THE PRE WRAP – FINAL ROUND I
THE WELCOME BACK TIGERS ROUND
FOR THE PHILOSOPHICAL MARNGROOK FAN
What a week it’s been in Footy Wrappers. Buddy cops a week, for which he should be truly thankful. Not sure how you saw it out there in the Wider Football World, but in one of the replays we saw of it they’d turned the sound down and you could actually hear Buddy’s thought processes grinding away. Will I? Won’t I? Will I? Won’t I? What the heck. I’m Buddy. Of course I will.
Then there was the Ayatollah’s lack of public awareness. Told of some players’ actions on Mad Monday – firstly setting themselves alight – something they hardly managed all season – and then one of the hired entertainers, he broke down. You see, unfortunately, the hired entertainers were as challenged vertically as the footballers were cerebrally. And you guessed it Wrappers; the footballers were from The Culture Club. (It would appear that the further that club moves South the stronger the Culture becomes – Ed) But back to the Great Helmsman. When told by the panel that a dwarf had been set alight at the St Kilda cut out, he fell apart. Maybe it was a release of the pressure he’s surely been put under by the run of negative events on his watch the season has laid on him. The Melbourne tanking enquiry, the Adelaide salary cap exposé, and the daddy of them all, Essendon’s unseemly defiance over their pharmaceuticals adventure have had a longer run than Cliff Young. (But didn’t the Ayatollah take a fair chunk of R&R through the season? – Ed) However way you view the episode, it wasn’t a good look for the normally metronomic CEO of the largest sporting body in the land.
And surprize surprize, Woosher’s chucked it in. He’s leaving the club that seemed paralysed to act and is being courted by the club that acted in haste. Hands up those who feel they still may be acting in haste up there where bananas grow on trees and time stands still. Not wishing to reflect on the coaching pool as it sits right now, but it could be said that it’s as bereft of talent as the political zoo we’re being asked to choose from tomorrow. Boss Voss was just starting to pull that team up there together. Somehow you get the feeling he won’t be unemployed for too long.
Just a final word on Shoeless Jim and the crew out at Melrose Drive. Are we alone in thinking they that they may not be fully conscious of the magnitude of what they’ve done, and the depth of the mire they’ve landed themselves in? Naturally we’re all hoping that the bluster with which they’re facing it down is a smoke screen to cover some behind the scenes contingency plan they’ve had in place since mid-season. Not so? Better not let that leak out to the average Bomber Fan. A lot of them are rational & can tell the difference between gamesmanship and delusional science fiction. And can tell a bad egg just by floating it in a bowl of water. Or making a couple of phone calls. Look at it this way, how would you feel if it was your club that had just had its Football Department smashed, round 1 & 2 draft picks denied it for a year, and a list that keeps collapsing over the final month of Home & Away Competition? (You’re not suggesting they change their name to The Same Old Augustinians are you Wrap? – Ed) It may take more than a sabbatical by Shoeless Jim to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Anyone catch The Tigress’s attack on the Great Helmsman? Crikey, she’s not afraid to tackle the big issues is she? Now that she’s freed up from holding Essendon’s feet to the fire she’s going after City Hall. Go Kero! Eat ‘em alive Lass!!
But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who is going to be beating their drum after the Finals Round I.
The Bloods v The Mayblooms. Didn’t we cover this one this last week? All right, we’ll do it again. The Hawks hauled in The Lakers to win pulling away a week ago. That was up in Steak & Kidney. They’re down in Bleak City this time – on The Paddock That Grew. So what else has changed? Buddy’s out for starters. Sure he’s a big presence, but The Mustard Pot’s attack is arguably more potent without him. Besides, Colonel Clarko has instilled his Kokoda Philosophy – one soldier goes down another one steps up to the line in his place. The Squirrel’s the big question mark; how fit is he? And how much does it matter, he can turn a match on its head with 10 minutes of scintillation. The return of the ever fragile Guerra and Ruckman Bailey have forced Duryea & Savage out of the line-up. The Swans have regained Big Kurt, Smith, The Rocket Jetta & Hannebery. A half handy lot to be able to bring back for a crucial match. Tippett’s inclusion is huge. He’s a giant of a man. 202cm in his socks and 104kg dry weight. That’s nearly 16½ stone and 6’6” in the old money. And he’s strong & fast. A regular battering ram. If the Sydney midfield can deliver the pill he’ll make a mess of most backlines. Mumford & Pike share the rucking and rest in the forward pocket. (Where ruckmen should rest – Ed) Jesse White’s a handful as well. At the other end of the ground, The Squawkers have one of the deadliest forward set-ups in The Game. Poppy & Cyril are dynamic goalsneak and play makers and Roughie just happens to be the ruling Coleman Medallist. Malceski seems to have recovered from his shattered jaw okay and the Little Boy From Xavier College – who wasn’t good enough for Sheedy’s Bombers – leads a tight, coordinated defence. But they wilted last week under pressure and we’re saying they’ll wilt again this week. But to be perfectly honest, both defences look out gunned. They’ll need as much help from their respective midfielders as possible. And they’re as well matched as any in the caper. Really Wrappers, we can’t separate them. It comes down to who’s in front when they ring the bell. And based on consistency throughout the season and the roaring urgency of The Rabid Leafblower Faithful we’re going for The Mayblooms to just sneak into the Preliminary Final.
Les Chats Noirs contre Les Hommes d’Ancrage. Another toughie. The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires turned it on last week to sneak home BTNPM. Be that as it may, they’re up against a tougher opponent this time around. The Stevedores are rested and Rossy Lyon will have been well inside their heads moving things around. Make no mistake; the trip down to Cat Central won’t worry them in the slightest. They’ll have the wax in their ears and be laying into those oars like men possessed. The Handbags have brought in Big Vardy to counter the influence of Big Laurie. The Dockers tend to slip under the radar a bit over here on the East Coast. The Gnat Ballantyne & Crowley get publicity for their antics, but both are extremely accomplished footballers. And Rossy has taught the Purple Haze defence is as deadly as sarin gas. But have they got enough soldiers to cover what, on its day, is the most potent forward line in the caper. Varcoe, Stokes, Selwood, Chappy, and then there’s Motlop the Magician, Big Tom & The jPod. Then there’s Harry Taylor to call on if they need to shake things up a bit. And that’s where this match will be won or lost. You see, we believe that The Hoopers’ defence will more than hold their own. If The Pivotonians can break The Dockers’ defensive stranglehold, they’ll go a long way to securing a Victory. True, the Moggies were extended last week, but it’s been a long time since The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires snuck onto the team bus ahead of The Mighty Mean Cats two weeks in a row. The Barry Crockers could still steal this one, and the big question mark has to be over The Tomahawk. Not sure what sort of game they’re playing down there at Catland, but if the big chap is just there to keep The Iconic Zac close to the goal square, they’d better hope that it works, because there’s nothing Zac loves better than to run off his man and break the lines. If Jimmy Bartell can cover Fyffe, The Catters should be able to advance to the 3rd Week. We’re going for the Pivotonians, but as always with this mob, with a healthy degree of trepidation.
The Woodsmen v The Tealers on the People’s Ground on Saturday night. This has been a mighty big year for The Power From Port. They’ve done their coach, their Jumper & their Supporters proud. But this one just looks a season too far for them at this stage of their development. Make no mistake; they’ll make a good account of themselves, but The Maggies, with Ball & Harry O back, look to have them covered at every turn. Throw in Cloke & Penders, Swan, Beams & a group of youngsters led by Elliott and Blair and you’ve got a pretty lethal combination. It would be great for Football & for Alberton if Port could pull off a miracle, but we can’t quite see it. Carringbush, comfortably in the end.
Struggletown v The Silvertails at THOF for the Sunday match. The Tiges have had a very good season. Finishing 5th, they had chances to grab a Double Chance, but let two or three slip that they probably should have won. One of those was against their opponents of Sunday. They blitzed The Bluebaggers in the Opening Stanza in Round XXI and then went to sleep. That won’t happen again. Carlton have rushed back three of their veterans – McLean, Scotland & Judd – and the experience of this trio, along with the skills & pace of the Three Amigos will make a show of it. But The Striped Marvels are young and hungry. And they’re on a mission. Jumping Jack is back, as is Chris Newman & Shane Edwards. They’ve lost the pace of Matty White. The Miseries have attacking power and will be primed to make something of their lack lustre season. However The Tiger midfield of Cotchin, Tuck, Deledio, Martin, Vlastuin, Grigg, Jackson & Foley are in top form. Coach Hardnose, as is his way, has readily admitted he was outcoached by the Sleeping Ox last time around, and vows he has learnt from the experience. The contests will be worth the entry fee, but The Tigers will prevail mightily by the time The Final Siren’s Gone. It’s all Yellow & Black around here in The Wrapcave.
Good tipping and even better punting.
And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
And as we enter the serious end of the season, and those teams that have made the cut prepare to test themselves in the ultimate cauldron, let’s look at what others have had to say about resilience & resolve.
Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit. Ansel Adams
It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders. Ben Stein
The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources. Luc de Clapiers
The idea flow from the human spirit is absolutely unlimited. All you have to do is tap into that well. I don’t like to use the word efficiency. It’s creativity. It’s a belief that every person counts. Jack Welch