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  1. #1
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    42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back



    After 42 years playing, coaching and commentating, Terry Wallace is set to retire from football. He talks to Mark Robinson about the journey from Hawthorn to the commentary box and that one time he wishes he could have all again.

    He can talk, Terry Wallace.

    He could also play and also coach, but in this past decade, it was his raspy voice revealing a vast canyon of knowledge and experience that endeared Wallace to radio listeners.

    This conversation with Wallace was designated 45 minutes. It lasted an hour and 30 minutes. It would have lasted another two hours if time permitted.

    Every story had a backstory, a segue to or from, because Wallace, who is universally known as Plough, is the sort of bloke who remembers everything and everyone, the minutiae of past moments are as sharp and incisive as his match-day commentary.

    He’s on crutches at the moment. Floating bone and cartilage in his knee became infected by golden staff and an emergency operation probably saved his knee joint from being eaten away.

    But he always played hurt, Plough, and he was back behind the microphone soon enough.

    Still, time ticks away on everyone.

    It is the final quarter of Wallace’s 42-year career as a player, coach and media person.

    There’s a small chance he might go on in 2021, but in his head, he has readied himself to say goodbye on Grand Final day this year.

    COVID-19 has made his plans wobbly. He intended to visit Europe next Melbourne winter, but international travel is a mess.

    “I don’t think it’s changed in my mind,’’ he said. “My gut feel is, I’m done. I loved the journey.’’

    Like him or not, Wallace’s contribution to football was enormous.

    It started in 1978 when he joined Hawthorn from Camberwell. He played there from ’78 to 1986 before he joined Richmond for the 1987 seasons.

    Then it was off to the Bulldogs to play and coach until his still mysterious and contentious departure at the end of 2002.

    Already a media player, he joined radio and this newspaper as a columnist, before “unfinished business’’ lured him to Punt Rd as coach for five years. It ended with his sacking halfway through that season.

    It was a jolt to his ego. Wallace was, and probably still is, a person who could win hearts and minds, but also harvest hatred from fans who simply didn’t like him, or at least despised how he had an unwavering confidence in himself.

    He was the cool kid, Plough. Mostly always smiling with a sense of adventure. Sharp of mind and wit. Leather pants and solariums. Premierships and best and fairests.

    But for some reason his failings at the Western Bulldogs and more so at Richmond was met with satisfaction from agitated fans.

    Always, though, Wallace would pick himself up. From Hawthorn to the Doggies, from the Doggies to the Tigers. And in between and afterwards, in his various media roles.

    He was a warrior player, a creative, expressive coach, especially at the Doggies, and a damned good football analyst.

    His dedication to his media role, as it was when he was playing and then coaching, was all consuming.

    “Footy has been my whole journey,’’ he said.

    This conversation took place Thursday morning about 10.45.

    Sitting in a chair in his bedroom, he had already watched Footy Classified from the night before and had started on Wednesday night’s AFL360.

    “I’m on pause and it’s on the Tom Lynch discussion,’’ he said.

    “I watch everything, I love everything. I don’t always watch it live, but I tape everything. And I still watch nine games a week.”

    Banged up after being sacked from Richmond, a media role beckoned. He joined SEN. He had a game plan. He always did.

    His expertise was coaching. His point of difference would be absolute dedication to watching every game and assessing team lists. His Twitter handle is @thelistmanager.

    ‘’It was a little bit of, have I got the credibility after failing as coach? How could you say what should be done when you’ve come off as a failure. What was the twist to change people’s opinion? It was to make sure that anything the fans want to speak about, I’ve seen.’’

    Asked did he think he was a failure as coach, he acknowledged it didn’t work at Richmond on the field.

    But he was proud of the work off the ground, such as helping to start the rebuild of the Punt Rd precinct, ending the nomadic training program so they could train at Punt Rd and embarking on a list rebuild after years of shopping for players.

    Wallace’s tenure saw the arrival of Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin and Shane Edwards.

    “At least they had a core of good young blokes to come through,’’ he said.

    He came close to a premiership at the Bulldogs.

    “Four finals campaigns, the ’97 preliminary, blew another game in ’99 against West Coast on a Friday night, lost by a kick which meant went to Brisbane for a final.’’

    He carries a candle for the Dogs. The last time he cried, he said, was at the 2016 preliminary final. He was commentating at the game.

    “That was more emotional for me than playing in the GF,” he said.

    “How many preliminary finals? Rocket three, me two, Malthouse one. It was about seven in a row they got beaten. Absolutely, I shed a tear.”


    He was a good coach. Probably a very good coach.

    But rival coaches with premierships would never consider him a great coach. Coaches are competitive machines and the fact was Wallace didn’t win a flag.

    “Absolutely, they look at me and say I didn’t win a flag. We know what social media is like and I still get that reminder once a week,” he said.

    “You know, you can have your opinions but you never won one, and that’s absolutely right.’’

    He can take the piss out of himself. One time, at a sportsman’s night, he was asked what was the difference between winning a flag and not.

    “I’ll tell you the difference. Malcolm Bight is now playing golf at Palm Cove and here I am at the East Ringwood Football Club talking to you blokes, that’s the difference,’ he said.

    He laughed hard at that story.

    He’s been a controversial figure, or at least part of controversial moments.

    He departed the Bulldogs because, it was alleged, he had the Sydney Swans job.

    The departure ended friendships at the club. And he still can’t comment on what played out with the Swans.

    “It’s ridiculous isn’t it,’’ he said.

    The other major fallout in his career was with legendary Hawks coach Allan Jeans.

    Wallace was a veracious footballer.

    He had legs like tree stumps, a core thick like a trunk and a neck and shoulders bulked by muscle and power.

    He was a two-time best-and-fairest winner, the second coming in 1983, a premiership season at Hawthorn.

    He felt he fell out with Jeans in the 1984 Grand Final, after Essendon’s Darren Williams propelled the Bombers to the premiership with several centre-square clearances to start the final quarter.

    Wallace was his opponent. He was out of the club at the end 1986.

    Jeans, he said, didn’t like his off-field behaviour.

    He was a social butterfly, Plough. He liked nightclubs and beers and he loved his sporty Datsun which carried the license plate TW016, which was the number he wore.

    “I came in a pretty straight-laced under the Parko era, and then did I get ahead of myself? Yeah, that’s fair to say,” he said.

    “I enjoyed the trappings, but I always conducted myself professionally in the way I trained and played. But a story or two would get back to Yabby that I was at the Croyden Hotel on a Wednesday night.

    “I had not one issue with one of my teammates, not one issue with people around the club, so it was only me and the coach.”

    He was a Melbourne fan growing up. He idolised Hassa Mann. Then in the 1970s it was Stan Alves, Greg Wells and Gary Hardeman.

    He also liked Peter McKenna who played for Collingwood.

    “He was having No. 1 hits and he had the Beatles haircut,’’ he said.

    Footy has given Wallace everything. He has a 20-acre spread at Kangaroo Ground, a relaxed lifestyle and, despite the intensity of his devotion to football, he said he balanced footy with family.

    “I know a lot of football people … it’s hurt their families, I think it’s enhanced our family,” he said.

    “There were moments which hurt the family, but the upside has been far better than the downside.’’

    He has three kids — Brent, the senior AFL umpire, his middle child is Georgia and the youngest is Cameron. They are 29, 27 and 25.

    Wallace fell out with the Herald Sun a couple of days after he was sacked at Richmond.

    A reporter arrived at his home and waited, he claimed, until he and his wife left the home and then doorknocked the kids. He hated it, he said.

    But Wallace doesn’t hold grudges. He has written several articles for the newspaper since, the most recent when he offered to write a column about Shane Tuck.

    “I don’t hold a grudge. There’s not one person in football I hold a grudge against at all,” he said.

    Not even with Jeans?

    “No, I could see as much of his side as I could see of my own.”

    Media and Wallace worked well together. He had pizzazz as a coach, a creativity which attracted media attention.

    Over the years, he worked for Fox Footy, Channel 9, Channel 7, Sky, 3AW and for the past period for SEN.

    He is a respectful media person. He has this knack of listening to opinion, agreeing with the opinion, and then politely taking the discussion deeper, opening up even more layers.

    He never disrespected those who didn’t play AFL.

    “The greatest nonsense of all time is that you only have a knowledge of the game because you played at the level. I don‘t believe that at all,” he said.

    “Supporters who are really into the game, who follow their own club intimately have got greater knowledge than some of the people who played, without any doubt whatsoever.”

    That’s the coach in him.

    As a coach, he had an ability to motivate, to be creative and break moulds.

    “I was a much better match-day coach than a during-the-week coach,” he said.

    “That’s what drove me, game day. I thought my ability to read it and see it and in those days, at the Bulldogs, you very much were able to impact from the coaches box on the day.

    “I loved that part. I think I was a little bored with the day-to-day routine, the skills drills, and I tried to surround myself with people who were right into that and Brian Royal comes to mind straight away.”

    And his confrontational style could lose players.

    “Along the journey you always do. I don’t want to name names, but some of the really good players who were champs of their particular clubs, but if I thought they had another level to go, I would really challenge them,” he said.

    “I was push, push, push to try to get more.’’

    He wouldn’t say it, but he was talking about some players at the Bulldogs.

    The Bulldogs seem to be his soulful place and a place of regret.

    Asked if there was one moment or incident he could change, he did not hesitate.

    “The last quarter in the ’97 prelim final,’’ he said.

    “It could be changed in a lot of different ways. It could be changed by playing two loose in the backline in the last quarter, by having a little bit more of a defensive approach when six goals up at halftime or four goals at three quarter time, it could’ve been my approach to the group at three-quarter time, speaking more about history and not process.

    “If I could have anything again, it would be to have that 30 minutes. You reckon I haven’t thought about it much?”

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  3. #2
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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    TRIBUTE LOCKER
    Tributes to Terry Wallace as he prepares to pull the curtain on his media career, ending a 42-year involvement in AFL/VFL.

    THE COMMENTATOR

    Gerard Whateley

    “There’s an undeniable generosity in Terry Wallace as a commentator. He fosters a sense of team where each voice is welcome and each contribution valued. He’s as likely to ask a question as field one. His knowledge is undeniable and built from the rarest of diligence. He watches every game, every round. AFL and AFLW. If it happened, he’s seen it. It’s a tremendous knowledge base from which to draw his opinions, analysis and comparisons.”

    THE COACH

    Robert Walls

    “He was always a bit different, a little bit out there and you were always very wary coaching against him because you did not know what he’d pull. He was prepared to be different. He would make moves and vary his game styles. You never knew if he would be ultra defensive or super attacking. He would look at the opposition and suss out the best way to beat them. As a coach, I reckon he was able to get good ordinary players to become very good players which is a mark of very good coach.”

    THE TEAMMATE

    Russell Greene

    “I nicknamed him Plough. He was amazingly tenacious and focused on the footy. We had Colin Robertson, Rocket Eade and myself, the runners, and there was an unspoken rule: When Plough went to get the ball, off we went. He was stupidly tough. Did you know he never wore a mouthguard. Same as Barney (Leigh Matthews). He wanted to always play against the best. Physically he was tenacious and mentally super strong and those two ingredients together … well, he is a Hall of Famer. A lot of people would say he concentrated on stats, but in my opinion he was highly team oriented. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

    THE PLAYER

    Brad Johnson

    “I found Plough brilliant for me as a player. He would drive work rate and a commitment to improve with every session and game. He changed my role from a midfielder to a forward and the support he put around me to make this transition allowed me to grab the opportunity with both hands. Plough guided me as a young player to understand the true demands of playing at AFL level every week.”

    THE OPPONENT

    Scott Clayton

    “If you played on him every week you would be dead. Resilient, super tough, incredible work rate. He would not accept being out of the game for one minute. Great player.”

    THE ASSISTANT COACH

    Jade Rawlings

    “He backed me in from day one. Taught me about attention to detail, how to manage challenging behavioural situations, and the standard required to be a successful coach.

    I coached VFL under Terry, and he put 100 per cent trust in me to coach the players and game style without interfering once. He loved everything that came with game day. The challenge of strategising from the box, the messaging in his media duties and his fitted black shirt! Terry loves the game. Whether it be AFL, Under-18s or AFLW, he loves it.”

  4. #3
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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Plough is a legend.
    But seriously what a poorly written article.
    They come after one,
    They come after all,
    They can't handle all,
    Lets go....

    Bob Murphy

  5. #4
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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by azabob View Post
    Plough is a legend.
    But seriously what a poorly written article.
    It's more just a chat with Slobbo than an article.

    I was surprised at the extent of the love he clearly still has for the Dogs and how deeply 97 still burns.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Terry was a great coach for us . Ended terribly,but that’s life
    God I loved 97 ( until you know when ) the ride up the ladder was joyous
    The great start , the slump and the rise again. First time we’d been hated
    Loved it

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  8. #6
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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    It's more just a chat with Slobbo than an article.

    I was surprised at the extent of the love he clearly still has for the Dogs and how deeply 97 still burns.
    If you think we're scarred by it, those who actually had some chance of impacting the outcome would be more so I reckon.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by Remi Moses View Post
    Terry was a great coach for us . Ended terribly,but that’s life
    God I loved 97 ( until you know when ) the ride up the ladder was joyous
    The great start , the slump and the rise again. First time we’d been hated
    Loved it
    Outside of 2016 it's probably my favourite year. My god it was a painful ending though, 19 years and I was finally able to come to terms with that loss. Still hurts but I look up at my 2016 poster above my PC and that soothes it.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Terry has always been a great coach and was very handy for us when he came to play. A shame he didn't end up with a premiership as a coach but he can look back and say he had a fantastic career in footy.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    I loved Terry, just so disappointed how badly he shat the bed on the way out. He just couldn't let himself go without a big send off and it didn't sit well with me, and I think he got his just desserts when it blew up in his face.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    I wish we could have those 30 minute again too ... took me months to get over that and then we blew the qualifying match for the Word Cup at the MCG against Iran in November ... two massive leads blown ....

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by angelopetraglia View Post
    I wish we could have those 30 minute again too ... took me months to get over that and then we blew the qualifying match for the Word Cup at the MCG against Iran in November ... two massive leads blown ....
    Don't start me on that shit show, and the next......we finally got it right in 05....but then don't start me on the shit show that followed that!

    If you're a Dogs and national football supporter it was a grim time.

  16. #12
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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by angelopetraglia View Post
    I wish we could have those 30 minute again too ... took me months to get over that and then we blew the qualifying match for the Word Cup at the MCG against Iran in November ... two massive leads blown ....
    Chris Grant robbed of the brownlow and I think Diana died around that time too. Was an interesting period.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    The pain of 97 isn't so bad for me as I was touring through Birdsville and the red centre at the time and I had organised with relatives to record 6 weeks of games including the grand final.
    I had a total media blackout with my friends and no one was aloud to even think about footy in my presence.
    The bad news was heading back to QLD we went through Adelaide and then back out through Wilpena pound and I saw all the Crows banners and I knew we had lost and to this day I haven't watch any of those recordings which by now are gone.
    I liked Plough as a coach and although I was shitty at the time with him leaving I hold no ill feelings.
    He was a great player and Coach for us.
    There are plenty of talented people in the world. As you already know, talent is not enough. Some of the athletes with the most potential never pan out. What separates the good from the great is determination and work ethic.

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Wasn’t he made a lifetime member of the club recently? Vaguely remover him being honoured by the dogs somehow....

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    Re: 42 Years, but Plough only wants 30 minutes back

    Quote Originally Posted by azabob View Post
    Plough is a legend.
    But seriously what a poorly written article.
    I'm glad it's not just me. Robbo writes like he is high, can't stay on a topic for more than 20 seconds

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