There were two points in my life when I was afraid of Rene Kink.
The first was as a child when I was dragged along to a Collingwood training session by a schoolmate. Simon’s mum was a coterie member and seemed to know a lot of the players quite well. Looking back at it now, maybe very well. She was a single mum… good on her.
Anyway, we were permitted to go into the change rooms after the training session where all the players were sitting around and the privileged few like us were allowed to walk up and chat to these larger-than-life characters. Simon immediately grabbed me by the jacket and dragged me over to where this behemoth was standing.
“Rene, this is my friend,” he said as the giant turned to regard us.
Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where the hero… let’s say, for the sake of this story it’s me, stands opposite the villain and the villain casts a shadow so huge over the hero that he is almost completely enveloped in darkness? That was me standing in front of Rene Kink.
He reached out and shook my hand without speaking. It was as though his arm was an anaconda, and my puny little limb was being devoured by it. He smiled, but there was no joy in it, as though he was doing what he had to as a star of the competition, but that was as good as it was going to get. Even at a young age, I could take cues, and quickly moved away.
It was about ten years later that I was playing in the Western Region Football League. I was called up into the seniors to play after one of their players didn’t turn up, and the reserves were short as well, with a couple of my teammates already being asked to fill in for them. I was pretty tired after having played in the Under 17s game earlier in the morning, but not a lot of thought was put into recovery back then.
I’d just turned 17 years old and had filled in for the seniors before, so I wasn’t really spooked at all. We were playing at home so I hung out with mates until being summoned into the rooms to prepare, and I remember the coach wandering over to me and tell me I’d be running off the half back flank so I should look to read the ball off the pack whenever some bloke whose name I can’t remember spoils Kink.
Uh oh… the rest of this one is behind the Mongrel Paywall. Don’t you hate that? This is where I try to provide value to our Mongrel Members. They will receive access to five or so exclusive columns per week during the off-season detailing trades, free agency, player profiles, drafts, statistical analysis, classic games and rivalries, and then into the pre-season previews. Wanna join them and support the best damn independent footy site you’ll find?