THE WRAP – ROUND VII – THE WOUNDED KNEE ROUND
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. The Cats didn’t have to waste a life against The Same Old Syringes as, pacing themselves beautifully, they make the opposition look second rate. On Saturday The Tigers laid to rest another of their nemeses – first Carlton, now Port Power. The Screaming Eagles made a meal of it up at The Lions’ Den as the GAS Cup Curse continues to haunt Boss Voss & his charges. The Kangaroos kicked a bagful against The Hapless Bulldogs, The Dockers pulled away from a Disappointing Magpie Outfit, and Hawthorn revenged the GF defeat in a convincing all the way win.
Come Sunday and The Pride of South Australia kicked The Sweep against The Breakfast Point Experiments and The Gold Coast Sunbeams edged The Demons incumbent coach further out along the plank he is surely walking. There’s a match on Monday, but fair Work regulations prevent Wrap Staff from covering it. Besides, the fish are biting down at Mallacoota.
More revelations about the Melrose Drive Chem Lab from the Doyen of Investigative Reporters, The Sage’s own Kero ‘Tiger’ Wilson. Members of the coaching staff have admitted road testing non-approved substances, both orally and intravenously. And before we get the obligatory writ from the offices of Loophole Mortimer & Sly and/or Downright Lie & Procrastinate hit the desk, let us agree that they haven’t been accused of broking any gazetted laws or written regulations – yet. However, the point is not what laws have been broken or rules bent to accommodate the –in the words of Sir Frank Downright – short term pain for long term gain. No, it’s about seeking an unfair advantage. Not happy with a commitment to hard work, a balanced diet and the natural maturity of the human body, the decision makers at Whingy Hill sought a quick fix advantage with voodoo sports science that, by its very nature, made unwitting guinea pigs of the young men who had entrusted their football careers to the club.
Not for us to make scurrilous accusations, but we feel compelled to raise a number of questions. How telling is it that Captain & Reigning Brownlow Medallist Jobe Watson declined to participate? Or was excused? How concerning should be the apparent familiarity of club legend James Hird to this murky environment? And what role has the ex-Geelong Coach, who walked out on the most successful club of this century thus far, played in these highly questionable circumstances? (Didn’t he say he was finished with Football altogether, that he had business interests to pursue? – Ed)
And it looks like the Atomic Bernie did Llittle Lleyton a favour by not accepting his offer of a training hitout. It turns out it’s not a very safe place to be. You’d be excused for wondering if Bernie’s heading for the same oblivion that swallowed Jelly Baby Dokic all those years ago.
Maggot Watch I. The howlers were too numerous to mention: in every match, in every way. Now this column would like you, for the good of Our Great Game, to consider something. These men can’t be as poor at understanding the Rules of Football and the nuances of the contest as their decision making suggests. They’d have to have help to do up their shoelaces and resort to clip-on ties otherwise. Are we all in agreement on that? Good. So this raises the ugly question – and as much we are hesitant to ask it – it must be asked. The question is, if they’re not incompetent nincompoops, the only other possibility is that the inconsistent and ridiculous calls they are making each weekend are being made consciously.
The possibilities as to why we’ll leave to you, but some of the free kick counts of late have become so imbalanced as to suggest bias. The usual pattern is that the frees balance themselves out. On Saturday Collingwood received 18 frees & Freo 17. West Coast 21 & Brissy 22. Richmond 15 & Port 21. The Tiges were slaughtered as to where those frees were paid – or not paid – but were so dominant that it didn’t influence the result, just the percentage. Anyway, for whatever reason, last week it was Port’s turn to get the stick from the umps; they received 23 fewer free kicks than their opponents: North Melbourne. On Saturday night The Swans received 21 frees to Hawthorns 10. I ask you, how can you only receive 10 free kicks in Four Quarters of honest to goodness, hard at the ball Football – while at the same time your opponents receive 21?
So, in the words of the immortal Professor Julius Summner Miller – why is it so? Consider the following options the Wrap Team put together around the Breville dual boiler this morning. Personal bias against players? Personal bias against teams? Manipulation of the Ladder under instructions from Jellymont House to maintain interest in the Competition? Acting under instructions from people set to benefit from a manipulated result? Acting under instructions from Director of Umpiring for whatever reasons, including any of the above? Or just old fashioned bad coaching? Now let’s be perfectly clear on this; here in the Wrapcave we have no more idea why the Men from OPSM come to the woeful whistle blowing conclusions than you do. But what we do know is, that at times they get it pretty much right, and you wouldn’t even know they were on the ground. So if they can umpire evenly and consistently throughout one match, why can’t they do it all the time? It’s just so frustrating. (Have you ever considered that they just might be incompetent nincompoops Wrap? – Ed) And you know what? We’re plugging for poor coaching around at Maggot Central. Unleash The Geisha!!!
Maggot Watch II. The score review process. You have to be joking, don’t you? Our stringer at Saturday night’s match at The G had a perfect view of the incident through the 7 x 30 Zeiss. Clearly it was a goal. The goalie who was right under the ball thought so too. Good Heavens, even the Hawthorn Cheer Squad behind the goal thought so. But no, some out of breath boundary running twerp running at full tilt, viewing it from an angle, over ruled the person appointed and trained to make these decisions, and the matter went upstairs. After nearly five minutes of near apoplexy from the GoldenBrown Army, the video footage was deemed inconclusive. Normally sane, make that nominally sane Maybloom Fanatics were ready to take matters into their own hands when the goal was rescinded. To be there amongst them was an experience in undiluted rage our correspondent had never experienced outside a parent teacher night.
Maggot Watch III. To demonstrate just how infuriating the umpiring has become, the Match Review Panel is predicted to view a charge of rough conduct against Dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes as a legitimate attempt to win possession. Now this happened right in front of our reporter at the ground. It had the mild mannered Leafy East Faithful out of their seats ans frothing at the mouth – for two reasons. 1) the manner in which he came inrto the contest knees first, and 2) that there was no free kick. The poiht here is that the MRP felt the incident worthy of review. The adjudicating umpire(s) called it play on, or in this case throw it in as the ball had crossed the boundary. And that’s just one event. Don’t know about you, but we think it might be time to commission a Maggot Review Panel,the decions from which would be used not so much in a punitive way as a constructive way, to help the umpires understand the way the rest of the Football World sees life. However, it may be necessary to come down hard on recidivists, such as some of the Dual Bitziel Medallists Razor Ray & Scott McLaren. (Sort of like the deconstruction programs they have in North Korea Wrap? – Ed)
But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s going to be in September Heaven after VII.
The Pivotonians v The Same Old Syringes. When the tide ebbs and you lose your pep, there’s no way to go but down. But Essendon have no reason to feel bad about their master class at The G on Friday night. Allowing a team to fully extend itself then, having measured its worth, hauling it in and overtaking it has been a lesson The Handbags have been handing out all season. Sitting astride the Competition Table, they return to THOF next Saturday as guests of the Collingwood Football Club. Of course there will be wearers of those Whatever It Takes 2013 club membership scarves who will lament some wayward kicking on goal, but extreme pressure will do that to you. (They might become collectables Wrap, those scarves – Ed) Timmy Watson’s Young Lad may have snuck into the Brownlow votes but clearly the BoG was Stevie J. Hands up anyone who would disagree, this Geelong side is more than star-studded, it’s positively galactic? It will take a superhuman effort to wrench the 2013 Premiership Cup from its vice-like grip. As for The Melrose Drive Mob, they showed their human side, one that we may see more of as the season progresses.
The Power From Port v The Tigers of Old. The Tiges, no doubt stung to some degree by Wallsie’s comments, but more likely the look of utter despair on the faces of TLSPRF, rammed home eight goals to two in the Opening Stanza to put this one the bed early. At one stage they slammed on four goals in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Try doing that at home in the back yard or down at the rec in a scratch game, never mind at The Highest Level. In fairness, The Power seemed to lack That Old Port Adelaide Aggression, but you can only play as well as your opponents will let you. Lids Deledio, relishing the Captaincy, led from the front. (You think he’d be proud to pull on the sacred # 17 if he was given the captaincy Wrap? – Ed) Tucky’s return warmed the hearts of the Richmond Mums & Aunts, but sadly he did his shoulder, and despite trying to come back after treatment – Chris Knights had been stretchered off when he did his knee – he had to retire from the battle. Jumping Jack was in everything and get the red biro out and circle Nick Vlastuin. Nineteen years of age and a ready-made footballer. He and Dusty Martin made a solid pair. Trent who? They have Melbourne OTR* next Sunday in The Battle of The Co-tenants. The Tealers didn’t have the greatest of days, and one couldn’t help but feel we may have seen the best of them for Season 2013. They are over here for the early one on Sunday under cover as the guests of the Carlton Football Club.
The Lion Kings v The Screaming Eagles. It’s a long way from sea to shining sea, and it’s always nice to take home the Four Points. There wasn’t much in it when they were passing around the OT, and Whoosher would have had some bad memories from last year ringing in his ears, not to mention the thought that the Committee might be getting behind him 110%. They won unconvincingly in the end, which leaves Vossy in the hot seat. (One off the participating coaches in this one was always going to left requiring asbestos underwear at the final siren Wrap – Ed) The Coasters are back at Paterson’s Curse on Friday night when they welcome North Melbourne. Both teams are sitting 3&4 after slowish starts to the season. It should be a bottler – as they slug it out and two of The Game’s most exciting and – let’s be honest here in multi-cultural Oz – exotic youngsters line up against each other. (Are you suggesting there’s a PhD in the offering here Wrap – that The Game is entering an unchartered era? – Ed) Brissy have the Saturday Curtain Raiser against The Gliders in The Hangar.
The Western Chihuahuas v The Shinboners. Boomer is back and Majak has opened the door to his career in outstanding fashion. The Roos still aren’t playing Four Quarters of Football, which must be a frustration for Brad Scott after all these years building up this list. But not as frustrating as the miserly 23,690 fans that clicked the turnstiles on a balmy mid-Autumn Melbourne afternoon would have been for the administration out at Whitten Oval. (Or Prez Brayshaw for that matter – Ed) It’s shaping up as a long season for The Dishlickers. They have a Danger Game up at the Metricon Ride next Saturday in the gathering gloom, and there’s a good chance they’ll start as underdog. The Shinboners have a crucial Eight Pointer against the season’s other big disappointment to kick off Round VIII.
The Purple Haze v Carringbush. The Ghosts at The Yarra Falls End of Victoria Park are stirring again. After hauling themselves off the canvass, they dispersed from the Citrus Huddle needing a straight kick to snatch the lead. They capitulated in the Final Term to go down by 27 points. Looking anything but a Top Four Prospect, The Pies seem to be going cold. Stone cold. Coach Figjam’s post match was not so much tearful as lifeless. It wasn’t clear whether he had resigned himself to a deep depression or was sitting tightly on a seething fury at his team’s performance. Our money is on Heath Shaw and a few of his mates getting a phone call before Beyond Blue. Look, you know how we feel about triggering a negative public consciousness, especially about our old mates at the Lexus Centre. Far be it for us to suggest that there’s trouble at Collingwood, however, some of the things we saw on the field on Saturday night demonstrated poor discipline and suggested a lack of on field leadership. Yes Nurelle, lack of esprit de corp too. What have you been reading? GAD got them back into the contest, but that seemed good enough for them. Maybe they thought they were still playing Flaky Freo, but since the arrival of Rossy Lyon at that club, those days are well gone. Indeed, could what we saw on the weekend be an early on-set of The Dreaded Collywobbles? Any excuse by The Monochrome Army that The Woodsmen were undermanned doesn’t hold water. The Anchormen were without their Skipper and the Colossus Laurie Sandilands, and lost ruck replacement Jon Griffin in the first 10 minutes. The Stevedores are up in the Emerald City next Saturday night. For The Woodsmen, with a sub par percentage – and, as expected, if Carlton beat St Kilda – find themselves out of the Eight and having to face The Undefeated Pivotonians on Saturday night.
The Mayblooms The Bloods. Emphatic, that’s They Way They Play At Hawthorn. The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires not withstanding, any doubts, that this is the Team To Beat For The Flag were dispelled on Saturday night. The 2013 Hawks looked fit and dangerous. It’s not clear what’s wrong with Battleship Buddy. The best that could be said is that he’s a presence. And a threatening one. Not unlike Big Tomahawk. There was no Riolli either, remember. But it’s All For One & One For All around at Glenferrie Oval. Roughie was magnificent and the defence smothered the Sydney attack. BTW, doesn’t Hodgie look fit? Not a lot for The Bloods to take home to Sin City, other than severely bruised egos and equally bruised bodies. This was a gruelling encounter, and although Josh Kennedy tried to lift his new teammates against his old teammates, and Adam Goodes lifted his side when he went up onto the ball, The Lakers were never in the hunt. They host The Longshoremen next Saturday night, then come back to Melbourne as guests of their nemesis Carringbush, followed by Essendon at Moore Park Road. An interesting few weeks coming up for them. The Mustard Pots are through their tough period and have GWS, GCFC & MFC before the bye. A Top of The Table finish beckons. More to the point, The Sydneysiders may find themselves having to defend their Premiership from outside the Top Four.
The Breakfast Point Club v The Free Settlers. The Pride of South Australia monstered The Orangemen on Mothers’ Day in front of 5,830 slightly amused fans. Coach Mumbles of course turned the heat from his team’s, and for that matter, his performance by decrying the fact that there were no Footy Records sent up from Melbourne and the gazetting of the match in Western Sydney where Mothers’ Day is a traditional celebration. (News to us Sheeds, we thought it was an Anglo American concoction – Ed) Whatever the reason, The Giants needed an army of Mums with their umbrellas to have a chance as The Chardonnays unveiled their replacement for Big Kurt & Big Tex – Big Tom Lynch who picked up a lazy 10 as The Crows fell one short of the magic 30 goals. They’re back home next Sunday to close off Round VIII against The Feeling Faints. And spare a thought for The Penrith Pygmies; they have The Hawks at THOF at the traditional time.
The Refractory Redlegs v The Little Rays of Sunshine. This is not about the Melbourne Football Club any more. This is about The Competition and its administration by the Appalling Football League. Yes, Andreas, that means you. If Melbourne was an animal in this state you’d know what to. The club itself must be put into some sort of administration and the Football Department staff totally overhauled. If that means throwing Mark Neeld and his hand picked crew to the wolves so be it. The time for niceties is over. This wasn’t their sixth loss from seven starts. This was a total humiliation. They’ve got The Tiges hungry for percentage stalking them next Sunday, and while the gate is sure to be higher than the 13,304 of the long Suffering Redleg Faithful who took Mum to the Footy on Sunday, it’s going to made up of Tenacious Tiger Faithful who will show all the good humour of Ming The Merciless. The reaction through the week is going to be fascinating. Once the banter dies down, the fact of the matter is that Melbourne is, in the words of the immortal Ted Bullpit, a bloody shambles. In fact, the Essendon administration looks positively adroit by comparison. But let’s not overlook their protagonists in this drama. The Abletts sit 3&4 with a percentage better than Collingwood. (Who are staging a little soap opera of their own – Ed) They have a load of very classy youngsters coming up and The Little Master is leading from the front. A trip to The Metricon is become a white-knuckle ride; and now they know they can win on the road. They’re back to Wally World to hosts The Sons of The West next Saturday in the gathering gloom. The Death Throw Demons have Struggletown on the People’s Ground on Sunday.
The Feeling Faints v The Miseries. TBP.
And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
Let us leave you with the contrasting styles of two coaches wearing the asbestos underwear. The quotes came after the obvious questions from the rabid interlocutrix of the media pack. The words are those of Boss Voss & Mark “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” Neeld.
I’m not here to save my job. I’m here to do my job.
Everyone knows the 18 months that we’ve been here, you jot down some of the things that have happened at the footy club, it’s been a life experience for all of us. But we are still here up for it, absolutely up for it. I haven’t thought about (being sacked), that’s just part of AFL footy. But like I said, with Peter (Jackson) and some of the work that he’s doing, he’s very educated, he’s very experienced, he’s seen it all before. And some of the questions he’s asking, no doubt are the correct ones.
Who would you go over the top for? (Didn’t they make a film about it way back? It was called They Shoot Horses Don’t They? – Ed)
To relieve the neck tension pain and the aching mind, try these this one.
A gorilla goes into a bar and orders a beer. The barman serves him and the gorilla hands over a $100 note. The barman thinks, gorillas aren’t too smart I’ll just give him $10 change. The gorilla thanks him and sits there sipping his beer.
After a while he decides to make conversation with the gorilla. “We don’t get many gorillas down this end of town”.
“No bloody wonder at $90 a pot”, replied the gorilla.
Boom! Boom! Now we can all get some sleep.
The Wrap office will be closed while several key staff members take a short break over the coming weeks due to family commitments & recreational demands. (C’mon Wrap, fess up. This is all about the threat of Tony Abbott abolishing leave loading, accumulated sick leave and other long-standing benefits isn’t it? – Ed)
* – OTR – On The Rebound.