The Roar
The Roar


Wallabies can learn from Paul Roos' 'No Dickheads' policy

22nd September, 2013
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It would take just about all of this column to do justice to AFL great Paul Roos’ CV.

Hall of Fame 2005, Fitzroy team of the century, twice All Australian captain, holds the VFL-AFL record for the most games wearing the No. 1 jersey for Fitzroy and the Swans at 355, Premiership-winning coach with the Swans ending a 72-year drought.

Quality media man, damn good bloke and great family man – Australian Father of the Year in 2008.

Roos covers all bases.

But what could well be his greatest claim to fame is instituting a ‘no dickheads’ policy into the Swans in 2003.

The move proved he had vision, he became a pioneer.

The ‘no dickheads’ policy is very simple. The Swans gave all their players the behaviour boundaries, step over them just once and there’s only one possible result – the exit door.

And it has worked a treat. The Swans – thanks to Roos’ vision, the best president in the AFL Richard Colless, and a roster that embraces the ‘no dickheads’ policy – are rightfully ranked as one of the best-run clubs of all time.

And it shows on the field.


What’s even more amazing is no other club or team has followed the proven example.

What if the Wallabies had a ‘no dickhead’ policy?

The three amigos – James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper – would been punted very early in the piece.

Let’s stop there and ask the question, would the amigos have transgressed in the first place, knowing what the automatic repercussions would be if they bucked the policy?

Repeat, automatic repercussions.

The answer would have to be a no, leaving O’Connor, Beale, and Cooper far better off across the board, with no baggage.

That’s why the policy is so brilliant, it serves as a circuit-breaker, it makes a sportsman think twice before doing anything stupid.

If he decides to still go ahead and be a dickhead, he knows the result immediately.


Had there been a ‘no dickhead’ policy in the Australian cricket team, would David Warner have given two cricket writers that massive spray that cost him a $5750 fine from Cricket Australia, and would he have punched England’s opening batsman Joe Root on the chin in a Birmingham bar during a late night drinking session?

The answer to that would have to be a no as well, and the same applies to champion swimmer James Magnussen before his sub-standard 100m freestyle performance at the London Olympics.

But he decided to be a dickhead and it cost him gold.

His three teammates in the relay – Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, and James Roberts – wanted to be dickheads and that cost them gold as well.

Big mistakes incur big penalties, but the argument still stands.

A ‘no dickhead’ policy is a brake before the real damage is done.

The Raiders may have retained Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson with a ‘no dickheads’ policy, instead of having to sack both this season for their on-going indiscretions.

Even tennis would have benefited had the policy covered coaches as well as players.


John Tomic, the volatile coach and father of Bernard, would never been able to create as much mayhem as he’s done over the years. He would have been gone first up, and that would have given Bernard a chance to conform.

But that didn’t happen and as a result both father and son have been a positive pain in the butt for nearly a decade.

Maybe Bernard is turning the corner on his own, according to his Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter. And the same applies to Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.

But that doesn’t take anything away from the huge advantages of a ‘no dickheads’ policy right from the start.

And being ever grateful to Paul Roos.