And what week it’s been in Footy Eddie. And what a year. It’s about to end for some this weekend. No need to name names; they know who they are. Some hang up the nikes till next season; some for good. But let’s not get maudlin; there’s the finals to come.
And what a promising September we have in store for us. The Hawkers are at the top of their game, and getting stronger mentally each week. With something to prove, The Family Club is going to be hard to beat on TLSIS. Then there’s The High Flying Aquilas. You’d ride third class on a cattle train from Wyndham to come watch Nick Nat Nui play, wouldn’t you? And Big Cox too. And Carlton reject Josh Kennedy is back in the goal square. (Aren’t they about to pay $750,000 a year to a player half as good as the one they gave away? – Ed) Let’s not forget The Harbour City Rollers’ playing their Bloods’ Football; they fear no one. Then there’s TRP. They’re not out of this by a long straw. Just ask anyone in Little Mallop Street, or in the Almanac Editing Suite. Of course The Free Settlers will have a say in who holds The Premiership Cup in the lengthening September Shadows. You want a dark horse; look for the jockey in the Purple Silks, the white cap and the economical grin. The Shinboners hit a speed hump last week, and might find themselves a wee bit outclassed in this company, but on their day they’ll worry the best of them. Then there’s Carringbush. Are they the real thing? The True Believers will tell you they are. Students of The Game hold the opposing view. The medical opinions vary, but if you wake sweating in the middle of the night and your body’s covered in a rash that just won’t go away you may need more than calamine lotion and chamomile tea before bed. It’s probably the Collywobbles.
You heard the one about the bear that went into the bar? He said; “I’ll have …… a beer please. And the barman asked; “why the big paws?” Well there was another big pause yesterday – at The Visy Park press conference. Prez Sticks was asked if Coach Rattz would have been sacked if Mickey the Maltster wasn’t available. First the long pause – then those fateful words – probably not. (As a liar, he’s a better shot on goal under pressure – Ed) Then there’s the man himself – Coach Brewery. He makes our revered politicians look like Buddhist monks. Never mind by 1990 no child will live in poverty. How about I won’t dance on a sacked coach’s grave? But the soap opera continues. By the time you read these words, Mick will be going over the fine print of a seven figure, three-year deal. (For the umpteenth time in as many months if you’ve been getting the right mail – Ed) Or translating all that into Mickspeak – the cud is chewed a thousand times for one drop of milk. Und das Malzhaus frauenvolk are in turmoil over the way the media has portrayed their Held des Targes. You’d have to say this adds a Freudian dimension to the drama – as ego battles with familial bonds. (Try Greek tragedy – Ed) At the time of writing this what was generally known of the saga, and holding sway in the talkback. But let’s look at this in a more detached way – as a Student of The Game may see it.
The Miseries. Fair dinkum. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Black Jack drove them into penury trying to buy Premierships during his two-decade tenure at the helm. True, he landed a couple, and built the Legendary Stand, but at what cost? But the chequebook football didn’t end with his sacking in 2002. Oh no. We all know the details so why dwell on them, suffice to say three prematurely sacked coaches and three cash settlements. Let’s look into the future. And you’d have to think it would be sending shivers down the spine of everyone who weeps Old Dark Navy Blue tears. From what we’ve observed over the last few years, Mick is about as stable as the Saint Andreas Fault. His frauenvolk recognize this, and appear fearful for his wellbeing should he take up the challenge. (And Eddie too, don’t forget Eddie – Ed) Which isn’t going to make for a strong and happy base camp. And what are Mick’s motives? To show he can still coach? Who cares? Aren’t we all over the silvery look and the quirky quotes? To show Eddie he can coach? Eddie may be many things, even all things, but although he does and says some silly things at times, he’s not stupid. They must have worn out the carpet in the Oval Office rolling around hugging themselves with mirth when his Mick Malthouse would be a perfect fit for Carlton pronouncement was taken seriously by the men & women of the Fourth Estate. That alone should have sounded alarm bells in the war room at Royal Parade. But oh no, light up the cigars, get out the chequebook and hook the thumbs into the braces. Here we go again.
And while the thinking process at Princes Park may not be worthy of a Fevola Medal – for bringing The Game into disrepute – it has to attract a gong of its own, surely? Think about it. Essendon have Little Jimmy looking shellshocked in the control tower on match day as his Bomber Squadrons go down in flames week after week. Has anybody clamoured to sack the coach? (Maybe next year they will – Ed) So why not let Rattz run out his contract? Mick’s claim that he wouldn’t take up the clipboard again beyond 2013 is arrant nonsense. In fact it adds substance to the rumour that he’s been seen emulating the various poses of the Corsican Corporal on display at the National Gallery. So, keep Rattz on for another year, get the bodies right and see how he goes. By then Paul Roos would be available.
But then, he dodged the bullet this year, maybe he’d dodge it again next year. Coaching at Carlton has been to sip from the poison chalice.
For Rattz, we know you’ve given more than 20 years of your life to the Lilies of Laguna, but trust us Son, you’re well out of there. You’ve got a goodly sum out of them over the last five years and there’s another half mill plus bonus coming your way next year. You’ve lost no one’s respect and you’ve got three B&Fs and a Premiership Medallion to show for the 14 years you put your body on the line for The Only Team All Carlton Knows. You can walk out of the opening in the red big Building amongst the elms and Morton Bay figs with your head held high.
And hey, Wrappers, if you think Wikipedea isn’t on the ball check out Brett Ratten Carlton next time you open your computer.
While we’ve got you there, let it be said there’s absolutely no truth in the rumour that they’ve put in for Long Suffering status around at Visy Park. (Not yet, anyway – Ed)
We all get the Big Issue don’t we? Our favourite section is the Hearsay page. We go straight to it when Nurelle brings it back with the lunches. The last issue had some gems in it. Remembering the late Gore Vidal, they had what could only be described as a trademark bon mot from the great introspector – so they did. Fifty percent of people won’t vote. And 50% don’t read newspapers. I hope it’s the same 50%. With the US voting for the leadership of the Free World on the day we stop our Nation for a horserace, you’re not on your Pat Malone there Gore.
This item from the same issue could well have been overheard in the bowels of the Appalling Football League Department of Forward Projections & Conjecture. I’m working on a plan for the planning day where we are going to be workshopping the strategic plan that we plan to roll out next year. There again, it could be a memo from the Rules Committee or a conversation overheard around the Coffeemate at Maggot Central.
But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s going to be in Round XXIII
The Unsociable Hawks v The High Flying Eagles on The G tonight. Xavier Ellis must be considered stiff to lose his place, but someone had to go to Box Hill to make way for Cyril. Look, The Mayblooms are on song and with Ward Rooney issuing Sheep Weather Alerts to graziers, Seagull Warnings for all waters west of Gabo Island and snowdrifts likely to block the Lilydale line it’s not going to suit The West Coast’s big guns. Don’t let that keep you away from the match. It’s going to be a beauty, but we have a feeling that while The Pies were a bit cold last week, the Mustard Pots are not. The Family Club to take this one and then look at the next one.
The Pivotonians v The Bloods at Corio Oval for the early one on Saturday. Ward Rooney has early showers with a lazy 15-25kmh sou-souwesterly breeze with the chill factor of a dentist’s drill. Not good for those Tinseltowners used to the Balmy Harbour Breezes. The Moggies are at near full strength and will be treating this one seriously. And so they should. The Lakers will be smarting from the one that got away last week and will be keen to stamp their authority over those beneath them. Not to mention the risk of losing two home finals. It has to be The Hoppers at home. Why? Because it has to be. And they’re at home. The $1.68 is attractive monetarily, but represents the risk involved. If you have a good feeling about it, go for it. Use the beer money, then at least you’ll drop a few kilos if it doesn’t come off.
The Pride of South Australia v the Metermaids in the Shadows of Mt Lofty at the traditional time. Percentage is going to help here. Ward has this one a perfect late Winter’s day in the City of Churches: 19oC after a light morning fog. Expect a massacre. The Chardonnays to kick The Sweep.
GWS v The Shinboners at the Skoda Showroom in the twilight zone. They should be playing for a home final, but they’re not. They’ll win anyway. Toddy Goldstein looked more basketballer than an Aussie Rules ruckman besides Laurie the Behemoth last week. He won’t have the same problems this week. North Melbourne.
The Human Hamstrings v The Collywobbles for the Channel Kerry Saturday night match. The Gliders have had to leave out Hocking, Davey, Lovett-Murray, Gumbleton & Browne. The only one not rested for soreness or hamstrings is Browne, so how bad must have his game been last week? We’re beyond second guessing what they’re up to out at Whingy Hill, other than to note that – in a thought process that rivals that of their Arch Rivals adjacent the Melbourne Cemetery – their Assistant Coach gets paid more than their Senior Coach. The Selectors at the Westpac Centre have finally bitten the bullet and dropped Big Dawes. Cameron, after proving that whatever the question, he’s not the answer, was also sent back to the VFL. Blair has done a groin and Sinclair & Seedsman were also omitted to make room for Krakouer, Jolly, Skipper Maxwell, Paine & Elliot. Look, there’s rivalry between these two that bring out the best in either when they play. We’re of course worried that Essendon’s best at this stage is more about Schadenfreude than the finer points of The Game. Furthermore, even if in The Carringbush List looks less than awe inspiring, they’re not sitting 4th by dent of their draw. (You don’t want to re-phrase that do you Wrap? – Ed) They’ve dropped the last two, and going into September you can’t see them dropping this one. You’d like to think that The Marshmallows will do it for the Whingy Hill Faithful – to send them into the Long Dark Summer with some hope for 2013 – and for their Three Giffers, but it won’t be enough. The Fire Breathing Woodsmen for us, and at $1.17 they’re worth a bit of a flutter.
The Anchormen v The Fuchsias on the balmy Indian Ocean shores tomorrow night. With clearing showers and a top of 20oC, this is likely to be an obliteration. Get the kiddies onto those iPads early, or pull down the old jigsaw puzzle from last year’s beach holiday.
The Team That Never Lets You Down v The Feeling Faints under cover for Sunday’s early one. No St Riewoldt no St Kilda. And boy! Don’t those Rattzbaggers owe the Giffer big time? Look, there’s more going on at Visy Park than meets the eye. We’re sure we’re not the only ones who felt the Leadership Group’s invitation to the Collingwood full forward was as unseemly as it was untimely. And any advocate in the Grassy Knoll’s place in history will be beside themselves with theories as to their role in the goings on at Carlton. After all, they’re pretty close to the Leadership Group that lost the first six games of Rattz’s stewardship in 2007, the six losses that led to the securing of The Kreuzer in that year’s draft. (Isn’t that the one they passed over this year’s Brownlow favourite? – Ed) We all know that bad kicking is bad football, but Carlton’s kicking on goal last weekend up at the Metricon was inexcusable. We’re tipping that shame will drive them to Victory. Nothing else seems to have worked. The Bagmen also have some concerns as to Carlton’s integrity, and against the flow they have them at $2.10. If you’re having a good year, you’d risk a bit on The Wrap Roughie of The Round. The Blues.
Struggletown v The Power From Port on The Paddock That Grew in Sunday’s twilight. The Tiges will miss their traditional 9th again, but will finish in good heart. They’ll learn from the disappointment and will be playing to get Jack over the line for the Coleman and Trent over the line for the Brownlow. The Tealers will be playing the season out. The Tiges in the style in which they will open Season 2013.
The Lion Kings v The Miniature Schnauzers at the Gabbatoir to wind up proceedings for the Home & Away Rounds for 2012. The Maroons are looking for three on the trot. The Kennel Coughs are looking for their first win since they beat Port at Ethelred Stadium in Round XIV. Sorry Doggies, next year maybe. And at $1.18 they’re The Wrap Safe as Houses Investment Opportunity of The Round.
Good tipping and even better punting.
And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.