The Two-Bob Lair

The Two-bob Lair


My dad was fond of saying ‘if you can’t be a good footballer you can at least look like one!’. However, it was never quite made clear what was involved in ‘looking like one’. Sure clean boots, ironed shorts and clean white ankle bandages were a good start. But it got a bit confusing when some players who did all those things were then accused on being ‘two-bob lairs’. This was a severe accusation, perhaps up there with sodomy or stealing from the church collection box. So it puzzled me as to how an aspiring footballer could recognise the boundary between looking like a footballer and being a lair.


Sometimes it was easy to tell – the lair did have his shorts ironed but they had creases; he wore his arctic white ankle bandages on the outside of his socks so he looked more like a two-legged race horse. A definite give away, though, was those elasticised ankle bandages (put on over socks of course!) and his celebrations after kicking a goal. This amounted to not showing ‘respect’ – part of a code of conduct not to draw attention to yourself. That seemed to really distinguish a real player from a lair.


But there were some who defied being categorised. In particular, there was Stan Morcom, who had a successful VFL career debuting with Richmond at age 16 and playing more than 50 senior games before accepting a playing coach role with northern Tasmanian club, City South. He did look like a lair – he could come off the wet and muddy Tasmanian ovals with barely any mud on him; his hair was still immaculate, shiny and plastered down with some sort of product and his slightly longer-than-usual shorts were still the same brilliant white as when he began the match. However, he could really play!


There were players who could drop kick – long raking kicks like Geelong’s Paul Vinar – but there was no one who would drop kick when running into an open goal and on the muddy grounds. Was that lairising? As country boys wary of the sophisticated city slickers from Launceston, my brother and I saw it was definitely the sign of a lair; but we also had great admiration for his willingness to take a risk shooting for goal with drop kicks. He was not only a leading goal kicker for City South but was good enough to be selected in representative teams.


We even had our own local version. ‘Dusty’ played in junior teams with us and was a clear Morcom doppelganger, even down to the plastered hair, ankle bandages on the outside of his socks and in the stylish way that he kicked a drop. He was in our team so of course he couldn’t be a lair! Just a good player who really looked like a footballer. So much so that our father held him up as the model for us to follow – not only was he a good player, he looked good and, best of all according to Dad, he was remarkably kind and generous to his parents! The ‘L’ word could never be used in relation to Dusty!


I suppose there have been some other more famous ‘ambiguous’ lairs. Barassi thought that Malcolm Blight’s check side punts were lairising, little regarding the fact that this was a regular skill well practised in South Australia. I suspect that Peter Daicos would also have collected the ‘lair’ label with his goal scoring mongrel tumblers. Today, of course, check side punts and tumblers are very much part of the skill set of any good player. Perhaps we should refer to these types of players as ‘innovators’ rather than as lairs!


As neither an innovator nor exposing my ankle strapping I managed to keep under the radar detection for lairs. I really think Dad would have preferred just a little lairising, though, if it came with more talent! Just like Dusty perhaps?


Chris Aulich

30 June 2017

About Chris Aulich

Never quite good enough to be a 'coodabeen', Chris describes himself as a 'neverwassa', playing his footy in the amateurs in Tasmania. After retiring as a player, Chris found a niche in coaching and was part of the 'brains trust' and under 19s coach at Belconnen (ACT) for many years. Now retired as a university professor, he finds great joy in writing about his two passions: footy and travel. He has been a member of his beloved Geelong Cats for many years though is only able to see them live once or twice a year.


  1. Hi Chris. Great to have you involved. I remember those white ankle supports so well. And, yes, they did convey flashiness. I wonder if readers can remember any specific players. JTH

  2. Snowy from Lonny now Busso says

    Charlie Pagnocollo a rover from the doggies sported a great pair of flashy ankle supports

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