The (Welcome Back) Pre-Wrap: for the philosophical Marngrook Follower

THE WELCOME BACK WRAP

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

Ciad Mile Failte.  And what an off-season it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The baggy green has dropped its sag, and it’s the To & Froms that were sent home to explain to the folks back at Trafalgar Square the whereabouts of The Urn & its Sacred Contents.  Not that Sir Geoffrey Boycott hasn’t already told them.

Then The Baggies stuck it up the Seth Efrikaans in a seesawing battle that had night owls back in Oz bleary-eyed for a month.  Not yet Numero Uno, but only one more successful series against The Curry Munchers away from it.

Our Li Na took the Women’s Crown on Rod Laver Arena and Stephanie Gilmore is BIT after her stunning performance up on the Gold Coast.

The Club That Dare Not Speak Its Name kept Our Great Game in the headlines during the Long Dark Winter, and it is only in the interests of fearless reporting that we point out that the ASADA has a charge sheet drawn up for the man they called “The Weapon” out at Whingy Hill.  You’d have to be excused for thinking that if Danks is guilty of injecting illegal substances into players, the players would have to be cited too.  But The Ayatollah moves in mysterious ways.

Speaking of whom, he has announced that he’s retiring at the end of the season.  He’s announced his successor too, but there are those who believe that hereditary rule is only practised in the Forbidden City & The Hermit Kingdom.  Let’s see how strong the Commissioners are in this one.

We’re prepared to punt that Mark Webber will miss the start at Albert Park again – what’s that?  He’s retired?  How about Bernie?  No?  But he may be going on an extended holiday soon?  He certainly deserves one.

The season can’t come quick enough for True Lovers of THE GAME.  Our Great Game.  The One True Game.  And I tell you what, if they don’t play it in Heaven, I’m not going.

So, as the acrid smell of briquette smoke mingles with the sandalwood scent of belah, and the sweet thunk of Bata Scouts sinking into Ross Faulkners can be heard across the nation – from the Meanstreets of Struggletown to the shaded cul-de-sacs & crescents of the Leafy East – from the cobbled bluestone lanes to the never ending plains – and dare we say it – from sea to shining sea – the WideBrownLand awakes from slumber.

The Wrap end of August ladder is the traditional feature of this 1st issue after the retreat of the Long Dark Summer.  And here it is.

THE FINAL LADDER

1)      Hawthorn – The Squawkers will be there again; make no mistake.  They only have one Back-to-back Flags on their Honour Board and this playing group is keen to add another.  Buddy will be missed, regardless of the nonchalance with which Leafblowers declare that they’ve had the best out of Buddy.  They may have had the best value out of Buddy, but he’s got enough in him to cause some headaches down the track for them.  That having been said, picking up Big McEvoy more than compensates for Buddy’s absence.  The midfield is aging a bit, but they’ve got enough in them for one last tilt.  Their uncanny accuracy got them into TLSIS last year, and over the line.  They select forwards for their kicking skills and you know what, it works.  The defence is solid and can launch an attack.  The Family Club will be there when the whips are cracking.

2)      Sydney – The Swans will be there of course.  They’ve got talent oozing out of their midfield and Kirt & Buddy will be awesome in attack.  They’ve got heaps of pace and a thereabouts defence.  It will be interesting to see how the new administration settles in.  There’s a suspicion that there may be a slide back to the flamboyant days of Geoffrey & Leanne.  We’ve underestimated them before, so we’re not taking any chances this season.

3)      Fremantle– They’ve been tipped to go one better this season, but will they?  They’ve got plenty of talent, and Rossy Lyon has them playing his sell every inch with your life style of football.  They have a powerful midfield but look a bit soft up forward.  The Pav may have another season in him, but the big question mark has to be over Gumbles.  And Big Laurie for that matter.  They had every chance last season, but they wouldn’t be the first team to get an attack of the jitters in The Big One.  Can they go one more?  You’d like to thinks so.

4)      Richmond – Ignore The Tigers this year at your peril.  There’s a self belief developing down at Punt Road that’s built on a midfield depth that is going to take season 2014 by storm.  Add a couple of handy goal kicking pick-ups to take the pressure of Jack and one of the best defences in The Competition and you’ve got an excitement machine.  They’ve plenty of talls & Shaun Hampson only complements team balance.  They’re out of debt down at Tigerland and their VFL side plays at Punt Road this season.  They may still represent Struggletown, but the time of struggle is over.  As The Late Great Living Legend, Captain Blood, would surely tell you – The Tigers are BIT.  And if that’s not enough, checkout the message the jungle drums of the Deep Woods are saying as they beat out the message across from the Skull Cave to the mean waterside bars of Morristown.  If that hasn’t convinced you the Tiges can finish Top Four, check out the fixture the Great Helmsman & the gnomes deep in the bowels of Jellymont House have gifted them.  That’s right, ask Eddie, if you draw the punters you get easy street.

5)      West Coast – with their home ground advantage and a fresh coaching approach we’re tipping The Weagles to make up for the lost years – especially last year.  Nic Nat Nui could even be a smoky for the Charles Brownlow Medal for Fairest & Best.  La Cras, Darling & Kennedy  make a formidable attack and they’ve got a heap of no name youngsters ready to fire.  They’d have been stung by the usurpers from the Port hogging all the kudos last year.  Watch them correct that situation as they burst from the pack.

6)      Geelong – we’ve got The Moggies at # 6.  They’re a year older, true, and maybe not The Greatest Team Of All right now, but they’re still a great team.  And they know the ropes.  We wrote that last year and nothing’s changed – but they are minus Chappy.  Sixth may even be flattering.  They’re re-building down at Cat Central.  The last cohort of their golden years is slipping past their prime, and this year will be a test of the depth at the Geelong Falcon’s Footy Factory.  Another thing we can add to what we know about The Pivotonians – they’re The Mighty Blue & Whites, and when the ball is bounced, the final bell, They’ll stand Up & Fight Like Hell.

7)      Port Adelaide – Can Port maintain the momentum created by a new coach & a new administration?  We’re saying they can.  And they’ll make it through to September.  There’s a lot to like about The Boys From Alberton.

8)      North Melbourne – Not too sure about The Shinboners.  They were all over the shop last season and let down The Long Suffering Gasometer Oval Faithful, their coach, the North Melbourne administration and The Wider Football Public.  An excitement machine when on song, they suffered costly lapses of concentration.  Now here’s the rub – can they pull themselves up enough to win those matches they should have won?  We gave up on them in the second half of last season, just as they started to steady.  One last chance Shinboners.

9)      Carlton – The Blues have had a year to settle down under the Philosopher Coach and the addition of his favourite son, after a year off at Victoria Park, will boost the midfield.  (Or does Figjam know something that the Royal Parade medicos failed to spot – Ed)  Our guess is that they’ll miss The Hon. Edward C. Betts, enough to cost them a place in September.  They didn’t have depth last season, and although they played some inspired Footy, they often left it too late.  We can’t see where that’s going to change, especially with some of their household names getting older.  Sorry Blues Brothers, no get out of gaol card this season.

10)  Collingwood – Rusted on Magpie Faithful have resigned themselves to finishing 9th or 10th.  We’ve got them at 10th.  Not sure what it is; they’ve got a sparkling list, but it just doesn’t seem to be catching the light.  It’s easy to say there’s trouble at the Lexus Centre, but you can only go on what you see on the field and what you read in the papers.  Expect a mid season revival, but their early draw would suggest that they’ve fallen out of favour at Jellymont House.  Maybe it’s time to change the incumbent in the Oval Office.  Any talk of changing the coach would be counter productive.  (Try telling that to The Monochrome Army – Ed)

11)  Adelaide – The Chardonnays had a horrid year in 2013.  They got off to a bad pre-season with the Ayatollah’s Praetorian Guard crawling all over them over the Kurt Tippett signing , then they lost Big Tex.  They’ve put in a solid pre-season and are ready to give their coach an honest season and the Rabid Adelaide Mob something to be rabid about.  Will they make September?  Probably not.  Will they shape the Final Eight?  Most certainly.

12)  Essendon – Let’s make it perfectly clear at this stage, Wrap Enterprizes has nothing personal against the EFC.  Nor do any of its staff.  Any analysis of their prospects for season 2014 is based on the facts.  Fact 1 – they are still reeling from last year’s debacle.  Fact 2 – it has been reported that there is disharmony in the administration – deep disharmony.  Fact 3 – regardless of a rising membership role, many supporters are far from happy about what has happened out at Melrose Drive.  Fact 4 – they are still seeking key staff to fill vacancies left by last season’s blood letting.  Fact 5 – they have looked anything but impressive in the practice matches.  True it could be a smoke-screen, or a new coach trying out his players.  Who are we to tell a dual premiership coach how to run his show?  Fact 6 – they don’t seem to have shaken off the injury syndrome that coast them so dearly a couple of years back when they earned the tag The Human Hamstrings.  Fact 7 – ASADA have to be seen to be doing something, and whether it elk horn juice, unicorn urine or an illegal substance The Bombers were pumping into their players, ASADA are going to continue their investigations.  You may very well wish to back them to make September, but we couldn’t possibly do so.  However, you might like to see what the odds are that they’ll be in the limelight again for all the wrong reasons.

13)  Footscray – The Doggies finished last season full of bite.  And their pre-season has shown promise.  They finished 15th last year and if the endeavour they showed in the second half of 2013 is any indication, they’ll make a move up the Competition Table this season.  It may only be a couple of places, but if anyone above them falters it could be more.

14)  The Meter Maids – If the Suns are going to break through the clouds, this is the year.   Every chance of finishing higher should they get a good run.  They can put down two gimmees against Crosstown Rivals for starters.  The Little Master only gets better and his bringing some pretty classy kids along with him.  Another one of those who only need a glimpse of daylight and they’ll be out of the yards and heading for the timber.  Like to Kennel Coughs, one to watch for shrewd investors.

15)  Melbourne – The Dees are being sent down the race with a totally new attitude this season.  How this can be converted to Premiership Points will become apparent through the season.  Our feeling is that they’ll fall short at crucial moments.  It’s a feeling based on two things – their lack of depth and that, in all honesty, we can’t fit them any higher up The Ladder.

16)  Brisbane – Carried the Curse of The NAB Cup into Season 2013, and gave up on their Favourite Son before it was over.  Still relying on Jonathon Brown too much, who incidentally played alongside their new Coach.  They’re talking it up at The Gabbottoir, but they really don’t look all that good on paper nor on the field.

17)  The Greater Western Sydney Giants – They’re under a new coaching regime, and this in itself will make a difference; enough difference to lift them of the Bottom Rung of The Competition for the first time.  They’ve enough balance of old heads and young shoulders to catch a few unawares this season.  They played some devastating quarters last year, now for some sustain over the whole Hundred Minutes.

18)  St Kilda – We have serious doubts about The Culture Club this season.  They may have stripped the team list bare.  They don’t appear to have recruited well enough to let players of the quality of Goddard, Del Santo & McEvoy walk away from Eel Race Road.  (Maybe they didn’t have a choice – Ed)  Well, if they didn’t have a choice Ed, there has to be a reason for that, and that in itself doesn’t look good.  It doesn’t make us feel good having to write this, but for all those Long Suffering Junction Oval Faithful who have followed The Feeling Faints to the very end of time and back, be prepared to nail another Coveted Timber Trophy above the bar at the social club this season.

 

The Flag

Can The Mayblooms go back-to-back?  Will The Barry Crockers revenge the one that got away?  Will The Mighty Eagles fly high this year?  Is it The Year of The Tiger?  We’ll stick with the Leafblowers again.  Someone who’s opinion I take seriously told me Ross Lyon would never coach a premiership team, so going on that I’m saying The Mustard Pots will revenge themselves against The Bloods.

The Coach most likely

Two jump immediately to mind. Guy McKenna is going to have to have The Suns moving up The Ladder to save his job.  Apart from that there’s hardly anyone else.  Bucks is sure to come under the spotlight at some atge as on field success in a lousy draw fixture puts the whole structure of Collingwood under pressure, but he’ll stay.

 

The Fevola

The Bombers can’t do any more than they did last year, and the shock of rolling revelations may have lost its vote grabbing appeal.  Besides, the whole issue has become a bit of a bore.  We’re going for, in his testimonial year, the Ayatollah.  We’re tipping that the Coach in Limbo, James The Great, will blow his cool at some stage and unveil what actually happened behind the scenes in what became the Essendon Drug Scandal.  Sir James will suffer the consequences of course, but his revelations, and their engendered response, will earn the Great Helmsman this year’s Fevola Medal for bringing The Game into disrepute.

If it’s not that, it will be gambling, or a suspicion of gambling.  And not just of the first goal nature.  If it rears its head it will be full-blown match fixing – or attempted match fixing.

The Brownlow

As usual, this one’s an educated guess.  Last year’s runners-up would have to feature, and Trent Cotchin is at the head of the call.  The Little Master is always going to attract votes.  But we’re going for Patrick Dangerfield with Brandon Ellis the dark horse.

The Coleman

Take your pick – the Eagle’s Josh Kennedy, Roughie again or Jeremy Cameron.  We’re going for Josh Kennedy.  Roughie might find he gets a bit more attention with Buddy out of the forward line.

The Krudd Memorial Shield

For delusional grandeur no one can lay a glove on the Great Helmsman.  Although don’t rule out the Coach in Limbo from The Club That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

The Robbie Flower Medal – for outright goodness & sunshine.  Angry Adrian won it hands down last season – for walking away from the machinations at Jellymont House.  One tip is that it will between Guy McKenna & Bucks for the way in which they carry themselves when the pressure builds for their replacement.

From left field we have Trent Cotchin agreeing to wear the Sacred # 17 as Captain of Richmond, and that he was wrong putting his personal swishes before the deep heritage at Tigerland.

So, let’s join in the chorus where hearts beat true and march-in Season 2013.

  1. Hawthorn
  2. Sydney
  3. Fremantle
  4. Richmond.
  5. West Coast.
  6. Geelong.
  7. Port Adelaide.
  8. North Melbourne.
  9. Carlton
  10. Collingwood)
  11. Adelaide.
  12. Essendon.
  13. Footscray.
  14. The Meter Maids.
  15. Melbourne.
  16. Brisbane.
  17. The Greater Western Sydney Giants
  18. St Kilda

Freo v Carringbush.  It should be Freo, but you never know.  The Pies have been pretty uninspiring over the pre-season, but I can’t recall The Barry Crockers exactly setting the world on fire.  The golden rule is let the field settle down before considering investment, but if you can’t help yourself, The Maggies look juicy at $2.30 and have every chance in this one.  But we’re not giving them one.  The Purple Haze.

GWS v Steak & Kidney.  In a word: Sydney.

Gold Coast v The Tigers.  There’s a few gone for The Suns, but we can’t see it.  Richmond to unveil their New Look 2014 Model Tigers.  Awesome.

Carlton v Port Adelaide.  A big test for both teams.  We like The Power in this one.  The midfield will hold the answer.

The Wrap is going to be a bit intermittent this season.  In line with the Abbott/Hockey budget cuts, and so as not to appear un-Australian, we’re halving our work force.  We feel, like Dame Gina & Premier Tony, that there’s far too much featherbedding going on in the country so we’re removing the feathers from the bed.  If moral doesn’t improve we’ll remove the bed.  457 visa applications have been made, and presuming they’re successful we should be able to bring you a full coverage of Irish League Soccer matches, the Indian Premier League Cricket and the target shooting in Syria & Kiev.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Entertaining Wrap can’t work out why you are so bullish re Richmond will need v few injuries to fall right away for mine just to many honest battlers let alone players like Chaplin who consistently fail under pressure in the crunch . Injuries have realistically already got Adelaide

  2. Persipicacious as always Mr Wrap. Welcome back. You left your run a bit late with the tips but. I have put mine in with the Meter Maids and the Maltsters saluting. Holding your cards close to your chest this season, so my 3 shillings and sixpence makes a price for you, no doubt.
    I nearly choked when I saw Struggletown at #4, but as soon as I saw #5 my faith in your judgement was restored.
    The Purple Scum are 1 hit wonders, and Harbourtown won’t be able to fit that many egos into the postage stamp of the SCG. Their new “all dickheads” policy is certainly a break with tradition.
    See you at the MCG on preliminary final weekend.

  3. Bob Morrow says:

    Loved “Whingy Hill ” Geelong 6th what are you on .

  4. The Wrap. says:

    It would be nice to think we’ll both new there Mr B.

    And don’t sell the Tiges short. They’ve got a soft draw and some smart footballers. i can’t remember when a season was so wide open. Talk about equalisation. I’ll bet the AE has got her tail feathers fanned out.

  5. The Wrap. says:

    Had to put them somewhere Bob. You don’t get published in the Almanac if you have them any lowlier than 6th. It’s still a Sleepy Hollow lovefest you know.

    And never mind bullish MA, the word you’re looking for is Tigerish. I’ve seen them roar once before, and all the signs are there. As has been written – ignore the Tigers at your peril this season.

  6. Figjam got the full support of the board?

  7. The Wrap says:

    Not yet Bellie, but after last night’s pathetic showing it can’t be too long in coming.

  8. “They select forwards for their kicking skills and you know what, it works!”

    Line of the day. Easily. Well played.

  9. Good to see the Swans new “All Dickheads” policy is off to such a promising start.
    At say $1M this season (he gets more in later years), Buddy gets about $50,000 a game. Given that he had 4 kicks and 3 handballs today, I reckon that is about $7,000 a touch.
    The money is locked in for 9 years so why should he care how many touches he gets or how the team goes?
    Kurt Tippett has knee tendonitis!
    Greed (club and individual) is its own reward.

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    When M Rendell made the suggestion that Gold Coast and GWS would dominate tso far we had scoffed at that . GWS forward line is going to be frightening and Gold Coast midfield is going to be awesome . While only round 1 Richmonds last few players picked are diabolical

  11. The Wrap. says:

    It’s all good for Football Mal. But not good for The Tiges, by their performance last night. Fell down up forward. Jack blanketed & Tyrone hopeless. I felt the ball came in too slowly and they were found wanting for burst/pace. It’s been a problem for some time at Tigerland. And they lacked crumbing support. The Suns ran like eager puppies chasing a frisbee.

    Liked Thomas’ tenacity & Hampson’s tap work.

    They – The Tiges – will benefit from the experience.

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Wrap listening to ABC with Stan Alves and glad to hear the guys question why in the he’ll is Hardwick trying to turn Riewolt in to a roaming forward he is a full forwad full stop . The guys also made the point questioning if Vickery is to slow for AFL footy .
    Made the point also for all the admiration of a few so called desperate triers th inability to keep there feet and display skill really hurt Richmond
    Your thoughts please Mr Wrap ?

  13. daniel flesch says:

    Thank you , Mr. Wrap , entertaining as ever. I was 12 when the Mayblooms won their first flag . This year as i officially enter dotage (and will get 400 a week from the likes of you to compensate ) i hope to see just one more flag this year and after that will hope , pray and scream for the unlucky Canines of the Melb. West.

  14. Just get over 2005 Peter

  15. The Wrap. says:

    I missed that segment Mal. Heard the hour before and part of Ken Hinckley’s interview. The modern coach is an awe inspiring creature, eh? Back to the leadership values that held Tobruk and Milne Bay, and mauled the enemy on the Kokoda Track. And invented the stump jump plough and the combine harvester.

    But I digress. Coach Hardnose & his team are going to have to rethink a few things. Tyrone is a lumberer at best, and this is exposed when the ball movement is slow. The Tiges took the pace off the match because they couldn’t run with The Suns, but more importantly, they couldn’t match their clean ball handling. Read first touch ball handling skills. And once they did that it allowed The Metre Maids to get numbers back. & crowd the Richmond forward zone. Dusty snapped a trademark goal, and Jack attempted a hopelessly miss struck dribble, but they couldn’t take possession at ground level where & when it mattered. And they couldn’t grab any of the bombs sent into attack.

    Now I wouldn’t want this to get out, but I used to love watching the 2000 Essendon side attack. The midfielders & half backs had more options than Lara Bingle. The forward half looked like a kaleadascope once The Bombers took possession down back. There’s more movement on the coaches white board that the Richmond forward line.

    The bottom line was that Richmond were exposed for lack of elite level skills with hand & foot. This in turn prevented them getting a run on. Their first goal looked like it was going to be the Year of The Tiger – then they fell in a hole.

    Unable to keep their feet? I’m not sure they’ve had the right stops at Tigerland since Charlie Callander fell off the perch. Astbury & Griffith were two who looked unbalanced, but they stood out because they were in one-on-ones in defence when their costly blunders happened. But they weren’t on their pt Malone.

  16. The Wrap. says:

    We could all do a lot worse than adopt The Labradoodles From The West Daniel m’ boy. If you want straight up & down honesty with your Footy you have to go blue collar.

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