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Trugo

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Gerald Strachan, Brunswick Trugo Club captain and current "world" champion, left, takes on Mick Brett at the Brunswick grounds.
Picture:Angela Wylie

A quaint game invented and played only in Melbourne is under threat of extinction because of its ageing membership and fading interest.

The once-strong sport of trugo has been described as a combination of AFL and croquet - with a similar aim to footy of scoring between the posts, albeit at a much slower pace.

It was invented by rail workers in Newport in 1924. During quiet times, the workers used to take the rubber buffers off a train and would hit one with their mallets, aiming to get it through two cans at the other end of the carriage.

Gerald Strachan, captain of the Brunswick Trugo Club, explains how the name "trugo" was coined: "When the ring used to go through the posts people would yell out 'true go. That was a true go.' And that is how it got its name," he says. The game is as Victorian as AFL and part of the state's history, he says.

Trugo appears quite simple at first glance. Each player gets 24 shots, 12 from each end. You hit the ring through your legs with your back turned to the goal posts and if you get it through your team receives a point.

 Women have to hit the ring from a side-on position, which is deemed more ladylike, and play on a 70-foot (21-metre) grass court as opposed to the 90-foot (27.5-metre) men's court.

The game is described as deceivingly simple and that overconfidence will ultimately be your downfall. "You often get the first few through and then you get too confident and say 'oh, this is easy'. It is then that you hit them everywhere," Strachan says. "There is an art to it."