Bring back the biff? I hope not.

Embedded into this story are two YouTube videos.  One is full of shameless violence.  The other is a package of highlights from Crib Point Football Club’s 1985 Premiership year.

You don’t often get to see video footage of grass roots footy and footage of grass roots footy from the 1980s is even rarer.

I’ll start with the biff video.

Crib Point Football Club is by no means a club of thugs.  In 2011 and even in 2010 when I last played there, it was a young club filled with players under 23, up and coming, starting to make their mark after some lean seasons in the MPNFL.  They are (these days) fast, exciting, clean, and on the up.  This season they are a chance to make their first finals appearance in 7 years and even though I’m 700km away playing elsewhere I’m rooting for them to make an appearance in September action.  It’ll be a great learning curve for the lads as they launch an assault on a premiership in 2012-2015 when, providing they keep their talented youngsters in tact, their premiership window will be wide open.

Looking at the biff video (I’m only 28 and too young to remember footy in the 80s) I see football of another era.  I see some cringeworthy king hits that these days command 6-8 week minimum suspensions on the sidelines.  A couple involved in the video, I actually had the pleasure of playing with, they were both hard and fair players.  I never saw them take a backward step and never saw them play dirty on the field either.

Some of the guys on the video I actually know.  I played with their sons and one Thursday night in the rooms the footage was shown and one particular older bloke who was behind one of the shameless hits was there.  He was quite sheepish when looking back at the footage, even a little embarrassed.

I’m putting the violence down to a different era of football.  The events in the video occurred over a period of 4-5 years (circa 1983-1988)  I’d be interested in hearing feedback from the baby boomer generation that played grass roots footy in the 70s and 80s as to what it was like.  I’ve never felt unsafe or felt like I would get belted on a footy field, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been hit hard (but fairly) but never been hit when I haven’t expected it.  Was it really different back then?  I’m glad footy is nothing like this now, if I wanted to fight I would’ve taken up boxing.

The other video shows 1980s grass roots footy in a better light.  It’s highlights of marks goals and moments from Crib Point’s 1985 premiership-winning season where they defeated Carrum 13.19. 97 to 4.11.35 on Grand Final day.  The team was (by all reports from the men themselves) as good a country football side as existed.  These names probably don’t mean a thing to anyone except those who may have known Peninsula footy back in the 1980 sbut coached by Lance Taylor, who had a stint at St Kilda, and led by country legends like Tony Coelli at CHB and Doug Rolland on the ball they took all comers and delivered Crib Point their eighth flag.

Crib Point has only tasted premiership success once since and that was in 2001.  Hopefully there are many more flags to come.

Remember to please take the biff video as it’s intended.  Despite the soundtrack I’m by no means celebrating or condoning violence on a footy field. But I am interested in how people react to it, and what footy was like in those days.





  1. Great stuff Jared. Not so much the biff video, although I do have a bit of the ‘car crash’ viewer about me. Loved the highlights video much more as a statement of the 80s. Although th esound isn’t currently working on my computer I can imagine the horns honking.

    The best parts for me were the backgrounds of the cars around the oval all being Holdens or Fords with not much ‘foreign’ intrusion into the sacred ground of the footy!

  2. Jared,
    it all looked pretty tame to me, I played magoo’s in the FDFL 70s-90 and the idiots were generally hunted out of the game by players one and all, I did notice one joker in there who seemed to be a repeat offender, in most leagues that would have been his last season. The 70s & 80s may have had a few dickheads running around but it was tough head over the ball footy and the toughest had eyes for the ball only. and god help any king hit merchants because once the attention was dragged away from the footy by a cowards act, said person paid in no uncertain circumstances, taken on face to face.

  3. Jared Newton says

    Pretty tame? I’d hate to see real footy violence then. Interestingly, one of the offenders is the father of a current AFL footballer being questioned by police from a weekend incident.

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