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…

Era, era on the wall: 1939 – 1948

Jeff Dowsing’s look back at VFL Grand Final eras continues. Today: The World War Two years. Bluey Truscott, The Bloodbath of ’45, ‘King’ Dick and Captain Blood.

Finals week 3 – The Wrap: “A Heapin’ helpin’ of that [West Australian] hospitality…”

A comprehensive look at the weekend’s preliminary finals from The Wrap, as only The Wrap can produce.

Archie Calls the Grand Final Before the First Bounce of the Season – When His Gazza’s Stalking Around the Gee- Arch See’s Red, He Sees Red, He’s Sees Red

Inspired by Luke Reynolds’ ode to Shane Watson, Archie draws heavily on Eric Bogle’s ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ for this hymn to Gary Ablett [and throws in a clever use of Split Enz’s ‘I See Red’ in his title for this post. – Ed]

AFL Round 8 – Richmond v Melbourne: The Curse of Norm Smith

Although some Hawthorn supporters mutter darkly about the Kennett Curse, there is really one lasting curse in Australian Football, the Curse of Norm Smith, writes Robert Pascoe.

Melbourne’s demons – This is the life we’ve chosen

The losing culture Melbourne fostered, to ensure high draft picks, has become entrenched.

Demons that cannot be buried

Is there a tougher sell in Australian sport than the Melbourne Football Club?

The sacking of Norm Smith & Interview “Tony Charlton’s Football Show” – Round 13 1965

The thirteenth round of matches for season 2010 commences this weekend with five games, the remaining three fixtures taking place the following weekend. The corresponding round forty five years earlier produced one of the largest controversies to hit our city for quite some time – Norm Smith’s removal as coach of the reigning VFL premier, [Read more]