Solid Gold

The Glenelg Football Club 2019 Premiership Yearbook

(By Peter Cornwall, Andrew Capel & Zac Milbank) (2020)

We have banged-on far too much about the Glenelg Tigers’ brilliant championship season of 2019 – you can read all about it here.

So let someone else do it, only better: “Solid Gold” by experienced professional sportswriters Cornwall, Capel and Milbank, is a great keepsake for fans as well as a comprehensive record of a thrilling season. Beautifully designed in burnished gold and jet black, shaped like an EP vinyl record cover, it is especially evocative in this plague year.

For once, the advertising for this book is no bumpf, so we cite from it here: ‘SOLID GOLD captures the action, emotions, memories and celebrations from the Bay’s unforgettable drought-ending 2019 Premiership season, culminating in winning its fifth flag at the Adelaide Oval against arch rival Port Adelaide.’

Along with an introduction by Club President and Great, Peter Carey, it features a superb game-by-game wrap of the minor and major rounds (by Cornwall), player profiles and statistics, a review of the teams in all competitions, Hall of Fame inductees, and accounts of a club coming up for air after years of stultifying debt and defeat.  It is packed with great photos by the Ansel Adams of Sport, Gordon Anderson.

While Solid Gold serves mainly as an aide memoire, it contains one actual revelation. We will only summarize it here. In an article, “Honesty is the best policy,”  Zac Milbank reports that the Senior Coach had promised to tell the team what it needed to hear, and he invited ‘Honest Feedback‘ in return. Be careful what you ask for. As he admits, Mark Stone could at times become apoplectic when things weren’t carried out as he wanted: “…while I’m sure all coaches get frustrated, it would get the better of me. I would come out in a way where that frustration would bear itself in a pretty unproductive way.”

So mid-way through the season, the leadership group went to the Coach and outlined the issue, and Marlon Motlop told him, “You need to plan for this.”  It takes actual courage to tell someone that out-ranks you they have a problem. Yet as we saw, and the book shows, the 2019 team had more than skill, smarts, fitness and grunt – it had real courage as well.  And it would also have needed courage, and maturity, for the Coach to take that feedback on board. It was a bridge that had to be crossed, and strikes us as an influential moment, since the Tigers were sorely tested in the last half of the year and invariably found a way to cut through.

The Varnished Culture recommends this book to Glenelg fans over the globe. (Tigers fans should spoil themselves when they can.)  And buy some extra copies: Christmas isn’t far away…


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