Chris Rees has been blogging for 10 years about his kids, his dog, his collection of fictional cars, and Richmond. He has attended only a dozen Tigers games (almost all putrid losses to Carlton) but has listened to them play on the radio every week since 1975.
- Registered Users
- Stuffed Swans
- Finals fever at Lauderdale
- Rosalie Gascoigne - the beauty of yellow and black
- Losing my cool detachment
- We made them look terrible
- Another win
- Four wins on the bounce
- The Denzil Don footy
- Before ‘The Map’
- Scottsdale, 1973
- The Map takes on the Common Bottlenose Dolphins
- Dan Richardson stares into the middle distance
- Go clean in 2015
- Things are crook
- Not a joiner
- R3 v Bulldogs – done like a dog’s dinner
- Footy cards taken seriously as photography
- R2 v Carlton - Ditch The 'Rivalry'
- Thanks Tim
- Miles away
- Carlton 16.10.106 d Richmond 14.12.96
Hi everyone, I hope the off-season is treating you well. I am doing some TTBB housekeeping, and have just deleted over 200 spam registered users. No, I don’t know what anyone gains by registering on a blog, but there you go.
If I have deleted your user account; a) nothing dramatic will happen and b) I’m sorry. Please re-register. I think I have a better system now so next time I purge it will be a bit more scientific.
Could two games be more different than the games in Sydney and Adelaide? One so tense, exhilirating and ultimately victorious, with many citing it as our greatest moment in nearly 20 years. Then yesterday – the hopes and tension gone so quickly, defeat so total, the whole second half a weird mechanical exercise in keeping up appearances. If it was a cricket match this is the point where the wicketkeeper would have come on for a bowl, doing impressions, before the captains had a little chat and called stumps.
I am speechless with admiration for the vast Tiger Armada who sailed across the oceans of wheat to cheer the boys. You can say you left it all on the park. You can look at yourselves and say, with honest exhaustion, “there was nothing more I could have done”. You are all heroes and if I could ease your weary trips home by taking a turn at the wheel, or carrying a Samsonite up another %$!@# escalator I would.
It was a horrible day for football, judging by a sneak preview of Dugald’s account – hot and dry. The surface looked flat and fast. Without knowing which way it would go, I felt that this was going to be no arm wrestle – this was going to be over by 3QT, one way or the other.
Having spent the footy budget in going up to Sydney last week, it was never on the cards that we’d be going to Adelaide. Marcus played in the u13 KO Cup soccer final yesterday morning (his boys did the right thing winning the semi while he and I were away beating the Swans). Unfortunately the soccer final was a bridge too far, but I am not one for omens of that blatant ilk. We came home from that and I buried myself in work with the ABC pre-match on the radio bubbling away.
I didn’t sit in front of the TV until after the anthem. Saw the clash jumpers – ugh. Saw Griff get ungracefully bumped on his arse before the bounce. But we won the first break and pumped it down towards Jack. Then it came back with interest, but we fearlessly dished it around and through gaps and underground, standing in tackles and backing ourselves. When we had it we looked good, sticking with the game plan. But then the next passage of play set the template for the next hour.
Hartlett-Wines-Boak-Gray. Gray stepped around Grimes and stepped around Chaplin. Pass to Westhoff and goal. How much talent in those five Port players? How 2nd rate did Grimes and Chappy look in that moment? I don’t want to be unfair to them; “setting the tone” is sometimes an overused metaphor. But to my eyes we failed to stick a tackle for the next hour, while our own famous “strong in the hips” young gun was really made to look ordinary once or twice. The other whack I am going to hand out is to Stevie Morris. Halfway through the second quarter, Westhoff toed it forward and Hartlett was always going to win the race to the ball. WHY DID MORRIS BUMP? Why? Use your arms and tackle son!! Hartlett rode the bump, handpassed to Westhoff who kicked a goal from 0 metres. Port players came from everywhere and mobbed the lightly tousled Hartlett.
As I write this I am eating the savs that were to come out at half time yesterday. Instead I took the dog for a walk and kicked a lot of rocks.
I feel like we are on the right track. Lots has gone right this year, the Tiger family is unrecognisable from how we were in June. I have just signed up for 2015 as I vowed I would when we did the impossible and turned our season around. [Confession: I have not been a paid up member since 2006. I have my reasons, as does everyone for joining/not joining. Chiefly distance and income].
The feeling today is nothing like how I felt after the Carlton debacle(s) a year ago. Richmond can play better than yesterday, but I think what we saw in the stark South Australian light was uncomfortable reality. That’s how good Port can be in September (frightening) and that’s how little resistance Richmond can put up in September at this stage (chastening).
As usual I will leave the debates about list management to others. Don’t be unkind, and don’t judge the year by the day. When the dust settles I will again back the 22 in yellow and black, whomever they be.
After Dusty ran away from a prone Ted Richards and put us out by 9 points, then the Swans replied, a fella in front of us in the cheer squad said “Two minutes”. He was in touch with someone in front of a telly with the benefit of the countdown clock – I took this as gospel.
But then shortly afterwards someone behind said (with a voice of authority) “3 minutes 15 to go”. One minute later someone else said “3 minutes 25”. Chrrrrrrist. Were were three points up and absorbing incredible waves of pressure – Rance, Chaplin and Griffiths intercepting a lot of poorly directed wish kicks. The tension was pretty incredible.
At last I saw Chappy take another mark in the backline and give a little fist pump and I knew HE knew we were home. Siren. Bouncing, tears, hugs with strangers, and the song, the song, the song.
It was our first live game of the year. Our family is divided into two Tigers (Marcus and I) and two Don’t Get Its (Elf and Michael). They stayed home and we flew to Sydney. Dugald made some introductions and David Ward offered us a space in the cheer squad, and a chance to go out on the ground with the run-through banner.
We arrived a little late but David had been looking out for us. One of the Squad (Nick I think) offered Marcus his wristband to go onto the ground with the banner, and I stayed behind the fence and took photos. David and the whole squad were so welcoming and helpful, they really made sure our night was memorable and great fun, win or lose. I had brought a yellow Richmond flag and a folding tent pole to wave it. The elastic in it broke when I whacked in on the concrete in high anxiety during the last quarter. But still, my flag shows up on the footage amongst the others that were mostly black. The Squad (much sparser than it would be at home) gave Marcus one of these big flags to join in with.
Mick Molloy came and stood next to me for a photo opportunity with the squad (not with me personally I assume although I am quite handsome) and then sculled a beer, in the dry area. I asked him if he’d got any sleep yet and he said no. Also he announced too that he had a “good feeling” about the game.
We were next to Rhonda and Ryan from Warranwood. They are regulars in the squad and knew the chants, which took us a little while to get on top of. Rhonda had a typed-up team list and scoresheet, but only for one team of course.
I met up with Sean from Richmond blog The Audacity of Hype – a lovely bloke online and offline.
The game started like a dream, after a five minute settling-in period. As we kicked the fifth, I forgot where I was and actually thought for a second I was watching a replay of one of the earlier goals. I need to get to more live games, clearly.
The Squad were of course howling at the umps, and we were certainly on the end of few shockers. But I thought Rance was monstering Tippett and very lucky to not give away a bunch of frees inside 50. When I heard on the train to the ground that Buddy was out, I thought that was an odd choice, given they had a debutant ruckman and Tippett would probably need to help him out. Essentially the Swans didn’t come to play, and if they were undermanned that was largely by choice. Ivan ruled the first quarter, giving young Naismith a clinic.
There were no goals in the first 6 minutes. Subtract the next nine minutes of the game and we lost every quarter. So – how did it feel? Stressful, but in a different way to earlier this year or even last year. I genuinely think this group has got a new set of tools to bring to the job now. I knew we would go behind at some stage. But I also felt that as long as there was at least 30 seconds on the clock when it happened, that we now have the skills and confidence to fight back and win, like the song says. And as soon as Lids put us back in front before 3QT I had a feeling inside that we’d prevail.
Our defence was marvellous. At one point in the first Q Maric, Houli and Grimes flicked a wet ball in a triangle around a couple of Swans like Geelong of a few years back – never quite losing control, until they found a way out. Rance played one of those dominant backmans games that has pundits re-working their All-Australian predictions. Chaplin is a new man – his confidence is right up. Did you see his little sidestep in the first Q? Dances sideways, ball slips straight out of his hands like a cake of soap, but he just got down and gathered and dished off like it was all part of his plan.
I think the Swans kicked the game away in the last Q. We were not blameless in that area but their 5 behinds, all resulted in kick-ins to the very same spot, right back pocket boundary on 50. I think each kick in was a turnover, often out on the full. This was the hardest part – seeing the boys struggling to execute what they had clearly been instructed to do, the Malthouse plan of going via the cape. By today’s papers Sydney are apparently feeling like it was a jolly top night all round and good for football; but Longmire seemed to me to be having some genuine conniptions about their failure to put away a spirited but inferior team. A beautiful moment that happened right in front of us; Malceski took a kickout with Teddy right there telling him to go up the guts. Malceski went wide right instead and kicked it straight to: Alex Rance, a man who stays fresh for up to 2 weeks inside a Décor plastic container.
I love the goofy face of Dylan Grimes after a win. Marcus got down to the fence and managed to backslap a dozen players as they gave out signed balls and soaked up the Tiger love. We sang the song and chanted the chants a dozen times each. I’d had a tense chat to Trout at half time, but at the end we exchanged half-hugs. On our way out I saw Cassandra and had a quick chat to her as well – the joy all around us was palpable. Marcus and I went to a burger place outside the ground and just flopped down and grinned and grinned at each other. I was hungry and exhausted, it was dark, it was after a footy game – my body told me it was at least 11pm. In fact it was just after seven.
I saw great things last night from Maric, Rance, Deledio, Riewoldt, Foley, Cotchin, Chaplin, Griffiths, Grimes and Edwards. I didn’t get a great look at the midfield because of where we sat. I saw good things at times from everyone including Petterd but it sounds like he may be one to miss out if a change is made. I am so pumped for the finals – I really believe we belong there in a way I didn’t think was possible just 4 weeks ago.
Saturday saw the start of the Southern Football League finals here in Tassie. Robbie and I tossed up whether to go to Lindisfarne 2 Blues v Claremont Magpies in the northern suburbs, or East Coast Bombers v Dodges Ferry Sharks over at lovely beachside Lauderdale. We opted for the latter, as on form I thought Claremont would have their final in the bag by half time [I was wrong]. The ground is built on a narrow neck of land between Ralphs Bay and Frederick Henry Bay. The surrounds are very flat and swampy, and on occasions the carpark around the ground goes back to nature. Its probably an excellent spot for bird watching when the footy isn’t on.
Lauderdale play in the top tier Tasmanian State League, and were away pummelling Devonport in the final roster round. They finished fourth and should have earned a home final, but TSL Head Office decided their ground was not well-appointed enough to host such a prestigious occasion, so they will play Glenorchy at North Hobart. Its true that at Lauderdale Oval you sometimes see tired and sweaty reserves players standing around in the carpark with ice packs etc because there is not enough space in the rooms. Lauderdale as a community (pop. 2500) are punching above their weight in the TSL, playing against teams representing metropolitan Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport as well as traditional powerhouses North Launceston, Glenorchy and Clarence.
Lauderdale Oval was considered adequate for an SFL final, so there we were. I was on dual assignment for TTBB and Scoreboard Pressure, so my first point of interest was the scoreboard. It is fairly new, lacking in character but tidy and does the job. I personally love to see a 3 made out of a cut-in-half 8 and that sort of thing, but the TSL is probably not so keen. The big problem though was that as both teams were visitors, there really needed to be some improvised labels put up. East Coast are the Bombers, like the home side, so it was probably thought adequate to put their score beside LAUDERDALE and leave people to work out that VISITORS referred to the Sharks. The scoreboard probably dates from 2009, when Lauderdale were included in the newly constituted TSL. While lacking in flexibility of nomenclature, it did feature a couple of classic old timekeepers, one in a fedora.
The Bombers presented in a Western Sydney Warriors-inspired hooped guernsey, while the Sharks wore an abomination with a cartoon shark and Adelaide Crows socks. When these sides met only six weeks ago the Bombers had prevailed by nine goals. But this was East Coast’s first ever final, and the drum was that the coach was having trouble keeping a lid on the excitement. The start was nervous all round, and at quarter time it was the Sharks by 5 behinds to 2. I did some stretches (bit of calf trouble still) and we went out for a kick. Again no-one spotted my hidden talent and asked me to consider having a run next season. The canteen was doing strong trade. We gave the capuccinos 6.5 out of ten. Somehow in the delightful sunshine I didn’t feel the need for a pie.
Robbie and I were sitting on the bonnet in the left forward pocket, swamp end. Flat tray utes were backed up to the fence around us with yoof who had played in the reserves, getting a slightly elevated view. The Bombers owned the second quarter, and had a 2 goal lead at the long break. Again I set out my stall, demonstrating that I could miss Robbie by the same margin with left or right boot, and selling the dummy to some disinterested teens.
We went over to the can bar on the northern wing and watched the 3rd quarter from the wet area. There were free bar snacks – cold by the time we got there but very generous all the same. Dim sims, twisties, nuts and huge tray of formerly hot chips that I suppose you were supposed to just reach into and grab a handful of. Very friendly and unassuming although a bit unhygienic. The Sharks came out in the third with fresh intent, and put on a burst of unanswered goals to wrench back the lead and put themselves in a great position at 3Q time. While I took a few more photos Robbie eavesdropped on the huddles. Bombers: quiet desperation. Sharks: buzzwords that seemed to go over players heads.
After an arm wrestle for the first five minutes, the Bombers kicked the first goal of the final term. A rally looked possible, but it was snuffed out quite quickly. Meanwhile in town Lindisfarne had upset Claremont, who will now face the Sharks in a knockout next week. Lindisfarne’s prize is a meeting with unbackable flag favourites New Norfolk.
EAST COAST BOMBERS 9.9.63 d DODGES FERRY 7.11.53
I can’t paint, I can’t draw and I can’t weld, but I can see an empty space and I know what to put in it. – Rosalie Gascoigne.
One of my favourite Australian artists has always been Roaslie Gascoigne – and if you’ve never seen her work, I already know you are going to love it. The pieces here are made from sawn reflective road signs. She used a wide variety of materials and colours but generally she worked with discarded man-made stuff found in the landscape, but not part of it.
She is represented by Roslyn Oxley 9 gallery, which has a big web gallery of her work, and these images were lifted from there.
Adelaide 9.15 (69) lost to Richmond 10.19 (79)
Can someone who has visited the AFL LadderPredictor twice already today claim he doesn’t care where his team finishes? Not credibly, no.
I did not believe we could beat the Crows. I did not dare hope. But I was looking forward to this game more than any since the Carlton final last year (although that was hope mixed with fear and loathing, as it was Carlton and I half expected what eventuated).
Of course, being 4 goals up on Saturday night meant nothing; I still felt we were going to cough it up once the Adelaide A-graders started getting involved. Nothing in the first half from Sloan, Tex, Betts and Dangerfield – those guys were going to wake up and roll us, I thought.
We were still in the box seat when Mackay was injured. Why the %$#^& does a motorised gurney have to drive around the boundary like its a lap of honour? For God’s sake, point the thing at the medical room and floor it – get off. For the sake of the injured player and the team that had the momentum when the injury happens, in this case, the prone-to-nerves Tiges. Cue a rapid Crows fightback and suddenly we were only 3 points up and looking like we had done scoring for the night.
Once the kids go to bed at half time I click into serious mode, and I had finished the cider supplies and was riding the TV pretty hard by this stage. The goal review was farcical; is the 4th umpire the only person in Australia who gets Ch7’s footy in HD? What possible flicker of a pixel did he pick up to think that ball touched the padding? Only two people in the country thought that was a point; the video ump and Rhett Bartlett (who I am prepared to believe has hereditary superpowers). As Sloan pumped another one through moments later I don’t think it made much difference to the swing of the pendulum in the game. Even before we went behind I had surrendered the four points.
But – although the Tigers kicked 1.9 in that harrowing 3rd quarter, there was really only Deledio’s shot from about 25m that you could call a howler.
I haven’t watched back the last quarter – at the time it was just a shapeless frenzy, until Flash Gordon snapped beautifully to put us in front. Then we did a new trick – we iced the clock with skill and confidence! I love it. Dusty maybe pushed the hapless young Crow in the back to kick the sealer but I didn’t think so at the time. I just imagined Dugald going into raptures about his hips. Dugald ♥ Dusty’s hips – I am going to carve that into a tree outside Punt Road.
So we won, and now I am all about the AFL ladder predictor. I HONESTLY DON’T MIND MISSING THE FINALS as long as we give 100% against Saints and Swans. I wish there was an AFL Turn Up To Play Predictor. My pass marks (not that I care about %, see below) are (i) win every quarter against the Saints and (ii) be in with a genuine chance against the Swans going into the last quarter. Not a “Bruce feels like a couple of quick ones could relight the fire” chance; a genuine chance.
Like a surprising number of our fellow travellers here at TTBB and on Twitter, I find footy maths to be good fun; the combs and perms of the last few rounds are always a good workout for the brain. To my eyes, our percentage is irrelevant. No-one can catch us and we can’t reasonably catch Essendon, the only team in cooee of our %. A 2% swing is bloody hard to achieve at this end of the season.
It’s just occurred to me that after the shock and dismay of the Tatyoon Tiger’s early season-ending injury, we have actually had a blesséd run. Our 2013 B&F has only managed 10 games, and his leadership has been missed. But the official injury list now is those two, plus a couple of idiots each with a case of sore buttocks from sitting on the pine for an extended period after snotting a bloke who wasn’t looking. And then hopefully getting their arses kicked by everyone from Brendon down to the bootstudder.
Er, as I was saying, we have a very healthy list and it ALL GOES WELL FOR THE FUTURE. Go Tiges.
Richmond 14.11.95 d Essendon 11.11.77
That was magnificent. It’s eleven thirty on Friday night. I am still buzzing. I have fired off the yellow and black signal flare in the direction of the Overland Track to confirm the news to my colleague Dugald. It has also alerted my secret team of quolls who, while he sleeps, will arrange twigs, pebbles and their own scats into the words MATHEMATICALLY POSSIBLE outside his tent.
I have so much love in my heart for Shane Edwards right now. Shane, I am so sorry I said in 2008 that you had peaked and weren’t up to it.
Ivan Maric, what leadership and confidence he showed tonight. I just love listening to the bloke talk too. I wonder if he’ll end up as a coach – he seems to be a genuinely thoughtful bloke and not just the product of media training. Lindsay Gilbee said in awe “ah, doesn’t he speak lovely?”
I have been saying for the last three weeks that I just want us to keep winning and not even think about finals. Tonight Ivan said the same thing – vindication!
Nathan Gordon stood under a high ball, got whacked, went back and nailed the set shot at goal. On the radio Parko said he thought that would be the making of the young man.
Matt Thomas slowed down and was subbed tonight but he did a lot of great work alongside Cotch, and one really smart thing, an ambitious underground handball that scooted through two Bombers then sat up beautifully for a Tiger to take without breaking stride.
Jack Riewoldt is really testing my patience. Thankfully goals are coming from a variety of other sources, but he is still The Pea as Stan Alves calls it, and he is under performing in that role.
Alex Rance did a fine job on the monster Carlisle. Did he stay on him in the last quarter? Carlisle was unsighted, Daniher was nowhere and the TopKnot Kid, Hurley, took one great grab, shanked his kick and didn’t get near it again.
The Dons kicking was really outstandingly awful. The number of out of bounds and didn’t make the distance shots was bottom-4 worthy. Richmond made an appalling error from a kick out, and Dell’Olio and Carlisle between them botched a gimme goal. It was briefly like watching Rwanda v Turkmenistan in the Cricket World Cup.
Cotchin, Martin, Deledio and Riewoldt – all those big names were reasonably quiet. Miles has become a crucial cog incredibly fast; which speaks volumes about his ability but also about Richmond’s weakness in winning it in midfield before he came into the side.
Speaking of the yoof, Dimma said in the post-match that Lennon and McBean had things they had to do better, and “we are past just handing out jumpers to young blokes”. I think he’s right and I agree now with what Sean at RFC Ramble has been saying all along – maybe with Grigg and Thomas out and those two in, we’d have lost this game.
So in closing I hope Dugald is feeling the good vibes from all around the country and sleeping soundly in his bag. The boys put in a genuinely solid effort tonight and put a sloppy and under strength opponent to the sword. Bring on the Crows.
It feels pretty good, having five wins in a row. But I am refusing to look at the ladder.
OK I admit it, I just looked at the ladder. And its disappointing that we are still 12th after 5 wins. So I will not be looking at it ANY MORE. I don’t think we deserve to play finals, and if we finish ninth and people want to make jokes about it, well that says more about THEM than about Richmond doesn’t it. Doesn’t it?
So – each of these wins is important in itself, for building confidence, and for welding the boys together in a way that those dispiriting losses never could. You can build a great spirit in a losing team if it is always coming off the park having given 100% – but the way we played earlier in the year was just a club-killer and a culture-killer.
Keep it up I say, just keep bringing home the four points and singing the song, and stuff the ladder.
Well, the mood in Tigerland has certainly changed with four wins in a row. Not that long ago I was imploring the club to just focus on winning games, and they have done that. Saints and Lions were not super-impressive wins, but beating Port and beating West Coast at Subi are both feathers in the cap.
I can seriously see us winning our next four. Giants, non-Dreamtime Dons, Crows away and, erm, the Saints again. OK, Crows are going to take some beating.
It is only fair, after bashing the club over the head since April, to say its been a very enjoyable few weeks. It’s possible to watch Rance, Maric and Deledio who are all in good form and be tempted to concede that their absence explains the flat first 13 rounds. I don’t think it does, but OK, it contributed.
But let the record show we put in some really uncompetitive quarters in games with our best 22 available, and those brief lapses cost us games.
What was really impressive about last night’s slog at Subiaco was that refusal to give a sucker an even break. It was just the kind of game where an arsey Eagles checkside in the rain that had no right to go in could have started the doubts. Everyone made shocking handling errors but the Tiges just kept going, kept forcing it forward and doing the unglamorous things that had to be done.
I just rewatched the 3rd quarter. We had it up front for the first 12 or so minutes for just Cotchin’s wonder goal; then Bruuuuce said we had been rope-a-doped by West Coast. Cue them to have it up front for 12 minutes for no return.
Vickery’s whack on Cox was just a reckless and uncoordinated bit of retaliation, by a player who is generally thought of as a bit soft and a bit lacking in match focus. It wasn’t a Barry Hall v Staker brain fade or an old fashioned hatchet job. I would actually be delighted to mythologise it as the old eat-em-alive spirit, taking out the talisman and “killing Bambi” as Bruuuuuuuuce called it. The crafty Tigers play the AFL for idiots on clash jumpers, then blow into town, knock out the living legend on his special day, and fly home laughing with the 4 points. Ty was kissing babies and signing autographs afterwards as though he had singlehandedly won us a preliminary final.
He is bound to miss at least 4 weeks. And I am going to call that taking one for the team, being prepared to stand up and make a statement, end justifying means, ruthless Richmond. Not because it’s true but because I would LIKE it to be true. In truth he was just fed up and swung and how could you miss a hooter like that anyway.
His replacement comes down to Griffiths or McBean. Which raises the question of what our aims are for the next five weeks. I am delighted that Mr Pragmatism did not step in at 3-10, and start whispering in ears about draft picks and t**king. You could tell the mood was swinging that way when Dan Richardson started talking down our current list (and serenading Nate Fyfe etc from under their windows). When club functionaries say, in round 12 or 13 mind you, “our list is no good” that just means “buckle up and prepare for more ugly losses, some of them avoidable”.
I say there are two wins available to us each round from here on. The first win can only be achieved by playing youngsters and finding out about them. Name them and play them for four quarters. You might get a clear positive or a clear negative, where at the moment there is only VFL form and a whole lot of curiosity and mad unfulfilled hope in the Tiger army. You might also get an inconclusive patchy performance that tells you nothing, but if you don’t play them then that’s a certainty.
The other win is the 4 points, bringing with it momentum and pride. Rebuilding what we had coming into this season so come Round 1 2015 any opponent is going to approach us with respect.
This is an old story from my family blog dated 2007 but worth re-telling here I think.
February 22, 2007 The Denzil Don footy
I found an old leather football on our lawn the other day, “Denzil Don” brand, with some signatures on it. I asked our elderly neighbour Judy if it was hers – her grandkids live down the hill, and I thought they might have had a kick in her back yard. It was Judy’s, and she had put it out for the garbage. Someone must have thought it belonged to our boys, and lobbed it over.
I gave it back to her and she was on her way back to the garbage pile with it when I felt sorry for it, and asked if I could keep it. God knows we have too much of this sort of stuff already, but its just not right to throw out an old footy that meant something to someone once.
It turns out the footy is from King Island, home of Australia’s only three-team football comp (Currie, Grassy and Norths). One part of the inscription that is legible says “presented to Brian Mather, Currie Captain”. Maybe it was a grand final ball.
What makes this all more interesting is that the same week I found the ball, my employer Roar Film got the green light to make a TV series about country football. Filming starts this week. One of the five clubs/leagues featured is King Island. My footy is going to be a prop, and the crew might take it over with them when they are shooting, to see if any of the signatories are still on the scene.
On King Island footy is only for the very hardy – it’s probably the windiest place in Australia. Apparently one character called Beany generally plays in his jeans and swaps jumpers each quarter, so that he doesn’t have to change ends.
I have found there is a Denzil Don kindergarten in West Brunswick, Vic. Investigations still pending on the full D.D. story.
June 17, 2007 The Denzil Don footy goes home
Back in February I found an old “Denzil Don” brand football on our lawn. It had some signatures on it. On inspection I worked out it was from King Island (home of Australia’s only three-team football competition).
Coincidentally, only days after I found it, Roar Film got the go-ahead from SBS to make a series about country football, featuring King Island. The first shoot happened earlier this month. The crew took my footy over there to see what they could find out about it.
They were blown away by the reaction. People gathered around and helped identify the names inscribed on it. Steve and Marie even met a couple of the footballers, now in their nineties. The ball was a memento of a game against either Flinders Island, or Redpa (near Smithton) – both of whom used to play annual matches against a K.I. combined side. One of the old blokes, named Snow Watkins, has just had his driving license revoked, as he is blind as a bat. He was caught one night driving his tractor to the pub. It’s now in the middle of a paddock with its tires let down. Snow’s brother Splinter has also had his driver’s license taken away, but he’s very proud that he’s still got his Kelp License.
Roar will visit King Island again to film the grand final in September. I hope I will get a chance to tag along and carry some sound gear or something. It sounds like a really lovely, slow-paced place to visit. I have always got the impression that King is to Tasmania what Tasmania is to the rest of Australia.
July 24, 2014 Postscript
The series was called Alive and Kicking and ended up featuring the Tamar Cats, Woodsdale, the Queenstown Crows and the King Island comp. It was shown on SBS in August 2008, as part of the Inside Australia series of docos. There is a synopsis and interview with my then boss Steve Thomas, here.
Somewhere I have a copy of the King Island Chronicle celebrating the ball’s return, and showing it in a glass case. I have searched for a photo of it as it was when I found it, but I don’t think I took one. I never did get to go along on the shoot on the island.