THE WRAP – ROUND X

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Gliders emphatically announced they’d found the rubber band that makes them Fly High, and the talk along Puckle Street is of September Action, although it’s not yet clear whether it will be under their Caretaker Coach or someone who has actually played in Red&Black.  Meanwhile, around at The Kennel, The Red White & Blues maintain their sorrowful season.  The Moggies continue their merry way as they await Gary Glitter’s decision.  The Jungle Drums can be heard beating from the depths of Struggletown as The Tigers win convincingly in The Shadows of Mt Lofty.  The Feeling Faints win convincingly on the scoreboard, if unimpressively, as they shake off the persistent Adelaide and The Maroons give Nathan Malthouse something to think about during the week.

Come Sunday and The Hawks held off the fast finishing Lakers to take their winning streak to three and sit one game off the pace.  The Bluebaggers did what was expected of them and The Anchormen kicked The Sweep in destroying North Melbourne.

Has Collingwood lost their hate mojo?  After all, who could hate a club that has given us the Rocca Brothers, Damian Monkhurst, The Incredible Hulk, The Macedonian Marvel, the Bucks, Eddie & Mick Show and suffered so much public humiliation over the last half century?  Has Hawthorn become the new Collingwood?  The club we love to hate?  Do you find when your Team is playing Hawthorn that you barrack with more vitriolic venom?  The question came up at a Footy Almanac lunch at the All Nations.  Anyone care to let fly on this one?

Any boss who docks a pay packet today because someone had to wait for the Lucky Shop to open before getting to work is a bum.  And how did you all go?  Take TWROTR?  The Bagmen will be a bit leery of The Tiges from now on, and the $4.85 may be a bit harder to find, but while we’re not saying they’re BIT, they’re as close as Ringwood.  Oh, and Nurelle, slip into the TAB and collect on this ticket while you’re down getting the morning lattes will you please.

This Ablett thing just won’t go away will it?  The word from the club is that all talks are off until the Premiership Cup has been bolted down in the Trophy Cabinet down at Kardinia Park.  That should be the end of it, but those publicity-seeking playboys up along Cavell Avenue just won’t let it rest, eh?

Wallsie’s non-story that James Hird – who by the way, has a major sports promotion company to run and the World Cup of Tennis to organize – is waiting in the wings to do the Jacket Waving at Bomberland has gathered some traction.  A Whingy Hill insider has said that Coach Knighter is safe for this week.  This after his charges belted The Pre-season Flag Favourites on Friday night.  Crikey, they just got the Wind Sock unleashed a couple of seasons a go.  Would it be fair to say they’re just taking it one Knight at a time up on That Windswept Mound?

And where does Pretty Boy II sit in all this?  He looks comfortable in the bag of fruit besides Quarters doing his TV gig, but is he the overlooked Favourite Son Wallsie seems to think lurks in the shadows?

And Bomber Thompson Too?  Lloydy asked a couple of penetrating questions during Channel Rove post match on Saturday only to have the Geelong Coach evade a direct answer.  Was Bomber avoiding a revealing answer to a potential rival, or was this just another example of the Sleepy Hollow Millionaire Syndrome?

Congratulations to all those out at Western Oval who have stuck with The Bulldogs through thick & thin.  We all would have wanted Teddie to be there to stick it up ‘em, not least Charlie Sutton.  There are some Wrap staffers who are old enough to have seen Charlie & Ted play, and we’re assured by these Methuselahs there were none more fearsome and fearless.  In an era without an interchange bench it was the back pocket’s job to ensure the opposition rovers had no rest.  Google Max Oppy & Harry Casper for further reading.

Regular readers will be aware of our views on the shepherd.  On Friday night a free was given against Footscray for an illegal shepherd.  The Channel Kerry commentary box, as one, couldn’t see anything wrong with the shepherd.  Let’s set the scene.  The ball had been lobbed into The Bulldogs almost vacant attacking zone.  Three players were running onto the bouncing ball.  Two Dogs – Stack and Gilbee – and one Bomber – Slattery.  Gilbee shepherds Slattery out of the contest with a solid but fair bump.  All three players were well within the prescribed 5m radius.  So where’s the problem Lethal wanted to know?  The ball Leigh, the ball.  It also has to be within 5m of the shepherd.  In this case it was a good 10m further down the field.  Admittedly in the direction the three players were running, but more than 5m away.  We all remember how you played the game Lethal, and we loved & admired you for it.  But the rules are the rules, and as a commenting expert you should be aware of them*.  We just wished more of the umpires knew them too, however, in this case Harry Beitzel Medal Favourite, maggot McInerney, got it spot on.

Speaking of maggots, has the tackle become the Appalling Football League’s way of slowing down The Game?  Whatever happened to prior opportunity?  The new interpretation cost South Melbourne their match against Hawthorn.  Caretaker Coach Roos wouldn’t say it; he’s too much of a gentleman.  But he didn’t have to.  We all saw the two incidents.  Both plumb in front of the Hawthorn attacking goal.  Those of a more cynical bent may be entitled to suspect something more sinister in this murky world of internet gambling.

The French Open heralds the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere summer.  Lil Lleyton made it as far as Nadal before his pay cheque was cancelled.  However, Jarmila Groth & Samantha Stosur have made it through to the last 16 in the ladies section.  Cadel is 16 seconds off the pace in the Giro d’Italia and Mark Weber came in 3rd to retain his overall lead on the GP table.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s going to be on plane Zen after Round X.

The Bombers v The Bulldogs. The Bombers hit the ground running and had a three-goal break before the Doggies came out of their Kennel.  But it was more than that, The Bullies made all the basic mistakes while The Dons did everything right.  Especially the small things.  Like Man Mountain Hille dropping back into the goal square when Footscray were taking a set shot from outside the paint.  That’s Aussie Rules 1.01.  The Dogs only had Giansiracusa back to contest the fall-short, and he was outgunned two to one.  In that desperate Championship Quarter where The Bombers won the match, Footscray made some clangers.  We’re only going to mention three here, but Grant’s wild slash of the outside of the boot in to the forward 50 that landed in the arms of the Essendon Defence; Gilbee’s long kick into attack that ignored the leading Hall and landed in the arms of the grateful Fletcher, who Bazza had been dropped off well before; and Cooney’s blindly ambitious drive to the hotspot that favoured no one in particular.  That Essendon were able to clear comfortably and score from two of these turnovers left Rocket in despair.  We could also talk of the uncontested sitter Mr 41 Possessions dropped and the number of times they ignored the leads of their Gun Full Forward, or worse still, honoured them with half hearted subterranean passes.  In the meantime The Dons were showing courage & skill in a display of Intelligent Football that had The Whingy Hill Faithful in full cry.  And didn’t they make a noise?  Make no mistake, The Scum are back.  True, The Tricolours came at The Dons in the closing stages, and it’s something that wouldn’t have pleased the Essendon Caretaker Coach, but it was too little too late.  If anything summed up the game it was Shaun Higgins.  In the closing stages, taking a kick on the half back boundary and not knowing where to kick it, he looked like he’d dozed off.  Fair dinkum, Mrs Wrap was convinced he’d fallen asleep.  Mrs Wrap had actually buried herself in a library book she had to get back the next day, but she came alive when Scragger Fletcher grabbed her Barry by the ankle when he was running into an open goal.  But there was little else happening for The Sons of The West.  The full forward bagged five, but this in spite of his up-field delivery.  Akka’s not the only problem they have out there at Whitten Oval.  They’ll need to get some Roar & Bite back for next Sunday’s twilight game under cover against the other big disappointment to come out of Round IX.  The Upward Flying Bombers nip up the Hume to Coat Hangar Bay for the early one on Saturday.

The Corio Oval Kittens v Jimmy’s Redlegs.  With the other Top Four Contenders faltering it was left to The Pivotonians to stamp their authority on the 2010 Competition.  If you read the papers, watch the telly or listen to the radio you’ll have heard by now that the Cats have strung together 20 consecutive winning quarters of Football.  Not even the great Victoria Park sides of the 20s & 30s under the Legendary Jock McHale could achieve that.  Nor could Norm Smith’s Invincible Redlegs of the 50s 7 60s.  We could talk about the iPod, the Tomahawk, Chequebook Gary and Joel Selwood, but that’s all been done.  We could talk about The Demons’ valiant but fruitless efforts to deny The Moggies this one more laurel.  But we won’t.  The Corio Kittens are purring and there’s only one side that can deny them the 2010 Premiership Pennant, and after Kelly’s clowning during the Club Victory Sing-along we all know who that is.  (But hasn’t it always been thus Wrap? – Ed)  The subbies down at The Addy will no doubt lead with a reference to Sleepy Hollow Millionaires, but rest assured, Bomber Thompson will have already covered it in the de-briefing session.  They have The Weagles over there next Saturday.  For The Fuchsias it’s The Silvertails on the Big Stage at the Traditional Time.

The Chokers v The Tigers. In Any Weather You Will See Us With A Grin.  Risking Head & Shin.  These words were written over 100 years ago when Football really was a winter game.  And we had real Winters.  Chokko apologized to the 16,694 fans at the New Arctic Park for The Chokers unacceptable performance.  That’s taking a bit away from The Tigers.  This Playing Group is showing signs of improvement for some time now, and this win, in horrendous conditions and against a more fancied opposition, will do their Self Belief no harm at all.  With a Danger Game on Friday night against The Junction Oval Seagulls at Ethelred Stadium, they’re keeping the lid on it around at Punt Road.  But one thing we’ll say is, that if the Appalling Football League funds The Meter Maids to poach Dustin Martin their perfidy will live in infamy for ever.  And who wasn’t impressed by Coach Hardnose’s post match?  And the grin on his face as he joined the first victory inner circle as they sung The Tigerland Team Song.  This is a very solid, very dedicated, very inspired group of young men under a 1st year coach.  You heard it first hear, dismiss Benny Gale’s predictions of the Re-birth of The Tigers at your peril.  But that’s only one side of the story.  The 2010 Dual Coach re-birth at Alberton appears to be still-born.  The Chokers, after such a promising start, have fallen into their old ways.  Daniel Motlop’s absence from the match only fuelling speculation that the cancer as Port is not in remission.  If they thought Richmond were hard at the ball, The Tealers have the Unsociable Hawks next Sunday arvo at THOF.  The Tiges get to dry out on the Shifting Sands of Docklands for the pipe opener against The Feeling Faints.

The Lions v The Magpies.  Just when you thought it was safe to tip Collingwood the Collywobbles set in.  In the opening five minutes we witnessed Brown out-marked twice by Presti.  A Didak snap resulting from a hesitant Brisbane kick-in.  Brown shank what, for him, would normally be a sitter.  The glass-jawed Staker deal with Jolley off the ball.  And Collier miss another gimmee.  All the signs of a Brisbane collapse and a Carringbush Cakewalk.  So imagine our surprise to find during an add break in Rockwiz to find The Maggies under siege.  Cloke was getting towelled.  Jack Anthony double ditto.  And the two groin-challenged Maroon key forwards were dominating.  Brown & The Fev kicked four apiece in the Lions’ 13-10.  Luke Power led the Brisbane mid-field as they took it up to The Woodsmen.  This was a watershed match for both teams.  The Bad News Bears tag was starting to resonate, in the unkindest possible way, and with the Meter Maids about to enter the Competition next season, they needed to put their mark on the territory up there.  The Pies were coming off a humiliation at the hands of TTTBFTF and needed to rebound.  Mick was seen proof reading something after the final siren.  Surely not a last will & testament Mick.  A resignation perhaps?  An ultimatum to Eddie?  Maybe we’re reading too much into it.  And it was just a ‘we must do better’ a hundred times detention for himself.  In the context of the season, it was four points that got away, but shouldn’t cost them a Top Four Finish.  We’ll find out when they close off Round XI against The Dishlickers next Sunday at the Boutique Elliptical.  The Roy Boys have the Shinboners at the same venue on Saturday night.

The Feeling Faints v The Chardonnays.  Saint Kilda looked anything but a well-oiled machine challenging for September Glory for the opening three quarters of football on Saturday night.  The Crows had marking options up forward and, while never looking like taking the game by the throat, were in it on the scoreboard at the Citrus Huddle.  But Schneider & Nasty Milne had other ideas and once the Chardonnays had popped their cork the St Kilda mid-field and attacking flankers took control.  Montagna slotted five majors to lead the Final Stanza onslaught as the Homeside kicked seven goals to the Visitors’ one.  While The Crows seem to have been taking a good long look at themselves, they are at best Mediocre.  On the other hand, The Saints looked anything but a Premiership Contender and, although the Adelaide attack boasts quite a bit of talent, the St Kilda defence looked dangerously porous.  The Feeling Faints come up against The Rampaging Richmond next Friday night.  The Chardonnays are back at Crow Park to host Freo on Saturday Arvo.

The Barocca Enhanced Hawks v the Lakers.  For the 2nd time in three matches The Mustard Pots had to slug it out to the siren.  That they did speaks volumes for their resolve.  That they had to tells a different tale.  But as that old Football adage goes – GTWTCO.  That The Bloods couldn’t find the Big Sticks for – in terms of time – nearly a quarter and a half was telling, but the punters tend to take their footy in 30-second grabs.  Daniel Hanneberry’s run and long bomb from 70m out lifted the Bloods, and Carl Peterson’s screamer sealed it for the Hawkers.  Both goals were something for the highlight reels to be shown on the big screen at Fed Square during the World Cup in 2018/22.  Buddy’s bump on Matty Mattner will feature in tonight’s highlight reels as the giant Hawthorn forward defends his infernal awkwardness for the 2nd time this season.  Possibly without Campbell Brown (dickie knee) and Xavier Ellis (broken nose) and Sir Lancelot (Suspended?), The Squawkers face Port Power at the G next Sunday in the twilight match.  The Swans have The Bombers up in Sin City for the early one the same day.

The Bluebaggers v The Coasters.  Carlton won this because they had more forward options.  West Coast had only two – Kennedy (4) & La Cras (5).  This forward focus from The Eagles made it easier for the Blues’ defenders to counter attack and at the end of the day that was the difference.  As expected, Cox & The Nat won the hitouts, but Carlton had Lance Gibbs.  It was the rebound The Silvertails were expected to have, and it leaves them 6&4 closing in on the halfway mark.  Ratts would love to be 7&4 at the turn; they have Melbourne on The Big Stage at the traditional time for their Round XI match.  The Eagles were not disgraced, just outplayed.  They will undergo further development training next week at home when The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires arrive to show them how to accumulate wealth and plan for the future.

The Barry Crockers v The Kangaroos.  Animal liberationists can be expected to picket future North Melbourne games if the Roo cull continues at its current rate.  The Dockers had a practice run and notched up some percentage.  The Pav holds the leadership on the Coleman Table and the Much maligned Barry Crockers sit 2nd on the Premiership table.  They travel to Crow Park for a Saturday Arvo game against The Pride of South Australia.  The Shinboners rummage around the cellar at Arden Street in search of those lost barrels of the 2010 Spirit in time to host Boss Voss’s Gorillas on the Saturday night under cover.

And remember, if you read it in the Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.

* 1.8.3 A free kick is given against any player who:

(f) Shepherds an opponent when the ball is more than 5 meters away.

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.

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