Almanac Poetry: Number 10


Number 10


When Kevin Sheedy played, he always wore the number ‘10’,
Back flanker for the Tigers, Richmond Tigers, way back when.
When asked just why he wore it, he would always answer thus,
That Bluey Shelton wore it, and he liked his lack of fuss;
Bluey Shelton of the Bombers, with his strong, straightforward game.
He watched the way he did the job, and tried to do the same.
Many years before all this, in 1865,
Ned Kelly saved a drowning boy. The boy remained alive
Because of young Ned’s actions. Richard Shelton was his name.
That’s right, it’s no coincidence the surname is the same,
For the dashing Bluey Shelton was descended from that line,
And grew into an athlete, with his skills so very fine.
So it’s likely Kevin Sheedy would have chosen from the pack
Another football hero for the number on his back,
And of the Bombers’ Bluey Shelton we’d have not have heard a squeak
If a youthful Edward Kelly had not plunged into Hughes Creek!


Read more poetry from Stephen Whiteside at his website




© Stephen Whiteside   15.05.2018

About Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside is primarily a writer of rhyming verse. He has been writing for over thirty years, and writes for both adults and children. Many of his poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas, or won awards. His collection of rhyming verse for children, "'The Billy That Died With Its Boots On' and Other Australian Verse", was published by Walker Books in May 2014. Stephen performs regularly at folk festivals around the country - mostly in Victoria. He is also a great fan of the Australian poet C. J. Dennis. He is a foundation member of the C. J. Dennis Society, and is closely involved in the organisation of the annual Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival. Stephen is a long-suffering Melbourne supporter.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Bluey Shelton was a favourite Bomber of mine during his relatively short career. At one stage, I asked mum to sew number 10 on to my Bomber jumper but being small there wasn’t enough space on my jumper. I had this problem a number of times supporting the Bombers. I thoroughly enjoyed your verse Stephen. I was unaware of the connection between Ned Kelly and Bluey’s forebears.

  2. Thanks, Colin. Bluey Shelton was before my time, but I think the connection between Kevin Sheedy and Ned Kelly is interesting.

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