Mick Warner goes up against the biggest story in town

As a sportswriter, Mick Warner often tells stories the AFL would rather keep behind closed doors. In this interview, he tells the StoryCraft podcast what it's like to make an enemy out of the biggest game in town.

8 Nov 2021
Written by
The Story
Reading time

Photo: Dean Lewins/AAP

For six months of the year, Australian rules football dominates Melbourne’s newspapers, nightly bulletins and water cooler conversations. So far, so good. But more often than not, the narrative that enters the public discourse is carefully shaped by the AFL itself, and pushed by the cabal of powerful men who run the game more like a fiefdom than a sport.

Enter Mick Warner, football reporter at the Herald Sun. In 2019, Mick decided to tell an alternative story of the modern AFL, one that reevaluated the game’s guardians and their legacy. That book, The Boys’ Club, exposes the secret, murky world that the AFL’s top brass fights tooth and nail to keep behind closed doors.

In the third episode of StoryCraft, host Ben Hart sits down with Mick to find out how he does what he does. Together, they discuss speaking truth to power, the importance of old-school shoe-leather journalism, and what it’s like to step outside of an entrenched system of patronage and make an enemy out of the biggest game in town.

Listen below, or subscribe to StoryCraft on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Sign up to
The Story Newsletter

The best of the website, with bonus newsletter-only trimmings. Delivered to your inbox every so often.