Twelve Months on a Pogo Stick: Part 2

By Bill Walker

Summer Sojourn


The summer break is always a challenging time for small footy clubs. The game day business is finished but book balancing is daunting, annual dinner and AGM loom and coaching review and recruitment are pivotal to player recruitment. Every aspect of our club’s administration is undertaken by volunteers. They don’t tend to queue up to get on committees these days. The time required and stress levels endured by the skeleton crew make the process very hard yakka. And of course the elephant in the room is that you have to run the club on the smell of an oily rag.


We believe that the first line of recruitment is to keep the players you already have. The message sent to your current players if you run willy-nilly around the region offering big bickies to bolster your ranks is not positive. Charity starts at home. Besides we don’t have big bickies and every year we get pipped on the post by other clubs in our competition that do.


As the quolls around these parts constantly stalk your chook pen looking for a way in to snap up a tasty morsel, outsiders stalk your players. If your previous season has again been deflating it is like putting your chooks to bed without locking the door. We have a chook, Zac Smith, a fine young rooster who has made the State under 23 side in the last two years and the Clarence and Burnie quolls were licking their lips. ‘Chook’ resisted some very serious offers to play in the State Wide League where he would be a ‘Monty’ for success.


When he re-signed his rationale was simple. If Wynyard plays finals footy this year, after a hiatus of thirteen years, and he was not part of it he would never forgive himself. He had started playing in the Under 14’s. Chook’s message was clear to others. Our losses were minimal: but our gains were significant.


‘Sharmo’ returned to Wynyard after playing in several premierships with Clarence in the State Wide League. Handy to pick last year’s State full back and we got a hand full of good young players from Burnie. They had by passed us initially but came back as a group. This is a good sign. Others returned from the bush, ex coaches have started to re-emerge and even before Christmas we are getting sixty plus on the track. Change is in the wind. Or is it just an illusion.


We had raised a considerable amount of money mid year as a deposit for better lighting. It has been quarantined even though the club carried a $20,000 deficit. We currently are waiting on the outcome of an application for a considerable Government grant to get the lights up for season 2013. A couple of Friday night games early in the season would provide invaluable fiscal and ‘bums on seats’ momentum.


The committed has decided that it would cease the practice of having contract players. All players are now paid on a games played and win or loss performance basis. This has been decided for two reasons. We can’t afford the other way and we believe it will bring solidarity to the playing group. We will not be drawn into bidding wars with other clubs in the competition. We have already missed out on several potential players who have stated they were offered more to go else where. We wished them good luck.


We have a nucleus of players who are capable of playing a high grade of suburban football inMelbourne, for example. One of our boys would clearly make the grade for between $750 and $1,000 per game if he moved. He plays at Wynyard for $90 per win and $30 a loss. He travels 600 km per week to train and play. Some times he takes the wrong turn early on Saturday morning, ends up at Marrawah surfing the winter swells and arrives late with coral cuts on his feet. This year he has ‘been told’. We have unfinished business for that is what the players are saying.


  1. Great stuff, Phantom. The Almanackers got Murray Bridge Imperials over the line for Jared Newton last season. Can we do the same for Wynyard Cats this season? Or is it too early to go the “P” word, let alone the ‘F” word? Are you planning blow by blow reports of the season? I hope we get to share in the full spiritual journey.
    To paraphrase Annie in Bull Durham (my fave sports movie):
    “I believe in the Church of Football. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a football. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Football. ”
    Amen. Pass the communion wine and wafers.

  2. Stay tuned PB.

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Warrnambool vs. Koroit. Always a big game.

  4. Pamela Sherpa says

    Stay true to the cause Phantom- love the club’s philosophy.
    Peter- that is so interesting- 108 stitches on the football. Reassuring to know that I must be on the right spiritual path!

  5. Pamela – lest I start an urban myth. There are 108 stitches on a baseball and beads on the rosary (according to Annie Savoy – my heart throb Susan Sarandon – in Bull Durham). I have no idea how many stitches on a footy.
    But I have never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
    I will ask John Harms to get his cousin, who makes hand stitched footies with an aboriginal community in the red centre, to let us know how many in a footy.
    My understanding is that AFL Sherrins (like everything else) are made in China.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Sherrins are made in a factory in Scoresby, Vic. You must have confused them with Blundstone boots, Peter.

  7. Peter B does tend to get a bit confused Skip.

    It sounds like he is convinced the Weagles are a good side this year.

    Oh for the luxury of the Bullies, The Dees and The Giants in the first three rounds.

    The only reasonable side they have played this season is The Crows.

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Good point you make, Phantom. Indisputable evidence of more fixture manipulation. Get the Eagles off to a flyer, build on last years hype. Hawthorn are good value at $2.15, I reckon.

  9. Brian Walsh says

    Remember Ron “Smokey”Clegg and his Deck of Cards !

  10. The Wynyard Catters are up and about…three from three and leading the club championship
    Coach Bakes gone for year with ACL and other damage but there is no panic
    I mentioning the F word…they are specials
    The only danger is themselves and……of course injury
    Go you good things

  11. I stand corrected (again):
    “Sherrin is a brand of football used in Australian rules football and is the official ball of the Australian Football League, designed to its official specifications. It was the first ball designed specifically for the sport. Sherrin footballs are manufactured by Spalding, owned by Russell Corp Aus P/L, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from cow hide lined and machine-stitched, but other sized models are often made in India or China, using synthetic rubber.”
    Owned by Yanks, but league balls are made here.
    Not wrong about the Eagles though. Any price is a good price about a winner. Kennedy will kick more goals than Buddy. Any takers – is your Freddo stash up for grabs, Phantom?

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