The Pre-Wrap: Gownlow count goes down a treat

THE PRE WRAP – THE LAST SATURDAY IN SEPTEMBER

Where Life Imitates Sport

What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie. The Gownlow was a raging success and the running scoreboard kept everyone in the picture.  At last we were saved the quivering of Football’s most famous bottom lip and didn’t Lauren look an absolute treat?  All the ladies looked gorgeous, as always.  Rebecca looked a good fit on Juddy’s arm (There was room for two of them actually – Ed) and you would have had to have thought the AFL CEO was punching above his weight.

The highlight of the night would have to have been the coverage of The Little Champ’s Brownlow reel.  Bobby Skilton was one of the most courageous and fairest players to ever pull on a boot.  And the bloke who followed Skilts’ 3rd Medal  with his own in 1969, was his equal.  While Kevin Murray may have lacked some of the sublime skills of The Chimp, he lacked nothing in raw courage and ball winning skills.  He played in a full brace and truss to hold his hernia in.  They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

The only blight on the evening would have been the Ayatollah’s pregnant pauses.  L (pp) Montagna.  L (pp) Hayes.  N (pp) Del Santo.  N (pp) Riewoldt.  Once would have been funny.  You might have got away with it twice with a bit of panache.  But by the third time it was falling dreadfully flat.  Why didn’t someone tug his coat tails?

We left straight after the medal presentation.  Does anyone know how things finished up at the Carlton table?  The Fev was well away before Round XV and it didn’t look as though Mrs. Fev had any control over him.  Second placed Juddy looked as though he was heading for another one of those tired & emotional nights too.

At 3rd placed Lenny Hayes’ table they drank the bar dry of orange juice and they were out the front waiting for their limo when we left.

A couple of the things we’ll miss during the Long Dark Summer is the television that goes with OGG.  Don’t know how you rated them, but Before The Game & Football Classified were the two we’ll be having withdrawal symptoms over.  Since we’ve got the new digital machine the technology to plug into analogue has denied us The Marngrook Footy Show, which is a pity.  It turns out that Glorious Leader won’t give them a digital license.

Every team plays their Grand Final at some time through the year.  RICHMOND’S was against Essendon in Round XVII.  Melbourne’s was against Richmond the next week.  Essendon played theirs in Round XXII against Hawthorn.  Brisbane against Carlton in the Elimination Final.  Collingwood played theirs against Adelaide and to make it through to the Penultimate Round.  The question is, did St Kilda play theirs last week against The Determined Bulldogs?

There’s been more than a few of the Long Suffering Junction Oval Faithful struggling with their faith through September.  Our advice is to keep calm.  We recommend standing waist deep in The Bay at the end of South Road.  Take a deep breath.  Take several deep breaths and look south.  What do you see?  That’s right — the horizon.  Now focus on the horizon.  Focus on the horizon until your breathing settles down to a rational level and your heartbeat returns to normal.  Even the water isn’t feeling cold any more is it?  That’s right, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.  If we all believe strongly enough that we are a better side than Geelong we will be.  And remember doubt is healthy.  Ubi dubium ibi libertas.  Ubi libertas ibi victoria.

Now the Coaches carousel has finally been packed away for Season 2009 we are treated to those players who feel they can better their careers dumping their old club for more money.  You’ll find them in the dictionary under mercenaries.  If the rumours prove accurate Shaun Burgoyne will be pulling on the GoldenBrown of the Leafy East and Brock McLean will be replacing the battling Nick Stevens at Royal Parade.  And the worst kept secret of them all – BBBBarry to join Akka at Doggieland.

Never mind Maxie Hudghton missing out on TLSIS.  The question has to be asked – have Channel Rove got it right in the broadcast box?  A GF call without the best caller in the land?  At least the biased Wallsie’s there with Huddo & Quarters.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who is going to be holding high the Premiership Cup in 2009.

The Big One.  Where do you start?  Geelong are without doubt, the form side.  Although, putting Carringbush out of their misery shouldn’t be counted as form.  And although they finished comfortable winners in their only other September run, The Doggies lost this as much as Geelong won it.  No, we don’t think Geelong’s form warrants the rave notices it’s been receiving.  And after Collingwood’s capitulation, they’ll be even more inclined to be thinking like Millionaires again.  Sure, Captain & Coach have been telling anyone who wants to stick a mike or a recorder under their nose that they are on a mission to redeem the honour of Sleepy Hollow.  It makes you wonder what they were doing all last season doesn’t it?  And then there’s St Kilda honour and mission.  They have a trophy cabinet groaning with Wooden Spoons there at Moorabbin.  In fact nearly a quarter of those that have been up for grabs in the 113 years of The Competition.  It says a lot about their state of mind if they have to talk about Honour & Redemption down there at Bottom End of The Bay.  When it comes to form, The Saints won a tough one against  Collingwood when The Pies still had some hope and fight in them.  Then The Saints saw off The Never Say Die Bulldogs.  Have we talked enough about form yet Ed?  These two have been the benchmark sides of 2009 and they’re both in pretty stylish nick.

And what’s all this talk about the need for greatness down at Corio Oval?  Two years ago they beat up on the Alberton Oval Chokers, whose disintegration was most probably underway by then, and not triggered by the humiliation inflicted on them by a bunch of Western District Graziers and Spud Cockies.  Then they let a mob of Leafy East Loudmouths & Thugs run over the top of them last year.  Cam Mooney could well have revealed more of the mindset than he realized when he said they may have only this one Grand Final Appearance left in them.   Trust me Cameron, you don’t need to lay that sort of pressure on yourself and your teammates.

Now let’s look at what Ward Rooney & the Forecasters at the Bureau have to say.  Sheep weather alert for the Wimmera and the Western Districts and snow down to 1,000m.  You’d have to lean towards The Moggies on that score.  They play in all weather down there at Corio, but they may have had only a couple of wet weather matches all year.  And it rains down at Moorabbin too you know, through the week.  But wet weather football is all about getting the head over the ball and getting the ball out into the open.  If anyone can separate these two on that score they should be running the country.  Even Stevens.  Maybe Chappy & Ling have the reputations for being hard at the ball, but a lot will depend on the umpiring interpretations.

And isn’t it comforting to see Maggot McBurnie, Rosebury & Ryan officiating?  This is going to be a tough one.  The Men From Playstation have had about as much wet weather practice over the last few seasons as the protagonists.  It’s going to take skill, courage and endurance on the heavy field and poor visibility.  In what could well be a low scoring game, every free in scoring range will be a possible decider.  The Artful Football League have made the right call here.

And that brings us to St Kilda’s trump card – St Riewoldt.  They don’t call him The Saint for nothing.  More sinned against than most, wait for the howls from The Handbag Faithful as those who transgressed against him are duly penalized.  Then there’s Kossie.  He’s big and strong too.  Look down the ground and you’ll see their opposite numbers in Blue & White Hoops.  Mooney & Hawkins?  Not in the same class.  Not in the same sentence.  Key forwards?  The Saints.

In trying conditions a lot will be left to the magic of the flankers.  You would have to say the Geelong swoopers, led by Stevie J, are a shade above their St Kilda counterparts, unless Stinky Milne has decided to turn in a blinder.  Flankers?  The Cats, with the previous proviso and a qualifier.  The Saints are better at locking the ball into their forward line and stifling Geelong’s springboard.

First use of the ball?  Anyone want to back Ottens and Blake against Chapman & King?  Ottens may turn out to be handy down forward, but every time he tucks the mouth guard under the garter and the Velvet Fog claims he’s a reliable shot on goal you can tell the RICHMOND fans in the bar from the guffaws.  Besides, the St Kilda pair love to take a mark, and one of them, in fact both of them, have something to prove.

Midfielders?  Look no further than the Brownlow count.  We know Gary won it by the length of the Flemington straight Nurelle.  But Nick Del Santo, Lenny Hayes & Leigh Montagna all out polled their Geelong counterparts.  That should be telling you something Nurelle.  Watch for the close checking and how much the adjudicators will tolerate.  Once out in the open sublime one touch ball skills are required.  Even a bit of magic and certainly a share of luck.  Ling & Chapman are burrowers.  Whoever gets on top here will go a long way to carrying the day.  We can’t separate them around here in The Wraproom.  Evens.

The defences of both sides are extremely good.  Buddy kept Scarlett in the goalsquare this time last year and the rebound was coming from the depths of defence, not from a running kick driven into attack forward of the half back line.  Johnson had to move up the ground to receive and The Cats’ forward star found himself taking possession a kick and a half out from the scoring zone.  Rossy Lyon, astute SOTG that he is, would have noted that.  Many at Moorabbin would have like to have seen Maxie Hudghton in there somewhere, but Iconic Zac has served them well all year and he’s held his place.  What he lacks in bulk he makes up in athleticism.  Saint Kilda launch through Brendan Goddard and he’ll love these tough conditions.  His long and accurate kicks into attack can carve up the opposition defence.

Unknown factors?  Stevie J’s miracle recovery would have to be on everyone’s mind.  Unless he only went down to Tassie for a bit of fly fishing.  Then there’s St Reiwoldt’s dickie knee.  But let’s not forget the mystery surrounding Ottens’ return to the elite level.  They kept putting it off and putting it off.  At one stage it looked like Carlton would be coming before Bradley.  And if he’s so damn important to the side why isn’t he in the 1st Ruck?  .

So after all that, who’s going to win?  The Bagmen have run it past the actuaries and made The Pivotonians pretty warm favourites.  And the Kardinia Park Bandwagon is loaded down with front runners and glad handers after their dismantling of The Collywobbles.  The deep thinking Sage Pundits have it 9:8 in favour of The Feeling Faints.  The Saints know how to win ugly and they don’t mind doing it that way.  The Pradas  like it pretty but it’s not going to be a day for pretty Football, unless Ward Rooney has stuffed up.  As we’ve been saying around here at The Wrap all year –

EAT ‘EM ALIVE SAINTERS.

Oh, and Lenny Hayes to wear the most important Medal of all – the Norm Smith, after a blistering and courageous demonstration of what it takes to succeed at the Highest Level in Our Great Game.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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

This Wrap is dedicated to an old mate who was called away before his time just few weeks ago.  Jack Caddaye had followed The Sainters from the Junction Oval to Moorabbin and beyond.  This one is for you Wacker.

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. Great read John, sorry I can’t catch up today.

  2. John Butler says:

    Keep this up TW, and you’ll be in danger of wearing the Sage Pundit tag yourself.

    Mind you, if the Catters salute, you won’t be the only one eating humble pie.

    I’ll be wanting a place at the table myself.

  3. It’s all about holding the faith JB. Sorry I couldn’t hang around yesterday.

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