The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 15 – Fremantle v North Melbourne: Brother Connolly dishes out punishment

The first printed edition of The Footy Almanac came out in 2007, before we had a website. In the absence of a real 2020 season, we will be publishing the 2007 pieces for the first time ever on Follow the season!



Fremantle versus Kangaroos

2.40pm, Sunday, July 15

Subiaco Oval, Perth



FIRST PERIOD MONDAY IN BROTHER CONNOLLY’S CLASS is always scary after the footy team loses on the weekend. Especially when we lose to one of the poor state schools. I’m not in the team, so I should be safe, but it’s always a good idea to keep your head down so as not to attract attention.


Sometimes Brother Connolly comes into the class quietly, and places his Gladstone bag on his desk. While giving us a lecture about teamwork, letting down the parish, piety, making holy decisions or the relationship between a pure and healthy mind and good football skills, he takes out his strap. Slowly.


Today he stormed in. Strap in hand. Hair slightly askew. Cassock twisted as though he’d slept in it and his red eyes telling us he hadn’t slept well.


We knew what was going to happen first. I almost glanced over to where the poor bugger was sitting but knew it could be fatal.


“Thornton,” Brother Connolly said. His was voice soft but sinister. Poor old Thornton had been a sickly kid for most of his time at school and we all reckoned his mum cut his hair. He walked out to the front of the classroom, shoulders slumped and put out his hand. Thornton knew all about getting the strap.


“This…” Whack! “Is for missing…” Whack! “The goal…” Whack! “That would have won us…” Whack! “The game.” Whack! Whack! Whack!


Thornton slumped back to his seat. He never cries. “Mundy,” Brother Connolly was worked up now. “Come here you stupid boy.” Mundy was once the teacher’s pet, he used to be so neat and tidy, but something had happened to him. Some said he’d got into bad company whatever that meant, others reckoned he’d got too big for his boots. I didn’t understand that either.


“Both hands out you stupid boy.” This was serious.


“I told you…” Whack! “Last week…” Whack! Whack! “But you knew better, didn’t you Mundy?” Whack! Whack! “So you did it again.” Whack! “So guess what, you stupid boy… ”Whack! Whack! Whack! “I’m doing it again too! Whack! Whack! “Now get out of my sight and get that hair cut by tomorrow. Short back and sides or you’ll really know what trouble means.”


I saw a bit of spit fly from Brother Connolly’s mouth and land on Farmer’s desk. He looked at it but didn’t move.


Some of the boys reckoned six was the maximum number of cuts with the strap you were allowed to get. But I’d never heard anyone bring it up with one of the brothers.


“Schammer,” Brother Connolly’s tone was sarcastic.


Little Schammer had been real crook and missed lots of school early in the year. He didn’t often get into trouble.


“You wait for buses…” Whack! “You wait on tables… ” Whack! “You wait for Godot… ” Whack! “You do not wait for the ball! Sit down.”


Only three for Schammer; maybe Brother Connolly was worried he might send him back to hospital.


“McManus.” This was unusual. McManus was one of the older kids; he’d stayed down a couple of years and the brothers loved him. He never got into trouble.


“If I was a cruel man, McManus, I’d box your ears just to remind you that you don’t tackle people about the head when they’re 10 yards out of from goal and we’re a couple of points in front in the last quarter,” Brother Connolly delivered this like a sermon. “Instead, here’s a gentle little something to help you remember in the future.”


Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! That was what was called six of the best.


Suddenly Brother Connolly smiled.


“Bell, there’s a 50-cent tuckshop voucher for you and 20 cents for you, Johnson. What are you going to do with them, boys?”


“I want to donate mine to the missions, sir,” said Bell. “Umm, missions sir,” said Johnson. “Good boys,” said Brother Connolly. “Right, it’s handwriting next. Copy the exercise from the board. And none of those horrible shaky, chook scratchings, thank you Thornton. “Pavlich, I’ll be out of the room for a while. I want you to write down the names of any boys who talk while I’m away and I’ll strap them when I return.” “Yes sir,” said Pavlich. There’s a rumour going around that Brother Connolly will be going to another school next year. I hope not. I like him. He’s funny.



Fremantle  4.4 6.6 9.9 11.12 (78)

Kangaroos  5.0 7.5 10.6 12.10 (82)



Kangaroos: Archer, Jones, Harvey, Hale 2, McIntosh, Harris, Lower, McMahon.

Fremantle: Headland, Tarrant, Pavlich, Bell 2, Dodd, Murphy, Crowley.



Kangaroos: Simpson, Firrito, Harvey, McIntosh, Hale, Sinclair.

Fremantle: Johnson, Bell, Hayden, Headland, Dodd, McPharlin.



McInerney, Chamberlain, Hendrie.



Johnson (F) 3, Simpson 2 (K), Firrito (K) 1.



Harvey (K) 3, Simpson 2 (K), Headland (F) 1.






For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


Printed copies of The Footy Almanac 2007 can be purchased here.


2007 Footy Almanac


  1. Les Everett says

    Just came across this.

    It turned out to be Chris Connolly’s last game as Fremantle coach.

    He and CEO Cameron Schwab found themselves alone in the change rooms long after the game ended. Schwab said, “I think you’re f#@$*ed.” Connolly knew his time had come and reigned that week.

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