Lockett gained AFL fan in me

THE PRENTER REPORT: Geoff Prenter. Photo: File

THE PRENTER REPORT: Geoff Prenter. Photo: File

When I recently moved to Bowral I was hoping I would soon “bump” into AFL legend Tony Lockett. I knew, through his well-publicized greyhound interests, that “Plugger” was a member of the Southern Highlands community. Tony Lockett ended a football sabbatical for me way back in 1955. For over 40 years I was a dedicated member of Sydney’s Rugby League media. I literally breathed, ate and slept “the greatest game of all.” But in 1994 I had had a gut-full. I suffered burn out and almost overnight, Rugby League left me cold. 

One afternoon while perched on the grassy banks of Riverview College, marveling at the skills of both Riverview and their arch enemy, St Josephs, a friend recognised me and asked me if I had ever been to the SCG to watch the Sydney Swans strut their stuff in the AFL.

Although I had played a season of AFL with South Sydney in under 18s, the game that boasted the longest knock-on in world football. My friend then asked if I had seen Tony Lockett play.

“No,” I shrugged, “but I have heard of him.” I was urged to accept the offer of two free tickets to watch Lockett in action the following Saturday. My wife, a Canadian, and I had sat in awe at the performance of Tony Lockett. Lockett was an exceptional footballler, the best AFL player I have seen and that includes Gary Ablett, James Hird, Barry Hall and the incredible, Lance Franklin. If Lockett ever made a mistake, I missed it. But the time has come for a change. I have handed in my membership of the Swans due to sloppy administration. I am back on the Rugby League truck, hoping the Moss Vale Dragons kick a goal or two next season. In the interim, I would love to shake the hand of Plugger. He made many weekends so much to look forward to.

Butter Fingers:

You just don’t criticise Australia’s crack cricket captain Steve Smith, even if your name’s Brown. But…Smithy your performance at first slip in the fourth Test at the MCG beggars belief.. You with the big hands and the reputation as one of the game’s best “slippers” would have made a 15-year-old blush in embarassment.

You make a meal of a catch off a batsman on 62 who then proceeds to “cook” Australia’s by preventing  a 4-0 margin in the series by chalking a double century. Perhaps a spell from the slips will refresh you.

Two dropped catches at first slip warrants time in the sin bin, albeit, mid-on.