What’s in a Name?

By Sasha Lennon

As the footy season proper approaches and our interest in off-field indiscretions and the confusion of the NAB Cup begins to wane, more important questions confront us.  Will Collingwood go back-to-back?  Will the Saints wither and die?  Can Buddy kick a tonne?  How far up the ladder can the Demons climb?  Is the Gold Coast a genuine contender?  Can Karmichael Hunt really play?

But for many of us, the one thing that really matters at this time of year is which teams to tip come Round 1 of the Home and Away.

Experience shows that if you’re to have any real chance of tipping glory in September (or August if you don’t count the finals), whether the ultimate prize be cash, a carton of beer or just bragging rights for the summer, getting out of the blocks early is often the key.

In my office we take our tipping seriously.  There’s no cash prize, only a highly revered perpetual trophy, of solid redwood foundation supporting a beer bottle containing the ashes of the inaugural tipping sheets from the early 1990s.  (Our grand old competition started long before the days of emails and web-based tipping.  To circle your tips on a photocopied Esanda fixture and fax it off to tipping central was ahead of its time).

We also take tradition seriously, so to add a touch of nostalgia each tipster is allocated the nickname of a current or former VFL / AFL player.

During the winter months, office workers take on new personas like ‘The Kid’, ‘BT’, ‘Tucky’, ‘Huddo’, ‘Spud’, ‘Choco’, ‘Chicken’, ‘The Lip’ and ‘The Ghost’.

Or ‘The Fish’, ‘Conan’, ‘The Tilt’, ‘Spida’, ‘The Flea’, ‘Diesel’, ‘The Rat’ and ‘The Flying Doormat’.

Or who can go past the greatest alias of them all, ‘The Galloping Gasometer’?

But as our footy tipping competition gets bigger, we are struggling to find new names.

So I ask all Knackers to send in your suggestions.

And don’t forget, all good nicknames have some meaning.

I have vivid memories of Rod Carter in the goal square, circa 1986, tilting his head to give his good eye every opportunity to spot a teammate – which he often did with precision, making ‘The Tilt’ one of the most enduring full-backs of his era.

For others, like ‘Lethal’ Leigh Matthews, no explanation is necessary.

So, what’s in a name?


  1. Matty Cowan says

    I love those great nicknames of the 80s – for some reason I’ll never forget “The Ghost” (Jim Jess) among others.

  2. one of the greatest nicknames of all time I reckon Matt

  3. As a keen league fan hoping too see Karmichael Hunt become one of the greats. Apart from his obvious nickname that will never be heard in the media, we need too come up with one and put it to print.

  4. Rhyming slang?

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Gary Frangalas aka ‘The Franga’

    ‘Moose’ Henwood, Leon Harris was known as ‘Mork’ to many Fitzroy fans.

  6. Thanks Phil, I especially like ‘Moose’.

  7. Alovesupreme says

    You’ve probably seen it, but Crio’s question a couple of weeks ago was “The nickname says it all” and it drew 83 responses. While many contributionsweren’t related to Aussie Rules, I’m sure that you’d find inspiration in that thread.

  8. Alovesupreme says

    I suspect that Gold Coast’s rugby league defector has a nickname along the lines you suggest, but maybe the fact that his given name has the initial K. is a more prosaic explanation than rhyming slang. I should acknowledge that I don’t know, I’m drawing an inference similar to you from Mark L’s post #3.
    Ted Whitten used to regale sportsmens’ nights with a tale of a hapless wannabe footballer with the family name Hunter, and the given name Michael (which I’m sure was apochrypal).

  9. Karmichael Hunt’s nickname in league circles was “Special” as in Special K…

  10. ‘Special’, I like it. Bruce will have a ball.

  11. #8 Alovesupreme my post wasn’t suggesting that Karmichael’s nickname was derived from rhyming slang. It was that it should be “rhyming slang.”

    Two precedents. When Ralph Hunt was a Minister in the McMahon Government he sent the ACT police in to dismantle the Aboriginal Tent embassy. Mungo McCallum reported the incident in the Nation Review, referring to the Minister throughout the article as Ralph Rhyming slang.

    During my brief career as a high school librarian I participated in a week long statewide strike against the victimisation of another teacher. The “negotiator” for the Victorian Education Department was James Hird’s grandfather, Alan. The Union Secretary, Brian Conway, when addressing the mass meeting always referred to him as Alan Rhyming-slang.

  12. The best nick name I ever heardof was a bloke who was universally known as the “Nurse”.
    He was giving to bragging of his exploits with the Ladies.
    It all got too much late one night, after more ludicrious and improbable takes it all got too much for a quiet fellow who usually drank more than he spoke and he blurted out
    “For F—S sake….for a bloke who reckons he’s pulled more roots than a market gardener, you’ve had more turn downs than a hospital bed spread”.

  13. ‘Blisters’ shows up when the work is done

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