Collingwood Football Club

Nicky Winmar: the game-changer

Nicky Winmar is exhausted. For months, he has been dreading this anniversary. He schemed about how he could avoid the fuss, dodge the media, or somehow wish the events of 30 years ago away.

But there’s no getting around it. Now he’s doing his best to embrace the moment. Tomorrow, April 17, marks the day in 1993 that the St Kilda legend turned and lifted his jumper to a feral Collingwood crowd who had been racially sledging him, and pointed to his skin.

“I’m proud to be black,” he fired back at the mob.

His team had prevailed. Winmar had kicked the sealer, storming through traffic at full tilt to intercept and slotting a goal from outside 50 metres. His Indigenous teammate Gilbert McAdam had kicked another five. And Sunday Age photographer Wayne Ludbey had captured the moment that froze Winmar in the public eye forever.

That public image has been a heavy burden to carry. A statue of Winmar, striking the pose that landed him on the front page of the paper the next morning, now stands outside Optus Stadium in Perth. But Neil Elvis “Nicky” Winmar the man is no statue.

“I did get tired after that game.… Read more..

Jack Ginnivan: kiss here, lemons

Here are five things you will see when you check out Jack Ginnivan’s TikTok profile:

  1. Kane Cornes’ head (Ginnivan’s choice of avatar);
  2. “Just a guy who doesn’t know what’s what’s, lemons” (his bio);
  3. A 15-second clip with the “KISS HERE” filter over the top of Ginnivan’s face. Collingwood defender Nathan Murphy leans in from off camera and plants pecks on Ginnivan’s cherubic features, while a sped-up version of the Smiths’ Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now plays in the background;
  4. Ginnivan resting his head on the shoulder of teammate Tyler Brown, “my pre-game cuddle guy”;
  5. Emojis, and lots of them: rainbows, unicorns, hearts, flowers, teddy bears and more.

If you believe the “lemons”, Collingwood forward Jack Ginnivan is the most polarising player in the AFL. He wears the most eye-watering peroxide job since Jason Akermanis. He chirps at opponents and shushes their fans. Early on, he drew so many free kicks the AFL clarified its rules around head-high contact. Now he can’t buy one. His shorts are a size too big.

This week, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield – the president of the AFL Players Association board, with 301 games, a Brownlow Medal and eight All-Australian awards to his name – took the highly unusual step of breaking the unofficial players’ code of silence after Ginnivan pinned him in what he alleged was a chicken-wing tackle in the qualifying final, an incident missed by the match review officer.… Read more..

Tom Boyd lived the dream. Now let him live his life

There’s a moment in David Williamson’s play The Club where Geoff Hayward, Collingwood’s prize new recruit, is confronted by his coach, Laurie (played in the 1980 film by Jack Thompson) after a game which he’s mostly spent watching a seagull while stoned out of his gourd. “Marry-a-wanna?” asks Laurie, incredulous.

Hayward is unrepentant. He identifies the absurdity at the heart of what he does. “It’s a load of macho competitive bullshit,” he says. “You chase a lump of pigskin around a muddy ground as if your life depended on it, and when you finally get it, you kick it to buggery and then go chasing it around again! Football shits me.”

“Well, I wish to Christ you’d told us that before we paid out 120 grand for you,” Laurie replies.

I thought of The Club when I heard of the retirement of Tom Boyd, a former No.1 draft pick, his enjoyment sucked from the game after 61 matches, only nine of them with his first club Greater Western Sydney, before the Bulldogs landed him on big money. At that time, like Hayward, he was just a kid with potential. He ended up winning them a fabled premiership.

I see a lot of parallels between Boyd and the fictitious Hayward.

Read more..

The hitch-hiker: Andrew McMillan, 1957-2012

I first met Andrew McMillan in July of 1999. The place was Gove Airport, which services the north-east Arnhem Land mining town of Nhulunbuy. Andrew was acting as a media liaison officer for the inaugural Garma Festival, an annual cultural exchange program between the local Yolngu people and Balanda (whites) established by the Yothu Yindi Foundation. I was working on a story for the Australian edition of Rolling Stone. I spent nearly a week in Andrew’s company and only caught up with him on one other occasion, but he certainly left a mark on me.

I was already familiar with his work. When I was a teenager, growing up in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne before my family relocated to Brisbane, Midnight Oil was the band that changed my life. They were a rock & roll awakening, and a political one, too. McMillan’s book, Strict Rules, was a document of the Oils’ tour through the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, an experience that led to the ground-breaking Diesel And Dust album in 1987.

Before that, Andrew had begun his writing career in Brisbane in the late ’70s. He’d been turned on by punk and had started Australia’s first fanzine (the horribly named Suicide Alley, quickly re-christened Pulp) with Clinton Walker.… Read more..

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