On the Geoff Pryor evening in Canberra

Cameron J. Hooke sends an email to a few footy types. Cam, a Magpie through and through, was at Manning Clark House to take part in the Geoff Pryor event. Here are his observations of the night and of the footy weeekend:



Firstly, thank you John  (my son John, the Eagles supporter) for your condolences.  Much appreciated.  I’m sorry it wasn’t actually much of a game.

Secondly, the ‘Manning Clark House’ presentation on Friday was fascinating – http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/footy-almanac-canberra-event-with-geoff-pryor-this-friday/.

The opening question setting the scene for the evening was “Who are the five Australian Test cricketers to have played in a VFL / AFL Grand Final?”

Those in the audience (combined) managaed to sort out the answer – I had no idea.

The evening was introduced by John Harms, extensive Footy author and Footy Almanac aficionado (http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/about-us/) and, most specifically to this event, author of the recently published History of the VFL/AFL Players Association.  The speaker, Geoff Pryor (no, not the political  cartoonist well known to Canberrans), Essendon player 1965 – 74 (http://afltables.com/afl/stats/players/G/Geoff_Pryor.html) participated in the Essendon players’ strike of 1970 and was the inaugural President of the Players’ Association.  His description of the early tentative steps, the secrecy, the use of ‘Association’ rather than ‘Union” wording, the receptiveness of some Clubs, and the reverse from others (How supportive do you think the Pies were?  Not a lot) were fascinating. His period as a players coincided with Alan Hird, the grandfather of James (who will star today on TV), as Essendon Club president – an interesting character.  Included in Geoff’s time was the changed approach to coaching, changes to physical training and his period training during the week with Eastlake in Canberra and flying to Melbourne for the weekend game and recovery.

My thanks particularly to John and Geoff for a fascinating and educational insight into our much beloved game and to Rowlie and Sebastian Manning Clark for the advice and their hospitality.  I will keep an eye out for future events and let you know.


Finally, the Eagles-Pies game.  It was awful.  I don’t think anything else needs to be said.


Go Pies.




  1. Keiran Croker says

    So who were the 5 Test cricketers?

  2. Well i can think of 3 ; Max Walker, Keith Miller and Sam Loxton, who played tests for Australia, but didn’t feature in a VFL grand final.


  3. Warwick Armstrong – the Big Ship played in South Melbourne’s 1899 GF team

    Laurie Nash – 1933-34-35-36-45 GFs for South Melbourne

    Gil Langley played in a GF for Essendon – 1943

    Graeme Watson – Melbourne 1964

    Don’t know the 5th…..

  4. Dr Rocket,, was Watson on the bench that day ? He only played around 20 games for the Dees.


  5. Just looked up the AFL Season Guide 2014 – Watson did not play (DNP) in the GF.

    He played 18 games in 1964-65.

    Just used Guide to work out who it might have been.

    Looks like Dave Smith who captained Essendon to a premiership in 1911 and played 2 tests was one.

    Jack Worrall, who played eleven tests for Australia coached Carlton to 3 premierships, 1906-08 and Essendon in 1912 – but DNP in a grand final.

    Still wondering who the 5th was?

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