GRACE AND GRACELESSENESS UNDER PRESSURE

The past week in world sport has presented leading players, coaches and teams in a fascinating array of lights and reminds us of why we react to the sporting performances with such emotion and passion.  Of particular interest has been the way a number of champions have handled the limelight, adversity and pressure and what [Read more]

Footy: A midsummer reflection on the rise of the Cats and the Saints in light of 2004

By Sam Steele When it’s 44 degrees outside and the rest of the family are on holiday, what else is there to do but bung a couple of old footy tapes into the VCR and relive some of the great games of the past. As fate would have it, I chose to have a look [Read more]

Footy: Say it isn’t so Richo … or then again … maybe the time is right

By Sam Steele I don’t think a better verbal portrait of Richo can be painted than Waleed Aly’s piece that prefaced the 2008 Almanac.  Nor can a better image be conceived that Jim Pavlidis’ wonderful cover picture. I won’t even attempt to compete with these.  My contribution to what will doubtless be a host of [Read more]

General Footy Writing: The days of plain sailing in the AFL may well be numbered

By Sam Steele AFL entered the new millennium on Wednesday 8 March 2000.  A midweek matching of Melbourne and Richmond at an unusually early time of year, was followed the next evening by Essendon hosting Port Adelaide, in the first match for premiership points at the Docklands Stadium. If such radical scheduling was meant to [Read more]

General Footy Writing: The top ten finals according to Stainless

One of the few joys of being a Richmond supporter is that you can regularly attend finals matches without emotional involvement.  The football purist takes over and you can sit back, relax with a quiet, reflective beer and enjoy the best of what the rest of the competition has to offer. A ripper 2009 finals [Read more]

Third Test, Day 2: Memories of glorious day at 1975 series get crowded out by tumble of Australian wickets

By Sam Steele I chose to do the “wrap” of this day not because of any sense that this would be a particularly significant day (although more of this later).  Rather I picked it because it was 34 years ago to the day that I attended Day 1 of the Ashes Test at Lords with [Read more]

General Footy Writing: Hawks and Eagles match highlights jumper absurdities

By Sam Steele This was going to be another match report in response to Messrs Harms’ and Daffey’s hint that I play myself into form in order to be considered for “the book”. Sadly, my attention on a scrappy but nonetheless crucial West Coast v Hawthorn game was insufficient to complete the task, but my [Read more]

General Footy Writing: How a Tiger got his stripes – Part 2

By Sam Steele I only ever saw Royce Hart play four times.  And yet he remains, without question, my one genuine sporting hero (with the possible exception of Dennis Lillee), and was instrumental in my childhood conversion to Australian football. Most of my memories of Royce are of grainy black and white snippets from the [Read more]

Footy Prediction: 1997 revisited?

  by Sam Steele     It was all set to be the year when one of the AFL’s Cinderellas finally went to the ball.  That was until the heartless, tradition-less Adelaide Crows crashed the party, three times in three weeks.  Is history about to repeat?   In the extraordinary 1997 season, St Kilda, Geelong [Read more]

General Footy Writing: How a Tiger got his stripes (part 1)

By Sam Steele It was not until 1970 when I was six years old that I even discovered the existence of Australian football. Unlike so many Australian families in which footy allegiance, like religion, is rock solid and and never to be questioned, or those in which rivalries flourish, in my family the game was [Read more]

AFL Round 12: Richmond v West Coast: Tiger Kop barely moved to song by humdrum win

By Sam Steele They’ve got a Kop at Richmond these days! Rushing into Docklands just as the ball is bounced, I’m expecting a new dawn of sorts as the Tigers start life under new coach, Jade Rawlings.  He’s dropped all the old-timers in the team apart from Cousins, and is expecting our youngest team in [Read more]

Round 12: Carlton v St Kilda: Even a Tigers fan admits the Blues deserves praise

By Sam Steele I’m home alone – a rare event in the Steele household.  Older son Tom has gone to the game with some university mates.  Younger son Billy is at a party.  My better half, the non-footballing Yang to the football-mad Yin of the three boys in the family, is having a family reunion [Read more]