Almanac Footy History: Cazaly (a new biography)

Cazaly The Legend

Roy Cazaly’s extraordinary story is one of the great tales of Australian Football.

Born in the depths of a depression, he overcame humble beginnings and personal setbacks to become one of our most celebrated footballers. His sublime skills and thrilling aerial feats made him a legend in his lifetime, with his name carried into the modern era via Mike Brady’s hymn to football – ‘Up There Cazaly’. In 1996 he became one of 12 inaugural Legends of Australian Football Hall of Fame. A relentless self-improver, Cazaly shaped the game’s development, applied his own theories to fitness, training and teamwork, and coached teams to premiership success. Away from the field, he enriched the lives of many more as a physiotherapist, horse trainer, philosopher and family man. Robert Allen’s meticulous research, gathered over 10 years, reveals in great detail the story of the man behind the catch cry.

“Little did I know when I wrote Up there Cazaly back in 1979 that I had chosen as a subject a man who was revered as a sportsman of many facets including fairness, a fair go and healthy living. He was ahead of his time.” Mike Brady


Robert Allen

Robert Allen’s interest in writing about Australian Football began at 14, when a relative gave him a Victorian Football League scrapbook and he spent the 1982 season diligently cutting and pasting the articles that chronicled Carlton’s premiership success. Reading background stories behind Melbourne’s tribal relationship with the game gave him his first insights into football’s great history.

His love of history was further honed at high school and university and his early football writing resulted in a number of articles for the AFL Record, the Footy Almanac, and other publications. Robert’s interest in telling Roy Cazaly’s life story was sparked after he wrote an article on Cazaly’s Tasmanian football career for the Tasmanian magazine, 40 Degrees South. He subsequently met several of Cazaly’s descendants and decided a biography would be a fitting tribute to a man whose crowded life coincided with the growth and evolution of the game through the first half of the 20th century. Part homage, part social history, Cazaly, The Legend chronicles Cazaly’s enduring influence on our national game and the forces which helped shape the man behind the legend. Robert is a member of the Australian Football Heritage Group and co-founder of the Queensland Australian Football Forensics. He lives in Brisbane with his three children and a ginger cat named Thomas O’Malley. He still dreams of playing for Carlton.


  1. bob.speechley says

    Well done Robert Allen. Another great contribution to our game. Cazaly is someone whose name resounds in Australian Football circles. I look forward to reading your dedication to the man.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Congrats Robert. I know it has taken you a while to put this together. Look forward to reading about the great man.

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