Long Bombs to Snake: Player Profile – Mathilde de Hauteclocque


Player Profile

Mathilde de Hauteclocque


Favourite position: Half back line, the mobile defender and his broken lines. I cut my footy teeth on Gavin Wanganeen and Joel Smith, and graduated to the famous Swans half-back line of Malceski and Kennelly, with the later additions of Mattner and R. Shaw. I’ve often wondered how we come to prefer a field position, whether we choose what we can relate to or what we aspire to. Mine is the latter. The dual action creativity and smarts of the modern half-back flanker are very covetable for life. Stop one flow and begin another. A mix of sturdy and dash, a bit of sensible and a bit of wild. The tension of the position is very appealing.


Date of birth: 19.09.1973.


Height: 172cm


Weight: Not looking to balance agility and strength in the midfield … so I wouldn’t know. Size 12 jeans.


Recruited from: France/Australia. Artois, Pas-de-Calais the ancestral lands; father born in Normandy, raised mostly in Paris. Mum a New South Wales Southern Highlands girl, Bowral born and bred and then Sydney. Dad came to Australia for work as a civil engineer in the late 60s. He was supposed to be going to Pakistan but the colleague heading to Australia fell sick and so they detoured my father instead. Dad met Mum at a poker night in a Double Bay basement apartment. He handed in his resignation and settled in Sydney, becoming the only de Hauteclocque in any Australian phone book. Until one day in the early 90s when he tore into the kitchen with the Sydney residential volume in his hand, yelling ‘Dy-ane, Dy-ane (Mum’s name is Diana), zere is anozer de Hauteclocque in Australia!’ She glanced at the entry and replied ‘That’s your daughter, you idiot.’ I had just moved out of home.


First played: With my big sister.


Games played: Shoes shops, teachers, LEGO … Played basketball at school. Couldn’t stand the hesitations of netball. Played with words from eight years old. Kept lined notebooks, and squared ones bought on alternate Christmas holidays in Paris. Stories and thoughts. Wrote a novel about my teachers based on Hollywood Wives in Year 9. Specialised in travel journals for the three years after school and then hit academia. Essays and short fiction these days.


Football honours: AFL Junior Level 1 coaching card. Once given the title of ‘Best Mum kick’ at training by the Under 9s senior coach; I think it was supposed to be a compliment. Some solid sessions of kick-to-kick on the wing at the SCG. Off the field, I managed to rest my hand absentmindedly on the O’Loughlin quad for a short time during the 2003 end-of-season members’ pub night while chatting to an uncle from the Yorke Peninsula.


Marital status: Long-term defacto, plus kid and cat. Patrick asks me to marry him from time to time, but I continue to assert that after 17 years, there really is no need.


Brothers and sisters: One older sister, Eloise. She questioned the mettle of her father’s heart by marrying a German and moving to Berlin. They have two small kids, the four year old called Benedikt. Shortly after they announced his name, Dad rang me with the voice of delivering death to tell me they were naming his grandson after the pope. I reminded him that his mother’s name was Bénédicte.


Occupation: Sitting in front of a keyboard trying not to shirk the mostly untouchable process of translating thought and feeling into sentences and then putting those sentences in order. Three paid days in the bookstore of the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Schools attended: Elite private girls’ school; they don’t need my endorsement. Best friend was expelled in Year 9, so I spent more time in my later teen years hanging out with Sydney High Girls and the affiliated boys schools than any of my on-ground peers. A three year travel hiatus—the school of the subcontinent and beyond—and then UTS Communications Faculty for a Bachelor and Honours. The 90s faculty with the common room outside the front door on Harris Street. Recently back there for Masters. There is now a student lounge on Level 2.


Car: Bottle-green 2003 Subaru Outback with 230 000km on the dial. I have never chosen my cars. They have come to us via a pay-the-difference, down-the-line arrangement with my parents. If I could choose, maybe a Citroën DS. Although I am not sure I could really fill such a car. Perhaps one of their other models, the Deux Chevaux is really more my speed. I recall driving half way across France, from Clermont Ferrand to the Alps, with one of my cousins in his Deux Chevaux, in the pouring rain with dysfunctional windscreen wipers, broken heating and a slippery second gear. I felt quite at home……..

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  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Wonderful work Mathilde. Shamelessly, I declare that I watched Hollywood Wives when it came out in 1985 and kinda liked it. Not surprised that Anthony Hopkins turned into Hannibal Lecter after that series.

  2. Ross Treverton says

    I always thought that personalities dictated position played Mathilde. Unfortunately I always played at full back; honest, dependable, nothing fancy. Never likely to side step or do a blind turn. Think Andrew Dunkley without his marking ability (but a better kick – then again, you would be too with your pedigree!) Always went for the punch rather than the mark, never likely to get 10 touches in a game but starred in the 1 percenters ( which effectively means 1 per cent of the crowd notice you). Anyway, you get the idea. I consoled myself with the thought that at least I was a left footer – a rarity in my playing days. I would have loved to have been a centre half forward in the Johnathon Brown mould; jaw jutting, swaggering, confident in the knowledge that I was the best player out there. Alas….

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