THE WRAP – ROUND XXI
THE CRACKS ARE BEGINNING TO SHOW Round
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
What a round it’s been in Footy Wrappers. On Friday The Hawks unveiled their Premiership model against The Maggies, who, while far from disgraced, were out gunned. Saturday and all the favourites came home except Struggletown, who for the second week in a row took their foot off the accelerator when they thought they had the race won. Port saw off a gallant Gold Coast. The Kangaroos ripped the heart out of The Reeling Bombers. The Moggies did a similar number on The Screaming Eagles over in the sunset country. And Brissy gave Bomber Harvey a flying start to his 2nd stint as a senior coach.
Come Sunday and The Swans unveiled their Premiership model for 2013 against The Poor Old Seagulls, of whom, sadly, it must be said were all at sea up on The Harbour City. The Anchormen did a similar number on The Lamentable Redlegs, of whom, regrettably, it must be said played with all the passion and commitment of a pair of mating sloths. And The Bullies heralded their return to the fold – and silenced their pre-season critics – with an emphatic win over The Free Settlers.
Out there where the biting icy winds of change sweep down across the peneplain from the Foreboding Macedon Ranges, the tribes of the Bomber Nation step up to their battle lines. With The Whole Football World watching, The Coteries form up behind their champions. The Essendonians, The Sheedyites, The Walshites, The Roosites, The Reynoldians, The Colemanites, The Hittites, and The Weight Busters all decked out in variants of Red&Black. (Don’t forget the Philistines Wrap. There’s plenty of Philistines involved in this one – Ed) Opposite them are the troops of the House of Hird. And don’t they make a grand sight? All of them? So self righteous in their own self importance. Pennants fluttering in the wind, faithful steeds snuffling on the bit, eager for the fray. If it doesn’t bring a lump to your throat the reality pills are working. To the victor the spoils they chant. The trophy here is nothing less than to establish the lineage at Whingy Hill, and, once determined, to confront the Unholy Alliance: the arrayed forces of St Asada & The Ayatollah. Stand by Wrappers. This is going to be the Mother-in-law of all battles.
But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who was in the gun and who’s on the run after Round XXI.
The Mayblooms v Carringbush. If you think Tony Abbott’s campaign is gathering momentum, you should take a goosy gander at the compelling argument Clarko and The Mustard Pots are presenting for their run at September. The Maggies threw everything they had at the Hawkers, and while they managed to stay in the contest on the scoreboard they weren’t in the hunt on the paddock. Any time they were threatened, The Squawkers were able to switch on the afterburners and power away. There were many memorable take-away moments from the contest, but I’d be surprized, should a vote be taken, if Squirrel Riolli’s 2nd quarter cameo didn’t win hands down. His late Uncle wasn’t called Mr. Magic for his card tricks. Fair dinkum, you’d throw a swag in the jinker and flick the pony all way down from Yalla-Y-Poorah just to watch him put the opposition in a box and cut them in half without spilling a drop of blood. The Pies get some reprieve when they again open proceedings. BTW, are we alone in wondering why Collingwood have eight Friday night billings in a season of 23 rounds? (And The Human Peptides have seven? – Ed) They finish off with North at the G on Sunday. The Leafblowers have the Roos at the traditional time under the Dumb, then Steak & Kidney at ANZ Stadium, where the shape of the ground, with its Olympic constrictions, bears an uncanny resemblance of Glenferrie Oval. Where the wings were hemmed in by the railway line and Linda Crescent.
The Striped Marvels v The Blue Boys. This looked like it was going to be a procession. With an eight goal to three opening Stanza TLSPRF were ecstatic. They weren’t to know they would only scramble 7-10 for the remaining three quarters. The Silvertails in that period stacked on 13-8 to keep their September options alive. With two rounds to play, they are two games out of The Eight and 0.6% ahead of Port Adelaide. They have Essendon next Saturday night under cover followed by – drum roll Maestro please – Port Adelaide. The Tigers were eclipsed, after getting off to a flyer, for the second successive week. Throughout the season they’ve been able to blow the opposition away with electric bursts of Football, only to lose momentum. A sign of an emerging side? Or a fatal flaw? We’ll find out over the next fortnight when they slip up to Skoda Stadium to take on The Breakfast Pointers and are guests of The Flying Syringes at THOF. With a defence amongst the best in The Competition, it was in attack that Richmond fell down. Forays into the forward fifty either resulted in a score or the ball was quickly swept down the ground into the opposition’s attacking zone. The absence of the Jake King’s tenacity and Aaron Edwards’ marking and kicking talents there was no sustained forward pressure on The Bluebaggers once they gained balance from the tigers’ blistering opening. And let’s not take anything away from The Miseries. They were clearly the better structured team on the day. (Apart from starting Bootsma on Jumping Jack – Ed) With Judd & The Kreuzer to return, they can still make it into September, which wouldn’t be a bad effort for Mickey’s first year in the box, considering he took on a bl**dy shambles Ted Bullpit would be proud of. BTW, Dusty Martin’s effort wouldn’t have done his price tag much good, unless he was going on strike. He has a habit of losing concentration, and it’s not clear where it’s genetic or something that may be part of his diet. Tuckie slipped off the red vest and notched up 16 possessions in a 31% of game time against Martin’s miserable 10 in 86%. Cothcin too was well held – 14 possessions – and this is something the Tiger Brains’ Trust is going to have to deal with. (Or create more midfield options – Ed).
The Power v The Abletts. The ¾ Time scores from the Adelaide match added an extra incentive for the Blues at The G. The question arose, as the scores were flashed up on the Big Scorebioard, could the Sunbeams beat The Power and open the door for The Blues? Both matches were following a similar pattern. Blown away seven goals to three in the Opening Stanza, The Visitors were fighting back. But it wasn’t to be. Port kicked 13-7 of their 16-17 in the opening & closing periods of play. That left 3-10 of the total kicked in half a game of Football. The Metermaids made a fist of it, but it’s looking a season too far for them. The Little Master was up and about, but it’s the fast maturing youngsters like Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and the unheralded Danny Stanley who took it up to the more experienced Port Adelaide line-up. They’ll all be back next year, better for the experience. They have The Feeling Faints next Sunday under cover and finish off with GWS up there. They would have taken nine wins at the beginning of the season, and have every chance of getting them. The Power are hanging in there. Richmond didn’t do them any favours letting The Miseries off the hook. They have a trip across to Perth to take on the Purple Haze, then have The Bluebaggers on the following Friday, probably to decide who plays in September.
The Mexican Jumping Beans v The Shinboners. Slippering The Punch Drunk Bombers is becoming the latest schadenfreude, isn’t it Wrappers. Not that we condone or encourage it in any shape or form. Poor Little Essendon has done it tough now for …. how long has it been since they last played any serious determination of who held aloft the Premiership Cup? My goodness, that was back at the turn of the century. (If City Hall prevails in this current set-to it could be the turn of the next century before we see The Bombers Fly Up, Up again – Ed) Clearly it’s more than the pressure that’s telling on The Bombers’ playing list. They just look physically exhausted. Which in turn leaves them mentally shattered. True, they’ve got a lot to be mentally shattered about, but this is not the first time they’ve collapsed in a screaming heap at this end of the season. And far be it for a humble column such as this to tell, supposedly, the best football brains money can buy how to run their show. But if they can put aside their overweening self-importance they might hear similar advice being offered from a much wider constituency. And that is you’re not nearly as good as you think you are, nor are you granted rights beyond mortality. Pull your bl**dy heads in, take your punishment like a man, and get on with the job of fixing what is seriously wrong with your football club. To start with you could do a lot worse than to melt down that Golden Calf you’ve been worshipping for the last couple of decades and turn it back into earrings. (Or club badges – Ed) You have Carlton & Richmond waiting for you over the next fortnight. Let’s see what you can salvage of your wasted season from that. The Kangas finish off with Hawthorn & Carringbush. They’re a regular excitement machine when they pack Four Quarts of Shinboner Spirit in the picnic hamper, and they’ll be keen to prove themselves to be the Best Team Out of The Eight.
The Western Eagles v The Sleepy Hollow Millionaire. The Eagles were once more wedged at Paterson’s Curse. Six goals and five behinds is hardly doing it for Eddie The Eagle, never mind the gipper. Nor does it any way repay The Aquila Audax Faithful who started the season with such high hopes. This was a lamentable display and most unworthy of a team of professional football players. West Coast’s season is just one example of what would be making headlines if the shenanigans out at Whingy Hill weren’t hogging the front & back pages. They finish off their threadbare season on The Paddock That Grew against The Pies on Friday night before slinking home to face off against Disenchantment # 2 for Season 2013: The Mighty Adelaide Crows. The Moggies have invited TRP down to Flat Town for a knees-up in the gathering gloom on Saturday next. Where they’ll stay for Round XXIII when they take on The Boys From Old Fitzroy.
The Maroons v The Orangemen. Move along please. There’s nothing to see here. Other than Jeremy Cameron kicking a brace to take him to joint leadership in this year’s Coleman count. And can anyone remember when The Coleman was tied? The Vossless Lions have The Doggies up under the palms and then don those Fitzroy strips to show the folk down at Sleepy Hollow they were once one of the Original Twelve Tribes. The Experiments host Richmond OTR next Sunday before slipping up to what the warped fixture was probably hoping would be The Battle for The Coveted Sylvan Shield. (You have to admit they got a few of them right; Carlton v Port is going to be a seminal contest – Ed) And how many brain cells were burnt to schedule Sydney v Hawthorn Oh Fervent Tinkerer of Text.?
The Refractory Redlegs v The Purple Haze. Schadenfreude just isn’t what it used to be is it? Only 13,768 turned up to watch The Barry Crockers kick the living daylights out of The Deplorable Demons. They also kicked The Sweep, while the Ineffectual Fuchsias kicked the lowest score for the round. (Even The Errant Eagles, in deplorable conditions, managed to outscore them – Ed) The Victors didn’t get off scot free: injuries to The Gnat Ballantyne and the Giant Sandilands will have the Selectors taking stock over their remaining two matches against Port at home and St Kilda away. The Inept Imps have Adelaide over in the Shadows of Mt Lofty and The Pit Bulls under cover.
The Bloods v The Feeling Faints. The Sainters ran with TRP – for a quarter & a half. Then it became a procession. The Lakers did as they pleased in the second half and look ready for September. The luck of the draw has them lining up against The Pivotonians down at Cat Central and The Mayblooms up in Sin City over the next fortnight. Before The Saints can hang up the Guernseys for 2013 they have to warm up the pies and turn off the showers for The Abletts and The Stevedores.
The Sons of The Mighty West v The Free Settlers. Footscray are one of the good news stories to come out of this Season of Shame. Some SOTG predicted, pre-season, that they would be playing off against Melbourne & The Orangemen for The Coveted Timber Trophy. They’ve won five of their last 12, which included honourable losses against last years Grand Finalists. They’re back to those high rolling days under Rocket Eade where they were always a chance to kick The Sweep. (They only missed this week by three points – Ed) They finish off the season with a trip up to Bananaland and a match against The Rascal Redlegs. The Sunbeams will be a test, but The Sons of The Mighty West could finish up with nine wins for the season, which you’d expect they would have taken back in March. They’ve got a Kennel full of young pups with plenty of spirit. They’ve thrown off the kennel cough, and joined the Tailwaggers Club. The trade table awaits them and there’s only one way to go from here. Up. The free Radicals have a season they’ll just have to put behind them. With Port Adelaide becoming the team of focus in the City State, and the move to the Adelaide Oval expected to boost interest in the National Competition, they’ll need to lift their game if they’re to remain The Pride of South Australia. They host Melbourne and visit The Screaming Eagles to finish off their disappointing season.
And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
With Season 2013 drawing to a close, the dramatis personae for September have almost been chosen by the Powers That Cast Our Destiny. For those who failed to fully bloom in this Winter of Discontent there is The Long Dark Summer in which to reflect on what has been accomplished. For some there’s been undeniable growth, for some there’s been demonstrable decay. But for all there has been another season in the cycle of measurable change. Let’s see how wiser minds that ours view this Cavalcade of Life.
Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives. – Anonymous
If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. – John Maxwell
You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. – Irish saying
Life is Change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. – Anonymous
All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience. – Henry Miller
Do you want my one-word secret of happiness? It’s growth—mental, financial, you name it. – Harold S. Geneen
The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become. – W. E. B. Du Bois
If you would have a lovely garden, you should live a lovely life. – Shaker saying
If the grass on the other side of the fence appears greener…it must be all the fertilizer they are using. – Keven Rodowicz