Then and wow!

IT'S amazing what a difference 12 years and thousands of push-ups make. Cyril Rioli was a superstar a long time before he started kicking goals for Hawthorn. He was playing his third year of under-12 football for the Northern Territory in 2001, when a tiny kid called Trent Cotchin was asked to follow him around the Wodonga oval. It was a tough job: Rioli picked up five possessions in the first five minutes and Cotchin was told off by his coach at the quarter-time break for falling over and letting his opponent get away. Cotchin's parents took this snap of the youngsters after the game (left) and now look how much they've grown. The Sunday Age's Emma Quayle got the pair together again in Alice Springs last week. Rioli was there for the indigenous player camp and Cotchin in town with Richmond, the team he will captain this year. Quayle followed both players through 2007, their final season of junior football, as part of research for her book The Draft. An instant Australian Rules classic, a reprint of The Draft is due out on March 20 and features a “five years later” update which charts the journey the players have taken since joining the big show. Expect the movie version sometime in 2025.

A Dick forgiven

Last May, Sunday Age contributor Jeff Dowsing wrote in our opinion pages that it was time for turn-of-the-century Collingwood star Dick Condon to finally be recognised by the club. At the time Dowsing argued that the Magpies should forgive fiery Condon, who left Victoria Park in 1906 after his relationship with captain-coach Alf “Rosie” Dummett deteriorated and he joined Richmond without a clearance. Well, on Wednesday Collingwood finally followed through and inducted Condon as a life member – along with modern-day Magpies Josh Fraser, Chris Tarrant and another talented if erratic Magpie, Phil Carman. In Condon's case, much of the support material for the three-time premiership player and “Champion of the Colony” to be recognised was supplied by soon-to-be 50-year Magpie member Ken Woolfe – a former league umpire! Accepting his great uncle's life membership on Wednesday was 77-year-old Bob Condon, who thanked the Pies for the gesture. “This is an act of reconciliation football purists and historians will applaud,” he said. Our man Dowsing was also pleased, writing to remind Pssst of the words of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said “forgotten is forgiven”. In this case, “remembered is forgiven” may be the more appropriate moral.

Coach's pet

ONE thing's for sure, the Magpies have always attracted colourful types, with Dane Swan doing his best to uphold the grand traditions set by Condon and Carman via his Twitter account @swandane. The Brownlow medallist's profile, which would normally feature some recounting of achievements or plans for the future, has most recently featured just two words: “enjoys preseason”. Bet that makes the coach happy.


2 Del Pieros in Sydney? The arrival of Stefano, the brother of Sydney FC superstar Alessandro Del Piero, could mean the Italian's contract could be sorted in coming days.

18 -year-old Morrish medallist Nick Graham has Carlton fans dreaming of a ready-made replacement for Chris Judd when the champ finally hangs up the boots.

45 to 19. Not a bad first score to get the Bombers' season underway against the Doggies. Shame about the other stuff.


... is stop worrying about obesity. Like the plague, Black Death, or rat flu, the obesity epidemic is spreading. In Australia we have more overweight people than anywhere in the world, and that makes us world No.?1. Think of the possibilities. We would dominate the water displacement Olympics, the 100-metre wheeze, and bobbing for lard, much like we dominate the Commonwealth Games. Authorities should quit fighting a losing battle and embrace Angry Birds as a means of exercise. Fingers are a great tool. We should use them more. Pen golf, 20 cent table game, texting, these are all activities Australians can lead. Let's end the reign of trim and taut sporting heroes and focus on some more obtainable body images. The inactive, those who climb stairs with rests every fourth rise, are the people most kids today will grow to become. All I'm saying is don't discriminate. - LUKE MORRIS, Bendigo

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This story Pssst first appeared on WA Today.