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Book Information

  • ISBN: 9781743536667
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pub Date: 28/06/2016
  • Category: Literature & literary studies / Prose: non-fiction
    Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
    Society & social sciences / Elections & referenda
    Society & social sciences / Politics & government
    Lifestyle, sport & leisure / Sports & outdoor recreation
    Lifestyle, sport & leisure / History of sport
    Humanities / First World War
    Humanities / Military history
    Humanities / History
    Humanities / General & world history
  • Imprint: Macmillan Australia
  • Pages: 352
  • Price: $34.99

"One of the strongest statements on the horror and futility of war I have ever read." David Williamson, screenwriter of Gallipoli

As the Great War raged in 1916, two teams of Australian soldiers played an Australian Rules football match in London. It was the first time the world had seen our national game. But this was more than an exhibition match. It symbolised sport's role in driving young athletes to enlist and fight.

The players came from every corner of the country - some of them stars in the VFL or champions in their city or state leagues. For all of them it was a chance to forget blood and battle and simply play, a final kick of the footy before the Western Front, from where some would never return.

Now, 100 years on, Nick Richardson rekindles an incredible moment in our history and pays tribute to the men who played The Game of Their Lives.


"One of the great untold stores of Australian football history...compelling ... inspiring and poignant ... a must read." Glenn McFarlane, Herald Sun

"A remarkable book that conveys the Anzac spirt in the most Australian of ways." Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial

"This book will teach you that the heat of battle in Origin, or the nerves before a grand final at the MCG, are nothing compared to the pressure sportsmen faced to enlist in WWI via the wide-held belief that athletic competition prepared players for war. It's a superb tribute to the men placed in such a dreadful situation."Inside Sport


Commended for FAW Excellence in Non-fiction Literature Award 2017Commended for FAW Excellence in Non-fiction Literature Award 2017.

Author Information

Nick Richardson has been a journalist for three decades and has worked on newspapers and magazines in Australia and England. He has been a Margaret George fellow at the National Archives of Australia and a research fellow at the Australian Prime Ministers Centre. Nick has a PhD in history from the University of Melbourne and is adjunct professor of journalism at La Trobe University. He lives in Melbourne with his family.