Calling All Knackers (Matt Zurbo’s book of footy interviews)

Calling All Knackers!


Ross Henshaw, Barry Davis, the mighty Ben Hudson, Schimma, Tommy Hafey, Alan Rowarth. Already hung out with all of them. Loved it.

Working on Blighty, God, Barassi, about 6 Carlton 3-4 time Premiership players. A friend knows a friend, who might know Bobby Skilton. Krackers would be great, Aka, too. Leo Barry said he’d love to. I want to hear from anyone who played in the 40s.


Knackers, here’s the short and sweet of it. I need your help.


You see, because of my writing for the Footy Almanac, in particular, the Off Season Odyssey, I’ve been commissioned to compile an Oral History of AFL/VFL Footy.

I originally gave them about 20 topics throughout the history of the game to chose from.

They said: “Brilliant! Let’s do them!”

“Terrific. Which one,” I asked?

“The lot!”


An entire book of quotes, yarns insights and facts from ex and current players and coaches throughout the decades, telling how it was, in a pub, or at their place, over a beer. Funny stories and historic moments, as seen through the eyes of the blokes who were out there. Told to a fellow player, who also doesn’t mind a sip. No journalists, or committee men. Just the players. Just their words.

And they don’t have to be big names. Dermi, for example, is L.E.G.E.N.D! I pray I can nab him. But, still being in the media, I wonder how much he can really say? Billy Duckworth, on the other hand… Or Val Perovic… Rotten Ron, Billy Picken? Hell, I’d love to know if Max Otty is still around!

Tim Pekin, gotta find him!

Want to hear what Longy and Winmar have to say.

How do I find Dougie? Please!

Peter Foster always shot straight.

Players who were in the bottom teams while Melbourne ruled the world. How did they see it all?

Coleman’s opponents. Would love to hear their take on it.

Or from anyone involved in the Bloodbath Grand Final between Carlton and South Melbourne.

Ben Cousins, Robbie Flower, players from the first Eagles team, players from their first flag. Kemp, Matera and Bourke, Barrot, Clay.

Anyone from Fitzroy. Even Gorillas.

Rocket Eade, for reinventing the game. Roos, for taking it to that next level. All over a drink. Libba, Goggin, Scott.

I found, with Davis and Schimma, when there were two of them the stories came out. And so did the humour, the ribbing and shitstir. When there was one, it became another interview.

My all time dream for the book would be to get Plugger and Spud Frawley together over a beer. Throw in Joffa Cunningham, too.

I’ll travel, no worries. Anywhere in Oz. We’ll do this thing right. Gold Coast retirement home? No probs. Bet the bloke still has heaps to say.

Basically, I need anyone who ever played more than a handful of games of VFL/AFL and can either tell a story, or likes to say it the way it is.

To me, it would be beautiful if I got most of my contacts through the Footy Almanac community. I have written for it for about three years now because I believe in it, and John Harms. (Hey, that reminds me! Wayne Harmes would be a massive get). Because the people who read, write and comment in it love footy in the best possible way.

My email is Feel free to give me a player’s contact. Or ask them to contact me. Act as a middleman, or middlewoman if you choose. Suggest topics of conversation. If they are good mates, maybe join us.

Let them know I’ll shout the first drink.

Drop me a line. This book could really be something. Your help would be invaluable.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo8, Anna6, Evie5. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Matt – hang out at the Town Hall Hotel in Fitzroy for long enough and you’ll run into Murray Weideman.

    What about talking to a son of a footy legend? I could set that up for you.

  2. Matt Zurbo says:

    Dips, you ripper. Haha. The ol’ RTowny. Might just do that. Son of a footy legend is not for the book, but could make a great Almanac piece. Hook me up!!

  3. Matt Zurbo says:

    Dips, you ripper. Haha. The ol’ Towny. Might just do that. Son of a footy legend is not for the book, but could make a great Almanac piece. Hook me up!!

  4. Matt Zurbo says:

    Thank you to all the people who have emailed me already. It confirms my love of the Almanac! More players needed!

  5. Good luck with your next book Matt, looking forward to reading it because I’m still a footy head! cheers your old mate Gerry Walsh Prinny Hill!

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