Book Review – Kings of the Game

I picked up ‘Kings of the Game‘, by Lachlan Waterman, hoping to find the answer to one question: What is it that fascinates me about a great Aussie Rules football coach?


The author makes an early call that it can only be success that makes a great coach.  While there are many ways to measure success, by setting a benchmark of at least 3 premierships he was able to sift through the chaff, separate out the rubies and pearls to leave only 12 diamonds.  While rubies and pearls are not to be sneezed at, diamonds are prized above all else – as are the 12 coaches lauded in this book.


For me the prince of these diamonds would be David Parkin (chapter 12), while legendary Sturt coach Jack Oatey (chapter 6) was my childhood hero.  Parkin epitomises everything I would ever want to be as a coach myself – the embodiment of passion, preparation and innovation.  Through insights in chapter 12 I can see how these three qualities brought with them a string of Carlton premierships.


One of my favourite sayings is “standing on the shoulders of giants”. I use it all the time in my work life as a way to draw attention to the benefits of using and celebrating the innovative work of others as your own foundation. It is fair to say that this is a common thread in almost all of the coaches who are awarded a chapter in this book. It is fascinating to read how each coach draws on methods, qualities and traits learned from coaches influential in their own lives. This book cleverly weaves the chapters together with this single fine thread, and in doing so brings out the qualities we celebrate and honour in this great fabric we now know as the Australian Football League.


Readers of this book will no doubt trace the same main thread I did which drew the succession of coaches together. However I expect they will also take delight in discovering their own as I did. It left me with a thirst for greater understanding of not only what goes into making a great coach, but also what makes the game of Australian football so captivating. It is the coaches, the players, the observers, the critics and the administrators – the people with a common love of the game. For me this is the key to drawing insights from this book – above all it is the coach who inspires the qualities and values that we all can take into our own every-day lives beyond the sport itself.


My question was well and truly answered.


Don’t forget to get on down to the book signing at Dymocks Rundle Mall, Saturday December 17th from 1.30 to 3 pm. You can also buy this book online here.

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  1. “The Model.” Is there anything you can’t do? Thank you for your review. I am pleased you enjoyed the read and it gave you the chance to take a walk down memory lane with your Sturt /Carlton devotion.

  2. Welcome,Model ( another ex Ad Uni FC and member of the Greys ) to the hallowed form as a author on the footy almanac site and a very good and succinct review of a great book.I totally agree in that it cleverly weaves the chapters together of some of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.
    Congrats,Lachlan and hope you kill it re sales !

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