Almanac Writing Competition – Sport. Write from the heart: #almanac280

At the Almanac we know a good idea when we see it. Earlier this month the esteemed Australian literary magazine of 75 years standing, Meanjin, ran a story-writing competition. The competition was held on Twitter – as the Twitter world expanded to allow 280 characters per message.

Some winning entries appear here:
Or visit Twitter and search #meanjin280 to access all entries.


And so, inspired…

The Competition:

Write a story inspired by the Footy Almanac tag line: “Sport: Write from the Heart
The story cannot be more than 280 characters long. (A space is a character. Every key stroke is a character.)
Each story needs to include the tag #almanac280.
So there go 11 of your characters.

Entries open NOW and will be accepted until midnight AEDST Thursday 23 November 2017. That’s one week.

How to Enter:

There are two ways to enter:
1. Type directly into Twitter. The judges will access all stories with the “#almanac280” tag.
2. Enter into the comments field below.
Judges will ensure that all entries are published both in the comments field below and on the @thefootyalmanac Twitter feed. Possibly on Facebook, too – we’ll see how we go.
You may enter as many times as you like.

The Prize:

Judges will award $100 worth of books to the story considered the best, in the spirit of the Almanac.
The winning entry will be announced on Friday 24 November (i.e. Day 2 of the Gabba Test).


Start creating…


Presenting The Tigers Almanac 2017. Read all about it HERE.


  1. In the back seat cross-town:
    This is it. Where names are made. Everyone will remember this. It’s what we’ve sacrificed so much for.
    In the rooms:
    ONE! TWO! THREE! Jump, yell.
    Coach gathers us.
    – You can do it. I know you can. But do you know it?
    U13 Grand Final

  2. Nick Riewoldt’s first goal and his cousin Jack’s last goal at the MRV Match made Maddie smiling in the heaven. The Saints upsetting Tigers made me very happy. See you my Saint boys at the MRV Match in 2018. #almanac280

  3. Sadly Nick Riewoldt could not play forever and his time in playing is over. His braveness, marks, goals and loyalty contributed much for my beloved Saints. Many of us St Kilda supporters miss Rooey. Thanks Rooey! #almanac280

  4. Colin Ritchie says

    Rather than take The Long Road home, Michael took a short cut, bouncing and zig-zagging his way through the centre. One hundred thousand pairs of eyes watched in silence as his kick majestically sailed over Silvagni’s outstretched arm. “Goal,” they roared. Bombers ’93. #almanac280

  5. Thanks ER and thanks Meanjin. Great idea. I look forward to reading the yarnlings.

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Number 37 pointed to a nation’s complacency. Aroused, the couch whisperers found their rage and defiantly called him a flog. “Act white and you’ll be right” said General McAllister. 37 is 73 backwards. Lest we forget. #almanac280

  7. Good start. Love it.
    Well played Yoshi, Col, Phil.
    I’ve got one:

    Generations, generations, ghosts of the past float in the members’, the Sherrin Stand. Collingwood play. We stand, borne on human seas, born into winter light, emerald grass, of black & white stripes, of noise. Social club pocket. Daicos snaps. Victoria Park erupts. #almanac280

  8. The golfer, brown-armed, picks the Titleist he has chased to yet another green, from the pocket of his checked shorts. He crouches. Tight-browed, he places it in front of his marker. He steps back to read the putt. It dawns on him, finally. He doesn’t know the language. #almanac280

  9. Kasey Symons says

    @kaseysymons via Twitter:

    Heart and loyalty. That’s what footy is about, right? Love your team. Unconditionally. They own your heart, it’s painted in their colours & it feels good. Feels right.
    Until they change their logo overnight. Can I take my heart back West Coast? No, it’s ok, keep it.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The runt pulls the Dogs beanie over his eyes. Bloke on the gate lets him in for free. “Under 7”. After the game,another loss,he buses it to Globe Derby,free entry again. Shepherd’s pie finished,he sidles up to Julie Smith’s mum at the tote window. $2W on Nevada Smoke #almanac280

  11. Small arms and small legs pound the water. Her beautiful mind takes up the challenge. Big hearts and big smiles touch the wall. Let her be brave in the attempt. Gold is the moment. Special Olympics swimming is sport right from the heart. #almanac280.

  12. ?One, two, three crows swoop. They can’t curtail a kick over his head. A broken foot can’t curtail him. A Rioli doesn’t stop – Richmond doesn’t stop. Back up he bounces until he can give no more. One more effort, one more chase, one more cup. ?

  13. SK turned at the top of his run, paused, and began his purposeful, menacing approach. He picked out his target, and with arrogant peerlessness, knew success would be his. The crowd knew it too, and the murmuring was now threatening a roar. Warney loves a nightclub. #almanac280

  14. Eyes sallow. Heart beating not awake. Forgetting. Forgetting. Ball bounces. Pie crunches. Umpire whistles. Pop’s ghost whispers. I yell. You mongrel. Blind maggot. I’m alive. I’m alive. Feeling. Remembering. Donut smell of 1967. #almanac280

  15. I’d bowled the first two through the gate so stuck with that plan. I released the ball, with my Max Walker action. “Oh no, I’ve gone too wide!” He thought so too, shouldering arms. We were both wrong. The ball snaked back viciously, clipping the top of off. HAT-TRICK! #almanac280

    (That one’s for the non-fiction category. Happened three summers ago.)

  16. Peter Crossing says

    Out of oblivion Marsh fends off criticism. But that Paine is back again as the tide turns for Wade. Not sure about Renshaw anymore, Hohns banks on Bancroft. Warner builds his hate against the Root of all evil as the Bird hovers in the wings providing a Starc reminder#almanac280

  17. For a moment in 1975, as I hummed Slade’s ‘Far Far Away’, brand new Ross Faulkner under my arm, the world was perfect. The Dogs were about to win. Neil Sachse would be a star. Then came the collision – and a seemingly eternal wait. Footy would never be the same again. #almanac280

  18. He died so I looked for his medal; an intricate piece of gold awarded to him in Stawell in 1955. There it is, in a crumpled box, nestled amongst old socks in the top drawer. A young man’s achievement wrapped in an old man’s humility.

  19. Matt Quartermaine says

    @mattquarters via Twitter:

    Socks, boots jumper…Forgot somefink but no time de ball is at half back and I dive into de pack; mud, limbs and bad language flying… Forgot somefink..I’m blindsided by a bump that ends in a spray of blood and shattered teef. Oh yeah, forgot me fuckin’ mouf guard.

  20. Gillian Dite says

    @GillianDite via Twitter:
    Legs kicking frantically with arms powering through the water. A fast 100 m split following the black line to glory. The touch of fingertips on the wall, a moment underwater before before surfacing to cheers. This is only the Northcote pool, but it’s fun to pretend. #almanac280

  21. @diogenesbrown via Twitter:

    It was the perfect nut – enough in-swing to turn the batsman to the leg side, then hitting the seam and cutting back past the edge. The bail cartwheeled from the top of off stump. He hadn’t bowled one like that in years.

    ‘Daaaaad!’ yelled the batsman in exasperation


  22. Jack Banister says

    @banister02 via Twitter:

    Shouts of “ball” turn to yearning calls of “howzat”. Grass, yellowing. Summer, Rekindling, the Southern Sun & Stars. Perry. Our best? Sixes & sevens. Everyone knows but no one does. Youth? Renshaw chopped. Marsh, a name from better days. Take us back, in five not four #Almanac280

  23. The drive pierces the fairway 250 metres down. The 5 iron arcs nestling a club length from the hole. The putt hovers and topples. Birdie! You bloody ripper. Drinks on me. Broke 100. Don’t ask about the other 17. #almanac280

  24. Mick Jeffrey says

    @MHJeffrey027 via Twitter

    The last kilometre, time to bask in the glory making those 5am training runs worth it. Listen to the cheers as the line approaches, ignoring the cramps in the legs. Being on the road for over four hours in the heat means little because now you are a marathon finisher. #almanac280

  25. @JeffDowsing via Twiiter

    Time on, grand final, heart flits faster than a hummingbird’s wings. This
    torturous farce before me, this flash in time and space, why? It matters what? Fool, me. Take that as comment. Siren drives an irrevocable dagger to the heart. Ah well, there’s always next year. #Almanac280

  26. @JeffDowsing via Twitter

    ‘Catch!’ cries the rarely bowled trundler. The aggot orbits the parched
    paddock. I have the landing coordinates. A 40, no 50m sprint with the
    flight, a desperate lunge. I feel the weight and stitching in my supple white-collar hands. That’s worth a beer or six Macca. #Almanac280

  27. @JeffDowsing via Twitter:

    You didn’t sweat your body weight over summer. You didn’t play with
    busted ribs. You didn’t give up the piss and miss your brother’s wedding. You weren’t flayed by fans, trolled by Twits and mauled by the media. But congrats on your team’s big win, you earned it! #Almanac280

  28. Game time – me with ball in hand, him with bat. My heart flutters; nerves abound. I ask the usual questions of myself. Am I good enough? What if it all goes wrong? Then I refocus. I imagine him asking himself the same questions. My fears melt away. Bring it on. #almanac280

  29. Damian Sharry says

    @DamianSharry via Twitter:

    My son makes his way out to the middle. I can see his nervous eyes through the grill of his helmet. He asks for leg stump guard & takes his stance. The bowler approaches. He squirts one to fine leg to get off the mark. Relief for both of us.

  30. Kerrie Gardner says

    @kerrie_gardner via Twitter:

    It’s the night before the Grand Final and all through our house, yellow and black is everywhere, and it looks and feels grouse. Tomorrow to the ‘G, clash strips worn with pride, no matter the result we’re so thankful for this ride. #almanac280

  31. @djlitsa via Twitter:

    Unbound energy calmed and awaiting, concentrating. Whistle blows, energy released, legs scurrying, ball flying, time, space, awareness, deflection, tap, GOAL! The tournament begins. #almanac280

  32. Kirby Fenwick says

    @kirbykirbybee via Twitter:

    Out west, our spiritual home. That familiar red, white & blue. Nerves in my belly. But something is different tonight. There is a ripple of anticipation in the crowd, the warm air vibrates. The first bounce. The Daughters of the West. My heart, my tears. We are here. #almanac280

  33. For sale: a pair of handmade running spikes. They are a bit frayed at the edges and have a few leather stains from tears of defeat, but otherwise OK. Price: 30 years of pondering and wondering.

  34. The Swans ended the longest drought, and then the Cats broke through too. The Bulldogs followed suit and now the Tigers have taken their turn. Imagine if the Saints and Demons continue the trend. Are we ready for a world free of fairy tales? #almanac280

  35. Young, strong, excited and nervous, I have achieved my childhood goal. My future awaits, selected for this great club. With my teammates, I will take the next step to greatness. I’ll be healthier and stronger, a long career beckons. Can’t wait. Next, meeting Dr Dank. #almanac280

  36. Why did we go to the footy in the 70s and 80s? To see Robbie flowing down the members wing for the Dees and starring for the big white V. Like a shooting star, gone too soon #almanac280

  37. Andrew Fithall says

    @AndrewFithall via Twitter:

    Illness. Ankle injury. Missed selection. Disappointment… Invitation. Scholarship. US. Arrive. Yay… ACL rupture. Pain. Operation. Spectate. Envy. Facade. Low… Rehab. Recover. Work. Train. Study. Prepare… 2018 will be the year she gets to play the game she loves.

  38. Regrets I’ve had a few. But then again. 3 figure mirage. Next week. Next season? Doffing the cap. Imaginary horns blaring. 87 best. Devil’s number. Dropped third ball. Lucky for some. Wander past the park now. Fourths? Sevenths? Quickie lets one go. Next lifetime. #almanac280

  39. John Kingsmill says

    PhoneDYIng Tell mum alwaysloved her Notmyfault thick man groped Ali WentIN KnifeFight Shes gone AmCold Noise behind me wetRED Key under brick Money almanac drawer#280 thou Crows lost dontcaRE WHERES ALI phonekeepsmoving evertgingmovng a rush white dfr ghjt.7p let me just vwr h

  40. #almanac280

    The MCG has hosted happiness and towering achievement, and also catastrophe like 1997’s Iran match and 1982’s nearly last wicket heroics. But, 2011 saw unforgivable horror as Craig Willis said, “Ladies and gentlemen…Meatloaf.”

  41. Racquet in hand, the kindest description of him would be ‘awkward’. He has neither flare nor power. But he can run – and scramble. He’ll do anything do get the ball back across the net. His will to win is unmatched. There, but for a pair of 52-year old knees, go I. #almanac280

  42. @haikubobb via Twitter:

    After 6 hours on a summer stretch of Hume, Dad ploughs through
    flickering gums on the final push
    into Dubbo. Like three slips and a gully
    we sit in the car, silent, in our own worlds, as the radio cuts through the static.
    Deep into a long spell Lillee comes in to bowl

  43. Phil: great work!
    Dips: absolute gold!

    Thanks gents

  44. @statsbench via Twitter:

    Noel, you’re up….

    The captain must have seen something in the nets as it looks like I have been promoted to opener in my first match. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. Some of these others can’t be much good. I am dreaming of success.
    NOEL, your turn to umpire. #almanac280

  45. John Kingsmill says

    Yes, Rob. At last someone who understands form.
    With only a breath of strokes on the palette,
    the #almanac280 poets will come forward.

    Poets get fat on the skinny diet.
    They don’t care if the storytellers
    return to the bar until, of course,

    they discover a more precise story to tell.

  46. Chris Daley says

    @Chris88829 via Twitter:

    The ball was skied into the spring air. Bolting down the pitch he knocked 2nd slip out of the way. “MINE”. His big chance. A caught & bowled. The ball hurtled back toward earth. Straight through his hands and knocked out his 2 front teeth. The batsman remained not out #almanac280

  47. Thanks ER for your compliment. Here is the new one:

    41 seconds left and 4 points behind. Ball bounced and Bruce hit out. Steven ran hard and handballed. He got footy back and Bruce waved. Ball fumbled around Bruce but Montagna collected and kicked the winning goal in Round 11, 2015 against Dees. Richo and I got emotion no matter where we were. #almanac280

  48. Sorry, “thecheese01,” but I’m having trouble adding images here. Please, all, jump on Twitter and search the tag #almanac280 – you will find some fine, fine entries from @thecheese01.

  49. The Lone Ruckman says

    @theloneruckman via Twitter:

    The ump holds the ball aloft, blows the whistle before thumping the footy on to a rock hard cricket pitch. No advantage to either big man, the pill becomes like soap as the solid slap of bodies colliding begins the battle.

  50. @Chris88829 via Twitter:

    The kid’s about five years old. A long drive with his old man to watch the Tigers. At quarter time he needs to go to the loo. I’ll go by myself Dad. You sure? Yep. He looked, they were sitting below the Esso sign. Esso signs ringed the ground. Mr. Policeman. I’m lost #almanac280

  51. @KateKak via Twitter:

    The wedding vows of sporting tragics-circa 2008. In good horses and in nags, in golf left handed and right, in Swans premierships and Saints rot, with cold beer and with hot, we’re getting married coming or not #almanac280

  52. @TruckerSlim via Twitter:

    She only had eyes for the ball. Running backwards, arms stretching skywards, fingers instinctively extending. Into the pack. The force of bodies crunched her. Hit her hard in the side and in her back. She absorbed it like a sponge. The ball was hers. That was a given. #almanac280

  53. @Chris88829 via Twitter:

    How could they be enthusiastic at this time of the morning? What time had we stopped partying last night? I put on the facade, cleaned my goggles and dived in. The taste in my mouth was putrid. Stroke after burning stroke. No singing in my head today. It went black. #almanac280

  54. Kate Birrell says

    @kate_birrell via Twitter:

    Heaving weight in troubled skies, above; as boys emboldened strike madly ahead..knock,crack..whack. Boys run..come on, faster, dive! A fingertip touches and halts the thunderous ball as a lithe body lunges and rolls onto a velvet lawn, below, saving a run, maybe two. #Almanac280

  55. Rhys Martin says

    @theRhysMartin via Twitter:

    He’s had a massive off-season. He’s burning up the track.
    A heart as big as Phar Lap’s. He’s really picked up slack.
    Chuck him in the midfield, he can pinch hit in the ruck.
    A head like Dermott Brereton’s, he can run like Michael Tuck.
    #thepreseasonfootballer #almanac280

  56. Bounce is the identity of Australian Rules Football with an excitment of starting quarters and unique. No bouncing is conducted in any other sport. It’s one of attracting scene in the AFL. Uniquness of footy attracts Japanese (me). Leave bounce alone in the sport. If bounce is abandoned, my heart will be broken. #almanac280

  57. Paul Roos was an inspiring and encouraging premiership coach. Re-establishing good relationships with good communications, and trusts brought success at Sydney Swans. His game plan chasing balls both offensively and defensively reflected how his boys striving to win the flag. His book ‘Here it is’ is a must to read. #almanac280

  58. @TruckerSlim via Twitter:

    Notre Dame convent primary school Little Athletics trophy afternoon 1973. I’m in U11s, up against two boys. One wins best Track runner up Field, the other best Field runner up Track. I run home crying. Both boys beat me home. #almanac280

  59. Paddy Grindlay says

    @pgrindlay42 via Twitter:

    Voices in the clubhouse.
    – B——y umps.
    – Aye.
    – Didn’t even touch it. All pad.
    – I dunno.
    – What?
    – Ok, you missed it. No worries.
    – Yeah, nah, you didn’t say that.
    – Did I?
    – Yeah you did.
    – Oh. Well you did hit it.
    – You b——y liar.
    – Right.
    – Good.

  60. Rhett Bartlett says

    @rhettrospective via Twitter:

    Bartlett and ugh Magro having a battle there, but its Bartlett getting around Magro. And look at the little champ go! Coming around the boundary line, going for goal number seven. What’s the result? It is! He’s equalled the record. You little beauty Kevin. #almanac280

  61. The Struggle, The Town says

    @TKYC via Twitter:

    Early 4th Q, T Lane

    (Lambert) “he’ll get a nice bounce, he can run all the way home, 2nd bounce, he runs to within 25, handpasses, shoulda had a shot.






  62. Brilliant creativity, energy here.
    From Adelaide to Stockholm. Welcome new and old.
    Here’s one more from me:

    Frog arrives at training.
    -Jeez, Mac – cop the haircut on Frog!
    -Oh no, Frog. What happened?
    -Let’s pass a collection plate ’round for Frog!
    -They won’t get away with this, Frogga.
    -Hey Frog, give us a kiss.
    Frog there all smiles. Won’t play Saturday. He’s got a date.

  63. @the_FMI via Twitter:

    They went away from the terraces many years back. Took away people from those those thin, crooked nearby streets. Killed off local shops. And the Rising Sun, the Birmingham and more.

    Decades later, the terraces fill once again. A new breed returns to its heartland.

  64. Dear Dad
    How sad you must have been, sitting in your car at South’s Lakeside Oval, contemplating death. If only you’d hung on for just a few more years – well, decades – we could have both smiled and cried together as Roosy held the Cup aloft, exclaiming “Here it is!” #almanac280

  65. It’s true mud; mud of the old days. Only it’s in glorious technicolour. Centre wicket chopped up; suction like a glue pot. Umpire conservatively throws it up to start the Grand Final.
    Ruck routine prepared, you launch off three steps.
    You’ve lost your boot.

  66. @diogenesbrown via Twitter:

    It can’t just be about winning. If it is you are doomed to spend most of your time unhappy. And what we most admire about competitors at any level can’t be dependent upon success. But it is, isn’t it? How else do you explain the winner’s desire to humiliate the loser? #Almanac280

  67. Joe Huddler says

    @joehuddler via Twitter:

    They recall him as a little boy. Cuts on elbows and knees, dusted with red dirt, always smiling. The whole town’s in the pub today, pointed at the tv. They know he’s worked hard. A yawp. All up! He’s taken his first mark right in front. I stand on a barstool to see. #almanac280

  68. Phil Dimitriadis says

    @lordbogan via Twitter:

    Coll v Rich @McHaleStadium 1981:
    It was a memorable victory, but I’ll never forget the hate in the old fart’s eyes as he looked at me one last time before disappearing into a late afternoon haze of stale beer, aromatic tobacco and four-n-twenty flatulence.

  69. The Struggle, The Town says

    @TKYC via Twitter:

    The rain fell over 4 days as well as on game day.
    The @mcg turf was inches deep, still deemed fit to play.
    At home the lowly Tigers, the Bears playing away.
    Players soaked, muddy. Who was who? Who could say?
    Under 8000 came to round 11, the faithful always stay.


  70. @swishtter via Twitter:

    Matric exams are still going but the import store tempts me.
    Town’s busy, the Pageant is on today. They’ve sold out of the
    Pistols. Never mind, I’ll grab that Manzanera one instead.
    Bugger Physics, I’m studying life today #Almanac280

  71. @roweberto via Twitter:

    shhh-tk-tk-tk-shhh-tk”Hey Gaz, hold that sprinkler will you mate”..righto, 145 pin, tight to the bunker, wind off the right, a cut 7 will do the trick *breathes in deep* waggle waggle, final look..shhh-tk-t..Oh Baz you f#*?ing Idiot (three blokes in fits of laughter) #almanac280

  72. @haikubobb via Twitter:
    Deep into the last hour a gull circles the ‘G as the last man in slashes and misses on a pitch a month without rain. The north wind rattles a can and the groans of the drunken throng chide the bunny as he practices a dab somewhere in the arc of the dusk-flared cordon. #almanac280

  73. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Pandemonium erupts around me. Strangers embracing. Elation has overtaken despair…briefly. 5 points up. 30 seconds to go. Hope eludes a wrathful Pandora and lands in Collingwood’s arms. Can’t watch. I hear Ted Whitten’s voice: “Hit the boundary line” #almanac280

  74. Swish via Twitter:

    Sports Day. Confected competitions like the beanbag toss. Participation is paramount. The weeds are turning to straw near the rarely used cricket nets. Gough’s been sacked. Kerr’s cur. Carleton and Gunston on the steps. Only one wins a Gold Logie #almanac280

  75. #almanac280

    Anaesthetized Blundstones on the torpid terrace. North London football under Dickensian fog. Throaty shouts and roast beef. Wembly arch from the homeward train. An afternoon.

  76. Cathryn McDonald says

    @CathrynMc1870 via Twitter:
    I didn’t watch the Killers
    (I just can’t look)
    Flowers screamed frustrations
    Of someone else’s front-page fairytale
    Premiers since May
    Could they be stopped?
    (Open up my eager eyes)
    But it was Jack who sang that night
    And all of Alberton was Mr Brightside

  77. Friday hopeful. Saturday gutted. Sunday buggered. Monday rueful. Tuesday reflective. Wednesday shrug. Thursday scheming. Sport and mosquitoes. Same life cycle. Scratch that itch. #almanac280

  78. Forbidden love, 1990. Her parents won’t let me see her. She writes a letter asking me to meet her on Saturday at Victoria Park in the Daicos pocket. That narrows it down to four possible locations. #almanac280

  79. @swishtter via Twitter:

    Another fall. The final straw. Clem’s sold up. Fifty four years in Dudley St. Got a few bob for it. The unit is ok and Bess enjoys it. And it’s got Dogstel. He doesn’t let on about the blood in his hanky to Quang or Van. #almanac280

  80. @swishtter via Twitter:

    Last session from Perth on the telly. B&H signs ring the fences. Norman May gives us the scores. Kids line the ropes. Walters, 97 so far this session. Willis, final ball, digs it in.


    He races back to the rooms with Ross Edwards.

    Where are the bastards?


  81. John Donegan says

    @John_Donegan via Twitter:

    Alf missed Round 10.
    He wasn’t dropped.
    He woke in the morning probably thinking of the game ahead at Lakeside Oval, but all was not right at home.
    Alf’s father had killed himself; leaving his widow with 11 kids, a string of creditors and not much else.

  82. @da_baker61 via Twitter:

    First session,setting the tone for a series,hinging on the spin from the Royal Australian Mints’ finest.Pale English willow & shiny red Kookaburras bring in a summer as its namesake brings in a dawn. The Ashes. Bring it.#almanac280

  83. #almanac280. My Almanac Rules. Take 62 years. Select highlights. Add lowlights. Stir. Sample. Discard 90%. Repeat. Add lashings of humour. Spoonful of irony. Metaphor to taste. Bake in hot oven of painful experience. 297. Curse. Cut. Offer to strangers to sample.

  84. @e_regnans via Twitter:

    Period 3, music. Something about Handel and the Royal Fireworks. One earplug apiece, we steal a glance at other.
    “So it’s Alderman now to start the series. And Atherton is forward and lets it through to the ‘keeper.”

  85. Paul Minogue says

    1985 Ashes and Europe with my 3 brothers
    2015 Edgbaston regroup for eldest’s 60th
    34 hours cattle class and bus from Canberra
    2 and a half days cricket
    38 hours back to Canberra
    At least the beer and chat was good

  86. @Annalyst_sports via Twitter:

    Rd 9 ’09. 12 seconds left, snap to the point post. Brad Johnson marks. Mackie digs at the turf. Shaking. Cats can’t lose. Dad won’t look. I’m crying. He lines up. Brother James pulls at my jumper ‘Can I have another hotdog?’ Johnson misses. Cats win. #almanac280

  87. Colin Ritchie says

    Tapping my bat I stare down the wicket, an array of classic strokes visualised. A boy in a man’s body lopes towards me, elephant thighs pounding, and bowls. A yell, middle stump cartwheels. First ball duck. Bottom lip quivering, 12yo Col leaves the crease. #almanac280

  88. Andrew Fithall says

    @AndrewFithall via Twitter:

    Got to the game late. Free admission. Standing room. Last over. Last ball. Captain and bowler discussion with umpire. Non striker throws his bat to the ground. Bowled ball doesn’t see air. “That will be controversial.” I say to myself. #almanac280

  89. @TruckerSlim via Twitter:

    #almanac280 Sometimes a punch is more than just a punch. Like when Carlos thumped my left arm after Buddy drilled one outside 50. Then when Cyril snuck a goal Carlos’ brother took to my right arm. Who knew Dew would let rip? I kept copping it, riding the 08 GF bumps with a grin.

  90. hutt river provence dual citizen says

    @ThePhilby via Twitter:

    It was the stormiest day that I’d ever seen at Footy Park, and I was the only Carlton barracker in a sea of Port faithful.

    The only warmth I’d had was the half time Southwark Stout, which had to be drunk at the bar at the time.

    Oh, we came back. We won at the death. #Almanac280

  91. hutt river provence dual citizen says

    @ThePhilby via Twitter:

    A bright day in April, but an absolute mud patch. New to White Hills JFC but found my spot as the tall ruckman, for one week.

    Two goals. I kicked two goals. Walking back to the rooms, I received one comment.

    “Yeh, you shouldn’t wear white sleeves under the jumper.” #Almanac280

  92. @poynts via Twitter:

    Reserves player always on the cusp. In & out of the League side. He knuckles down in his twilight years, trains the house down, and is selected for first 5 games of clubs centenary season. Night before ‘Centenary Game’ he’s dropped. Team wins. Bittersweet; Adjective. #almanac280

  93. hutt river provence dual citizen says

    @ThePhilby via Twitter:

    Red leather, willow, gloves and white flannel.

    Sun cream, yellow fluorescent zinc and green hats.

    Watery orange cordial and a pastie from the Serv-Wel.

    Dewy grass and a burning hot concrete pitch.

    Wide skies and the summer sun, all morning long.


  94. @haikubobb via Twitter:
    loud appeal
    a passing cyclist
    slows to a halt

    rain delay
    chalk stumps
    trickle down the curb

    fifty up
    he doffs his cap
    to car horns and sleeping dogs

    out of form
    the number three over-keen
    in the field

    last ball before lunch
    the batsman lets it go
    with a flourish


  95. How long does it take to realise a bloke is too small? Three months apparently. The end of January 1982: “We’re letting you go.”
    Why? I ask.
    “You’re too short” he says.
    You didn’t notice that last November? I ask rather bluntly.
    He turns and walks off. My bridge is burned.

  96. #almanac280

  97. @HardBallGetNet via Twitter:

    So many dark, Demon days at the ‘G. Friends & family ask me “why do this to yourself?” One reason: Robbie..the lone Flower in fields of red & blue weeds. Finally they bloom. Finals! Old guy with #2 on his back hugs me, delirious, rasps “here’s a go!” #Almanac280

  98. Kat (@kathyktr) Twitter says.

    Her heart beating faster, her senses on fire. She ran her eyes down his long muscular body, he had the legs of a God, they were magnificent. Her gaze fixed on the main prize, knowing it would soon be hers. OMG, yes! yes! YES! Rekindling wins the Melbourne Cup. #Almanac280

  99. Peter Warrington says

    Slower ball! Fred Fredericks under it. Yes! Fred staggers. Down it goes. We’re out of finals. I hug Fred. His firsts disbanded for lack of players. Every week he comes, to field in the sun. Loves his mates, loves his club. I’m me player of the year. They got it wrong. #Almanac280

  100. Neil Anderson says

    “Footscray really won the premiership Dad! ‘You gonna tell old Mr Townsend, even though he barracks for Melbourne?”
    “No son. If Footscray won the next 3 in a row and Melbourne didn’t win for ages, that’d be awful for him. And Collingwood beat Melbourne last year too.” #almanac280

  101. -Put ’em on Bill.
    He scuffs forward. Late eucalyptus shadows play across the nets.
    Matt is among the bags, the kit.
    -Good luck in there, Billy boy.
    Bill nods; reaches into the kit for some pads.
    Out of the kit, tongue flicking, slides a brown snake.

  102. Steph Wilson says

    It came whistling through the air towards her. She leapt up onto another’s back as it fell into her arms. It spun in her hands and fell towards the ground. It hit her boot and changed course, sailing away towards the posts. It slipped through. She had kicked a goal.

    (David Wilson’s daughter, age 12)

  103. Smokie Dawson says

    @smokiedawson via Twitter:

    A lazy, warm November day. I turn on the radio. Slowly, gradually, I wend my way through the stations as the day progresses. News, current affairs, talk-back, music.
    On the sports station, Jon Ralph is banging on about AFL. I flick the switch to off #almanac280

  104. Rebecca Hayne says

    @BeccaHayne via Twitter

    She sat in the stands, alone, eating a lukewarm dog, overpriced, shuffling nervously
    She had no idea what was going on, miles from her Louisiana home
    But she fell in love with the bizarre, strange, foreign game, with St Kilda
    For the first time, she felt truly home

  105. Six wickets in hand; five runs to win.

    “We’ve got this, Nobby – finally, after 15 losses in a row”, said Johnno, glove-punching his batting partner. “Only a downpour could stop us now.”

    He turned back towards his batting crease. A crack of thunder sliced the air.


  106. Warwick Green says

    @_WarwickGreen via Twitter:

    Screw-in stops. Real mud. Cheersquads with blankets for thrown coins. Dressing gowns on the bench. Goal umps in butchers coats. White away shorts. Boom bush recruits. Floggers. Steel beer cans. Police horses. Curtain raisers. A-B, C-D, E-F results on the scoreboard. #almanac280

  107. @roweberto via Twitter:

    Morning sun rises
    Everyone with gifts
    Rob got a bat & is
    Ready to play
    Yearning for runs

    Crease is marked & its
    Hot already
    Rubbish bin stumps &
    Ice in the esky
    Serious now, it’s business time
    Taking the long run
    Movement off the pitch
    Attacking stroke
    Six & out


  108. Bulldogs bit and roared in 2016.
    Tigers (a fighting fury) fought and fought and won in 2017.
    Saints are kicking goals accurately in 2018.
    Saints go marching in at the MCG on Grand Final in 2018.
    The last paragraphs are what I hope.
    Bulldogs and Tigers won flags in the last two seasons. Why not Saints next year?

  109. @APH1991 via Twiter:

    It was 2013.
    I was looking forward to that year.

    Then Feb 6 strikes like a sonic boom.

    A fierce negativity awakens.
    A negativity that followed me for 4 years.

    Time fades.
    The emotional toll doesn’t.

    My club’s on the other side.
    Joy slowly returns.


  110. @APH1991 via Twitter:

    It’s Feb 26 2014 on a Wednesday.
    I make a routine walk to my station.
    I can see the train station.
    I fall.
    I injure my ankle.
    My knees are bloodied.
    I’m helped by a wonderful lady.
    She takes me home.
    Mum and I gift her flowers.
    Forever indebted.


  111. Peter Warrington says

    Go Ellyse. You’re gonna have to bat all day. Well, night, too. Just bat time. Bat. And bat. And bat. You’re gonna have to make 200. You can do it. We love you! Yeah, go Ellyse. You go girl… I mean woman. Dad, just asking…. what’s making 200??? #almanac280

  112. Together alone he barrel chests on proppy legs, looks skyward & spits on his hands. Trots. A ball-up in this heaving MCG, arm across his chest. Walks, trots, yaps. Rucks crash; he snares the ball, baulks, feeds it out, breaks head down & receives it. Goal Dane Swan. #almanac280.

  113. Old woman rests. Shaded by trees.
    Young cricketers play.
    Body slowing, she keenly critiques field placings, bowling.
    “This bloke – 3 balls.”
    “Look at his backlift.”
    “And as for this batting…”
    “Ah, we had some fun.”
    Betty Wilson born 21 Nov 1921 #almanac280

    some info about GAB:

  114. Crash Thompson says

    @CrashTh0mps0n via Twitter:

    The want of Hawthorn’s unraveling near destruction, real envy, delusional Almanacker naysayers. Dignified exuberance in Glenferrie, Hawks threepeat. Yes! #almanac280 #twohundredandeighty #acronym #13?14?15? #ridingonthehorsesyeahyeah

  115. I can win this. Still got the competitive juices. Bit of pre-game rehearsal. Hemingway, Mencken, Flanagan. Give it an RHG and a BCM (bloody clever metaphor). Jeez have a look at the competition! I’ll settle for seventeenth. So long as I beat the Dockers. #almanac280

  116. A football career is like the Big Bang. Its starts with a flash of youthful brilliance and creativity; of light and colour and endless possibility. Then it slows and everything expands. It becomes Super Rules. #almanac280

  117. “It’s a long time ago.”
    “It is.”
    “So young.”
    “So full of… what?”
    “Yeah. Hope.”

    “Do you remember…? Nothing stopped us on the field – in our day.”

    “I remember. I remember everything.”
    #almanac280 #flametrees #leapsandbounds

  118. Luke Reynolds says

    @crackers134 via Twitter

    That didn’t work.Knew he’d be angry.He’d want to kill me & hurt my mates.He didn’t get me.Another did.He got 5 others.Destroyed us. My mates are angry.But I’m already on the outer.Thought the punt was worth it.Never again will I ask Ambrose to remove his wristbands. #almanac280

  119. 51 + 36 + 48 = 37 says

    @TKNY via Twitter:

    Dan misses an offload, but bursts through, and regathers.
    Onward again, relentless to the hotspot.

    A chip kick. It’s enough.
    Shaun, pressured, flips it out.

    Kane with glee, one step then two, kicks around the body. Home.
    Oh boy, you can see it in the distance now.


  120. 51 + 36 + 48 = 37 says

    @TKNY via Twitter

    On winter western streets and lanes, they kicked about a ball with glee.
    Not of leather but rolled up newspapers. Strung up, spattered with mud.
    One boy stood out for he was not of the local Bulldog breed,
    Billy Williams had handed Dad a jumper. This boy was a Blood.


  121. Under a lilac moon in the dying heat of a hot summer’s day, a community gathered to witness triumph. It opened its arms and its heart to the daughters of the west. In a flurry of topknots and swinging tails, the women charged onto the ground. Invisible no more. #almanac280

  122. On a narrow bench on the boundary, she waited for the huddle to end. Four goals down with a quarter to go; she knew what they had to do. Push forward, run hard and kick a bag. Her hand-knitted scarf wound around her neck, kept the chill at bay and the dream alive. #almanac280

  123. Silence for the anthem; the siren heralds time. Hearts on sleeves and time rewinds. Flashback to the horror years of missed chances and broken dreams. But we’ve got Bevvo and the Bont and a team that won’t back down. We’re in with a chance. This is our time. #almanac280

  124. @diogenesbrown via Twitter

    20 years ago today we sat together as Socceroo studs stumbled on an Iranian cow paddock. She took my hand as things got tense, hearts racing in foreign territory. The Australian men have made the big dance four times since then; we’re still on our first #Almanac280

  125. Crash Thompson says

    @crashTh0mps0n via Twitter:





    #almanac280 #twohundredandeighty #acronym

  126. @e_regnans via Twitter:

    On solid ground, he picks up his beer.
    “You’re a long time retired, mate.”

    “Ahh, there’s more to life, mate.”

    That’s thrown him.
    “Mmmm. Maybe.”


  127. @e_regnans via Twitter:
    Hope is lining up for goal.
    Hope is the lunge.
    Hope is why.
    Hope is walking to the middle.
    Hope is calling for it.
    Hope is reaching.
    Hope is getting out of bed.
    Hope is playing it.
    Hope is everything.

  128. @ProTrackAust via Twitter:
    1968. First pair of boots. Down the park for kick/catch & shots at goal. Jagged a few in the mud, end up with dirty boots.
    Home, get out the nugget & polish me boots.
    Mum ?; Dad ?
    No one told me; only need a damp cloth to clean Ron Barasssi Junior plastic boots!

  129. @swishtter via Twitter:

    260 games, mostly in the Cs, but there was that one season when I was a regular in the Bs. I’ve kept the bar running since ’08, I love this club. But I’ve heard we might have to merge with the Reds across the freeway. Wish I had a girlfriend instead of living at Mum’s #almanac280

  130. The emotion,
    The anger,
    The Joy,
    The wins and losses,
    The diehards,
    The professionals,
    The amateurs,
    The juniors,
    Sport. Write from the heart.

  131. Neil Anderson says

    Teddy Whitten, Charlie Sutton, Peter Box, Jack Collins, Herb Henderson then Marcus Bontempelli, Easton Wood, Matthew Boyd, Lachie Hunter, Liam Picken. We didn’t start the fire but it was always burning in our Bulldog hearts. #almanac 280

  132. Dianne Waddingham says

    Flutterbies in the stomach
    Feeling nauseous
    Can’t watch
    Must know the score
    Heart leapfrogging out of chest
    One point the difference
    Where is the de-fib machine?
    I can no longer breathe
    Blow the bloody siren
    It’s just pre-season
    OMG Get a grip
    # almanac280

  133. @swishtter via Twitter:

    First day at work, Jan ’78. Bob May sits me down and explains debit orders, check digits and Barrie Robran.

    “What do those doddery old blokes down the back do?” I ask disrespectfully, a portent of my next 40 years of employment.


  134. @TruckerSlim via Twitter:

    #almanac280 Richard came first. And Neil. And Aldo, Jeff, Rector, the guy who did that dumb Aldolf impersonation with his short black comb, Des and me. We all came first. The dead heat of dead heats in the Year 12 100m sprint. Laughing our role model heads off as teachers fumed.

  135. Mark Vandetstoep says

    @_VANDY_ via Twitter:

    Macgilvray and Cometti’s duelling dulcet deliberations on Aunty’s airwaves. G Chappell leading the Poms a merry dance at the ‘G. 1980 – a six year old entranced by the sounds of summer, leather on willow. The beginning of a lifelong love affair: a gentlemen’s game. #almanac280

  136. @ratherbeatlunch via Twitter:

    Bowled Shane #almanac280

  137. Matt Quartermaine says

    Genius JTH- so much with so little. Congrats to all involved for the shortest short story competition ever.

  138. Phil Dimitriadis says

    @lordbogan via Twitter:

    First change. Pill in hand with a menacing stare. Field set, batsman not using his feet. “I’ve got this prick”. I steam in from 20 meters. First ball, late out swinger, disappears over the grandstand. “Unlucky mate” says the keeper. #almanac280

  139. @e_regnans via Twitter:

    Yes! ….wait! …no!


  140. Neil Anderson says

    Son of the west transported to leafy eastern school with tidings of a recent Footscray premiership. Ignored by indulged kids with Melbourne jumpers heading for no. 3 in a row. Training with big kids at least they’d see this stranger kick a footy. Walking home alone with a secret bursting to get out. Someone took notice of the skinny kid from the smelly west. “Righto Bulldog! Your in the team to play against Wattle Park!”

  141. Neil Anderson says

    It’s those little things you remember when you finally make the team. Polishing the Jenkin boots the night before. Whitening those yards of laces and that smell of whatever we used lingering. If you were quick enough, picking the jumper in the change-rooms with your favorite number. Mine was Teddy’s no.3. Your name written on the footy-shaped poster next to the selected position. The opportunity to be some-body. #almanac280

  142. @steiny71 via Twitter:

    Make the drive to Melba town, watch the boys at Punt Rd ground.
    They lift the cup my heart it bursts with pride.

    37 long hard years,
    Now it’s joy that sparks the tears,
    My Tigers are a mighty football side.


  143. @steiny71 via Twitter:

    Gee I loved it when it REALLY rained. Back then, when grounds weren’t looked after like they are now. The mud, the slop, the pools of water on the half fwd flank.
    You’d dive for the ball and slide for what seemed like miles…
    Throw your gear in the laundry, poor mum. #almanac280

  144. Dugald Jellie says

    @dugaldjellie via Twitter:

    Crowds walk pathways in the rain through Tigerland after a game. Grown men with numbers on their backs. Old shopfronts, a faded glory.
    Windscreen wipers swish. Tram tracks glisten. Car headlights.
    A question, from the back of the tram.
    “How do you spell Vlastuin?”

  145. From Allan Barden

    An iconic chapter in Australia’s sporting, cultural and social history is 25/5/18, the 150th anniversary of the first game by the first Australian cricket XI to tour England; Aborigines from the Western District of Victoria. The forgotten sporting heroes. #almanac280

  146. Carmel Riordan says

    @shuttertype via Twitter:

    15/2/2014: Cordial frozen, sunblock out, water in kit. 12 chicken & avocado wraps, Tom’s favourite. Pause. That boy would have played today. Tears fall. His mother will never make another cricket lunch. Mum’s show love by doing things. What will she do now? #almanac280

  147. @diogenesbrown via Twitter:

    Into the victors’ changerooms he went.
    Congratulations but you’ve killed SA footy he said.
    Who needs 280 when 119 will do?

  148. @josephryan79 via Twitter:

    18th tee. I’m thinking of today’s duck hooks, bunkers and missed putts, but I get out my driver for one last effort. Crack! The white dot fizzes as it splits the middle, flying into the distance, before resting on the freshly cut fairway. Guess I’ll be back next week! #almanac280

  149. Neil Anderson says

    Ten years later and no footy played. Wine, women and song masking what used to be important. Late one night drinking with an old school mate I asked him why he never played footy. I told him I loved playing back then before we started knocking around. “Nah!” he said. “Much rather muck around with cars.” “My brother saw you play but. They called you the ‘vacuum-cleaner’ the way you scooped the ball up.” Wow! I was noticed and had a nick-name! #almanac 280

  150. Dog's Name is Richo says

    Lambert … Dion! Do the calculations, 15:45 to go, 45 points. Safe? Can I say it? As in, out loud? Two Crows goals in 90 seconds. Surely not. I’ve seen this movie before, it’s been playing for 37 years. Can it please, please be a different ending? #almanac280

  151. Dog's Name is Richo says

    I’m on 60-odd, against dad’s old school. Blue sky, water in the distance. Dad stands, discrete, up on the stairs, under the cross. An ageing ghost, HIS teacher, Brother Finian, himself on 90-odd, sidles up. “That’s not your boy, is it?” Dad, proud, nods. #almanac280

  152. @e_regnans via Twitter:

    And she walked the Earth; ball in bag. Her Babel fish.
    On São Paulo roads, a Kingston beach, Calgary hills.
    With Dubliners, with Parisians, Athenians.
    Afoot of pyramids and rickshaws, the Mekong.
    Laughing in the Himalaya.
    Football the key to all doors.

  153. allan barden says

    An iconic chapter in Australia’s sporting, cultural and social history is 25/5/18, the 150th anniversary of the first game by the first Australian cricket XI to tour England; Aborigines from the Western District of Victoria. The forgotten sporting heroes. #almanac280

  154. Daryl Sharpen says

    You nearly did it, mate. Geez my legs cane dad; it was only a canvas at the finish. Some of the kids cried. I didn’t know it meant that much…… Head of the River and private schools will do that to you. #almanac280

  155. Kyla Wilson says

    By Kyla Wilson:

    Pendlebury races down the field, bounces the ball once, twice, there’s 1 player standing between him and the goal.
    He kicks the ball, it’s marked by Swanny!
    Swanny takes his position. Unbearable suspense. As countdown begins, he runs up, boots it… and it’s a GOAL! #almanac280

    (David Wilson’s daughter, Age 10)

  156. Sport players have combined talents in some of running, kicking, throwing, jumping and etc. and entertain us with their great performances, although we might be disappointed with loss. We enjoy sharing the joy and the path of players and teams. I don’t have such good talents but want to help sharing the joys with others by my writing. Footy Almanac is the good place to do so. Thanks everyone. #almanac280

  157. Dane Tannahill says

    @Dano_T via Twitter:

    IfTheHeartCudWriteIfEmotionDid InkWonderWotBsaidAtAPies1stBlink.
    SeptDaylikeAsecretLeechHiddenHavingItsway #almanac280

    If the heart cud write. If emotion did ink. Wonder what be said being a Pies first blink. At the lights. The tradition….the glory rendition Wonder if it wud say “ you’ve made it lad.” And I wonder if he’d say “ I’ve made it Dad” And I wonder if that sucks the drive the delirious strive for that Sep day like a secret leech hidden having its way

  158. Andrew Else says

    @aelse34 via Twitter:

    ‘Who’s that lady Daddy?’
    ‘That’s Walla. He does big tackles’
    ‘What does Joey do Daddy?’
    ‘He takes speckies’
    2yrs in June: ‘I’m Walla Daddy! You’re Joey!’
    Elim Final
    ‘Who’s THAT Daddy?’
    ‘…that’s Buddy’
    ‘He’s kicking lots of goals Daddy!’

  159. Kath Presdee says

    @kath_73 via Twitter:

    60 seconds to go. 2 points.

    Harold Holt stirs…

    Fifty years, nothing. Just 60 seconds to hold on but the ball is in Storm hands you can never write them off. Closer. no! No! Tackle! Please! I can’t look! I can’t breathe…

    It would be so Cronulla to lose now.

  160. Mark Vanderstoep says

    @_VANDY_ via Twitter:

    Summer scorcher at the WACA. Two daughters in tow, their first test.

    Indians rolled for 161.

    “Dad, it’s too hot. Can we go home?”

    “Yep. When Warner gets out. Not before.”

    Seagulls scatter as he strokes a sizzling century in a session.



  161. Kath Presdee says

    @kath_73 via Twitter:

    There has to be a dragon in the fairytale. The obstacle. That which must be defeated.

    Two years now. Two years we’ve been the dragon to bring about the fairytale.

    One day the dragon will win.

    And we will roar.


  162. Mark Vanderstoep says

    @_VANDY_ via Twitter:

    Aussies v Kiwis. SCG, ’86.

    Non-sporting, loving Dad takes his sport-loving lads to their 1st ODI. Braving the Hill’s beer, bravado & bad language, he battles into the night.

    Boys glued to the game.

    Then the streaker. He’d seen enough. Too much.

    Early exit.


  163. @aelse34 via Twitter:

    Met at the Gabba. Her a Roy, me a Don. Back in Melb we married. Soon came our boy. In Rd2, his first game. Our teams, in Qld. He sat on my lap. A win. Our girl came in June. In Rd15, the rematch. She slept right through. Strapped to her Mum. First loss I’ve ever loved #almanac280

  164. Smokie Dawson says

    @smokiedawson via Twitter:

    They helped found the competition. Produced champions. But a century later that very same competition sacrificed them on the altar of national expansion. They were dearly loved, but died a lonely death in faraway Perth. Their spirit lives on in the Ammos. Vale Fitzroy

  165. Sport Critique says

    @sportcritique via Twitter:

    Squeaking turnstiles, rusting gates.
    How many will we score today?
    Long baked clay, hard as rock.
    Green leafy grass, manicured and endless.
    Sun burning, sizzling, skin browning, squinting.
    Chanting, cheering, sloshed and merry.
    Lilllleee Lilllleee
    Goodbye WACA.

  166. @TruckerSlim via Twitter:

    #almanac280 Is this my death imagined? On the boundary, kinda deep Third Man, mis-catching a ball I should’ve swallowed. Ball goes through my knitted palms and hits me square in the nuts. Writhing in indescribable pain. 14 and earnest. Blood in the eye. Dick pulsating in shock.

  167. @Chris88829 via Twitter:

    They set us 280 to win. The two of us strolled out in dying light. About 30 mins til stumps. I took guard. Their maniac left arm quick of the long run, short of a length into my ribs. Knicked one through slips; only one I hit. 4*. It rained the next week. Match drawn #almanac280

  168. 51 + 36 + 48 = 37 says

    @TKNY via Twitter:

    Tears down a young boys face after a loss to North. Facepaint streaking.
    A week later, Naish bounced one through. We’re in front. You could see it was won then.
    Another week. Thrashed, but in the rain we sung. Better days ahead we thought.
    Swooper gone? No!
    Maxy too.

  169. Meredith Schier says

    @mezmusings via Twitter:

    #almanac280 Dads and daughters in a cluster at the MCG – dads sit together to review the week, each with an eye on the action; daughters chat with eyes fixed onto screens – seemingly oblivious to the match. Half time and a footy appears. Come on, let’s go for a kick! And they do.

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