THE PRE WRAP – 2nd WEEK OF SEPTEMBER

FOR THE PHILOSOPHICAL MARNGROOK FAN

What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Fev turned on one of his infamous numbers to hold the September Spotlight.  Not to be outdone, that darling of the pool, Stephanie Rice, let it all hang out on her social networking website when she slagged off The Springboks with a homophobic dig after the Wallabies rolled them in the dying stages of their latest Test.

Tackling The Fev 1st, there’s something that doesn’t quite ring true about the allegations, and we for one, here at The Wrap, are watching this one unfold with interest.  And without much sympathy for the people at Brisbane who organized his transfer and managed his career up under the palms.

As for Our Steph, her tearful apology included, “I’ve definitely learnt a huge lesson.  It’s a shame I had to learn it this way”.  Sure is Steph, especially when all you had to do was look beyond the heterosexual members of your colleagues on the Australian Swimming Team to gain empathy with a wider range of people than the testosterone overloaded jocks who appear to be your soul mates there.

Hey, does it come as any surprize to you that the NRL is being investigated for an alleged betting scandal?  Us neither.  What ever did they expect when The Storm played all season without points?

Maggot Watch.  The ultimate maggot watch – http://www.aflua.com.au Visit the link and come to grips with the harsh reality – umpires are human.  (Or at least they had humanoid parents – Ed)  No seriously Ed, take a Captain Cook.  It was a revelation for the staff at The Wrap when Nurelle found it while searching for a drain cleaner.  This is item, lifted straight from their website suggests a caring and sharing group of people who are only trying to do their job under extremely straightened circumstances..  The completion of Round 22 heralds the retirement of one of the great goal umpires of the modern era.??Steven Stirling announced his retirement at the end of the season having umpired 304 AFL matches which included 18 Finals and the 1996 AFL Centenary Grand Final.??Only the fifth goal umpire to achieve 300 matches Steven’s career spans from 1989, when he joined the then VFL from the Footscray District Football League to 2010. ??Throughout that time Steven’s excellence and consistency on the field has been matched by a significant amount of other umpiring related work. Steven Stirling, The Football World salutes you.  (Are you sure he wasn’t the one who disallowed that Geelong snap all the fuss was about? – Ed)  Not sure Ed.  But you won’t find out from the site.  They don’t even mention the four bets goal umpire Chris Appleton made that cost him his job for 2010.  This site is more germ-free than a Brumby press release.

Continuing our end of season summary on how the dropouts have fared this season, let’s look at the latest two.

7th Hawthorn.  After another ordinary year, the Premiership Hangover is no longer an acceptable excuse.  Their lame exit from this year’s Final’s Series smacked of laziness, not to mention disrespect for the 53,978 Paid Up Proud & Passionate.  While we avoid rumour mongering at all times, we can’t be blamed for believing there may be some truth in the one about the Hawthorn President and the Hawthorn Coach not being on speaking terms.  (Not that we’d ever spread it of course – Ed)  They’ve had an inglorious year.  At one stage they were in The Cellar with the other non-performing sides.  They scrambled a win against The Winless Tigers and launched a do or die lunge at September.  Looking like marching into the Top Four, they won eight from nine, losing to The Cats by a nail biting three points.  After the draw against St Kilda they wobbled into 7th for an Away Final in Perth.  Whether they were under prepared or not is not for us to say, but that’s the way they played.  And that’s the way they’ll be judged.  There’s a lot of soul searching to do out in the Leafy East & the Waverly mortgage belt before next season. Prez Motormouth has completed his promised 5-year term and delivered a Premiership.  Honour would be served should he decide to hang up the Blazer.  Naturally there’ll be a question mark over their successful and widely respected coach.  They have a very smart list approaching its prime.  Roughie’s got the yips, Buddy runs hot and cold, the midfield relies too much on too few.  The Captain & Spiritual Leader are over worked.  (Remember how Dermie’s performance capacity decline under the superhuman contributions for the GoldenBrown – Ed)  Riolli faces the same fate.  And if Luke Hodge isn’t carrying an injury I’ll go he for tiggy.  One shining light, the backline has improved on last season and is showing the makings of a 10-year combination.  This is a much better list than 7th.  At some stage, without a marked turn around – that question mark over the Coach will manifest into a question.

8th Carlton.  Another team that is having trouble with the reality of Football at The Elite Level.  Hoping to build a team and a club around one player, they have achieved what they set out to achieve.  They have built a team around one player.  When the Juddanaught fires, The Bluebaggers look dangerous, even world-beaters when he drags some of his teammates along with him.  The loss of The Kreuzer was a cruel blow, for both the budding champion and the club.  They’ve chopped and changed this season but don’t seem to be able to develop the promise of some of the middle range players.  Gibbs & Murphy, supposedly part of, along with the Carlton Skipper, a #1 draft pick midfield, are two that spring to mind.  And they are carrying players on their list who, if they can’t fit into a starting line-up, and perform efficiently, should be moved on.  Thornton, Wiggins, Ryan Houlihan, Fisher & O’hAilpin would fit that category.  Ratts is no slouch.  He’ll be painfully aware of his team’s shortcomings.  He’ll also know that it’s time for him to exert his authority as Senior Coach.  It must be as galling for him as a Carlton Premiership Player as it is for the Bluebagger Faithful.  Expect some changes at Visy Park – or there’ll only be more of the same luke warm porridge they’ve served up over the last two seasons.

But enough of my gabbin.  It’s the 2nd Weekend of September and we’ve got two matches to review.  Six teams will reduce to four, so let’s see who’s going to be knocking on Heaven’s Door.

The Team To Beat For The Flag v The Barry Crockers on The Paddock That Grew tonight.  Bomber Thompson v Bomber Harvey.  The Anchormen have done well to get this far.  Last weekend, weakened by injuries to key players, they jumped Hawthorn and held them at bay to win comfortably.  The question is, at $7.25, are they worth a look tonight?  Big Aaron has been picked despite taking it easy during the week and there are no changes in their line-up.  They’ll have done their homework and decided who they’ll cover.  Expect plenty of fireworks wherever Adam McPhee finds himself and he should provide plenty of distractions.  However, the three blind mice chosen by Jellymont House just happen to boast hair trigger whistles and these distractions are not likely to go unnoticed.  Having said that, should The Stevedores get the right balance into the intimidation they could bring about a drop in concentration in some of The Handbag playmakers.  The Superb Johnson at full forward should keep Scarlett honest and Long Tom Lonergan on The Pav seems a mismatch of gargantuan proportions.  Mundy at his best will be too strong & too fast for the Geelong Skipper and McPharlin & Grover held Buddy & Roughie last week.  But it’s down the flanks that The Moggies shine.  Varcoe, Stokes, Bartel, Byres, Chapman, Kelly & Wojcinski have pace, strength & skills to make the difference.  However, Ward Rooney’s call will have a big bearing in this advantage.  The wind is expected to swing to the southwest around midday, which could blow the showers away.  The Pivotonian talls are The Tabbies’ weakest link.  Big Aaron will be too much for the Tiger Reject #6 & The Tomahawk leaving a lot to Mad Dog Mooney & The jPod.  All that said, The Pussies have the stronger engine room.  Chapman & Ablett can’t be held all day, and this why we’re going for TRP, with their backs to the wall, to rebound.  This Playing Group would love to make it three Flags from four attempts before they disband.  Expect a close encounter until Chappy drives home his trademark Inspirational Goal to open the Floodgates.  It’s The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires for us here in The Wrapcave.

The Sons of The West v The Sydney/South Melbourne Swans at The G on Saturday night.  There’s a lot of talk about The Swans producing Bloods’ Football, and even running out on TLSIS.  Exponents of that theory should take a cold shower.  Sure they looked awesome in the first half playing at home against a team that had only beaten the Bottom Four sides over the run home.  Then Carlton’s Brownlow Medallist decided to earn his keep and led a Bluebagger Onslaught that nearly stole the match.  True, The Doggies’ Brownlow Medallist is out for the season, but with their season on the line, and Gillard back at full forward, Brad Johnson’s retirement and probably a few careers on the line (Including that of the coach? – Ed) we should expect a more spirited performance than the insipid display they turned on against The Magpies.  They’ve blooded Hooper and brought in Wood to replace the out of form Higgins & Callan.  There’s a big question mark over the solidarity at Whitten Oval, and if they let that play on their minds they may find The Bloods intensity too much for them.  The Swans look dangerous near goal, and Harbrow & Wood have a huge responsibility to hold O’Keefe & Dennis-Lane.  Goodes, Kennedy & Hannebery will also be a handful for Murphy, Williams & Gilbee.  And Bradshaw, even underdone, will keep Lake honest. Griffen v Jack is another crucial match up.  The Doggies don’t look too bad in attack, but Bulldog Barry will need to contest and present for the full 100 minutes.  If he can, and bring Giansiracusa, Grant, Hooper, Hahn & The Retiring Footscray Captain into the game they will be in with a chance.  But it’s in the midfield and on the interchange where The Lakers appear to have the edge.  They let The Miseries back into the match last week and Coach Roos will be conscious of that.  Led by Captain Kirk we’re going with The Harboursiders narrowly in a cracking match.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Geez Wrap, considering where the Blues have come from, the last couple of seasons haven’t been that bad.

    Beats finishing 15th. :)

  2. We’ll be addressing that in Season 2011. And The Blues are on top of our list of stepping stones to September.

    And JB, nothing personal, but if you expect any kudos or sympathy from Tigerland I’t suggest you know jack shit about Our Great Game.

  3. JB – maybe we could send all the Blues player a “Participation” ribbon.

  4. Andrew Fithall says:

    JB. Don’t let those naysayers prevent you and your fellow bluebaggers revelling in your mediocrity. Just enjoy.

  5. John Butler says:

    All names and addresses have been noted for future reference.

    Not expecting sympathy from the Tiges TW. In fact, we long for the day (will it ever come?) when the Tiges are worth hating again. It’s been a long wait.

    As for the others, don’t you have more pressing concerns to turn your attentions to?

  6. no

  7. John Butler says:

    I fear your team may be of like mind Dips.

    Geelong have seemed preoccupied with last week most of this week.

    I reckon the Dockers will have noted it.

  8. It’s amazing how, like the Bourbos of Old, the Born To Rule Blues & Bombers still don’t get it. We all hate you.

    And you may be onto something JB with your comments on Sleepy Hollow. PF is surprisingly quiet this week.

  9. John Butler says:

    TW

    Freo may have taken note, but it mattered little if they didn’t handle the occasion, which they obviously didn’t.

    Roll on next week.

  10. Yes, JB.
    It’s definitely “game on” now.
    All the Cats’ big guns were “on” tonight.
    Do I detect a slight nervousness amongst the Magpie faithful?
    DD

  11. 10-slight nervousness?
    what slight nervousness?……
    *hides under bed*

  12. John Butler says:

    Danni

    I don’t understand your worry. Nothing ever goes wrong for the Pies in September, does it? :)

  13. Let’s not forget one thing here. Geelong aren’t playing Fremantle next week.

  14. True, TW. The aren’t. HOWEVER, Geelong really believe in themselves. Even with less fitness and less skill, these huge amounts of belief can play a big part. Besides which, there was the strong stench of self-preservation for two-and-a-half quarters last night.

    And a fortnight is a LONG time to think and overthink for the Pies. Cats have been there, done that (i.e. struggled after the week off).

    I think Pies will get over the line, but it will be a darn close one. Game of the year (by far) to signal changing of the guard.

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