View Full Version : Interview With Stephen MacPherson

The Coon Dog
26-05-2008, 07:59 PM
Stephen MacPherson

188 Games - 153 Goals


TCD: Hi Super & thanks for your time.

SMac: You’re welcome, long time no hear from.

Where did you start to play for junior football?

Howrah Juniors, which was a relatively new club in Hobart. My coach was Dennis Rogers who later went on to become the Australian Cricket Board Chairman. From there I progressed to Clarence & played there on Saturday mornings.

How did you then end up signing with Footscray?

A few clubs came down & spoke with both my brother Rod & myself. Some just wanted me, some wanted Rod & others wanted us both. The Bulldogs sent down Charlie Sutton & Royce Hart, which went down well with Rod as he was a Footscray supporter. When we were kids he had Steven Power’s number 21 on the back of his Footscray jumper.

We signed for Footscray under the old ‘Form 4’, which meant we were tied there. Not long after I represented Tasmania in an under 15’s carnival in Darwin & was fortunate enough to win the medal for the carnival’s best player & made the all Australian team.

So when did you come to Footscray?

Rod & I came over in 1981 & I played half the season in the under 19’s under Graeme Calverley & half the season in the reserves under Frank Goode.

I initially attended Footscray City Secondary College (Geoff Jennings was a teacher there), but only lasted a few weeks before finding myself at Chisolm College.

We had a good footy team too. That year I played with Tony Dodemaide (Australian cricketer) & Gary Walpole (12 games for Footscray). We won the Herald Shield that year out at Waverley.

You had a few discipline problems early on. I don’t want to go into those, just curios about how the support was back then for a 16 year old who had moved interstate?

It was certainly different than what we see these days, where it’s ultra professional & players are scrutinized constantly from the time they arrive. In my day the under 19’s had many 18 year olds playing who were legally allowed to drink, so mixing with them, you did what they did. It was hard to fit into an adult world as a 16 year old.

Do you remember your debut?

Unfortunately I do, we played Essendon in round 1, 1983. We got belted by 138 points.

It was a turbulent time in the early 80’s.

Sure was, we seemed to have different coaches too often for my liking. I played under Royce Hart, Don McKenzie, Bluey Hampshire before Mick Malthouse came in & took over in 1984.

Speaking of Mick, didn’t he bring you in as a late change for Simon Beasley because it was wet?

Yes, it was a close one & I was playing on Peter Bradbury who ran off me & I didn’t chase. He managed to beat Neil Cordy in a marking contest to kick the winning goal.

Close finishes, they seemed to follow you there for a while. Let’s start with Carlton & Mark Arceri.

I was one of the leaders & made it a real point at ĺ time to try & keep Carlton goalless. It was a typical wet Western Oval day & 26 minutes into the final term I had a slight hold of Arceri’ s jumper & the umpire awarded him a free kick. He kicked a goal from about 50 metres out with a sodden wet football. The siren sounded a minute later. Carlton kicked 1.10 for the day. I was bitterly disappointed that they managed to score a goal.

Carlton again.

I had been playing on Molly Meldrum all day & he was always up my backside. The scores were locked late on & ball skewed towards me on the half volley. Thinking Meldrum was right behind me I attempted to soccer the ball & it went sideways. Unfortunately for me, Meldrum had dropped off & was 10 metres behind me, so I could have picked it up. I guess that’s referred pressure.


Another wet Western Oval day. Scott Wynd tapped the ball over the back of the pack. I fashioned a torpedo punt & let fly. It looked to be headed towards the goals, but then started to veer off to the right for a point. Another draw.

Speaking of draws, a bit of de ja vu with yesterday. A bulldog’s player kicking for goal after the siren against North Melbourne.

We were a goal down when Michael Ford got the ball to Hawk. He was then able to get the ball to me when the siren sounded. I think I was about 80 metres out from goal on a 45 degree angle. Well, not 80 metres, it just seemed like it at the time. I knew I had to think more about the process than the consequences. Fortunately I made clean contact & it went straight through post high to tie the game up.

You were fortunate to play with some very good players. Who stands out for you?

• Doug Hawkins – Hawk was the best player I played with. He had a different set of skills to everybody else & really went up a gear under the pressure of finals, which I think helps define a player. He went from being a talented/gifted player to a champion/match winner. I remember playing West Coast in 1987 & lining up for goal. As I was about to run in to kick, there was a deafening almighty roar. I thought the crowd had seen someone decked behind play. Hawk had got the call to come on & he gotten up off the interchange bench & started to warm up. Fitting response from his adoring fans.

• Simon Beasley – A different character was Beaser, certainly poles apart from Hawk. He had a terrific sense of humour, was surprisingly quick & was a great lead/mark player.

• Andrew Purser – For a 6 foot 4 ruckman Polly was a great ruckman. Unfortunately he had other interests outside footy & headed back to Perth too early in my view.

• Brian Royal & Steve Wallis – The two hardest workers before, during & after training. They both had an uncanny ability to pounce on a loose ball & either dish off in Wally’s case or kick a goal in Chocco’s case.

• Chris Grant – I didn’t play with Granty for all that long. He was great athlete who was as comfortable below his knees as he was above his shoulders. A very hard worker who carried himself exceptionally off the field.

What about those you saw at close quarters from opposition clubs?

• Ken Hunter – It was like marking practice every time the ball got near him. Exceptional ability to put himself in the right position to take a grab. Courageous too, didn’t take a backwards step.

• Peter Daicos – Had a exceptional ability to get the ball, had great evasive skills & could kick miraculous goals. I remember one day at Victoria Park where he was kicking huge torpedo punts.

I have to ask, did you do the parachute jump & if so, how was it?

The short answer is yes, I jumped.

What’s the long answer?

Terry Wheeler was coach at the time & wanted to recreate the feelings of nervousness that might be associated with playing in a Grand Final if we’d never played in one before.

We had to pass a theory test prior to being able to jump. I failed the first time, so had to re sit the test. We only had to make the decision whether to jump or not on the day. I decided to jump. It was only in the plane as were circling that the self doubt took a hold, worrying whether the chute would open or not. It was natural to feel nervous, tho the training we had undertaken was to assist with coming up with immediate answers, where panic could otherwise take a hold.

I expected a smooth exit when I left the plane. It didn’t happen. I forward somersaulted & thought to myself, ‘I hope this harness holds’. It was so quiet up there, and then all of a sudden the chute opened. I can’t recall if Leon Cameron jumped before or after me, but I became quite concerned when I saw him spiraling out of control & hoped like mad he didn’t collide with me.

Hitting the water was the easy part, unharnessing & being collected by the boat.

Would you do it again?

Yes, but I’d like to freefall a bit longer.

You got to taste the winning feeling on the last day of September at the MCG?

Yes, twice infact, with the reserves. The first time under Curly Austin in 1988 & the second time under terry Wallace in 1994.

Did you play State of Origin football for Tasmania?

Yes I did on 5 occasions & played along side Rodney Eade as he was nearing the end of his career, Ian Paton, Scratcher Neal, Paul Williams, the Feebey twins, Richo when he was just starting out & Axe of course. Robert Shaw was our coach.

When did you retire?

At the end of the 1995 season. Alan Joyce was coach & I hadn’t got a lot of encouragement to continue. I managed to eke out 9 games in 1995, which qualified me for the 200 club (188 AFL games, 12 pre season games & 5 state games)

What have you done since retirement?

I started off doing a bit with the Western Jets. I then replaced Alan Ezard as coach of Coburg in the VFL. They had won something like 2 games in 2 years. The first year we won 4 games. Half way through the second year Coburg found themselves in financial strife & the administrators were called in.

The next season they aligned with Richmond & Alan Richardson was appointed as coach. I did some forward scouting for Richmond for a year. Plough got a few older players back to the club & I helped out for a year.

The past 5 years I have been coaching Greenvale in the Essendon District League.

How have you gone?

We have won 2 premierships & currently sit top, 2 games clear, undefeated.

Any aspirations to coach at a higher level?

An assistant coaching role appeals, particularly where I have a strong emphasis on sports psychology, goal setting & life coaching, it’s such a limited field tho & the opportunity is small.

Do you follow the Bulldogs progress?

Yes, very much so. It’s been good to see Sydney & Geelong enjoy success recently, so I think it’s our turn, we’re overdue, tho I’d like us to remain up there for a long period too.

I understand you have been invited to the official opening of the Elite Learning Centre?

Yes, that’s correct. I reckon it will make a huge difference to the mindset of the players. Poor facilities in my view adversely impact upon players psychologically.

Are you a full time coach?

No, I put into practice what I started to learn with the Bulldogs way back in 1990 when we started out with the Care For Kids program. Back then I was thrown into it with no experience, so I undertook study & now provide counseling & life coaching for people who need assistance or are in crisis. It can be extremely challenging but rewarding when you make a difference to someone’s life.

Any little MacPherson’s running around?

Yes, my partner Karen has a son & we have another 4 children, so there are 5, 3 boys & 2 girls.

Thanks for your time Super, is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance
and, maybe, they’d be happy for a while….

Fades off into the background!

The Coon Dog
26-05-2008, 08:05 PM
If anyone has any other photo's please feel free to post them. It hard to find any others, they're all full of Super's older sister Elle when you Google. ;)

26-05-2008, 08:07 PM
great interview super was one of my favorites and a gret guy any chance for a steve wallis interview

26-05-2008, 09:03 PM
Super was a terrific footballer and a great competitor. I admired his no nonsense approach.

Was it MacPherson he gave up the free kick against Mark Aceri who kicked a goal late in the game when we held them goalless for nearly the entire match? From memory it was the softest for free kicks especially given the wet conditions and MacPherson did well to hold his cool with the umpire.

Super 27
26-05-2008, 09:27 PM
Thanks TCD I have great childhood memories of watching Super play. There was always that bit of mongrel about him.

26-05-2008, 09:33 PM
Thanks again TCD, these interviews are great and very much appreciated. Super in my opinion was, well Super.

Sockeye Salmon
26-05-2008, 10:01 PM
TCD, I am continually astonished by your knowledge of Bulldog trivia.

I'd forgotten half that stuff. Fantastic effort.

And I want Twodogs to offer a public apology for slagging off Neil Cordy for the last 20+ years.

Yes, it was a close one & I was playing on Peter Bradbury who ran off me & I didnít chase. He managed to beat Neil Cordy in a marking contest to kick the winning goal.

26-05-2008, 10:41 PM
Well done Coon Dog! Definitely my all time favourite player as you are aware!

27-05-2008, 08:56 AM

Well done TCD

Super was a brilliant footballer and got his nick name, because of the freakish things he did on the field. He ws not only a classy player but also tough and never let anyone push him around.

He was one of my favourite players in the 1980's.

27-05-2008, 09:26 AM
TCD another great instalment. I remember being at 1994 granny watching the guys get over the line as I was part of the Cheer Squad. All year I was dumbfounded how Super couldn't cement a perminant spot in the side.

Super was a great of the club and its good to hear about the stuff he has been up to.

27-05-2008, 10:00 PM
Great interview TCD!

I've been lucky enough to meet Super in my younger days and he was a really nice bloke.

Look forward to your next interview Mate!

western cookie
28-05-2008, 02:42 PM
Good work TCD, have great memories of Super, especially that carlton game, never let my brother in law forget that game.

The Coon Dog
28-05-2008, 02:54 PM
Good work TCD, have great memories of Super, especially that carlton game, never let my brother in law forget that game.

I heard David Parkin talk about it recently & he said 'I sent the players out with one goal in mind.....& they didn't let me down'.

28-05-2008, 09:43 PM
Ah wonderfull memories standing in the pouring rain gleefully at the geelong rd end the all powerfull carlton without a goal then despair soaking wet and freezing cold and bloody arceri
great interview TCD loved loved super and rocket

Fossie 32
29-05-2008, 08:36 PM
Steve is one person I reckon would bleed red white and blue.

The Dogs Bollocks
27-08-2008, 02:27 PM
Thanks again.

Great read

29-08-2008, 01:37 PM
What about the great goal he kicked against Hawthorn in 1985 which secured us second spot. It was a ripper torp in the pouring rain, to the barkley st end where no goals had been scored all day. Ahhh memories

04-08-2009, 04:13 PM
Thanks for this interview. I'm just new to the site and of course I had to come and find anything to do with Steve - I've loved all the guys who have played/play for us, but he's still my favourite. To this day 27 is my fave number and I use it for everything - even my Doggies number plates. ;)

26-08-2009, 01:37 PM
thanks TCD

You sure you don't harbour any desires to be a journalist?

The Coon Dog
26-08-2009, 01:49 PM
thanks TCD

You sure you don't harbour any desires to be a journalist?

Nope, I'll leave that to Mark Stevens.

26-08-2009, 04:46 PM
Nope, I'll leave that to Mark Stevens.

I thought you were Mark Stevens!!:D:D

27-08-2009, 01:13 PM
I still give it to Carlton supporters that their catch phrase was one team one goal