Playing For Keeps—Season 2, Episode 2

I’ve decided to keep my character by character reviews going with this season.

Liam and Kendall—Despite the events at the end of the previous episode, Liam and Kendall weren’t really focused on in this one. Liam comes out of the incident with six stitches, no glass in his skull and no sign of concussion, while Kendall tearfully admits she hit him with the glass. Kendall, although still aggressive, seeks Maddie’s help in getting into rehab. Maddie helps her, and her and Kath go to see Kendall and Liam. Liam is reluctant to let Kendall go, however Kendall stands her ground, and heads to rehab. Despite Maddie’s and Kath’s efforts to keep Kendall going to rehab out of the press, it’s made public anyway. Although progress has been made with them, I’m still suspicious of Liam, why would he be so reluctant for Kendall to go to rehab?

Paige and Tahlia—Much like Liam and Kendall, the subplot on Paige and Tahlia was relatively minor. Tahlia is trying to build her career up, starting with promoting herself on daytime television and having to inform the host that her and Connor are no longer together. When Tahlia returns from the TV studio, her and Paige talk about Tahlia’s plans to release a swimwear line (even though, as Paige points out, summer is ending) and Paige hanging out with Dan. Tahlia encourages Paige to have a one night stand. While they are out at a nightclub, Paige runs into Brody and Tahlia runs into Liam. Although Paige tries to have a one night stand with Brody, she resists his kiss at her apartment, and days later she only ends up kissing him on his doorstep and then leaving. She also tries to be friends with Dan, including telling him about her one night stand plan, but not mentioning that she is referring to Brody.

Maddie and Trav—Their subplot is also relatively minor as the only time they were focused on was when they were arguing about Kath’s run for the club’s presidency, with Trav expecting Maddie to stop her, and Maddie telling Trav that she can’t put her life on hold for the club.

Jessie and Rusty—Other than Kath’s run for presidency, I felt the Jessie and Rusty subplot was the most interesting one of the episode. Their friendship generally revolved around their connection to Jack, especially last season, but now that the mystery of Jack’s death has been solved, there is room for their characters and friendship to develop further, which was proven in this episode. While they are hanging out at their regular cafe, Jessie encourages Rusty to go out with the barista, Shane, who has been flirting with him. Although Rusty doesn’t feel ready, Jessie gives him a push. Rusty also pushes Jessie to get back into training, where it’s revealed that she was also an AFL player in the women’s league before having her children. Although Rusty is resistant, the date goes well and he’s glad Jessie pushed him, while Jessie starts training again.

Kath—The major focus of the episode was Kath’s decision to run for the club presidency after she finds out at a board meeting that John, the current president, is planning on having an alcohol company sponsor the club. No-one believes Kath can or should be president, but for different reasons. Brian and Trav oppose it but don’t really have the guts to admit their clear reasons why they are against it, the girls support her but don’t think she has a chance due to her lack of experience and qualifications (they admit that on paper, Maddie has a better chance). Her only supporter, unknown to her, is Rusty, who tells Jessie he thinks she’d be a great president.

While Brian tells Kath he is against it as he wanted distance from the club and wanted to do something for himself, Kath points out that their relationship has always revolved around his career and she has been part of the club for over 20 years, and wants to put her experience to use. Their relationship is clearly at breaking point and Kath says it isn’t working anymore, Brian quietly agrees to leave.

Meanwhile Kath meets with Bob, the board member who had the idea for the alcohol sponsorship and outlines her plans for the club, which includes other sponsorship that would bring in the same amount of money that the alcohol sponsorship would. Bob admits that he likes her and that he knows about her “behind the scenes work” for the club which includes getting Kendall into rehab.

When the story about Kendall going into rehab breaks, John meets with Liam and Trav and refuses to tell Kath, but she confronts him anyway. While Liam and John try to throw Kath under the bus, Kath threatens to out John as a liar if he does it publicly.

The girls are shocked to find out via the news that Kath has been successfully voted in as club president but are nevertheless happy for her. Brian also has a drink with her when she gets home, congratulates her and tells her that she’ll do a great job before he leaves.

Brian, Trav & Connor—Although they weren’t in the spotlight per se, there was a strong focus on them. Brian and Trav were heavily against the idea of Kath being voted in as president (Connor’s views on this weren’t made clear). Trav basically demands Maddie to talk Kath out of it but she refuses. While Brian is against it as he wanted distance from the club and do something for himself, however he does congratulate her and support her when she is voted in.

On another subject, at the beginning of the episode, Trav holds a press conference where he announces the club’s leadership team: Connor is still the captain, with Rusty and Liam as vice captains. Connor clearly had a problem with Liam in the previous episode, and in this one he addresses it with Trav when he tells him that Liam has a bad attitude and asks about his injury. It will be interesting to see whether Connor’s suspicions and negative feelings towards Liam will escalate as the season progresses.

Themes—This episode was unlike any other in a sense that a theme was present throughout the episode: sexism. While there have been times where sexism was touched upon, this episode deliberately focused on it when Kath wanted to run for the club’s presidency. Brian’s and Trav’s reactions to it come from a place of selfishness, although they don’t say outright that Kath shouldn’t run because she’s a woman. While the girls support her, but doubt her chances due to her lack of experience, nevertheless they do celebrate her win.

While the main men (with the exception of Rusty), as well as John, don’t support Kath’s run for presidency and try (and fail) to stop her, in contrast, Kath’s win ends up inspiring the girls to pursue their own goals–Paige kisses Brody, Tahlia launches her swimwear line promotion against her agent’s advice, and Jessie starts training again.

While not a theme, a television motif was present at the beginning of the episode with Maddie and Kendall watching Liam and the press conference on Kendall’s television, as well as Paige watching Tahlia when she was on daytime television.


Overall this was one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen, especially with the writers choosing to focus more on the girls’ lives and careers outside of the football world.


Stray Observations:

-Rusty hates press conferences.

-Paige got a permanent job at a St Helga’s School.


Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Sit down, shut up and listen!” “I am sitting down.” (Tahlia-Paige)
  • “You have to keep all your emotional eggs in one basket. Where are your eggs right now?” “In my ovaries, thank you.” (Tahlia-Paige)
  • “I’ve had one night stands before.” “In this postcode?” (Paige-Tahlia)
  • “Confident, sexy. I could have mounted the TV.” (Maddie to Trav on his performance during the press conference)
  • “Liquid life!” (Paige’s reaction to Dan bringing her coffee)
  • “This is the first time we’ve been alone, conscious, together all week.” “We had a date on Thursday night.” (Maddie-Trav)
  • “I’m not sure if I’m ready to date.” “Well, I better call the celebrant and tell him the wedding’s off.” (Rusty-Shane while on their date)
  • “You friendzoned your one night stand? I cannot get my head around that.” (Tahlia to Paige)


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