Old (woollen) footy jumpers – Stephen Alomes, Rainbow warrior

I did take a high mark once, for University against Hutchins at the TCA ground in Hobart.

But, like the high mark over the family dog, that was a while ago.

I also played cricket and football against ‘Maxy’ Max Walker, Tangles. I taught him everything he knew about both games – admittedly in only two matches, when Hobart Matric College played Friends School.

And, like Max, I too played overseas, taking a footy with me around North America, Europe and Asia on the year of the big trip, and then playing for Australia against Japan in the Sugadaira Cup when wiser people were putting their feet up.

However, the big day was at the ‘G’ in the last days of the old century, as in the picture of the guernsey, which might contain some wool.


Stephen Alomes looks into footy's rainbow future.

Stephen Alomes looks into footy’s rainbow future.


It was the Rainbows’ guernsey, of red, yellow and black, and I had been a journeyman in the lower reaches of University, a club coached by Brian Eade (William Leitch Medallist, top umpire) and father of Rodney Eade. In fact Cocky and I had a few interesting dialectics at training – I think I kept him stimulated, and vicce verca!

With the Rainbows, the TUFC, I played with a number of players who generally avoided the yard length scull, including Pete Hay, environmentalist and poet, and Age scribbler Martin Flanagan.

A year or two (or more….) later in the 1990s the VU and beyond footy seminars evolved, under the leadership of yours truly and Bob Stewart, who had played on the G for the Demons in the Sixties.

We then established something worthwhile – the Kevin Sheedy Not Quite Memorial Lecture.

Undoubtedly, I must have guaranteed Sheeds’ future with that tantalising title. There was no way his career could move into past tense, and it did last for another 15 years.

The inaugural KSL Lecture was at a Football Fever conference held in the reception rooms of the old northern stand in the pre-Commonwealth Games MCG. I was flying high there, way above the ground.

And the coach after whom it was named, Kevin, who plumbed the minds of academics, later grilled me at Windy Hill, except I was trying to interview him! Later, he wrote the Introduction to my book Australian Football The People’s Game 1958-2058. Perhaps thanking me for making myself available to be grilled, he wrote?

The lecture wanted to say something about footy and where it was going and footy and society, as does Kevin Sheedy in his varied utterances. (It was bigger than the faltering and ersatz Barassi lecture which ran briefly at Clayton.)

In the tradition of such lectures, I wore my guernsey, admittedly with a shirt under it. In fact, I could fit into it, which was perhaps an off-field miracle.

After flying high above the G in the lecture, I strode the turf of the great ground for a goalpost shot of me in my Tas Uni Rainbows guernsey, taken on the sacred, sanctified or licensed soil.

Like a full back or full forward of yore I rested on the goal posts, while the action was nearly 180 yards distant, as well as a week away.

That was the story of my six degrees of separation from others who had played on the ‘G’ – the plumber, the architect and me! ‘Kevin Sheedy, Maxy Walker and Me’ – A Tangled Story connected by a Rainbows’ guernsey.

But even bigger, was that left foot goal against Hutchins when I was playing in the Rainbows’ guernsey, not just posing.

*Stephen Alomes was always a better writer than a footballer (not the only one). Now he hopes he is also a better painter. Then and now, he makes up in enthusiasm what he lacks in talent and refined skills.


  1. Oops…back to proofreading school for Stephen

    In my footy jumper article I wrote that Kevin Sheedy wrote…
    Except, I left out what he said.
    We write and publish books on footy for love not money, but the aim is to get the message out there (including my abiding distaste for CongestaGame Allin50 footy, despite the exciting breakouts).
    So, this is what Kevin wrote on the back cover of the book

    ‘If you love Australian football, its past, its present and its future, then you have to read this book’ (Kevin Sheedy, coach of Greater Western Sydney and former coach of Essendon).
    And David Parkin was an enthusiast too:
    ‘A book for generations of Aussie football lovers … a great read for the real football addict’ (David Parkin, former Subiaco, Hawthorn, Carlton and Fitzroy coach).
    So, the story continues – tell, tell, tell, which does require sell, sell, sell.
    PS My retrospective request for crowd funding is in the mail. Maybe it is a model we all need. Again more for love than money.
    And don’t forget you can get the book

    Australian Football The People’s Game 1958-2058
    from http://www.wallawallapress.com/australian_football_peoples_game.php

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