Almanac Footy Language: One cliché at a time



I’m always fascinated how one gets ideas for blogs. This time a friend, Allan Pearce, mentioned over coffee after a ‘Sprocket Rocket’ (Barossa Valley’s social cycling and coffee-ing club) ride that he was writing down some clichés used in a broadcast of Aussie rules footy. He wrote me a short piece using some of these.

I began to edit Allan’s prose until I couldn’t resist adding my bit. Then, after talking to Larry Krieg on another ‘Sprocket Rocket’ ride, he suggested even more clichés. We hope you enjoy the following team effort.


Sprocket Rockets: Allan Pearce, Larry Krieg and Andy Thurlow


One game (cliché) at a time …

It’s the sport we love … one cliché at a time!

Two teams, who have chosen to be either animals or birds, ‘have trained the house down’, ‘never been fitter’, are ‘all set’, ‘know the game plan’, ‘leaving no stone unturned’. ‘The siren sounds’, ‘the ball bounced in the middle’ and, ‘after a slow build up’, the contestants are beginning to ‘read the game’.

The better players are ‘having an absolute field day’, ‘leather poisoning’, their ‘names written all over the ball’. Standing ‘front and square’, they are soon ‘on fire’, ‘delivering spears’ (and not trying to ‘kick the cover off the ball’), ‘chipping it around’, ‘selling some candy’, with plenty of ‘don’t argues’.

‘A jam-packed forward line’ and ‘forward pressure’ means ‘packs’, ‘crumbs’, and ‘hard ball gets’ to suit the ‘in-and-unders’ who are ‘up and about’ and ‘here to play’.

Competitors ‘wrap up players’, ‘arms pinned’, careful of a ‘slinging action’, ‘chicken wing tackle’, ‘coat-hangers’ and anything ‘head high’.

‘Perceived pressure’ creates ‘clangers’, and some are ‘just bombing long’, ‘kicking grubbers’, ‘missing tackles’ and ‘getting caught with the ball’ (having had ‘prior opportunity’). Offenders ,‘with tails between legs’, are sent ‘to sit on the pine’.

The crowd yells simultaneously ‘holding the ball’, ‘holding the man’, ‘dropping it’, and ‘in the back’. ‘The umpire’s put the whistle away’. ‘Ball up’ is the call. Cliches become coarse, crude, crass and other C-words.

It’s ‘stoppages’, ‘stacks on the mill’ and ‘aerial ping-pong’ until ‘a ball magnet’, ‘who’s won ‘Charlie’, ‘doesn’t duck the chutney’, or ‘hear footsteps’, ‘stops the bleeding’ and ‘turnovers’, ‘going back with the flight’, ‘reads the Sherrin’, ‘clunks the pill’, ‘takes a blinder’, ‘a screamer’, ‘turns on the afterburners’, ‘plays through the corridor’, ‘the guts’, ‘the spine’ (not ‘the fat side’), ‘lowers the eyes’, and a ‘worm burner’, ‘daisy cutter’, ‘centimetre perfect’, ‘forward entry’, ‘hits up’ the ‘full forward’ ‘on the chest’. From ‘point blank range’, ‘with tail in the air’, ‘he ‘shoots the lights out’. ‘Coast to coast’.

‘After the siren’, with ‘the last roll of the dice’ and ‘to get their noses in front’, our ‘Charlie’ winner, ‘high up in the Seiko’, ‘who’s brought his own ball’, ‘with kicking boots on’, ‘rules out the barrel’, ‘lines up’ from ‘deep in the pocket’ to ‘check-side’ for the win. It’s a ‘mongrel punt’, (not a ‘perfect launch’), ‘a ball burster’, which ‘caught by the wind’, slowly ‘bananas’, misses ‘the woodwork’ and ‘splits the middle’.

‘Goal review?’ ‘All clear’. ‘A sausage roll’. His team has ‘won the chocolates’. ‘High fives’, ‘Stacks on!’ Euphoria. Handshakes.

That’s ‘the rub of the green’. ‘A win’s a win’. ‘The cellar dwellers’ have ‘brought it to the table’ with ‘numbers around the ball’, playing ‘contested footy’, ‘slice and dice’, ‘run and carry’ and ‘chaos ball’ have ‘left it all on the ground’, ‘won ugly’ and are ‘over the moon’, but their coach tells his players to ‘keep a lid on it’. ‘Just another game’. They all go to the clubrooms for the club song and ‘a few tinnies’.

It’s the sport we love … one cliché at a time!



Some of you, more probably from South and Western Australia, will recognised the name Larry Krieg.



Larry started his footy career with Minlaton Colts and moved to Adelaide to study. He played for Unley High in the morning and Sturt 3rds in the afternoon. He played SANFL, firstly with Sturt (mainly Seconds with a handful of League games in the latter part of 1970), and then with Woodville. In between and afterwards, he played at Minlaton, Solomontown and Carey Park (WA). Along the way Larry won many B&Fs, Premierships and a Mail Medal. He was in the Sturt League squad in the lead up to the 1970 finals but tore a hamstring at training a week before the finals.



I’m afraid that Allan and I only dreamt of SANFL medals and premierships.

Allan played some footy at school, but his main sports are squash, volleyball, table tennis and cycling. His other love is gliding (formerly instructing and cross country).

Like Allan, I played some schoolboy footy, but my sports were tennis, hockey, and volleyball. My footy career is documented in The John is JTH, who now lives just up the road. Take care!


Images courtesy of Andy Thurlow and Larry Krieg.


To read more by Andy Thurlow click HERE.


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Born on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, my parents migrated to this wonderful country when I was 7. As teachers, my wife and I ‘worked’ in some pretty SA and Queensland tourist locations and ended up in the Barossa Valley, where I enjoy gardening, socialising, reading, writing, sport, travel, handyman projects and wine. Since retiring I’ve written 3 published biographies about Kieran Modra, Rolph and Marg Mayer and Margaret Ames. I started a Valley social cycling and coffee-ing club called the ‘Sprocket Rockets’ After some success at hockey, volleyball, tennis, golf, Church picnic sprints and the ‘Henley on Todd’ regatta, I’ve settled down to walking, cycling, Fantasy Football and watching sport, particularly AFL and cricket. A Queenslander described me as an ‘Ex-Pommie, ex-Victorian who barracks for Port Adelaide’ so it can only be up from there!


  1. Well played, big fella, you big unit.
    You are leaving it all out on the ground, leaving no stone unturned.
    I love what you are bringing to the table.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Larry was never one to duck the chutney and he never heard footsteps.

    The Sprocket Rockets look to be training the house down, you’ve never been fitter.

    You’re high up in the Seiko this week Andy.

  3. McAlmanac says

    Larry Krieg is in my Top 5 Favourite Woodville Players.

  4. Andy Thurlow says

    Thanks for some more cliches Smokie and Mark. Might need to re-release this blog adding your contributions and your names to the team. Larry is a pretty (well that might not be the best word to use … sorry Larry) popular person and an all-round-good guy, but he will be chuffed with your accolade McAlmanac! Thanks for reading this … and anyone with more footy cliches … please join our ‘team’.

  5. Andy Thurlow says

    Oh dear … this has to stop! ‘To ice the cake’ my friends are emailing ‘one-percenters’, also suggesting I might need to enter ‘concussion protocols’!

  6. Peter Crossing says

    Not quite finished yet Andy. It’s a game of four quarters and it’s not over till the fat lady sings.

  7. Minlaton Colts? Bloody silvertails. Have I told you about Yorketown’s Senior Colts flag in 1970 and the first time we ever beat them on their own dung heap? I knocked out Graham Krieg’s teeth that day (he thought I would get out of the way, but I was terrified and nailed to the spot).
    What’s the MRP sanction for Head High; Unintentional – Clumsy; High Impact? Crowning achievement of my football career. It’s all downhill after 15.

  8. Mark Duffett says

    Footy clichés have deteriorated, I reckon. Bring back prodigious kicks collected by blokes in the van, and have a bit less running on top of the ground.

  9. Peter Fuller says

    Peter B
    In my reckoning you played a blinder in the 2018 Grand Final, so I won’t allow you to claim “It’s all downhill after 15”, whether 2015, or aged 15.

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