It’s all in the action

by Chris Riordan

The “currant bun” (News-Pictorial) has forensically dissected Nick Riewoldt’s exaggerated goalkicking style, apparently unveiled on Saturday night.

By the photos, it is certainly distinctive and has got me thinking about radical or unique actions.

Whether it be Andrew Dunkley’s ball drop, Jim Furyk’s backswing or Paul Adams’ contortionist bowling delivery, there are some names that, when mentioned, evoke an unmistakable visual image.


  1. Footy kickers that spring to mind: Curly Austin and James Manson.

    In cricket, two Victorian bowlers whose nicknames were derived from their actions: Alan “Froggy” Thomson (a good old Reservoir boy) and Max “Tangles” Walker (ok, he’s originally from Tassie).

    The chicken-run of Bob Willis also springs to mind.

    And batting-wise, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a batsman whose action you wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

  2. Andrew Fithall says:

    Eddie Palubinskas had possibly the the most beautiful and consistent basketball shooting style. And Kareem had the skyhook.

  3. Ben Johnson (disgraced Canadian drug cheat sprinter) had the most extraordinary action out of the blocks. The conventional method is to throw one arm forward and one back just like you would when in mid-stride. Johnson used to throw both arms back like he’d been fired from a canon.

    Clint Jones for St Kilda has a ridiculous kicking style. Looks like he’s plucking a chook. Can’t stand watching it.

  4. At the time, Tony Greig’s batting stance was radical and controversial. Standing upright and with bat already raised, he was considered a sucker for a fast yorker. With his smug assuredness, however, most quickies preferred to aim at his wonky helmet. Both the cricketer and his radical approach were too readily underestimated. Today the bat raised is orthodoxy! The personality involved remains prickly and less readily accepted.

  5. Ian Syson says:

    There’s been some fairly interesting goal kicking styles in both rugby codes, often involving techniques to aid concentration. The one I’m thinking of especially is Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddel with his ‘Hitler salute’.

  6. That needs more info for us Mexicans please Ian.

    For me, there are 2 images I can get from Rugby.
    David Campese …conjures up the goosestep
    Jonny Whatsisname…had the prayerful prep to his goal kicking

  7. cow shed end says:

    Though Froggy Thomson and Max Walker had interesting actions(bowling off the wrong leg) have a squiz at Forest Whitaker’s bowling action in the “Crying Game”, made Johnny Howard look like Allan Donald. Film better known for an interesting “Change up”

  8. Got a link for that mate?

  9. #2. Can’t say I know much about Eddie Palubinskas, but the fact that his name is an anagram of “likes bad puns idea” has me warming to him.

  10. Ian Syson says:

    Crio — here’s an example of him playing for Wigan (I think)

    Crio — you live in the sports capital of the universe. Surely you’re across this!!

  11. Peter Flynn says:

    The start of Asif Masood’s run up to the wicket.

  12. Ian Syson says:

    off topic — Just found this amazing kick from Dan Carter. He’s kicking from near the sideline and has a gale across the kick

  13. Moved on from 19th Century newspapers Dr?

  14. Steve Healy says:

    Murilitharan’s “throwing” style comes to mind, as does Shaun Tait’s “swing your arm as far back as possible, and loose all control of your body so the ball goes insanely fast and wide”

    And on the topic of footy, Brendan Fevola’s public nuisances.

  15. Actually Steve, Fev’s effective kicking style was distinctive, with the grip being unconventional for a drop punt.
    For people my age, the slingshot bowler was Jeff Thomson.

  16. Here’s footyalmanac Hall of Famer Paul Daffey’s 2003 Age article on unconventional and ineffective kicker Andrew Dunkly, before his debut for the mighty Parrots.

  17. Re: #3 check out this video. Watch the bloke second from left. Incredible.

  18. Peter Flynn says:

    Jim Furyk’s swing

  19. Phantom says:

    Basil Fawlty’s walk?

  20. Des Gleeson’s “All Clear”!

  21. Phantom, is that the “silly walk” or the goosestep?
    Groucho’s walk was distinctive…but you also see the mo, the cigar and hear the staccato asides.

  22. Just digressing to sport – and note the slow drip method! _
    multi-Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson had an extraordinary running action. It seemed impossible that he could go so quickly.

  23. Phantom says:

    One evolves into the other

  24. Jamie Soward, (St George) was kicking for goal in the Rugby League World Club Championship witha particularly mincing style. Seemed to involve some cat like padding to make thighs softer before a skip back and then an attack on the ball.

  25. johnharms says:

    A.P.E. Knott
    Paul Adams
    Kerry O’Keeffe

  26. The litmus test, I suppose, is imitation…
    anyone mimicking S.K. Warne’s bowling must begin with the double-armed reverse flourish.

  27. Fev’s not-so-unique action of being a dickhead.

  28. Too common unfortunately Josh though he’s a poster boy of the internet gambling strife. Players used to get up to mischief in public but “brand” monitors got wary and forced them indoors. All the spare time of a pro athlete meant the transition from supermario to superPoker was inevitable.

  29. johnharms says:

    J.P. McEnroe’s service action
    Phil Krakouer’s kicking style

  30. smokie88 says:

    On topic, and relevant given over-night events:
    Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga’s extraordinary round-arm style.
    Has anybody mentioned the wonderfully pure slinging action of one
    Jeffrey Robert Thomson? I am surprised that no-one has ever tried
    to replicate it.

  31. Phantom says:

    Boris Becker’s serving style

    Johnny Wilkinson’s kicking style

    Fev’s walking style (some nights)

  32. Phantom says:

    ‘Eric the Eel’s’ swimming style.

  33. Peter Flynn says:

    The loony Rene Higuita and his scorpion kick.

  34. Peter Flynn says:

    KS Ranjitsinhji (the inventor of the leg glance).

  35. #35. If someone ever asks you what to get KS Ranjitsinhji for his birthday, I’d suggest buying a vowel…

  36. #36 Gigs, I have a kid called Ieuan in my class. He only needs one more for the full set. (I call him the “Vowelly of Death”).

    Not quite unique, but an interesting confluence perhaps. The similarities between Darryl White and Jaryd Brennan’s one handed grab and show to the crowd.

    White’s kicking style was also a stretch from the norm.

  37. #37. Thanks for the feedback, Gus. (Love the name “Vowelly of Death”!) That gives me a chance to tell people that “feedback” is the shortest word in the English language to contain the first six letters of the alphabet.

    Which of course, is completely off-topic and will annoy the crap out of Crio.


  38. Alovesupreme says:

    This is probably a bit peripheral to the topic, but it might be of interest; unfortunately I don’t think the article is on line.

    Ian Clayton is lamenting the development of golf equipment (clubs and balls) to make the game more ‘fool-proof’.
    “One of the great(est) shots I ever saw was hit by (who else) Seve Ballesteros. The 10th hole at Wentworth in Surrey is a long par three with a wide green orientated from left to right. The back quarter of the green is obscured from view by a copse of pine trees…”
    “The Ballesteros shot came on the final day of the 1980 Martini International and the Spaniard was playing with Rodger Davis. The pin was cut in the back corner. it was a cold miserable day and most were simply hitting to the left front of the green and putting across. Some flew across the trees straight at the flag…, but Seve took a three iron aimed it left and hit the most amazing, carving, sliced three iron around the trees to within six feet of the hole.
    Rodger looked at me staggered at the shot we had both seen ‘Did you see what he just did?”
    Ian Clayton “Straight Shooters Can’t bend it like Seve” Golf Victoria Feb-March 2011)
    I suspect that Seve has provided a collection of such shots which might constitute a unique style within Crio’s criteria.

  39. In a slight overlap to a previous topic, just the name Seve conjurs up wonderful images…what a talent!

  40. Here’s one I just thought of for the true sprting purist!..
    Teddy demmler brandishing the whip. He’s lean back in the sulky, lift that left arm and let rip. Unforgettable also, I’d imagine, for the “cart-horse” involved.

  41. Mark Branagan says:

    New AFL life member Gareth Andrews lining up a shot at Kardinia Park in the ’60s? – the eventual destination of which could threaten residents in at least four neighbouring suburbs.

    David Steele, English middle order batsman with the crab-like walk, think Headingley 1975 abandoned Test, a la George Davis.

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