THE WRAP – ROUND XVI

WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Chardonnays popped their cork and sent The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires home from the City of Churches with a hangover.  The Boilovers continued on the Saturday.  The Mighty Maggies monstered The Decidedly Feeling Faints and The Gliders were shot down in flames over the Shifting Sands of The Dumb by Red Hot Wooden Spoon Favourites in front of 26,991 of their Faithful.  Down in Lonny The Squawkers blitzed The Gorillas and up in Darwin The Tricolours nearly doubled Port’s miserable score of 7-5.

Come Sunday and The Swans saw The Silvertails coming and sat them firmly in the September Hot Seat.  North gave Richmond a reality check in the wet and Freo just fell in against the sluggish starting Demons.

Tasmania has become a battleground once more.  Tigerland CEO, Benny Gale, is seeking to place a few Richmond home games down in Hobart Town.  The Tigers are a natural fit for The Apple Isle.  The Tasmanian Tiger is an icon of Van Diemen’s Land and a long line of Struggletown’s heroes have been Taswegians.  Royce Hart, Michael Roach, Benny & Mick Gale, Ian Stewart and now Jumping Jack Riewoldt, just to name a few.  Archaeologists have unearthed the foundations of the Dyer Family cottage and discovered evidence that The Late Great Living Legend, Captain Blood himself, may have actually been born in Zeehan before his people migrated to the mainland and settled in Jolimont Terrace, just down from St Ignatius.  For North Melbourne, after knocking back a financially underwritten chance to move to the Cold Coast, to put up its hand for home games in Hobart seems a bit disingenuous to some historians.

And we can’t let Samantha Lane’s Dad’s firebrand comments in The Sunday Sage pass without reference.  Heartfelt and justified as the tirade was, the answer is in the closing para.  Referring to the never less than simmering North South divide that paralyses The Island State, Clubs seeking to boost their membership base not to mention the grasping gnomes in the bowels of Jellymont House, Young Tommy Lane quotes an Australian Prime Minister from back in the days they spoke without forked tongue.  “In the race of life always back self interest; you at least know it’s always trying”.  That’s right, it was Paul Keating.  And if the Appalling Football League is nothing else, it’s about self interest.  Sorry Tassy.

It appears that anyone who has caught a bread & jam up Mt Alexander Road or bought a dog’s eye along Puckle Street is entitled to a say about the shambles that was once the proud club representing the North Suburbs.  The vitriol is venomous, and any club supporter would be gratefully relieved that it’s Essendon copping it and not them.  But we’ve all been down there and know what it’s like to be the Competition Whipping Boy.  So let’s all spend a minute’s silence in reflection of the disaster that has befallen all those who sail in the Good Ship Whingy Hill.  And wish them a speedy recovery over the next three or four decades.

Disgruntled of Carringbush has called us to task about our appellation of The G as The Peoples’ Ground.  It appears I have to correct you over and over again.  It is not the Peoples Ground as ¼ of it is allocated to the silver tails who pretend to be interested in the game but they are made up of under paid public servants who take a cut lunch and complain about the cost of a glass of water.  Another ¼ is occupied by AFL members, which leaves ½ the ground for the public, but come finals time only 25,000 of the competing clubs’ members  (combined) can get in unless you want to buy tickets from American Express or Qantas etc.  The answer to all this by the powers that be is that with the very latest flat screen TV, why wouldn’t you stay home and see a lot more. (never thought of that ) Thank you Disgruntled.  I’m sure there are many of The People out there who will agree with you.

Overseas and The Baggy Greens destroyed another Pakistani Captain.  Or to be more honest, watched another Pakistani Captain self-destruct.  North & Watson were the respective destroyers of the two Pakistani innings.  Katich the batting hero in both ours.  Not an overly impressive performance, but an impressive, nerve-holding win.

But enough of my gabbin.  Let’s see who finished top hound after the XVIth Round.

The Chardonnays v The Handbags.  With the Whole Football World watching, The Millionaires, once again it must be said, fell asleep in the Championship Quarter.  Unfortunately for them they weren’t playing Hawthorn this week, and they couldn’t run down the opposition in the Final Stanza as they did the previous weekend.  But if I was Bomber, the first person I’d be interviewing when I got back to Sleepy Hollow would be the boot studder.  Did Geelong have any stops on their slippers on Friday night?  Never mind the surface at The Dumb, The Cats just could hold their feet and we lost count of the slips and slides that cost The Handbags ground and goals on Friday night.  And didn’t Maggot McInerney wind up The Rabid Adelaide Mob.  There were several times they looked like jumping the fence, and The Bagmen must have shortened his Beitzel Medal odds on that performance.  However, one could be excused for suspecting the goal maggots may have had Adelaide postcodes.  Much closer to The Baying Adelaide Gentry, they called one glaring Geelong goals as touched.  But that wasn’t the reason The Pussies went down.  They had the better of The Crows in the 1st Half arm wrestle but faded under the relentless Adelaide pressure.  The Pride of South Australia are nearly back to where they left off last season – a Top Eight side with pretensions to take the next step.  They have the XXVIVth Showdown next round to wind up proceedings for Round XVII.  For The Moggies, it was a bruising night: to both body & ego.  The GC 17 Captain Elect had a quiet night, as did Moon Doggie & The jPod.  Significantly, most of the Pivotonians possession gathers were down back.  Next Saturday they slip home for some Suburban Football at the traditional time against Vossy’s Morons.

Collingwood v St Kilda.  The Long Suffering continues down at the Junction Oval as The Feeling Faints put in a shocker.  At least we hope it was a shocker.  All at sea in a tsunami of Black&White, The Seagulls scrambled 6-16 in a master class of fumbling ineptness.  And in a message for all those waiting for a second coming, sometimes it’s not worth the wait.  Big Nick looked extremely proppy, as did the whole team.  They played their best football going backwards.  But it wasn’t always Big Nick’s fault.  He was fed as much poor ball in four quarters as Richo used to receive in half a season from those silky leftfooters across the Richmond half backline.  It appeared they’d been so busy winning without The Big Fella they didn’t know what to do with him when he came back.  They’ve been lucky a few times this season, and while The Whole Football World may be wishing it is just an aberration, SOTG will be paying very close attention to St Kilda over the closing stages of the Home&Away season.  Some of the less find may even be drawing the conclusion the Jeldwen Window of Opportunity may be closing.  But let’s not take anything away from the Victors.  Lock up your daughters, Collingwood are BIT.  However, with only two years to succeed where so many before him have failed, Mickey the Maltster faces Collingwood’s notorious nemesis – The Collywobbles.  Sitting astride The Ladder, they are being talked of as Serious September Contenders.  There are even some members of the Black&White Army who feel the curse will not be lifted until Fig Jam himself is wrapped in the holy mantle of the venerable Jock McHale.  Be that as it may, these Maggies are looking worthy favourites, and with the pricking of the Geelong balloon over the weekend, the sheer brilliance of the Carringbush Machine is revealed in all its glory.  With Dawes and Leroy creating a presence in the forward line and Brad Dick to boost the forward firepower even more, they can notch up a winning score.  St Kilda made it easy for them down back this time around, but still, they’re no slouches.  Presti’s ageless and Heath Shaw’s worth his weight in garlic pappadams.   Skipper Maxwell’s to come back and Harry O has real dash.  And if you haven’t got Dane Swan in your Brownlow trifecta don’t bother getting your tips done for the Night of Nights.  Next weekend they have Traditional Rival Richmond at the same place at the same time.  For TLSJOF it’s a trip to the Little Ground at the end of Bourke Street to open proceedings against The Hawks.

The Leafblowers v The Gorillas.  The Roys failed to make a noise as they disappeared into the Launceston Triangle on Saturday arvo.  SOTG & Punters alike have been waiting for a sign from The Hawks that they are back to their 2008 best.  The Visitors, all the way from Balmy Brisbane, provided that evidence.  Totally out classed on the day, it’s hard to see where their next win is coming from.  And don’t say when GC17 enters the Competition Ed.  The Fev & Goose McGuire had 11 touches between them. And the whole team had 280 touches for the day to The Mayblooms’ 434.  The Homeside went within 11 points of trebling the Visitors’ score.  The Mustard Pots take on The Feeling Faints at Docklands on Friday night.  It only gets worse for Vossy’s Mob; they’re scheduled to play The Handbags OTR down at The Cattery on Saturday Arvo.  Unless Hugh Wirth can muster enough signatures to have the cull stopped.

The Born To Rule Bombers v The Wavering Weagles. Speaking of culls, when is someone going to step in and save The Gliders?  Surely there’s some historical restoration society that can pass the hat around.  You can actually hear the tumbrels clunking their way along Rue de Puckle as Madame Defarge’s flashing needles reel off shroud after shroud.  The match report was damning.  So much for re-signing Tripper Fletcher.  He had as much influence on the rampaging West Coast attack as a warning sign on a mousetrap.  Although it could be argued by The Bombers’ brains trust, that kicking 100 points will win you most games, it’s giving a one dimensional slant on the depth of the problem out there at John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve.  West Coast will be chuffed by the Four Points on the road, but belting up The 2010 Marshmallows is nothing to write home about.  They have invited The Silvertails over to sample the fresh mussels and chilli chip wedges around sundown on Saturday.  The Hapless Dons have Traditional Rivals North under cover on Saturday night.

The Sons of The West v The Power From Port. The Power started as though they’d come to blow away the ghosts of seasons past.  They led The Kennel Coughs at the 1st Huddle, matched them to the Long Break and were in touch to the Citrus Huddle.  But the reality was they were being done slowly by Scrays.  Their one goal for the 2nd Half told it all.  That The Bullies booted 6-5 in the same time in a lack lustre performance said more about taking the AFL circus to the Top End than the actual merits of the two sides involved.  Next weekend The Boys of The Bulldog Breed have The Barry Crockers at the Boutique Ground for the early one on Sunday.  Port catch The Ghan back South for The Showdown to wind up Round XVII.

The Silvertails v The Lakers.  The Bloods jumped The Miseries at the 1st bounce.  In fact Team That Never Lets You Down didn’t really start playing any sort of football until after the Half Time Break.  Playing at home with a home final at stake, The Bluebagger Faithful would have expected more from The Only Team All Carlton Knows.  With two trips to Subiaco, Geelong under cover plus Collingwood, Richmond & Essendon at THOF to come, they are in The Eight at the forbearance of The Football Gods.  Level with North on points but ahead courtesy of a healthier percentage, and holding a game break on Adelaide, September action is far from assured.  WCE in Perth on Saturday night is the 1st of these challenges.  It’s never safe to write off a team mentored by Paul Roos.  However, The Tinseltowners’ run home is far from a dream run.   They have Geelong, Hawthorn & The Bulldogs, all thankfully up there, Freo over there, Brissy up there and, starting on Sunday, Melbourne down here.

Richmond v North Melbourne.  North could have won this match midweek when Coach Bradley warned Angus Graham that The Shinboner rucks would be gunning for him.  The Big Tiger ruckman decided to get in first and it seemed to make his game one-dimensional.  In fact the whole team seemed to play one-dimensional Football.  Jumper chasing all day, they lacked structure and Coach Hardnose will have them back in the classroom for their afternoon clash against Carringbush next Saturday.  The Northerners had the rub of the maggoting, and while it was frustrating for TLSPRF, it wasn’t the underwriting cause for The Shinboner Victory.  The Kangas played by far the more intelligent and disciplined Football.  They are just out of The Eight on a 20% margin from Carlton and you’d have to think they’ll need an extra game to sneak in.  To finish off the season they have four matches at Ethelred against Essendon (next Saturday night), The Bulldogs, The Dockers & The Saints, then The Weagles over there and Melbourne on The Paddock That Grew.

Fremantle v Melbourne.  The Barry Crockers won this one at home, but hardly in convincing fashion.  Once again Pavlich had an ordinary game and some of the energy seems to have drained from The Anchormen.  They’re bringing back a few from injury and have lost the Powerhouse Barlow for the season.  It’s shaping as a Top Four too far, but this may be a blessing disguise.  Fourth place would pit them against The Mighty Magpies in Week One of September.  Fifth place will at least give them a home final.  They have The Derby, The Swans & The Blues at home, The Dogs & North at Ethelred and The Hawks down at Yawk Park.  You’d like to think they’d win all three home games, eh?  The Dees were their usual enigmatic selves.  Punters should be entitled to ask, will the real Melbourne Football Club please stand up.

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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