THE WRAP – ROUND XX
THE Bury my heart at Whingy Hill ROUND
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
What a round it’s been in Footy Wrappers. On Friday we witnessed the unedifying sight of Hawthorn crushing St Kilda. With more Wooden Spoons between them than Coles & Woolworths kitchenware sections, they approached this contest from opposite aspects. The Hawks famously won their Maiden Flag in 1961. The Saints theirs in 1966. (Even more famously – Ed) Since then The Hawks have won another nine Flags and played in 15 more Grand Finals. They’ve become a powerhouse and have the 2nd largest membership of the Heartland Clubs. The Saints lost to Old Fitzroy in 1913 and again to Essendon in 1965 before that Memorable 1966 Victory. Their recent blooming about to fade, you have to wonder at it all. In the words of Liz Stringer – Lady Luck She Comes & Goes.
On Saturday we had a mixed bag. The Tiges looked more Endangered Species than Striped Marvels in beating a Gallant Brisbane in the early one. The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires withstood a withering Finish by The Power. The Doggies closed off Season 2013 for Mickey & The Tragics. The Abletts did it without a major contribution from The Little Master. And The Maggies threw the Premiership Race wide open with a comprehensive win over TRP.
Come Sunday and the Peptides of Fate took command of The Weagles v Marshmallows contest and anointed The Wedgies. The Pride of South Australia drove the final nail into the lid of The Roos’ 2013 season. And The Purple Haze finally lifted to reveal The Dangerous Dockers.
And there’s new clubhouse leader for The KRudd Shield for Delusional Excellence. It’s none other than that rosy-cheeked choirboy with the Hollywood pin-up good looks in the Red&Black bomber jacket. He now tells us that Essendon have a right to play in this year’s finals. That’s right Wrappers: a right. So here we are on the battlements of the Alamo, the arrayed forces of leaked evidence from the ASADA fiasco, claims and accusations piling up from the numerous players in this sordid farce, and a rising swell of public opprobrium besieging the remnants of the once proud structure on Whingy Hill, and out of the smoke of battle steps our hero. Shoeless Jim. We are not doing all this training that we have been doing over the last six months, we are not going out to risk our players’ bodies by playing every weekend, for no reason. We believe we have a right to be there. If that doesn’t win The KRudd Medal for Delusional Excellence this year then the job’s not fair dinkum.
And while we’re on awards for 2013, there hasn’t been much movement in The Robbie Flower voting for a while and the clubhouse leader is still ex-AFL Operations Manager Angry Adrian. We’d like to offer the opening para in his piece in The Sunday Sage and its closing two paras as evidence of what we lost when he cleaned out his desk at Jellymont House. (You don’t think he’s taking a shot at anyone here do you Wrap? And that bit about the kids & fun, are you sure it’s not a job application? – Ed)
Australian sport is facing one of its most public and damaging scandals. How Aurora Andruska, the chief executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and her boss, the Federal Sports Minister, now handle the Essendon and Cronulla investigations will set the scene for the integrity of sport here for years to come.
In the absence of sensible commentary from ASADA or the Sports Minister, the space has been filled with more rumour, speculation and leaks.
It has been said that this whole malaise is not what sport is all about. It should be about fun, kids and setting a good example. And that’s exactly why it is crucial that ASADA punishes any wrongdoers and restores public confidence that the integrity of sport will be protected.
Everyone will take a favourite moment or two out of these grubby events. One of ours for the weekend was when Shoeless, in offering a defensive bat to a straight ball, introduced a bit of footwork and aggression to his statuesque resistance. Asked by Fairfax Media whether he had any regrets about implementing a program that has sparked a six-month investigation by the ASADA and the AFL. He re-iterated he wants the ”truth” to emerge. That is a very — well, I will answer it this way. The program you know about. Do you know what the program was? No Shoeless, only you and your pharmaceutical team know the answer to that. Why don’t you sit down quietly here on the couch? We’ll draw the curtains and fetch you a nice big pot of herbal tea. Then you can unburden yourself. What exactly was it you and the now discredited team you enlisted were up to there at Whingy Hill? Remember, you just said a minute ago that We are all trying to get to the bottom and get that truth out there. So why don’t you just tell us all exactly what that truth is?
Another favourite moment came via the Footy Almanac. RBT, in a blog thread, had one question he’d like to ask the EFC. Would you do it again? If the answer is no, why do it in the first place? If yes, well enough said.
While it’s not for us to tell our betters out at Melrose Drive what’s the best thing for them to do, we can tell them what the best course of action would be for Our Great Game. And that’s to cop it sweet. Take the loss of points this season without filling the coffers of Downright Lie & Procrastynate and Loophole Mortimer & Sly. Without dragging the name of EFC through the mud of a legal battle. You’re not going anywhere this season. You’ve hit the same wall that Hird & Thompson, and their training regime, were hired to reverse. (The fairy-dust solution didn’t quite work did it Wrap? – Ed) Hope like hell that this placates City Hall and that the severity of any additional penalties can be minimized. We’ve all known the wrath of a woman scorned, throw yourselves at the mercy of those who, at the end of the day, call the shots. Wear the loss of draft picks. Wear the fine. What’s a few mill between friends? The Game comes first. Let’s face it, you’re not travelling all that well on the field. You don’t want to finish up like your mates down along Royal Parade. They thought they were bigger than The Game too, and now look at them. A gibbering mess.
But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s getting plenty after Round XX.
The Culture Club v The Family Club under cover tonight. It wasn’t quite what we expected, other than a convincing win. The Hawkers took it easy for most of the night. Roughie kicked five straight, but The Maybloom Faithful would like to think they’ll play better in September. As for The Feeling Faints, the night ended the may their season is heading. Their youngsters don’t seem to be coming on and their veterans are getting that little bit older. Furthermore, some SOTG aren’t all that convinced that the current administration knows what to do to turn The Culture Club on the right course. They’re off to Sin City next Sunday to try their luck up at Moore Park Road. The Hawks get to test themselves against The Mighty Magpie Machine. After that they test themselves against North under cover and Sydney up there.
The Striped Marvels v The Roy Boys. The Tiges once more suggested that they might not be ready this season to step-up into The Elite Zone. They had The Maroons on the ropes by half time with The Championship Quarter to come. They went goalless; only their defence kept them from being overrun. SOTG surmised what would have been the outcome had Big Bad Jonathon Brown been a forward target for The Visitors. The Tigers might have added some extra percentage had Jumping Jack been able to get his radar working. He blew his Coleman chances when he missed four of the easiest shots a high-priced full forward would ever hope for then nailed a right foot banana deep in the pocket. The Marvels are back at The G next Saturday arvo, again for the early one, when they take on Mickey’s Hypothetical Bluebaggers. They finish off with GWS & Essendon: a couple of gimmees. The Bears have The Orangemen up at The Gabbatoir. But while their team was lacklustre, weren’t those Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful up and about. True, there were probably some Roy Boys & Roy Girls amongst those Bananabenders who had come down for the weekend to get away from the rain, but Benny Gale would be rubbing his hands together at the gate of 46,961. Let’s face it – Richmond on the up is Good For Football.
The Pussies v The Power. You have to admire those Sleepy Hollow Millionaires don’t you? Here they are with The Flattown Faithful calling out for more – and they put up the shutters. The Power came at them hard, but they didn’t panic – well, Stevie J may have at one stage when he dropped a sitter all on his pat malone inside the attacking fifty. The Moggies may have been trying a few things for September, but so were Port Adelaide. There are plenty of signs that this Alberton Oval administration and Football Department know what they’re doing and can’t wait to get onto the ground where Bradman made his home. With 40K+ members, they’re building a new generation of The Teal White & Black. They host another up & comer next Saturday when they turn off the hot water in the Visitors’’ showers for Gary & The Golden Draft Picks. The Handbags slip across The Nullarbor to take on The Eddie Eagles on Saturday night. They finish off with Sydney and Brissy down at Cat Central.
The Miseries v The Bulldogs. There’ll be a few who are glad they don’t have to play The Bulldogs again until next season.. There’ll be just as many who would be queuing up to play Carlton again this season. The lucky ticket holders are Richmond, Essendon & Port Adelaide. The Sons of The Mighty West would have kicked The Sweep if they’d been able to find the radar. As it was they led at every change and made The Silvertails look 3rd rate. And you have to take us at our sincerest when we say that it brings us no joy whatsoever to have say this, but it’s hard to see where Carton are going from here. Mickey the Maltster as a coach makes an excellent media commentator. Their marquee player’s body may have cracked. Their Captain needs an injection of something they haven’t been able syntheses yet. Their bevy of #1 draft picks would do better selling garden tools out at Bunnings. And their board & administration run the show like a leafy suburb bookclub. Tragic is as Tragic. The Doggies on the other hand are becoming a regular excitement machine. They close off proceedings next week over in The Shadows of Mount Lofty, all 727m of it, against the Pride of South Australia.
The Bloods v Carringbush. Hasn’t this Famous Victory shaken The Premiership Stakes Wrappers? The Maggies were magnificent. Behind at the First Change, they were never headed once they got their noses in front. And what about the intensity? Sydney would have beaten anyone else in The Competition with what they unpacked on Saturday night. These Pies are the genuine article. They’ve got a few on the injury list ready or nearly ready to return, but apart from Dale Thomas, and maybe Darren Jolly, it’s hard to see where you’d fit them into this Monochrome Combination. (Maybe Clinton Young – Ed) The speed & vision of some of the close-in ball movement had to be seen to be believed. There must be something in the high altitude Arizona air that agrees with them at Victoria Park. The Bloods weren’t disgraced, just outplayed. Crikey, it was only last week that we were saying that whoever was going to take The Pennant this season would have to beat Sydney. (Maybe we’ve just seen them – Ed) We’ll learn more about Carringbush after next Friday’s Pipeopener against The Mighty Fighting Hawks. The Swanees are back at Moore Park Road for the Lakeside trophy against The Junction Oval Seagulls. After that The Woodsmen have West Coast (H) & North (H). (Do they ever play away? – Ed) The Bloods have Geelong
The Gold Coast Metermaids v The Recalcitrant Redlegs. There are those who may feel The Suns went into this contest a bit complacent. Given the recent form and state of mind of the opposition you could excuse them. When injuries reduced them to one spare player on the bench and Abblet’s plea to the umpires for protection from constant scragging went unheeded, they had to get cracking to hold off a Demon Outfit that had finally got a bit of fire into its belly. They chaired The Little Master off for his 250th, they sang the song and a good night was had by all the 13,840 fans who trotted along to th Metricon that night. Gold Coast are over to The City of Light next Saturday to take on the Senior Franchise in that territory. Melbourne hosts Freo for the early one next Sunday.
The Gliders v The Pre Season Redhot Favourites. Just as well you hung onto that two bob with George VIth’s head on the obverse. You can put it on The Wedgies next Saturday at Fortress Subiaco when they take on The Handbags. Although, some unkind SOTG have suggested that they should take nothing back across those Treeless Plains than the Four Points; so bad were The Pharmaceuticals. And what about The Bombers? Is it time to throw in the towel for Season 2013 and clear the decks for 2014? They’ve plainly hit the wall for 2013. As they have over the last few seasons. Never mind ASADA, the people who should be doing the investigation out at Melrose Drive is the RSVPA. Even before they sought solace in the chemical enhancement program that’s sucked the oxygen out of this season. They have The Funnyboners under cover next Saturday in the gathering gloom to establish which of them has been the biggest disappointment to their fans in 2013. They can’t drop out of The Eight, but with Carlton & Richmond to follow The Coasters, they’re going to finish up a chopping block in September.
The Free Settlers v The Shinboners. The bus carrying The Kangas last barrel of Shinboner Spirit took a wrong turn at North Terrace and finished up at the Sam Johnson Sportsground. It got to Crow Park at half time but by then the damage was done. This has been a season of lost opportunity for The Kangas. Every time they had something to gain and everything to lose they blew it. Let it be said, this is not the Shinboner Way. Where they go from here is up to them, but they’ll need to come home with a wet sail to prevent a Cellar Dweller Finish. Adelaide, The Suns & Footscray are all showing form. They have Essendon, Hawthorn & Collingwood over the last three matches from which to earn respect. The Chardonnays have The Dogs, The Dees and The Weagles.
The Purple Haze v The Western Sydney Experiments. The Barry Crockers absolutely flogged The Billy Lids over on the Western Extremity of The Fatal Shore. They kicked The Sweep and gave us The Fred Hesse Annihilation Scoreboard for the round. The Freo players were queuing up to kick goals. Out of the selected XXII, 15 of them raised the Twin Calicos. Yet in that massacre, in which The Visitors only managed six majors, Jeremy Cameron kicked four. And this is the mob who want to spend millions of our money buying a marquee player. (That Looney Tunes adventure has all the hallmarks of a Sheedy-Demetriou initiative hasn’t it? – Ed) When are they going to wake up to the fact that they’ve already got one. The Stevedores, with their percentage building, those above them faltering and only half a game off a Home Final, they loom as a real threat to this year’s Pennant. Their last three matches are Melbourne (A), Port (H) & St Kilda (A).
And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
Fate & trust dominate our humble, often futile, lives. There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the following has replaced Whatever It Takes as the slogan on the back of the grandstand at Whingy Hill. However, they may find solace in the import of the words when the dust clears on the battleground they’re threatening to create.
With domineering hand she moves the turning wheel,
Like currents in a treacherous bay swept to and fro:
Her ruthless will has just deposed once fearful kings
While trustless still, from low she lifts a conquered head;
No cries of misery she hears, no tears she heeds,
But steely hearted laughs at groans her deeds have wrung.
Such is a game she plays, and so she tests her strength;
Of mighty power she makes parade when one short hour
Sees happiness from utter desolation grow.
(A Consolation of Philosophy, Book II, translated by V.E. Watts)