230 x 155 x 15 mm
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It speaks volumes for the quality of The Coach, and the job author John Powers did, that today, more than 30 years on from when it was first published, it remains a bible; not just for Australian Football writing, but all sports writing in this country. Powers lived and breathed every second of the 1977 season with North Melbourne, attending every training session, practice match and VFL game, on the club’s epic march to victory in the 1977 Grand Final replay. Through it all is the central character of the book, and one of the greats of the game, coach Ron Barassi – passionate, emotional (at times, to extremes), respected, insightful and much more besides. The popular Powers quickly became accepted by North’s playing group and used the players’ confidence to tell a gripping story behind the scenes. As Ron Joseph, North’s chief executive at the time, said, the author had better access to the coach and players than the club’s committeemen. And he certainly made the most of it. Re-published by The Slattery Media Group in 2005 as part of the Australian Football Quarterly series, The Coach includes fresh insights from Barassi.
Born in 1935, John Powers took a keen interest in amateur theatre growing up and launched his writing career in the 1970s with The Last of the Knucklemen, a play that was later made into a film. He went on to write several plays and books, working for publishing companies MacMillan and Penguin. He also wrote for television series and documentaries, and lectured in creative writing at Melbourne’s Deakin University. Powers died in 2007.