Inside the Malthouse

There’s not many father-daughter relationships like Mick and Christi Malthouse’s. Mick, a coach of 662 AFL matches, and Christi, a high-flying journalist specialising in AFL, have come together to write a biography with a completely unique perspective.

Mick’s biography, ‘Malthouse: A Football Life’, aims to show ‘the other side of football- not just the football side that Mick’s been involved in for over 40 years but also our side of football, the private side of football’, Christi told the Footy Almanac exclusively. And indeed she captures the full experience of being a part of a football family. Christi describes the highs and lows of growing up in the inner circles of the AFL, with hanging out with the likes of the young Bartletts, Clokes and Bourkes whilst their fathers were working being one of the highlights, but the constant teasing at school a definite downside.

Christi writes with a heartfelt honesty that shocks even her own father. She says ‘it’s only now when he reads the book and says “I didn’t realise how bad it was” and [he] does feel bad about it’. She admits her father’s career ‘brings a lot of pressures and a lot of scrutiny and a lot of things that we went through that I know my friends never had to go through’.

One such experience included in the book is when Christi and her sister Danielle were trying to gain their father’s attention after some boys were teasing them after a game.
‘Dad, those kids were being mean to us.’
‘He’s not your dad, he’s Mick Malthouse,’ one of the boys hissed.
‘He is our dad,’ I replied as Danielle nodded her head, her face forming a frown. ‘Daaad!’
The boys continued to tease us. ‘Ha, ha, they think he’s their dad.’
We were finally at the front of the queue. Grabbing at Dad’s hand, we tried to explain about the hurtful boys.
‘Yes, little girl, what do you want, my autograph?’ Dad asked in a high-pitched voice. The boys roared laughing.
Danielle and I started crying. ‘Dad, tell them you’re our dad,’ we pleaded, our bravado all gone.

Mick apologised for his poor joke, but in turn the girls learnt they had to share their father.

But there’s more to Mick than being a father, husband and jokester. A player of 174 AFL games and coach of over 650 games and counting, Mick has achieved ultimate success on many levels. He prides himself on ‘turning young boys into men’ and this book does not miss a beat. Whether reading about young Mick growing up on the housing commissions of Ballarat or learning about the years spent building the Collingwood premiership team of 2010, ‘Malthouse: A Football Life’ is a great read for not only fans of the great man but for fans of the game alike.

 

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