Garry Linnell was a nobody. An Age cadet fresh out of high school. A postman’s son from Geelong with a mullet hairdo. And yet there he was, at Melbourne’s Assembly Hall, giving 400 battle-hardened Melbourne reporters a sermon on industrial tactics. Not content with blasting Fairfax management, he gave the journalists’ union an almighty whack for ignoring the “exploitation” of junior reporters. From that day on, no one was in doubt: the boy has balls.
“I thought, wow — this kid’s got a lot of poise, a lot of confidence, a lot of chutzpah,” recalled Bruce Guthrie, then a reporter at The Melbourne Herald. “I remember thinking: this kid’s got a future.”