But Snap Shot discovered “Bocka” Boxall has – in our eyes at least – a more notable reason for pride in what he has done in his life.
The keen musician recorded a CD a few years back, Bocka Rocks On, that should be a cult classic in football circles.
“It’s gone platinum. They have sold 100, that’s good enough for me,” Boxall said.
A genuine character, Bocka is not a fly-by-nighter when it comes to music, as Snap Shot suspects – perhaps unfairly – that noted songwriter and guitarist Alastair Clarkson might be, given the quality of the premiership coach’s performances in front of the team.
Boxall used to sing every chance he had as a young man, briefly being the lead singer of a band named Hooker, which we are guessing came well before he happened to work alongside football veteran John Hook at the Hawks.
Boxall was a wedding singer, and performed at the grand final lunch his friend, the late Ken Judge, used to organise. This must have been one hell of a long lunch because someone suggested Boxall record a CD.
Down to a studio in Brighton went Boxall, where he came out with a CD of standards that included a couple of Elvis classics, Charley Pride’s Is anybody going to San Antone? and a Charlie Rich song that seems apt right now, Rollin’ with the Flow.
When asked to mention the best song on the CD, Boxall didn’t hesitate: “Too many to mention”.
OLD TIGER TIME
Richmond achieved redemption last year for their shock 2018 preliminary final loss to Collingwood when they won the flag, but the Tigers may have been doomed in that 2018 game before the ball was bounced, if omens mean anything.
Collingwood had an old Tiger name among them when Lynden Dunn’s son, Emmett (pictured below in the yellow shirt), joined his dad’s Magpie teammates through the banner and for a run around the MCG while the theme song was played.
Of course, his namesake Emmett Dunne played in Richmond’s 1980 premiership before completing his 129-game career at Footscray. The policeman known as “Plod” became a tribunal member and served on the Tigers’ board.
Little did he know that Lynden Dunn’s son – who is now nine years old – was taking the name undercover to ensure the Magpies caused one of the biggest upsets in recent seasons.
The victory gave Dunn, who has not played in a final in 196 games, one of his favourite football moments the following week, despite Collingwood’s heartbreaking loss.
“The grand final is one of the great highlights of my career, even though we lost,” Dunn said.
“I wasn’t out there with my mates but I was in the coaches’ box and it was the first grand final I have ever been to. I have been waiting to play in one and I said I would never go until I got that chance.”
Carlton assistant John Barker is one of the best coaches in the business, known for building great relationships with players and his understanding of the game. Having battled with soft-tissue injuries for much of his career he has great empathy for players experiencing football’s ups and downs.
In a career that spanned 168 games with Fitzroy, Brisbane and Hawthorn, he became a cult figure among Hawk fans with his match-winning goal in the famous 2001 semi-final win over Port Adelaide, leading to supporters singing “John Barker walks on water”.
However Barker told the Golden Years podcast his cheeky teammate Campbell Brown didn’t waste the opportunity to turn the ditty into a song that would keep Barker’s feet on solid ground.
“The only version I used to hear was Campbell Brown singing it to me saying ‘John Barker walks on water, tears a hamstring every quarter,” Barker said.
So ruthless was Brown he couldn’t stop laughing when Barker tweaked his quad while the pair was running 150s at Glenferrie Oval.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.