The beauty and function of wool (in footy jumpers, blankets and beards)

Clint Rule

by Clint Rule


There’s been a final shift in the culture of footy jumpers. I think 2014 was the year that woollen jumpers finally became out of place on the footy field. Mark that date down. I’ve heard it. I’ve felt it. It’s happened three times to me this year whilst playing for The Adelaide Uni “Blacks” in the (very) lower grades of South Australian Amateur League. As my maths-science teacher would say;

“Twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.”


It has only been this year that that heckle has erupted with such pattern and clarity. Opposition players trash talking my jumper. Trying to make me wobble or bite.

“Hey, hey, man, how old’s that jumper?”

Ironically for them though, now that I am older (44) I’m all out of upmanship. No more getting riled. All I’ve got and all I want is an attempt at witty placidness (or placid wittiness):

“Yeah I know, I’m too much of a tight-arse to buy one of those new ones…I think this one will see me out.”


Plus how can I get a new one? It and me have shared so much. We met in the spring of 1988. My late Nanna and I sewed the 3 playing numbers on the back “103” and the “1st 18” badge. It’s got that iconic split in the bottom of the “V” that no-one ever stitches up. I’ve transferred my 1982 Primary School Association Football Badge on to it to remind me of the exciting love I had as a youngster for this game. It’s the same Black jumper with White “V” that was my home town’s jumper “The Jamestown-Appila Magpies” that I started with in 1976. I’ve always worn it. Premierships and near misses. And then there was the skunk tactic thing in 2011:

Incidentally on that day The Wife did say commandingly to me that she “was not washing that awful thing in her new washing machine”.

“Fine”, I happily agreed. Then I washed that awful thing in her new washing machine.


Yeah Melbourne and further south are flippin’ cold but we do get the snap here in Adelaide too. I’ve worn those modern ungrabbable new type jumpers on jumper-clash days. They do make you feel young and slick. But they don’t provide much slapback against a wet wind. Natural fibres, now that’s where it’s at for the middle season. This leads me into today’s lesson:

How To Play Football During A Wet and Cold Solstice in Adelaide (refer photo above):

  1. Look disinterested in going onto the ground
  2. Wear a woolly footy jumper
  3. Wear a woolly beard
  4. Thermos (with option of coffee or soup)
  5. Electric blanket (set to “3”)*

*Note: extension cord may be required


It may be a fashion that ages me. It may make me easier to catch and ragdoll. It may be sweltering in pre-season games (that I don’t play). It may be as itchy as a Father Christmas thistle bush. But it’s my secret weapon against my Gen-Y opposition oppressors as it lullabies them into a false sense of security. Plus, well, I’m too much of a tight arse to buy one of those new ones. I really do think this one will see me out.


Clint Rule


  1. You reminded me of a quote from a James Bond film and I can’t remember which one, where Blofeld,not Henry, says
    “once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action”
    Wool jumpers of all kinds, from school uniforms, if your parents could afford them,thank you Sekem, to handknits from your auntie or your mum and even a hockey jumper seem to all be part of my damp-smelling past.
    That hockey jumper,was so thick with mud one day that my mother refused to wash it, so I let it stiffen overnight, then beat it clean with a stick.Try that with a synthetic skin-tight version of a sports jumper

  2. Coming up to 30 years! Well done. How have you managed to keep it in game order? I have an ’88 Brisbane Expo t-shirt that I have had to mothball to keep it alive for the big 30th anniversary – it looks more like a stocking these days.

  3. i only commented because it wasn’t a rulebook article

    keep fighting the good fight

  4. Well said Chewy.

  5. Super Dazz says

    Im with you Ruley, those lycra things arent that flattering on older more rotund gentlemen.
    Go for something with a bit of stiffness and bristle in it!
    Thats doesnt sound that kosher but proponents of the woolen wonders will know what I mean.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Great stuff Clint – I could have used on of those Bob Neil headbands instead of the green and white McEnroe castoff I occasionally used.

    Do Sekem also supply the wool component for the electric blankets?

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    We’ll done Ruley personally the electric blanket with your chords are my favorite part of the story ( John Wynne did the same thing when selected as a receive re a state game years ago ) Eloquent as always Ruley

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