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Author Archive for Joe Gorman

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How the Brisbane Broncos rose out of the political mess that was 1980s Queensland | Joe Gorman

To a remarkable degree, the decline of old style politics coincided with the demise of traditional rugby leagueBy the end of July 1987, cracks were beginning to show in the premiership of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. For six months he had embarked on the infam…

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‘Una famiglia’: the diverse roots of Italy’s Rugby League World Cup squad

The Azzurri – a mix of Australian-born NRL stars, homegrown talent and union converts – will forgo match payments to assist development of the game in ItalyIn far north Queensland, the Italian rugby league team has been sharing stories. The players com…

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Lebanon’s World Cup is about more than simply rugby league | Joe Gorman

The game has been a unifying force for Lebanese people of all religions and this World Cup is helping ease internal divisions within their communitiesEvery rugby league season for the past few years, Chris Saab has worked long hours at his earthmoving …

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Indigenous rugby league carnivals becoming the ‘saviour’ of the NRL | Joe Gorman

Festivals such as the Murri Carnival and the Koori Knockout provide a chance to reaffirm connection to community, but also offer players a career stepping stone

Every spring, as September draws to a close and the NRL grand final is played over the October long weekend, thousands of Indigenous people in Queensland and New South Wales come together to contest the Murri Carnival and the Koori Knockout. Together, these two rugby league tournaments represent the largest gathering of Indigenous people in the country, eclipsing all other cultural festivals.

Established in 2011, the Murri Carnival is the much younger and more formal little brother of the Koori Knockout, which began in 1971. For the past six years the Carnival has been run by the Arthur Beetson Foundation and hosted at Redcliffe Dolphins’ home ground in Brisbane.

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Mark Viduka: the Socceroos great whose Croatian roots ran deep | Joe Gorman

In an extract from his forthcoming book, The Death and Life of Australian Soccer, Joe Gorman delves into the striker’s profound connection to Croatia

The winter of 1992 brought Mark Viduka and Mark Rudan together for the very first time. They were both 16 had spent most of their lives at the Croatian soccer clubs of Melbourne and Sydney, and had both been awarded scholarships to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

“What nationality are you?” Viduka asked Rudan. “Croatian,” came the response.

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‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

No other sporting event will ever be able to galvanise and reflect the state quite like Origin, an annual event that even non-rugby league followers pay heed to

By midday a crowd of thousands had formed at Southbank, on the edge of the Brisbane River, for the inaugural Maroon Festival. Fierce young men with neck tattoos and wraparound sunglasses. Blonde women in white skirts or shorts. Murris in loud football jerseys sponsored by Deadly Choices. Elderly couples with lanyards and Sunday Mail show-bags. One man dressed in North Queensland Cowboys shorts, a Queensland jumper and a broad bushman’s hat. A Kiwi woman sported a maroon t-shirt with a gold rather than silver fern, emblazoned with the slogan MarooNZ. As proud parents snapped photos, three young children stood in front of an inflatable State of Origin gladiator and yelled, “Go Queensland!”

Related: Queensland in radical shakeup in bid to hit back in State of Origin Game II

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‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

No other sporting event will ever be able to galvanise and reflect the state quite like Origin, an annual event that even non-rugby league followers pay heed to

By midday a crowd of thousands had formed at Southbank, on the edge of the Brisbane River, for the inaugural Maroon Festival. Fierce young men with neck tattoos and wraparound sunglasses. Blonde women in white skirts or shorts. Murris in loud football jerseys sponsored by Deadly Choices. Elderly couples with lanyards and Sunday Mail show-bags. One man dressed in North Queensland Cowboys shorts, a Queensland jumper and a broad bushman’s hat. A Kiwi woman sported a maroon t-shirt with a gold rather than silver fern, emblazoned with the slogan MarooNZ. As proud parents snapped photos, three young children stood in front of an inflatable State of Origin gladiator and yelled, “Go Queensland!”

Related: Queensland in radical shakeup in bid to hit back in State of Origin Game II

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‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

No other sporting event will ever be able to galvanise and reflect the state quite like Origin, an annual event that even non-rugby league followers pay heed to

By midday a crowd of thousands had formed at Southbank, on the edge of the Brisbane River, for the inaugural Maroon Festival. Fierce young men with neck tattoos and wraparound sunglasses. Blonde women in white skirts or shorts. Murris in loud football jerseys sponsored by Deadly Choices. Elderly couples with lanyards and Sunday Mail show-bags. One man dressed in North Queensland Cowboys shorts, a Queensland jumper and a broad bushman’s hat. A Kiwi woman sported a maroon t-shirt with a gold rather than silver fern, emblazoned with the slogan MarooNZ. As proud parents snapped photos, three young children stood in front of an inflatable State of Origin gladiator and yelled, “Go Queensland!”

Related: Queensland in radical shakeup in bid to hit back in State of Origin Game II

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Promotion, relegation and expansion: football waits for the big step up | Joe Gorman

In the latest part of Guardian Australia’s series analysing the current state of the game, Joe Gorman looks at an idea that’s easy to like but much more difficult to implement – and the battle raging between expansionists and traditionalists

This was the A-League season when Tim Cahill came home, when video technology was introduced for referees, and when Sydney FC smashed several records to win the premiership and the championship. It was also the season in which the gulf between big cities, small cities and regional areas was most pronounced, in which A-League owners and National Premier League clubs grew increasingly impatient with Football Federation Australia, and interest in the A-League flatlined across the country.

The 2016-17 grand final was a fitting metaphor for the competition as a whole: a willing spectacle played on a shaky, uncertain surface.

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Canberra City: a blueprint for current A-League expansion hopefuls | Joe Gorman

This weekend marks the 40th birthday of Australia’s first truly national league and a club built on geographic areas rather than ethnic communities

The current hottest topic in Australian football is A-League expansion. The list of candidates grows by the month: Tasmania with their political heavies, South Melbourne with their half-truths and histrionics, Wollongong Wolves, South Sydney, south-west Sydney, Geelong, Brisbane Strikers. Yet one region has so far been conspicuously absent from the recent discussion: Canberra.

Related: Scrap A-League salary cap for the good of football in Australia, says Postecoglou

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Jason Mifsud and Fitzroy Stars: a man on a mission at a club that means so much

Guardian Australia was invited to a pre-season training camp, where a unique insight was granted into the machinations of the Aboriginal football club and its inspirational, politically-minded coach

Across the foyer of AFL House in Melbourne, Jason Mifsud distractedly waves his hand in my direction. He’s busy with a phone call. Less than an hour before our meeting, the state Labor government announced his appointment as executive director for Aboriginal Victoria in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. As he hangs up the phone, we shake hands, I offer my congratulations and ask if he’ll take a break in preparation for the new role. “Not in my line of work,” he responds with a grin. “Aboriginal affairs is a full time job.”

From 2007, Mifsud, 42, was the most senior Aboriginal administrator at the AFL. The job title changed over the years, but essentially he was in charge of running the Indigenous and multicultural programs. It’s a position that granted him great influence but also brought considerable controversy. Mifsud leaves an organisation that has increased Aboriginal participation at both grassroots and administrative level, established multicultural and Indigenous rounds, and introduced the Indigenous Advisory Group. Yet there was also that chaotic six-week period in 2012 where he clashed spectacularly with several high profile players and coaches on the issue of race, issued a public apology to former Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, offered his resignation to the AFL and had senior Aboriginal players Dean Rioli and Michael Long call for his sacking.

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Friday Focus: back to the future for David Carney and Sydney FC

The former Socceroos left-back returns to one of his many former homes this weekend when Sydney FC play Perth Glory at Allianz StadiumThere is an image of David Carney that Sydney FC twice posted on social media last week. It is not an iconic image in …

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Broader horizons: Australia marks 10 years in the Asian football confederation

Asian Cup winners last year and clear beneficiaries of cross-cultural exchange, Australia now celebrates 10 years in the Asian Football Confederation

January marks one year since the 2015 Asian Cup, and — although it has passed with little fanfare — the 10th anniversary of Australia’s entry into the Asian Football Confederation. The report card is pretty good: both men’s and women’s national teams have won the Asian Cup, Adelaide United made the Asian Champions League final in 2008 and Western Sydney Wanderers won it in 2014. Late last year Ange Postecoglou and the Socceroos won Asian coach and team of the year.

Related: Melbourne City lock in four rising stars with long-term deals

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An Australian football museum must reflect multicultural truths of the game

How a museum tells Australia’s story of football will be a delicate task. The curators need to carefully balance the personal and the political

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Nathan Lovett-Murray: ex-AFL star and family still surviving despite struggles

The former Essendon player’s family has a rich Anzac history and they now find themselves fighting another war back on Gunditjmara country in Victoria

Tattooed across Nathan Lovett-Murray’s shoulder blades is the word “payback”. The name of the former AFL star’s hip hop record label, it’s etched into his skin and his family history. “Payback is an Aboriginal word for tribal punishment,” he says. “It’s a word that can relate to a lot things in the Aboriginal community, we’ve been ripped off. But this is our time now.”

Between the Lovett and Murray families – Lovett on his mum’s side, Murray on his dad’s – there is military service almost unparalleled in Anzac history. His grandfather Stewart Murray fought in WWII, and whenever there’s been a war, from WWI to Afghanistan, a Lovett has served. Five of the Lovett brothers fought in both WWI and WWII. But Lovett-Murray’s is a different battle – he’s fighting for land, for country and for black empowerment. He calls it “the struggle”.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to see if you could give me any information regarding the cutting up of Lake Condah Mission Station into blocks for Aboriginal Servicemen of this war.

#SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA #Protest #Rally #Australia #Melbourne pic.twitter.com/2XcVMnJZu1

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Cyclone-hit Nerimbera Soccer Club menaced by another storm

Times are tough for Sterling McQuire and his beloved Nerimbera Soccer Club but the biggest threat to its survival remains the state and national federations Continue reading…

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Cyclone-hit Nerimbera Soccer Club menaced by another storm

Times are tough for Sterling McQuire and his beloved Nerimbera Soccer Club but the biggest threat to its survival remains the state and national federations Continue reading…

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The Forgotten Story of … Claude Williams, former Souths player

Sydney’s professional sport-crosser talks about the moments that forged his path from the Rabbitohs to playing and coaching professional basketball – and onto his work with the local Indigenous community

It was a warm Saturday afternoon, Match of the Day, May 1973. A huge crowd had packed into the Sydney Cricket Ground to see South Sydney Rabbitohs against St. George. A titanic battle between two great rivals saw the scores locked locked at 11-11, and with just three minutes remaining South Sydney were granted a penalty on the half-way line. Eric Simms, arguably rugby league’s greatest goal-kicker, couldn’t make the distance. Rabbitohs captain Bob McCarthy took a gamble and threw the ball to the 21-year old rookie Claude Williams.

A strapping young Wiradjuri Aboriginal man with a smile as broad as his shoulders, a shock of wavy black hair and a Zapata moustache, Williams was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up. According to the match report in the Sydney Morning Herald, he was “hardly sighted in general play”, but Williams nonchalantly caught McCarthy’s pass and slowly fashioned a kicking mound out of the turf. “The crowd were getting impatient, but I needed to build it high to make the distance,” remembers Williams. “I wasn’t nervous, because it was so far out nobody expected me to make it.”

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The Forgotten Story of … Kim Jung-nam, an Asian trailblazer in Australia

Kim Jung-nam’s stay in 1970s Australia was short-lived but the South Korean’s story of ‘Asian engagement’ still resonates in the football community

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A-League: five things we learned from round 16

Baffling player restrictions, an enjoyable ‘homecoming’ for Ange Postecoglou, a slip-up out west and some uncertainty in an otherwise predictable season

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