Almanac (Football) Humour: The Artist from Port Adelaide


The Beguiling of Merlin, 1874, oil on canvas, by Edward Burne-Jones



The Artist from Port Adelaide


Like many other sports, Australian Rules Football was once replete with vivid, colourful nicknames, but my feeling is that these days such interesting nicknames are becoming a thing of the past. I can’t think of any in the present to compare with ones of former players like Wilfred ‘Chicken’ Smallhorn, Jack ‘Captain Blood’ Dyer, Bruce ‘The Flying Doormat’ Doull, Rene ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Kink and Alex ‘Aldo Godolfus’ Jesaulenko. (I put in the Jezza one to amuse myself, as I remember him once compared by a football commentator to the deli-owning character in Australian TV’s controversial adults-only series, Number 96, because of his non-Anglo look and big moustache.)


So, in my desire to see more nicknames with pizazz for contemporary AFL players – Almanackers ideas are most welcome in this respect – I’d like to get the ball rolling by supplying one of my own creation. It’s a bit left-field, I admit.


Aldo, the Number 96 character. (Source: Australian kitsch – twitter.)


This nickname should be given to … drum roll please … Darcy Byrne-Jones of Port Adelaide, and it is … wait for it … ‘The Pre-Raphaelite’, after famous nineteenth century English artist of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Edward Burne-Jones. (Yes, I know is Byrne-Jones is not exactly Burne-Jones – but jeez, it’s close enough for me. And it sounds the same, anyway!)


I can just hear a TV or radio commentator say, “And ‘The Pre-Raphaelite’ streams out of the backline, picture-perfect!”





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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Zac ‘Threepence’ Merrett (half a zack), or Zac ‘Sixpence’ Merrett ( a zack). Could be adapted to ‘3P’ or ‘Halfa’, even’6P’ Merrett. People my age will understand my thinking!

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Good ones, Col! These gave me a chuckle. I like it especially when the nicknames are further played around with.

  3. Colin Ritchie says

    And how could I forget; ‘Fulla’ Merrett!

  4. Kevin Densley says


    Another I’d thought of was Luke “The Drink” Beveridge – or a bit more creatively, “The Refreshing One”.

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