Almanac Rugby League: Dream of glory where there is none

Patrick O’Brien’s modest schoolboy rugby league career was more about attracting the ‘cute punk chicks’ than it was about advancing his prospects in the code!

Almanac School Footy: On being a co-coach and learning the virtues of humility, simplicity and modesty

Being a new coach can be a nerve-wracking, busy, stressful, uplifting and educational (among other things). YeahTigers2020 (Jill Fitzsimons) describes her experience.

On becoming a co-coach

Here’s a snippet from Jill Fitzsimons on an unexpected foray into coaching footy and the initial steps taken to do the role justice.

How to Watch Footy (part 16): Innocence lost

If the first cut is the deepest, what is the first goal kicked against you? And the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth? How deep is the cut when you’re eight goals down at quarter-time and you’ve hardly got the ball into the forward line?

How to Watch Footy (part 15): Innocence

Vin Maskell believes competitive footy should stop at Grade Six. Anything after this should be kick-to-kick, circle work and training drills.

Voulez-vous footy avec moi?

Forty years on, Vin Maskell recalls the dedication of a classmate during French lessons   In 1973 we had French before footy. We had masculine and feminine nouns before running around on the Frere Jacques Hamilton Oval. We had singular and plural verbs before scratch matches amongst the boys of Form Three at le college [Read more]


He made his way towards our table dodging through the bustling gathering of blokes all cheerfully engaged in conversation about footy and old school day memories. “Choofer!” We called out his nickname. “G’day Choof” He shook hands with us, smiling like a bloke who’d just backed a long shot. G’days were swapped around. He took [Read more]

Cricket Losing Out In Schools

By Peter Hulthen In my last few years in education I could see the writing on the wall . One of the unsaid that is besetting our Australian Cricket is that it is not promoted in schools to anything like the extent it should be. Sports such as Rugby League, Basketball , AFL and some [Read more]

The better angels of St. Pat’s Ballarat

“Ultimately it is this innocent charm that provides the lingering impression of John James, a boy who delighted in the stolen moments of jam toast with mates in the stoker room and a man, standing on his own staring in wonder at the corridors of his old school, smiling blissfully to himself.”[i] At 1pm on [Read more]

The Kids are Alright

The St. Pat’s First XVIII entered  season 2010 with twelve of the previous year’s  Shield  Final team including sublime marking talents Nick O’Brien, Hayden Walters, Jake Dunne and Matt Twiggy James. Coach Howard Clark had added to this mix, an effective and mobile ruckman with the ability to push forward in Tom McDonald and the [Read more]

Book review: Wednesday Warriors: Doing it for the jumper: the St Pat’s Ballarat tradition

Title: Wednesday Warriors: Doing it for the jumper: the St Pat’s Ballarat tradition Author: James Gilchrist Publisher: Conor Court Publishing, Ballan, Victoria (2010) The recent launch of James Gilchrist’s excellent book on his season following the first eighteen from St Pat’s Ballarat was held at the Celtic Club in Melbourne. The venue was appropriate considering [Read more]

Footy: My season exploring a wonderful tradition

By James Gilchrist At the start of Wednesday Warriors, the book I wrote about the footy tradition at St Patrick’s, Ballarat, Matt “Twiggy” James, stands suspended on top of a ten metre pole, contemplating the “Leap of Faith”, part of a team building exercise with the St Pat’s First XVIII in the chill winter months [Read more]

Warm feeling on a cold day

By Damian O’Donnell It was mid-winter, the mud was cold and deep, and the rain had a sting to it. It came down on that awkward winter angle where no part of the body is shielded. My footy boots were full of water and my long-sleeve jumper hung shapeless, like a clock face in a [Read more]