Local Footy: American dream becomes reality

Country footy is full of legend and lore. Country footy is not full of Americans. So what’s an American doing playing senior footy in the competition currently considered the best in the bush, the Goulburn Valley league? Dan Sarbacker was at a loss when he finished his study and soccer commitments at the University of [Read more]

Local Footy: Lucas kicks goals as ex-AFL players land in Bomber territory

After being controversially delisted by Essendon after last season, Scott Lucas signed on with Essendon District league club Greenvale. On the first night of training, Lucas started an hour late because every under-16 and under-18 player at the club wanted to shake his hand. Greenvale president Bruce Kent said Lucas had been a popular addition. [Read more]

Local Footy: Stevie J all the way in a rare game for Wangaratta

At last year’s Footy Almanac lunch before the grand final, Steve Johnson’s father Terry was asked to name the best game he had seen his son play. It was expected that Terry would name one of Steve’s many great games for the Cats—maybe his Norm Smith Medal performance in the 2007 grand final. Instead, he [Read more]

Local Footy: Berry leads Victorian teammates on merry dance

The Australian Country Football Championships can be a serious affair. Over the first two days, the seven teams play six games of 17-minute halves. After a day’s rest, a full-scale game is held between the top two teams to decide the winner. This year’s championships were in Canberra. The Victorian major-league team (there was also [Read more]

Local Footy: Race for Eastern league flag is wide open

Eastern FL  Division 1 club wins losses percentage points Scoresby 11 2 166.48 44 Noble Park 9 4 159.83 36 Balwyn 9 4 151.64 36 Norwood 8 5 109.85 32 Croydon 8 5 108.72 32 Blackburn 7 6 108.05 28 Vermont 7 6 91.17 28 East Burwood 6 7 86.60 24 South Croydon 4 9 [Read more]

Local Footy: Wickers walk tall against 142nd opponent

Elsternwick Amateur Football Club’s greatest rivals Club games won lost drawn first played last played ANZ Bank/Albert Park 50 26 24 0 1961 2010 Collegians 47 20 25 2 1914 1953 Old Scotch 42 11 20 1 1923 1947 University Blacks 41 15 26 0 1921 1947 Glenhuntly 40 17 23 0 1928 1998 Power [Read more]

Local Footy: Old Carey at head of amazing logjam

VAFA PREMIER B Old Carey 7 4 135.55 28 St Kevin’s 7 4 115.67 28 Old Haileybury 7 4 115.24 28 Old Ivanhoe 7 4 113.93 28 Oakleigh 7 4 110.65 28 St Bernard’s 7 4 107.61 28 Uni Blacks 6 5 113.73 24 Hampton Rovers 5 6 100.27 20 Old Essendon 1 10 68.38 [Read more]

Local Footy: The day the Murray league beat the Saints

This Friday marks a special occasion for the Murray Football League: it’s the 50th anniversary of the day a hastily cobbled-together team of Murray league players became one of the few country teams to defeat a VFL visitor. Practice matches between country teams and VFL teams were common from footy’s earliest days right up until [Read more]

Book review: Wednesday Warriors: Doing it for the jumper: the St Pat’s Ballarat tradition

Title: Wednesday Warriors: Doing it for the jumper: the St Pat’s Ballarat tradition Author: James Gilchrist Publisher: Conor Court Publishing, Ballan, Victoria (2010) The recent launch of James Gilchrist’s excellent book on his season following the first eighteen from St Pat’s Ballarat was held at the Celtic Club in Melbourne. The venue was appropriate considering [Read more]

Best individual home-and-away performances

1. Gary Ablett Snr, round 6 1993 Essendon 23.18 (156) v Geelong 19.18 (132) Richmond players had every reason to cringe at the sight of Gary Ablett, whose prolific scoring against the Tigers is the stuff of legend. Ablett’s best haul against the Yellow and Black was 14 goals at the MCG in 1989. As [Read more]

Local Footy: Two Dans and a draft

Dan Noonan and Dan Nicholson are contrasting footballers. Noonan is big and solid, able to patrol a backline with his presence as much as his sure hands and timely fist. Nicholson is small and nippy, able to baulk and shimmy before kicking long in to the forward line. On Sunday the two Dans represented the [Read more]

Eulogy: Memories of a great talent with cheek and heart

In over forty years teaching in country towns and living in local communities I saw, met and mixed with thousands of young people. I saw kids who went on to represent their state and nation in various sports but I never saw anyone the like of Terry Bartel. I was only connected with Terry for [Read more]

Local Footy: AFL recruiters’ broader vision brings local heroes into play

In 2004, Victorian suburban and country footballers would have thought it more likely to be drafted into an astronaut program than to be drafted on to an AFL list. Even the VFL was barely on the radar for AFL clubs. Few recruiting managers were prepared to look beyond the elite under-18 competition, the TAC Cup. [Read more]

Local Footy: Yellow and black!

The Richmond Central Amateur Football Club plays in Richmond guernseys in the Amateurs’ Division 4, which Amateurs people might recognise as G-grade in the old language. Their ground is the Loughnan Oval at the Kevin Bartlett Reserve (unofficially Comb-Over Park), which is tucked into a bend of the Yarra River. The view from the new [Read more]

Local Footy: Mourners flock to Beechworth to see off country sporting legend

Terry Bartel had several nicknames. In his home town, Beechworth, he was known as Ferret because he was small and lively and because he loved to send ferrets down burrows after rabbits. In Wangaratta, where he roved to Mick Nolan in premiership teams with Wangaratta Rovers, he was known as Gipsy because of his penchant [Read more]

Local Footy: Goulburn Valley emerge from haze to win Victorian country crown

If Freo is known as the Purple Haze, the Goulburn Valley Football League should be known as the Purple Haze and a Half. On Saturday the GV combined team, which wears purple guernseys with a yellow monogram, went into its match against the Ovens and Murray to decide the best country competition in Victoria with [Read more]

Local Footy: Carlson’s appointment revives Eagles

On the morning of Sunday 16 May, Paul Dodd, the coach of Victorian Amateur Football Association club Marcellin, responded to the Eagles’ fourth consecutive loss by 100 points in Premier Section by resigning at the club’s scheduled review meeting. That afternoon, Marcellin president Michael Howard scored a coup when he persuaded Leigh Carlson to take [Read more]

Local Footy: Brunswick changes give grounds for thought

It was a beautiful place to watch the footy at Brunswick’s Gillon Oval on Saturday, basking in the sun in front of the Glenn Stand while Amateur clubs North Old Boys-St Pat’s and Williamstown CYMS went at each other in their Division 1 match. But it was a strange sight if you looked across the [Read more]

Local Footy: Eagles lose fourth in a row by 100 points

VAFA Premier Section club Marcellin has matched University Blacks’ unenviable record in the B-section in 1991 by suffering its fourth consecutive loss by 100 points. After losses to Premier Section rivals Old Xaverians (122 points), Collegians (122) and De La Salle (139) in recent weeks, Marcellin went down to Old Scotch by 111 points at [Read more]

Local Footy: Encouraging juniors to go on to senior footy is vital for health of the game

Last year, according to AFL Victoria, there were 133,850 footballers who were registered with senior or junior clubs in the state. That’s almost double the corresponding figure of a decade ago. The growth was recorded almost entirely in the juniors, thanks largely to the success of the Auskick program. When kids finished Auskick, they poured [Read more]