I’m sure you can imagine my delight when, armed with a crisp $10 note I’d found in my pants that morning, I wandered over to Cowra Rugby Club’s canteen last Saturday and then spotted ‘steak sandwich with the lot’ on the price list.

“What, pray tell, does a steak sandwich with the lot have on it?” I asked the canteen officer.

Clearly a volunteer with years of canteen work under her belt, a knowing smile crept onto the lady’s face as she answered simply, “everything young fella – steak, sausage, bacon, egg, onion, gravy. The perfect pre-game meal if you ask me”.

I nearly fell over, my mind was blown.

How can three canteen staples – a steak sandwich, sausage sandwich and bacon and egg roll – be combined into one?

A gift from the Gods, if those Gods are grey-haired canteen ladies from the Lachlan Valley of course.

VIDEO: Matt FIndlay and Nick McGrath discuss the choices ...

Naturally, it was phenomenal and about 15 of my Orange Emus teammates promptly bought one.

It catapulted the Cowra canteen into the top three in Central West Rugby Union, behind Narromine and ahead of Emus – the latter’s highlight is its chicken burger, just lovely.

My colleague Nick McGrath told me of a superb steak sandwich he had at Blayney’s King George Oval on Sunday too, so it’s not limited to rugby canteens. Not by a long shot.

I know what you’re thinking, can that steak sandwich or Narromine’s pies be beaten?

Well, I don’t know, but the public can rest assured I’m willing to take one for the team, and test out any and all canteens I come across to find out.

One thing’s for sure though.

The day I find a canteen that serves devon and tomato sauce sandwiches, this contest is over.

All hail the king of luncheon meats.