Wendy Jenkins Football Trilogy

Teacher’s Suggestions

prepared by Anne-Maree Liddelow



The Wendy Jenkins football trilogy contains highly engaging stories for middle school readers. The following activities are designed to exploit students’ interest in these stories for further language work. They are not intended to be compulsory activities; ideally the suggestions will be provided to students who have read and enjoyed the stories and want to pursue their interest in the characters and the writing.



If you have really enjoyed reading the Wendy Jenkins trilogy, you might want to complete some of the activities below to help you think about the characters and writing more.



Make up a photo album for either Greg or Matt that includes all the significant people and moments in their life up until they are your parent’s age. You can take photos, find pictures or draw them.

To help you do this it is worthwhile thinking about:

·      The kinds of photos people usually include in their albums; pictures of families, holidays, significant events such as school assemblies, sport finals etc. 

·      Who is usually taking the photos? Are there some important events in the character’s life where no-one was around to take the photos? What else might you they use to show this event in their album?

·      What information we are given in the books about Greg and Matt’s futures.

You can take photos, find pictures or draw them to do so.


Make up the scrapbook that Matt’s mum had been keeping with all his press clippings and achievements in it. Include some of the rhyming headlines he complained about, the articles that may have been written about him and some photos with captions.



Make up a similar scrapbook for Greg’s career. The first article would probably be the one at the end of Gunna Burn but you must add the rest. To do this you need to think of situations where Greg might find himself in the future i.e. Brownlow medal night.


Conduct a sports panel with the characters of Greg and Matt as guests (This could be just after Greg has been signed by the Dockers). Prepare the questions the reporters would ask them and the answers they would give.

Imagine you are a ‘sport star’,

·      Create your own scrapbook of press clippings.

·      Write the commentary for a game where you are involved in a crucial part of the action.

·      Script an after-game interview between yourself and a sport reporter

·      Draw the photo of yourself receiving the ‘top award’ in your sport and the article to accompany it.

·      Make up a series of headlines that make puns on your name or use rhymes


In Gunna Burn Greg had set himself very clear goals to be able to play in the AFL. What are your goals? Make up an action plan for a goal of your own. Remember an action plan

·      Breaks the goal down into stages (Greg decided to do weight training to build up his strength – this is one stage)

·      Has a clear timeline (i.e make draft selection at 18)


In her books Wendy Jenkins often includes scenes where the point of view of alternative characters is given. Often these are very unusual. For example, in The Big Game, many scenes present Dempsey the dog’s perspective on the action, or Turley’s. In Gunna Burn, she includes the spider’s perspective at the party.

·      Write your own story that includes a number of different perspectives, even those of animals or very small children.

·      Write an everyday event from the perspective of an animal i.e. a fly buzzing around the breakfast table.


In the books, Wendy Jenkins constructs the characters of Greg and Matt through alternate scenes. Often these contain parallel actions. For example, when Greg is having breakfast, Matt is too; when Greg is getting ready to walk Turley, Matt is taking Dempsey out for a walk. Try to write a story where you create two characters through parallel scenes – you may decide to have them meeting at the end, or not.


In the books, Wendy Jenkins includes a number of different kinds of communications to help tell the story. For example, she includes magazine interviews, invitations, letters, emails, news articles, radio interview dialogue and television commentary dialogue. Write a story of your own that includes different kinds of communications. You might consider writing a story where

·      A party that goes wrong.

·      Characters are listening to television at the same time that they are talking to each other

·      E-mails are used by the characters to communicate to each other

·      You use news articles or headlines to tell part of the story.


Imagine Wendy Jenkins was going to write another book in this series. What do you think it would be about? What would happen to Matt and Greg? Design the front cover for the book.

Remember to examine the covers of the other books make sure you

·      Present it in a similar style to them.

·      Give clues to the characters and some of the events in the story through the pictures and the text.


Design a promotion of the trilogy for your school library that will encourage others to read the books.