Writing for The Footy Almanac 2014

G’day Sportsfans

Just letting you know what’s happening with The Footy Almanac 2014.

It’s a great blessing that we have so many keen writers – old hands and those looking to be in the book for the first time.

But that means it’s a real juggling act to get as many of you into the pages as possible.

This season we will be using a two-pronged approach in compiling The Footy Almanac.

(1)   I will be commissioning writers for some games

(2)   For other games I will be selecting a piece from those published on the website

The process is explained further below.





We will be publishing The Footy Almanac 2014 in late October this year. The book will have the same look as other years.

This year we will be commissioning some match reports.

We will be taking other match reports from the website.

ANYONE IS WELCOME TO WRITE A REPORT OF ANY AFL MATCH and submit it to the website. It may make the cut. It may also thrust your name before the selectors.

However, if you would like to be commissioned for a game…

You can nominate specific matches giving a hint at your story:

Round 2  Carlton v Richmond – I am going to the footy with my old mate Bruce Doull (which will probably get you the gig)

Round 5  Hawthorn v Geelong – I will be watching on a flat screen in the bar of Paradise Beach in Mykonos

Or, more generally:

I am available for all Gabba games.

I am available for all St Kilda games.

I am available for all games.

You are more likely to be offered a game if you nominate some. I will maintain a record of all nominations. Commissioned writers will be contacted in the week leading up to the game.

I am looking forward to hearing from you and to reading some cracking footy writing. [email protected]


Length, Format etc

Initially, feel free to write the match reports to the length you want, keeping in mind, though, that they will need to be edited to be 600-700 words (strictly) for the book. If your piece is selected for the book, you will be asked to edit it to that length yourself. It’s important that happens as quickly as possible.

It should be presented in the specific Almanac format, and include the match details, YOUR OWN better players, your 3-2-1 votes for the Malarkey Medal.

Just follow this template:


Sing Along With the Common People


North Melbourne versus Collingwood

4.40pm, Sunday 31 March

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne


Matt O’Connor


Those who haven’t been to Etihad Stadium for a while, take note: it is rapidly disappearing into urban camouflage and may not be distinguishable from surrounding high rise for much longer.

Upstairs in an understaffed bar at the Coventry End, Melbourne Victory were choking on one screen while Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker was telling us “common people” his missus wanted to live like us on another.

In rolled bad news from the front. Copeland incumbent Dayne Beams was a late withdrawal, handing Josh Thomas his first game.

And when the team ran through the banner, it included the unmistakable blonde bonce of elevated rookie, Jack Frost, also now to play game number one in place of Heath Shaw.

One part of me should have been happy, as I had done what some might consider sacrilege: taken North as the second half of a multibet that had started with a juicy $4.40 Dogs win.

I thought the $2.70 North odds were terrific value, and they got considerably better with the late withdrawals. The Kangas were without suspended former skipper Brent Harvey, but just about every other key Roo was on deck.

But as with other treasonous (Daff – treacherous?) bets, the moment the game started, I followed the Pies and not the dollars. I have yet to find out what sized collect would swing me the other way.

A breakneck first half ended with both sides on eight goals, the honours reasonably even. But the makeshift Magpie ship had held together, twice bridging small gaps to edge in front at the main break.

Frost had kept Robbie Tarrant quiet, and some ragged disposal aside, the newer Thomas had held his own at the stop plays. But it was at the top end of town that things were looking the most encouraging.

With an excess load to carry, Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Steele Sidebottom delivered with quantity and quality, adding marks and goals to their customary run.

Pendlebury in particular shone through the gloom, his play of the day a glorious shimmy through the middle of Etihad and a lace-out pass to the leading Travis Cloke. The big full forward complimented the service by converting from long range.

Quinten Lynch’s first half in the black and white ticked enough boxes for the recruitment to be deemed an early success. Two goals and a pass to Cloke for another, plus some relief ruck work to give Darren Jolly a breather, added up to a solid beginning.

Post-Contract Cloke appeared focussed and sharp. He had wrestled his way to an ascendancy over the impressive Scott Thompson, and had three goals to show for it by the time the players headed downstairs.

Others to impress in the first half were Harry O’Brien in a more attacking role on the wing and Alan Toovey down back.

On the punting side of the ledger, Todd Goldstein had combined with Jack Ziebell and new skipper Andrew Swallow to dominate the centre clearances, and Lindsay Thomas had fashioned four goals from limited opportunities.

There were no doubt other good contributors from the Kangas, but I still can’t tell my Cunningtons from my Bastinacs.

Sub Sam Dwyer’s first touch set Tyson Goldsack up for a goal, and he looked right at home haring up and down the western wing for the rest of the quarter.

Goldsack added another after Nick Maxwell pinned Michael Firrito on his defensive fifty, and a clever one-handed Sidebottom mark set Jarryd Blair away into an open goal a few minutes later.

The Pies were down to 20 men after 13 minutes when Lindsay Thomas planted a Liverpool kiss on an unsuspecting Ben Reid, but the defence held firm with Nathan Brown keeping Drew Petrie in check.

Swan marked a long O’Brien bomb over a couple of Roo defenders and converted from close in.

The margin was 21 points at the last change, and another strong Cloke mark and goal at the start of the final quarter, followed by an opportunist snap from Sidebottom, all but sealed the four points. The Roos had a belated dip, sparked mainly by Daniel Wells, but Brent Macaffer – playing his first game for more than a year – had the final say after an excellent one-hander in the goalsquare.

Having sung the song, we linked arms with the common people and walked north up Adderley Street to the car. No victory doughnuts though. I’d run out of money.


North Melbourne        5.2       8.4       9.7       13.9     (87)

Collingwood   3.5       8.6       12.10   15.13   (103)

goals  Collingwood: Cloke 4; Sidebottom 3; Lynch, Goldsack 2; Pendlebury, Blair, Swan, Macaffer.
North Melbourne: Thomas 4; Hansen 2; Cunnington, Bastinac, Tarrant, Gibson, Goldstein, Mullett, Petrie.

best     Collingwood: Pendlebury, O’Brien, Cloke, Swan, Sidebottom, Maxwell, Toovey.
North Melbourne: Swallow, Ziebell, Goldstein, Thomas, Mullett.

umpires           McBurney, Bannister, Foot.   crowd 41,040

our votes       Pendlebury (Coll.) 3, Swallow (NM) 2, O’Brien (Coll.) 1.





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    If I could get together a report such as the one above I would be pretty happy but nevertheless these would be my choices if I get a guernsey this year;

    Sat 3 May: Brisbane V Sydney because I would really like write a report on the out of sorts, out of fashion Lions doing greedy Sydney like a dinner.

    Sat 10 May: Brisbane v Essendon because my extended family now both in New Zealand and Canada need to know first hand how their team, the Essendon Infractioners, are going this year and I would love to post another Lions triumph.

    Sat May 31 Brisbane V Carlton. Would like to see Brisbane giving Mick’s mob a footy lesson.

    I am overseas for most of June through to mid August and whilst I am slightly tempted to nominate a match during this absence to give any such report an overseas flavour, I don’t want to aggravate the Minister of Home Affairs with any such thoughts re spending time doing this during our time away.

  2. Keen for Sat June 21 Essednon Adelaide will at the game on e yearly Footy Trip form Adelaide

    Aslo avaialble for Fri June 20 Sydney Richmond part of the same foot trip and any other Crows games

  3. For the benefit of the readers out there, the games I will definitely cover this season (online or book) will be…..

    – ROUND 4: GWS vs Bulldogs (Canberra)
    – ROUND 5: Bulldogs vs Carlton (Docklands, Normally this weekend is a big Easter weekend but with the Canberra trip the week before I’ll be only doing an overnight trip this year
    – ROUND 10: Gold Coast vs Bulldogs (Carrara)
    – ROUND 17: Bulldogs vs Gold Coast (Cairns)

    Local footy and running events are also on the agenda. It will be my last season of playing local footy.

  4. Cheryl Critchley says

    I’ll be going to Sydney for GWS v Richmond on May 24, and also Sydney-Richmond in the last round (date to be determined). Both will be fun – the first is with my daughters and the second is with my son who will refuse to go to the game ie he’ll come all the way to Sydney but stay home and play with his cousins during the game. :-). Cheryl

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