The 2012 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Eight

Greetings Tipsters

Isn’t it about time we put the Fuschias out of their collective misery? It can’t be good for us, having to bear witness to their tragedy on a weekly basis. They’re incompetent on every level imaginable, even the bootstudder has lost a few fingers, his paws resemble those of a 1950s canecutter.

It ain’t the first time you’ve been asked this the last month, but take a moment to dwell upon the contrasting fortunes of the flower teams, Fushcias and Mayblooms, since their mooted merger of many years ago. Which, if memory serves, featured the Fuschias as the major partner.

Sure, they had a few good years when The Reverend was in charge, until it all became too much for him and he headed back west for the sunshine and a backroom gig with the Purps, yep, the Purps. Working with them is better than working with the Fuschias. Now Mark is wondering why he ever left the cosy Lexus Centre, cos he’s been nailed a few times this year and there’ll be more to come.

It’s a bit rich to blame him, the cancer predates him. Everyone acted all pally while Jim was doing his damnedest to get it together but remember, Schwab was supposed to get the chop as CEO until Geelong rewrote the record books (Schwab’s been sacked a few times) and Deano copped it instead.

The players loved Deano, hated Schwab. They probably don’t like Nailed either, he and the Scientist put them through the toughest pre-season they’ve ever known. Seems like a waste of Gatorade, doesn’t it?

Okay, tail wags the dog and all that. In a club as hopelessly divided as this one, would anyone be surprised? Bloody hell, their administration and football department are scattered all over Melbourne, Schwabbie used to have to send a carrier pigeon to his secretary when he wanted her to place a call for him but now he has a trained parrot that wings its way across the suburbs and lands on the windowsill squawking ‘Velma, fax my CV to Clive Palmer.’

There’s more to it than bricks and mortar and a few unsavoury individuals and players with an excessive sense of entitlement. Club culture can’t be quantified or defined but we know it when we see it. Essendon are probably the best example of a continuously successful club culture. Throughout their history, they’ve had one or two bad decades, but for the most part they’ve been consistently good. Rarely have they had a real burst of premiership years like Carlton or Hawthorn but no-one has collected more flags.

Against this, consider Richmond; ten flags in 105 seasons is better than many other clubs, but five of those flags came in the fourteen seasons from 1967 to 1980 (and the ’80 flag was one out of nowhere). They’ve done bugger all since but implode, divide, backstab, sack Schwab, though, granted, there are now signs of professionalism, of a club adjusting to Twenty-First Century Football.

Success is supposed to be its own reward but it didn’t do anything to set up North after their sustained success in the 1990s. Three straight flags from one of the best teams ever seen did nothing for Brisbane’s long term success.

And then there’s those avatars of failure, the twin towers of tragedy, our beloved Bulldogs, our special Saints. Two flags between them in over 200 seasons.

St Kilda were asked to join the VFL because they were “good fellows”, nineteenth century code for ‘they do a good boozeup’. Not much changed for an awful long time. Moorabbin is better known for its social club than its training facillities. While the latter-day Saints have found themselves in a couple of Grand Finals, they’ve fallen to an errant bounce. The weight of history bearing down on physics? Worth noting that the last two coaches to get Saints to a Grand Final, one was sacked and the other snuck out when no-one was looking.

But they’re absolute titans compared to the sons of Footscray, who haven’t lost a Grand Final since 1961. There’s been a handful of prelims but, really, after you salute the Big Ted, there isn’t much else to see at Whitten Oval.

How does it work? The Wiggles and the Murder both have good records, their local rivals don’t. Sydney were a joke for a long time until, quite suddenly, they weren’t.

There was a story on their sole win of 1993 the other day, the crowd numbered just over 8000 which surprised me, I figured it was about 3000 and we all went to the tin shed that was the Moore Park Bowling Club, the Swans social club at the time, for the aftermatch. Barassi brought the players onto the stage, introducing them one by one, twas a grand night. I was pleasantly drunk and happily stoned, you could do that at Swans games back then, and we’d actually gone and won a game. Three and a bit years later, they were in a Grand Final, just goes to show. Here endeth the digression.

If club culture is an inherent and rarely altered characteristic, then Wests are well set to outdo the Goldies in the short, medium and long terms. Those two will be an interesting case study.

Bloody hell, the smooth sound of Acker Bilk’s clarinet just reminded me that there were a few football games over the weekend. The Yarras aren’t as good as anyone thought, but the Murder are better. What’s the odds on a Murder v Mosquitos Grand Final?

There’s a bunch of teams that are are running fast and hard, there’s a smaller bunch that are cleaning their fingernails, there’s a few in the middle who would like to play with the big boys but will have to content themselves with beating up the kids.

Cheers, Tipsters

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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

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