Stroppy Jack

Stroppy Jack.


Hark, they call, Stroppy Jack!

   His  body language is no good.

   He’s surly.

   He’s arrogant.

   He has a cocky way.


Damn straight.


   Why can’t he be like Lenny Hayes?

   Why can’t he be like Dunstall?

   Why can’t he be like Nick?

   Why can’t he be like a piece of cardboard?


Because Lenny is already Lenny.

Because the other two are already cardboard.


   Why can’t he be as nice as Richo?

Hang on! Didn’t everybody bag Richo out? How soon they forget Stroppy Richo!


Didn’t everybody boo Libba, then cry crocodile tears when he was gone?


I met Plugger once. He seemed like a surly prick. Then again, it was his last training run at St.Kilda. Who am I to judge? We didn’t know it at the time, that he was Sydney bound, but even there, even then, to inject him with Lenny glands would be to take Samson’s hair away.

So often, arrogance is what makes a good forward. How often did Locket say: “This game belongs to ME!”

The AFL is meant to be something more. Larger than life. Theatre. Yet every time someone fails to be as professional as Judd, as ‘Top Bloke’ as Adam, all the nit-pickers, the poo-poos and tutt-tutts, the bitter people and dullards without lives seem to say:

   Here’s my chance…!

   My moment of victory!!

   Watch me be outraged!   

   Listen to my patronising Principal’s tone!


   Where has all the colour from the game gone?


In the end, their idea of a character, of colour, is a big donk with a mullet. Good on the Mullet! I love him! Everybody does. But, if three extra inches of hair is the best we have to offer by way of personality, we’re doomed.

The people who think Family Ties is cutting edge have won.


The St.Kilda team that lost the GF in ’96 were so easy to barrack for because they were a family.

They had Perfect Harvey, Schoolboy Aussie, Back Pocket Mongrel Sziller, Big Heart Max, Troubled Genius Nicky. Nasty Baz. Foot Soldier Burke. Likeable Lowe, Donk Jamie. If the Stroppy Jack of his day, Stroppy Spider, wasn’t injured, freeing Rehn up to be Rehn, they would have won.


There are too damn many ‘Special Commentators’ in the game! Just like there is too much paparazzi in the world. They fall over each other’s outrage to be heard.

To be wise.

Another criticism they have of you, Stroppy Jack, is that you run hot and cold. That’s what ego does. That’s what a confidence player does. That’s why we like them, they’re like us. They put our hearts in our mouths every time they go near the ball, only taking them out when they’re on the rampage, to wear on our sleeves.

When a bloke like Strop is surging, there is something unstoppable about it. Tidal. We all rise.

Jack, you ain’t perfect, but neither am I.

I wonder if you’d be a good bloke to drink with, then decide I don’t care.

I love watching you play. I’ll never forget, last year, when the full back nudged you as you leapt for the ball. Flying through the air, top place, a meter off it’s line, you contorted, mid flight, so you were at angles, and somehow reached the thing.

You’ve taken better speckies, and will again. But you defied gravity and momentum. Something about that mark said ‘Want!’

I don’t think a bloke without ego could have gotten close.

The Blands appeal to the bitterness in us, ignore them. They would have stoned Ginger Megs. You ARE Richmond, the glorious one of old. Ruthless, arrogant, chock full of faults and talent to burn.


It takes all sorts to make a club. Football needs you. Long may you reign.


And fall, and reign…



  1. Stephen Cooke says

    Your time away has stopped you from penning these great insights. I thoroughly enjoyed your adventures, particularly Blighty, but I’m looking forward to more. Maric’s mullet – we deserve more as a society

  2. Matt Zurbo says

    Thanks Stephen! Love the mullet, but, yeah, we should aspire to more, anyways! Haha!

  3. Great stuff Matt. There’s something about the stroppy Tasmanian forwards that Richmond seems to gravitate towards. A boring ‘Dunstall-esque’ figure just wouldn’t be Richmond, though it may be just what we need! As the Coodabeens said of Dunstall…

    Lead out, chest mark, kick a goal, kick a goal
    Lead out, chest mark, another boring goal

  4. Beautifully written, Zurbs.
    I don’t see Tiger Jack as stroppy. I see him as heart-on-sleeve, yes, and a confidence player, yes, but he is the first to smile broadly when the Tigers go well. One day, earlier this season, as they played The Song after a particularly good win, he was in the middle of the ground, seemingly in a world of his own, and then just raised his right arm and fist-pumped to the ‘YELLOW AND BLACK”. Damn, I loved him in that moment.
    He is also, I have it on good authority, the only player who bothers to wish the umpires a good game pre-bounce …
    So much to like.

  5. Malby Dangles says

    Jack is great to watch if you are an impartial supporter. In terms of recent players he reminds me of Brendan Fevola. I am a Carlton fan and Fev used to frustrate the hell out of me and other supporters with his petulance and his shonky attitude. Then in a blink of an eye he’d kick a huge bag of goals (quite often he’d do this in the 2nd half of games when he looked beaten in the 1st half) and the baggers would be flying.
    I could ramble on about Fev (so I won’t) but I can say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope for Richmond’s sake that Jack and the Tigers stay together and that he keeps on being the stroppy showbag that he is.

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