THE WRAP – FINALS ROUND I

WHERE LIFE IMITATES SPORT

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  And wasn’t it a cornucopia of what Our Great Game is all about Wrappers.  Firstly, it was The Handbags who booked themselves a week off and a spot one out and one back.  The Maggies also booked themselves a break when they overawed The Coasters in a match from which both teams will derive some benefit.  For TLSJOF the season has mercifully drawn to its conclusion; for the Sons of Sin City they go on to face the depleted Mayblooms next weekend.  And if you thought the Current Incumbents of Canberra were the biggest disgrace in the land you weren’t watching the Carlton Essendon grudge match on Sunday.  The Rattzbaggers took a step towards saving their Coach’s job and have booked themselves a berth in Perth.

Maggot Watch.  If the matches were Group 1 events, so was the umpiring we’re glad to say.  The word has obviously come down from Maggot Central to swallow the bl**dy whistle and let the game flow.  However, with counting for The Beitzel medal continuing through The Finals, the competition was as keen as ever.  Take the time Tazza nearly pulled LeCras’s head clean off his shoulders at the top of the West Coast goal square early in the piece.  No free, not even a play-on.  In the same maul that had forced the ball from one pocket to the other, the same maggot managed to find one for Davis quick enough, for a lesser high tackle than the one that nearly decapitated LeCras.  But with The Monochrome Army in full cry and ready to hurdle the pickets, no umpire has paid a free kick to the opposition in front of goal.  And none of the three blind mice in charge of the match on Saturday Arvo had any intention of becoming the first.  But our votes for the Beitzel was unanimous.  You guessed it, Wallsie’s favourite maggot, The Little Man with The Big Whistle.  Razor Ray was as sharp as ever.  He pinged poor old Tadhg Kennelly in the St Kilda goalsquare.  When, grabbed from behind by Adam Schneider and standing up in the tackle, he flung his arms out to demonstrate that the ball was being held to him from behind by the St Kilda forward.  Ray’s argument was that he didn’t make an attempt to punch it clear.  In the St Kilda goalsquare Ray?  Blighty said “that umpire should take a rest”.  Now if Tadhg had been Juddy it would have been clearly holding the man.  And if the ball hadn’t been held onto him, Tadhg would have dropped it.  But then he would have had a chance to handball it.  Any fair-minded umpire would have read the situation and balled it up.  It was a tough one, and a courageous one.  Not many get paid in the attacking goalsquare.  In fact in 400 minutes of football, that’s the only one we can recall from all weekend.  For your appreciation of how far a 15-meter kick has to travel before it covers 15 meters, and for umpiring in the Letter of The Rules rather than The Spirit of The Game, Razor Ray, you got The Beitzel votes for this round.

Maggot Watch II.  As your other half has no doubt explained to you, it’s the little things that count.  There was a clean Collingwood defensive mark close to the paint.  The boundary maggot called it touched, throw-in.  It’s either a mark or out on the full.  Either way, it’s a Collingwood ball.  As it turned out, it didn’t make much difference, but it could have.  Granted, they’re only little things, but then again they don’t have to do much to alter the momentum of the contest.  And if a player made that sort of blooper he’s be dragged.

Hey, if you want to see where we’re at when we try to climb up on the World Stage, take a goosy gander at Channel Deuce’s long running social commentary program at 8.30 tonight.  From all accounts, the level of due diligence for our much vaunted Round Ball World Cup bid must have been cursory to say the least; abysmally low to put another slant on it.  Costing a reported $30 odd mill, around $10m of it Our Money Ralph, the largess was chucked around with the gay abandon of a union rep on a caffeine bender.  It makes you wonder at the arrogance & audacity of some people doesn’t it?

And we don’t want to come across as an independent senator from Tassie here, but the advert that urges us not just to enjoy The Game for it’s theatre, skills and tribalism, but to get out their and risk the housekeeping, the mortgage money, the kids school fees and their inheritance on the outcome, should be dragged up before the MRP.

To fill in some time on Saturday we flicked over to the VFL Final between The Scorpions and The Tigers.  Thought we’d catch a bit of Le Fev and Majak Daw.  Sure it was a windswept Saturday afternoon on Frosty Miller Oval, but the gap between the VFL and The Competition at The Elite Level was palpable.  Werribee creamed Springvale and Le Fev raised no more than the single calico, and then only on three occasions.  Werribee go into the Preliminary Final against The Seagulls as rank outsiders.  The North Ratters bowed out in their Semi to The Bullants, who go on to face The Boroughs in other Prelim.

The Sag returned to The Baggy Greens as they ran into a dead pitch with their unsung attack.  And Pammy Stosur has booked herself a date with Serena at Flushing Meadows.  Go you Aussie Good Thing.  Put a gap in ‘me.

But enough of my persiflage, let’s see who’s going on in Round I of The finals.

The Mayblooms v The Handbags.  The Squawkers started off as though they meant business when Cyril, showing the silky skills that pull the punters through the turnstiles, slotted the 1st score of the match – a major.  By the 1st Huddle they were looking good and although Buddy had added a couple more, they had been profligate in front of goal.  It took The Pussies just two minutes to haul back the lead and another to go one up.  Two of the snaggers were triggered by trademark Chapman clearances, and the other by a careless 50m penalty for creeping up on the mark by Hale after a desperate clearance bomb from The Hawthorn Skipper landed with Hunt, standing loose across the half backline.  Suddenly The Mayblooms were looking ragged and The Hoopers had grabbed the ascendancy.  But they weren’t playing Collingwood this week and when the rain came pelting down The Mustard Pots came back into the contest.  This was a Geelong v Hawthorn Armwrestle that we’d learn to expect from these two totally committed teams over the years, and at the 10-minute mark of The Championship Quarter The Leafblowers were starting to howl.  With the outcome hanging in the balance, The Alley Cats do what alley cats do when the going gets tough.  With six minutes to the Citrus Huddle The Tabbies swarmed – there’s no other word for it – they swarmed the ball forward and knocked in three goals in a minute, two of them having you wonder why they have so many nil-all draws in the round ball game.  (When you return my tension wrench and snow chains Wrap I’ll have one more go at explaining the offside rule to you – Ed)  Then The Moggies sealed it with another from one their Big Men.  This time it was Ottens.  The Brave Hawkers tried to haul them in, but with Cyril out of sorts – he had 11 touches all night – and Hodge running on empty, The Greatest Team Of All controlled the tempo of the game.  In fact, the comparison between Stevie J & his Hawthorn counterpart said it all.  Johnson was up and about all match, and if he’d has his kicking boots on the 5-goal margin would have been blown out to a bloodbath.   When Buddy limped off it was good night nurse.  In all honesty, The Hawks weren’t up to their best on Friday night.  Although, and we’ve said this before – you can only play as well as your opponent will let you.  They were flogged in the ruck and, un-Hawthorn like, they were the ones crumbling under the pressure.  They were also outreached.  Gibson was, after a great season, far too short for whoever Geelong plonked in the goalsquare.  They go into the semis minus Buddy, and possibly, if the Game’s fair dinkum, Lewis.  Their Self Belief will have been shaken, and Clarko may have his work cut out getting them up again next week.   Being Hawthorn they’ll be expected bounce back, but SOTG will have noticed some worrying signs.  Jeff might even wish to  point out that he wanted to wait until Hawthorn’s season was over before reviewing the coaching position, but as it will no doubt be pointed out to him, he’s not in the chair after October.  The Moggies slip back to the Cattery, comfortable in the knowledge that they only lost one soldier, albeit the young star Menzel, and that they have a fortnight to spell up before the Preliminary Final.  It may have been as well that the Geelong talls performed so well up forward.  (WCE take note – Ottens (2) The jPod (3), The Tomahawk (2) and West (1) kicked eight of The Cat’s 14 majors – Ed)  Stevie J was in everything on the night but 1-3-4 wouldn’t have clinched the match for The Handbags if it had been tighter.  And take note, he won’t kick that wildly again this season.

 The Carringbush Magpies v The High Flying Eagles.  The Maggies started off where they left off last week against Geelong and with The Weagles kicking the first three majors Mick was holding back the tears.  But first Pendlebury, then Swan took control around the ground and Wellingham steadied them on the scoreboard.  This took the wind out of the Coasters’ sails and with their structure falling apart under the Relentless Magpie Press, they lost their way.  And if you haven’t got Harry O as your All Australian CHB and Neon Leon on the flank beside him you’ve missed out on two selections.  Both of them can kick the ball a country kilometre and land it on the head of a pin at that.  Heath Shaw showed no signs of distress and at the end of the day The Pies had a whopping 113 more possessions than the opposition.  Which begs the question, what were they doing with the Pigskin to only slip across the line with by 20 points?  And to be challenged in time-on?  There was plenty to like about both sides.  The Eagles never gave up, and closed the gap on a tiring Carringbush before Mick unleashed the fresh legs and goal hunger of Fasolo.  The bottom line is that they made too many mistakes.  Priddis’s suicide play-on within sight of goal, with the balance of the match starting to sway, was unforgivable.  West Coast slip home to prepare the Visitors’ Rooms for The Silvertails with a query over Cox’s fitness.  The Playing group will be better for the outing.  The Woodsmen slip back to the steam lodge at the Westpac Centre to prepare for either Hawthorn or South Melbourne.

The Sainters v The Lakers.  The Culture Club v The Club of Character.  This started out like you’d expect any contest between these two teams to start out.  There was only five minutes to go of the Opening Stanza before Nasty Milne kicked the first major of the match – again.  (I hope we don’t learn one day that this uncanny knack of Milne’s carried a certain amount of connivance with it – Ed)  It had been tense football and no one was complaining.  The Swans pulled a couple back, and in reality, never really looked troubled.  In fact the way The Saints played they wouldn’t have troubled the Joffa Boy Ellen’s legendary Nar Nar Goon 3rds.  And as if they haven’t suffered enough over the years down at Seaford.  First they closed the foreshore camping ground and now they’ve been stuck with The Saint Kilda Football Club.  Rossy Lyon hit the nail on the head when he said it was the end of an era.  More accurately, the end of yet another fruitless Junction Oval Seagull era.  Compare this St Kilda team, with it’s tall blonde Aryan marquee player to another of the same heritage who represented what The Saints stood for when they still called The Junction Oval home.  One’s a borderline drama queen; the other was an out and out psychopath.  It was in the Carl Dietrich era in which they held aloft their solo Premiership Cup.  Where do the Feeling Faints go from here.  They need a Full Forward and a CHF.  At the moment they’re making do with Riewoldt & Koschitzke.  And Our Girl at The Front Desk vets all the zines we leave out in the Wrap Waiting Room.  She’s been reading a lot on body language lately, and she swears that the smile on Rossy Lyon’s face and the rise in his shoulders said he was relieved that this was the last time he would have to coach this mob of drongos.  The Bloods are through to the 2nd Round again.  The character of this club is astounding.  And no doubt SOTG will be comparing Coach Longmire’s long apprenticeship and harmonious transition to the shenanigans going down at The Bird Nest.  And haven’t they done a great job with their Playing List up there in Tinseltown?  Josh Kennedy, Roberts-Thompson, Matt Spangher, Reece Shaw, Ben McLynn & Ted Richards, not to mention Shane Mumford; all regular contributors, all from other AFL clubs.  And don’t you just love watching that Gary Ranga Rohan play?  Did I mention The Swans picked him up from Geelong?  (If you want a couple of legends throw in Plugger & BBBBarry – Ed)  And if you want character & courage at the helm how about Captain Courageous, Stuie Maxfield (ex-Richmond BTW) & Captain Kirk.  With equal Brownlow Favourite Adam The Goodes now inspiring The Bloods they set themselves to meet The Buddyless Hawks next weekend.  (that Sam Reid’s going to be a star too – Ed)

The Miseries v The Marshmallows.  On the Sunday, the team that nearly made it into the Top Four played the team that just scrambled into the Eight with 10½ wins and a percentage of an even ton.  Only certified delusionalists and nervous Silvertails would have envisaged an outcome other than the one served up yesterday.  True, it was stated in this column on Friday that it would be decided in extra time.  But considering this was the only one we got right out of four speaks volumes for the tipping prowess hidden away in the spidery depths of The Wrapcave.  The Dons hit the ground running and Rattz must have seen his coaching career pass before his eyes.  But the moment passed and once his charges got on top they rode Essendon into the ground to win their first final since they knocked them – The Marshmallows – out by TNPM in that fateful 1999 Preliminary Final, back when Black Jack held sway in The Legendary Stand.  (Speaking of delusionalists – Ed).  There’s a chance that they’ll take The Kreuzer across the Nullarbor, which in light of The Eagles High Flyers, will be handy.  And it should be noted that they did this without The Juddanaught.  He did a few spectacular things – a screamer and a nice running goal, but he’s either saving himself for when he’s really needed, or he’s training off.  Considering the state of mind of the opposition, the rest of them did OK.  True, kicking just under 150 points on a blustery day in a Cut-throat Final against a Hated Rival had The Bluebagger Faithful buoyed and vocal.  But you’d be justified in asking whether running around XXVIII Red&Black witch’s hats for 100 minutes was exactly what they needed?  They can do that on Tuesday & Thursday nights.  For what it’s worth, history will show that the Hird-Thompson team lifted The Gliders into the finals for the first time since 2009  For all the Whingy Hill Hype, they were dreadfully exposed in Group 1 competition.  Professor Gadget may have to have one of his bionic arms replaced and there’s a few players around the club who can expect little mercy from the Coaching Panel Review.  You whistle and I’ll point.  Four middle range players who have been around the club for a number of years all had single figure possessions counts on the day for a total of 29.  Four of their wins and their draw were against teams that finished above them.  Four of their losses were against teams that finished below them on The Table.  They’ll at least need to pick up on the four losses to say they improved in 2012.  As much as we all love to bag The Bombers, they’re a work in progress and should have a smooth landing as The Tullamarine Dons in a season or two.

Hope your team gave you value over the weekend, and hope for the future.

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:

    TW, if Kruze can’t get up, Hampson wouldn’t be the worst idea.

    Things pretty good here in the Blue cave. :)

    Until the weekend at least.

  2. Tipping the Squarks again this week Wrapster?

  3. let’s see the teams first Phanto. A straight sets exit is a distinct possibility, but you never know with the family Club. Doming back from the dead is their speciality remember.

  4. My brother (bless him) is talking seriously of the Tiges and finals next year.

    Does he need help?

  5. I’m glad you noticed that appalling decision on the boundary line against Collingwood, Wrapster. Despite my howl of outrage at the time (it was right in front of where we were sitting) it had no impact on the outcome BUT it should have an impact on the appointment of umpires next weekend.

    The question that begged an answer about why Collingwood had such a narrow victory given their high possession count is a question that will have to be answered by Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes. While I thought that they were not adequately protected by the umpires, Cloke was comprehensively beaten by the Weagles’ Mackenzie and will want to play a lot better if the Pies meet the Cats in the grand Final. Both Scarlett and Taylor are much better players than Mackenzie. Dawes was rusty and he was playing on the brilliant Glass but he also needs to improve for the last two finals.

  6. Is the title of that book now ‘Twenty Nine Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty One Decisions that Cost Collingwood’?

  7. I have no idea, Phanto, but if you actually read what I said (and for that matter what John said) no one is saying that the decision did cost Collingwood.

  8. I couldn’t get my head around the one in Cats/Hawks where the umpire called play on and waved his arms when the hawk player stepped off the mark, and then pinged West for being too close to him? 50m penalty!!

  9. Wasn’t serious Dave. Just taking a bit of creative licence with respect to one of the skits they used to have on the Coodabeens.

    Wasn’t it ‘Digger’ who used to constantly use that xxxxx decisions that cost Collingwood?

  10. NEWS FLASH FROM BIG BROTHER

    ‘Lewis cleared of any wrong doing.’

    ATTENTION ALL BALL FOCUSSED RISING STARS:

    Do not, I repeat, do not retaliate when bashed. We will allow you to be bashed as often and as late in play as they want but if you ever retaliate, no matter how persistent the assalts, how innocuous your retaliation and how inconclusive the evidence you will get three weeks and another if you appeal.

    If your stripes are vertical and not horizontal please disregard this message.

  11. Not a week goes by without a litany of calls that are blatantly wrong, and worse still inconsistent. I’ve never been in a crowd that didn’t get it mostly right in their interpretation of an incident or passage of play. So how do the umpires get it so wrong? And from whence cometh their tuition and instincts? The sooner we get ex-players retiring to umpiring – as they do in cricket – the better.

    I’d also like to see the match callers on radio & TV call the umpiring decisions by name, like who made some of the appalling calls. Blighty said on Saturday night “that umpire should take a rest”. Name him Blighty! (it was Razor Ray BTW) They’ve got numbers on their backs along with their sponsor’s name. If they insist on being part of the game they can be part of the call. It might make them wake up to themselves, and see what precious little Fauntleroys they have become.

    I note them every weekend. It’s a litany of frustration, and when they have the Royal Commission into the Demetriou/Anderson administration as to why the Game has fallen into disrepute, it ill come out as a major cause as to why the punters have given up on it.

    mn would beIt’s a litany of inanity.

  12. Hey Phanto, we’re not that far off the pace down at Tigerland. A ruckman and a CHB would be handy. We’re gradually culling the years of Wallace/Miller recruitment. And someone has to take St Kilda’s place in the Eight. Why not The Tiges? Tell your Bro he’s right to talk September. It’s been a long time coming, but come it will..

  13. “If Stosur can get over her nerves in the semi against a nobody, she will beat Williams or Wozninooki in the final as she can hit out with nothing to lose. Nerves and expectations are her problems more than her tennis.”
    Well Mr Wrap we’re not talking footy over here in the Eagle cave until Wednesday, so I thought I’d blow my own trumpet with my prescient tennis comment on your Friday pre-wrap. Had I placed threepence on the outcome our Sam would have done her acchiles on match point.
    Now an even greater challenge – Dr Freud, Dr Jung and myself have our full forward hooked up to the ECT machine as I write. Martin St James is lined up for some hypnotherapy sessions later in the week, and I have borrowed the Hall of Mirrors from Roy and HG for Friday. I confidently tip Josh to either kick 8 straight on Saturday night; unleash a brilliant series of topspin forehand passing shots; or roll around on his back in the forward pocket barking and singing “how much is that doggy in the window”.
    Desperate games call for desperate therapy.

  14. PeterB – It would be poetry and justice all rolled into one if the Carlton Reject splattered his old team’s September/October aspirations all over Fortress Sooby on Saturday night PB. I presume you’ve got the red carpet rolled out for your returning hero too. He turned out to be a handy bit of trade bait, eh?

    Breaking News -Did we all catch Footy Classified last night? They had the CEO of the St Kilda Footy Club on. He was playing a straight bat – Ross has committed to the Club and the Players to honour his contract, blah, blah, blah. Gary Lyons was sucking lemons to hold a straight face – and doing a poor job of it. Get down to your Caring Bagman and plonk the kids’ school fees on it – Rossy Lyon will be strolling around Casey Fields with the clipboard next season.

  15. John Butler says:

    I suspect you may be right TW.

    It was a strange interview all round.

    PB, sound a little worried there. :)

Leave a Comment

*