Night Games, turned into something quite different altogether

night gamesFrom the cover:

“The Pies beat the Saints and the city of Melbourne was still cloaked in black and white crepe paper when the rumour of a pack rape by celebrating footballers began to surface.  By morning, the head of the sexual crimes squad confirmed to journalists that they were preparing to question two Collingwood players. . . And so, as police were confiscating bedsheets from a townhouse in South Melbourne, the trial by media began.”

What does a young footballer do to cut loose?  At night, some play what they think of as pranks, or games.  Night games with women.  Sometimes these involve consensual sex , but sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they fall into a grey area.

In the tradition of Helen Garner’s The First Stone comes a closely observed, controversial book about sex, consent and power.  In Night Games, Anna Krien follows the rape trial of an Australian Rules footballer.  She also takes a balanced and fearlesss look at the dark side of footy culture – the world of Sam Newman, Ricky Nixon, Matty Johns and the Cronulla Sharks.

Both a courtroom drama and a riveting work of narrative journalism, this is a breakthrough book by one of the leading young lights of Australian writing.

This is a book that I read in an afternoon.  I had followed the Australian court case relating to an alleged pack rape by some well-known AFL footballers in Melbourne.

The author of this book attended the trial of the single accused, minor player, which in itself tells you that something was not quite right.  Yes I realise only one person can be tried at one time but why is there only one accused?

I left this book feeling very much that the hierarchy of the AFL had the ability to manipulate the outcome of criminal matters and that the accused was the scapegoat for the more “famous” players.

Although I am not a follower of AFL football, the story was of interest to me as the topic could be applied to other celebrities, not just AFL players.  Anna Krien emphasises the matter by recounting the incidents involving Matty Johns, Ricky Nixon and the Alan Jones years at the Balmain Tigers

I opened this book thinking that the author would be biased on the female’s side but found that she gave a very unbiased account of the trial and her recounting of the other incidents also gave much food for thought.

I am of the belief that we give elite sportspeople far too much money and attention at an age when they have not developed the maturity to handle it.

A great read, particularly if you enjoy sport.

2 thoughts on “Night Games, turned into something quite different altogether

  1. I’m not aware of the court case you mention but I completely agree with your penultimate paragraph. It must have been a very gripping read to have got through it in one sitting.

    • It was more like reading investigative reporting so it read very easily. Knowing the various characters involved made for interesting reading. I doubt if it would have the same impact for readers other than Australians, particularly those interested in AFL.

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