Snap Shot: Can Shaw go from Norm Smith to a Tony Award?

Tony Shaw holds up the 1990 premiership cup.Credit:Fairfax Media

Snap Shot is a weekly column taking a look at the lighter side of football.

When you’ve been a drought-breaking Collingwood premiership captain who played 313 games at the highest level, you probably wonder what could possibly bring butterflies back to the stomach.

Tony Shaw, the 1990 Norm Smith medallist, found out recently when award-winning playwright Neil Cole approached him with the idea to write a play centred on the iconic Magpie.

Shaw was a bit embarrassed before realising he could not come up with a good enough reason not to co-operate.

“If I didn’t knock back the offer to be King of Moomba, why would I knock this back?” Shaw told Snap Shot. (For those who may have forgotten, the self-deprecating Shaw is not only a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame, but was ‘Moomba monarch’ in 1991.)

So the play Shawry will come to life when it premieres on July 13 at Prahran’s Chapel on Chapel, with the writer of the most famous play about Collingwood, David Williamson, promising to be in the audience on opening night.

Moomba monarch: Tony Shaw at his inauguration, 1991.Credit:Michael Clayton Jones

It is now 45 years since his play, The Club, opened at the Russell Theatre in Melbourne before being made into a film in 1980 with former Magpies Lou Richards and Rene Kink in cameo roles. So it’s only timely Collingwood – who some accuse of being a circus at the best of times – have attracted an artist’s eye again.

Cole had found Shaw’s story rich with human tales, triumph and family tragedy when researching Collingwood’s history during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

He was talking to his friend, Essendon legend Simon Madden, who was Shaw’s opponent in that famous 1990 grand final, about who would be make characters in theatre. The legendary former Bombers big man suggested Shaw, and off they went.

“It is a play that doesn’t answer questions but will leave enough open for the audience to make their own judgment,” Cole said.

“The story is unique. I don’t know of another story in sport where one person is the focal point of such a result. That is the seminal reason for writing about Tony.”

“Those people allow me to explore the concept that football is about winning, not how you play the game.”

It’s not just about Shaw, either, but other Collingwood figures who wore the famous No.22 with the same mix of triumph and tragedy, including the late Bob Rose and the great John Greening.

“Those people allow me to explore the concept that football is about winning, not how you play the game,” Cole said.

“The debate is whether football is a game or not – that is the premise of the play. I don’t answer the question, but there is enough indication it is more than a game, yet common sense would tell you it isn’t.”

The production will also touch on the death of Collingwood premiership player Darren Millane in a car accident in 1991 and Shaw’s reaction to the tragic loss of his teammate and friend.

Of course the question of who will play Shaw is obvious, with veteran actor Mike Newman to fill the role. Snap Shot guesses that’s the next best thing, with the ideal candidate Paul Newman no longer with us.

Newman will tread the boards with the talented Anthea Davis as they bring Cole’s work to life in a play he says is not just “we love Shawry”.

“There is a bit more to it than that,” he said.

ARTS GAIN FULL MARKS

Football and the arts have always mixed in Melbourne, as seen earlier this month during the Rising festival when artists Daniel Kok and Luke George recreated Andrew Krakouer’s famous mark against Adelaide when he played with Collingwood.

Still Lives: Making a Mark was a brilliant creation with ropes and five actors hanging from The Great Hall at the National Gallery of Victoria to show football’s complicated and sometimes tangled narrative.

Artists Luke George and Daniel Kok present their work at the NGV.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Among the people involved was former Port Adelaide and North Melbourne footballer Jasper Pittard, a co-founder of AFL Players for Climate Action, who played 159 games in his 10-year AFL career.

TAG-TEAM TITLE

With nine games plus finals remaining, Geelong pair Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood would need the Cats to play four finals with both of them involved to break Adelaide pair Tyson Edwards and Andrew McLeod’s record of 307 games played together as teammates.

The veteran stars and friends have currently played 295 games together, with Selwood only needing one victory to mark 250 wins across his career, which currently sits at a total of 345 games.

Keep up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up for the Real Footy newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article