1986 – A Year With The Blacks Round 5: Wax. Crack. The Sack?

I was going to slip down to Blacks training this week, but I was held up at a long staff meeting at the Richmond Tavern. In my stead, I sent the new graduate Mike Gucci, the one with the appalling comb-over and a wardrobe consisting entirely of Venture brand grey slacks, grey vinyl zipped shoes and SANFL Umpire’s Association spray jackets.

He was astonished to note that the pre-training warmup was no more than a series of primary school like end-to-end dobs at the Torrens or Barr-Smith end of Uni Oval. By Mike’s reckoning, there were thirty or so Blacks in the goal square and fifty or so lurking around half forward. Perplexingly, there was no attempt to segregate the serious from the social players, in fact they mingled willingly, even knowing each other’s names.

They were indulging in the time honoured footballing observance known as “waxing”.  Club stalwart defenders like Phil ‘Shotgun’ O’Leary would seek out a nearby Scum counterpart e.g.  Ra Ra McGrath and dish off the going-out-of-shape-but-good-enough-for-training Ross Faulkner Native to him. Even when the resultant Ra Ra roost to a wide-leading A3 flanker lobbed there after the third crooked bounce, there wasn’t a hint of annoyance from the recipient, who took a speculative ping back at the big sticks. The next time Ra Ra got the pill, if Shotgun was free (and paying attention instead of organising the Car Rally), it was his turn.

This went on for half an hour or so as various stragglers straggled out in their assortment of t-shirts, more t-shirts and the occasional country team jumper if the kid was from St Mark’s.

How on earth a club can survive when it places inclusion over skills acquisition is anybody’s guess. Let’s hope Griff puts a stop to this madness.

A1 Griff’s Grointwangers 12.13 lost to West Croydon 18.11 (Fawk Reserve)

Goalkickers: Huston 4, Suter 2, Eckert 2, Schulz, Gallagher, Ewers, Bland

Best Players: Dadds, Huston, Whaley, Miller-Smith, Schulz, Hall

The posting of former club Treasurer and club games record holder Dashing Dave Bartlett, to look after the Highways Department’s South East Region, left the Blacks in the (Coonawarra) red until Richard ‘Charlie’ Brown took over the cheque (and occasionally, deposit) book. One of his first initiatives as a one man razor-gang was to economise on Sandy’s senior side Saturday Stone’s supplies by substituting a cheaper cleanskin version.

Neophyte Treasurer Charlie Brown

Neophyte Treasurer Charlie Brown

This went unnoticed until the final break at Fark Reserve, when out came the brown paper bags from the Head Trainer’s Cockburn’s battered Gladstone bag. With the frigid north-easterly whipping across the Angle Park wing at West Croydon around 4pm, the Blacks’ traditional “pick me up” was more like a “spit me out”. Too much green and not enough ginger was the verdict. The resultant last quarter 0.5 to 6.1 scoreline saw the Ones waste the wind and record consecutive losses (how would they have gone if they had to play all of Croydon?).

That Dadds kid made the BPs at last (he must have given the Institute Bar a wide berth this week) and NASA Huston’s racking up a few early Gunning Medal votes. Whaley, IMS and Hall give the best ons a distinctly Adelaide College flavour. But the Blacks lacked a bit of flair around goals, having not completely replaced Sandy Hancock’s knack of kicking a bag. They’ll have to do something about that.

After a winning start, Uni’s renowned resilience was immediately tested as the old-guard (they know who they are) started to doubt the choice of a bronzed, balding educator from a public school (a specialist music school at that) as head coach. Whose hand was it that slid the dial on the club teledex down to locate the numbers for past premiership coaches GReer and GRiffiths? How close did the faceless Uni men come to getting rid of the current GR(iff)?

It took the intercession of Treasurer Brown, who pointed out that Griff’s contract included a payout clause and there wasn’t room in the 1986 budget for the agreed six cartons of West End Export and the slab of Ambre Solaire Coconut Oil.

Shotgun - "Griff stays"

Shotgun – “Griff stays”

Also, Social Committee members Shotgun, Culls and Grapevine Thomson feared that they’d fall well short of their fundraising targets if Griff and his hard-living chalkie chums got the Tijuana.

For Griff, it was a case of Love Actuary, as Charlie’s parsimony saved his bacon, at least for another week.

Griff - "Full support of the Social Committee"

Griff – “Full support of the Social Committee”

All the same, I doubt whether this lot will be getting together in, say, 2016 to celebrate what is already looming as another season of mid-table mediocrity.


A8 Glamour Side Adelaide Uni 14.13 def Old Ignations 9.9 (Park 9)

Goalkickers: Maddern 6, Verrall 4, Dutschke 2, Graetz 2

Best Players: Bassanese, Krcmarov, Dutschke, Ashwood, Verrall, Raschella

When Malcolm ‘Rulebook’ Ashwood handed me the Best Players, I was intrigued to note that his fingers were spattered with what looked to be correction fluid (either that or seagull doings) and someone had scrawled his name in fourth place, underneath which the letters ‘M’ ‘dd’ and ‘n’ could be seen peeking through the wet white smearing.

A fat lad in the forward line by the name of Darren Graetz has been given the unkind (but rather apt) nickname of ‘The Jerk’ by his coach. Seems to me like he’s yet another one of those two season, twenty five games blow-ins that the lower grades in the Blacks turnover each year, barely making an impression on club or club mate. Mark my words.

Coach’s Notes : In a shock horror 4 person pile up, Flasher Flavel is sidelined for 4 weeks with a knock to the adrenals. Old Maddern is present and immediately prepares to bulk bill. After a memorable 18 minutes of the first quarter, Sniffer breaks down majestically and immediately declares “I’ll be back in 3 weeks”. He is never seen again.


A9 Sty Council Adelaide Uni 21.6 def Rosewater 4.3 (Park 9)

Goalkickers: Taylor 6, Leyland 5, Mellen 3, Heath 2, Priest 2, Bishop, Goodwin, Harcourt

Best Players: Stendt, Leyland, Goodwin, Richardson, Heath, Culley

In the early game at Park 9, the Sty Council arrived wearing their newly minted team t-shirts. Closer inspection revealed the artist to be a ‘Gordo’ (no relation) and the sponsor nominated as the Blacks totemic Bob Neil. They might have looked flash at first, but the fruit of the Double Swan t-shirt company isn’t known for its longevity, so the photo below is probably all that will make it into the 21st century.

From the Sty Council Leisure Wear range

From the Sty Council Leisure Wear range


The choice of champions and cowardly forward pockets since 1986

The choice of champions and cowardly forward pockets since 1986

Ho hum, five in a row. John Goodwin At The Races, who did much of the ringing around in March to assemble this bunch of hacks premiership quality consortium, has had the wings to himself this season, giving Pee Wee Taylor the “lace-out” treatment, with British mopping up the crumbs like Ox Ravesi at the half-time pie warmer. Dion ‘Doc’ Stendt (harder than an araldite stiffy), Ashley Heath Bog and a big game from Culls (Craigmore’s answer to Mark Prior) made up the votes, along with the stout hearted Big Jim Richardson.


Gordon Below Franklin Agars

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. This is growing. Magnificent.

    Cost-saving on cleanskin Gringer.

    Very pleased to see neophyte used again in these pages.

    Great stuff G.Agars.

    Proof you don’t need to know the characters for something to be relevant and very very funny.

  2. Well played Gordon. The As’ loss to the good folk at West Croydon Bleu in my view was attributable to a sordid and sorry combination: 1. the ongoing RBVs (which were by now widespread and increasingly desperate); and 2. the increasing presence of the equally desperate Brian (“c’mon Corey”) and his grotesque duck-headed umbrella, both at games (and especially in the showers afterwards) and Hold Your Bowlies. Brian made a bold claim, frequently, to give the best head in town. This was somewhat unnerving, at least for this rampant 22 year old: instinctively repulsive, and yet…

  3. blonderwandan says

    Jerk a twenty five game two season blow …. he certainly exceeded that expectation or outstayed his welcome depending on your view point. Luv him and his song for the record.

  4. King of Passion says


  5. “For Griff, it was a case of Love Actuary”. It simply doesn’t get better than this. Magnificent Swisher.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable as always,Swish I have been waiting to be paid out I am sure there will be plenty more to come.

  7. charlie brown says

    Agreed Jim. That’s literary genius. What a magnificent game by Gordon Agars.

  8. The “Old Guard in the Ones” were always muttering dissatisfaction to each other about the coach. Including when the old guard were appointed coach and muttered so much about themselves they had to resign (PJL Rofe).

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thanks once more for your comments.

    Daddsy, are you gonna tell your Andrew Obst story?

    Hope the Long Lunch goes/went well today.

  10. Mark Prior – bit too fast for me. More Beefy Andrews I think.

  11. Rabid Dog says

    Culls – you beat me to it!
    Outstanding effort Gordon (again).

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Culls/Rabs, it was probably the long sleeves that tipped the balance in favour of #35 instead of #8 in Gordon’s rather generous assessment.

  13. Nice.

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