Almanac Rugby League: On how to improve the greatest game of all

John Campbell has followed rugby league for a long time. Some of the modern aspects of the game, dressed up as ‘progress’, give him the Edgar Britts. He explains his concerns.

Almanac Rugby League: Masochism runs deep in the veins of all footy fans

John Campbell, a South Sydney man to the core, recalls the day he witnessed their worst ever loss to the NZ Warriors. He has the ‘Big League’ magazine to go with it.

Almanac Rugby League: It’s all there in black and white

Looking back over his collection of ‘Big League’ programmes, John Campbell finds one dated September 30th 1986 (Vol 67, No. 31) – Grand Final day. Another recounts South Sydney’s worst defeat ever – Round 16, 2006. He loves them all!

Almanac Rugby League: Getting to the heart of the matter with the Reggies

According to John Campbell, ‘if you really want to see the type of bloke that lives and breathes country rugby league, the character that epitomises the game’s ethos, just get to the ground early and check it out as the Reserve Graders, the ‘Reggies’, go round.’ Here’s why.

Almanac Cricket: A Feast of Cricket in India

Cricket, India and artist John Campbell make for a compelling palette to draw in the sports-lover, the eye and the taste buds. It’s all here in one enchanting story.

Almanac Rugby League – Fans or brands, principle or product?

For some, they’re the ongoing diseases of top tier sport – the curses of commercialism and corporatisation. John Campbell explains it.

Almanac Soccer: You’ll never walk alone, even in Japan!

John Campbell just can’t get his head around ‘the world game’ even though he has been to some of the great home grounds of England and Japan. He explains why.

Almanac Rugby League – The 1965 Grand Final: St George Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs

John Campbell remembers the day his Dad took him and his little brother Lonno to the 1965 Sydney rugby league Grand Final. Caught up in the massive crowd, John and Lonno didn’t see much that day but their experiences, real and imagined, left a huge impression.

Almanac Rugby League – On how to improve the greatest game of all

When you’ve done life’s hard yards and made it into the grumpy years, you understand with cold and dispiriting certainty that there is no turning back the clock. But that doesn’t mean that in the face of crass, intolerable change – or ‘progress’ as the suits would wish to sell it – you should give [Read more]

Almanac Rugby League – It’s all there in black and white

Footy tragics, by definition, are sentimentalists. Why else would we put ourselves through the agonies of hope and anxiety, triumph and disaster? Our obsession manifests itself in many ways – in my case I collect Big League programs. Of those that are gathering dust in a corner of my study is the one from Round [Read more]

Almanac Rugby League – Getting to the heart of the matter with the Seconds

Longevity and loyalty. Priceless virtues, they are the cornerstone of bush footy. And if you really want to see the type of bloke that lives and breathes country rugby league, the character that epitomizes the game’s ethos, just get to the ground early and check out the reserve graders – the ‘reggies’ – go round. [Read more]

Almanac Rugby League – Irrepressible Tigers too good for dour Dragon

I arrived home in time for the dressing room shots. Hate missing them. ‘The Tigers have definitely got the best uniform.’ The legendary big red V cuts no ice with Sweetheart. Coach Tim Sheens, more statesmanlike every week as his beard thickens, and the Saints’ mentor, Wayne Bennett, are rock solid and calm. ‘Who’s the [Read more]

Almanac Rugby League – NRL R24, 2011: Glory, glory to South Sydney

We’re heading west on Parramatta Road. Every other car has a white rabbit sticker on its back window. After looking like dead men walking just a month ago, Souths have won three in a row and are suddenly in with a show of making the semis. If they win tonight, that is. Boxhead and I [Read more]