The Welcome Back Wrap

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

What an off-season it’s been in Footy Eddie. Lots of juicy stuff for the Yellow Press.  The real season can’t come quick enough for True Lovers of THE GAME.

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

But just before that, a bit of housekeeping.  The Wrap editorial staff are taking a short sojourn to Europe over the month of April.  They will be back to pick up the season in May.  The administration staff will stay on to handle the day-to-day operations but there will be no game coverage during the period.

And let me scotch the vicious & vexatious rumour going around that The Wrap’s departure from The Fatal Shore, before the Season Opener between Arch Rivals RICHMOND & Carlton, has anything to do with the timing of the travels.

THE FINAL LADDER

1.     Footscray – make no mistake.  Our Major Trading Partners and new very best friends may be celebrating the Year of The Tiger, but on TLSIS it will be the Year of The Dog.  The Scraggers are livid with themselves over their inability to clinch the crunch September games.  They’ve got a great bunch of youngsters and have added the recruiting coupe of the year to go with their other troubled son up forward.  Bulldog Barry is on ½ a valium before each stanza and while there are sure to those who feel that he and Akka are past their prime, both can unload prodigiously, both off the boot and with the shoulder.  They don’t need much ball to do some serious damage.  Add an attacking backline and a tireless midfield and there’s enough there for a Flag.  Add to that the desire and the Self Belief and you have This Year’s Premiers.

2.     Adelaide – They tore the heart out of Carringbush last September then let the Bastards back into the match.  They’ll have The Addy’s following Monday headlines emblazoned in blood across the grandstand fascia board at West Lakes.  They have the forward line and the stars.   They’ve been there before and know what to do to get there again.  Their medical room is 2nd to none, which in limited team lists can be the difference between good season and one that has The Bagmen rubbing their hands together.  With the City of Churches behind them they will be there and make a good account of themselves.  A tight backline will give them a percentage to finish 2nd over their rivals.

3.     Geelong – before the good citizens of Norlane & Lara gather to trash The Wrap office in Little Mallop Street, let it be quickly said that there is no disrespect for The Reigning Premiers implied here.  The Wrap is a respected and professional Football Column and as such must maintain the highest standards of reporting and prediction.   While we’re not necessarily forecasting a Premiership Hangover, we feel the desire may not be there at Corio Oval this year.  Honour has been served with Last Year’s Flag – to be hoisted above the Reg Hickey Stand sometime in April – and while they will be talking Back-to-Back Pennants down at Sleepy Hollow, there just seems to be a bit going on behind the scenes for a harmonious tilt at it.  And I’m not just talking about the 0.005g of nose candy that Matty Stokes forgot to brush out of the seam of his trouser pocket.

4.     Hawthorn – Taking a big punt here.  Buddy & Roughie are a twin tower forward set-up you’d catch the train down from Jeparit to catch, but will they be enough.  We’re hearing how Mitchell, Riollo & Burgoyne are going to take the trifecta at this year’s Brownlow, but we haven’t seen two of them on the paddock so far this season.  They’re solid down back with Hodge, Guerra and C. Brown but they’re a bit porous at times.  The Clarkson Cluster has been countered and can be vulnerable under pressure.  Buddy has to kick straight and keep his cool for them to be a threat.  We’ve given them a Top Four Finish rating on the assumption he can and that the injuries to their key midfielders are minor.  And who would risk a home delivery of vegetarian noodles by J. Dunstall by suggesting otherwise.

5.     Collingwood – The Pies have loaded up this season.  Jolly will put some muscle into the rucks and allow the two Collinwood giraffes, Woods & & Golly Gosh Fraser to play the mobile ruckman game supporting the roving division so well.  Some pundits will have them higher, and around at the Grace Darling they’re already scalping GF tickets, but we have reservations of how the three coach panel will work out – Mick, Bucks & Eddie. Luke Ball with something to prove could be a smoky for a place bet for the Charles Brownlow Fairest & Best.  Confidence in the coaching panel of course would allow a Top Four rating and a 3rd place finish.  If they get the coaching right we could see those early scalped GF tickets increase tenfold in value.

6.     St Kilda – We’ve been severe on The Culture Club.  And not without reason.  They blew a chance last year, and while tradition has it that the near miss is enough to lift them that one rung extra the following season, we fear that the disharmony created by the Lovett Affair and the grubby treatment of Luke Ball will not be helpful to their 2010 attack on September.  And that playing list of Priority Draft Picks is that one season older.  If anything happens to their Skipper their next best forward is Nasty Milne, and ex-Coach Kornflake will tell you if you care to ask – that’s not a reliable option when the whips are cracking.  And please, all you TLSSKF out there – and I know there are many of you – be assured it gives me no pleasure to have to write the above words about the team in whom you have placed your very raison d’etre.  And for whom the Whole Football World holds a soft spot.

7.     West Coast – Here’s the big improvers for 2010.  The Nat is a natural football, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Late Great Hayden Bunton strapped an ankle for The Roy Boys.  They’ve cleared out the infected wood and Josh Kennedy is growing into the Champion he always was.  They’ve been trough some pretty tough times over their in the Sandunes and the team and the Club have a debt to their faithful sitting on the books.  The fortifications at Fortress Sooby have been rebuilt and the coaching team knows the ropes.  Twelve games at home will be enough to book a seat for September.

8.     Brisbane – There were a few contenders for the September Death Seat.  We gave the nod to Brissy.  Vossy got the Lions away to a flyer in his 1st Season.  He has pretty much the same list plus the Goalsquare Freak Fevola and the Lions’ Den in his favour for this season.  Some of his Premiership Colleagues are a year older and some have gone.  However, with Jonathon Brown at CHF they’ll always be a threat.

9.     Carlton – Without The Fev there’s not much at Carlton to worry about.  They’ve swept a lot under the carpet at Visy Park and it’s creating a musty odour.  Their youngsters are improving and the Murphy & Kruser are destined for stardom.  Their captain is a Brownlow winner, but his leadership seems more confined to on-field example.  This, at a Club with a culture that screams for rôle model leadership, is not returning full value to the administration that set his salary package at such a premium.

10.  Essendon – Everywhere you look this year we seem to uncover anti-social behaviour.  Whingy Hill appeared in the papers off-season for all the wrong reasons but they should be mature enough to leave in the courts what happens in the courts.  It could have been worse; they may not have been able to stick St Kilda with Andrew Lovett.  They’ve lost a few old timers and they have Hille back rearing to go.  They’ll make a good account of themselves and some Pundits make even have them making up the September numbers.  Here at The Wrap we feel they’re not quite at that mark yet but have the We Were Wrong notice drafted for the Mid Year Review.

11.  Sydney – All good things come to an end.  Last year we predicted the end of the Bloods Football Era.  We were a tad hasty with the call, but that’s not going to prevent us from making it again this season.  Roosy’s Swansong we’re afraid will be the dance of the Dieing Swan.  The big interest will be the comparison between how Collingwood & Sydney handle their respective coaching transitions.  One a professionally managed club with a deep Team Ethic, the other a bunch of publicity hounds prone to blatherskiting and with a team list culture of individuality.  We’ll leave it to you to work out hich is which.

12.  Port Power – The Chokers jumped their Arch Rivals in the opening round of the Whatever Cup.  They’ve done nothing since to instill any sort of confidence in them for the coming season.  We’ve got them making up the mediocre group that will cause a few upsets and offer a false dawn to the Embattled Faithful still scattered amongst the rapidly gentrifying Port Adelaide precinct.

13.  Fremantle – We over estimated Freo Heave Ho last season and it may have costs us dearly.  I’m afraid we can’t see any change in their make up from last season, and our Perth stringer has said that’s because there is none.  If they can implode totally they’ll take the Coveted Timber Trophy.  If not, it’s the head of the Cellar Dwellers for them.

14.  North Melbourne – The Northerners will have plenty of time to find that Shinboner Spirit vintage laid down by Allen Aylett and Albert Mantello back in the 1950’s, because they’re going to be spending most of this season down in the Cellar.  Someone has to be 14th and this year it’s the Kangaroo’s turn.

15.  RICHMOND – A lot of Pundits have inked THE TIGERS in for the Coveted Sylvan Shield.  We don’t think they’re worthy of that esteemed rating.  Coach Hardnose will have sorted out where the best value from his charges will be gained and have them firing before the end of the season.  The Good Samaritans may appear to have pulled the wrong rein recruiting Ben Cousins but when he hits the paddock his autopilot kicks in and his commitment brings players into the game in a team struggling with Self Belief.  One criticism could be that he plays at an intensity above the skills and thinking level of his teammates.  Sort of like putting a V8 motor in a Goggamobile.  Punters looking for dark horse wouldn’t be doing themselves a disservice by a deeper analysis of RICHMOND’S prospects with a view of lifting them up to a mediocre finish to season 2010.

16.  Melbourne – With the prospect of G. Lyon taking over the coaching mid-season removed as an option at Melbourne, their rating has plummeted.  Talent alone does not a Football Team make.  Not that the Fuchsias are overloaded with the stuff.  They have an excitement machine or three, and that will help gate takings and TV ratings, but it won’t lift them out of the Cellar or damage their chances of Back-to-Back Wooden Spoons.

17.  The real Wooden Spoon of course will go again to Zig & Zag at Jellimont House.  Their handling of the off-season dramas that have dragged the reputation of OUR GREAT GAME through the mire.  Their hypocrisy has been abysmal and their continual tinkering of the rules for sake of being seen to be doing something is putting the very essence of THE GAME at risk.  A pox on both their houses.

The Flag

The Sons of The West to be wafting across THOF on TLSIS is our prediction.

The Coach most likely

A toss-up between Mark Harvey & the bloke at Melbourne.  Our tip is the bloke at Melbourne.

The Fevalo

A new award for Brownlow night embarrassment – Lara Bingle gate crashing with an entourage of Hells Angel and heading straight for Dermot Brereton’s table.

The Brownlow

Adam Cooney  – Footscray – with 24 votes

The Coleman

Te new look Bulldog Barry to complete the trifecta for The Triclours – The Flag – The Brownlow and The Coleman.

1. Footscray

2. Adelaide

3. Geelong

4. Hawthorn

5. Collingwood

6. St Kilda

7. West Coast

8. Brisbane

9. Carlton

10. Essendon

11. Sydney

12. Port Power

13. Fremantle

14. North Melbourne

15. RICHMOND

16. Melbourne

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. A Tricolour trifecta? No argument from me!

  2. Highly amusing and, I daresay, fairly accurate by the look of things to this point (though I’m not so sure about Adelaide making the Granny…)

    Question (and you will have to write this one off to the ignorance of youth – and the fact that not a lot has been expected of the Dogs in my lifetime) but how do the Dogs cope with the weight of expectation?

    Recent history shows that clubs defy expectation, no matter if it is presented on a silver platter or not.

    Case in point 1:
    St Kilda, 2009 – were expected to win the big one, clearly, not the case.

    Case in point 2:
    Geelong, 2008 – AFL were half-considering shipping the flag and cup down the highway after Round 16, but reminded themselves that there is more money to be had by actually staging the Grand Final. No one passed this on to Geelong, so they failed to turn up on the big day and subsequently forfeited.

    Case in point 3:
    Geelong, 2007 – Can you honestly tell me you didn’t at least half think Geelong were going to lose another GF, regardless of form? That was, after all, the Geelong way. (This is coming from a Cats fan, of course)

  3. John Butler says:

    TW

    Now it really feels like the season can start!

    Welcome back.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Ripper Wrap John.

    Welcome back.

  5. Dave Nadel says:

    It seethes with the hatred of Collingwood we Pie fans have come to expect from some of our fellow knackers. Apart from that (and the fact that you have 2 and 5 in the wrong places and have underestimated North)it is very entertaining and fairly insightful.

  6. John Mosig says:

    So glad to see the end of the long dark summer.

    We all hate Collingwood Dave. It#s all that keeps us going some days.

    Winning the Carrot Cup could be a millstone Gigs. But the general pessimism along Droop Street should counteract that.

    TW
    from Londinium

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