It’s back! Palmer’s Punchlines makes a ripping return!

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WHO can possibly forget the controversial and colourful Palmer’s Punchlines, from the personable and passionate SCOT PALMER? Treat yourself again:

A FOOTY rap sheet dating back to Round Three, 1974, bought back some strange memories this week to Tiger champ Royce Hart as he continues his life of retirement in Hobart.

The recent Tribunal appearance of Richmond player Bachar Houli and his use of character witnesses Malcolm Turnbull and Waleed Aly had Royce recalling that fateful night when he had to front the Tribunal on a charge of striking Carlton strong man Vin Waite.

It was a bleak evening for the Richmond camp with five of their players facing the music.

Round Player Charge Outcome Notes
3 Francis Bourke Kicking Not Guilty Kicking Robert Walls (Carl)
Royce Hart Striking 2 Matches Striking Vin Waite (Carl)
Mal Brown Assaulting 1 match
Stephen Parsons Assaulting 4 matches
Ricky McLean Striking Not Guilty
Mal Brown Throwing ball at umpire 4 matches

Going before Royce was the much-loved Francis Bourke, a football “saint” who was even referred to affectionately as St Francis by the Tiger flock. This night, however, he faced a charge of kicking Blue Robert Walls. How could anyone possibly imagine Francis Bourke kicking anyone?

The Bourke camp had a surprise in store for the Tribunal members: they wheeled out a priest from his old school, Assumption College, to testify to his good deeds and unblemished character. This and other testimony caused the hearing to stretch well into the night.

Royce had to stand around waiting, and wondering if the Tribunal members might be short of patience and temper by the time they got to him.

“I remember waiting and waiting while Francis’s case was heard and he got off,” Royce laughed. Bourke walked out smiling but Royce didn’t get to appear until after midnight and it didn’t take long: “I copped two weeks.”

Two other popular Richmond identities, President Ian “Octa” Wilson, and fearsome player Mal Brown (a Tribunal regular) were also in attendance, along with Stephen Parsons and Ricky McLean, another man who would have had no difficulty in finding his way to the tribunal.

McLean joined Bourke on the not guilty list but Parsons was outed for four matches for striking.

Brown played his usual colourful role in the proceedings, receiving a week’s suspension for striking and four matches for throwing the ball at the umpire. He summed it up succinctly: “I would have needed the entire church on my side to have got off.”

The Tigers were ultimately blessed with success, going on to win the flag that year.


FOLLOWING his Oscar-worthy eulogy at the Lou Richards funeral, Ron Joseph has become one of the town’s most sought after guest speakers.
The former North Melbourne stalwart laid them in the aisles at St Paul’s Cathedral when he told the gathering: “Lou told me his farewell would be bigger than Texas. He also told me I would have to speak at his funeral. ‘All the other people I know are dead.’”

Ron gave his heart and soul to the Kangaroos and, as part of the Aylett-Mantello team, oversaw the club’s resurrection. But, he was also a great admirer of the little Magpie rover and regularly picked up Lou from his care residence to take him to functions.

One was a birthday party in the Collingwood boardroom where they all sang Happy Birthday and Lou ate 30 oysters. What soured Lou a little that day was seeing Nathan Buckley’s photo looking larger than his.

Lou didn’t know then that he would soon get the chance to upstage Bucks by having a statue erected in his honour.

Ron has a date with the Sorrento Football Club inked in, along with a number of other speaking appearances.

Lou’s life touched many of us at The Sun and The Herald. His two-up games were carefully scheduled for Wednesday night, the day we all got paid. You would throw a pebble at a side window to alert the host to let you in.

One thing you couldn’t do was win. I remember being $700 up one night and when I announced I was going home, Lou stepped in: “Go on, take our money, p… off!” The insult worked: I stayed and lost the lot.


NINE’S number crunchers will be on overtime till the season is finished, trying to figure out how to put a stop to the diminishing ratings of their once all-conquering The Footy Show.

Many watchers have tried to offer solutions to the ailing, prime-time hotchpotch, without too much success.

Their call for Eddie McGuire to return as host has drawn no response, nor have Nine warmed to a recall of Trevor Marmalade to add footy humour to the marathon show.

Sam Newman needs to break from his headline-making gaffes and attempt some hard-nose interviews with game legends. He is an excellent interviewer and knows how to ask the tough questions.

Might I suggest Ron Barassi, Bob Skilton, Alex Jesaulenko and Kevin Murray all have some good stories to tell.

If the creators of the show read social media they will see viewers are crying out for some (and I hesitate to say it) “good old-fashioned footy stuff”. Meanwhile the crew down at Seven can’t take the smirk off their faces.


FOR those who may not be aware of it, Port Melbourne legend Fred Cook has been in the wars. He was knocked over by a motorbike, went home, had a shower and woke up in hospital four days later after suffering a stroke.

He is still recovering in Bendigo, being looked after by ex-wife Sally and looking forward to a tribute night being planned for him by Port in August.

Fred is hoping his long-time mate Sam Newman might act as host. It was Sam who provided the foreword for Fred’s book, modestly titled “Fabulous Fred”.

The goalkicking champion has had some speech difficulties since the stroke but each day he is getting back to his old self.

Newman wrote of Cook: “He succumbed to the pressures of a pop star, Hollywood lifestyle, and he paid dearly for the romance,” referring to Fred’s problem with drugs

By the time the Borough boys hail the club’s finest ever forward, who kicked a massive 1,366 goals in his career, Fred hopes to be stringing the words along quite nicely

I must mention the love and attention he has received from Sally whose comment to me was, “He’s a pain in the arse.”

THE Vingt Cinq is one of Australia’s most prestigious sporting clubs with members who have been champions from every field, most of them big, strong, hardy characters.

However, a new message to members suggests that age and misfortune is catching up with some.  The note advises that future meetings will be held at venues where there are few, if any, stairs to slow down the ageing sports heroes.

The latest to go down is former express Test bowler Ian Meckiff who is in hospital for knee surgery. Former Olympic water polo veteran John O’Brien fell and broke his hip, while triple Brownlow Medallist Bob Skilton is on sticks after a long and painful hip problem and infection. Club secretary David Robb, a former North Melbourne secretary, has the job of keeping the VC greats as comfortable and mobile as possible.


Author: Scot Palmer

VERY few personalities are as well known in the world of sport as SCOT PALMER. He was a fine sportswriter on The Sun News-Pictorial and a news-breaking Sports Editor on the Sunday Press, Sunday Sun and Sunday Herald Sun. But he was best known for his famous column, Palmer’s Punchlines, which ran for a record 25 years or more (he’s lost count!).



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