The local footy book

Hi all,


Yes! The local footy book lives!


Malarkey Publications, publisher of The Footy Almanac, should soon be in a position to revive the local footy book of essays that went into abeyance last year.


We have a dozen completed pieces and several others in the editing stage (see list below) but we’re after another 15 or 20 pieces. They can be memoir, reportage, or a mixture of both. They can be about a particular incident in your footy life, or they can be based on a season, or an entire career. They can be about you, your father, your favourite centre half-forward, whoever. It’s up to you.


Today I spoke to Richard Jones, my old sports editor at the Bendigo Advertiser, who agreed to write about a lifetime in central Victorian footy; Sam Duncan, who will write about the fight to retain the nickname the Pigeons at Yarrawonga; Stephen Cooke, who plans to recall the mighty Lake Boga’s premiership in 2003; and, in something of a coup, Brendan Ryan, a Western District poet, who is considering doing a piece based on his old club, Panmure.


Yesterday, I spoke to Ken Anderson, who will regale us with tales of local footy in Hobart, and Adam McNicol, the power behind the throne at one of the most storied clubs in football, Manangatang.


It’s planned to be a national book. We’re casting the net wide.


This notice is going out only to those who’ve expressed interest before, but feel free to pass this on to those who might be interested.


We prefer the essays to be 2000-3000 words. Tony Robb has written 9000 on his father’s coaching days in the Riverina, but Tony is not the type to know when.


Please let me know if you have any queries.






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A selection of essays in The Footy Almanac Book of Grass Roots Footy Stories. A selection of photos will accompany the text.

  • A season with the Southern Saints in Melbourne’s Masters competition, under the guidance of a coach called Stripper (David Enticott)
  • The sad but true tale of a reserves ruckman on the Mornington Peninsula who had only one wish: to play in the seniors (Jared Newton)
  • An invitation to speak during a lunch held by an Amateur club, NOBs-St Pat’s, revives memories of a youth well spent (James Gilchrist)
  • A western suburbs boy looks at the fate of two famous western suburbs clubs, Braybrook and Parkside, which have fallen on hard times (Mic Rees)
  • An eastern suburbs boy tries to reconcile the success of a big-spending eastern suburbs club, Balwyn, with its genteel locale (Sam Steele)
  • The story of Tasmania’s famous Goalpost Grand Final, circa 1968, as told by one who was in Burnie for the game (Shane Johnson)
  • Memories of rough and tumble footy in Broken Hill as told by one who grew up there (Keith Newton)
  • Memories of footy at a Murray River club, Gunbower, as told by one whose father was coach (Pamela Sherpa)
  • Hits and memories from a broadcaster in Central Victoria who’s not afraid to call off the back of a truck (Richard Jones)
  • The moving story of an Amateur footballer at St Bernard’s who dedicates every game to his family (Andrew Nathan)
  • A Stawell Gift place-getter who, having given up running, fulfils a dream by having a go at footy (Damian O’Donnell)
  • The curious tale of a club called the Moonta Turks in Western Australia’s Goldfields (Les Everett)
  • A comprehensive study of the intense rivalry between two great country Victorian clubs, Echuca and Rochester (Rod Gillett)
  • A flippant study of the inventive nicknames culture at the Adelaide Uni footy club (Clint Rule)
  • An eccentric regaling of life and its pratfalls at the Queensland Uni footy club in Brisbane (Avan Stallard)
  • A long and loving biography of the king of Riverina footy as told by his son (Tony Robb)
  • A report on the delights and dilemmas of footy on an island off Arnhem Land (Tavis Perry)
  • An expose on the Yarrawonga president who tried to change his club’s nickname and was forced to resign (Sam Duncan)
  • A memoir of playing at Deakin University Sharks in Warrnambool, the least successful country footy club in Victoria (Craig Little)
  • A recollection of Lake Boga’s 2003 premiership, the club’s first since 1975, achieved with locals who returned home from Melbourne and Bendigo (Stephen Cooke)
  • A look at just why his area of Brisbane is an Australian football stronghold (Hamish Townsend)
  • A reminiscence of his last game for his Amateur footy club, Williamstown CYMS (Darren Dawson)
  • A season as president of Fitzroy Junior footy club from the great-grandson of a Fitzroy FC premiership captain (Matt O’Connor)
  • After a lifetime at VFL/AFL clubs, coaching Old Xaverians in the Victorian Amateurs proved a very worthwhile experience (Barry Richardson)
  • John Harms on the Adelaide Lutheran FC premiership of 1986




  1. If its as good as the book you wrote years ago called “Beyond the big sticks- Country Footy in Australia” it will be a ripper
    My dog- eared copy is still doing the rounds of Country Footy lovers

  2. craig dodson says


    I’d be happy to throw one of the pieces i wrote for the website ( entitiled 226 to 2) into the mix if you feel it is worthy or more than happy to look at having a crack at smoething new.


  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    Sounds like it will be a great collection of stories Daff.

  4. Hi Paul

    would you be interested in something along the lines of “Recollections of a boundary umpire in suburban football”?

    What deadline would you be looking at?



  5. Hi David,

    Thanks for nice comment. Praise is always appreciated!


    We need new material. Something that’s been published, even on the Almanac website, would rule out your suggestion.

    Get in touch with me about other ideas:

    [email protected]


    I’ve still got your scrapbook. Should I sent it to you?


    By all means I’d like recollections of a boundary umpire. Cade Lucas has offered to do something on boundary umpiring in Tassie during his youth. The pieces should complement each other nicely.

  6. James A. Johnson
    age 14, in 1948 revamps Jack Dyers drop punt for goal,” silliest looking kick in football history” (Page 49 The Sporting Globe Football Book 1948,) into a Field Pass, kicked at full pace.

    Invents The Stab Punt,
    replacing the Stab Kick, at age 15, in 1949
    The above kicks are the predominant kicks used as field passes today.

    The stab kick discovered in Tasmania in 1902.

    So from 1902 no one did anything with the stab kick till Jim, HT 157.5 WT 51, a little 15-year-old Lilydale Higher Elementary School kid playing for the Mt Evelyn First XVIII, converted the stab kick into the stab punt in 1949.

    The Lilydale Express, July 18th 1949, Wandin V Mt Evelyn 1st 18
    Jimmy Johnson, who was giving a masterly exhibition for a youngster.
    Best Player; Mt. Evelyn: Jim Johnson umpires vote.

    Johnson sent his delightful little drop punt (Stab Punt) pass direct to Manfield. Frank Casey, The Post, Sept 8, 1960

    Johnson should write a book on stab kicking – he has found the lost art. (Jim’s Stab Punt) The Mail September 8, 1960. Stab Kicks Davy Crockett.

    Johnson was outstanding in the mud with clever turning and accurate disposal (in muddy, windy and rain swept conditions) The Mail” August 3, 1950, p.9: Ringwood V East Ringwood 1st 18

    Jim’s passes were real daisy cutters (Stab Punts) and never missed their mark. Ringwood Ist 18 Ringwood Mail. 12 Sept 1952.

    See Mount Evelyn Football Netball Club “Stab Punt Jim Johnson” for further information.

  7. Ref. Jim Johnson says:
    March 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Only recently (April 23rd) I traced the following advertisement,
    The Inventor of the Stab Punt (1949) is interested in hearing from anyone who used this kick pre 1970 Ph. 8743622,

    that I placed in the Age, page 26, bottom right corner, on Thursday the 26th of July, 1990. This ad appeared on he Sports Page that had an Article by David Parkin on the Torpedo Punt. This was one of several weekly articles on disposals in Australian Rules Football. So we have an article describing how to kick the football and an ad by someone who invented a kick in Australian Rules Football on the same page.
    Stab Punt Jim

  8. Paul
    Re, muddy conditions and the film “Valentines Day.”
    I knew what it was like to play on the ground featured in this film. Mt Evelyn was the Ground on which I first kicked my STAB PUNT in the field of play.
    The Mount Evelyn Football Ground is where in 1949, at fifteen years of age, five foot two inches tall and weighing just over eight stone, I started playing open age First Eighteen Australian Ruled Football. I won the Second Best and Fairest Trophy for the Second Eighteen with just the first three games of the football season. The rest of the season I played in the First Eighteen, winning the Umpires Vote as best player for Mount Evelyn on three occasions. It was as a fifteen-year-old school kid that I invented my STAB PUNT so I could kick the ball in all and any conditions on the uneven and often muddy Mount Evelyn football ground. “Valentine’s Day” was made many years after my one year of playing for Mount Evelyn. When I played at Mt Evelyn there was a small tin shed as changing rooms and a cold tap to wash the mud off at the end of the game. About half way through the 1949 football season my family moved from very primitive conditions of candle and kero lamp lighting and no services of any sort. We walked two and a half miles to and from the football ground and four miles to school at Lilydale. We had to go outside the house; such as it was, to obtain water from the tank. It was in these conditions that I perfected my Stab Punt. Half way through the football season my family moved from renting where we lived, two to four miles from any” Town”, to renting the bottom story of a mansion at Brighton Beach with a tennis court, billiard room and a telephone. What a difference. I continued to attend the Lilydale Higher Elementary School. I also kept on playing football in the Mt Evelyn First Eighteen. That’s right traveling by tram to St Kilda. Train to the city; train to Croydon, picked up by taxi to the Mount Evelyn Football ground, then if it was an away game bus to Marysville, Warburton, Healesville, Wandin, Milgrove, Yarra Junction, Poweltown. My elder brother Charlie was also playing with Mount Evelyn so there was always the two of us traveling most of the way together. Somewhere to sleep Saturday night, one way or another, was always found. Sunday was training coaching time so Charlie and I did not get home to Brighton until late afternoon on Sunday. The next year I played as first rover for the Ringwood Football Club in the Eastern Suburban Football League under Captain and Playing Coach, Brownlow Medalist Herb Matthews. I won the Bowling Average for the Ringwood First Eleven Cricket team. In 1950 I also won School First Eighteen Football colors at Melbourne High School. I also played for the School cricket team. That takes me through to sixteen years of age. See Mount Evelyn Football Club web sight under “Jim Johnson Stab Punt” for further info including a video interview with the President of the Mount Evelyn Football Club.
    Stab Punt Jim

  9. Please delete the entry I have just inserted and I will Change the Font and re-enter it. Thank You

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