Rulebook: looking after the next generation of South Australian footballers

Peter Argent Rulebook coaching


In the nation of South Australia, every youngster’s prayers are for rain and selection in a SAPSASA team. (Just ask the Captain, Clint Rule)

In the nation of South Australia, Rulebook (or Book to his nearest and dearest) Ashwood is a legend.

So it is totally appropriate the two come together: Book is now a SAPSASA mentor (I’m told – please confirm).

He’s ahead of his time.

(Doesn’t he look like one of those US coaches whose about to have Gatorade tipped on him?)



  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Hi don’t no who has put this on the site but yep have been involved as assistant coach with the East Adelaide side for a number of years with Tim Weatherald as coach and this year with Tim moving to Darwin helping out Dean Davis.I umpire the trials and am heavily involved with selection also and this year helped out in that role with the Torrens River zone side also we are lucky to have a extremely organised zone conveyor in Deb I game I went out to talk to the umpire about a few decisions, 1 in particular against,Jack Kelly( son of Pat Kelly of U.S. baseball fame) to say the umpire didn’t take kindly to being questioned is a understatement and it did not help re the rest of the game so I was definitely a hinderance in that case.Sapsa is fantastic for the youngsters footy development and making new and like friends

  2. Great stuff RB. The little tackers need all the sensible mentoring they can get.

  3. On the lookout for “wascally wabbits”?
    Great stuff RB. I can still remember SAPSASA was the pinnacle for school kids at footy and cricket. Not that I ever got close to selection, but I can remember the school trial games to see who would get nominated to the SAPSASA squad for the Upper Murray and later Yorke Peninsula.

  4. Dave Brown says

    The kids are in safe hands. There was a group of SAPSASA kids at the footy on Saturday. Still feel a little pang of envy when I see a 12 year old with a SAPSASA jumper – trialled in four different sports and never made it.

  5. One of my children was lucky enough to be in this year’s team and RB did a great job of helping him to feel a part of the team.
    The highlight for me was seeing RB not only mentoring the players but also “advising” the umpires – not sure they appreciated his efforts as much as the players did!!!

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Do they still have the country carnivals ‘Book?

    My best week of primary school was 1972 when the local schools around Elizabeth South / Vale billeted kids from the Riverland for a week, travelling into the Railways Oval each day to watch them play footy (in between 10 pin bowling in Hindley St and the Cox Foys rooftop funfair).

    I had Ken Fielke, who was Grantley’s older brother – he made the SAPSASA state team that year. Pretty sure Westies’ Mark Beech was one of the kids from up the river too.

    Went for a walk to the shops with Ken, he was saying g’day to all of the neighbours as if he had lived there all of his life. People that I had never spoken to before or since.

  7. great stuff R-Book!
    A legend in the making. Or maybe already there….

    With that, and the usual involvement with Uni Blacks, Umpiring, Norwood FC, Adelaide FC, Pembroke Old Boys CC, and fundraising in all parts of the state – i have a question… you have a home to go to, or just hitch a caravan to the work trailer??

    well done mate, your dedication to sport and community is truly sensational.

  8. The Country Carnival brings back memories Swish. I managed to snag a spot in the Flinders View team (Port Pirie and surrounds). Played on an absolute mud heap at Railways Oval in the 1971 carnival. From memory we lost 3 games by a point, including games against both the eventual winners and eventual wooden spooners!
    Billeted at Brahma Lodge, a suburb I’ve never been back to. Can recall catching the bus into the big smoke with my billet, who then ditched us for the pinnies for the day. Somehow managed to catch up again at the end of the day for the bus trip home – in those days pre mobile phone.
    Finished the week with a train trip back to Pirie. Still have the team pic, taken post game with all covered in mud!

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks guys,AD I reckon your a bit hard on me it was mainly 1 umpire which I have admitted did not help us and I regret although as several people pointed out the way he spoke was a disgrace.Swish and Nose not sure re those state carnivals any more it may be SAPSA in general has taken its place as there are 32 teams in 4 divisions compete with these teams from all over the state and there was a team from,Pt Pirie.
    It was interesting in coaching sons of Gavin Wanganeen and Chris Thredgold(ex Sturt captain) as well, overall as always it was a great week

  10. Raj Singh says

    Make them all comment after training?

  11. Geoffrey Wilson says

    Legendary stuff Rulebook, brilliant photo, SAPSASA Mentor, totally appropriate. As for the Gatorade shower, I will get you a Coopers one.

  12. Rick Neagle says

    Great stuff Book. We need more people like you in the volunteer community. Neags48

  13. Great photo Book – you look like the ultimate professional (which you are of course!). Fantastic that you have entered Rulei’s domain, but please don’t copy any of Captain SAPSASA’s trademark moves. Pulling a stale cheeseburger out of your white jumpsuit might be OK at Park 10 in front of the Uni boys, but it will probably get you arrested anywhere else!

  14. Onya RUlebook….

  15. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hey Nose

    Railways Oval was a mudheap 12 months later as well.

    Gee, Brahma Lodge – those kids were snobs, not a single Housing Trust double-unit to be seen around there. Most of them went on to Salisbury East High and became insurance clerks. Crappy football team back then too.

    And what about the “thwack” sound that the pinnies made when you jagged a free game (mine was always for the lucky number, never the high score)

    Sorry ‘Book, back to you.

  16. Sensational stuff RBook. SAPSASA is an institutional boost for potential superstars of tomorrow. But more than that, it is another of those things that reminds kids of the joy of movement, sport, team play and yes winning.

    I came down from the country to play footy and cricket in the (very) early 80s and had a screaming good time. Played half time SANFL North Vs Glenelg (Carey, McGuiness, Kernahan etc) whilst my Nanna watched. She gave me $5 (a fortune) because she thought I “played well” even tho I literally did not touch the ball. I snuck off to Downtown and spend it all. Made a 100 and ate a big mac every day for lunch with the allowance mum gave me. I still wear my SAPSASA footy badge on my footy jumper every time I have a kick.


  17. Jeff Milton says

    Very well done over many years. Rulebook you helped so many kids over the years.

  18. Whoever posted this a legend also…..well done Book, agree with Neags48, community sport needs more volunteers like yourself….keep up the great work mate

  19. Sam McEwen says

    Nice work Rulebook. Poor kids, all their pocket money will be going to raffle tickets!

  20. Dan Hansen says

    Where can I get a bucket of Gatorade.

  21. Rick Bizz Sarre says

    Nice photo. It looks like the Book has scored a new fresh hat with the gig. If one of my kids were to make it to the SAPSASA team, I know that they would be in good hands. The Book employs just the right amount of skill development, encouragement, and tough love in equal measure, and all at the same time. Pretty remarkable strength, I say!

  22. Willow Wilson says

    Nice to see you get some well deserved recognition Rulebook.

    I’d like to think that there is an element of scouting for future Blacks players included in your role with the SAPSASA lads.

    I have great memories of coming down from the bush for SAPSASA footy, with kids from Coomandook, Geranium, Lameroo, Pinnaroo, Wynarka, Karoonda. We stayed with families at Salisbury North. Like many others the proximity of Railways Oval to Hindley Street, especially the bowling alley and Downtown were too tempting to pass up. We played mini-league at Norwood Oval and I got the front cover of that day’s Budget signed by Michael “Kingo” Taylor, my favourite player at the time.

    Keep up the good work Book.

  23. Steve wood says

    Great work RB, I’ll second the Geoffrey Wilson comment!

  24. troy hancox says

    Great stuff rulebook!
    I too dont know how you fit a fraction of the stuff you do into your week?

    I bet your lawns and garden needs attention!!
    Know any good gardeners?

  25. Luke Reynolds says

    Love these Rulebook stories.
    Malcolm your work in sport is inspiring. Well played.

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks guys greatly appreciated for the very kind words,Smack don’t panic I did sell the parents raffle tickets.Bizz I have a crack.Willo always thinking of potential blacks.
    I think I would be trying to escape from a shower re Gatorade or Coopers, again
    Thank you every 1

  27. Hope you don’t have too many marbles in the team!

  28. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Jags thanks mate life just got busier with a different part time job as well and Troy my own garden is pretty average and the last thing I feel like doing

  29. Book – I think you transcend both all known volunteer sport development roles, and all known means of fund raising. It’s like the jump to hyperspace – you have truly become Omnipresent, the ‘where’s wally?’ of SA amateur sport.

    The last bastion for you was social media – and you’ve set new benchmarks here as well! So much so that all initial responses are involuntary to whatever subliminal (but pure) agenda is gently projected (initially at least) – and invariably in the affirmative. Whatever your secret, it best not get in the wrong hands and used for evil – thankfully it is safe in the twilight zone you work in. Just wondering what other great SA moments you’ve discreetly masterminded – the Adelaide Oval redevelopment perhaps? Maybe even the Crows entry to the AFL by faking the Norwood bid?

    Whatever it is you really do keep it up mate and keep us guessing.

  30. driving home tonight listening to SEN ( melbourne radio for those not yet in tune with the best sports radio in australia)…… and there you were on the airwaves RB…… giving salient advice to David Schwartz, Scott Lucas and Mark Allen! just another contribution you make to the world of Australian Football (thank Allah FIFA didnt know about you before they got Sepp on board – you would have nailed that gig for all the right reasons)

    keep up the good work mate ..Windies have just won the toss so I expect you will have a full report first thing tomorrow morning.

  31. Well done Malcolm. Lots of appreciation here and in the community for your work in many organisations.

    I missed the SAPSASA cut, but played in the Samboy Cup. I bet you were involved in that too! I’m sure you can tell us what became of it.

  32. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Model definitely can’t claim those last 2.DL just trying to educate the Vic media and it was good that it gained some momentum re where,Lever fell too and some long over due criticism of the tigers in particular draft choices and list management.Mickey re the samboy cup under 15 comp and inter school comps ( less so) still continue but it does not seem that samboy sponsor any more,thanks guys

  33. Campbell says

    Rulebook is definitely a great mentor, but not only a mentor, but a true sporting legend!

  34. To echo the others – well done Mal. The recognition is well deserved.

  35. Well done. Great stuff rb.

  36. ah the old sapsasa days…trips to whyalla with west Torrens rep squads – beginning at U8 and 10, amazing to think in this day and age that your parents would stick you on a bus to the bustling metropolis of the iron triangle, pre-mobile phone era, to shack up with complete strangers for a weekend. All you needed was to remember your home number so you could call to say you made of safely and confirm all was ok. Does this sort of stuff still happen? Samboy Cup 1992 I sat on the pine most of the week with rhett biglands – we bonded over a shared rug. I finally got on the park against westies – took a screamer in the square and proceeded to miss the set shot….so many memories!

  37. Great stuff Book, no better place for one of the best judges of football talent going around :)

  38. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks folks greatly appreciated,Super boot,Nose and Swish it has changed for basically how society changed ( as you basically pointed out) will chase,Robbie Neill aka not the real,Bob Neil) up and find out how the structure re league clubs,schools and country trips and ages are organised now days.

  39. Good work!

  40. Tom Martin says

    The 1988 trip to Whyalla for East Adelaide SAPSASA still lives in the memory. I fell in love three times on the bus on the way up with the netball team. Then we all stood in line on the asphalt of the playground at the local primary, facing off with our counterparts. I swiftly picked out the scrawny, scruffy kid that I knew I least wanted for a billet. Envy may have played a part, as he was clad in a glossy vinyl jacket with numerous zips. Sure enough, I drew his lot. Thinking the vinyl a dead giveaway, I tried to enthuse him about Michael Jackson, while his taciturn mother drove us homeward in a creaking Datsun, a roll-your-own ciggy clinging tightly to her painted-on lips.

    ‘Michael Jackson? He’s a fag.’

    Somehow I instantly knew my little mate was right on the button. The next night I blew most of my spending money at Target on a “45 vinyl single of ‘Working Class Man’. The B-Side was ‘Ain’t No Second Prize’. We almost wore the grooves out over the next few days.

    I still remember my first sight of real violence in the world. Both teams were sitting cross-legged in the shade inbetween games, eating our Vegemite sandwiches and watching the exotic denizens of Whyalla High come out for feeding time. Behind the dunny block a big boy with a broken leg in plaster took to a couple of bullies with his crutches. Blood spatters globbed on the snowy white cast, all amidst the names in black texta.

    Sex, violence, rock and roll, football. I didn’t need a ruler to connect the dots.

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