Confessions of a Maggot (Part 2)

Greetings following on from Part 1 and the enjoyable banter which followed, it’s time for some more umpiring tales…

Book in background

Book in background


1. Saturday morning arrives and it is cold and wet unusually for me I am happy about this outcome, Prince Alfred College are playing St Peters College in all grades these days are bigger than Ben Hur. I am umpiring on the little bottom oval at PAC, this ground suits my lack of pace. Former Australian opening batsman Matty aka Herb Elliott wanders out to the middle to say hello and is cursing the weather. I reply you f&*#ing beauty it’s raining, he replies in amazement at why in the hell are you happy it is raining, knowing the ages of his children and that he would be there for all 3 games, I replied just watch (I am umpiring all 3).


Now to paint the scene; when it’s wet, Princes parents and supporters get there early and claim the top part of the oval, this oval gets extremely wet and slippery, now I am convinced some of the mothers in particular have got up at 3 o clock in the morning to get ready for this gala event, to say some of the ladies do not dress with common sense is a massive and I mean massive understatement. Three Saints ladies at various times during the morning go arse over head due to wearing stilettos (they are covered in mud with destroyed self esteem), I glance at Herb, he and 4 other Princes male parents are pissing themselves laughing and Herb is clapping me (happy to take that at any time). Herb comes out at 3 quarter time of the 3rd game and tells me it is superb that I thought of that!


2. Kilburn footy club aka The Kilburn motor cycle and tattoo club have a group of supporters known as the mound men. Now these are interesting supporters to say the least they generally did not go in to the club but drank from a keg set up on the back of a truck and had a megaphone speaker to encourage opposition players and umpires in particular. I am umpiring a Kilburn v Broadview div 1 res game, early in the 1st quarter the ball goes out of bounds, the boundary umpire had got caught behind the play, I glimpse over the fence and say to a mound man, “you’re reported”, he replies with aggression and some colorful language,  “what for?”, I reply “1st mound man I have ever seen having a soft drink”, the rest of the mound men (prob about 100) piss themselves laughing, even the gent concerned is grinning. I had them eating out of my hand the rest of the game even when Kilburn players were having a go at me the mound men quickly put them back in their place, it was fantastic to have the support of the home crowd?


3. Norwood High School mate ex-redleg and lion Brenton Klaebe also founder of The Rulebook face book page (love you to click on and like the page) is coaching Glandore against CBC, coached by ex rooster Simon Trenorden. Klaebes goes up an opponents back and takes a hanger, I am the lone umpire as I am running down the ground to put the CBC player on the mark, I am singing memories, Klaebes and the CBC are laughing, Klaebes misses from 20 meters out he looks at me says you’re a prick but I will give you that one.


4. Rohan Helyar ex-redleg is also playing for Glandore, I blow the acme thunderer to pay a free kick against Rohan, he turns and yells with expletives left out, “this isn’t fair Malcolm you know my game better than I do”,  I reply “that’s not in the Rulebook or mine” (pun intended) we have a laugh and beer together after the game.


5. Phil Dimitriadis asked if I had ever bounced the ball in to my face, the answer well and truly, YES the worst (and most memorable) was at Ardrossan when I was on the country panel in 83. I broke my nose and there was blood everywhere, in those days I just wiped it off and on to my umpiring shirt and umpired the rest of the game (now days I well and truly would have had to come off the oval).


6.  I was appointed with Mark Webber (father of Norwood 3 peat premiership player Tim aka Wobbles) to umpire a deferred game between Houghton and Wingfield played on a long weekend, due to the umpire abandoning the game due to biffo. The 1st time a large crowd comes to watch anticipating further fisti cuffs due to having official SAAFL boundary and goal umpires, this well and truly does not happen (Marc Robinson Norwood team manager, ex A 1 field umpire and far more importantly father of current Blacks players Damon and Braden boundary umpires). After the game the Houghton team manager comes into the rooms and says “the tall thin guy (it was a long time ago) was good but the other guy was bloody hopeless”, I reply “unfortunately for me umpires coach, Darryl Schramm thinks the other way round” he shakes his head in bewilderment and gives me a beer. During the season Darryl walks up to me at training, I think about time he is going to tell me I am promoted to div 2, no the other way round I am dropped to div 4, it is one of the few times in my life I am reduced to doing a Marcel Marceau and am completely speechless.

Hope you enjoy, love you to share and comment.



  1. Jill Tathra says

    Division 4 was a great TV show mate you should be proud to have a roll in it1!!!!!!!

  2. Martin Rumsby says

    Some amusing anecdotes, Malcolm.

  3. After clocking 15 km as runner in the 1R game yesterday I was offered the gig as boundary Umpire at half time of the senior match at Park 9 yesterday (League bloke injured himself)

    That Macca thought this was a sensible idea given I was 3 cans deep and had been giving the Umps and Reds players some friendly advice during the first half I don’t understand

  4. I find it hard to believe you managed to spot a soft drink while retrieving the ball from the Mound Men – I reckon if I had tried that line it would have been a bourbon and coke. If that had turned out to be the case that would have been the SECOND time you were speechless in your life :).

  5. Hahaha the last one got a LOL from me Malcolm. Nice work.

  6. love to read your blog. nice to see the fun side of you officious blighters :)

  7. Tom Martin says

    Jeez Malcolm your hammer and tack must be sorry and sore tonight after all the self-congratulatory pats and slaps you’ve given yourself in this instalment, not to mention all that bending over to pick up the names you dropped along the way.

    Umpires should comport themselves like children in the Victorian era, aiming to be seen and not heard. Despite Rulebook enjoying the immense advantage of actually having been alive and in short pants during Her Majesty’s glorious reign, he seems a lost cause in this regard.

    Rulebook’s heard all too often out there. He has a nickname for his whistle. I thought ‘acme thunderer’ was the laxative that wily coyote used to spike the roadrunner’s birdseed. Now I learn that it’s actually how Rulebook ruins a perfectly mediocre game of football. The laxative bit’s spot on, granted. There’s a reason whistleblowers need special Acts of Parliament for protection.

    On being seen, the photo’s says a thousand words. The field of focus in shot replicates the vision of the Scumballer, in that anything more than about the next team-mate away is blurry and indistinct. Powerful congeners in the Scum hangover distort the depth perception, making objects outside the maximum kicking distance of 32m seem much larger than they actually are. In reality, Rulebook is about 70 m away from the player in shot who is rather unenthusiastically chasing something, almost certainly the ball as there is no point chasing other players at this level as one will inevitably run into you soon enough, with or without the ball. Certain unmistakeable characteristics of the Book appear out of the fuzz. He’s flat-footed, of course. Rulebook’s masterful reading of the play is wasted at this level as patrolling only one end of the ground at a time does tend to take the guesswork out of it. Knock-kneed bandy legs that look like they’d fail a baby giraffe. Signature orange tint. An upper-body posture that seems surly, yet resigned.

    The next chapter will need some a dose of reality to keep people interested. Something remotely plausible instead of this fantasy land with the plastic Ken Doll Rulebook and all the Test Cricketing League Footballers that you’re best mates with. Like, I dunno, the top three gobs that have been spat on you, or your favourite SWAT team members that you met after a post-game siege of the change-rooms, or three most influential howlers that have cost a player their solitary grand final or career or league medal or sanity. No shortage of material surely.

  8. Sean O'Dwyer says

    Hahahaha the kilburn was the favourite for me!

    Great post mate

  9. Klaebz and Hell-yeah; two tough dudes. Played with heart and soul at the NFC.

  10. Jeff Milton says

    Great story about the mound men. Wish I had read this before I was out last night with a former Captain of the Kilburn Motorcycle and Tattoo Club.

  11. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Jill v clever.Thanks Martin,James I heard the choice was you or Tom Javor the worry that the game would not be over till midnight if Tommy did it meant you got the gong even if you had 30 cans.Model a can of solo lucky I didn’t have a heart attack caused by shock!Thanks Anne.TM some more big names to come in part 3 there are several stories to be told re controversial incidents just worried I may need your legal assistance and brilliant pay out as always.Thanks Sean.Neags v much so.Milts I may well be the only umpire to get the support of the mound men! thank you

  12. Love the Kilburn story!

  13. John Griffen says

    Nice read
    Love Kilburn ………………..
    Great memories

  14. Brenton Klaebe says

    THE MOUND MEN.. Great Blokes.. Love your work MA.. and yes it was an ice hanger..!! 5th of 6th one of the day.. lol.. Remember the day well..

  15. Andrew Weiss says

    Some great stories there Rulebook.

    I am sure there are many Almanackers out there that have blown the whistle as well as played (including myself) that have plenty of funny stories. Maybe one day we could compile our best stories and get Harmsy to publish them in one of his books about footy.

  16. Ben Larsen-Smith says

    Great anecdotes Rulebook, bouncing the ball and breaking your nose sounds painful! Good thing there’s the throw up to fall back to

  17. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks TC,Griff all the best in Rome it will be a emotional trip,Klaebes I remember being with you at
    The General Havelock and Glandore ringing you every few minutes trying to locate you.Andreww couldn’t agree more and Ben yes it wasn’t much fun thank you

  18. Lovely Lisa says

    Love it!

  19. Love it Rulebook. How many editions of this have you got?

  20. Hang on, I’m confused. I thought you wrote, lived and breathed the rulebook, so mentioning that there’s potentially 2 versions of it has me perplexed.

  21. Ah those Mound Men, really only an issue if one was to date your sister. Lovely chaps!

  22. Thanks Tom Martin for adding some balance to this article. Brilliant stuff all round.

  23. Campbell says

    Another bunch of great stories again. I thought the AFL umpires had some trouble bouncing the ball, but I’ve never seen one break their nose, hilarious read.

  24. Bec Boby says

    Hey Rulebook, Great stuffs there, all parts of the Footy fun!!

  25. Dave Brown says

    As always, entertaining maggotitude, Rulebook

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Lisa and Dips( at least 1 more) thanks,Big Jim I giggled at that.Jerk ohh so true.thanks,Damian yes 3 votes,TM.Campbell it wasn’t pretty and not my favourite memory thanks,Bec and Dave appreciated

  27. The mound men, a fond memory especially wearing the jumper representing college poofs as it was so politely put. Even better being a bright red headed college poof. I can only imagine what they thought of the whistle blowers.
    Good read mate, I can only imagine you missing 5 free kicks watching the saints mums

  28. Matt Zurbo says

    Rulebook, your stories just get better and better. Nothing beats experience when telling a yarn. Some of the best stuff I have ever read on this sight. What a corker!

  29. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Moikal yes being a fellow red head and a maggot was certainly not a advantage!Yes fair point may have missed a free kick amongst the mayhem.Thanks Old Dog greatly appreciated ( from Tom Martins comment I will bring out some more big names in the next instalment )

  30. Great memories right there book, like I said you should publish this stuff.
    Keep up the good work mate?

  31. Humor that warms the soul on a cold. cold day.
    Thanks Rulebook

  32. harry butler says

    Enjoyable read as always Rulebook. As Tom Martin says though you are a bit of a name dropper. Do you have a photo on your office wall of your shaking hands with Obama or the Pope?

  33. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Riverboy appreciated.Higgsy glad to have warmed up the day fractionally.Harry TM has mate me rack my brain there will be heaps of name dropping in the next edition thank you

  34. Terrific, again.

    Quintessential Aussie humour. Character and place , little vignettes of footy life.

    If you publish, I think you’ll need to supplement with a glossary of Rulebook’s Footy Terminology for the uninitiated.

  35. Great stuff, Rulebook.
    Most enjoyable.
    Keep up the good work.

  36. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Kate yes a Pauline Hanson please explain book would have to be included( I am sledging myself) thanks,Smokie appreciated

  37. Willow Wilson says

    Nice work Rulebook but missing a key element, no sight of a Chaplin sledge! You must be excited about the upcoming visit for Richmond v Power?

  38. Far Gough says

    Good read Book, enjoy your write ups.

  39. Mercifully, I didn’t encounter the Kilburn FC in person. Thank you “Book for doing it for me.

  40. Charlie brown says

    Loved the mound men story malcolm. Brilliant. And being a silver spooner i feel somewhat qualified to comment on number 1. I played on that oval in 1974. We got smashed by the tarnished spooners. In spite of having rick neagle and tim proudman in our team i don’t think we kicked a goal. Mick eaton was far too good for us. Not sure if any mud splattered yummy mummies were in attendance.

  41. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Goughy hope,India is treating you well.Thankx Mick I appreciated your line,.Charlie yes the mound man was amusing and at least a fellow black beat you thank you folks

  42. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Rulebook, especially love the soft drink line.
    Brilliant comment again by Tom Martin, his comments should all be collected somewhere for easy access.

  43. A solid vein of gold Malcolm – great stuff.

  44. :-)

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