What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  As Collingwood prepare for their 3rd GF in a row in 2010, down at Moorabbin they’re getting ready for Round XXVII.  But for all those who believe in the Devine Nature of Our Great Game, the Football Gods have spoken.  The Collywobbles are an incurable infliction, and even though the patient may have some good days, there is always the threat of a relapse.  While down at Moorabbin, Saint Kilda, like all those chosen to intercede at The Highest Level in answer to the prayers of The Faithful, prepare to test their Strength Through Loyalty yet again.  The question hanging in the air is whether they are to be confessors or martyrs?

Now, can we please spare a thought for all those who have scheduled their social calendar to start rolling out in earnest post TLSIS?  The holidays, the weddings, the promises to get those winter-neglected household chores underway.  Then there’s the Other Sports.  You don’t realize the shadow the AFL Competition casts until you see a 5-day international cycling event disrupted by their need for Federation Square as the starting grid on the Saturday.  The launch of the Spring Racing Carnival – Turnbull Stakes Day – will be put back to Sunday for the convenience of their corporate bookings, which begs the question, why not keep TSD as it is and open the corporate sector TLSJOF and The Monochrome Army.  Of course our hearts go out to the Hair Flickers.  The A-League had a marzipan throwing and diving derby scheduled between cross-town rivals Hearts & Storms.  Someone should have warned the round ball jockeys that we don’t decide the Premiership by a goal kicking competition.  In our game the Trophy is taken on the Field of Battle.

But the biggest things that have been held off until the smoke settled on The Granny – and to keep Footy in the news as we prepare ourselves for The Long Dark Summer – is the announcement of the next Caretaker out at Whingy Hill & the New Captain of The Gold Coast Meter Maids.  Will we have to wait till next week to be let into the worst kept secret of the Season?

The Mothers of Melbourne have been busy too, with calls of an extra 10 minutes to settle matters.  Could someone please explain to them that this is the way we’ve done it over three centuries, and that’s the way it is.

The Carringbush Captain may not have done himself any favours at Jellymont House.  It’s probably going to take this for the AFL to change the rules – it’s an absolute joke he told Tim Watson.  That his team blew a four-goal half time lead in a game in which their opponents only kicked 10 was the joke.  The gnomes deep in the bowels of the AFL bunker may not understand the joke, nonetheless they’ll be rubbing their hands together in glee.  Sale of another 100,000 tix plus the food concessions, disrupting soccer’s feature event on their Melbourne calendar and hogging the media limelight for another week will bring in a huge bundle.

Maggot Watch.  This will be good.  Will the Appalling Football League retain the Razor Gang of Ryan, Rosebury & Chamberlain for the replay after their performance on Saturday, or put in a new team?  (they’re backing up – Ed) Not that there should be any complaints from the Oval Office about the adjudication on Saturday.  Daisy Thomas’s two handed, arms length push in the back on Nasty Milne in the pocket was called by viewers around The Football World.  If paid, it could have produced the game breaker.  And Macaffer’s ultra soft 50m penalty that gifted Carringbush a goal that might have added to the seven rushed behinds.  Even Digger would have been hard pressed to claim that the umpires crucified Collingwood on the day.

But enough of my gabbin.  After The Big One.  Let’s see who finished in the sun – or if it’s going to be a re-run.

Good Old Collingwood v The Junction Oval Seagulls.  The Black&White Army must have thought The Football Gods were with them when by sheer pressure The Pies worked the ball forward for Jolly to accept a Didak handpass in the goal square.  Within five minutes it looked like a runaway Collingwood Flag.  Early days, sure, but TLSJOF would have felt their season flashing before their eyes.  However, by the 1st Huddle The Saints had rallied to contain what looked like a Collingwood breakout.  Then came Collingwood’s 2nd Stanza Blitzkrieg: a 3-6 to one goal quarter.  Surely this was it for The Feeling Faints?

But they don’t call it the Championship Quarter for nothing.  Coach Lyon shifted a few troops around and was forced to spell his #1 ruckmen because of a dodgy hammy and the St Kilda leaders Hayes & Goddard lifted their teammates.  The ferocity of this Quarter had to be witnessed to be believed.  And as the intensity increased so did The Collywobbles.  Cloke had contributed a couple of trademark misses in the Shadow of Half Time (Shades of Cameron Mooney in 2008 – Ed) and they added another five behinds for the Quarter.  They still held an eight-point lead in a low scoring match, but The Saints could smell blood.

This was Our Great Game at it’s very best.  The Football Gods had decided to hold off the rain and had obviously visited the Three Blind Mice in their sleep the night before and made them invisible.  The heroics were Kokodian.  No time for singsong chants from The Black&White Horde.  This was furious battle and the urging of the 100,016 Faithful became a raging roar: a living thing in itself.  There is no game anywhere in the world that can produce this sustained intensity.  That it ended in a tie was fitting.  Fair dinkum, there was no way the Football Gods could split them on they day.

No doubt in years to come there will have been 700,016 at the game.  And anyone who was there wouldn’t doubt that.  The predicted late rain finally arrived in squally burst that shifted the Velvet Fog’s toupee, and under a lowering sky the players left the battlefield.  The Red Sea had closed over Pharaoh’s cavalry and two of the original 12 Tribes were on their way to the Promised Land.

Did anyone notice that those Good Samaritans at Punt Road made their rooms available to Collingwood after it as discovered that the Carringbush rooms had been flooded?  More importantly, what does it say about Appalling Football League security that the rooms can be flooded in the first place? (it was the dunnys leaking – Ed)

And what about the Heroics?  Where do you start?  What was your moment?  Goddard’s’ mark & lead snatching goal to put The Feeling Faints in front for the 1st time all day?  Daisy Thomas’ mongrel torpedo that tested the finely built Gippslander’s absolute range?  The Collingwood Captain’s lunge on the line to save a certain goal?  His match saving mark to turn St Kilda back when they were surging?  (He did it more than once Wrap – Ed)  Cloke’s redemption when he finally found his range from a goalsquare mêlée?  St Riewoldt’s pack grab deep in defence when The Pies were surging?  Lenny Hayes’ tireless efforts all day that kept The Saints in the contest?

Then there were the unsung heroes.  Farren Ray’s closing down of the Tattooed Magpie Playmaker.  Gwilt’s efforts in the Saint’s defence.  The Iconic Zac as well.  In fact the whole Sam Fisher lead St Kilda defence.  Carringbush entered their 50m arc no less than 62 times – 27 times more than their opponents.  That Saints could salvage a draw from that situation had to be in no small measure due to the constant pressure they applied to the Magpie forwards.  Nathan Brown kept the St Kilda Skipper to acceptable figures and clinically out marked him when the game was in the balance and a Riewoldt goal would have just about sunk the Woodsmen.

Anyone care to ask Lenny Hayes which he puts the most store in – his Norm Smith Medal or the All Australian Blazer he didn’t get?  True, he removed the tinware promptly, but this one wasn’t about personal glory.  He’ll come to understand the full worth of the medallion in years to come.

And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.

About John Mosig

I'm an Aussie Rules tragic who can remember, as a four year old, shaking the hand of Captain Blood in the rooms just before he ran out onto the ground after half time, as my Old Man slipped him a packet of under-the-counter Craven A cork tipped. Now it's my turn to take my grandson Ben through the ritual of character building that is the journey through PUNT ROAD to the outside world.

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