Crio’s Question: Who justifies the good (or bad) rap?

Pedestrian attack. Pudding pitch. Poms 2 for heaps. Batsman pushes defensively to cover. Indian misfields. Batsmen hesitate then stroll a single. Aussie commentator rants about taking the game on.

This was last week in Southampton, but it could have been anytime and nobody would be surprised.

Stereotypes are so easy…
Calypso Caribbeans.
Gauch jumping to the front.
“Boring, Boring” Arsenal
Serve + volley = proper (Australian) tennis.
Prejudices are passed down.
I grew up in Adelaide, told to hate the Maggies. People my age still try to tell me that it is because they were so dominant. Yet, as a 1960 child, Port never won the Thomas Seymour Hill during my impressionable years – they fell in for the 1965 title and then were without their stripes atop the West End brewery chimney until 1977, by which stage SANFL had moved to West Lakes irrelevance and my life to other interests.
There’s often a solid foundation for historical truisms, but we needn’t necessarily take them all on board.
Take, for example, the “corpse in pads”. Bill Lawry, undeniably and maybe necessarily, became a defensive player, but it is too simplistic for his memory to be of a batsman with no shots. Ultimately his concentration and determination became (in)famous bywords, but I recall a knock at Adelaide Oval in an early one-day final (06/02/1972) in which Lawry was man-of-the-match, posting a ton (very uncommon then) when successfully piloting a response to a big Chappell brothers partnership!
The exception doesn’t prove the rule but we should base our judgements on more than “they say”.
Some reputations, of course, are well earned but others need to be challenged.


  1. I agree with you chris,i grew up hating port Adelaide as im a norwood supporter,went to most sanfl games in the 1970s to 1980s,hated going to alberton oval,found watching test cricket boring until world series cricket came to footy park,then when that finished we had to put up with the west indies in the 1980s

  2. Actually, Andrew, I didn’t hate Port – as I mentioned, they were prominent but not ultimately successful. Sorry to say that it was Norwood who earned and still hold my wrath!

  3. Dave Brown says

    Given all our success in the 60s and early 70s?

    Richmond always finishing 9th – has happened with sufficient regularity to be justified. Making a late charge for it this year too.

    What about Razor Ray being an attention seeking umpire? I don’t see enough of his games to tell whether that’s justified. Is it just because he is the most prominent umpire so is most noticed when he makes calls people don’t like or is there more to it?

  4. Darren Goldspink made Razor Ray look like a shrinking violet. Liked nothing more than sticking one up the home crowd. Any time the ball ventured into the area in front of your club’s members, you knew their bloke would have to just about pull the goalpost out of the ground and smack your bloke over the head with it to give away a free. Course I don’t actually have any stats, but most likely neither do you…

    One I do have stats to counter, but it survives all the same: the old canard about the late Walking Colliwobble, Len Thompson, and his regular dismal flops in finals. In fact, Collingwood played 22 finals in his time, and in 12 of them he was listed among the best players in Graham Atkinson’s Book of AFL finals. That didn’t include the 71 Semi where he only played the second half but singlehandedly brought Collingwood back into the game, or the 70 GF when he played (under duress) at CHF all day and kicked two goals both in the second half (how many other Magpies had better second halves than first that afternoon?). If they ever award retrospective Normie’s he’s a fair chance of snagging two in a week from 1977.

    Johnno, Wayne Harmes, Schimma, Don Scott, Bill Picken were all great finals players but I doubt their records stack up that much better than Thompson’s.

  5. buccaneer says

    Stevie J is good?

    He is in fact unreliable, a flat track bully, a total sniper in the Steven Baker mould, a thug, a serial pest, and definitely at his most dangerous when the ball is not at hand.

    Yet the press still treat him with respect – I don’t get it. And his coach isn’t angry with him for kneeing a bloke in the chest about 5 times – because it worked – it was exactly the kind of thing Chris Scott would have done when he was playing.

  6. Tom Riordan says


    I’d suggest that Steve Johnson has been portrayed as a good player because of the fact that he is in the top echelon when it comes to pure skills with ball in hand and, I’m fairly sure, has made at least 2 All-Australian teams and played a seismic role in 3 premierships for the Cats.

    He gained my respect with the way he responded to his club-imposed ban at the start of the 2007 season by playing every game from that point, kicking around 50 goals in the remaining games and ultimately winning the Norm Smith medal in the club’s first flag in over 40 years, which I’d count as a healthy repayment for the prior indiscretion.

    If anything, the negative view – be it held by a minority or majority – that he is, as you described, a thug, sniper and pest, which are debatable connotations at best, should be put well behind his achievements on the field when it comes to assessing the man.

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