During research for Finding Jack Dyer...

During research for Finding Jack Dyer I often rang past Richmond players and asked for an interview purely because I wanted to meet them. It was a ruse I'm not proud of but hey, when would an opportunity like this pop up again? Typical of this ploy was my interview of Tiger player and 4 time premiership coach T-shirt Tommy Hafey, who remains a sporting hero of mine.

I had met him twice before.

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Once outside the Village Belle hotel in Barkly Street, St Kilda. I was holding onto the traffic light for support when suddenly he was within hugging distance. Me, drunk and unhealthy, him double my age and triple the muscle.

Both of us we're waiting for the red light to turn green.

'Hey! Tommy! How are you?' I said, far too enthusiastically.

'No,' he said. 'How are you?'

It took my mind a few seconds to figure out what he had just done and when it did Tommy was gone and my respect for him was (almost) sobering.

The second time was last summer on Pt Leo beach. Tommy was walking along the shore in green dick-stickers. My girlfriend spotted him. I made eye contact, said G'day and he was stuck talking to me for ten minutes about The Tiges. Me, pale and in board shorts that covered my spindly legs, him double my age, tanned and ridiculously buffed, completely unfussed that he was only wearing what in most cultures would be called underpants.

He didn't complain about chatting to a stranger on a beach. He asked for my name which he got wrong when he said goodbye, but still, no-one's perfect.

I got in touch a third time simply because I wanted to meet him properly and the book was the perfect excuse. Tom Hafey has a calm about him, a certainty, that's frankly quite unnerving. The interview was a bit stop-start, me thinking of questions, and him too nice to call the police. Luckily for both of us, Tommy had some terrific memories of Jack, mostly from after Jack'd stopped coaching the Tigers,but he did recall when he first saw him play. Tommy was 12 years old when he and his dad saw Jack in the 1943 Grand Final at Princes Park.

I asked Tommy if Jack was an enforcer or simply used his strength to his advantage, as in my research for the book I had discovered conflicting yet equally credible opinion about Jack the footballer.After all, and this surprises most people, Jack was reported only 4 times in his 19 year playing career, for one suspension. Hardly the signs of a law breaker called Captain Blood.

'I'd say Jack was an enforcer,' Tom said. Hetook a sip of his tea and continued...

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Posted in Transportation/Automotive Post Date 03/05/2017