Last with Sport? – Give us footy…in print


Stephen Alomes

STOP PRESS – below

The sign at Southern Cross said something. It said the Age is ‘First with Sport’.

Except, when I get up on Saturday and Sunday morning, I know it is not always so.

Every Saturday and Sunday there is a holey thud outside my front door. Not a holey dollar, which are worth something I hear, but a holey newspaper – a holey Age – an Age with holes, missing last night’s sport (and sometimes last night’s politics from about 6.30 pm on).

It is not the Melbourne Age. It is the Bendigo, or Sale or Warrnambool or Horsham Age – the early, or country, edition, that carries NO reports of last night’s footy.

Yet, a suburb away, a friend, who is a Collingwood supporter, somehow manages to receive a real newspaper – it has the footy reports. This seems particularly bad.

Will it continue during the finals, when I still haven’t moved – not to Bendigo, not to Sale, not to Warrnambool, not to Horsham? I still live in Melbourne – about 10-20 torpedo punts or so from the Age.

Yes, in theory I could look up things on the web. In fact I could give up print papers entirely and trawl across the web for news from various sources and footy from other ones.

There is no shortage and they are free. But I want a paper.

I am a big city boy. I grew up in Hobart about a mile from the GPO. It is a smaller city but with capital city status, which is different. I went to Taroona High School, whose other famous people included the art teachers Bea Maddock and Peter Hiller (Peter also played centre half forward for New Norfolk, just before Peter Hudson came along) and a certain Danish princess.

I have nothing against Bendigo. Queen Elizabeth Oval is beautiful, it has old footy clubs like Sandhurst, interesting old buildings and a creative gallery and the nature around the town is often attractive.

I choose to live in Melbourne, not Bendigo, and as such I expect to receive the Melbourne Age.

I did take up this matter with the paper when I found that Sunday night matches were not being reported – another of the AFL’s unfortunate innovations which, like 4-5 pm matches, mean I go to the footy less. Like thousands of other people I am not into footy starting at 4.20 or 4.40.

They argued – logically on this occasion – that they couldn’t hold the presses on these one-off occasions.

OK, I buy that as a one-off argument.

But on Saturday and Sunday morning I want my footy reports – in the paper. Like other people in the big smoke. I want last night’s footy along with the rest:  politics, the arts, the reports and the opinion pages, to which I have actually contributed.

In fact, my first Age article, on the cultural cringe, was published in about 1984 by another Geelong supporter, a certain Greg Hywood, now calling the shots from Sydney.

Except it is now the digital cringe. I want the old and the new – I fly, and train, and drive, but I also walk.

The Age can go completely digital if that is the current modish Fairfax fantasy up near Broadway.

Except, if it does it will lose most of us.

The ocean is full of specialist sites as well as bottom feeders. Specialist sites for footy and sport. Specialist sites for news. Specialist sites for opinion and debate. Free sites.

If we don’t get the local paper, the one which is first with the sports news, we will just turn on the pc and roam all the other sites.

Give me the footy report, give it to me in print.

If it is good enough for residents of Ascot Vale (I assume Stephen Dank is an avid reader), it must be good enough for those in nearby suburbs. Even ones closer to the CBD.

STOP PRESS – Saturday I got the good (and bad) news  in print– early edition with a report of the Friday night final (Cats lost)

Sunday – I received the Bendigo/Warrnambool/Horsham/Sale edition with no report of North vs Essendon

* Stephen Alomes walks, trains, drives and flies. He also likes to read hard copy as well as to turn on the pc. He has contributed to the Age and SMH (including sport, opinion, community arts and literature) and written opinion for the Herald Sun and the Australian. He used to enjoy Geoff ‘Speed’ Poulter’s Herald supplement and still enjoys footy features in the Age as well as the site on his mobile, and AFL360 on the box.


  1. Living in Perth where the local media is moronic, I pay $25 for a monthly Age digital subscription, that I can use on my IPad, laptop and smart phone. Cheaper and better than a physical newspaper.
    Print production and distribution costs make it an economic dinosaur. I like the tradition and feel of newspapers, but the loss of classified ads to Seek etc has destroyed the business model.
    Time to get over crying for button up boot makers Stephen.

  2. Dear Mr Alomes

    I share your pain. I find it absurd. In fact I tweeted this concern not less than two weeks ago. I bought the Saturday Age, looking forward to reading a review of Hawks vs Pies match. What I got was an ad on the back page directing me to the Age website!

    This week, faced with a similar problem, I bought the Hun. The footy coverage of a great win over the Cats was fantastic. I ate my toast, sipped on a Green-peppermint tea, held paper that caused slight black smudging of my fingers and read with satisfaction and a quiet joy about the mighty Mitch and Lake and Hilly.


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