Citrus Bob Utber’s Axes and Orchids for 2015.


Those of us who are of Victorian heritage will remember a paper called “The Listener In” which predated the Green Guide in The Age.

One of its endearing columns was called Axes and Orchids which needed no introduction to those of us who lived by every word in this column.

Listed below are my Axes and Orchids for 2015 for your perusal and comments (not necessarily in any order of preference)


Adelaide Football Club – on their sensitive treatment of the tragic death of Coach Phil Walsh.

Michelle Payne – ‘get stuffed” said it all for this feisty premier Melbourne Cup Jockey

Steven Payne – ‘yes I can”

Fyfe vs Danger – what a battle

NRL –   2015 Grand Final game of the year by a country mile

Pink Balls – the journalists delight and for some wonderful “wordsmithing”

Adelaide Oval – now the number 1 sporting venue in the Southern hemisphere

Kane Williamson – the number one batsman in the world. Well worth watching

Mick Fanning – truly a sporting legend

AFL – best game in home and away series – Footscray vs Adelaide (elimination final)

New Zealand XI – for their outstanding sportsmanship over the year under the guidance of Brendan McCullum.

The Footy Almanac – for being sporting people who really care about the games we play

Sporting Journalists – Messrs. Baum, Flanagan, Haigh, Hanlon, Knox, Lalor, Rucci, for their continuing contribution to the history of the games we play



Kyrgios – say no more can’t be bothered using his Christian name

Tomic –    ditto

Tennis Australia – for their indifference to the two above. Why don’t you ask for your money back? Very weak administration.

Cricket Australia – discourtesy to New Zealand and the West Indies and to cricket fans in general

Cricket Australia – again! Allowing WAGS et al to rock up two days before the 1st Test in Cardiff this year. Could say ditto to the AFL on their “test” against Ireland. Where is the professionalism that they speak about?

Dustin Martin – time to grow up young man

SPD Smith & Baulderstone a tight battle for the title of “Mr. Grumpy”. Is the pressure to much for Smith and is Peter B too far from the real action?

TV football and cricket “experts” – suffice to say we could fill a book on their expert comments mainly about themselves.

Sporting arena commentators – there is no need to tell us anything about what is happening out on the respective arenas – we care, we know.

AFL Tribunal – come on guys! What about some consistency with your decisions

AFL Bean Counters – how come you say there are more people playing football when clubs continue to fold, amalgamate and struggle to field teams each week?

Gillon McLachlan – no Gill you haven’t returned football to the “grass roots”.

About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. citrus bob utber says

    forgot to include amongst my Orchids (these are special and rare)
    Richie, Bart, Betty, Phil,Ron, Jonah, John B, Mick, RedC,Arthur.
    All great sports now gone to the Big Arena.

  2. Good list Bob (although I couldn’t bear to offer Messr Rucci an orchid – maybe a teal one), merry xmas! While we’re loading up with Crows, an orchid for Taylor Walker. Led his team through the toughest of years with a level of composure I didn’t think he had in him. And that play in the elimination final – highlight of the season.

  3. Kevan Carroll says

    The best home and away game was in the finals…??

  4. citrus bob utber says

    KC- once a teacher always a teacher – sorry Sir

    DB – with Michelangelo I have great respect for some of his historical (crows supporters substitute hysterical know doubt!) musings. Could have gone on and on.

  5. Great lists. Great company. Wisden cricketer AND sports writer of the year. Exalted company.
    Remember its the grit that makes the pearl. Too much happy clappy is boring. Like test cricket.

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great list Citrus Bob the duel that night between the 2 premier players of the competition was incredible
    Orchid to Dangerfield for his attitude and footy in 2015 ( yes disappointed he has left but understand why ) bit rough on Steve Smith ( and PB ) I thought he was refreshingly different when he quite rightly criticised Starc and in general has not been to grumpy,totally agree re aust tennis a disgrace in so many ways overall a very good list thanks,Citrus Bob

  7. Hoping this is the making of D Martin. Otherwise it will be the breaking of P Warrington : (

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