Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Moreland City v Hume City, 28/04/12

Moreland City will be up against it (SL2 v VPL) but this is what cup-ties are all about. I'll blog the game, which starts at Campbell Reserve at 2pm.

Club histories

Turned up at 1.15. Got talking to Alistair Walker, an ex-president of Moreland city. For the past 20 years he has lived just outside of Glasgow but visits Australia regularly. He told me that the pitch used to run north-south and that he redesigned the club crest to include the national flowers of the 'home' countries with a kangaroo in the middle. It has since been redesigned. BTW the shamrock is intended to represent the whole of Ireland and not just the British north.

Latest Moreland City logo. Note the Shamrock. Thistle, Leek and Rose, flowers of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England respectively. Not sure what the electrical pylons represent but the good old Southern Cross signifies that this is an Australian club.

Had to laugh when one of the Moreland players warming up asked for a shovel and a plastic bag to "clean up the dog shit!" on the field.

Difference in class showing in the warm up. Hume, professional and thorough; Moreland, ragtag and cheerful.

It occurs to me that this game has more Anzac credentials than most of the sporting contests given the 'right'; an Aussie team that has recruited many people from the British isles against a Turkish team - the difference being that the Turks are the 'invaders' today.

Moreland goalkeeping coach really firing up his two keepers!

1.32. The man with the shovel arrives.

Oh no! Outed already. Maurice Bisetto, Moreland coach, comes up to me and asks, "Are you the blogger?" Better be careful!

Socceroo, Ted smith and photographer, John Punshon arrive. All we need is
Paul Mavroudis and we have a history committee quorum.

Ted took me into the clubrooms to have a look at the club photographs. I took snaps of the two framed shots below.

Top, Moreland's Dockerty Cup winning team from 1957.
Below, 1956 Australian Olympic Football team. Ted Smith in both photographs.
Second from right in second row in Australian team.

The Match

2.05. Hume kick off. Running to the clubhouse end.

2.08. Successive corners to Moreland.

2.10. Hume looking good but Moreland defend well.

2.11. Tough tackle by Moreland. Yellow.

2.15. Good combination by Hume but Moreland cope.

2.16. Good cut back by Hegarty from Hume. Shot wide.

Moreland fighting well. Hume not yet hitting their straps.

2.23. Moreland free kick. Misdirected out right.

Gulf in class not yet apparent. Fairly even ATM.

2.29. Hume free kick deflected behind for corner. Foul called as header hits bar.

2.32. Maurice complains to ref after a nasty Hume foul: "That's kickboxing, farken!"

2.33. Moreland bench very animated over subsequent tackle.

2.35. Good period of possession for Moreland. But little sense of going forward with it.

2.37. Good free kick put behind for Moreland corner.

2.39. Another very high ball. But one that leads to an opportunity and corner. Moreland cross nearly met for goal.

2.40. Another Moreland free kick. Not converting dominance into a goal.

2.43. Bought 4 tickets in scotch raffle. And yet another Moreland free kick. And another. Kicks are not penetrating and are being easily defused.

2.45. Hume corner. Chaos. Defender deflects on to own post. Hume should have scored.

2.48. Moreland player clipped Hume player's head.

2.49. Handbags melee. Hume yellow.

2.51. Half time.

Strange half. If anything Moreland tended to dominate possession but Hume looked better with what ball they had. Maybe they have been put off by the narrow bumpy ground. 0-0 seems about right. We can surely expect Hume to come out strong in the second half.

Ref called half time early. Possibly to defuse the growing tension between teams.

3.05. Net being repaired holing up start of second half.

3.06. Second half starts.

3.07. Bad Hume tackle. Yellow for #22.

3.09. Free kick for Moreland on right near area. Header on target but straight at keeper.

3.12. Good lead up work by Moreland. Nearly producing penalty for handball. Cleared. Same sequence repeated.

3.14. Hume still withstanding pressure. Free kick.

Put behind for corner. Good corner punched by keeper. Results in yet another free kick to Moreland. Cleared. 

3.18. Going for something to eat. No doubt something will happen.

3.25. That's better. Nothing happened. Collision between Moreland keeper and Hume forward looks serious for second but both ok.

Hume still not looking dangerous though an open header was put wide from about 8 metres.

3.29. Weak shot from Hume.

3.30. Hume break defused.

3.32. Smart free kick on left by Moreland. Not anticipated by forward. Goes behind.

3.33. Another Hume yellow.

3.35. Weak moreland shot easily held by keeper.

3.36. Hume free kick headed behind for corner.

3.37. Moreland free kick. Headed at keeper. Player hurt.

3.39. Another free kick to Moreland produces another weak shot and save.

3.41. Soft free kick to Moreland. On right. Low, nodded on. Beautifully gathered and cleared by Hume #5.

3.43. Close call. Very nearly Moreland goal. Keeper save.

3.44. Corner earned by Moreland. Well grabbed by keeper.

3.46. It's as if Hume can't get into third gear. Another Moreland free kick right channel. Well held by keeper.

3.48. Hume free kick. Amounts to nothing.

Moreland might pinch this if they can be cooler when shooting but Hume should win if it goes to ET.

3.51. Hume shoots wide.

3.52. Another Hume opportunity across goal and cleared.

3.53. Hume getting forward now with a lot of good possession.

3.54. Hume free kick gathered by keeper.

3.57. 90 mins + 6 (for what we don't know).


4.00. Underway. Moreland nearly score. Keeper tips over. Resulting corner amounts to nothing.

4.03. Moreland pressure. Hume hacks away for throw.

Moreland seem in control.

4.05. Moreland free kick.

4.07. Good lead up down right wing. Good cross. Poor finish by moreland.

4.08. Good Moreland break. Offside.

4.10. Hume goal. Good shot on right. Met with utter silence. 0-1.

4.11. Good chance for Moreland. Last ditch defending blocks shot. Should have laid off in any case.

4.16. End of first period of extra time.

Moreland dominated possession and field position. Hume's class starting to show when they need to lift.

4.17. Second period underway.

4.19. Hume free kick near corner right. Cleared.

4.21. Hume free kick on right. Headed clear.

4.22. Hume free kick left corner. Went through. And out for throw.

4.24. Moreland have run out of ideas. Long balls being pumped in now.

4.26. Moreland free kick on edge of area. Blocked. Second shot blazed over.

4.28. 4 to go.

4.29. 3 to go.

4.30 Hume one-on-one. Blazed wide.

4.31. Moreland free kick on edge of area. Curled just over.

4.32. It's all over.

Hume probably deserved to win but didn't set the world on fire. Their no. 5 looked classy and the keeper 'safe as houses'. Moreland worked hard but couldn't create the penetration required.

Cvevapci not bad for a Scottish Club!

Friday, 27 April 2012

My favourite soccer photo

Probably my favourite soccer photo from Australia. I love the way you can't tell whether the players are coming or going -- a great comment on the perennial state of Australian soccer. That they are in shadow is also appropriate. The glorious sunlight in the distance represents the promised land. But are they walking towards or away from it? I'd love to find the original.

Give me a link to your favourite on-line soccer photo and I'll put it below.


To enter the arena at the Motordrome it is necessary to pass through a subway beneath the racing track. These four players in the Dockerty Cup soccer match on Saturday between St. Kilda and the Melbourne Caledonians were silhouetted against the sky line as they entered the subway.

The Argus, 19 August 1929, page 5

When footy turned into soccer?

[an article in progress; revisit from time to time and see this piece grow as I find more material] 


South Fremantle players employed soccer tactics to relieve West Perth pressure in this semi-final
Steve Marsh (left) is soccering the ball off the ground and Des Kelly is about to have a
kick too.
As a last line of defence, Des Reed (behind Marsh) completes the South Fremantle
The West Australian, 28 September 1953, page 29

Australian rules and association football have engaged in an intimate dance for nearly 150 years. Virtually identical in genetic terms, they are like brothers who grew up in different physical and cultural environments. Footy has always been the bigger brother in Australia's southern states. But like all big brothers it has, from time to time, been able to learn from the younger sibling.

There's a term that has been used in Australian rules commentary for many years to describe a kick off the ground, 'soccering'. Deriving from soccer, it describes a moment when something unusual happens. More often than not soccering is quite effective because it happens out of the blue and changes the rhythm of the game and some spectactular goals have been scored that way. But sometimes it produces an air-swing, a mis-kick or a kick out-on-the-full and results in great embarrassment for the player concerned and great rebuke from his own and opposition supporters alike.

We could get all psychoanalytic and suggest that 'soccering' is the moment the repressed other revisits footy. Or we could get all post-structuralist and say that these are the moments when footy's web of mythology and history risks being undermined by the very thing it excludes. Or perhaps we could just say: it's just not footy!

Whatever the case, there is a serious prohibition on kicking off the ground in Aussie rules. When kids are learning the game it's a big no-no. 'Pick it up!' is the oft-heard cry of the grumpy coach. Indeed, umpires pay a free kick for kicking off the ground in many junior competitions, even when there is no danger of injury to other players. In the past senior competitions have canvassed the idea of outlawing 'soccering'. Given that at one stage in the game's history the only thing you could do to a ball on the ground was kick it, this prohibition represents a serious departure from the game's foundations.

Of course, at the senior level today players are at liberty to 'soccer' to their heart's content as they have been throughout the game's history. Whether their coaches will forgive their 'soccered' errors is another matter.

What follows is an attempt to trace some uses of terms derived from soccer (or British Association football in the early days) in Australian rules discourse.

* * *

One of the earliest comparative references to soccer in a footy match I have found is in the report on a game in 1896 that is one of the watershed moments in the evolution of Australian rules. The game was utterly dominated by Geelong and yet they had to share the points. Not long after this behinds were included as part of the scoring system in footy.

While we are familiar with the idea of footy players 'soccering' off the ground, this piece refers to a change in system of play in which the players gave up trying to mark and carry the ball and played it off the ground -- in many ways a return to the older form of Victorian football played in the 1850-70s.
Geelong and Carlton had a fast game on the M.C.C. ground, because both sides determined to play the British Association game - no handling - as soon as the rain came, and it was marvellous to see the ball sliding and shooting everywhere as delusive as a greasy pig, with the bulk of the players apparently never able to catch up to it, although the whole 40 were at times trying to do so. The first quarter was fairly even and fast, but in the second Geelong had a good deal the best of it and scored their only goal. Carlton getting their solitary one in the last quarter. A goal apiece made it a draw, with every appearance of a good game, until you glance at the behinds column, and note that Geelong scored 13 behinds to 1, and had very bad luck indeed in having to share the points when having so much the best of the field work. Taking it all through they had 19 shots for goal and Carlton 4 . . . (The Argus 22 June 1896)
Also of interest is the fact that soccer is not played at this juncture in Melbourne history so it raises the question of how familiar the journalist is with the British Association game (though I guess lack of familiarity is not something that has ever stopped footy commentators and journalists rabbiting on about the game).

Twelve years later in Western Australia, rainy conditions produced a similar 'conversion' to soccer. A couple of moments in this piece give rise to the suggestion that the teams actually did play soccer (albeit with goals and behinds being recorded). The first is the fact that Unions turned up with only 13 players. The second is that the writer refers to the umpire being familiar with soccer rules -- though in all likelihood the latter is merely a case of journalistic licence.
Unions, with their usual persistency, arrived short of players, having but 13 men to don their colours. The play resolved itself alternately into a game of soccer and a wading match, it being a common sight to see a knot of players crowded together on one of the few dry spots until the leather happened along, when they would leave with a splash and frequently measured their length in the water. As regards the scoring, Honours were even at the half time interval, but from this out Leederville waded ahead and finished with a lead of 26 points. Final scores, 4.15 to 1.7. Those players who best adapted themselves to the slippery conditions were Garmston, Crawford, Kennedy, McKinnon, and Caporn, for the winners; while Harris, Fullerton, Coomer, Reynolds, Connolly, and Prout were responsible for some energetic work on behalf of the losers. Umpire Breen showed splendid knowledge of soccer rules, and always had the players well under control. A noticeable feature of this match was the friendly spirit shown on both sides during the progress of the play, there being an entire absence of that ill-feeling which showed itself at the last meeting of these two clubs when several players came to blows. This is as it should be. (The West Australian, Saturday 20 June 1908)
A year later, still in Perth:
Easts made the mistake of trying to hold the ball instead of kicking off the ground. The day and the ground both demanded soccer tactics. (Sunday Times, 20 June 1909)
There's a growing sense in footy writing that certain conditions determine an obvious tactical choice, the conscious adoption of 'soccer tactics' and perhaps even a soccer-based system of play on a given ground and/or day.

But there is also a growing sense that soccer has something to teach footy irrespective of the conditions. This report from the Hobart Mercury suggests that footy has much to learn from soccer's "brilliant foot manipulation", though what is meant by this is not clear.
The Boulder City (W.A.) team suffered the first reverse of their tour at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon, when,West Adelaide registered 6 goals 13 behinds, compared with their 4 goals 8 behinds. A noteworthy characteristic of the exposition was their brilliant foot manipulation of the ball. In this they appeared to have taken a leaf out of the book of a crack "soccer" team, and (says an Adelaide daily) set a fine example to Adelaide footballers. (17 July 1909)
On 23 July 1910 the Mercury reported on another game in SA:
Golding particularly,was in remarkable form, and one of his successful efforts was a crowning achievement. Running in from the wing, he met the ball with his foot as it landed in front of him from the other wing, and exerting all the skill of an old "soccer" player, he screwed it with a brilliant effort right through the posts.
 [More will be added as material comes to hand]

And, just for a bit of fun: the below image creates the illusion that this Australian rules footballer has just headed the ball when in fact the ball's trajectory resulted from an attempted smother. But it raises the question: has a header even been deliberately used in Aussie rules to good effect?

Western Mail , Thursday 22 April 1954, page 17

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Walter Pless: National Treasure goes above and beyond again

This has to be one of the most heroic enterprises upon which a soccer follower could embark. Walter Pless documents his measuring of every senior soccer ground in Hobart and environs

Ground sizes in southern Tasmania - an investigation

Written by Walter Pless | Monday, 23 April 2012 21:25

Photo:  KGV Park, the home of football [PlessPix]

The size of grounds in southern Tasmania has sometimes been the subject of debate. When Warrior Park became Olympia’s home ground, for example, people said it was way too small.

Well, I recently decided to end the arguments and measure all the grounds.

Photo:  The excellent ground at Cambridge has been used by Clarence United for practice games [PlessPix]
A couple of weeks ago, Mark Phillips and I spent a Wednesday measuring 13 grounds. We started at Pontville at 10am and called it quits at 4.30pm at Olinda Grove. We drove 134.1 kilometres in the six-and-a-half hours.

Brian Dale, of Kingborough Lions United, kindly measured the three grounds in Kingston for us because we just weren’t going to make it down there before darkness set in. These were Lightwood Park, Gormley Park and Sherburd Park.

Mark and I were going to use a trundle wheel, but we found it was inaccurate before we'd even finished the first ground. We recalibrated it, but it was still not giving accurate measurements, so we switched to a 30-metre tape-measure and measured all the grounds with that. It probably took longer that way, but we are certain of the exactness of the measurements. [more . . .]

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Clifton Hill United v Altona East Phoenix, 21/04/12

Today I'll be blogging this State league 2 (NW) game from Quarries Park in Clifton Hill. The game starts at 3pm. The souvs are very good and ouzo is $4 a nip. The two teams expect to be vying for promotion at the end of the season so it should be a cracker. A Greek derby as well!

Check out the teams' histories:


Arrived at 1.45. Spoke with Altona east reserve team coach, Jim Georgakakis who lamented silly errors by his charges that saw them level 2-2 at half time.

Phoenix dominating in the opening minutes of second half.

Clifton hill take throw near half way.

1.59 linesman gets a brief tutorial from referee.

2.01. Clifton Hill score against run of play despite good initial block by keeper. 3-2

2.05. Long range shot by Altona. Just over bar.

2.11. Dumb goal to Altona. Keeper will not sleep for a week after letting one in through his legs. If no. 10 claims it he will have more front than Myer. 3-3

2.25. Clifton Hill player yellow then red for dissent.

2.30. Game ends 3-3. After a couple of good threatening corners by Altona.

Senior game.

No team sheets available. Still waiting to see if Altona defector, Bozidar 'Bobby' Lojanica is in the Clifton Hill line up.

Altona team warm up.

Clifton Hill team

3.05. Kick off

3.06 Good lead up work by ch. Poor shot across goal.

3.08. Clifton Hill looking good on right hand side.

3.10. Clifton Hill cross beat goalkeeper hitting the post. Cleared.Clifton Hill dominant.

3.13. Dangerous cross by Bobby cut out well and cleared.

3.14. Bobby clearly offside. Shoots over from distance.

3.19. Bourakis blasts over for Altona. Altona on the back foot. Only looking likely to score on the break.

3.21. Clifton Hill free kick. Doesn't beat first man and cleared.

3.23. (bought 5 tickets in raffle)

3.27. Clifton Hill in control without really threatening. Altona need to weather this opening and the second half will play out better for them.

3.29. Better period for Altona. Clifton Hill break. Bobby cross onto roof of net.

3.34. Corner earned by Clifton Hill. But mucking around short corner nonsense defuses Clifton Hill attack.

3.36. Clifton Hill free kick in dangerous position. Blasted into wall.

3.38. "Clifton Hill with a lot of the ball haven't worked out how to break down Altona" -- Paul Mavroudis.

3.41. Altona. Shot from left across the goal.

3.43. Bad chop from behind sees Bourakis get a yellow. Free kick on right wing. Goal. Square ball deceives defense and kicked into goal with a curling slice from edge of area. Cliton hill 1-0.

3.47. Altona break fizzles out due to lack of support.

3.48. Bobby break down left. Shoots at keeper who holds.

3.49. Altona corner well caught by keeper.

3.50. Half time.

1-0 at half time. A fair indication of Clifton Hill's possession. The goal had a lucky feel to it given that Clifton Hill looked unthreatening in the final third for the rest of the time.

Altona still in this but their need to score might open up some options for Clifton Hill in attack.

4.04. Second half underway.

4.06. Bright start by Altona with some sustained possession up front.

4.09. Break by Altona. Good control on the run by no.17. Good volley into side netting.

4.10. Clifton Hill pressure requires scrambling defense.

4.15. High over the bar from Clifton Hill no. 5.

4.16. Clifton Hill corner. Comes to nothing.

4.17. Another corner. Shot cleared.

4.18. Dominant period for Clifton Hill. Long throw from right produces opportunity headed wide.

4.20. Break from Altona down right. Cross produces shot tipped over for corner. Corner headed wide.

4.22. Altona looking more threatening when they get forward.

4.23. Sustained pressure from Altona.

4.29. Clifton Hill keeper says "we're playing at their tempo. We've got to change it!"

4.31. Clifton Hill pressure forces corner. Nothing comes of it.

4.33 Goal. Franck Labah Kohler scores for altona after referee plays two good advantages in quick succession. 1-1. Deserved goal after period of dominance.

4.37. Clifton Hill have lifted a gear. Corner punched behind. Subsequent corner leads to goalmouth scramble. Ball cleared.

4.39. Altona break. Poor final ball spoils goalscoring opportunity.

4.40. More good lead up down right for Altona. Dumb final ball crossed onto net.

4.41. Another cross from right badly met by Sam Winch.

4.42. Bad tackle by Altona player. Yellow.

4.45. More pressure down right from Altona. Good cross produces scoring opportunity.

4.47. "The way it's going we'll pinch it" -- pavlaki

4.49. Clifton Hill putting on one last push.

4.50. Altona break. Blazed over from right.

4.51. Michael Gwyther wins penalty for Altona. Taken by Bourakis. Keeper judges well and saves next to post.

4.52. Full-time. 1-1.

Altona shade the half and in the end unlucky not to take all three points. Suggests that the defensive mindset of the first half might have been a mistake. Some promising young players up front bode well for the season. Clifton Hill will see this as two points lost but they need to work harder in the final third if they want to put games away.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Very first game of organised soccer in Melbourne?

The Argus reported on 6 April 1883 on what appears to be the very first game of organised soccer in Melbourne. It took place on the Civil Service Football Ground which is (thanks Paul) the Old Scotch Oval, located between Swan St and the Railway lines, near where the present Rod Laver Arena is situated.



As advertised, the scratch match under the British rules took place on Saturday last [March 31], in the old Civil Service Football Ground. There were about 25 players on the ground, besides a good many spectators, most of whom seemed to understand the game. It appeared rather awkward to some of the players, especially those who have been used to the Victorian game, as the rules are altogether different, but after a little practise it is the intention of the club to give the game a fair test before the Melbourne public. The game is "football pure and simple." A free kick is accorded for touching the ball with the hand or elbow and the foot and head are the only portions of the body allowed "in play." There were many old Scotchmen and Englishmen who declared the game a treat to witness, but many of our colonials thought the play very tame, there being no opportunity to show "skilful manipulations and get up a series of excitements" during the progress of the play. The club has already on its list 45 members, and after the meeting of tonight at Young and Jackson's it is expected the number will be doubled.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Soccer in Rockhampton 1887

This piece from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in 1887 gives us a curious insight into the state of play in country Queensland 135 years ago. Four soccer teams in Rockhampton!  Also telling is the co-operation between codes with the Rugby clubs happy to conform to soccer rules for the sake of the trophy competition.


Sir,-Will you allow me, through the medium of your valuable paper, to make a few remarks re the Stewart football trophy ? I understand the above valuable trophy was presented by Messrs. Stewart and Go., to be competed for by the football clubs of Rockhampton and district. I believe there are now in Rockhampton and district two clubs playing under Rugby Union Rules, and four playing under British Association Rules.

The British Association Clubs have appointed delegates to meet the delegates from the Rugby Union, and wish to settle the matter amicably, and commence a series of matches for the trophy; to play under British Association Rules. Although the Rugby Clubs are only two in number, I think I can safely say in point of numbers they can muster more members than the other four clubs ; and a considerable number of their players are old Association players. Therefore they should be able to select a team from each Rugby Club, able to hold their own against any other Association team in the district. Messrs. Stewart and Co., I understand, have left it entirely to the footballers to arrange under what rules it shall be contested : and the members of the Rockhampton Football Association are desirous that, either next Saturday, or the succeeding Saturday, (when the Mount Morgan team play a match against the Rockhampton Ramblers at Rockhampton) should be the commencement of the trophy matches. Hoping the matter may soon be satisfactorily arranged, and apologising for taking up your valuable space.

I remain, Yours &c.,


July 17, 1887.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Green Gully v South Melbourne, Green Gully Reserve14/4/12

South Melbourne: Gavalas, O'Dor, Tsiaris, Rixon, Trifiro G, Norton, Byles, DeMoraes, Trifiro J, Joryeff, Matthews. Res: Payne, Gasparis, De Nittis, Saldaris, Keenan.

Green Gully: Keane, Jones, Cicak, Vargas R, Hayne, Sanders, Robson, Basma, Medjedovic, Munoz, Ederero. Res: Roganovic, Fleming, Fisher, Nikolic, Dib.

Kick off 3.01.

3.05 Floated free kick caused some grief in gully goal box.

3.09. Blazed over by gully from the left

3.12. Cc banner causing drama. Meanwhile gully scores own goal. South lead 1-0.

3.14. Apparent gully handball (red cardable) not picked up by ref.

3.15. Period of south domination produces yellow and free kick on edge Of D. Fernando tries to curve it over wall. Too high.

3.21. Gully press. Shot over.

3.23. Rixon blazes over after good lead up. Deserved better.

Ederero heads wide. Should have scored.

3.28. Good period for gully.

Ederero subject to some searching treatment. Jason Trifiro up-ends him.

3.38. Goalmouth scramble after Gavalas drops the corner. Gully equalize. 1-1.

3.45. Ederero down again.

Gully finish the half strongly. Half-time. 1-1.

4.04. Second half Underway. South with the sun at their backs.

Scrappy first few minutes.

4.13. Yellow to Sanders.

4.17. Yellow to Ederero for dissent

4.21. Rixon hurt and stayed down for while.

4.22 Tsiaris yellow. Rixon hurt again.

4.23. De Nittis on for Rixon

4.26. DeMoraes blazes over from right.

4.28. Keenan on for DeMoraes

4.30  Sanders turns and shoots wide for gully.

4.33. Good positing by Byles to clear off the line after a poor fisted clearance by Gavalas.

4.34. Sanders goal. Gully 2-1. Miskick by Gavalas.

South looking scrappy in midfield. Gully free kick 30 out. Cleared.

4.39. Hayne blazes over.

4.41. Good work by Keenan on right leads to cleared shot.

4.43. Good lead up work leads to shot by Robson put around for corner. Corner directly in from Hayne. Gully 3-1

4.45. South being shown up. Keeper having a poor game. Too many bad choices made in defence. Ending badly

4.51. Ederero hits the post. Probably deserved a goal. Full-time 3-1. The hoodoo still in place after south looked likely early

Friday, 13 April 2012

131 Years of North Melbourne in Hobart

131 Years of North Melbourne in Hobart

Nearly 131 years ago, North Melbourne (Hotham FC) became the first Victorian footy club to visit Tasmania. They played the locals under the code of Victorian Rules – once the crossbars had been taken down.
Now that North has had a narrow victory over the GWS at Footwear Park have the locals taken to their Roos? Or do the sceptics still abound?

1. North Melbourne in Hobart: What have they ever done for Us?

Around Hobart the question is probably being asked: ‘What has North Melbourne ever done for us?’ Unlike the scene from the Life of Brian, the reasonable response might well be, ‘Nothing really.’

History suggests otherwise.

For a start, North Melbourne (as Hotham FC) was the first Victorian team to visit Tasmania, playing games in Launceston and Hobart in early July 1881.

The Hobart game on July 5 was a major event for the Southern community. Over 1500 spectators turned out to what the Mercury described as “one of the most exciting games that has ever been played in Tasmania”. The combined Southern team overcame a spirited Hotham, by 3 goals to 2.

Despite their victory, the locals knew they had faced a superior foe. The Mercury reported that it was “pleasing to see that our footballers are not too proud to take a lesson in play from a visiting team.” Immediate footballing improvements were noted, especially in relation to ‘little marking’, “the smartness of the Victorians in this respect being copied by the local men.”

When Hotham revisited in 1887, the Launceston Examiner reminded its readers that the “visit of the Hotham team about six years ago marked the beginning of a new era in football in this colony.” Generally, their first visit was credited with spreading the gospel of Victorian Rules throughout Tasmania.

Earlier, in May 1879, Hotham had written to Hobart’s City Football Club requesting a game. While this caused some excitement and anticipation, the club’s committee decided that they couldn’t, “under present circumstances, respond favourably to the offer of the Hotham Club to pay a visit to this colony.” Football across Tasmania was in such disarray that local humiliation could be the only possible outcome from a contest between Hotham and a Hobart team. Hobart football had been in a slumber in the middle 1870s and was still awakening.

The Mercury lamented:
The resuscitation of football this winter . . . ought to have rendered a favourable reply possible, but the peculiar relation of the clubs will, no doubt, interfere. Such an attention, however, from Victoria will demonstrate the necessity for the formation of an Association [and] uniformity of rules.
Hobart football in early 1879 had no set code of play. Some clubs played Victorian rules, others preferred a form of rugby, one chose soccer and there were also local codes. Some allowed running with the ball; some didn’t. Some paid the mark; some didn’t. Confusion reigned and the home club determined the rules under which the teams would play. Squabbles and protests were the way of things.

Moreover, tremendous in-fighting existed between the clubs based on colonial political loyalties. Some footballers were holding out for the mooted visit of an English football team whereas others were advocates of the Victorian game.

The Hotham letter brought home the realisation that intercolonial football relations were most likely to be established with Victoria and, this being the case, Victorian Rules needed to be adopted by the recently formed Tasmanian Football Association. In the absence of visiting British teams, those pushing for the British codes had no argument.

Leading the charge for Victorian rules was WH Cundy who was interviewed by the Mercury in 1931, a few years before his death:

“When I first came to Tasmania as a youth,” he said, “there was really no established code. Rugby, soccer, and a sort of hybrid game were being played, and it can well be imagined the chaos that existed. I had played what was then known as the Victorian code in Melbourne . . . but at first was unable to induce other teams to adopt the Victorian rules. I had brought over a book of rules, and had 50 copies printed for distribution, and a meeting was later called at the old High School, now the University, to discuss the position. The . . . meeting could not come to a decision to concentrate on one code, so it was decided that for a season the teams should play the Victorian rules game, soccer and Rugby turn about, and at the end of the year decide which should be adopted, when all were fairly conversant with the codes. When the vote subsequently was taken, the Victorian rules won. I believe, by one vote.”
Cundy may be getting a few facts skew-whiff here but even so he testifies to the diversity of Hobart football in early 1879 and the level of disagreement about the way to unify the game in the colony. Nonetheless, by the end of the 1879 season Victorian rules (with modifications) was established as the dominant football code in Hobart. Hotham’s letter was vital in that process.

As we have seen, two short years later the locals managed to beat the Victorians at their own game, in the process confirming footy as the primary winter game in Tasmania.

So: “What has North Melbourne done for us?” Hobart could answer: “Nothing – apart from 1) helping to create the foundations of the game in Tasmania; 2) being the first Victorian team to visit Hobart; 3) improving the standard of play in Tasmania; and 4) confirming footy as the Tasmanian winter game!”

North Melbourne kept up its connection with Tasmania throughout the following century, returning a number of times, especially immediately before and after World War II. Other clubs might have visited more often and with more recent impact but North will always have the claim: we were there first!

2. Victorian Rules in Hobart: “the manly old English Game of Football”

It is worth pausing on two aspects of the ascendancy of Victorian Rules in Hobart in 1879. First and controversially, the association kept the crossbar: “to these (goal) posts shall be attached a horizontal bar, 10ft from the ground, over which the ball must be kicked to secure a goal.”

As the Mercury reported on 16 June, some felt these were,
words which make the so called adoption of the Victorian code a mockery and a delusion, the innovation being of so glaring a character as to entirely change the form of the play, and to rob it of its principal points of interest. The post of goal keeper, to which one of the coolest and steadiest was ever appointed, and which has been an object of aspiration as a place of trust, is at once swept away, while the occupation of the goal sneak – the quickest, sturdiest, and most alert of the forward players – is also gone. The changes consequent on the adoption of this single excrescence from the Rugby Union code are, however, too numerous for noting in detail.
The association executive was accused of being a “star chamber” that had added this rule after the general meeting had decided to adopt Victorian rules. And while that seems a fair criticism, this argument had its chance to be ironed out at subsequent meetings. It is telling that the Hobart footballers kept their crossbar until as late as 1884.

In 1883, for example, the association’s
secretary reported that he had written to all the town clubs relative to altering the rules relating to the use of the crossbar and pushing, and had received replies from the whole of them, it being agreed by 136 members to 91 to keep the rules as at present.
In 1884, the Tasmania delegates to the intercolonial rules conference held in Melbourne argued for the installation of the crossbar in all colonies. According to the Mercury 13 May 1884, he was defeated by 9 votes to 6!

The second point relates to the idea of what game the participants thought they were playing. Had they adopted “a game of their own”? Were they reluctantly playing a Victorian intercolonial imposition? Did they care one way or the other? It’s hard enough to get the facts right never mind work out what was in the participants’ heads – though perhaps the following report gives us some idea.

At the end of the 1879 season a celebratory dinner was held in Hobart on 27 September. The footballers had settled most of their differences and unbeknownst to them were at the beginning of a long historical thread that continues today. The Mercury reports a number of speeches given that night:
Mr. GIBLIN proposed the toast of the evening, “Success to the Tasmanian Football Association.” (Loud and prolonged cheers.) There was not the least doubt that the game of football had taken such a hold of the young men of Hobart Town that season such as none of them could remember before. (Hear, hear.) It was a grand winter game. Many of them loved cricket with an intense love, but in our climate cricket could not be played all the year round, and there was no game to be compared to the manly old English game of football. (Cheers.)
Giblin, it seems, was fairly confident about the nature of the game in which they were participants. The response suggests others agreed.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Soccer in Australia: the 137-year roller-coaster ride!

Soccer in Australia has a long and misunderstood history. Where many assume it only gained popularity with the arrival of large numbers of migrants from Europe post-WWII, the reality is that the round ball game has been played in Australia for at least 137 years.

Until recently, collective wisdom had it that the first game of soccer in Australia was played in 1880 between the Wanderers and the King’s School in Sydney.

In 2010 an earlier game was discovered: the 1879 game in Hobart between the Cricketers and New Town football clubs. Recent work has shown that even earlier games were played.

Now it looks like the history will again have to be re-written. I have confirmed that a game took place on Saturday 7 August 1875 in Woogaroo (now Goodna) just outside of Brisbane. The Queenslander of 14 August reported that the Brisbane Football Club met the inmates and warders of the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum on the football field in the grounds of the Asylum:
play commenced at half-past 2, after arranging the rules and appointing umpires; Mr. Sheehan acting as such for Brisbane, and Mr. Jack for Woogaroo. One rule provided that the ball should not be handled nor carried.
In itself this description is not enough to justify the claim that the game is soccer (or British Association Football as it was then known). The clinching evidence comes from the Victorian publication The Footballer in 1875 which notes in its section on “Football in Queensland” that the “match was played without handling the ball under any circumstances whatever (Association rules).” (p. 80)

But this is not the very first game of soccer in Australia. There is little doubt in my mind that there were earlier games. In all likelihood the 1870 game in Melbourne between the Melbourne Football Club and the Police was played under British Association rules – though more research is needed to nail down this particular game.

There is a fascinating story waiting to be told about why the Woogaroo Asylum played soccer when all other clubs around the region were playing rugby. As is often the case with code choice, it may well have boiled down to the preference of the Asylum’s superintendent or even the players themselves. But the choice may also have been determined by assumptions about what would or would not be an appropriate game for inmates to play. This is a matter for conjecture and further research.

If it were the case the this game was in fact the very first one in Australia there would be an even more interesting story available in imagining that the guiding spirit of Australian soccer stems from its founding in a psychiatric hospital – a place of intense difference, alienation, separation, paranoia and insanity.

Soccer is indeed sick but metaphors of madness will not do. First, the employment of such metaphors would be to trivialise mental illness. Secondly, the game’s ills have less dramatic (and more complicated) explanations.

As a game and an institution, Australian soccer has manifold problems that have emerged and been repeated throughout its history. A truism of contemporary Australian sport discourse is that soccer enjoys high, if not the highest, participation rates. Yet it seems unable to translate these rates into mainstream sporting success.

This is not just a recent phenomenon. The Australian game has boomed a number of times: the 1880s, immediately prior to WWI, the 1920s, the 1950s and 1960s, the mid-2000s. In each of these periods (save the latter), waves of migration brought new communities with a love of the game to either replenish it or establish new clubs and outposts. Migrant communities based around particular industries like coal mining, created strong soccer cultures in regions such as the Illawarra, the Hunter and Ipswich.

But even alongside other football cultures the game managed to flourish. Before World War I, for example, crowds of up to 5000 would sometimes flock to soccer matches on the Fitzroy Cricket Ground. In 1960s Melbourne, soccer crowds were starting to compare with footy crowds, producing some consternation in VFL circles. Massive crowds attended international games across the country throughout the twentieth century.

Yet for all of the spikes of interest in the game, it has always receded into the background just when success seemed close at hand. War and Depression have been significant suppressing factors beyond the game’s control. The Depression of the 1890s obliterated soccer from the Victorian map while all of the subsequent gains made prior to World War I were wiped out by a near-unanimous display of loyalty from Empire-supporting soccer players. The Depression of the 1930s again stifled a growing culture.

Unfortunately, not all of soccer’s ills can be attributed to historical accident. Matters within the game’s control have not always been impeccably handled. Decisions made by those in power have run from the silly to the mind-bogglingly stupid to the apparently suicidal.

In the main, Australian soccer has been run either by the self-interested, the amateur or the incompetent – sometimes by all three at once. Though usually all three are competing for control of the game at any stage of its history we care to look at.

Today we see the stunningly rich and mildly famous buying clubs and holding the spectators and the game to ransom through decisions unfathomable to ordinary punters. People without ambition for the game or with more care for their own factional or business interests jostle for space with the clearly foolish and the careless who don’t understand and probably don’t even like the game and culture over which they have stewardship. Club ambition has often over-ridden the best interests of the game. Soccer has had its legions of good and honest toilers but they have been swamped by the power, corruption and dominance of the few.

The game has also been subject to resistance from other codes of football and xenophobic communities and agencies that have engineered opposition to its growth. Johnny Warren famously encapsulated the sense of emnity in the title of his autobiography, Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters. He argued that soccer was seen as a foreign game, not one for ‘real’ Australian men. While the latter prejudice is breaking down, soccer continues to be constructed as a foreign game – despite its more than 137-year history in Australia.

This supposed foreignness has been used to justify the game’s exclusion. And the refusal of access to grounds has been a major stumbling block for the game – one that still plays out in Victoria where it is claimed that there are more children wanting to play the game than there are grounds made available for them to play on.

Moreover, a rhetoric of fear has developed across Australian culture, embodied in newspaper headlines from the middle of the twentieth century such as, “Soccer Threat Grows”, “Soccer Menace” or “Soccer Wants Your Boy”. This rhetoric today is articulated via the media’s expression of fear of soccer crowds and their supposed tendencies to engage in violent behaviour. During the World Cup bidding processes a moral panic was created by those who argued that our hosting of the Cup would threaten our ‘domestic’ games.

So for all of soccer’s internal flaws and mistakes we need to remember that like all systems this one too has a broader context. Soccer’s incompetence and mitigating histories have not occurred in a vacuum.

Nonetheless, the game seems caught up in a seemingly interminable loop of peak and trough, success and failure. Five years ago we experienced what appeared to some to be the final awakening of the sleeping monster via World Cup qualification and our credible performance in Germany. The newly formed A League received a real boost from the World Cup and its attendances were initially impressive. The Crawford Report appeared to have helped engineer vital structural reforms in the game’s administration.

In recent times the mood has once again swung. Average crowd numbers have only recently picked up after 4 years of decline. The FFA is a laughing stock over the failed World Cup bid and its ongoing failure to keep club owners happy. It is still ludicrously expensive for kids to play soccer. And sometimes there seems little prospect of good governance for the game.

Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” What would he have made of Australian soccer as it repeats its errors and failures decade after decade after decade?

Yet there is some hope amid all of this pessimism. Leading soccer historian, Roy Hay has made the point that the recent soccer boom is the first one not fuelled by migration. Many of the millions watching Australia’s World Cup performances, the hundreds of thousands playing the game were locally born – as are many of the tens of thousands attending A League games. Almost unnoticed, and despite resistance, the game has achieved its long-desired goal of domestication.

Another point is that as sport becomes more oriented around business models and solutions, old-fashioned resistances based on cultures of masculinity and domesticity are being replaced by hard-headed profit and loss sentiments. If soccer can make someone money, it will be allowed to do so.

Finally the one gloriously shining light in all of this murky history it is the fact that the game, despite all of its setbacks and stupidities, really is a beautiful one whose qualities will rescue it from whatever despair into which it falls. And whenever soccer falls in Australia it falls into the large safety net of a massive participation base. For too long, those charged with running the game have taken these facts for granted. Is it too much to hope then that the game will soon be run by those who would cherish and nurture them?

A version of this article was published in the Conversation

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Game they play in Tassie

Two years ago I travelled to Hobart for South Hobart's Centenary and was pleasantly surprised to find there a game in rude health. South Hobart is to be congratulated on reaching 100 years of football. Moreover the 100 years have been played at the same home ground, South Hobart Oval in Washington Street, a remarkable feat for any sporting team in Australia.
South's strength in the Hobart competition is ongoing - though they lost yesterday to Clarence United who scored two late goals to pip them 3-2.
Chris Hudson's A Century of Soccer, 1898-1998 is a comprehensive history of the game in Tasmania. There aren't too many like it in Australia and it's a tremendous model for historians of other states. It's a shame then that it begins with the commonplace error that "British Association Football first came to Australia in 1880" with the now legendary King's School v. Wanderers game in Sydney.

As a result Hudson inadvertently obscures the fact that the earliest recorded game actually took place in his own state, Tasmania. On 10 May 1879, the Cricketers Football club played an internal scratch match using the "English Association rules". The Mercury reports:
The natural amount of inconvenience was felt by most of the players who essayed the novel rules for the first time, the mysteries of off and on side and the obligation to leave the hands idle proving almost insurmountable. After some practice no doubt those difficulties will be overcome.
As if to foreshadow the sometimes shambolic organisational skills of those running Australian soccer, it is reported that the "club played without goal posts; as Mr. Briant who had promised to bring them, did not do so, coats were used to mark the goal instead." A month later, on 7 June, the Cricketers met New Town for the first recorded inter-club soccer match.
These clubs met for the return match on Marsh's ground, New Town, on Saturday afternoon, playing the English Association Rules. The result was a draw, no goals being kicked by either side.
Alas, this was no sparkling beginning of the beautiful game in Australia. Of the four Hobart football clubs, City and Railway insisted on playing under Victorian Rules. New Town's own code resembled the Victorian game. The need for code conformity and the weight of numbers meant the rejection of soccer. The game seems to have retreated into the background until its re-emergence in 1898, and firm establishment in the early 1900s on the back of migration from the British Isles. Figures like JB Honeysett and his family were vital in this process.

It is no slight on Hudson that he missed this part of his own state's history. These documents are buried in the archive and hard to find. The discovery of this important footnote to Australian sport history is due in large part to recent developments in searchable digital databases. It would have been a fluke if Hudson had indeed found the reference using the old-fashioned technology at his disposal.

It was with this sense of Hobart's history and the quiet but consistent strength of the game in that city that I travelled to South Hobart FC's Washington St ground on Sunday 23 May 2010 for its Centenary Gala Day and Premier League game against the Glenorchy Knights.

Cut into the side of one of Mount Wellington's many foothills, the ground looks like it's been there a long time, with a beautiful old wooden grandstand sitting next to a bigger, more recent addition. The ground slopes away at between 5 and 10 degrees, like many things in Hobart as if poised to slide into the Derwent River. On the far wing and southern end wire-fencing that prevented match-viewing from those boundaries only increased the sense of lop-sidedness.

I had arrived nice and early to catch as many of the day's events as possible - not early enough to see the reserves game won comfortably by South, 4-0, but in time to see a community club celebrating its own longevity and success. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the club's memorabilia display, which contained a number of trophies and photographs that spoke of the club's history and success. But it was a touch disappointing because the excellent quality of the material on display suggested that many other riches might have been included to make an even more impressive statement.

Prior to the game, club juniors and local kids were involved in organised on-field activities that seemed both casual and enjoyable. A series of wandering commentators (who all seemed to be named Ian) brought their own daggy brand of comedy to the day.

There was a quiet dignity to all of the preliminary activities that caused me to reflect on what we have to endure prior to A League games, where the frantic passion is mostly fabricated and forced. The people at South Hobart have 100 reasons for passion and pride; you just get the sense that they see no need to be "in-your-face" about it.

The relaxed pace of the preliminaries made way for a quickening expectation. South had gone to a lot of trouble in making this day and a series of events heightened the anticipation of the big game. Perhaps the most impressive aspect related to the South Hobart strips. Guided by historic photos and descriptions of early playing strips, replica tops had been tailored for the day. When the players ran out in their Rich Maroon tops with a white V and waist band across the front, the sense of occasion was truly lifted. Though the tops' silk-like appearance gave one Glenorchy supporter the opportunity to heckle, "Go the team in pyjamas!"

A little bit of magic occurred at the singing of the Anthem. Unfortunately, the comedy Ians had so enjoyed themselves with the microphone and PA that the poor machine must have been exhausted and began to pour smoke just before Rebecca Downes attempted to sing into it. She was forced to soldier on a capella and in the considerate silence belted out a truly powerful and moving rendition. It served to raise expectations just that little more.

Preliminaries over, the game started at a good pace with neither side taking control immediately. In fact the teams looked well-matched. And while South might have had the slight edge, there were no shots at goal for the first 15 minutes or so. I took several impressions from this period: that both sides were up for the occasion; that the game was played in a good spirit with very few niggly incidents; that the long ball game I might have been expecting was nowhere to be seen (in fact one tactical criticism that might be made was the failure to use the long ball occasionally as a means of variation).

But most surprising was the apparent age of the players. None of them looked over 25. Where were the grizzled old hard men in defence; the slow bodies with wise heads in the mid-field; strong, experienced backs-to-the-goalkeeper forwards? Nowhere to be seen. In their stead a bunch of energetic young men running their hearts out.

For all the effort, goals were in short supply, and South managed to score the only goal of the half via a tap-in by Andy Brennan from a Shae Hickey pass, a score which just about reflected the play.

The half-time break provided another memorable moment. The 100-metre sprint produced a race that saw the two front-runners neck-and-neck all the way. The Knights' Matthew Nowicki just pipped Toby Macgregor of Tilford Zebras.

After half-time it seemed we'd see more of the same, with South still shading it. Their stand-out was Shae Hickey, energetic, skillful and intelligent, every time he received the ball he looked dangerous. He was the one player I could see making the transition to the VPL.

Yet a couple of moments, including a cracking volley from Mnyonge Kamba suggested that Glenorchy were not out of it, not yet. Then just after the hour things fell apart for the Knights who seemed collectively to forget how they had contained the South strikers and started to give them too much space. Andy Brennan banged in another four goals with Jon Lo adding two, all in the space of 30 minutes. James Hope managed to get one back for Glenorchy.

What had been a balanced tussle turned into a hiding more lop-sided than the ground on which they were playing. And while it served to raise the spirits of the South faithful it was a bit of a shame for us neutrals. South deserved to win it. A 3-1 margin might have adequately reflected the game. The Glenorchy team deserved a less brutal memorial of their performance.

In the post-game ceremony a number of trophies and awards were given out. To no-one's surprise Brennan (a 17-year-old still in Grade 11!) took out the JB Honeysett trophy for Best on Ground. Indeed he demonstrated the ability to finish off scoring opportunities better than some of the trundlers doing the rounds in the VPL.

I left the ground with a great sense of satisfaction, having seen a game played by young men who were possibly playing above themselves (and probably above my expectation) and loving every minute of it. I also saw a crowd that enjoyed itself: the South supporters suffused with pride for their history and their team's performance; the Knights supporters, nonetheless good natured and cheery, despite the hiding and allowing for the eternal off-side complaints we expect hammered teams to make.

Among the Knights' supporters were a good number of Africans, presumably following their team's four African players. The presence of these supporters brought home once again the role that soccer has had in giving the displaced and exiled an entrée into Australian life. Like many crowds around Australia, this one was clearly multicultural but in a way that differed from every other crowd I'd experienced.

So much about this day was different from my usual soccer fare. It occurred to me that for the first time in Australia I had attended a game between clubs that seemed comfortable about just being there. There was nothing strange, foreign or culturally threatening about a bunch of grown men playing soccer in this environment. This suggests a lot about the maturity of Tasmanian soccer, the South Hobart Football Club and the people involved in the game. But it also says a lot about the benefits of a club being aware of its own history and having a sense of home. For any number of reasons clubs in Melbourne do not share the security or sense of belonging felt by South Hobart.

Ultimately the day showed how important it is to feel a part of an ongoing history. There are many within the game who want to burn the past and only look to the future. I wish they could have been among the 600 at South Hobart to get an insight into what our game has meant and still means to its flourishing grass roots.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The three different kinds of football

Northern Territory Times, Darwin, Friday 2 March 1928, p. 1.


(By Dr Crank Feign etc.)

Football is a game or mild kind of a war invented for the entertainment of the spectators and to give the players an opportunity to knock one another, about, without the usual aftermath of appearing before the "beak".

Football consists of a given number, of men split into two teams chasing a bag of wind in an endeavour to get it between clothes props stuck in the ground. There are three different games of football, one is murder, known as Rugby; the second is manslaughter, known as Australian Football and the third is just common assault, known as Soccer.

The opposing sides distinguish themselves one from the other by wearing different colors. The Umpire or Referee dresses in white to save himself being knocked about through being taken for a player.

This umpire carries a whistle, which he blows or should blow, when he awards or should award a free kick to a player. Umpires are utilized to save players and spectators alike from abusing each other. They can save it all up for the umpire, and hurl abuse at him from a safe distance. He is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde character, being one second a good fellow and the next moment a down right robber.

Standing between the clothes, props at each end of the field of battle, we find two more officials, they are called flag waggers, and their duty is to do the best they can for their own side, if they are impartial officials it takes a lot of interest out of the game.

A white line is drawn round, the oval. This is to enable the goats, which are employed to keep the grass clown, to see the boundary of their field of operation. This line is also to tell the players when they must cease fighting. Should they fight beyond this white line they are then liable to be charged with assault. Two men run along this line in short trousers. Their duty is to lose as much breath as possible in an endeavour to get a good look at the game. Occasionally they assist the umpire , by signalling him that the bag of wind has crossed the line.

There are two kinds of free kicks, those awarded by the umpire and those given by the players.

At the conclusion of the game the Ambulance leaves the ground with the injured players to the cheering of the opposing side.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Is Trugo Disappearing?

Not if the creation of this monstrosity is anything to go by. However, the game has changed!

Only 6 clubs left in existence today. In 1997 that total was 15. Is the game worth saving? Who would be willing to invest the time necessary to rejuvenate the game?

Some think it's come back from the brink!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

An auspicious day to start a blog devoted to filling some of the many holes left unfilled by our 'sports media'. Mostly soccer, some cricket and (if I can get there before it disappears off the face of the earth) a little trugo. Lacrosse aficionados will need to look after themselves.

I read the Age today oh boy.
Four thousand holes in its sport coverage.
And though the holes were rather small
I had to count them all.
Now I know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Park . . .