The Roar
The Roar

Mark Scarfe

Roar Rookie

Joined March 2008







I have an above average interest in sports media and broadcasting as well as the business side of sports. The sports I follow in depth are F1, EPL, AFL, Cricket, Rugby League and Rugby Union. Ive been a Foxtel subscriber for 19 years and a SCG member for the past 10 years.



“Year of the Dogs” was outstanding. I bought it as a double pack DVD with another AFL movie starring Barry Humphries. “The Test” on Amazon needs to be fo there. Here is my review.

My ten greatest sporting documentaries

Im petty sure that companies and organisations take out insurance for this sort of thing.

Folau payout at risk if RA folds

Don’t know if I agree with what’s been said so Ill let it go through to the keeper.

As long as footy's on hold, let's retire these crappy cliches

Fox are in the box seat here and they pay the majority of the broadcast rights. Fox also own Kayo which strengthens the position of power. When we come out of this crisis the rights won’t be anywhere near where they are now and the NRL and AFL will be beholden to the broadcasters demands more than ever.

Channel Nine looking to tear up their contract with NRL

While I applaud this stance, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bennett and a few others are multi millionaires who have rightly made a great living out of the game. While they may take a pay cut now they have the ability to be in hot demand for any offer that may come along. The people in society who have lost jobs are not so in demand as the talent pool is much larger. Retail workers have no transferable skills at all and will find gaining work extremely hard.

Craig Bellamy and Dave Donaghy take big pay cuts

I don’t see this as an issue at all. If we are still playing games to empty stadiums, them they can be played at any venue. Night matches would help divert the heat and fatigue factor playing into summer. Economics need to come into play to save AFL and the NRL needs to have the same mindset.

AFL open to Christmas grand final

Players might have to go back to having jobs like sales reps or cellarmen and mix with fans in a job situation like the days when most of the Eels worked for James Hardie.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

These are extremely trying times in all walks of like. SBW big contract doesn’t mean much now in these circumstances.

Super League players set for unpaid leave

A very good CEO doing a great job in these times. The NRL almost got him. Im more confident in Peter V’landys at the NRL than the former Premier.

Dear Gil: An open letter to the AFL CEO

Thank you very much.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

I don’t think the players are partners with the NRL nor do they want to be. Self interest outweighs the greater good. The negotiations over how much they will be paid while the game faces its greatest crisis show that.

Pay cuts will show the players are genuine partners in the NRL

Thank you. The pre edited version was better.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

This is the original before it was edited.

When I was still in high school, my mum and I had moved from our housing commission house in Wentworthville to a similar unit in Bankstown. My school happened to be Parramatta High, which was the same school where Richie did some handy work on the school oval back in the 40’s. Richie was kind enough to donate a signed Australian team bat from one of the teams he played in. It took pride of place in a glass cabinet outside the principles office. Rod Taylor also went to the school as did Chips Rafferty but the acting capper never drew me to it like cricket did. While I loved sport we never had the means for me to play as we had no car or phone and no at home siblings to hit a hundred in the backyard at mums, to quote Greg Champion.

When I look back I think that signed bat was my reason for collection memorabilia. That and the closeness to the Bankstown Post Office. While I didn’t play sport I watched enough of it all without a steaming service in sight. My first sport collecting memory was following the 1986 Australian Rugby League side on the Kangaroo Tour of Europe. Each day as I would walk home along the Great Western Highway, Id by the Daily Mirror to keep up with the news and build an impressive scrapbook. It was also the first year that Parramatta Stadium was opened so I was lucky enough to get a schoolboy pass and ride to the ground and stand on the Southern Hill. The next season I made it my mission to get the team poster that came in the first Big League magazine of 1987 signed by the 28 Kangaroos when their team came to play the Eels. In 1989 when we moved to Bankstown I remember going to Belmore Sports Ground and getting dish head (Greg) Dowling and Brian “The Horse” Niebling to sign it for me. My mum did come to a midweek Panasonic Cup game and she splashed out on tickets in the Mick Cronin stand. After the game we went round to the sheds and waited for King Wally and the other Broncos to come out so I could get a few things signed. The King seemed a bit stand offish that night and mum in her own way told him so. Candour is much under rated in todays society where we try not to offend. Needless to say he signed.

My real love is cricket and when the NSW team played in the Murray Bennet XI v Steve Smith XI (South African rebel, not the “next Bradman”) there was no stopping me. While this calendar info would be on a Facebook page or Twitter feed today, Im thankful we all got the Parramatta Advertiser delivered for free.
Greg (Mo) Matthews wasn’t there that day and he was, at the time, one of the biggest names in Australian cricket. He was fulfilling one of the many commercial arrangements that were coming his way thick and fast. A young surveying student from Wagga and future Aussie captain was there as was my favourite player, Geoff Lawson. While I loved rugby league and cricket, there were only two autographs I ever wanted. Don Bradman and Henry. I cashed in big time that day with the Channel 9 produced international cricket season guide signed by NSW players, two (yes two) signed match programs and a massive Geoff “Henry” Lawson scribe on a large lined school exercise book I took along. While I went to the Merrylands pool next door to the velodrome oval many times after that, the cricket watching and collecting memories never left me. The collecting of two or more autographs has stuck with me over the years. When Murili was playing in the Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars, I took the advise of the man who does my framing for me. There is no need to spend big money on match quality Kookaburra cricket balls. You can buy perfectly good autograph hard cherries for 10 bucks if you negotiate well at Kingsgrove sports. If you get multiples you can get them down to your price. Get the superstar to sign both sides of the ball. If you want to frame it, gently cut it in half, then you can frame two. Im not a seller but purely a hoarder so the jigsaw has never been fired up in anger. I don’t know what Im going to do with ten signed Murili balls, but I have them. Due to the rain that match, some autographs are easier to get than others. Murili was on the other side of the rail in the visitors dressing room at the SCG but I didn’t have to throw them to him to sign and he certainly didn’t chuck them back. I don’t see anyone beating his record.

Don Bradman has been part of Australian folklore and mythology since he debuted at the Exhibition Ground in Brisbane against the Poms in 1928. He lasted one game then dropped. Now home to the Ekka, people drive past that ground everyday not knowing the historical significance that it holds. So too on Parramatta Rd where the Kennard’s Hire building just before the Famous Arnotts Biscuits sin on the overhead railway bridge was once the Australian HQ for the Columbia Record factory and recording studio. “Our Don Bradman” was recorded there in 1930.

While the Don was never lucky enough to meet me, that Bankstown Post Office was instrumental in the growth of my Bradman obsession. I had heard that If you write to Don via the South Australian Cricket Association he would visit their offices and sign for hours on end in response to the mountains of mail he received from around the world. For a man in his 80s to be held in such awe is true testament to the legendary status we too quickly apply to may lesser lights. Talent holds no bounds and one can only wonder when the footlights will begin to fade on another icon of the Australian golden era in Barry Humphries. Edna still packs them in. Needless today I sent everything I could to Adelaide for the great one to sign. I had to get in for my chop before it was too late and thankfully the gravy train kept chugging along for many years. I never took my packages from Adelaide for granted and it was like Christmas when I got the slip in the post box for me to go to the post office to collect my parcel. My packages were never going to fit into my letter box. My Bradman memorabilia is amongst the most prized things I own and Im truely grateful that Don did that for his fans. I took a punt and wrote him a letter asking some arbitrary questions never knowing if Id get a response. To my surprise and delight-I DID. Christmas again. The envelope was written in the same hand as the signature on the bottom of the letter. On his personal letter head and hand typed. It matters not if those same fingers that gripped a Sykes bat that scored 334 in Leeds were the same fingers on the vintage Royal typewriter.

By this stage I thought anything was possible and being bitten by the cricket bug of a 1930’s schoolboy who looked at the Don as the glue that held a fractured nation together and I made a call. By this stage we had the phone connected at the Bankstown flat. What a great invention. It got me through to JJJ where free tickets to a Jesus Jones concert were on offer at the Hordern, so my long haired mate Scott from Riverwood drove us in. Ringing 2GB one night got me to a Col Elliott gig somewhere in Ultimo. Some time in 1992 I had heard that the Bodyline destroyer Harold Larwood was living in Sydney so in the pre internet age I set out to find if this was true. The skill of searching and taking a punt is lost on people today who think if its not on Google, it never happened. In the early 90’s I didn’t use Netscape or Alta Vista but let my fingers do the walking. I rang the number I found in the White Pages of a Larwood from Kingsford. Could it be him? An elderly English ladies voice answered. It was Lois, his wife since 1927. I explained who I was and would I be able to speak to Harold. “Harold, its a young lad who wants to talk to you”. Pause. “Hello”…. And so it was arranged for me to actually meet one of the most infamous cricketers to ever play the game. In his own home. I used the same technique to meet Doug Walters on a golf course in Carlingford. More of my era but the Larwood meeting tops them all. This would never today with recently retires “stars”. The long haired freak and I set off from his joint on the other side of the tracks and we made our way East. Harold Larwood and his family emigrated to Australia in the 50’s and had a long working life at Pepsi. While thought of as the enemy he was quite respected and loved by Australians especially when he scored 98 as a nightwatchman at the SCG in 1933. As we pulled up outside his home, we could not believe we we actually here. Through the gate and with a knock on the door, Lois answered and Harold was waiting for us. Age brings a modesty and dignity to most of us but I cant help think that Harold and Lois were always as charming and polite to two total strangers today as they have been their long lives. This timeworp of 1950s architecture was a shrine to a great career. Alongside family photos were trinkets from a celebrated but cut short career. On the wall hung photos of glories past, an ashtray from his skipper Jardine “To Harold, for the Ashes, from a grateful captain”. He had much pleasure showing us through his scrapbooks of days past and really enjoyed talking to two blokes who still remember this great man from a forgotten age. As we spoke about Bodyline he set us straight. He didn’t like that description of what he was asked to bowl. To him it has always been fast leg side bowling. He then pulled out a ball and stump used in the series. The enormity on this occasion was not lost on us then and we still talk about it today. Our memories have not faded, nor did Harolds when he recounted the many stories to us in the hour we spent with him. I took my Bradman Albums which I was lucky enough to the Bradman to sign so I took a punt on getting Larwood to sign. He regarded Bradman as the doyen and happily signed several pages where he featured. His arthritic fingers gripped the pen, and in slow deliberate hand, this blind old man in brown slacks and cardigan sat and obliged two young blokes who took a punt. I now know where Roger Rogerson got his styling tips from when he cocked the shotty in Dangar Place in 81.
As we were to leave I gave Scott my camera and asked Harold if I could get a picture with him. He refused. He wanted to be remembered how he was not how time and age had taken its toll. Fair enough. How could I be disappointed after the hospitality we had been afforded. He then left the room and came back with two signed copies of this biography. Yes we were lost for words and rate we Larwood as the greatest.

What a contrast there is in the lives of Bradman and Larwood. Both joined at the hip by a cricket series from eighty eight years ago. One the hero of a nation. The other forced from the game and had to leave the country of his birth coming to the land where he was hated then admired. Don Bradman knighted in 1949. Harold Larwood awarded an MBE two years before his death at age 90.

Both men had a reputation for never refusing an autograph or a request from a fan. While todays sports stars live in a different world, the pre-internet, TV and social media world transformed men like Bradman into the hero of every man, woman and child who were ravaged by the demands of the depression. Like Phar Lap, attention shifted when the Randwick was in session of Bradman strode to the crease.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

Thanks. The editing was a bit rough.

Who says you should never meet your idols?

I was talking about that today. They should do it and if they don’t I think there will be uproar. If they don’t then they should at least waive renewals in October. Can you keep us updated when you get a response please.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

How do you become a CA member and is it only a Melbourne thing because of the capacity of the MCG?

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

You have argued this on championship points gained. As this is a mechanical driven sport you have not included the variables of mechanical failure pitted against driver skill. I wouldn’t have Bottas in the list as while he is a very good driver, if he was not at a dominant Mercedes would he be so high on the list? The same goes for Webber in the team where Vettel won his titles.

Top ten F1 drivers of the 2010s

Rights talks are on hold while we are in the situation. I do believe that Optus put in a low ball offer.

What if Optus win rugby's broadcast rights?

It’s a one off fee. About $1ooo yearly dues but that also gets you into the football stadium (when its built) as well.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

Thank you very much. I appreciate the comments.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

That is for an individual or corp. It’s not for a box or any other perks. You are able to let anyone use the member card where the other membership types are not transferrable.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

Thank you for your comments. Much appreciated.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

Thank you Christo. I means the word to me that you and others enjoy what I write.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?

Thank you so much Paul. I hope you do know that the Grothe analogy was a slight exaggeration to illustrate the point. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and give me encouragement.

Is being a member of the SCG worth the money?