Robert ‘Bones’ McGhie – The Smoking Tiger

Pic with permission of Radio National. Original source: Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive


Clare Wright and Jeremy Story Carter recently revisited the man behind Rennie Ellis’ famous photo in their Shooting The Past series on Radio National.

“Richmond has just won the Grand Final. Their fearsome tattooed cult hero sits on the hallowed MCG turf, fiddling with his boots.

Whatever parallels might unfold in AFL’s biggest game on Saturday, there’s one detail in the photo that places it firmly in 1973 — and leaves this year’s Brownlow winner Dusty Martin looking every bit the clean-cut model professional.

Perfectly centred in the frame, dangling from Robert McGhie’s mouth, hangs a cigarette.”

The full story and a link to a recording of the program are here


  1. I used to collect video tapes of previous grand finals (partly due to nostalgia and also to compensate until the Cats pinched one in my lifetime) and ’73 was one of the first. Very, very handy at CHB with those long arms. Bones was a guest on Marngrook not so long ago and was asked what his greatest memories of playing in back-to-back premierships. Normally you’d expect a response along the lines of the great camaraderie and work ethic of your teammates, etc, etc. Not this time, “Oh…probably having a smoke and a can after the siren.” Brilliant.

    How much did he fancy a can (or tin, given the vintage)? So much so he’s prepared to swipe a cold MB straight out of Balmey’s grasp.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Here’s the story behind the man behind the Bones McGhie t-shirt(s)

  3. When he was given his life membership at Richmond, the first line out of Bones’ mouth was ‘the only life membership I thought I’d ever earn was for Pentridge’. He epitomises the term ‘larrikin’.

  4. Peter warrington says

    Seriously talented and tough. A lot of rebound, before it was a thing

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