Faculty of Education and Arts

Dan Eddy

CRCAH doctoral candidate 


Alex Jesaulenko and the ever changing face of Australian football

This research project will critically examine the impact that Alex Jesaulenko, a post-war migrant, had on Australian Rules football from 1965-1990, a quarter-century that witnessed significant change in the code's history both on and off the field. The changing face of Australian Rules football will be a major theme of the work, explored through the lens of Jesaulenko's career, first as a player, later as a coach for the Carlton Football Club (CFC). From the emergence of the inner-city suburb of Carlton as a multicultural centre of Melbourne and the impact of this on the game, to the iconic Grand Final moments involving Jesaulenko which remain etched in football folklore (aided in part by the emergence of television in Australia during the 1960s), the thesis will document and explore the making of an Australian Rules football legend. It will examine Jesaulenko's role as a reluctant, yet messianic coach, and the controversy surrounding his premature departure from the CFC all in the name of loyalty, a subject that was integral to the rebuilding of the CFC at the beginning of Jesaulenko's playing career. His second stint as coach of Carlton, during which time the game moved into the professional era, leaving Jesaulenko trapped between the old game and its new adaptation will also be examined. This study of Alex Jesaulenko's football career will contribute to Federation University Australia's expanding catalogue of Australian historical research, and will result in the first scholarly biography of one of Australian Rules football's finest exponents.

In 2014 Dan Eddy published his first book, King Richard: The story of Dick Reynolds, Essendon legend. His second book, Skills of Australian football, will be released in May 2016. He has also co-authored Champions: conversations with great players & coaches of Australian football (2016), and was ghost writer on aerial skier Lydia Lassila's updated autobiography, The will to fly (2016). He is currently writing his third book, The "forgotten champions": the story of Carlton's 1979-82 premiership era (due to be released in 2017), and has a number of other books in the works.

In 2013 Eddy completed a Master of Arts degree (Victoria University), and delivered a presentation at the "Heritage, communities & cultures" conference in Melbourne (2012). He has had academic articles published in Sporting traditions (the journal of the Australian Society for Sports History) as well as Sport, culture and society: connections, techniques and viewpoints, and has also published articles in the AFL's Football Record.

With a strong passion for the history of sport, Eddy has conducted interviews with more than 300 past and present sportspeople as well as other Australian figures, along the way compiling an impressive oral collection.