Drop Kick Eulogy
Drop Kick Eulogy
A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
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Malcolm McKinnon, 2006.
A couple of Rupanyup stalwarts recount the days when the drop kick was king, before the invention of the more reliable but less skillful 'drop punt'.
Thank you to Bob Baker, Jack Dunlop, Dawn Teasdale and the Rupanyup Football Club. Archival film by John Teasdale.
BOB BAKER: I'd say it was about 1950, I started. And in those days, it was either a dropkick or a torp. And of course, the high-mark blokes always went crook if you weren't kicking a dropkick, because they'd have a lark making torpedo kicks.
The blokes who kicked good dropkicks were worth watching, but a lot of us, myself included, weren't good dropkicks. And dropkicks were a problem because the ground, the surface changed. And OK, the natural base could always get away. But all the same, every now and again, you'd go to a different ground. Like you'd go up to the sandy ground up at Jeparit and even our best fellows would kick a grounder occasionally.
JACK DUNLOP: I loved it, actually. We were always doing it, from the time we first went to school. Because the drop punt had never been thought of when I gave it away. So we fancied it as a distance kick, on fine days. You didn't do it on a wind day.
Mainly the biggest thing with dropkicking was timing. If you didn't time it, it didn't go anywhere. But no, in later years, we had some pretty good big men, good high marks here. And your ambition was to get it as far as you could. They had a fair idea how far you could kick it, and you would kick to a contest. Not like today, where they won't kick to a contest at all.
Those days, when they really used it, they all took their marks, went back and had their shots at goal and that. And they'd take up here but top it behind the head like this. Nobody ever does that these days.
When you take a mark, you've got the ball. You're got to have your ball in your hand ready, because there might be a handball or something. And those sort of things went out in the early '50s.
ONLOOKER: Let fly, Richie!
BOB BAKER: Well, every coach I had tried to teach me how to kick dropkicks, and I never really mastered dropkicks. I remember playing one day and Jim Gulley was coaching, and I was playing center halfback. And Gulley didn't mind me kicking them, because everyone else thought I'd kick them further than I did. And Gulley would lead up the ground and the center halfback wouldn't follow him, because he thought he was getting too close to me. But that's as far as I could kick the jolly things.
Nowadays with the drop punt, everyone kicks a drop punt and the balls so easy to handle. It doesn't matter which leg you're kicking. You've still got the ball in the same position to kick it. And it's made a lot of difference to football, the drop punt, has. It's one of the biggest challenges in the whole lot, I'd say.