The Troy Luff Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Cult figures. Fan favourites. You know the types; good-hearted triers, erratic geniuses, staunch clubmen, pure-hearted lovers of the game. Troy Luff is more than a trier, not a genius, without doubt a pure of heart footballer.


In January ’97 I interviewed him in the Swans’ gym, sitting on a bench. In that room, I was, at 6’2” and 160 lbs, average height and the skinniest. An ultra competitive cricket game was underway. The vibe reminded me a rehearsal room.


Troy was a friendly, regular bloke. Grew up in Traralgon, his family moved to Nelson Bay, north of Newcastle where he first played seniors. Had a landscaping business. The office had given me a photocopied sheet of the type that may still appear in the footy record, somewhat out of date. His stated ambition was to play fifty AFL games. Barassi hated him, he kicked six goals in Lockett’s absence early in ’95 and was dropped the next week.


Troy played 155 AFL games, including a great performance in the ’96 Grand Final. Always a ‘utility’, I thought he did his best work around half-forward. I asked him about music – he liked Kiss – if he ever spoke to the bloke he was playing on – “sometimes you might say ‘there’s a good looking girl in the crowd over there’ but mostly it’s nothing” – and a bunch of other good stuff lost to time unless a transcript falls out of a book or record cover.


He left the Swans after the ’01 season and went to play with Balmain in the Sydney Football League. He’s been playing local footy ever since, with Balmain or the clumsily titled UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs, formerly East Sydney, the club my grandfather Bill O’Neill played for in the mid 1920s. He added to his string of Grand Final losses, ten of them going back to Nelson Bay when he was the best player in the comp.


Last Sunday at Blacktown, East beat St George in the Sydney League Division Two Grand Final, 8.12 to 8.4. Troy kicked two goals and at 49 he won a flag.


Merv Hughes played local cricket for as long as he could. Damien Monkhorst’s last match was a premiership win with his sons. Troy reckons that having won a flag, he might play again next season.


A pure sporting heart, a love of competition. Troy made the Daily Telegraph. And also here.





Cheers Tipsters
P&C A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc
Brought to you with the assistance of Sex Pistols ‘Never mind the bollocks’


Which sounds a lot like football terrace chants. It aint hard to imagine a bunch of old geezers with pints standing around the pub piano singing “We’re so pretty, all so pretty vacant’



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Earl, your last line basically described the crowd at the Pistols’ comeback shows. :)

  2. Good one Troy and Earl. Luffs who laugh last Luff longest.

  3. Steph Manefield says

    Thanks for this great story Earl about a much loved favourite of Swans fans everywhere.
    Troy has been such a strong ambassador for footy in Sydney and in NSW.
    So great to see Luffy get the chocolates. Top bloke.

  4. Nice one, Earl! Love Luffy!

  5. Earl- around the ’96 grand final Troy Luff, for reasons I can’t recall assumed a cult status among some friends and I. I still can’t identify why, but he seemed a likable figure and I’m pleased he’s won a flag.

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