Best and Fairest is set in Sydney Australia sometime in the 1960s. Watched by parents, families and friends, a team of thirteen determined young Rugby League football players commence a seminal year which finishes in triumph for some, tragedy for others. Each story, recounted in a discontinuous narrative, charts the passing of childhood, and the tentative beginning of adult life.
Best and Fairest describes intrigue, violence, camaraderie, love, and criminality, played out in the dingy back streets of Sydney’s inner west. Best and Fairest is an homage to a sporting code which imbues its followers with pride in a shared identity while transcending race, colour and creed.
The novella describes Sydney in a time before credit cards, when working-class families bought household goods on hire purchase; when the State had not taken over off-course gambling, and ‘cockatoos’ kept watch for local S.P. (Starting Price) bookies operating in every corner pub.
As a work of fiction, the novella relies on hundreds of Sydney anecdotes from its past. While they impart pace and structure, they are not historically accurate. Best and Fairest is a portrait of Sydney as glimpsed through the lens of an inverted telescope. The principal narrative is the team’s football season; however some events occur before and after this time line.
Best and Fairest assembles a fractured mosaic of almost forgotten everyday lives, and imparts a powerful impression of a culture and an era now rapidly fading from memory.
With a Foreword by Jack Rozycki.by