Sid Myers rewards

It was raining hard on a mid-winter Tuesday night; the oval full of water and mud; everything well dark. The club had fallen hard. We were in what, D-division? Something involving knuckles and no hope. We’d won one game, they’d sacked the coach.

Eight of us had bothered to show up. We milled around the rooms, wondering if the new bloke would bother to make us go out.

Sid Myers walked in, all leather skin and sturdy voice, a mighty coach in his day, someone whispered. We were the next generation. Nobody knew where he’d been, why he’d left the club, or why he came back to help.

“Get you’re boots on,” he said.

Out on the oval he grinded us into the mud. We did drills that needed 30, we ran, we followed up. One drill hammered into the next without mercy, no time to catch our breath.

Finally, after two hours, he called us over. “Thank Christ,” we thought.

As we jogged up to him, he said: “Rightt: for your next drill…”
Finally, one of us, Dean, the pretty boy, cracked it.

“What are you punishing us for?” he roared. “We’re the ones here!”

Sid looked at him, and, cool as ice, said, like fact:

“It’s not a punishment. It’s a reward.”

Next year, seven of those eight formed the backbone of a grand final team that dragged us back up the divisions, gave another coach glory, and probably saved the club.

Sid Myers expected men. I learned more from that half year, from that man, than I probably have from my family. Things about character. About being a man. About honesty. And in that, maybe, sport.

That’s it. The best football story I’ve got.


  1. Matt – every club that wants and needs to go somewhere wnats and needs a Sid Myers. I call them collectively, “Good Blokes”. Clubs without a Good Bloke wallow in self pity.

  2. Paul Daffey says


    I’ve met Sid. Very strong in his opinions, he is.

    He took Ajax through the grades and then he took Uni Blues from A-grade finalists to B-grade in a single night. Or at least that’s the way he jokes about it.

    On the eve of the 1981 season, Uni Blues effectively were found guilty of paying full-forward Peter Karvelis. Their punishment was demotion to B-grade on the Thursday night before the season started.

    Sid was coach but he had nothing to do with the Karvelis shenanigans. But rather than complain about the Amateurs’ punishment he showed the way by putting his head down and getting on with it.

    Uni Blues won the B-grade flag and were back in A-grade straight away.

    Sid coached for three or four years and then had another stint in the late 80s.

  3. matt zurbo says


    Yeah, I well know his history. Elven years after he last coached me, I coached my first flag, Otway Under 17s. The club’s first flag at any level in about 20 years. Presentation Night was huge. Sid was well retired, yet he drove about 6 hours to get there to be my guest, thanked ME for the privilage, point-blankly refused even petrol money, and left before the tinny disco started.

    One of the top three experiences of my gfootball career.

  4. matt zurbo says

    One more Sid story.

    He took us for one game before the half-year he came back. The coach was away. None of us knew who he was. I was 20, and far from our best player, but wso impressed at how he spoke i went up to him after the game and said:
    “Sid, you’ve just coached 21 blokes you’ve never seen before, so I’m not expecting much, but do you remember anything at all about my game?”
    He said: “You’re name is Matty Zurbo. You played in the ruck. Number 20. Here’s what you did right (details)… Here’s what you did wrong (detais)… Here’s how to improve it (details)… Here are the names of two AFL players that have a similar style to you (details), who you should watch to model your game on…”

    He then wished me luck, thanked me, and was gone again.

    Who was that maked man…?

  5. Ashley Browne says

    Further to Daff’s recollection was that AJAX, the club Sid left to coach Uni Blues, ended up back in A Grade in 1981 and finished middle of the ladder.

  6. Michael Zemski says

    I played under Sid at AJAX in the ’79 B Grade VAFA Grand Final. An inspiring orator with excellent football knowledge. More importantly a man of honour and integrity who would not expect or accept anything less than 100 per.
    A man that I respected greatly.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great Article Matt and loved the comments too . I had the Privledge of Being Coached by Allan Killigrew at School who not only being a unbelievable motivator was a Great Teacher He organized for Bob Skilton to come to Present the Trophies at Pres Night and Introduced me to Bob with the line This Guy has the Best Football Brain I have ever Coached Skilts thinks he is being Introduced to a Future Champion and Killer continues with Pity he Can’t Play Harsh but fair I Pissed myself laughing I reckon Skilts was the 1 who was disappointed thought he was meeting a star
    I remained close to Killer after leaving School to his Passing Great Man !
    Allan Killigrew is 1 of the Few to Coach in VFL SANFL and WAFL

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