Malthouse feelings and car park lessons

Like many journalists I have a love/hate relationship with Mick Malthouse.

When I see him in navy blue the saying ‘like a red rag to a bull’ comes to mind, but when I see him in person all I can see is him on stage holding the 2010 premiership cup with Nick Maxwell.

I can’t explain why this happens but in person I always seem to lose all the hate.

La Trobe had Mick come in to take part in a talk/debate on the topic ‘Sport has the power to change the world’ alongside university professor Russell Hoye and Margot Foster from Victoria Sport Australia.

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Like any organised person I got there early. No other students were around but there was a lady in a La Trobe t-shirt and a man in a suit. The man wasn’t shy in making it obvious how things were to unfold. “He’s not doing any doorstops and he’s not answering any Carlton related questions.”

I sat up a little waiting for more information that’s when journalist Mark Stevens and a cameraman walked in.

I know what you’re thinking – awwww shit! Something is gonna go down today! It’s public knowledge that Mick and Mark have an awkward relationship; surely something was going to happen right?

I walked into the room and took a seat. Stevens sat in the very last row probably forgot that Mick has radar vision, there’s nowhere to hide! He might as well have sat front row. Only six minutes late Mick walked in with the rest of the speakers and took his seat in the middle as second speaker.

While first speaker Professor Hoye opened with his arguments about how sport is a national pride for key events my eyes were fixed on Mick. Wearing a navy blue tie with white and light blue slashes he sat cross legged, twirling his reading glasses on his thigh. The glasses twirling went on for a few good minutes then he notably leaned in forward to the table in front of him and looked to be checking his phone. HA! Probably a miss call from Daisy! – Shut up Danni remember the introduction? Mick Malthouse premiership coach…2010! He coached your boys to a flag you ungrateful diva, those happy tears were his doing, quit it!

Then it was Mick’s turn to take the stand. He began by talking about his love footy how he “loved it, ate it, went to bed with it, was obsessed with it” then as he always does he brought it back home. He brought up the Carlton match against Essendon…the belting lol telling us how his daughter had brought his grandson to his first game. All dressed up in Carlton gear his grandson ran up to him in the rooms after the game. “G’day Pa, who won?” the room filled with laughs at the innocence of his grandchild. “I lied and told him we did” confessed Mick half smiling. He highlighted the importance of community footy and young kids commenting on his own first experience as an 8 year-old in an under 14s.

Then the floating microphone went around for a few questions. This would be it, surely Mark Stevens was going to steal that microphone and ask something jaw drop worthy and Mick would probably insist on seeing his La Trobe student ID. A student put their hand up and started to ask their question but gave it bit of an intro. I turned around to look for Stevens, he was still at the back but he was dying from silent laughter. He was trying so much to compress his laughter that his body was shaking. At first I thought he was laughing at the student and their two minute introduction to their question. That’s when my friend nudged me to look at twitter. Stevens had committed a pocket tweet which did its rounds with the journalism students hahahaha! Admittedly to our disappointment Stevens didn’t make a peep.

As Mick got up to leave he signed a few autographs for some kids, that’s when Stevens went into journo mode microphone in hand ushering the camera man to the door ready to confront Mick on his way out to the car park. I had a few words with Mick before he left. There was something I just had to get off my chest. I introduced myself, shook his hand and said; “I just wanted to say… thanks for 2010.” From his response I think Mick may have believed I was going to say something…else. He gave a half sigh half smile and said “Ahhh, good!” and gave me a shoulder tap as he made his way out of the room. Wonder what he thought I was going to say. I packed up my note pad and made my way to the door where an annoyed looking Mark Stevens stood still holding his channel 7 mic while the cameraman packed away his equipment. I walked over to Mark curious about what had unfolded. “Did you manage to get anything out of him?” I asked.

This lead to a conversation I’ll never forget as Stevens was very honest and opened up to me about the reality of the journalist/coach relationship. As this was told in personal/sort of in confidence way I can’t share the exact details with you but I was shocked yet humbled that Stevens was trusting enough to share with me his exact thoughts. We all know journalists are sort of muzzled in what they can and can’t say and a lot of the time it means supressing their feelings towards coaches and players to remain professional. Standing outside the car park however we were just chatting and he was able to express his thoughts and feelings to me. “Well, I thought I’d just come down and try anyway” he said as we said goodbyes and parted ways.

On my walk to the Agora my mind was ticking. Mick didn’t have to stop but he could have, after all Mark was just doing his job…a job that I might later have to do, will Mick go from shoulder patting me to snubbing me in a car park if we clash one day? Who is the victim here? Mick or Mark? Journalists or Coaches? Now there’s a good debate topic La Trobe.

 

 

 

About Danielle Eid

Im 23, cute and most importantly im the Collingwood Football Club’s very own PRINCESS!! :)
A Latrobe Uni graduate from Bachelor of Journalism.
Admirer of Samantha Lane and Jon Ralph.
Not your typical ‘Robot Journalist’
Loves Alex Fasolo

Comments

  1. matt watson says:

    Hello Danielle,
    During the interview after Carlton lost to Melbourne, Malthouse called Stevens ‘Big Mark.’
    There is no love lost, but there is probably a respectful understanding.
    Some journalists push the boundaries, sure they ask hard questions, but some talk tough because they think it is their job.
    Wonder if Malthouse would’ve talked to Stevens if Carlton were 4-0…
    For an idea on how journalists should not behave, watch the interview with Malthouse following the loss to Melbourne.
    good luck with your career

  2. John Butler says:

    G’day Danni

    When I saw footage of Mick at La Trobe I wondered if you’d be there.

    Hope all is going well.

    Good piece BTW. :)

  3. Ah Latrobe… the ELT, 20oz coffees before Media studies lectures, student parking in the next postcode, Robert Manne confessing with a glint in his eyes that he was a Catters man. But the bricks. Oh my goodness, the brick veneer hell that is Latrobe Uni Media Studies department circa 2003.

    The horror… the horror…

  4. Lovely wise reflective piece Dani.
    The fact that Mick voluntarily does things like this shows that there is a good heart underneath all the facades that he chooses to survive and mostly succeed in the ‘dog eat dog’ world of professional sport.
    Well spotted, and good on you for having the courage to thank him for it.

  5. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the comments :)

    Matt- they try to teach us as much as they can how to be a journalist. Lesson 1 don’t be the journalist that asks the stupid question lol. Lesson 2 only bring silent food to Malthouse press conferences ect. i guess it also depends on how the coaches react…eventhough it might he a dangerous question to fire you dont want your editor to slam you for coming back with nothing. Tough gig.

    JB :) yep second row with the pink notepad and sparkly pink pencil case!

    Lol Steve! Yes its still very much the same! No love for the humanities buildings when all construction is producing modern pretty new science buildings.

    Cheers Peter! Pretty sure Mick actually gets paid in his LaTrobe contract…autographs and pics are voluntary though so he’s nice in that sense :)

  6. Shane Hunt says:

    Good piece. I too am a Collingwood supporter but I am glad he is gone. If Coaches treated his daughter with the sort of bullying contempt he does, he would be outraged. You see it is really all about Mick. 2011 proved that. Single handedly he derailed us. Selfish man. He agreed and signed an agreement and then plucked a flag and then it was about him.
    My advice to you as a journalist is to observe Tim Lane if you want to be a ( or are) are sports journalist. The best by far.

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