Home & Away – Punt Road Oval

Punt Road writing

Senior league football returns to Richmond Paddock today in what will be the final dress rehearsal for the Essendon and Richmond football sides for season 2014. A total capacity of 2,100 will however rank as one of the lowest Punt Road crowds of all time, a far cry from the 46,000 whoe squeezed in to see the 1949 clash between the Tigers and the Blues.

Punt Road r9 1949 49,000

But I don’t wish to dwell on present events. This post is going to look back at the old Punt Road oval, often through the lens of my own families eye. As all of my home and away posts have aimed to do, this is to showcase essentially what has survived from yesteryear…an old sign here, and grandstand there, a ticket booth somewhere else.

500 014

Punt Road circa 2006

We’ll start back in 1966, and much like today, the theme is pre-season. Dad ventured to Punt Road Oval, camera in hand, for an intraclub practise match. The reason he attended? To see new recruit Royce Hart who’d received rave reviews upon his arrival from Tasmania.

Punt Road 2 pics

punt road 2 pics 3

These shots were taken from the Cricketers Stand, a place where dad had never watched the footy from, hence the fascination. Similar I guess to when I’d sit on the members wing or even the super boxes at VFL Park for practise matches. These photos offer a great view of the Punt Road end of the ground, the Royal Hotel and the classic Richmond skyline, dominated by the St.Ignatious spire.

The outer hill remains largely intact today, although at the Punt Road (the actual road) end it suddenly narrows. This was due to the widening and adding of lanes to Punt Rd, one of many factors contributing to the Tigers leaving the ground for the near-by MCG in 1965.

Punt Rod 2 pics 2

On the right is a very interesting photo, taken again from the cricketers stand. Visible is the outer side scoreboard and if you look closely you can see the old concrete fence which once surrounded the oval. There’s also the overgrown terraces behind the goals, which are no longer. The outer side however is still very recognisable today.

CLICK HERE FOR A 1966 PANORAMA

Some more fossicking around recently led dad to stumble across some old slides. See dad is Richmond through and through (and through) but also followed Prahran in the old VFA competition. And so it was the dad journeyed to what was familiar territory (the Richmond ground) to see them take on Preston in the 1968 VFA grand final. (The 1967 final between Port and Dandenong also at Punt Road is widely regarded as one of the more brutal football games there has been.)

Again dad seemed attracted to the Cricketers stand, and is himself suprised that he’s taken this photo from inside the arena as the ‘two-blues’ entered the field of battle. Punt Road had hosted it’s last VFL match just 4 years prior, so the ground was still ‘complete’ and able to cope with a large crowd.

Punt road 1 68

The second slide dad uncovered is of the Liston Trophy being presented to Preston player Dick Telford, who after stints at Collingwood and Fitzroy took the VFA competition by storm, also winning his club best and fairest and helping guide Preston to the premiership. Also number 1 for Prahran you can see is former well known Collingwood player Kevin Rose, who captain-coached the two-blues at the time. Also note the wonderful banners adorning the boundary fence, although they have a rather Coburg/Port Melbourne feel to them, perhaps from the curtain raiser?Punt Road 68 GF

Other things I love from this photo are the brass band mid ground, the ‘stuffy and important’ looking men along with the late 60’s Richmond in the background.

Now my first visit to Punt Road was for the 1989 Richmond best and fairest barbecue, a far cry from last year’s Brownlow style best and fariest awards which I live streamed on my laptop! I had my photo taken with winner Tony Free and Matty Knights, hoisted up on their shoulders! The photo, taken in a tent, never turned out. What did however was my less exciting meeting with former player and assistant coach of some description Barry Rawlings. How is our body language?! But it does offer a better look at what was a very tired and run down Punt Road oval.
Punt Road 10

The metal pipe seating, the same industrial seating which also surrounded Arden St and parts of Preston’s Cramer St Oval, looks about as inviting as a trip to the dentist, and surely on a cold day, standing huddled with the masses provided a more comfortable experience. Below is a shot from the same day perched up in what I believe at the time was just named ‘the grandstand.’Punt Road 91

Again there’s a great view of Richmond the suburb. I love the ‘plush’ best and fairest venue, and what appears to be an old scoreboard lying on it’s face. I’m not sure of it’s origins as the old footy scoreboard was on the outer side of the ground, however these  team shots below at Punt Road definitely show a scoreboard, complete with cigarette advertising, at the Punt Rd end. I’d be interested if anyone knows more about this.

scoreboard

1983 and 1988 team photos

60s500 009

This is actually one of my favourite views of Punt Road, the back of the old grand stand. In my life time it’s been the dramatic back drop to news of sacked coaches, secret board meetings, and has even been the recipient of a pile of steaming chook poo! I just love the feel of the red bricks and make it a point to walk past it on my way over to see Richmond play at the MCG. It also now houses the Richmond Football Club museum which was originally in the bowells of the since demolished cricketers stand come social club. It’s open Mondays and match days at the G, so make sure you get along!
punt rd grandstand

I’ve always loved this photo of Jack Dyer arriving at Punt Road oval with the local Richmond lads carrying their idol’s bags. It’s a great portrait of what football once was, accessible, local, even a tad tribal. To the right is a photo I took around 2006 of the same spot where Captain Blood entered Yarra Park. The above structure has since been demolished save for a sceric of old standing room which I’m most thankful has been kept. 
Dyer Punt Road

piccys 020

The since demolised entrance gates

DSCF8509

And here is that little piece of yesteryear which still stands today. No more than 50 or so patrons could have squeezed into this tiny bit of standing room, but it looks like it would have been a great spot to watch the footy from. I took a panorama shot from up there so I could let my imagination run away with itself!

Punt Rd panorama from awesome standy thingy

It’s time to turn our attention to what is now named the Jack Dyer stand, the ‘main attraction’ if you like. Although in the midst of having coaches boxes installed and thus reducing it’s capacity, it’s one of those classic footy grandstands that feels much bigger when you’re in it than when looking at it. My nana used to talk about sitting in it with her cousins nd how they’d stamp their feet on the wooden boards each time a goal was kicked. Below is actually a shot from the last VFL match to be played at the ground bewteen Coburg and Williamstown in 2005. It was a sodden day and this was the entire crowd, but it does look nice to have Jack’s stand full of Tiger supporters. Can you spot David Cloke keeping a close eye on however many Clokes were playing that day?Punt Road in the wet

It’s a ‘classic’ grandstand, and a feature that I love is the side glass windows. I’m not sure what it is about these but I love them. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being ensconsed by the stand, protected from a wintery Melbourne day.GRANDSTAND PICS

Whilst I completely understand that the footy club needed to revamp and expand the playing surface (a great thing for the club) it has made a bit of a mess of the natural contours the ground had going for it. I eagerly await the finished product.GRANDSTAND CONGLOMERATE

A little gem which I discovered in one of the narrow gaps I often find myself in whilst exploring a football ground was this ‘Gin Bar’ sign which was on the side of the old grand stand. With the wall in front of it since removed it is now easily seen, and worth having a look at for a glimpse of the past.Gin Bar

It would be remis of me not to mention and photographically demonstrate Punt Road’s location in relation to the mighty MCG. This will be the Tigers 50th season at the ‘G, having shifted it’s home games there in 1965, a masterstroke. The club’s most successful period came on the back of the move, and while progress can at times be hard for the footy fan to accept, premierships help.
Punt Rd & 'GWhich brings me finally to the cricketers stand-come-social club, where my dad did some of his finest camera work back in the 1960’s. This old building intrigued me greatly; from some angles it still looked like an old grandstand, from others it looked like a rundown block of flats. On venturing into the old museum that was tucked away in there you really got a sense of being in the bowels of a grandstand, a wonderfully authentic location for a football museum. I sneakily souveneered a brick when this building was demolished, something which seems silly yet I treasure it.

Punt Road new

Punt Road Cricketers stand

The rundown old footy ground I first ‘met’ in 1989 is no longer that. With a new surface and elite training and social facilities, the ground would be unrecognisable if it weren’t for the old grandstand keeping things rooted in the past. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the ground in use again for the Richmond VFL team, and the seniors practise match against Essendon sure has great lot of novelty factor. I only wish I could have gone!

Punt Road brick

Said brick

Punt Road Oval – 1922

Punt Road new 2

The fact that fans can still use the social club on game day, get off at Richmond station and walk past the ground on the way into the ‘G makes us very lucky when you consider what has been lost in the modern game. Richmond essentially still plays in Richmond, and Punt Road is very much our home, though it was one of the first league grounds to bite the dust. I’m glad she’s being looked after…now let’s start working on her trophy cabinet.

Eat em alive

Pan 2

Advertisements

Animated Football books

It’s been a long while between posts as life built to a crescendo the past month or so, but I haven’t been sitting idle. I’ve actually made a new friend called Vine; a program which gives you six magical seconds of video footage. You can shoot 6 seconds straight or you can get into some tricky stop-motion animation. So my mind, of course, turned to football.

Below are some short video’s or ‘Vines’ I’ve compiled from some old football books, Football for Boys and How to Play Football Australian Style. Theses old books would demonstrate the skills of the game using a series of photographs displaying each skill. So I thought to myself…let’s animate it.

Footy Books 2

Below are such heroes as EJ Whitten, Peter McKenna, Peter Bedford, John Dugdale and more, their still shots now brought to life. Please enjoy the following 18 seconds! For some reason the videos default to mute. You can hear the fairly unimpressive sound by hovering your mouse in the top left hand corner.



Valentines Day themed team sheet

I’ve loved themed team-sheets since my dad, a lover of playing around with the English language, ran me through his favourite line of:

LOVE – FREE – BEERS

Even recently I’ve been amused by fellow Nick Maxwell blogger, Recovery Session panellist and mate Nath’s centre line of…

TRIANIDES – GARLICK – GOODES

*That reads ‘Try and eat his garlick goods’ for those wondering*

However to date on this blog I’ve shied away from the themed team-sheets as they’ve become slightly clichéd. But I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror and got off my high horse. Seeing I make the claim that this site is a  ‘wondrous world of footy sub-culture,’ it’s now become clear that without a themed team-sheet, I was living a lie.

So here it is, my VALENTINES DAY Themed Team-Sheet

final VALENTINE team

Some explanations…

-Wynne, Dear, Hart…should you win the heart of the one you love.

-Wittman, Wines, Sparks…Wittman being Chocolates, Wines, and the sparks should fly!

-Neeld-Many a man has gotten on one knee on Valentines Day.

Please don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification, or add your own Valentines Day inspired teams or lines in the comments section.

Happy Valentines Day…

                                                                                                          Love, The Holy Boot

UPDATE: Some fantastic entries from my twitter followers…

@FightingTiger12 added Terry Keays, Luke Toia, David Hart – KEAYS TOIA HART

@nathcroughan added Jason Wild (whom he loves) Love and Knights – WILD LOVE KNIGHTS.

Keep ’em coming…

Football Love in

Around the Grounds – Moorabbin

Moorabbin Oval: League venue: 1965-1992. League (VFL/AFL) matches: 254. Record Attendance: 51,370 St.Kilda v Collingwood, round 1,1965 (league debut)

Painting of the decaying Moorabbin stands by David Hurwitz.

1965: a watershed year for the Victorian Football League. It can be argued that this year was the birth of the modern game. Barassi threw the long held ideal of loyalty into disarray, while three teams vacated their traditional homes in search of greener pastures. While North’s venture to VFA side Coburg’s ‘City Oval’ was short lived, Richmond’s move to the MCG propelled it to it’s most successful period, as did St.Kilda’s move from their home by the sea to Moorabbin, another VFA ground taken over by a league club, another glimpse into the future.

St.Kilda grand final training, 2010, photo by Jason from http://www.stkildamatchwornguernsey.com/ (Saints fans will enjoy his site!)

The Moorabbin Football Ground was previously home to VFA team the Moorabbin Kangaroos. Cutting a long story short, St.Kilda saw that the south east of Melbourne was in effect, unclaimed territory, and decided upon the shift. Though the move to Moorabbin brought with it heartache, all was quickly forgotten as St.Kilda made back-to-back-back grand finals, winning their one and only flag in 1966.

You can track St.Kilda F.C’s movement’s in the below diagram I put together.

As you can see from the recently demolished stands at Moorabbin, the intention appears to have been to gradually morph St.Kilda into the Moorabbin Football Club, but this clearly never eventuated.

Whilst the ground’s league lifespan was short, less than 30 years, it truly found a place in the heart of St.Kilda fans. Though not quite to the level which Victoria Park has entered football folklore, Moorabbin has still spawned it’s fair share of paintings and literature, holding a certain dreamtime quality for fans of the red white and black.

On the left is another painting from David Hurwitz, painted in a very similar position to which I took the photo on the right! Great minds think alike I guess.

This post isn’t about the Animal Enclosure, the old Moorabbin nightclub or the muddy centre square. Heck, it’s not even about the Jeff Fehring goal from behind the centre! (However if you want a sneaky look, here it is!)

This is a collection of pictures I took of the ground in 2006, in a desperate bid to photographically archive all the old league grounds in Melbourne. As it turns out, much of what I captured has since been demolished, and many links to the past now gone. It seems a number of footy fans shared my vision, and some of their photos and paintings have helped shape this post.

My dad always said that Moorabbin seemed odd to him as it jutted out of the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne; most other grounds were flanked by old hotels, old train stations and old terrace houses. Moorabbin was surrounded by the cream brick veneer housing of an ever-expanding city.

As I circled the ground before entering, I snapped one of the old entrance gates. On closer inspection, it became quite clear that it was occupied, and though I was keen to document all that I could, I decided to continue on.

And what this above photo makes me realise? That modern football stadia is severely lacking in barbed wire!

As I entered the ground from the Linton St side, I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of St.Kilda’s gymnasium of the time. Even though this was six or so years ago, it was severely behind other clubs and their advanced setups. This was open to the elements!

What struck me about Moorabbin was the size. The stand which stretched from the wing to behind the goals (below) was very large for a suburban ground, and the terraced outer was rather expansive. It begs the question of why the club actually moved to Waverley Park in 1993. Geelong’s Kardinia Park is nearly three quarters through a long-term redevelopment, the club reaping the benefits of being able to sell reserved-seat tickets to their matches. It is a shame that a ground such as Moorabbin has not shared the same fate.

The grandstand offered plenty of cover and very good views. However, the photo at the bottom left is what I love about the old footy grounds…if you needed a coaches box, you built it on top of the stand, creating a haphazard atmosphere which brought with it great character. A combination of weatherboard, tin, steel and brick!

Now to the outer. This is where the majority of footy fans have watched the action for the best part of 150 years. It’s now all but a relic of the past. Moorabbin’s expansive outer bore many a story, tears of joy and despair, the odd laugh and a round of fisticuffs or two. To illustrate, here’s how St.Kilda diehard Matthew Hardy’s remembered his first experience of the outer at Moorabbin from his wonderful (and highly recommended) book ‘Saturday Afternoon Fever

I love this shot taken by supporter and photographer Berk McGowan of the overgrown mound behind the outer, the scoreboard still erect and the iconic red iron work. It really captures both present and past. (Check out www.berkmcgowanphotography.com)

photo supplied by Berk McGowan Photography

On my explorations, I found my own bit of Moorabbin to take home with me, 2 inch tubular fencing tee piece coupling, with red paint peeling. This was well captured again by Hurwitz’s painting on the left.

 

Here’s the outer side of the Moorabbin footy ground; the wooden seats on the fence for those early enough, looked down upon by the now demolished scoreboard and timeclock. In a great piece on the Moorabbin scoreboard, Vin Maskell looks at it’s history, and where portions of it are now scattered!

  

Old footy grounds were not just protected by barbed wire. Officious and over-zealous signage adorned many on old venue, and it’s hard to imagine it not been written by a gnarly old stallwart. Consider the following examples…the second is from the collection of Tim Best, a Saint fan who used to sell the footy record outside the ground!

 

And what post on Moorabbin would be complete without at least a view from one of the most notoriously vicious and parochial patches of terracing Australian Football has know, the old Animal Enclosure. The name says it all, it was not for the feint-hearted! Here’s a wonderful piece on the Animal closure by Paul Daffey.

Photograph by Tim Best. For more of his photographic take on Moorabbin Oval, click HERE.

While the Saints now train at the Seaford version of Linen House Oval (I liked how ‘Linen’ was so close to ‘Linton’) they still maintain a presence at Moorabbin. Only the Huggins stand remains, yet where terraces and stands once stood, there are now grassy embankments, maintaining the feel of how it once was. With light towers erected for baseball in the 1990’s, Football Victoria could do worse than considering it as a home for VFL football, however I can’t see this eventuating.

The Saints now play at the Docklands, which is far closer to their birthplace, St.Kilda, than Moorabbin, Waverley and Seaford combined. Yet a ‘home ground’ in Melbourne is nothing more than a token gesture these days, and nothing will match the days at the Junction and then Moorabbin. But that’s progress, progress which can be traced back to the Saints pioneering move to Moorabbin in the first place. Leaving wasn’t easy in 1992. There was much supporter angst, yet to no avail. Again consider the words of Matthew Hardy when it came to the last match at the ground in 1992.

And here’s a great clip from the last day at the ground.

g

So to sum up the Moorabbin Football Ground as a league venue, I will simply say this…

HERE FOR A GOOD TIME, NOT A LONG TIME

With a little help from my friends…

As always….http://stats.rleague.com/afl/venues/moorabbin_oval.html

Artist & Pies fan David Hurwitz. Please contact him if you are interested in any of his remaining Moorabbin works. They’d make a sensational addition to the Saints fan collection. You can visit his website and contact David. http://www.davidhurwitz.com.au

All photographs by John Carr unless otherwise stated.

Barassi – The Stage Show

Ronald Dale Barassi. His name is intrinsically linked with Australian Football, as player, coach, media performer and visionary. And what better way to celebrate Barassi’s contribution to football and life in Victoria than in the form of  the Stage Show! Barassi the Stage Show is nearly upon us, combining two of Melbourne’s great passions; footy and the arts. I was lucky enough to be invited for a sneak peak at rehearsals and a quick chat with some of the cast, but before I had even entered the building, I felt that this show would be a success. Why?

Well in a quiet backstreet of Collingwood, the majority of the cast was involved in a glorious game of kick-to-kick. This is what they do in their breaks. Parked cars were at risk of damage while the possibility of the footy lodging itself in a tree loomed large. It was beautiful.

On entering the main rehearsal room it was as if being in a football museum, with old photos, Sherrins, Premiership cups (I think they were fake) and even newspaper clippings lining the walls. As a stickler for detail, I could see that much thought and research is going into putting this show together.

But just how do you bring the rough and tumble game of football to the stage? I didn’t have to wait long, as the fist scene we were treated to was an artistic impression of Jesaulenko’s famous mark from the 1970 grand final. Here’s the thing…it was done in slow motion! I won’t go through the mechanics of how, you can see for yourself in the video below.

All of the best choreography in the land would be futile however without someone who could pull off the role of Ronald Barassi himself. Enter Chris Asimos and Steve Bastoni, playing ‘young’ and ‘older’ Barassi respectively. When meeting the young Barassi, Asimos, I was struck by his appearance. He has the Barassi mouth, the strong jaw line, while also pointing out that he was Greek and not Italian like Barassi’s heritage. Originally from Adelaide, Asimos noted that “you need to have a team to follow in Melbourne,” and as such he now follows the Dees.

Chris Asimos portrays a young Barassi. I like that his Melbourne jumper has a collar!

While I didn’t get to see the young Barassi in action, Bastoni too has the strong jaw line and presence to play Ron. The legend of Australian football is not the most eloquent of speakers. Even he once famously said after adressing a player that “you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about!.” But both the script and Bastoni combine to bring Barassi’s sharp and at times clumsy manner of speaking together in a most enjoyable way. 

Ron Barassi, young and the old…er. Asimos on the left, Bastoni on the right.

An interesting aspect of the show is the teaming up of former high flying Melbourne star Russell Robertson, a performer in his own right whether taking a hanger in the square or behind his guitar, with the experienced Sean McGrath and Glenn Maynard. The inclusion of Robertson for his first acting role appears to be far from a token appearance of a footballer.

The three work as a team throughout, portraying a multitude of different characters relevant to the stage of Barrassi’s career being depicted. Remember, Ron was in footy from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s, so there is much ground to cover.

“This is all new to me so being with Sean and Glenn has been great, I’ve just soaked up as much as I can form them” said Robertson of working with McGrath and Maynard, himself familiar with footy. “It’s different to footy, that just takes up your whole life, you can’t drink, you have to watch what you eat… whereas these guys work hard but then go to the pub every night for a couple of beers!”

Ron The cast go through their paces, Jane Clifton with her enthralling narration while the ‘boys’ await their turn.

Having a professional footballer on board certainly has it’s benefits in a project such as this, and in a search for authenticity, Robertson has been able to give some ‘footballing direction. “Chris (Asimos) was too balletic and clean in his movements, I had to dirty him up a bit” Robertson said with a cheeky grin, well aware that he was a novice of the theatre but looking for a bit of playful leverage. “All I’ve really helped in has been movement…to make it more realistic.”

Maynard, who among other roles depicts indigenous star Syd Jackson, pointed out that it’s a show for everyone, “not just Melbourne supporters” added Robertson. Barassi once said that  “loyalty was doing the right thing by the club you were with for the time you were there,” and as such spent time at 4 different clubs. However Barassi transcends club, he represents Australian football, and has been patriotic about spreading it around this land.  “It’s a history of VFL/AFL football, everyone should see this play” Robertson concluded.

Richard Sutherland playing North administrator Albert Mantello, attempting to lure Barassi to coach the only club without a premiership.

Rehearsal hours are long, but with the show opening in little over a week and a noticeable increase in media coverage, there is a great sense of enthusiasm amongst the cast. Bastoni was sporting a Marngrook Footy Show top, no doubt a memento from his recent appearance on the show to plug ‘Barassi.’ It seems apt as the Margrook footy show mixes live musical performance with footy talk, much in the way footy will hit the stage with this production.

September in Melbourne is more than just finals time, it’s also a celebration of Australian football. There’s no better way than to make sure you catch ‘Barassi.’ Check out this quick video of how rehearsals are coming along.

For more information, please visit the comprehensive Barassi Play website. Ticketing and cast information can be found along with plenty of other interesting features.

You can also follow the Barassi Play on twitter by following @BarassiShow and check out the Barassi show on facebook for the latest updates http://www.facebook.com/BarassiTheStageShow

Young Ron Barassi image from http://gameplans.tumblr.com/post/549942291/ron-barassi-jim-stynes-and-the-mcg

Video #4 150 Goals

Here’s a gem of a video I found in an opportunity shop…it’s titled ‘150 goals’. A short film by Michael Nicholson (1985) sees Fitzroy and Collingwood do battle as never before-; in and around the streets of Melbourne. It’s footy meets Monty Python as play takes us to Flinders St, the old Planetarium and Parliament house, players ducking and weaving trains and trams.

One passage of play even enters a time warp and takes place in the early 1900’s, while a skyscraping mark is taken atop….a skyscraper! (Rialto towers under construction) Watch for the special cameo by Cliff Young. For Melbourne and footy lovers…can the two be separated?

Enjoy

Michael Nicholson’s recollections

Book Review #2 A Manual of Australian Football by Alan Scott

 During a routine scanning of the books down at Savers, my eyes came across this plainly clad instructional book on how to play our great game…Australian football. The author’s name, Alan Scott was unfamiliar, and a brief spot of research confirmed he had never played league football. On further inspection of the book, I learned he was housemaster and coach of Ballarat College First 18 football team, and “a successful junior coach at that.”

 Published in 1965, this is one of the earliest instructional books on Australian football, with then VFL president Sir Kenneth Luke saying in his introduction that “when we reflect that our game of football was established more than a century ago, the shortage of authoritative manuals of instruction is astonishing.”

 It was a momentous year for Australian football. To my thinking it signalled the beginning of the modern game. Footy in Melbourne had meandered along essentially untouched by progress for decades. Yet money was about to become the ‘name of the game’, and fittingly, the last of the amateur clubs, Melbourne, won their most recent flag in 1964! The 1965 season also saw Ron Barrassi shock the football world by transferring from Melbourne to Carlton, utter sacrilege at the time, yet a sign of things to come.

 Dramatically, not one but three clubs left “home” in 1965. Richmond, North Melbourne and Fitzroy moved to the MCG, Coburg and Princes Park respectively. Clubs had stayed put for the past 80 odd years, with exceptions in Geelong leaving Corio Oval for Kardinia Park during World War 2 and the Dons 1922 move from East Melbourne to Windy Hill. Things would never be the same.

 The game itself had also been somewhat static to this point, though tactics were beginning to evolve from what had previously been a ‘kick it long, go back over your mark’ game plan. Suffice to say, this book was written on the cusp of great change and serves as a neat time capsule of how the game was.

 It should be recognised that in 1965, though still a simplistic sport, great artistry existed in the required skill-set, with many glorious features now lost. Today, all a footballer needs in their weaponry is a drop punt. Yet Scott explains the finer points of the different ‘kicks’ used ….the drop kick, the long drop pass, the stab pass, the punt kick, the torpedo and even the place kick all get a mention! Of course the drop punt is included.

 It’s clear that Scott was unable to forecast the dramatic change about to take place, as the drop kick would be extinct within a decade. Barassi’s move to Carlton as playing coach would have a lasting effect on football. Apart from the 1970 grand final comeback, where he instructed his team to play on at every opportunity and use handball offensively, the 514 game coach equally had a lasting impact on the way we kick.

 “I was amazed when I began coaching how little was thought of the basics of the kick.” Barassi freely admits that he’s partly responsible for phasing out the graceful drop kick, but is unapologetic.

“It’s the reliability of it (the drop punt)…the drop kick is harder to do. And the torpedo kick has always been a chancy one.” Of course he was not alone, with many contemporary coaches moving in the same direction.

 Click here for a guide to kicking a drop kick on ‘kick2kick’ blog

 The torpedo punt managed to avoid this kicking genocide, with season 2011 providing it with somewhat of a renaissance. Scott raises an interesting point with the torpedo punt. “Because it is possible with practice to make a torpedo punt swing in the air, it is a valuable kick to use when you are kicking for goal on a sharp angle.” As an example, forward this video to 2:05 and watch former Brisbane star Darryl White do exactly that.

 While Scott may not have anticipated the streamlining of kicking, when it comes to his chapter on handball, he seems able to see where the game was headed. “There are many boys who regard handball as a last resort when they have no hope of getting a kick….handball can be used as part of a team’s attack-that is, as part of the teams method of getting the ball up the ground.” Ironically, players these days often appear to use a kick as a last resort!

 There is also instruction on how to perform a flickpass, though the following year, 1966, saw it officially outlawed, as it was too difficult for umpires to detect if the ball had been thrown or struck. The Adelaide Crows attempted to reintroduce this when they entered the AFL with their version dubbed the “Crow-Throw!”

 Click here to read the history of handball- includes flick pass and the crow-throw!

 Many other subjects are covered in the manual of Australian Football, including “Running, Swerving, Turning and Spinning,” where we learn the fundamentals of evasion. A chapter titled “Position Play” gives an indication of the rudimentary nature of the games tactics. Here is all a fullback needed to know about his kicking out duties for instance.

Throughout the book, you are reminded time and again that its author is a school housemaster, such is the authoritarian nature of Scott’s ‘advice’ and the life values he incorporates. Consider the following…

“The game must be seen in its right perspective, no boy should allow football to so dominate his life that he is unable to concentrate on anything else.” Where was that advice when I was a lad? Truly addicted now.

“To lose your temper is quite contrary to the whole concept of sport.” Again true, and a life lesson there as well!

“You should wear the uniform of your team proudly. A slovenly player gives a bad impression” Now illistrator George Melrose deserves special mention for this piece.

It’s the yesteryear version of James Hird standing next to Brendan Fevola! Note the lit cigarette and drunken grin!

“There is a tendency among young players to draw attention to themselves by pretending to be injured. This is very silly. No one is really fooled!” Sorry sir. Won’t happen again sir.

 And lastly some health advice “…avoid constant between-meals eating of sweets, make sure you drink plenty of milk and be moderate in your consumption of fatty foods.” However…

“Do not be discouraged if you seem to be too small or too fat or too ungainly. One of the great things about Australian Rules is that there is a place for almost any physical type.”

Summing up, this book is a great record of how the game was not just played, but the manner in which it was used as a means of shaping students into upstanding citizens. At least that was the idea. And a final word from Alan Scott.

“…if you lose, say nothing. If you win, say less.” Now that I can agree with.