THE WRAP – ROUND XI

WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Junction Oval Seagulls consolidated their September Credentials at the expense of The Tigers to open proceedings for Round XI.  The Northern Bullants, in true Winter conditions, kicked The Sweep against the Gold Cost Meter Maids with an untroubled 26-10 (166) to win by 105 points.  Meanwhile, over in Perth The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires had to thrust their mitts deep into their pockets to buy their way out of a defeat against a determined West Coast.  North found sufficient vintage Shinboner Spirit to hold off The Fast Finishing Fitzroy and The Blues saw off a belated Redleg rally to win on the bit in the end.  Over in the City of Churches The Pride of South Australia did it for a Favourite Son to give The Barry Crockers the old Heave Ho.

Come Sunday and it was The Mayblooms’ turn to stand tall.  They withstood a spirited challenge from The Chokers to take home the bacon in a display that would have had some Leafy East hearts working overtime.  The Swans prevailed up in Steak & Kidney and The Woodsmen chopped down The Sons of The West to set tongues wagging along Droop Street.

But hey, this cross-code dressing may be catching on – especially if it’s applauded by the Appalling Football League and funded by the gnomes deep in the bowels of Jellymont House.  Watch for the stampede from the ARL once they sense the scale of the bucks that can be extracted in this exercise just to sign up.

And are we alone in suspecting some compliance in all this from Maggot Central?  Has The Geech been instructed to ignore the flick pass, or in many cases the downright throw?  Conditions weren’t ideal for Football on Saturday night over in Perth.  It was a squally night and the ball was handling like a bar of soap.  But that should have been no excuse for the number of extremely dubious handballs ignored by the adjudicating maggots.  From the couch in front of the fire, bottle of terra rosa red breathing on the coffee table, a board of hard cheese, dates and almonds conveniently beside it, we gave up counting.  The question crossed our minds on more than one occasion – is this preparing the viewers for a rule change to accommodate the defectors from the game where they throw the ball, not punch it?

The Richo is dead.  Long live The Richo.  First there was Skinny Titus kicking his stead left footers through the Big Sticks at Punt Road a club record 930 times back in the days of The Late Great Living Legend Captain Blood.  Disco Roach had the fans on their feet with some absolute screamers.  Then came Richo.  It was heart breaking to say farewell to The Big Fella and The Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful wondered how they would ever fill the void.  Well his understudy has allayed those fears.  With a kicking and marking style reminiscent of another Vandemonian great to play at Tigerland, Jack Riewoldt took a screamer over Stan Fisher on Friday night reminiscent of Royce Hart’s spectacular grab over Peter Walker as he marked Roy West’s kick-in down the guts in those desperate dying stages of the 1967 Grand Final.  The Richo is dead.  Long live The Richo.

The Hawks may be back in town, and playing that All For One & One For All Football again, but we just hope Akka wasn’t watching when Ladson gave Mitchell a big hug after an inspiring passage of play from his Captain.  It looked harmless enough to us, but you know how some people take these things.

You’d tune into the Channel Kerry Sunday arvo broadcast even if The Sydney Inventions were playing The Gold Coast Meter Maids wouldn’t you?  Just to catch the Velvet Fog’s call.  “Logan has been industrious” was one we scribbled down for later.  And after a Motlop set shot on goal from 30m out fell short and was marked on the goal line by Hawthorn he asked “where were the Port talls?”  Then answered himself – “NFI”.   Anyone got the faintest idea what he meant by that?  But his best would have to have been when Riolli, from the pocket, slewed the ball off the boot to find Bateman, dead in front, The Fog let fly with “In a convoluted way he left it to Chance”.

Speaking of Motlop, two of his dribbled posters hit the post.  They say he does it regularly at practice.

The emotion of the occasion proved too much for Slammin’ Sammy Stosur as she bowed out of the French Open.  She’s sure to learn from the experience.  Elsewhere, The Wallabies, playing the 1st Test of the series, belted The Bainimaramas 49-3 – Melissa Wu,teamed with Alexandra Croak, won her 2nd Silver Medal in the Diving World Cup (Now there’s an event Premier Brumby could get for Marvellous Melbourne – Ed) over in Changzou – and Steve Hooker just couldn’t make the bar in Oslo in conditions more conducive to kite flying.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s in Heaven after Round XI.

The Feeling Faints v The Tigers.  The Sainters took the Four Points in this one purely because they were cleaner & smarter with the ball.  But it was more than that; Richmond were woeful.  They butchered the ball so often you’d think it was a side of lamb.  But the endeavour was there and TLSPRF had something to cheer about in the Championship Quarter when they pulled to within two sausage rolls of The Seagulls.  However, in the shadow of ¾ Time, Nasty Milne produced a trademark dribble goal from the boundary line and Kossy chipped in with a mark in the goal square to the resounding cheers of The Junction Oval Faithful.  This effectively snuffed out the Punt Road challenge.  But St Kilda’s bionic man was once again Brendan Goddard.  He just brushed off opposition tackles, kicked long and direct and generally turned up wherever he was needed.  And if you haven’t got him in your Brownlow trifecta you’ll be going home empty handed on Blondes’ Night.  Jack Riewoldt’s Lazy Six didn’t receive any support from his fellow forwards other than the couple contributed by Dustin Martin, and there in lies the tale.  BTW, if his Screamer over Stan Fisher doesn’t take mark of the year there should be a call for a Royal Commission.  The Saints won comfortably without looking particularly dangerous.  They’re in the Top Four and should stay there, but the Brains Trust down at Moorabbin will be burning the midnight oil in an endeavour to get their team charged up for tougher contests against more accomplished opponents.  The Tiges are still showing signs of improvement, but it must be frustrating for the coaching staff to watch them play dumb football.  Ben Cousins’ stats say it all.  He handled a lot of leather but only put the ball to boot five times out of 24 touches.  That’s an astonishing 19 handballs.  Either he’s got a groin injury he’s nursing or his teammates aren’t presenting kicking targets.  (or he’s lost a yard – Ed)  They get a chance to correct this against a less challenging opponent when they host The Weagles for the early one next Sunday.  The Feeling Faints get the chance to test themselves against some real opposition when they catch the Indian Pacific across the Nullarbor for a taste of Western Australian hospitality Fremantle style.

The Silvertails v The Fuchsias.  The Dees looked all at sea against the Blues, although they did manage to win the 2nd & 3rd Quarters, they never really looked like overhauling the Miseries.  In conditions that would have been a welcome sight in the Wimmera wheat belt, Carlton had too much going for it in the closing stages.  A seven goal to two Opening Stanza had virtually sealed the contest in their favour and they proved good enough to withstand the Redleg Challenge.  Heath Scotland was impassable all day and Judd & Murphy took control in the Final Stanza when the game had to be won.  The Fuchsias have uncovered another promising youngster in Jordan Gysberts to go with Trengrove & Scully, however Jack Who found the conditions against him.  Unkind Demon fans are already calling him Diamond Jack in honour of a previous Longroom recruiting coupe back in the early 1970s when the leather-patched tweeds picked up John Tilbrook for what it cost to build the West Gate Bridge.  Dubbed “Diamond Jim” by the Demon Faithful, it was estimated that each of Diamond Jim’s kicks cost as much as a BMW convertible.  They have Carringbush on The G for the Monday for the Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster.  The Bluebaggers open proceedings for Round XII against the Shinboners under cover.

The Pride of South Australia v The Barry Crockers.  The Rabid Adelaide Mob was at its salivating best to farewell a Favourite Son & Ornament to The Game, Dual Premiership Medallist Tyson Edwards.  They caused the Boilover to take the Four Points comfortably having the advantage of the 2nd Rung Premiership Favourites at ever change.  Graeme Johncock made up for lost time with a stirring 26-possession game and the retiree Edwards was BoG.  However, the West Lakes Faithful may have been treated to a double farewell as Andrew McLeod was carted off the park before half time with what could be a career ending knee injury.  They line up next weekend against The Hawks down at Hork Park for a bit of Suburban Footy at the traditional time.  The Barry Crockers may have taken this one a bit lightly and certainly played the penalty.  They may yet pay an equally damaging penalty when their Skipper and Forward Focal Point Matthew Pavlich talks to the invertebrates at Jellymont House via video link on Monday night.  With or without The Pav, they host Carringbush next Sunday for the middle match in a boots & bar stools battle for a Home Final Finish.

The Kangaroos v The Boys From Old Fitzroy.  Goaded no doubt by the aspersions being made about the future of the Arden Street based club, The Kangaroos responded in the best possible way; by knocking off the more fancied Visitors from Brisbane.  North blitzed Brisbane seven goals to two in the Opening Stanza and held that margin to the Long break.  While the rain pelted down outside, The Gorillas stormed home in the 2nd Half with 8-7 to the Homeside’s 2-8.  This fell just short of a win, with North’s 23-gamer Levi Greenwood’s shot from deep in the pocket finding the gap between the Big Sticks to wrest back the lead with a minute to go.  Considering the softness of the free against Scott Thompson that gave Brisbane the lead it could be – for those who believe in divine intervention – the Justice of The Football Gods.  Brissy & North both sit 5&6 at the ½ way mark, but North’s percentage of 75.79 is The Competition’s 2nd lowest after Richmond’s 61.55.  The NMFC have Carlton next Friday night.  The Roys stay down in Melbourne to meet Footscray on Sunday afternoon.

The West Coast Eagles v The Team To Beat For The Flag. No sitting back smoking the cherrywood this time for Bomber.  Ablett held kickless for long stretches and Scarlett sorely missed from defence.  Hammered in the rucks and clearances, woefully inaccurate field kicking and equally poor decision making.  These were just some of the Geelong coach’s problem on a breezy squally night in Perth.  The solution was simple.  Take out Ablett’s tormentor, Adam Sellwood, and send for The Pussies go-to man, Paul Chapman.  Since our under 10 days we’ve been told the old adage that you can only play as well as your opposition let you play.  Well, there’s the corollary to that.  Playing quality opposition brings out the best in you.  The Weagles certainly proved it, as did The Moggies when they finally finished their Cat Nap.  With the match to be won,  it was old the guard that took The Pivotonians across the line.  Chappy, Joel Selwood and the two Brownlow Medallists lifted their game a notch and Matthew Stokes was everywhere.  Those who thought this was going to be a walkover and opted for a night of Iron Chef & RocKwiz missed a very good demonstration of what Our Great Game is all about.  The far from disgraced Eagles have The Tigers at THOF for the early one next Sunday.  The Corio Kittens are back in Melbourne as guests of the Essendon Football Club for the live to air match on Saturday night.

The Sydney Swans v The Whingy Hill Bombers.  This one was a thriller and someone had to lose.  With nine more scoring shots you’d expect it to be The Bloods – and you’d be right.  The Bombers were level with them at the Long Break & the Citrus Huddle but The Homeside led at the First Change of Ends and at the Final Siren.  The game was played at a furious pace and the lead changed so often it was always going to be a lottery as to who was in front at Full Time.  However, at the end of the day, one team consolidates its September Credentials while they other slips off the pace.  Regular Wrap Subscribers will be well versed in the our absolute integrity and fairness in reporting, and they will be aware of our editorial policy of not shying away from the tough questions, especially when it comes to what’s happening out at Whingy Hill and the undercurrent undermining the Essendon Caretaker Coach.  For this reason we’ve briefed Whingy Hill Insider Sir Frank Downright, to take on the duties of Coach Watch for the remainder of the season.  His first report gives Caretaker Coach Knighter a pass – “To assist The Wrap in it’s analysis of the coach at Windy Hill, want you to know he gets an 8 out of 10 today. Very good effort in the circs of injury, suspension, weather & venue altho with a minute 45 on the clock & 1 point down I am assuming the kick across the ground from the centre bounce instead of down the guts was player error & not coaching strategy”.  We look forward, as I’m sure you all do, to Sir Frank’s frank and unbiased updates on Knighter’s Nightmare on Napier Street.  His next report will come from Ethelred Stadium on Saturday night and could even mention the GFC.  For The Lakers, it’s across to the City of Colonel Light to tackle The Tealers.

The Mayblooms v The Chokers.  The Leafblowers were roaring in the Leafy East as The Mayblooms won their fourth match on the Stewie Trott to move up into The Eight.  SOTG however would have looked more at how they went about it.  The ground was heavy from nearly 20mm of rain the previous day but both teams were playing in the same conditions.  It was an exciting game and some of the performances would have been encouraging to supporters of both clubs.  And how did The Meter Maids let Brett Renouf slip through their fingers.  Although it might be fair to say they don’t breed them too bright up there in Southport.  After one of his fine contested marks he had to be convinced by his teammates that they were actually kicking to the Punt Road End.  If that doesn’t earn him a tool of the week, nothing will.  Logan continued to impress and it would be fair to say that it wasn’t his fault Port lost.  (Would you say Motlop’s two dribbled posters did Wrap? – Ed)  But the play of the day would have to have been Cyril Riolli’s passage of play that finished up with a goal to Whitecross.  He must have stayed at the play across half forward for 15-20 seconds, was involved three direct actions – getting the ball more centred from the flank, followed up and dispossessed the Port defender intent on clearing it from there, then hovering just outside the pack for the ball to spill out.  When it did he pounced on it and handpassed it further out of the scrum to the running Whitecross who duly rewarded Cyril’s efforts with a major.  In the context of the game – a hard fought scrappy affair riddled with errors – this was pure brilliance.  His reading of the play and his role in it was uncanny.  You’d better hope there were no talent scouts from Gillespie Road or White Hart Lane watching Andreas.  They don’t have salary caps over there.  Just oil money budgets.  The Hawks drag Adelaide down to Lonny for a Saturday Afternoon of Suburban Football next week.  For The Tealers it’s a Saturday Night with Sydney back in the Shadows of Mt Lofty.

The Carringbush Magpies v The Sons of The West.  The Maggies are BIT, or so it would have appeared to the Black&White Army early in the Final Stanza.  Joffa would have had the gold lamee out of its dry cleaning bag and ready to don.  Then The Dogs threw off their kennel cough and stormed home.  As Rocket no doubt would have told the boys by now, Australian Rules Football is a game of four quarters and is played for 100 minutes.  (It’s played for 80 minutes now Wrap – Ed)  Yeah alright, but quarters run for 25-30 minutes, so that’s 100-120 minutes.  The point is, The Bulldogs in their last two games have stormed home after forfeiting match-losing leads.  Ironically, on both occasions it has happened after moving the full back down to the forward pocket.  For whatever that’s worth.  They’ve got a lot to think about at Whitten Oval as their season fades to white.  Neon Leon was back to his electric best and Diddums Didak ran rings around the Footscray backs.  Everyone chipped in for a goal, even Travis Cloke and the older of the two Giraffes.  Mickey Buckley will be pleased to break a two match losing streak but will be worried that they could let an opponent up off the canvas.  It’s just not the way they did things back in the Victoria Park days under Jock McHale or Phonse Kyne.  They have Melbourne for the Queen’s Birthday Block Buster next round.  The Western Bulldogs host The Brisbane Lions on the Saturday Arvo match at the traditional time.

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.

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