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The one book on sport – and mental illness – that everyone must read

On paper Scotty Hodges had it all.

In a football career almost without peer, Scott was drafted as a teenager to represent the team he loved, Port Adelaide, and would go on to win a staggering eight premierships.

He would break the State’s all-time goal-kicking record, win its highest honour, the Magarey Medal, and be headhunted as the star forward in the inaugural Adelaide Crows AFL team. He had a beautiful wife, herself the daughter of football royalty, and two gorgeous young kids.

Behind all this his life was falling apart.

For years, Scott grappled with undiagnosed mental illness, sending him into a spiral of confusion and isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, anger and violence. He kept this secret from the world, and even began planning his own demise.

This is the gritty and raw account of how an ordinary man overcame extraordinary demons, and emerged the other side with a message of hope and survival.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 31, 2017

    Ebury Australia

    304 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
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    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
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    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 31, 2017

    Random House Australia

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo


When it came to footy my family and I were Port Adelaide people through and through. That’s the Port Adelaide Football Club, the Magpies, the great working- class club established in 1870 which has won more premierships than any other team in the South Australian footy league, and which finally entered a team in the AFL in 1997.

In our family we always had black- and- white blood running through our veins. We were all Port Adelaide people. Dad played for Port in the 1960s, mainly in the reserves team, and after that he played a few games for Woodville in the western suburbs, but our hearts were always with Port. During the footy season, our week revolved around making sure that we got to every Port game. From the age of 12 onwards, I would get together with my mates from the neighbourhood and catch the train from Parafield Gardens to the city, then another one out to Chelten­ham, then walk to Port’s home ground, Alberton Oval, to watch my beloved Maggies play. It was a 60- km round trip – a decent distance for a 12- year- old kid, but I wouldn’t have missed it. If Port were playing at Football Park, at what was then the new stadium in West Lakes, we’d catch the train to the city and then catch a bus to the ground. We did it every Saturday. We were all members of the Port Adelaide Cheer Squad. Back then all the hardcore footy fans used to wear what were known as duffle coats. They were all the rage in the seventies, big black woollen jackets with three wooden toggle buttons. We’d decorate our duffle coats in our team colours and cover them with patches and badges of our favourite players and have the numbers of our favourite players stitched on the back. The sports stores in Adelaide used to sell large foam numbers in the colours of the different teams and kids would buy them and get their mums to stitch them onto their coats. I wish I still had my duffle coat today. It was a work of art.

Continue Reading
The Nature of Happiness

Scotty Hodges’ psychologist explores the benefits of living well.

Book List
Footy Memoirs

Tall stories and tell-alls from our football heroes.

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