General Sportswriting: It really is time I let Gurner’s Lane and the 1997 goal umpire off the hook

By Chris Riordan

My son knows that the merest mention of Gurner’s Lane can throw me off. Never mind that it was hardly Gurner’s Lane’s fault when Mighty Mal took off (with my cash) at the roundabout on the King in the ’82 Cup. I never backed The Enforcer (Mick Dittman) again in his long and successful career (with a notable exception … some other time).

Last week I heard Rudi Koertzen’s appalling umpiring performance described by a Hawthorn fan as the worst since Goldspink’s sabotage of the 2001 Prelim. No sooner had I laughed at the supporter’s inability to let go than I remembered the 1997 goal umpire who called against Libba.

We need a statute of limitations on these things.

How long is too long? When should we let go of old grievances?

Some of our sporting baggage is pretty funny when seen “in the cold hard light …”


  1. Andrew Fithall says

    Jim O’Dea – July 1972 against John Greening. Statute of limitations will never apply.
    Barry Breen and “that point” in 1966. Still grieving.
    Bluey Adams on Des Healy in the 1955 Grand Final. I wasn’t even alive. The anger is a family heirloom.

  2. Paul Singleton and Rod Kirsopp 1984 – bastards!
    Umpires 1967 grand final paying a non free against Doug Wade who had just marked 30 out (he never missed – bastard!
    My cousin hitting the stumps from side on from the gully in 1976 when I was on 0 – bastard!
    Oliver Cromwell for subjugating the Irish circa 1655 – bastard!

  3. Don’t hold back Dips.
    Let it all out!

  4. Ross Brewer for kicking goals out of his bum in 1980 (I think)final against the Cats.
    Darren Jarman for his 2 goals in 90 secs against Geelong 1987.
    Opening bowler for the Brunswick Knuckleheads indoor cricket team – hit me in the nose, circa 1990.
    Nick Davis (bastard) for his goal with 3 seconds to go in the 2005 semi final v the Cats at the SCG – the horror!

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