Cutting through the confusion

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HAVING trouble wading through the football terminology? GEOFF POULTER, with some help from his favourite philosopher, provides an easy-to-digest digest of what is being said about the great game:

A SCOOP of sorts. The Confucius of Footy has confided to me some of his random and inner private thoughts. Exclusively. Seems he overheard me holding court at the Emerald public house. Recognised the cultured voice from SEN radio.

Handed me a missive with advice – publish these in Suddenly he vanished into the ether with the vague promise of later more philosophies.


For the purposes of this article we’ll Anglicise and simplify his moniker to Confuse-Us.


Among some of the Confuse-Us declarations:

ESSENDON does not have an R in the middle of its name. UMPIRES are only human.

LEAGUE football is played mostly above the shoulders. CARLTON, whatever its status at the time, usually lifts when facing Essendon.

EVERY win brings you one step closer to your next defeat. ALL struggling, lower-level teams have a day out occasionally.

BEWARE the bearer of good tidings who prefaces his remarks with: To be honest; to tell you the truth; can I lay down all my cards on the table?

A PLAYER would trade all his Brownlow Medal(s) and personal glory for ultimate team success – a premiership. THERE will be plenty of time much later in retirement to reflect on personal achievements and milestones.

WET conditions either bring sides closer together OR accentuate the talent edge of one side. Take your pick. Depends which school you went to. SIMILARLY, teams have the wood on an opponent after a string of wins; or this is meaningless as personnel changes “over the journey”. Again, it’s optional.

A CHEAPY out the back; a Joe the Goose; a don’t argue; and to sell the dummy – they are all legitimate contemporary league footy expressions. AND, likewise, the Magoos; the transition; lock downs; folding back; deny access; and chaining it out – are all part of the today’s terminology and vernacular.

WHEN commentators say: “He come back on the field.” – they mean “came”. And, the odd habit of ending a sentence with “but”, perhaps for contrast, is also favoured by some and believed to have deep Queensland origins.

ETIHAD’S surface is hard because it lies on top of a concrete-roof car park – with only a few centimetres of separation. PLAYERS should kick more accurately there as the roof (and walls) keeps out the wind. Generally, ground conditions are much better than they were in “the old days” as photographs attest.

SUPPORTERS are keen for your team to shunted off interstate, merge or disband – but not theirs! THE game is becoming soft according to radio talk-back callers who may underestimate the courage required out in the middle.

THE wooden spoon, once an embarrassment and known as the alliterative unwanted utensil, now carrying the much sought-after No 1 draft pick, accordingly is known as the lovable ladle, desired dip or stellar scoop.

A CHAMPION team will always beat a team of champions – unless the team of champions is very, very good. Similarly, a good big man will always beat a good little man.

FANS, not so religious, now tolerate Good Friday; Eddie McGuire is a workaholic; Seventh is the new launching place for a Grand Final bid; and 24 million Australians (minus the AFL hierarchy) reckon Tassie should have its own team.

COMPLETELY unrelated to footy (though he was a keen Blues’ fan) we learned recently from political observers that, if Bob Menzies was alive today, and observed the goings-on, he’d turn in his grave.

And just so Confucius doesn’t get a big head – he can’t have all the glory. I’ll throw in a few of my own gems.

ALL good things come to an end; it’s nice to meet nice people; you can’t help bad luck; don’t eat pies on Mondays; be kind to your mother; a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

And most important of all – there’s more than one way to skin a cat!


Author: Geoff Poulter

GEOFF POULTER, 69, has spent 51 years in sports media. He was the last Melbourne Herald chief football writer. CV: Sports oracle, author, historian, impersonator, raconteur, poet, quiz whiz, philosopher, song-writer, intellectual scholar – and still employable!



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