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The Big O – The Life and Times of Olsen Filipaina

$39.99

The Big O is the story of Olsen Filipaina, a New Zealand Hall of Fame rugby league legend who paved the way for the Pacific Revolution – the influx of Māori and Pasifika players who today dominate the NRL.

It tracks Olsen’s story from his rise out of working-class South Auckland to overcoming depression, racism and cultural dislocation in Sydney, to the Cinderella story of his success for the New Zealand Kiwis enabled by the culturally competent man management of coaching legend Sir Graham Lowe.

Worldwide release May 28th 2020

Description

‘Olsen was a pathfinder, the first to show what Polynesians could do, and he was the face of hope for his community. He was a great player who was misunderstood, and this is a very important book to explain his role in the Polynesian rise in rugby league.’ – Sir Graham Lowe

Early 1980’s Sydney was an overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic and hyper-masculine city that was manifested by the working class game of rugby league. Today the largest majority of players in the National Rugby League are Pasifika and Maori who have culturally upended the game through an exuberant and powerful playing style and introducing new culture through music, religion, tribal tattoos and the remittance of large salaries back to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for redistribution among extended families.

Five years after the abolition of the White Australia policy, a reluctant Maori-Samoan pioneer joined the Sydney competition playing for the Balmain Tigers, Eastern Suburbs Roosters and the North Sydney Bears. Whilst playing in Sydney he represented his beloved Kiwis and tormented the Kangaroos, introducing a Polynesian culture and power game that would revolutionise the sport.

The Big O is the story of Olsen Filipaina, a New Zealand Hall of Fame rugby league legend who paved the way for the Pacific Revolution – the influx of Māori and Pasifika players who today dominate the NRL.

It tracks Olsen’s story from his rise out of working-class South Auckland to overcoming depression, racism and cultural dislocation in Sydney, to the Cinderella story of his success for the New Zealand Kiwis enabled by the culturally competent man management of coaching legend Sir Graham Lowe.

Forty years after Filipaina burst into the Australian rugby league scene, Skene relates the journey of a humble and principled man who overcame barriers to dethrone the greatest player of all.

About the Author

Patrick Skene was born and raised in Sydney and writes stories on the intersection of sport, history and culture. His work has appeared in Guardian Australia, The Age, Inside Sport, Boxing.com and Footy Almanac. He previously hosted an Aboriginal sports history radio program on the National Indigenous Radio Service and a boxing program on SEN Radio Melbourne. The Big O is his first book.

Available Stores in Australia

Available in these good book stores:
State Bookshop Suburb Address Ph
NSW Hill of Content Balmain 245 Darling St, Balmain (02) 9555 6055
NSW Gleebooks Blackheath Shop 1, Colliers Arcade, Govetts Leap Road (02) 4787 6340
NSW The Book Room Byron Bay 27 Fletcher St Byron Bay (02) 6685 8183
NSW The Best Little Bookshop in Town Cronulla 97 Cronulla St, Cronulla (02) 9527 3504
NSW Gleebooks Dulwich Hill 536 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill (02) 9560 0660
NSW Gleebooks Glebe 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (02) 9660 2333
NSW Dymocks Lane Cove 38 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove 0478 936 096
NSW Humphreys Newsagency Manly 60-62 The Corso, Manly (02) 9977 1699
NSW Dymocks Parramatta 159-175 Church St, Parramatta (02) 9633 5929
NSW Dymocks Penrith Westfield Penrith (02) 4731 5986
NSW Kinokunya Sydney 500 George St, Sydney (02) 9262 7996
NSW Dymocks George St Sydney 424-430 George St, Sydney (02) 9235 0155
NSW Dymocks Warringah Westfield Warringah Mall, Brookvale (02) 9938 2823
QLD Dymocks Brisbane 72 Queen St, Brisbane City (07) 3007 2800
QLD Bookface Springfield 1 Main Street, Springfield Central (07) 3470 1644
QLD Dymocks Upper Mount Gravatt Westfield Garden City (07) 3219 1300
VIC Collins Warrnambool 159 Liebig St, Warrnambool (03) 5562 4272
WA Dymocks Booragoon Garden City Shopping Centre (08) 9364 7687
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