“Eat ‘Em Alive” – The Night the Tigers Rocked the Theatre Royal

The Richmond Football Club will always be synonymous with the Apple Isle – names such as Stewart, Hart and Richardson will be forever etched into the fabric of the famous club and their heroic sporting feats will never be forgotten. The same can be said about combat sports. Far removed from the ‘black market’ fights of the Colonial period, modern Tasmanian pugilists such as Geale and Rawlings continue to make their mark at international level. The crossover between these two entities has been historically documented. Former Richmond Captain/Coach Dan Minogue won a Heavyweight boxing title for his regiment whilst serving in the AIF during World War One. More recently, former Tiger midfielder Shane Tuck has competed on major boxing cards within Australia (most recently on the undercard of Anthony Mundine v Danny Green II). Hidden away within the vast history of Tasmanian sports is a night in which one such crossover between boxing and the Richmond Football Club occurred, electrifying Hobart’s Theatre Royal building in the process.

A tour had been organised to the Apple Isle by the Dan Minogue led Richmond and a match was to be played against a Southern Tasmanian team on Saturday 30 September, 1922. A light run on North Hobart Oval on the Thursday beforehand was all the preparation needed as the Tigers edged out the representative team by 3 points, 10 – 9 – 69 to 9 – 12 – 66. Praise was bestowed on the Tasmanians by coach Minogue, claiming that he did not think that Victorian clubs ‘can teach them anything’ about the game, despite admitting that his opinion before the contest was that his Tigers would win easily[1]. A Richmond official referred to in the Hobart Mercury as Mr. Maybury would later lament that players such as Gorringe, Charlesworth and Smith, three men that went on to have well renowned local careers for the Cananore Football Club, would be welcome inclusions for Richmond in the Victorian Football League. Their prowess on the football field would not be the only impact that the Tigers had on the city during that week however.

The Wednesday prior to the exhibition football game, Hobart played host to the Australasian Amateur Boxing Championships which were held at the iconic Theatre Royal, a building known more-so in the Twenty-First Century as the City’s home of the performing arts. The event was packed with great quality boxing and all contests went the full distance. As the Mercury reported, ‘The boxing was of high standard, and served to demonstrate that there are in the amateur ranks some very fine exponents of self-defence’[2]. However, much of this was to be overshadowed by the energy and the veracity brought to the event by the Tigers through the support they showed for their fellow Victorian athletes, one of which was said to have been from the suburb of Richmond. Headlining the bouts were three high profile Melbournian pugilists: A. J. Peet (image right) –A.J. Peet a young up and coming Bantamweight that was ear-marked for a lengthy career in the sport, Mat Killeen – a well-renowned boxer amongst the Victorian policing heavyweight ranks that fought out of Port Melbourne and Bert Ristuccia – a man that would go on to have some well-documented fights in Melbourne in the years that followed the tournament. Richmond had the building shaking. Each time a shot landed, whether it be a left hook or a right uppercut – the Tigers could be heard shouting their now famous ‘Eat ‘Em Alive’ catch cry as these boxers found an opening on their opponent[3]. Victoria would go on the bring home one title from the event as Peet was crowned the champion of the Bantamweight ranks.

While such an event seems irrelevant on the surface, it is interesting to me for two main reasons. Firstly, it is a welcome reminder of how important it is to support local and amateur sports. In a world in which it is easy to get caught up in the mega-stardom that is aligned with professional sports, teams and players associated with the local are becoming increasingly squeezed out and overlooked. These footballers showed a bond of solidarity with their fellow Victorians and their support highlights the degree in which sport can be the lifeblood of any community and bring people together. Secondly, the incident has a somewhat surreal feeling to it. It is one of the first documented times that Tasmania would hear the “Eat ‘Em Alive” catch cry that would become a famous motto for the Richmond Football Club for years to come and continues to this day. More importantly, it became a mantra that would define many Tasmanian Tigers during their careers. Players such as Hart, Sproule and Stewart, stars of the Tom Hafey era that heralded four premierships in the eight years between 1967-74 would hear the screaming masses urge on their players with the famous slogan as they battled on wilfully. In more recent years, forward marvels Richardson and Riewoldt have rode this wave of supporter cries as the club strives to relive the success and glory of a past era. To find the starting point for what has become a long and sustained history of Tasmanian Tiger ruthlessness, we must look to this night in 1922 which had previously been hidden within a microcosm of Tasmanian sports history.

Royce

The above image depicts two Tasmanian Tigers, Royce Hart and Matthew Richardson flying high in the marking contest – Eat ‘Em Alive the accompanying insignia (Jamie Cooper Artist Print).

[1] The Mercury, 2 October 1922, p. 7.

[2] The Mercury, 28 September 1922, p. 8.

[3] The Mercury, 29 September 1922, p. 8.

Advertisements

The Tasmanian Journey of Dan Minogue: The Forgotten Chapter of a Magnificent Football Legacy

The legacy that Dan Minogue left within the game of Australian rules was quite remarkable. As a player he is said to have been one of the most courageous of his time, playing out the 1911 grand final for Collingwood with a broken collar bone. Well respected as captain, the love that Magpies supporters showed the man would last until 1916 when he would join the AIF in Europe during WWI. Here, he captain-coached the third division team that played at London’s famous Queens Park. Upon return to Australia, a 1919 clearance request shocked most at Collingwood and angered the rest. Soon, a fan favourite would turn into a much maligned figure. Ben Collins has suggested that his photo was removed from the wall of fame at the club and certain monetary entitlements were not paid out. Inner-city rivals Richmond would soon acquire the services of Minogue (from 1920-25) and immediate success for the club followed. As captain-coach, he would lead the Tigers to their first two VFL premierships in 1920/21. After six seasons he left to coach Hawthorn (1926-27), playing one solitary game in the process. In all, his playing career spanned fifteen years including those spent serving overseas. Following his stint at Hawthorn, he would coach fellow VFL teams Carlton (1929-34), St. Kilda (1935-37) and Fitzroy (1940-42). John Devaney states that his grand total of games was 448, 180 as a player which heralded 77 goals and 268 as non playing coach. A truly remarkable career for one of the game’s most controversial figures of the interwar era.

Yet there are gaps in his VFL career, most notably during his years of service. However, in 1928, between stints with Hawthorn and Carlton, Minogue continued his senior coaching. Rather than continue in Victoria, he accepted a position in Tasmania as the coach of New Town, the club that forms the basis of the modern day powerhouse Glenorchy. At the time, he arrived with the reputation as one of the best football minds in the country. Reporting his appointment, Launceston’s Daily Telegraph quoted a Melbourne observer that had spoken so highly of Minogue’s knowledge and leadership. The article reads:

‘So observant has he been during his connection with the game that he has picked up points which many players would miss or attach no importance to. His qualities are second to none, as far as a captain is concerned, for Minogue is a man who plays well and hard, and will back up his statements in the dressing room by his actions on the field.’[1]

It was hoped that his appointment would lead to the young New Town squad learning a great deal about the game from one of it’s most estate judges. The New Town club board was not so much concerned with Minogue adding to their on field prowess, an area they believed they were more than abundant in. However, if he were to suit up, the Burnie Advocate predicted he would be a valuable asset in any position, or merely for his ‘generalship’ [2] on the field. Leading up to the season, there was a certain hype around the club with pundits predicting New Town would be well poised to show improvements from the previous season’s modest performances. Minogue was just a handful of recruits to the club. Cole and Franklin had made the switch from Devonport, while H. O. Smith, formerly of Lefroy and T. Viney from North Launceston Juniors were just some of the impressive young recruits. Good practice form had been encouraging and the new coach had been working tirelessly to turn out a winning team that season. Despite the early hard work, New Town did not finish the season as strongly as hoped.

On field, the club did not rise to great team success as had been hoped, but even after seventeen years in the game Minogue still achieved great feats of individual play. In a game late in the season against Lefroy at Hobart’s TCA ground, he would play a pivotal role in ensuring that New Town would win by setting up excellent passages of play for team mates Smith and Pearce to kick goals in quick succession, leading to a 9 point win over their bottom placed rivals[3]. With the ever strong North Hobart finishing off the season as premiers of the 1928 Tasmanian Australian National Football League, New Town were left to take on Cananore for the moral rights to the runner up position. Despite winning less games, Cananore had finished ahead of New Town on points with the last roster game between the two finishing in a draw. It was because of such a close finish on the table that a rivalry developed between the two, leading to this intense match that was played without premiership points at stake[4]. The match had occurred on a rain soaked Hobart Saturday. Playing in the forward pocket, Minogue kicked a goal from a scrimmage in the last quarter after previously setting up chances for others to score and even hitting the post from a hurried shot off the ground in the first quarter. These efforts were to no avail as Cananore took the game by five points after a late goal by Hill put them in front[5].

New Town had only heralded seven wins. A failed season without question. Nonetheless, the knowledge of the game imparted on his youthful players led to individual success for the club. The Southern Medal for the best and fairest player in the league was won by George Cole, the young half back from Devonport that had developed into a fine centreman. He would go on to become a fine soldier and a controversial member of the Australian Parliament as a Senator heavily involved in the split of the Australian Labor Party in 1955. During his years as a player, Cole played for a number of representative teams, namely the South side in 1929 and the 1930 Tasmanian National carnival team. He also became a playing coach, his highest achievement coming in 1933 when he led Huonville to its first ever premiership. Reflecting on his football career in 1951, the Burnie Advocate reported after an interview with Cole that ‘he owes a lot to New Town’s coach Dan Minogue whom he considers was the best coach in Australia’[6].

Understandably so, the VFL career of Dan Minogue makes up the grand narrative of such a colourful figure. Yet the one year he had in Tasmania should be considered as part of the image. His short stint proved to have a profound impact on football in the state. Glimpses of great play by a man of such skill and poise provided onlookers with a spectacle to marvel at. His many years of experience gave the New Town football club hope for success, while his great and detailed knowledge of the game was passed on to young, aspiring stars such as George Cole to hold them in good stead for future years.


[1] Launceston Daily Telegraph – 15 Nov 1927, p. 5.

[2] Burnie Advocate – 28 Nov 1927, p. 3.

[3] The Mercury – 28 August 1928, p. 12.

[4] The Mercury – 17 September 1928, p. 12.

[5] See above.

[6] Burnie Advocate – 17 Feb 1951, p. 11.

The Strangest of Beginnings: How The New Norfolk Cricket Club Came Into Being

NNCC

Looking from the outside, everything appeared to be normal for the New Norfolk cricket club in its initial stages. The founders of the current incarnation of the club met at the Star and Garter hotel in late September in 1876 to form the organisation. W. A. B. Jamieson, town warden took the chair and upon resolving that a cricket club be formed, officers were soon appointed. Jamieson would be president, with B. Gaynor and R. Smith being elected treasurer and secretary respectively. 15 men were also elected as vice-presidents and a committee of 9 was also elected. In all, around 25 names were put forward as prospective members for the upcoming year which the Mercury stated would be ‘the prospect of a good strong club being formed’. All of this seems pretty straight forward. Some things will never change. Clubs cannot operate without a number of volunteers or paid administrators that work tirelessly to keep affairs in order. With this sorted, the club looked to play its first game.

It did not take New Norfolk long to get their first win on the board. This would come on 2 December 1876 against Plenty at their home ground, Arthur square which at present, looks more like a nature reserve in the centre of the town than a cricket ground. The victory came by 37 runs after posting 48 and 70 runs in each innings, compared to the 36 and 45 run totals of Plenty. At the game’s conclusion, the two teams enjoyed a dinner at the nearby Star and Garter hotel where the basis of the club’s first win had been created just two months earlier. At this point, it is hard to understand what is so ‘strange’ about the beginnings of the club. It was created, with officers and had played games against opposition clubs by Christmas in 1876. What is so bizarre is that the first game was in fact an intra-club match of strange proportions. In establishing who would play for who, the numbers were not simply divided up evenly. Rather, a stipulation was put in place. It would be those that were married taking on the single men at the club.

On 4 November, the stumps were pitched at Arthur square for the contest. The main purpose of the game was to show that ‘the old cricketing spirit had not died out’ in the area. Starting at 1 o’clock, each team nominated an umpire. It would only be fitting that Jamieson would be an official for the contest, taking control for the single men while Mr. Turnbull, one of the vice-presidents of the club officiated for the married. Another aspect that made this game so unique was that it was a one-day game, similar to the way it is played in the modern era. As decided before the game took place, each team would have an innings each due to there not being enough time to complete two. The result of this was a win to the singles by 25 runs, 92 to 67. For the singles, only Marshall (21) and Matthews (11) made double figures, while the married men were led well by Downie (17 not out) and Jeffery (15). There is no record of the number of wickets taken that day, only an account of who was most effective with the ball. These were Smith and Prampton (married), and Moore and Marshall (single). On a fine day at New Norfolk, many spectators turned out to watch the interesting affair where there was said to be ‘considerable interest among the residents’ of the town.

The flow on from this has been huge. Over 140 years on the club  has three teams playing the Southern Cricket Association and has had its share of high and low points. At the height of its powers the club has won premierships in the Derwent Valley Association as well as the Southern and has seen some quite remarkable individual feats. These have been offset by talks of folding at stages during its lower periods. Regardless of this, the club moves forward continuing to build on the foundations laid by Jamieson and his men on that day in November 1876, playing cricket to foster the love of the game in the area.

 

 

The Footballer Senator

Cole blog 2Cole blog

Sport, it can be said transcends the divisions of society. Concepts of race, status and in some respects gender can be essentially forgotten as people are placed on a level playing field and share a common identity. This can create the opposite effect too. People can boost their status through great performances, acts of bravery and sheer physical dominance. In the case of George Ronald Cole, the ultimate rise to prominence took place.

Through a long career as an educator, as well as a period in the armed forces during World War Two, Cole was able to live out a prolonged footballing life that led him to play for and coach a wide range of teams around Tasmania. Starting in his native town of Devonport, he played with the local high school before making the switch to the senior team as a sixteen year old half-back flanker. Soon he would become a centre man, a position he would come to dominate for a number of years. In 1951, a flashback to his early career by “spotlight” in the Advocate newspaper suggested that his play was characterised by ‘quick thinking and heady disposal’. Despite moving to Hobart in 1927 for teachers college, he would controversially travel back to Devonport to continue to play before he made a permanent switch to Hobart in 1928. Here, he would play for the New Town football club where some would say he had his greatest individual success as the best and fairest player in the league in his first season. Across subsequent seasons, he forged out a representative career as a Southern (1929) and a State (1930) player at respective carnivals.

As alluded to previously, his career would continue to take him to new teams in the far reaches of the State. He left New Town in 1932 and would return in 1936 to play the following season. During this hiatus, he was appointed as captain/coach of Huonville while teaching in the area. In 1933, the team won its first ever premiership. Later years of teaching and military service saw him: Captain/coach Devonport (1938-40), Longford (1947), vice-captain Latrobe (1948), play for several army teams (1940-44) and establish an association at Strahan (1946). Across his career of more than twenty years, he was lucky enough to learn under VFL champion Dan Minogue in 1928 at New Town. Minogue had captain/coached Richmond to back to back premierships in 1920 and ’21. Another former Richmond premiership player and best and fairest winner, Basil McCormack was able to give Cole some form of tutelage in his second stint at New Town where he was senior coach. In addition to this, he played against some of the games most well known players, such as South Melbourne champion Laurie Nash.

In sum, Cole was a well known figure in a variety of towns throughout Tasmania. From the humble school kid that had shown his talent at Devonport, to the premiership hero that had delivered Huonville its first title, Cole had become a high ranking local identity. Many people certainly knew he was. This was a principle that he was able to manipulate in 1949 when he had ran for Federal parliament as a senator. His advertisement campaigns in local newspapers stated that he should be voted for because he was a ‘good sportsman’. This quality meant he should be the voter’s choice as the ‘number 1 man’. Given the close knit nature of the electorate in Tasmanian politics, voters are naturally drawn to prominent personalities rather than party principles and policies. It was a no brainer then that Cole was elected in the December 1949 election as Labor Party senator.

The rest is history. As a politician, the impact that Cole would have on Australian political history was enormous. But this has been understated. In 1955, he took a stand with fellow Labor Party executive members and left the party over the issue of the stance on Communism. He was a founding member and eventual Federal leader of what is now known as the Democratic Labor Party  which advocated the anti-Communist and Christian perspective over the major issues of the late 1950s and early 1960s. These included boycotts on Communist countries through non support of trade and through support for wars, such as Vietnam. Ultimately, the major impact of his time in politics was the downfall of the Labor party. Democratic Labor preferences went to the Liberal Government of the era which kept Labor members out of the seats required to make up a majority.

In all, Cole serves as a case study in which sport can boost a person’s status, though not in the same style seen in the modern era where huge monetary payments and multiple media platforms allow athletes to become ‘well known’. In Cole’s circumstances, sport had allowed him to move from the football fields of Devonport high school where he had worked so hard to the battleground of Canberra’s Parliament. Despite not being well known in the Twenty-First century, Cole’s tough and crafty qualities that he had displayed throughout both his football and political career had helped him leave an indelible mark on Australian history.

 

 

Courageous Savages: Boxing in Colonial Tasmania


21st Century perceptions of fight sports are generally at either end of a spectrum. On one end, many take an interest in such a brave and skilled pursuit. Others take a contrary view, arguing that it is savage. ‘Commercialised violence’ is a term thrown around by onlookers. Van Diemen’s Land/Tasmania in the Colonial period was characterised by both of these ways of thinking. It is only fitting that if I am to look at the sports stories of our island that I go as far back as the start of our existence as a British settlement to explore a pastime that was once enjoyed as much as horse racing.

‘Pugilism’, as boxing was commonly known was banned in the early decades of the century. However, as with many illicit activities its illegal status did not necessarily mean that it did not occur. Taverns and private residences, as well as open spaces that were not so discrete such as horse racing venues played host these encounters. The rules were simple: fight bare knuckle, don’t strangle your counterpart or hit them below the belt. A round ended when a fighter was knocked down and would recommence when they got back to their feet and met a ‘scratch line’ drawn in the ground. The last man standing won. Later rules were enacted in the 1830s that banned eye gouging, head butting and neck throttling. One constant standard was that under no circumstances could one fighter hit another while they were on the ground. Given the violence involved, many would be left to wonder what would drive a person to partake in such a practice. Money played a major role in a rather dire economy. A large sum of money could be made if a fighter was successful. For example, a March 1839 edition of the Cornwall Chronicle reported that a prize of £50 was up for grabs if anyone accepted the open challenge of a well known pugilist of the time. This was a fair amount of money to risk a few blows to the head for, given that if a person were to labour in the Hobart town area the could expect to bring home a mere three shillings per day. Furthermore, betting on a particular fighter could also return a hefty sum.

And yet, despite the ultimate reward that could be achieved out of this there were in fact some tragic circumstances. Take for example the story of Thomas Clarke of Torquay (near modern day Devonport). The Mersey Inn played host to an encounter between Clarke and opponent Alexander Black, a fight so brutal that Clarke had to be carried to bed where he died shortly after. It is for this reason that boxers were viewed in a positive light. They flirted with death, displayed high levels of courage and were an embodiment of masculinity, a particular trait valued in the period by both Van Diemen’s Land/Tasmanian society and the British colonisers more generally. Skills were also of high regard. The craft of the fighter was akin to that of a scientist going about their experiment. It was methodical and calculated. Tasmania’s own ‘Jack the Lad’ went about dismantling British fighter ‘Payne the Butcher’ in ‘his own careful way’ the Launcestor Examiner reported in 1842 as he laid three swift blows on the Englishman’s face to win the bout. He was in fact considered one of the most ‘experienced professors’ in his field.

As was alluded to at the beginning of this article however, some people did not think fondly of the sport as the century went on. The 1840s and 1850s (on some occasions much earlier), became a time in which immoral behaviour was cracked down upon, an overall attempt to rid society of the stain left by a convict heritage. New arrivals, free settlers that were not subject to the history of the convict system attempted to distance their society and culture from the alleged barbarism that went with the years before them. The Colonial Times in June 1826, suggested that ‘police should work hard to prevent a reoccurrence of this shameful and brutal offence’ as it was harmful to human life. Similarly, the Launceston Advertiser of 1830 suggested that it should be stamped out because of the corruption of people it brought about, seeing it as nothing more than gambling, idleness and barbarity. People were generally concerned with the impact these fights could have on people and were no longer comfortable with the deaths that occurred.

Fights, while still taking place in a far more discreet manor were shut down and shamed in the media from this point. In 1848, a fight overseen by Mr. Gellibrand at Lindisfarne after it was moved by boat from South Arm, was shut down by Police Chief McArthur because of its detestable nature. The public shaming of the sport was a nationwide phenomena and led to very little growth compared to the great team sports we see today in the State. Modern day Tasmanian boxing survives through police and citizens youth clubs, as well as the local independent clubs within the suburbs of the major cities. A legacy of the sport in the state is being created on an International level by Daniel Geale and his various pursuits at world championships. Yet we must remember that for a time it was the ambitious, courageous and somewhat delusional men like ‘Jack the Lad’ that held the highest rank in the sport.

One Day in September 1953 – Hawthorn, Olliver and the Birth of Modern Tasmanian Football Issues

Anyone with a connection to the Derwent Valley would know that sport speaks volumes in the community. Football in particular is a game that is well knitted into its fabric. One aspect of this is the proud association with the Hawthorn football club that many people have, largely due to the escapades of the immortal Peter Hudson, known as ‘Huddo’ to many. As a young man, the origins of his VFL career that saw him amass 727 goals from 129 games (including the 1971 premiership) were established on the hallowed turf of the Valley, Boyer Oval. In an interview with Mike Sheehan, he was said to have had the ground as his backyard as he lived virtually next door. Throughout his early career in the area, his goal kicking talents were shared around. The New Norfolk high school, Upper Derwent and New Norfolk football clubs (the last of which saw him kick 378 goals from 78 games played), were indeed lucky to have felt his presence on the field.

However, it was in fact before the time of ‘Huddo’ that the Hawthorn football club gained recognition in the Valley. Under the guidance of Arthur Olliver, the former Footscray captain-coach, New Norfolk took on the men from Glenferrie in a clash at Boyer Oval in late Spetember 1953. Olliver had left Victoria after the 1951 season and had made his way to Tasmania where he would make an immediate impact, winning New Norfolk’s best and fairest in his first year. His ‘Eagles’ as the club is commonly known would have a tough task against the VFL side, despite champions such as Rex Garwood of the New Town (modern day Glenorchy) club donning the New Norfolk colours.

Though they finished bottom of the table in the 1953 season, the Hawthorn side of the day was far too strong for their hometown opponents and took the game in emphatic style 18.11.119 to 8.4.52. The Mercury reported that ‘the physical fitness’ and the ‘rugged style’ of the young Hawks impressed a crowd of over 1500 that came from all parts of the southern half of the state to witness the spectacle. A week later, the North West Football Union tried their luck against the Victorians, a game that has no accessible record of a result.

This exhibition game, it can be argued was a groundbreaking element in the overall development of the prosperous relationship of the Hawthorn football club with the Derwent Valley and to a greater extent the entire State of Tasmania. In the modern day national competition, it appears that the most economically viable solution to see high level football played in the State is for the major clubs from the mainland to make financial agreements to play games at the appropriate venues in the North and South. The result of this has been Launceston’s York Park in particular, playing host to some excellent matches and breathtaking moments involving the Hawks. None of these could be bigger than the efforts of Lance Franklin. ‘Buddy’ as the football world knows him played a breakout game at the venue with a six goal haul against this author’s beloved Tigers in 2006. In 2012, he would lead his side to an emphatic 115 point win over North  Melbourne with a tantalising thirteen goal haul.

Such an agreement has been prominent for over ten years, despite the efforts of those who see Tasmania as a deserving recipient of a team in the national league. Interestingly enough, Arthur Olliver was quoted expressing his desire for two Tasmanian teams in the VFL competition in the Mercury during the same week as the game at Boyer oval. He suggested that every second week, one of the teams would fly to Victoria while the other played at home to another Victorian team. As an aside, he also suggested that initial efforts that had been made to expand the game in New South Wales would fail. In his mind, finance should bear no burden to the ability for the State to be involved in high standard football. While he conceded that these teams would struggle initially, it was best for all parties involved and improvement would come rapidly. His main agenda was that he did not want to see talented players being wasted. Such issues have been taken into account by AFL leaders in their considerations for granting a team licence to Tasmania, but have ultimately resulted in the State being knocked back.

And so, 63 years later Tasmanian football fans are left to ponder the circumstances that emerged from an exhibition game all those years ago. A vocal and hopeful minority still attemps to heed the cries of Olliver, but it appears that the Hawks are left as one of Tasmania’s most viable options for a presence on the national football stage. The dreamers will not stop scheming up ways of seeing a stand alone team wearing the infamous ‘map’ jumper, but such a relationship between the state and the defending champions, built on the foundation laid by those men who graced Boyer oval that day has ensured that we as Tasmanians are able to enjoy the many talents of some of the modern era’s great players in the flesh, even if only on a semi-regular basis.

 

(quotes and paraphrases were taken from editions of the Mercury between Sat 26 September and Mon 28 September).