Opinion "SHINBONER" Do we really want to keep using this word? (Verdict: YES)

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Club Legend
Mar 17, 2002
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Let's face it, it's not a very flattering term no matter how it's used. It was never an official moniker for the club. It's origins are obscure but the two most popular theories are: 1. Many of the club's players were at one time employed by the local abbatoir as boners, stripping meat off bones, or 2. North players had a habit of hacking their opponents in the shins. Neither applies to our players today.

Two of our past presidents--Frank Trainor and Phonse Tobin--did their best to get rid of the unflattering term. Trainor banned the use of the word anywhere in the club's premises during his term as president. He hated it. Tobin went further and created the new name "Kangaroos" in 1950. Many stubborn fans were slow to accept it, so in 1954 he obtained a giant papiermache kangaroo from a shop window which had been used for a display for the royal visit. It was placed in the clubroom and was pushed around the ground on home match days to take up collections. In spite of this "Age" cartoonist Wells persisted in depicting North as a shinbone throughout the 1950s. It looked ridiculous.

This is a name the club should be trying to live down, yet it is continually revived. Our players are given "Shinboner" numbers.The term "Shinboner spirit" is now so overused, and the word does not mean someone who never gives up. Hawthorn's early VFL history is similar to North's. Can you imagine them using the term "Maybloom"spirit? Or Melbourne the "Fuchsia" spirit? No, rather they adopted better, more appropriate symbols and the previous ones were consigned to history as "Shinboner" should be.

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Premiership Player
Oct 2, 2006
AFL Club
North Melbourne
My uncle played for North in 1947 and he used to say it originated from a saying that "North players stick together like flies to a shinbone".
This was probably influenced if many of the players were employed at the meatworks. The Kangaroos was created in the early 1950s to
improve our image. From memory, not a strong thing at my age, there was a large Kangaroo statue at the back of the Grandstand which was
originally in some parade (Moomba?) or such.

Uber Roo

Premium Platinum
Jun 20, 2018
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I would be happy to rid ourselves of The Kangaroos

Shinboners....sounds tough and is steeped in history, paying homage to our past. Acknowledges where we’ve come from, at a time our identity is being questioned.

Used correctly , could be very marketable too.

What’s wrong with The South Sydney Rabbitohs ? Similar concept. Sounds cool

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Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 24, 2012
Womb with a view
AFL Club
North Melbourne
An interesting thread from my most respected poster on this forum. If K7 speaks, you should listen.

Personally I think that your past makes you who you are.

Never forget who you are.

Dennis Pagan was the most recent spruiker of the Shinboner Spirit & before him Kanga Kennedy. They embraced the identity & I think the current powercore are attempting to harness that never say die attitude. That " indomitable spirit" as Dennis always used to say.

I'm happy for us to reconnect with that culture. Does that hold us back? To attract players, sponsors, coaches, success?

Maybe. I guess it comes down to the attraction of North on a personal level. I was initially attracted by our success as a kid, but what galvanized me was our ability to overcome the odds.

It still holds me to this day.

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Club Legend
Jul 19, 2014
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
GRM, Williams
I love the term Shinboner, but I think sometimes we need to use it and value it in-house more. We should refrain from using it willy-nilly in public too much. Just because you have an inherent spirit and fabric about a place doesn’t mean you have to tell every bloke at the BBQ about it. Walk the walk, then you can talk the talk.

Bugsy Malone

Jul 10, 2017
AFL Club
North Melbourne
We should ask Glen Archer if we should do away with the SHINBONER.Times like these we need to remind the young blokes about the jumper they are playing for and every time the run out what it means to represent the blue and white. Brad Scott lost my support the day he tried to do away with the Shinboner, I believe it lives with every player and supporter of this club.


Premium Gold
Dec 23, 2002
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
There can be only one...
It is part of our history, it is not something we have to constantly refer to. That doesn't mean you ditch it, I just think different eras should focus on different things that are appropriate for their times.

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