Almanac (Footy) Poetry – The Rhymer: The Dropkick




The beauty and grace of the dropkick has been lost from the skills of our game
Since Cable was told not to kick ’em, the skills have not been the same.
the grace and the poise of a player who could turn either way from a pack
and lace out, hit the chest of a forward, was the most beautiful form of attack.
Here’s lesson for all of you tyros, who never learned how to kick one.
I watched a dropkicking expert and I tell you he’s second to none
When I was a boy I was  privileged to grow up on Perth’s driest grounds
Where some of the finest exponents of kicking a droppy were found.
Apart from Cable, the experts, who could hit  a goalsneak on the chest
were Ray Sorrell, John Todd and Mel Whinnen, but they’re not who I rate best
That crown belongs to my hero, number sixteen for Claremont he wore
then he was taken by Geelong, for Denis Marshall was really top drawer
With his right hand he’d guide down the footy, so it was positioned just so
then his right leg came through in an arc, and his foot came through with the flow
when the ball had just reached the clover his boot would come through like a train
and power the pill to the forwards, where it would be marked, in the main.
Except when he played here for Claremont, a team not then noted for skill
despite the kick being perfect, the mark would  most usually  spill.
It wasn’t the fault of the droppy, or of Denis’s unerring boot
it was just that the marking at Claremont, was more often less than astute.
But the skill of the dropkick exponents especially those from the West
was banished to the back of the cupboard, when Vic coaches were thought of as best
The wisest of men from Victoria, Kevin Murray and others like him
came over and ruined the beauty. The future of droppy’s looked grim
‘The dropkick is less than efficient, you can’t use that kick in the wet
we’ll teach you to kick a drop punt, a kick that is less of a threat.’
So the players were untaught the dropkick which ruined the footballers’ grace
Mongrel attempts like flour bag punts,  sent them all over the place.
Gone was the elegant beauty of Marshall, Fred Lewis and Cable
The new modern game altered that skill it was swept right under the table.
Whitten and Nicholls and Skilton , all favoured the Norwegian punt
They might have been right but they won’t convince me, in fact they’re not in the hunt
That wheeling around from a congested pack  and sinking an elegant slipper
into the ball with a resounding thunk of a droppy will ever look better.
The memories I have of number sixteen, kicking dropkicks with left foot or right
remain with me still and always will, of a skill that burns ever so bright.


© The Rhymer – Steve Rogers 2018


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