THE PRE WRAP – TLSIS

FOR THE PHILOSOPHICAL MARNGROOK FAN

What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie.  If you think the Logies are brain numbing, you should try Football’s Night of Nights.  And would someone please explain to the Ayatollah that with the new predictive board installed by the broadcaster partner, the voting trend was known to everyone at home, and from that it was clear who the eventual winner was going to be.  So Andreas, there was no need for those mock dramatic pauses during the count.  Besides, due to Judd’s early bucking of the trend it was obvious he was the umpire’s favourite after scoring five straight BoGs on his return to competition after serving his suspension from 2009.  And come on, how blind were we?  If the maggots aren’t going to ping him when he drops or throws the ball when he’s under pressure of course they’re going to extend the love in to the Brownlow votes.

And yes, The Juddanaught won his 2nd Brownlow in the biggest Boilover since Keith Grieg beat Hungry – the red-hot favourite – way back in 1974.  He became only the 4th player to win The Coveted Award at two clubs.  2nd on the night was Little Gary Glitter, which would suggest that Dane Swan should go the full monty for next season.  (We’re tipping that LGG will join Judd with his 2nd Brownlow at The Sunshines – Ed)  There will of course be conjecture that Judd should have been rubbed out for that blind elbow to the Fremantle Captain’s cheekbone, but in hindsight it should have given us a further clue as to the protected nature of his relationship with Maggot Central.  But let’s move on from Frock Night to what really matters.

But first, let’s ponder how we would have fared without Essendon sponsoring the schadenfreude this season?  They’ve hovered so low in our credibility scale they made our political leaders look sincere.  First there was the undermining of the serving coach by reported comments from old players.  Then there was the unseemly on again off again romance with the Captain of their 1-Flag Golden Era at the turn of the Century.  As if this wasn’t enough, they’ve had everyone from Joe the Goose to Humpty Dumpty lined up for the job that now appears to be a done deal.  All this from the same crew that hired Knighta, extended his 3-year contract mid term, and then sacked him under pressure from the Puckle Street Mob and the Old Boys Junta.  (That little rush of euphoria only cost them a lazy $1.2m while Knighta laughed all the way to the bank – Ed) Rumour has it that they even courted Bomber Thompson.  Which makes you wonder how bad must it be for Bomber to choose his bedraggled mob down at Sleepy Hollow over what lurks in the shadows out at Whingy Hill?

Stop the press.  Jimmy Hird’s said he’ll coach his Beloved Bombers if he can resolve a range of personal and business issues.  Now that’s what they really need out there at John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve – someone totally committed to the task ahead.  From comedy to farce is one thing.  The next step can only be tragedy.

Little Gary Glitter gathers a following wherever he goes, eh?  His manager, Liam Pickering – asked now that The Cats had put their final offer on the table, Gazza would take it or leave it – answered “I wouldn’t go that far.  I see it as more 50/50 situation.”  And Gary, you’ve got this bloke in charge of your financial future???

You can tell the pressure is building up at The Lexus Centre.  The announcements are coming thick and fast out of the Oval Office.  After thousands turned up for Collingwood’s practice run at Gosch’s Paddock, Eddie was reported to have said, “If the A-League or NRL had as many as this at a game as we have at this training session they’d send out a press release”.  You just did Eddie.

And answering claims that the Carringbush True Believers were missing out on GF tickets in favour of the corporate sector he had this to say; “There are people who haven’t been to a game all year claiming tickets.  And those who claim allegiance because of their grandfather having been dyed in the wool Collingwood”.  (I see what you mean Eddie; half of them wouldn’t know who their father was let a lone that far back – Ed)

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

3rd The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires.  A.K.A. The Handbags.  Where do you start?  The Team To Beat For The Flag, the Defending Champions, out in straight sets in 2010.  This has to be the biggest shock since Tiger Woods’ car accident.  But how many SOTG are now saying I predicted this?  All year The Cats have been winning with awe-inspiring bursts of Power Football; turning it on and off like a tap; their coach becoming more and more offhand as everyone boarded The September Bound Sleepy Hollow Bandwagon.  They lost five matches and finished 2nd on The Ladder with a percentage of 147.9.  In the 2nd half of The Season they were beaten three times – by Adelaide at Crow Park in a dead rubber, but more ominously, by St Kilda & Collingwood in conclusive style.   It’s no co-incidence that these two are playing off tomorrow.  But there’s more in the mix down there where they build the Ford automobiles.  Their Coach’s comments and behaviour over the year have been strange to say the least.  Almost Sheedyesque in style and content, why wouldn’t astute observers be excused for suspecting a subtle audition for the Whingy Hill vacancy?  To hear him backhandedly slag umpiring decisions as an excuse was pure Coach Mumbles in his heyday.  To hear him say that his players refused to change their game plan to counter the New Blitzkrieg of the Competition Leaders was something else.  And to those unkind enough to hold such thoughts, a lame self righteous excuse.  But more revealing, are we to read into it that ‘Okay mate’ has lost the players?  Are the lunatics running the asylum down there at Skilled Stadium? The rumours keep cropping up and you know what’s around in the presence of smoke?  But that’s only the start.  Their tall timber is a weakness.  The jPod, Ottens & Moon Doggy aren’t going to be in their next premiership side and there’s a question mark over The Tomahawk.  Their Spiritual Leader wasn’t able to lift them last weekend and will be a year older in 2011.  Enright, Ling & Max Rooke will all be 30 next season,.  Milburn will be 34 & Scarlett 32.  And Little Gary is odds on to seek the Glitter of the Gold Coast.  (Once the Ayatollah has the GF out of the way, you watch the stage management of the announcement – Ed)  But let’s pause to reflect for a bit.  How difficult is it to shake off The Culture?  How quickly we forget the propensity of Geelong sides to not maximise their opportunities?  Come on be honest you dyed in the wool Pivotonians; how frustrating has it been over the years?  Back in the 60’s when you had Paul Crouch, Dennis Marshall, the Lord Twins, Roy West and Peter Walker.  Tony Polinelli & Ken Newland.  John Sharrock & Dougie Wade, and let’s not forget Billy Goggin & Polly Farmer.  Champions all.  The result of finals appearances in the old four-team series from 1962 to 1969 was the 1963 Flag.  So should we be asking the question – how great have Geelong been over the last five years?  They won The Whatever Cup in 2006 and finished 10th – behind Richmond.  The next season they belted The Chokers in one of the most one-sided displays since The Roman Legions carved up Boadicea’s wode painted hordes.  One out of two.  They then succumbed to The Unsociable Hawks, whom it could be said, they took a bit lightly on the day.  One out of Three.  They fell in against The Saints who kicked their opportunity way.  Two out of three.  The defence of their 2009 Flag seemed to be on track until they fatefully underestimated the tightness & pressure of St Kilda’s game.  True, it took one of those quirks of fate upon which Destiny hangs to undo them, but undone they came.  (Maybe it was The Football Gods squaring off for last year; They have been known to move in mysterious ways. – Ed)  Then they taunted Collingwood from the battlements.  Not a good look; not a smart move.  We’ll save those Moggies still in mourning the rest.  Two out of five, which could have easily been one out of five.   Next year?  The end of an era comes suddenly, as the ancient Mayas and The Brisbane Lions will testify.  At the time of writing there are question marks over the line-up, although we do know Frank Costa’s tossed it in.  Don’t underestimate his influence in this Geelong Era.  Remember when they tried a scratch team up at Wangaratta during this year’s Carrot Cup against what was then The Hapless Tigers.  They got belted.  We’re not saying the end will be that drastic, but they’ve lost their aura of invincibility.  And there are a few teams in The Competition that won’t need long memories to recall some humiliating hidings at the hands of The Invincible Cats.  (Refer to Richard Attenborough’s footage of a pack of hyenas around an aging lion – Ed)  Regardless of who’s standing where when the dust settles, The Handbags are back to the field for season 2011 and will have to re-establish themselves all over again.

4th FFC/Western Bulldogs.  Much was expected of The Kennels Coughs this season, regardless of the Curse of The Nab Cup hanging over them.  They lost eight of their 22 H&A matches through the year.  They lost to tomorrow’s two protagonists by three & 10 points, which suggests they have some Bulldog Roar & Bite in them.  This year the only teams they lost to outside the Final Eight were Brissy & Essendon when both were having purple patches.  However, they were unable to beat a Top Four side, and as the season unfolded they seemed to become distracted.  They got drawn into a slanging match with Akka and featured in several ALP election advertisements.  Bulldog Barry was involved in a controversial headlock and Harbrow was an out of contracted player rumoured to finish his days in The Sun.  They nearly had as much trouble as Darren Millane getting past the semis.  They were dismantled by Collingwood, fought back against a professionally prepared but undermanned Sydney only to be blasted out of the water by St Kilda in the Prelim..  Injuries played a massive role at Whitten Oval.  None more so than Shaun Higgins’ wrecked ankle.  Turned on the shifting sands of Ethelred Stadium, he never regained his confidence.  Besides that, the episode dragged the club into yet more controversy.  The coach’s contract expires next season and when he asked, so he knew what he was doing, that it be extended this season, he was knocked back, which in anybody’s language is tantamount to having the Board’s 110% commitment.  An aging list of club stalwarts suggests this playing group may only have one season left in them, if that.  Towards the closing stages of the season Rocket was asked if he knew what was wrong with his team’s performances.  He looked pensively off camera before relying, yes, he did, but I’m not prepared to say what it is at this stage.  The report card reads: More was expected of this talented boy.  Needs to concentrate on the task in hand.  Extensive summer school recommended.

Maggot Watch – We’re not ones to brag, but we feel impelled to point out that we got it right again here in the Wrapcave.  Brett Rosebury, Razor Ray Chamberlain & Heathie Ryan are our maggots for The Big One, and we’ll go one further and say that Razor Ray will take out the Coveted Harry Beitzel Medal for inconsistency, touchiness and downright perversity in a match deciding performance.

But enough of my gabbin.  It’s The Last Saturday in September and we’ve got a contest to remember.  So let’s see victory will be dismembered.

Good Old Collingwood v The Junction Oval Seagulls on The Sacred Turf on The Last Saturday In September.  This is a match made in Heaven.  The Collywobbles have had a cracker season and look set like a wooden jelly.  The Feeling Faints were cruelly robbed last year and have something to prove.  Without doubt these are the two teams worthy of playing off for The Holy Grail in 2010.  This is the new Blitzkrieg style, and both combatants have mastered it to a tee.  Both have the discipline and team focus to be able to make it work for them.  Both have star-studded line-ups and totally committed foot soldiers prepared to shoulder responsibility at their turn.  This is the Australian fighting unit at it’s best.

Coming out of last weekend’s hitout, St Kilda probably fared the better in the sense that they had to dig deep.  Carringbush on the other hand may find themselves a little underdone after their practice drill against The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires.  (You’re not saying a little cocky are you Wrap? – Ed).

But this is a brand new deck.  Forget the injuries.  If there’s any doubt that modern pain killing pharmaceuticals won’t get you through the whole 100 minutes forget it; you don’t play.

It would be fair to say The Saints kicked away a Flag last year and they’ll be conscious of that.  The Pies’ accuracy has been under the spotlight this season – until last weekend that is.  However, SOTG will be asking whether that was due to the overall lack of pressure from their opponents?  GKIGF, and it will always come down to this – as trite as that sounds.

Collingwood have been clean with the ball and tackle like a pack of dingos at lambing.  Saint Kilda play a similar game and you can bet Rossy Lyon has something in mind that they’ve been drilling behind closed gates down at Linton Street all week.  The selections also suggest a close-down game to reduce the effectiveness of Collingwood’s multi-pronged attack.

The St Kilda defence, apart from Stan Fisher & The Iconic Zac Dawson, is not made up of household names, however, it is a close checking unit and Coach Lyon uses it to control the tempo of the game.  They’ll need to be close checking as this Collingwood forward group is full of very clever footballers.  The Icon Zac kept Bulldog Barry out of the match last week and we can expect another performance full of 2009 atonement tomorrow.  Stan Fish will push Cloke up the ground and help him out with instructions on how to improve his kicking in the times the ball is at the other end of the paddock.  Ball & Didak are pure class and Blake & Eddy will need to limit their opportunities.  But the real limit on their opportunities will need to start at the other half back line.

Shaw & O’Brien are a couple of the best runners in the caper and both possess a prodigious boot.  A possession from half back quickly becomes a shot on goal.  The Saints are past masters at defensive forward play and Collingwood will discover very early in the piece that they’re not playing Geelong this week.  The weakness here for The Sainters is Big Kossy.  He can be devastating on the lead but his 2nd efforts can let him down.  Ben Read will love that.

But the Magpie defence may have more to worry about than who is going to wax the re-bound off Kossy’s lumbering ground play.  The best full forward line in the business lurks inside the 50m arc:  Nasty Milne, Big Rooey & Adam Schneider.  These three may be justified in feeling they let TLSJOF down this time last year.  They’ll be on a mission.  Presti’s main weapon is the arm chop, but first of all he has to get close enough.  And the three blind mice chosen for this one have hair trigger whistles when it comes to any body contact above the shoulders & on the arm.  Brett Peake is no slouch out on the flank, nor is All Australian Leigh Montagna.  The Saints have the fire power to kick a winning score.  Another one who will know he’s not playing Geelong this week is the Carringbush Skipper.  Not that he’s a flat track bully or anything like that, but he wont be running loose notching up re-bound stats as he pleases.

The respective 1st rucks look pretty even.  All six are champions in the true sense if the word.  Ironically, both big followers have played in winning and loosing GF teams – against each other.  Pendlebury & Daisy Thomas v Lenny Hayes & Clinton Jones will feature in the play and influence the outcome.

Across the centre it looks equally even.  Maybe with St Kilda holding a slight edge on paper.  Goddard & Swan are game breakers Ben Johnson & Nick Dal Santo aren’t far behind them.  Farren Ray has been another example of the coaching skills down at Moorabbin and he’s become an important link along the wing for The Seagulls.  Likewise Sharrod Wellingham for The Woodsmen.  Whoever holds their nerve and their ground will be the winner on the day here, and this could well decide the match.  Wouldn’t Swan love a Norm Smith Medal around his neck instead of the medallion Judd thought so much of that he lost before he left the auditorium the other night.

This is so even, and both combatants so worthy that it’s a shame it has to end in tears for one of them.  And it’s our tip that it will be Carringbush that again has to dig deep and clamp hard on that bottom lip.  Why?  Because, like Punters Baggy Greens, after losing The Ashes in a nail biter, set themselves and came back with a vengeance when The To & Froms landed on The Fatal Shore.  The Feeling Faints, from The President down to The Bootstudder, have set themselves for this one.  They know what they have to do.  And they have the discipline and firepower to do it.  Make no mistake, this will be a tight one-on-one affair and a close result.  Purist would love to see a goal kicked by St Riewoldt after the siren for a win by TNPM.  Could we survive that?

For  the Norm Smith?  The Bagmen have Chris Judd at $2.50, but we’re going for Adam Schneider to explode in a master class goal sneak display at the bottom of the defence packs created by the Collingwood backmen.

Apologies to all those Magpies. It was a line ball, but when Eddie asked me to return my bandwagon ticket to give to some bloke from Dubai the sponsors wanted to play the trombone in the big parade, that did it for me.  With three convicts in the family line, you’d reckon at least one of them would have barracked for Collingwood.

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:

    Great work TW

    I agree. It’s a tough one to call.

    The Saints need to stop the Pies rebounding from defence like they’ve been allowed. I think they can, just.

    But it will come down to taking your chances.

    And the Saints don’t want it to rain much.

  2. Hmmm, good point about the Ward Rooney factor JB. Let’s hope it doesn’t deteriorate to a Sheep Weather Alert. I think we’ve had our drought breaker for the year.

  3. Andrew Starkie says:

    No curtain raiser? That’s a relief. The last thing we want on GF day is a game of footy. Why doesn’t the AFL do away with the main game and present 8 hours of unemployed actors, former Idol participants and various international acts performing their versions of ‘Up There Cazaly’, ‘One Day in September’, sponsors’ jingles and the theme to ‘Flashdance’. Is Buble here this year?

    Pies by 4 goals

  4. Schhhhhh. The bastards might hear you AS.

    Saints by less than straight kick in a classic.

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