Biography & True Story Books:

The Big O

The Life and Times of Olsen Filipaina
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Paperback / softback
The Big O by Patrick Skene
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"Best Sports Biography in a while"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

A very unique 'sports’ book. Doesn’t only tell the remarkable story of Olsen Filipina’s life but also encompasses the Pacifika impact on NZ and Australian sport, culture and society.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
"Rugby league biography and cultural awareness 2-4-1"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

Patrick Skene has written an incredibly well researched and easily readable biography on Olsen Filipaina. I read it in just a couple of days! The highs and hardships of his life and rugby league career laid out for all to see. But what I found fascinating was the detail Skene goes into with Graeme Lowe’s coaching and man management style – emotional intelligence and empathy before they were a thing! The book also goes to explain a lot about Maori and Samoan and Pasifika culture and customs, so it's almost a cultural awareness guide. Also the insights into 1980’s Sydney world of league were fascinating.

Description

The Big O by Patrick Skene is the story of Olsen Filipaina, a New Zealand Hall of Fame rugby league legend who was a pathfinder for the Maori and Pasifika players who today dominate the Australian National Rugby League. In a career that saw him play 29 Tests for New Zealand and more than 100 first grade NSWRL games, Filipaina was an object of fascination for the rugby league community. To fans he was the Galloping Garbo , a working-class hero who thrilled crowds in between shifts as a garbageman. To opponents, who feared his Polynesian power game, he was The Big O. To coaches and critics, he was simply Olsen the enigma . Featured in the book are some of the pivotal figures of 1980s Australia and New Zealand sport including Sir Graham Lowe, Arthur Beetson, Roy Masters, Sir Peter Leitch, David Tua, Sir Bryan Williams, Wayne Pearce, Sir Michael Jones, John Ribot, Mark Graham, David Lange and NRL Immortal Wally Lewis who for the first time opens up about being outplayed by Filipaina in the 1985 Test series. The Big O 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. Forty years after Filipaina burst into Australian rugby league, Skene relates the tale of a humble and principled man, a dynamic and magical pioneer of the 'Pacific Revolution'. The Big O' is a timely story of resilience, redemption, bravery and love. To understand Olsen's story is to understand the cultural changes that have reshaped the game of rugby league.

Author Biography

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.
Release date NZ
April 9th, 2020
Author
Pages
336
Illustrations
16 Illustrations, color
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Imprint
Upstart Press Ltd
Dimensions
160x230x30
ISBN-13
9781988516844
Product ID
32456776

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