Footy? Do wut? Y’all Aussies Sure Do Talk Funny!!

Glossary of Terms

After posting the previous article, I received two emails.  One was from my father saying It’s all very interesting (I presume) … [but] …  I’ll have to take up the study of Greek”.  The other was from one of my Texas friends and simply said “Huh?  Do wut?”  So, to take care of all of my overseas readers as well as some local non-followers of footy (apparently some do exist in Melbourne), I have created a glossary explaining the terms used in that article.

B&F – Best and Fairest, each club’s MVP award; the “fairest” is a carry-over from a more genteel time and is completely ignored in today’s football.

Big Nick, Big John – John Nicholls, a Carlton player of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, with thighs the size of tree trunks, and an icy stare; captained and coached the club; an official AFL Legend and the best player I’ve seen.

Brownlow (Medal) – the AFL’s MVP award, voted on by the umpires (referees) which makes it pretty irrelevant but has evidently not diminished its prestige.

Carlton – The Blues, a football club founded in 1864 and the most successful in AFL history; MY team.

City Square – A large meeting place in downtown Melbourne that seems to have been used mainly for political protests; it’s probably not even a square.

Dermie – Dermot Brereton, a brilliant forward for Hawthorn Football Club in the 1980s and 90s who was renowned for playing well in big games; and is pretty much hated by all opposition fans.

Draft – conscription for military service introduced in the Vietnam War era and abolished by Whitlam in 1972 on the evening he was elected Prime Minister, much to my (and my mother’s) relief.

End of the Penny Section – the end.  In the old days, tram (trolley) conductors would yell this out signifying the end of a zone (or section), and passengers would have to pay another penny to stay on the tram as it entered the new zone; equivalent to “that’s all she wrote”.

Finals – playoffs.

Flag – Premiership, because the winning team receives a giant pennant as well as a big cup.

Footy – (Australian Rules) football; the obvious Aussie slang word for it!

Fraser – Maclolm Fraser, leader of the conservative Liberal Party Opposition from June 1975, and then Prime Minister 1975–1983; became a lefty when it didn’t matter any longer.

Full forward – the player at the deepest offensive post, the main scorer of goals; some recently have been very offensive, if you know what I mean.

Goal – the major score in a footy game worth six points; kicking the ball through the big sticks, which elicits the goal umpire making a very serious face, pointing two fingers, and waving two white flags.

Gough – Edward Gough Whitlam, Australian Labor Prime Minister 1972–1975.

Grand Final – the last game of the year in which the premiership is decided, equivalent to the Super Bowl; the biggest day of the Aussie sporting calendar, it’s attended by over 100,000 people and watched on TV by everyone else.

Great South Aussies – Kernahan, Bradley, Motley, and Naley, four champions from South Australia who were “induced” to come to Carlton in the mid-1980s; the salary cap and the (national player) draft were probably introduced as a reaction to Carlton’s “cheque book” recruiting.

Harmesy, Johno, Sheldon, Buckley – great Carlton players from the next era, the 1980s.

HSC – Higher School Certificate, name of High School graduating certificate in Victoria 1970-1986.

It’s Time – campaign slogan of the Australian Labor Party in the 1972 federal election, which they won gaining power after having been in opposition for 23 years.

Jezza – Alex Jesaulenko, a Carlton champion of the 1960s and 70s, who could perform mercurial and magical feats in the air and on the ground; an official AFL Legend.

Kerr – Sir John Kerr, Australian Governor-General who sacked Whitlam in 1975, prompting Whitlam to utter his famous line “Well may we say ‘God Save the Queen, because NOTHING will save the Governor-General’.

Living in the Seventies – Hit single and most famous album by the Australian rock band Skyhooks.

(High) Mark – Australian football’s spectacular catching of the ball, often after leaping with one’s knees or feet atop another player’s shoulders.

Parko – David Parkin, Carlton coach 1981-1985 and again 1991-2000; coached the club to three premierships and introduced much of the modern pretentious football jargon.

Premiership – The ultimate prize, equivalent to the Super Bowl trophy.

Ruckman – the tall player (from 6’6” to 6’11”) who goes up for the centre bounce at the beginning of a game.

Rhys – David Rhys-Jones, a volatile but skilful Carlton player who won the 1987 Norm Smith (a medal awarded to the MVP in the grand final), by surprisingly lining up on the bigger and more fancied Dermot Brereton and handing him a football lesson.

Sack of Spuds – a bag of potatoes; you go down like one when you’re knocked out.

September – the month of the finals; synonymous with the finals.

Shirtfront – to bump another player with one’s hip and shoulder full force in the chest and with great ferocity; gradually being legislated out of the game by the social engineers at the AFL.

Skyhooks – Australian rock band whose heyday was in the 1970s, and whose lead singer was a man named Shirley, and he was serious!

St. Kilda – Another Melbourne suburban football club with very little success over the years; perennial losers.

Swanny – David McKay, a Carlton player of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, who was said to be so graceful in taking a high mark, that he resembled a swan.

Talls, Smalls, Corridors – modern football jargon introduced by David Parkin; pretentious way of speaking about simple football notions.

Uni – University; what else?

VCE – Victorian Certificate of Education, name of High School graduating certificate in Victoria since 1987.

Victoria Park – traditional home of the Collingwood Football Club (the old enemy), Carlton’s oldest and fiercest rival; inhabited by toothless ferals.

Wallsy – Robert Walls, a Carlton player of the 1960s and 70s, who captained and later coached the club to a Premiership – one of my two favourite players as a teenager.

1970 Grand Final – Carlton played against its traditional rival Collingwood and engineered the biggest grand final comeback in history clawing back a 44 point half-time deficit to win by 10 points; considered the day that modern football began.

What do you think?  If you’re not a footy fan, please let me know if it was useful.  If you are, please let me know if it was accurate.

7 Responses

  1. Big Nick – the only guy I’ve seen *fist* a ball from the centre-bounce to the goal-square!!
    Living In the Seventies – an album famous for having almost every track banned from radio airplay.
    I was 5 in 1970, but lived and raised in Sydney. My memories of Melbourne include the Flying Doormat (Bruce Doull), AC/DC’s video of “Long Way to the Top”, and Hey Hey It’s Saturday when it was good

  2. I can vouch for the non-footy terms of the glossary. With reference to the footy terms – I’ve decided to drop Greek and take up Dutch instead…

    1. Footy terms are hilarious. Games at the ‘G, calling teams the Maggies, the Sainters, the Dons, the Bloods – how do non-footy followers know which team is which, 16 official names, 16 official nicknames, and countless other nicknames for the teams. How would a non Aussie understand a game Satdee arvo, through the sticks…etc And I’m not even a fair dinkum diehard footy follower!

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