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Under Two Flags

Some Thoughts on Amir Khan and Cathy Freeman* The lanky teenager bedecked in red stepped into the ring: eyes wide. The Union-Jacked fan club stood cheering in the stands, providing their last minutes of support before the fight that would  determine the 2004 Olympics gold-medal in the 57-60kg division. Britain’s youngest ever boxer at the…

The Blues of Short Suffering

I’m a Carlton supporter. Don’t hold it against me – I have other things happening in my life. I read novels, I have friends – many of whom aren’t into footy.  My experience of being a suffering football fan has been short-lived. We, the Navy Blues, only accept success in our narratives. Yet, something strange began to brew…

Missing Goodes

A lot happened in the lead up to the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round. Carlton Football Club apologised for its discrimination against Sir Doug Nicholls. Richmond Football Club promoted the role of its Laguntas Program and Korin Gamadji Institute. The AFL showed a series of short videos on the life of Sir Doug Nicholls. Each…

Talking Indonesian Football

I spoke with Dr.Ken Setiawan, McKenzie Fellow at The University of Melbourne, regarding football in Indonesia for the podcast, Talking Indonesia. The interview can be found here Football and Fan Culture. Below is an excerpt from the conversation. What got you into studying football in Indonesia? From the time I started visiting Indonesia regularly in…

Outer Sanctum Podcast

The AFL is in a rush to be ‘inclusive’ and to be more representative of society. For so long Australian rules has been exemplary of the archetypal Aussie macho male. Tough, arrogant, abusive, crass. As Mike Sheahan said in his interview with the sport’s best investigative journalist, Caroline Wilson, “footy is a man’s game, everyone…

Soccer and the City

(An article of mine has been published in Sport and Society journal) Football fandom and sports culture are largely neglected in studies of Indonesia. This is despite the highly complex nature of football fandom in Indonesian cities. This essay draws on experiences in two cities in central Java: Yogyakarta and Solo. Contemporary football culture in…

Un-Militarize My Football

Baseball is traditionally called America’s pastime, but it is the National Football League that has dominated the American consciousness for the better part of the past two decades and over the past fifty years has built its brand around the message that football and the American way of life are synonymous. Football is a blue-collar…

Approach with Caution

Following a football team, seriously and committedly, so often feels like a fruitless endeavour. For years, fans suffer in ignominy as their team under-performs and follows one losing season with another. Coaches get sacked on a presidential whim; promising players leave for better-run clubs; injuries strike down established stars. And then, when the good times,…

Footy Diplomacy

*Many fans of Australian rules football like to think of it as the world’s greatest game. Yet this grand assertion is often accompanied by an awareness that it is a professional sport, in only one, sparsely-populated country in which it competes directly against the rugby codes for interest during winter. The dominant administrative body of…

Reading Sideways