First Test, Day 2: Gabba Test not quite the same when you’re working in Canberra

by John Harms I’m always at this Gabba Test. Mainly because I haven’t had a job since 1991, when the West Indies still ruled the earth and had blokes who could bowl quicker than any radar gun said they could – or says this current crop can. But life moves on. And I start the [Read more]

Harms: Cats crush cockroach with sleight of hand and weight of boot

SATURDAY night and I’m at the Punt Road end of the MCG. Behind glass. Thanks to a kind invitation from Bruce Houston and the Tatts Group who are obviously working their way through the share register. My portfolio is made up exclusively of Tatts shares, 231 from memory, a wedding gift from Bimbo Read and [Read more]

Harms: The Magpie Creature just won’t die

THIS is madness. I am getting worried. About the creature that is the Collingwood Football Club. It is like some alien in a sci-fi movie; some vile, bile-spewing monster that cannot be killed. Like some vampire in the last leg of a midnight-to-dawn marathon and all you have to protect you is a pair of [Read more]

Fifth Test: A good night spoiled as Punter’s exit sums up series

by John Harms I’m feeling really ripped off. About the cricket. Even more ripped off than I felt in 1975 when those activists dug up the pitch at Headingley and McCosker and Walters didn’t get the chance to chase the huge total England had set for them. They would have got `em. My 13-year-old mind [Read more]

Round 21: Doggies fans are real

by John Harms It’s Friday night. I am a little concerned. The Cats are wobbly, and the Dogs have a top four spot to play for. But the result doesn’t matter too much anyway (I tell myself). I do a lap of Etihad Stadium, wandering slowly along the concourse on the first level. Red, white [Read more]

Harms: Elementary, my dear, as Watson unravels Saints’ claim

Our little bloke, Theo, 21 months old, is running around madly and chatting away (“Jlong”). He loves balloons. He plays balloon-footy, which is more like balloon soccer, until the balloon goes in the air. He puts both hands up, reaching, waiting for it to float down, and than double hands it away, like Brendon Lade. [Read more]

AFL Round 17: Cats comeback revitalises fans

by John Harms Geelong 15.9.99 d Hawthorn 15.8.98 I wasn’t sure Geelong’s prospects, nor who would line up, nor of their level of intent, nor of my feelings on these matters. I have spent most of my Geelong life in a state of battered confusion, but in recent times the parameters of my confusion had [Read more]

Harms: On (the wonderful) Geelong fan

by John Harms I know it is awkward to talk about your own, but sometimes it has to be done. And it has to be done honestly. So I’m going to say it up front: the Geelong supporter is the embodiment of all that is good and true. The world has never seen, in any [Read more]

Second Test – Day 4: Australians still in it

Second Test – Day 4 Test cricket is just brilliant. The elements are mixed so perfectly. The English brains trust was probably thinking of batting for a few more overs on the fourth morning just to grind the Australians into the Lord’s dirt, but the clouds gathered, the trust was re-convened and Andrew Strauss declared. [Read more]

First Test – Day 4: Rain helps the English cause

by John Harms The finest meteorologists in Wales promised us precipitation, and while their timing was a little out, and it was a little tardy, down came the rain. Enough of it to prevent any play after Tea on the fourth day. Which was a blessing for the home side: the Englishmen were in all sorts [Read more]

First Test – Day 2: The Australians fight back

by John Harms Australia’s top order batted their side back into the First Test at Cardiff after their trundlers nearly bowled them out of it. Simon Katich took guard, had a long look at the armoury of the Englishmen, and decided he wasn’t going to be responsible for his own dismissal. He wasn’t. His unbeaten [Read more]

AFL Round 14: Observing the Saints fan

by John Harms Sunday afternoon. Etihad Stadium is packed. The stream of people around the concourse is magnificent. We Y-fronts wearing Cats fans all friendly and decent, sending get well cards to the infirmed and downtrodden, and weeding the pansies. Baking because we’ve got visitors coming; carefully putting only the recycling stuff in the recycling [Read more]

AFL fans: A Crows fan is a Crows fan is a Crows fan

by John Harms I am worried about Patrick Dangerfield. He seems like such a nice boy. He’s from the Geelong area. Innocent. He knows the country air, the surf and the sea of Moggs Creek, the smell of freshly mown fairways, and the sound of new-born lambs feebly bleating. He was born under the reign [Read more]

AFL Round 11: Edge of your Geelong seat?

by John Harms Geelong 15.9.99 d West Coast 11.11.77 I’m not sure I’m enjoying my footy the way I did a few years ago. Sounds ridiculous really. But it’s a different experience now. In the old days of watching from the couch I wouldn’t be interrupted. Nothing would break my concentration. It was all too in-the-balance. How [Read more]

General footy writing: The speccie revisited

By John Harms You only have to be in a crowd, big or small, at the MCG or way out in the bush, to know the significance of the speccie. We take it for granted. But consider the response of people at the instant the footballer is high on an opponent’s (or teammate’s shoulder). And [Read more]

General footy writing: May 17, 1859 and the codification of footy

by John Harms   The date, May 17, is of great significance to the Australian nation. Especially footy-lovers.   Not that too many of us know about it.   On May 17, 1859, at the Parade Hotel, on Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, four men from the committee of the fledgling Melbourne Football Club (and maybe [Read more]

Weekend Memoir: Round the grounds

by John Harms   During the past week the scheduling of AFL matches has been a topic of discussion. Monday night’s match between Collingwood and St Kilda, despite being an ordinary game, seems to have been a reasonably successful experiment. However many feel that football has hijacked yet another day of the week.   Spreading [Read more]

Local footy: Lunch with the hyphens at Old Geelong

by John Harms     It’s midday Saturday. I am Yarraside, standing on the balcony of the wonderful art-deco pavilion at Como Park. I know it well. In summer it is the home of the South Yarra Cricket Club made (more) famous in GCJD Haigh’s celebrated yarn The Vincibles.    GCJD is the inspiration of [Read more]

Pies Fans

by John Harms Whenever I sit in the vicinity of the Collingwood Cheer Squad, I am reminded of the Sermon on the Mount. I look at the array in black and white around me, and I see lives lived tough. “Blessed are the Collingwood fans,” I think to myself. Only I’m not sure what they [Read more]

Cats Play Keepings Off in the Cold

by Dan Lonergan When Brisbane won those three flags in a row, they relished playing anywhere including what had previously been one of their least happy hunting grounds, Kardinia Park. They smashed Geelong there in 2001 and 2002 on their way to premierships and it was a case of men against boys in those two [Read more]