A Wink From the Universe
The Western Bulldogs' 2016 premiership came from nowhere - they were the club with no luck, no stars, no right to win, no culture of success. They were the rank underdogs and they swept to victory on an unprecedented tide of goodwill that washed over the nation. Only Martin Flanagan could bring to life this particular miracle. The club's two guiding spirits - captain Bob Murphy and coach Luke Beveridge - welcomed him in, Beveridge making available his match diaries, pre-match notes and video highlights. Flanagan interviewed every player, watched every match, talked with the trainers, the women in the football department, the fans who never miss a training session, the cheer squad. What Flanagan shows is that the Bulldogs found a new way to play partly because they found a new way to be a team - a new way to support each other, even a new way to be. A Wink from the Universe takes us into the heart of the community Luke Beveridge and Bob Murphy dreamt into being with the support of the Bulldog people around them. This is a classic of sportswriting - a book for fans of the club, and of the game, but also a book for anyone who wants to know how a group of people can will a miracle to happen.
Martin Flanagan writes for the Age newspaper and is the author of twelve books, among them "The Call", an imaginative re-construction of the life of Tom Wills, a founder of the game, and "The Last Quarter", a trilogy of his football books. What people have said about Martin Flanagan's football writing-'Martin Flanagan must never be allowed to stop writing football. I say this because he is the only football writer I have read who is so good I think he could nearly describe a heartbeat - and that, if you want to touch the essence of football, is what you have to do.' Don Watson'If I'm ever prompted, I have no hesitation in nominating Martin Flanagan as my favourite writera I only hope I can see the game off the field as well as he does.' Nathan Buckley 'I like Martin's writing, and I know most players do too, because he comes from a different perspective.' James Hird'The best of Flanagan has a finesse and feeling that no current Australian sports-writer approaches, let alone equals.' Gideon Haigh 'I love his brain.' Kevin Sheedy