Kick-to-kick (from Loose Men Everywhere)

from Loose Men Everywhere one of the three books in the omnibus Play On.


Setting: The Harms household, Oakey, Queensland, circa 1976. We had a wide nature strip with frosted brown kikuyu and patches of green winter trefoil clover.


We played kick-to-kick a lot after school. Sometimes we’d finish with a game of touch footy with a few mates from up the street but we always started with kick-to-kick. We had a proper Australian football – not a rugby league ball – even if it was an imitation Match II, made in Pakistan. It was a dodgy brand but it actually had a bit of symmetry. You could make a torp fly, and the drop punt was no problem. But it didn’t have the perfect balance and weight and shape of a top footy. Peter (my brother) and I kicked for ages, often without any chat, and with little movement. You’d kick and watch the slow end-over-end flight of the drop punt. Peter would mark it on his chest. He’d kick and you’d take a safe overhead mark. You’d get onto a drop kick and delight in its piercing parabolic path. He’d kick a torp back. Kick. Mark. Kick. Mark.

It was good when (younger brother) David came out. We’d take it in turns at contesting marks, only David was a terrible kick so he rarely put the ball in the right place for us. I loved that feeling of flying with someone; the way that when you were in a bit of form you could let the contact propel you to where you needed to be to take the mark. I loved it when Peter set it up for the speccie and you’d stick your knee in David’s back and get the real ride. This was one of the great feelings in sport; in life. You could feel that moment of pause and that force helping you, and you just knew when one had come off because David would sprawl forward and Peter would go, “Ah, yeah.” Peter was a mollydooker. He kicked torps which bent like Max Walker’s in-swingers. He’d get onto one and it would go over your head and you’d run back and just put out one hand and it might stick. I loved how footies were unpredictable, how they bounced like fingerprints. I loved the feel of them, the smell of them. I decided that when I went to uni I was definitely going to play footy. I wanted to play in a game. I wanted to come flying past on the wing like Micky Turner and burst clear and send a thirty-metre handball to some team-mate on the run.

[The story explains how Harms did eventually play for the University of Queensland Red Lions but he never handballed 30m. Indeed there is no evidence to suggest he kicked 30 m – Ed]

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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written 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 appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Andrew Weiss says

    It sounds like your brother David had dodgy hamstrings way back when he was young which caused him to have that terrible kick. Funny how nothing change (the terrible kick and dodgy hamstrings) right throughout his football career or at least when he was kicking from the wing at Doggie Park

  2. matt watson says

    I remember a kick to kick session in 1996 with my mate Adam and my brother Nick.
    Adam tore his right hamstring with his first kick.
    I tore my right calf with my first kick.
    My brother ended up doing circle work around us for about an hour as Adam and I kicked left foot.
    Haven’t kicked a footy with mates in two years.
    It’s got to be time.

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