The role of the skunk in the evolutionary development of football

by Clint Rule

As I get more feeble in my footballing forties I feel the need to have something lateral additives to keep up with the new bloods. Functional ideas. You know the Bob Neil Volley Hybrids.

I like explorer socks – comfy, thick and warm but short so they don’t fill up with water in the wet ones. Or, honey on the hands instead of grippo – grippo is actually quite slippery over sweat and useless in the wet. Honey stays with you and is a real spurt burster when you squirt it in your mouth in the breaks.

For my last game in 2011, the first semi, I trialled a new type of footy jumper. To be honest, I kinda hoped I’d be writing this email to you from my very own town in China churning out 100’s of thousands of these units. But it hasn’t materialised….yet. The idea came to me from an experience back when I was in The States. I spotted a skunk and anytime I tried to get close to it it did an about face and threatened to spray me good. Knowing their reputation I gave it some space. Gave it some space. Gave it some space….Hey, yeah.

Here it is. One cup of water then adding garlic, fish sauce, well rotted kitchen compost, chook poo and my two year old meat eater’s poo (plus a sprig of parsley as a garnish) – stir it up, put that elixir and my old uni jumper in a plastic bag and toss it in the sun for a week. Kapow, it emitted a very ordinary note. Putting on in the changerooms was quite liberating. I felt homeless. It was putrid, it smelt like I’d sold my arse to the devil. Given the discolouration and chunky bits, my team-mates quickly worked out it was coming from me. A wave of discontent erupted amongst them. I just assumed they just didn’t understand and told them they must learn tolerance – especially you prissy Gen Ys. Just watch – no-one will want to come near me and if they put a tackle on me, I’m confident their grip will quickly lose it’s intent and I’ll wriggle free like a drop-tail lizard.

I’m no key position player but lined up at CHF against their young and bouncy bloke. The key was to stand just upwind from him at all times. I’m not embelishing when I say he really did give me way too much room, I spent some quality time getting some easy kicks and was subject to some listlessly pathetic tackles. I’m therefore claiming it as a hit. The fatal flaw is that it is simply too rank and I can’t be doing that every week. The wife has also expressed some disatisfaction with it. Especially the washing part thereof. Moreover, she flatout banned it.


  1. The true genius is always walking on the margins, however is able to bring the idea back to the mainstream. I fear your walk will be a long and solitary one no matter how close it is.

    I’d also question the effectiveness for the backlines. Shouldn’t the idea be to keep close to your man? I’d think it woud be more effective for the forwards. Perhaps the backs should be wearing more attractive scents?

    Good to see the idea taken to the field test!

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Vintage Captain Sapsasa this idea could still revolutionise footy yet V funny Ruley

  3. Ruley I remember the day well. The scent is still imprinted in the back of my nostrils. I pitied the poor young blokes playing with hangovers standing next to you in the huddle before the game. They didn’t look well. I still like the day when you brought a bag of “wheat” to a Scum game. GOLD.

  4. My nose remembers it as if it were yesterday.
    It was a final and I believe we won. The aroma was simply undescribable. It was extremely difficult to concentrate that day. For all concerned.

  5. Troy Hancox says


    That story is mint!!

    Funny as. Have any other teams tried it since??
    I’ve worn batting gloves that would come close to a smell of a skunk!

    Essence of man…….. “CAVE MAN”

  6. I have heard of this story but didn’t think it was true!
    Classic Ruley!

  7. C. Rule – one of a kind. (And that is likely a very, very good thing for all concerned).

  8. Elliot Hewish says

    classic cLInt

    reminds me of a super Sunday where I believe I had to test smell this so called recipe.

  9. Sam McEwen says

    Nice work rulebook

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I am not that innovative Smack

  11. Not sure what is funnier… your story or you being confused with Rulebook! A pleasure to read as always.

  12. Ruley- I fear your tactic is not original. A fellow Hancock’s Halfhour member from the late eighties, the stunningly unassuming and slinky hipped slippery half forward flanker- Dr Green, had a habit of not washing his jumper for the entire season or indeed between seasons. As a reprieve for ourselves and to help out a struggling medical student without access to a washing machine, the Half-hour ran the hat around, and invested in a new black with white V. Fortunately for the team, it was only a few weeks until Greeny was back to his wide and loose ways, and his crumpled pongy jumper.

  13. Classic! And I thought it was just a rumour. Only at the Blacks…

  14. Anyone else and I would dismiss this as fanciful – but with CRule there is never any doubt. This man turned up in a sheep costume at one of our cricket matches once because we were known as The Rams – eccentric is too boring a word for this man.

  15. It Is true, although Rulei forgot to mention the best bit.
    He strained his calf just after half time and had to sit the rest of the 2nd half on the pine.
    Needless to say the other guys on the benchsat way up the other end.

  16. Tom Martin says

    Given the ‘rolling maul’ we have been subjected to in the early stages of this AFL season, this concept is worth revisiting at the highest level to ‘clear some air’ around the pigskin.

    No doubt the AFL will want to make a dollar out of it, via sponsorship. I can hear the pre-game announcement now –

    – ‘Melbourne Football Club have released their team sheet for tonight’s game and their designated ball-getter this evening will be Jack Watts, who will be wearing a guernsey impregnated with Dine cat food – “Dine – for a classier pussy”‘.

  17. Fantastic. Don’t think any other football club would have a player with creativity/intelligence/madness to attempt anything like it.

  18. this is a departure from your strategy pre 2011 where yu presented oponents with flowers*

    *sour sobs

  19. i would have thought someone with your skill and pace wouldn’t need to rely on a concoction such as this.

    however, on behalf of fat, slow men everywhere, i thank you for this breakthrough in game day technology.

  20. I smell anyway and it doesn’t help me get a kick.

  21. Very funny but …

    You got your wife to do the washing part thereof!?!
    I think I would have got the Zippo to it.

  22. Arfa’s got it right but I’m sure Ruley did a good copy of the master.

  23. Note to self: pack honey in footy bag before leaving home.

  24. More pure entertainment from the captain, there’s a place for you at the afl as head of game innovation.

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