Grand Final Preview – Melbourne v Western Bulldogs: Random thoughts before the Grand Final

John Harms is thinking out loud.

Finally … Footy Feast’s Main Course

There’s only so much build-up you need for the Grannie, but born-again Dees fan Ron Reed is ready to roll. [Contains traces of touching matrimonial solidarity – Ed]

Almanac Footy: Splendid isolation? How a Demon premiership will be different

Chris Weaver writes on Melbourne, his club, and the club of his father and grandfather. He describes the significance of Saturday, and the emotional challenge of potential isolation-bound Grand Final revelry.

Almanac Footy: Why Grannies ain’t what they used to be

Prominent sports journalist Ron Reed, ponders the question of how much footy has changed since the last time the Demons and the Bulldogs played off for the flag. Beyond recognition he suggests, and so has the way it is written about – and by whom.

Finals Week 3 – Melbourne v Geelong Preview: It’s not about you, son

Mark Freeman is toey about Friday night as Melbourne inch closer to snapping the Norm Smith Curse. He shares his experiences as an excited Demon who will be attending on Friday in his stead. (It’s got to be a good omen, Mark, surely? – Eds.)

Book Extract: The Last Hurrah by Adam Woolcock

This is an extract from Adam Woolcock’s book ‘The Last Hurrah”. It relives the thrilling last minutes of the 1964 VFL Grand Final, including Neil Crompton’s famous goal.

Almanac Books: The Last Hurrah by Adam Woolcock

Dees fans, a new book on Melbourne’s last premiership, and its tumultuous aftermath, is coming out. Author Adam Woolcock (of Demonwiki.org fame) looks at the period that gave birth to ‘the curse of Norm Smith’.

The Artful Defender by KB Hill

Defenders aren’t traditionally the most popular heroes on-field, but some are exceptional – like Jim Sandral who played in one of the greatest of all time sides, Melbourne 1956. KB Hill shares his story from Corowa to getting lifts with Norm Smith to training and back again.

Almanac Teams: A team of Quirky Names

Joe De Petro comes up with a quirky team where each player lives up to his name, literally!

Almanac Teams: The Smiths

Damian Balassone keeps the recent Almanac Teams bonanza going with a team made up of that most common of monikers, Smith

Almanac Teams: A team of coaches

Phil Dimitriadis is at it again – this time with a mighty team of masterminds and motivators. Don’t THINK about checking out this team, DO check it out!

Red Fox extract: Ron Barassi v Albie Rodda

Taken from the brilliant biography of master coach, Norm Smith, this extract looks at Smith’s appraisal of his protege Ron Barassi as a prodigiously talented 12-year-old.

You can go your own way, but you better be home soon…

A bombshell in music as a famous band gets a little more famous/infamous. Are there similar stories in footy that got you fired up?

Sydney Swans Season Preview: An Old Dog’s New Tricks

Joe is upbeat as he previews the prospects of the Sydney Swans for the coming AFL season.

Ross Dillon: Dees and Redleg royalty

Rulebook reviews the career of one of Norwood’s finest. And Kyabram’s. And Melbourne’s.

The Ashes – Fourth Test, Day 4: Sod It 

In the bowels of the ‘G, people mill about, wearing confused expressions. What is a man or woman to do when his or her day at the cricket is ruined by the glory of Melbourne summer rain? Jack ponders this question as the rain begins to play a part in determining the outcome of the fourth Test.

Once a Tiger

Matt Zurbo wishes the Almanac community a happy Christmas. His gift is a transcript of his interview with Ron Branton, which captures the life of a 1950s footballer superbly. Sections of this interview appear in Matt’s book Champions All.

Great players…Great nicknames

Peter Clark remembers some of the great nicknames of footballers past but wonders why nicknames for current footballers are not as forthcoming. Who can you add to the list?

Era, era on the wall; 1960-1966

The VFL in the 1960’s saw football still as a tough yet sometimes brutal sport, as players were happy to play the game for the joy of it. This period also saw the introduction of television, football replays and shows such as Football Inquest, World of Sport and League Teams. It was also the period that saw Ron Barassi leave the Dees for the Blues and the sacking of Norm Smith.

Era, era on the wall: 1949-1959

The VFL in the 1950s are synonymous with the dominance of the Demons under Norm Smith and their epic rivalry with Collingwood. But the 50s are remembered fondly out at Barkly Street and are notable also for the emergence of a kid from the Mornington Peninsula, who would dominate the goal square at Windy Hill…