50 years on – Square and Rochy resume the rivalry

  by Rod Gillett Last year the Golden Square Football Club went through the Bendigo Football League unbeaten to win the premiership. It matched the feat of the Rochester “Invincibles” who were premiers and champions in the same league in 1962. Rochy beat Golden Square in the grand final that year. Both clubs are understandably [Read more]

How the West is being won

  by Rod Gillett AFL football will be played at four different venues in Sydney this season. Three of those are in western Sydney. Only one is in the city, the traditional home of the game, the Sydney Cricket Ground. Footy has been played at the SCG since the 1880s and hosted VFL matches as [Read more]

The birth of the UWS Giants

  by Rod Gillett When Sydney University play the UWS Giants in the eastern conference of the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) this season it won’t actually pit two uni teams against each other. The UWS Giants are not necessarily representing the University of Western Sydney, they’re just playing under their name. That’s because [Read more]


The final session of Gaelic football for kids in Abu Dhabi last Sunday involved a match against the parents at the British School – delicious irony in that given the history between the Irish and the English. But that’s another story. The kids call it “Gaelic”, but the parents call it football, after all, its [Read more]

Footy kicking on in Coffs Harbour

by “Rocket” Rod Gillet The Sydney Swans defeated last year’s AFL runner-up St Kilda in a NAB Challenge match at the BCU Stadium in Coffs Harbour by 31 points last Saturday night. Almost 5000 attended the fixture on a unseasonably cool night on the north coast of NSW. One of those in attendance was my [Read more]


”The fact is rugby league lives and breathes in western Sydney – we’re part of the community, we have been there for a century … ” (my emphasis) (David Gallop, NRL CEO, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September, 2010) The NRL is paranoid about the AFL’s expansion into western Sydney. And they’ve got good reason to [Read more]

LOCAL FOOTY: 137 YEARS OF WAR- Rochester v Echuca

The eternal desire by the Rochester Football Club to beat Echuca will be magnified ten-fold when they meet at the Rochester Showgrounds in the final round of Goulburn Valley Football League this Saturday. At stake for Rochy is more than the immense pride and satisfaction that always comes from beating their arch-rival but a place [Read more]


When Len Cuff transferred in his employment to Sydney in 1984 the former Tasmanian Amateur rep just went straight down to Sydney Uni where he found out he didn’t have to learn a new club song. The Sydney Uni victory song, “1-2-3 the uni boys are we”, “4-5-6 we got ‘em in a fix”, “7-8-9 [Read more]


In the 1949 interstate match between NSW and Victoria at the SCG nineteen year old East Sydney ruckman Jack Dean went up against veteran Victorian captain Jack Dyer at the opening bounce. “He sat me on my arse!” Jack told me over a few beers. We were at Harry McAsey’s pub in Alexandra after a [Read more]


by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket It was great to have our boys play in the Grand Final. It was exciting to be involved. Everyone in the club was determined to enjoy it – and enjoy it we did. The elephant in the (locker) room was the absence through injuries and unavailability of some of our [Read more]

Middle East AFL Grand Final preview: Abu Dhabi won’t be able to stand the Heat

by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket Grand finals, anywhere, at any level, arouse passion and excitement. The second-ever Middle East AFL grand final will be no exception. However, the unbeaten Dubai Heat will go into Friday’s premiership decider against Abu Dhabi as raging hot favourites to win their second successive title despite beating their grand final [Read more]

Narrandera Sportsground: A Mecca in a heathen state

by Rod Gillet The Narrandera Sportsground will light up on Friday night for the Sydney Swans v North Melbourne AFL Challenge match. A crowd of about 10,000 spectators is expected to attend the third game the Swans have played in the heart of the Riverina in four years. Previous games have drawn crowds of between [Read more]

World Footy: Desert derby is a pointer to Middle East Grand Final

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi now virtually owns Dubai Inc. The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is now named after the ruler of Abu Dhabi. However, the one piece of reality that Abu Dhabi does not own is the Middle East AFL crown. Competition leaders Dubai Heat are still unbeaten after two seasons of [Read more]

World Footy: Falcons and Dragons to battle for Middle East grand final berth

A berth in the Middle East AFL grand final is at stake when the Abu Dhabi Falcons take on the Dubai Dragons at the American International School in the UAE capital on Friday evening at 5 pm. The Falcons are undefeated after wins on the road in Oman and Qatar but they face the all-conquering [Read more]

Eulogy: University don inspired footy history study

By Rod Gillett The ability to inspire performance is a quality that is most often attributed to sports coaches. It is also attributed to teachers of art, music and literature, even mathematics.  Many of us have had a teacher profoundly influence our scholastic life and engender in us an enduring enthusiasm for a particular subject. [Read more]

Local Footy: Desert dash fails to deter Falcons

By Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket The Abu Dhabi Falcons footy team made sure they did not stray into the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia when they crossed the border on their road trip to Muscat in Oman for last weekend’s fourth-round clash in the Middle East AFL. Despite getting to the ground only 15 minutes [Read more]

Schauble likely to miss grand final re-match

by Rod Gillett Former Sydney Swans best & fairest Andrew Schauble is likely to miss the Middle East AFL grand final re-match when the Dubai Heat travel to the Sultanate of Oman to play the Muscat Magpies in their round 3 at the Muscat Rugby Club on Friday. Schauble is suffering from a flu virus [Read more]

His Excellency, Terry Daniher, Ambassador for Football in the Middle East

By Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket Bounding up the steps of the Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai last week to attend the Middle East AFL Sportsman’s Night the bloke in front of me kindly held the door open for me, “Thanks T.D.”, I said. ” Rocket, old son, what you are doing here?” exclaimed Terry Daniher. [Read more]

Local Footy: Sydney footy makes up for unfortunate events of a century ago to claim new home at Blacktown

By Rod Gillett The recent Sydney AFL Grand Final was played at the new stadium at the Blacktown Olympic Park, which has become the new “home” for local footy in Sydney. It is significant location given that the GWS AFL team is to be based at this facility. GWS is of course, the acronym being [Read more]

World Footy: Dubai Heat the hot tip in Middle East AFL

By Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket Reigning Middle East AFL premier the Dubai Heat, fresh from their triumph at the Asian Club Championship in Kuala Lumpur in early September, again look the team to beat when the competition gets underway this weekend. The Heat will be at home to the Doha Kangaroos, who have had forty [Read more]