Wombat's Footy Heroes, by Harvey Lang and Jason McCartney

After Wombat left, Lukey turned to Hawky and said, ‘I reckon he’d be a great asset. Just wish he could take an overhead mark with his hands.’
’Yeah, but he’s quick and can take them on his chest. We’ll work on it.’
Wombat overheard them. But then again, he had heard it all before. He hoped one day he would find out why he couldn’t quite grab the ball above his head. It had frustrated both him and his coaches for years.

Wombat is a drifter. He moves from town to town, finding work where he can, playing footy and helping people solve their problems, with his special gifts. But he has two problems of his own – a shy stutter, which stops him from getting to know girls, and an inability to take an overhead mark.

Michael is captain of the Finham Under-16s, a popular student who gets good grades. But he is also struggling with two problems – his fears that his parents’ marriage is breaking up, and his clash with the school bully, Jordan.

When Wombat arrives in Finham he builds a friendship with Michael and becomes a key player for the footy club. Perhaps their friendship can solve both of their problems.

Wombat’s Footy Heroes is a story about friendship and sport, and about acceptance. Wombat is a character with the mysterious gift of incredible hearing, which allows him to hear what people are saying him when he is seemingly well out of hearing range, and also to hear what is troubling people. This gift makes him a little odd, and people are initially wary of him, but as they get to know him they discover his warm heart and gentle nature.

This is an interesting read, with plenty of football action for sports-mad youngsters.

Wombat’s Footy Heroes, by Harvey Lang & Jason McCartney
Lothian Books, 2006

Centimetre Perfect, by Dennis Cometti

Andrew Dunkley’s kick went so high it ricocheted off the Hubble Telescope.
McIntosh, like good hairspray, is the master of the subtle hold.

With the Australian Rules football season once again under way, footy fans around the country are regularly treated to the velvet tones of Dennis Cometti commentating the big games. Having been involved in the broadcast of sport since 1968, he has been commentating football since the competition went national in 1987, and has become well known for his entertaining and unique comments, often made in the heat of the moment.

In this little offering, Cometti himself brings together some of his more colourful Cometti-isms with mini-introductions explaining the contexts within which the comments were made.

An introduction by AFL Legend Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer gives a little insight into Cometti’s past – including the fact that Cometti was an excellent player himself until he chose to follow his passion for broadcasting. The text is also complemented by game-day photgraphs taken by Micahel Kennish.

This is a funny, easy-read offering, with a unique small format. It would be an excellent gift for a football fan.

Centimetre Perfect, by Dennis Cometti
Allen & Unwin, 2004