THE WRAP – The bump we had to have round
Where life imitates Football
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The patrons of the fashionable coffee dens and smart bistros along Glenferrie Road were in sombre mode on Saturday morning. Even the leeks & celery at Toscanos fruit shop had a decidedly wilted look about them. This was only understandable. Once again The Leafblowers had run out of fuel and run out of soldiers in the closing stages of an Eight Point Match. They were overrun in an epic battle on the patchwork quilt of ANZ Stadium by an opponent that is sure to be in the mix over the last fortnight of September.
On Saturday and it was The Power From Port who blew Freo back to Western Australia with a blitzing Final Stanza. We were on the edge of our seats again for the next contest as Bomber’s Bombardiers nearly bombed out up under the palms. To finish off the day we had another thrillerdiller with all the fun of the fare when we all thought The Dees were going to pull off another miracle. But it didn’t come to pass. The Sons of The West swarmed all over them in the end to notch their 3rd win of the season and just about blow their Sylvan Shield prospects.
Come Sunday and we were treated to the Fred Hesse Annihilation Scoreboard over in the State of Excitement as The Avenging Eagles monstered a bunch of kids from West Sydney.
Monday’s match has been cancelled due to lack of interest.
Honestly, if sponsors are going to pay outlandish sums for venue naming rights, you’d think they’d make sure their name wasn’t sullied by sub-standard surfaces, wouldn’t you Wrappers? Take ANZ Stadium for instances. No self respecting cow would allow herself to be seen dead grazing on it, yet the bank that claims to Live in Our World sees nothing wrong with sending out two of The Competition’s elite teams to do battle on a Friday night on the very same surface. With the Whole Football World watching, the surface let the ground sponsor down badly.
Anyone else picked it up? The creeping, ever creeping of the roundball game into The Footy Season? They used to be all done & dusted by now. Off the Sportz Pages. Last week The Brisbane Roar was making more leonine sounds than The Brisbane Lions. And in a World Cup Year the clamour is only going to swell. Soccer matches are pulling respectable crowds and drawing interest across the Community. (I heard you’re an Arsenal man yourself Wrap. Any truth in that? – Ed) [Every truth, Oh Ardent Adjudicator, I cannot deny I’m the Father & Grandfather of Gooner Faithful] Sure, Soccer has had its image problems, what with the flares and the blatant nationalism at some games, the soccer hooliganism that follows some clubs, the administrative cockups culminating with the king of all cockups – our attempt to buy a World Cup staging, and then there’s the stain of rigged results levered by global gambling syndicates. Still, like the cane toad and the prickly pear, the roundball code continues its inexorably advance across The Heartland.
Wow, they’re getting serious at ASADA. They’ve put a Real Copper in charge of the investigation this time. Ben McDevitt is a former Föderale Polizei and is fully aware of what he’s walking into. My very initial briefings here are that we are dealing with extremely complex matters. This is about careers hanging in the balance. Let’s get it right. Gillon of The Overflow has flagged a final decision on the fate of the Whingy Hill footballers involved in the scandal by the second half of May. However, when you read the B Mac’s CV you get the feeling he’s not the sort of bloke to be rushed. There are a whole range of good, logical reasons why these processes take time. All that I can say is I will bring a sense of urgency, but I will not sacrifice certainty for speed. The G Mac meets the B Mac? Anyone feel the Ayatollah may have timed his departure perfectly? (And Posh & Becks their sabbatical on the Riviera – Ed) And how about the new ASADA boss’s personal philosophy? Frankly, in my view, ignorance is no excuse. And secondly, each professional athlete is personally responsible for what substances enter their body. Despite all the rhetoric, The Flying Syringes may not be cruising in clear air after all. Watch this space.
Le Bump is back in Les Médias. Which has you believing that when Footballers say they don’t read the papers or watch television, they really don’t read the papers or watch television.
But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s shut the gate after Round VIII
The Bloods v The Mayblooms. As big a shock as it may have been to those Born To Rule Denizens of The Leafy East, this was not an unexpected result. The 2012 Premiers beat the 2013 Premiers. But it was the way they did it that had The Whole Football World sitting up and taking notice. They blasted them off the park from the opening bounce to be six goals up at one stage. If Buddy had had his kicking boots on it would have been more. Hawthorn’s unerring accuracy brought them back into the match on the scoreboard by the Long Break, and they worked their way to the front in the Championship Quarter through the efforts of Shaun Burgoyne. But The Bloods – as they did in that memorable match on TLSIS 2012 – just kept at them. And at them. And at them. Buddy found the radar with a long bomb and scrambled one out of a pack. When Malceski benefitted from the Swans’ relentless pressure it seemed The Thunder had rained Down From The Sky to snuff out the Hawthorn Revival. Still The Hawks, who had lost Hodge before the match started and Cyril after Half Time, kept to their guns. Roughie drilled a couple in quick succession and The Mayblooms were right back in the contest. Gibson had an arm hanging limply at his side and The Bloods kept swarming. It was too much for The Mustard Pots and, as they had against another of their nemesis earlier in the season, they were overrun in the dying stages of the match. Which in itself must be a worry for Hawkers around the Globe. They were able to hold off a fast finishing Essendon (Even St Kilda did that – Ed) but have now gone down twice against sides that they are more than likely going to have to get past to grab the Premiership Cup of 2014. Worse still, their two most experienced and reliable leaders are showing the strains of long seasons of campaigning. God only knows where they would have been on Friday night without Burgoyne, or if Buddy had kicked straight. And Cyril’s reoccurring hammy must be a worry in the medical tent at Waverley. Not to mention Lake & Gibbo; another pair of aging campaigners. And didn’t those Tinseltowners look the goods? You put Tippett’s rag-dolling in the goal square and Buddy’s mobility across half forward on a dry MCG in September and they’re going to raise the calicos more often than not whenever their pacy and relentless midfield and half backs drive the ball into attack. They have The Marshmallows next Saturday under cover and under lights. The Hawkers have been pulled off the line for a week to get themselves ready for a visit to the Picturesque Adelaide Oval as guests of the Port Adelaide Football Club on the Saturday night.
The Powers That Be v The Mauve Miasma. Let it be said, There Was History Here In The Making. The Longshoremen jumped Port and after the middle stages became an arm wrestle, led the Power into the Final Stanza by three straight goals. It was then that The Tealers switched on the after burners. They had the next 10 scoring shots in a masterful display of Port Adelaide Aggression. Make no mistake; The Flag is Theirs For The Taking. They Never Stop Stop Stop Till They Drop Drop Drop. This was one of last year’s Grand Finalists they were dismantling mind you. Chad Wingard tore the Freo defence apart, and TLSPRF – conscious of their team’s dearth of leg speed, would have hung their heads in despair to see Matty White zipping around in The Silver, Teal And Black & White. They host the other Grand Finalist in Round X. The convincing win has them back astride the Competition Table at 1&7, which makes the Round X clash a pivotal contest in the context of the season. Should The Wounded Hawks drop this one they come back to the field at 3&6, and The Tealers go to 1&8. Matching the Alberton Crowd on the Picturesque Adelaide Oval in September is not going to be a comfortable experience. The Purple Haze were just blown away by The True Believers. Nothing more, nothing less. True, McPharlin and The Iconic Zac may have left some gaps in their defensive command system, but they managed OK until The Tealers turned on The Power. The loss has left The Anchormen sitting even with the card. They slip home to turn the hot water off in the showers for The Pivotonians next Saturday night. This is going to be a season defining encounter for both teams.
The Lions v The Marshmallows. Didn’t those Bad News Bears look the part? Crikey, they nearly repeated their Famous Victory in the 2001 GF; the win that launched their Triple Crown run. And wasn’t it a tough encounter? It’s sure going to keep the invertebrates at the Star Chamber busy on Tuesday night. For openers, Slap Happy Chappy’s going to be joining Deledio on the sidelines for his copycat elbow. Do the scores tell us more about the pressure of the match or the inadequacies of both sides? As exciting as the match was, it hardly had the makings of an inspirational file tape. Although Bruce Andrews would have grabbed it for an instruction on how lack of discipline effects the standard of play and the final outcome. The Gliders won this match, but they hardly instilled confidence for the future. This is the second successive week they’ve been pushed all the way by teams that are genuine Cellar Dwellers. And while it can be claimed that GTWTCO – if The Dazzling Dons are as good as they reckon they are – these two matches shouldn’t have been close run things in the first place. Students of The Game have noted an unhealthy attitude problem pervading Melrose Drive. Now’s not the time to debate whether or not the second coming – predicted for August – will turn things around, but as forlorn as that hope may seem, it’s looking very much like the best hope they’ve got right now. They’re back on stage again next Friday night when they host The Blood Stained Angels at the Boutique Ground at the Bottom End of Lonsdale Street. The Roy Boys certainly showed plenty of spirit and can consider themselves stiff they didn’t pull off The Upset. Next Saturday they’re back in The Heartland for a run-in with The Shinboners under cover in the gathering gloom.
The Fuchsias v The Tricolours. Brave is a word that springs to mind. So is spectacular. It was a moving moment, every bit as moving as the Anzac Day pre-match ceremony, and equally, if not more relevant. The Footy that followed the Pink Lady was also brave – in its own way – and what it lacked in spectacular it made up for in thrilling. And sensational. With the stands packed with the Mothers of Melbourne, Jones L of Footscray picked the wrong match in which to iron out Terlich D of Melbourne. It was sickening as it was avoidable. We’ve all seen the footage. The April Fools League has it in slo-mo on a loop in the middle of their match report page. No sound – just the image. (You’d have to wonder what that’s about wouldn’t you Wrap? – Ed) Jones had every opportunity to tackle but chose instead to hip & shoulder. His choice, and it’s sure going to be his consequences. Sure, he lowered the shoulder and was aiming at his opponents shoulder – but he missed and clipped him in a way that would have Dermie applauding from the commentary box and earned Dipper three votes back in the 80s. But hands up all those who are seeing the irony in this. Melbourne pinup boy Jack Viney gets off a controversial charge on appeal by claiming he didn’t have an option when he was part of the sandwich that broke Tom Lynch’s jaw, now another Demon is in the spotlight, this time for being the victim; felled in what is sure to become another landmark case. (Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, eh Wrap? – Ed) That aside, the match was played at a terrific pace and The Beelzebubs were right in the contest till the older, steadier heads in The Bulldogs’ side took the match beyond their reach in the final stages. They are guest of their co-tenants for the early one next Saturday. The Boys of The Bulldog Breed are off to the puppy farm till Round X when they slip up for the Metricon Ride with The Little Master & His Apprentices.
The Screaming Eagles v The Orangemen. The Fred Hesse annihilation Scoreboard for the round. This was a monstering of some magnitude and has boosted The Coasters’ percentage into the 130s, in fact it’s the third best in The Competition. This must have the Avenging Eagles Faithful lamenting that shock loss to Lowly Carlton, without which they’d be 4th on The Ladder. And there’d surely be some lamenting at Visy Park to see the Key Forward they swapped for the Aging Judd roosting a lazy 11 snaggers. They get a rest in Round IX and return the following week to help Carringbush raise the curtain on Round X at THOF. They may have to do it without La Cras., who appears to be another one of those vast army of footballers that doesn’t read the papers, doesn’t watch television and doesn’t follow the trends. The Leviathans also get a spell before hosting The Endangered Species for the early one on the Saturday.
The St Seaford Seagulls v The Royal Parade Miseries. Sticking with The Melancholies but will be cheering with TLSJOF. And boy, is this the non-event of the round? Maybe even the season. At the end of a day Ward Rooney has marked down as a top of 19oC with showers clearing the April Fools’ League expects the punters to drag themselves down to the Docklands Ghost Town after dark to watch a team that was flayed by 145 points in their last outing play a team that has won two matches all season, and in one of those they just fell across the line. The marketing geniuses at Jellymont House tell us that they’re doing it to compete with soccer. Lord hear our prayers. Look, we’re going for The Baggers, but only because The Sainters are far from full strength and we’re guessing they’ll still be shell shocked from the blitzing they received last weekend. Of course it could become a galvanizing force. Strongly resist any urge to become involved financially.
Remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.