David Williamson's 'The Club' source play of this film has been performed in the USA under a different title, that of 'Players'. The film Players (1979) was unrelated to 'The Club', but was actually made and released in 1979, around the same time as this film.
This film is notable for featuring the song 'Up There Cazaly' which is an Australian Football anthem. Its use in this movie occurred only about a year after the song was recorded and first released where it was a promotional song for television station Channel Seven's coverage of Australian Rules Football in the VFL - the Victorian Football League.
The plot of the film sees the Collingwood Football Club come from the bottom of the ladder early in the season to win the premiership in the grand final. In the year the film was made, the real Collingwood came from the bottom of the ladder early in the season to make the grand final... and lose it by a record margin.
Footage from three original VFL (Victorian Football League, now AFL - Australian Football League) Games features in "The Club". These are from Collingwood Football Club games against Carlton, Hawthorn and Fitzroy (now Brisbane Lions)
Star Graham Kennedy once said of the characters in 'The Club' including his own, Ted Parker: "Most of them seem to be pathetic little characters who are always blowing their top. Ted Parker in 'The Club' is a real megalomaniac. There isn't anything nice you can say about him. But he is also rather sad, which is something to work on, but winning sympathy for him isn't easy."
Former Collingwood Football Club captain and footy commentator Lou Richards, who appears in this film, once said of this movie: "'The Club' is about the hangers-on, the end of loyalty, the coming of professionalism, big business, and transfer fees. It's about each and every club in the Victorian Football League - and about rugby, soccer, and baseball, too."
David Williamson, who wrote the source play and this movie's adaptation film script of it, once said of this picture: "We've opened up the play and treated it very visually as a film. It includes some very hectic training and match sequences."
Actor and television personality Graham Kennedy plays the President of the Collingwood Football Club in this film about Australian Rules football. In real life, Kennedy was a supporter of the St Kilda Football Club.
David Williamson, writer of both this film's source play and its adaptation screenplay, is a supporter of Melbourne's Collingwood Football Club, the football club that this movie's story is set around.
To prepare for his role as an Australian Rules football player in this movie, actor John Howard trained with both the Newtown Australian Rules football team in Sydney and the Collingwood Football team in Melbourne.
John Howard plays newcomer recruit Geoff Hayward in this movie. Reportedly, Howard was offered a spot in the Newtown Football Club Reserves Team after training with them in preparing for this film. Howard once said of this: "I was flattered, and I would have liked to have taken them up on it but because of my acting commitments, there is no way I could tie myself down to something like that."
Lou Richards, who plays a football commentator in this film set around Melbourne's Collingwood Footballm Club, is a stalwart and legend of this club. Richards played 250 games for Collingwood, was its leading goal-kicker in 1944, 1948 & 1950, was captain between 1952 and 1955 and lead the club during this period to its 1953 Premiership.
This film was the third and final film in a three picture deal that director Bruce Beresford had with the South Australian Film Corporation. The first was Money Movers (1978) whilst the second was Breaker Morant (1980).
Real live football game action was inter-cut with fictional football performance footage. The latter was filmed with actors Harold Hopkins and John Howard being filmed on the football playing field with real Collingwood Football Club and Victorian Football League football players.
Though a production of the South Australian Film Corporation which at the time was a producer of films that were predominantly shot locally in Adelaide and South Australia, this movie was not filmed in South Australia at all, but in Victoria where the home of Australian football is.
In the film's source play of 'The Club', the name of the football club is never mentioned as any particular club. The naming of it for the film, as the Collingwood Football Club, was a story element added for this film version.
'The Club' play first debuted on 24 May 1977 at the Russell Street Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. It was produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company and its run played for an extended season of four months.
Legendary Australian rules football coach Tommy Hafey was a technical advisor to Jack Thompson who was plays the Coach of the football club in this movie. Hafey played for the Richmond Football Club between 1953 and 1958 and later coached this team along with three other teams, Collingwood, Geelong and Sydney, between 1966 and 1988.
Writer David Williamson once said of director Bruce Beresford: "Bruce does a very thorough job planning the film with the cinematographer: he and Don McAlpine storyboard exhaustively, and they like to layer their visual effects, so that there are things going on in the foreground as well as the background."
Director Bruce Beresford once wrote that the film's emphasis was on the backstage politics of Australian Football and not on the football players but with capturing the essence of the torture of the game.
The premiere of this movie was held in Melbourne, Australia, home of the Collingwood Football Club and where most of the film was shot. The launch was a $40 (Australian) a ticket event and attended by many supporters of the Collingwood Football Club.
Jack Thompson sports a moustache playing the football club coach in this movie. Thompson grew the mustache especially for the film and he based his rationale for doing so on the fact that many Australian Rules Football coaches had a mustache, such as Ron Barassi. Thompson felt that a moustache suggested a badge rank in the social hierarchy of the sports world such as Aussie Rules football culture.