THE WRAP – ROUND I – THE TIPSTERS’ NIGHTMARE ROUND
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. In a typical Opening Round, the Village Idiot & the Drover’s Dog topped just about every tipping competition in the land. First we had the trouncing of Highly Fancied Adelaide by The Flying Syringes. Then it was the reversal of the Football World Order over in Perth as Rossy Lyon’s Dangerous Dockers feathered their nest with Eagle down. Next it was The Tiger’s turn. They withstood – as all good teams should – a withering second half by the M&M Blues. The tipsters’ nightmare continued on the Saturday when The New Breed Doggies mauled The Reigning Night Premiers. The Reigning Day Premiers did what had to be done to up hold the honour of the Latte Set against The Expansionists, but up in Wally World the tipping mayhem continued. The Other Expansionists opened their season and account in emphatic fashion with a win over The Seafood Seagulls.
Come Sunday and it became bit more predictable. The Power creamed the Redlegs and Collingwood prevailed over North in a thriller on The Shifting Sands of Docklands. Saving the best till last, we were served up an absolute bottler on Monday. The Cats pulled themselves up from 5-goals down in the shadows of halftime to go on to record their 10th straight win over The Mayblooms.
Pre-season (26/03/13) membership figures are out. The figures in brackets are the targets clubs have set themselves. Naturally The Pies, with 70,000+ (75,000), are on top. And while always being suspicious of round numbers in tallies like this, it’s an impressive figure. Of course many of them couldn’t read what they were signing, but they still count. Then comes The 56,170 (65,000) Paid Up Proud & Passionate from out at Waverly. The club has clamped down on spurious membership applications this year. Family pets have to be mammals – no axolotls or Venus fly traps; childhood obsessional objects have to be real – no special friends – and garden gnomes have to be painted in the GoldenBrown verticals of Glenferrie Oval. Then comes The Eddie Eagles with 55,516 from the State of Excitement. The Yellow & Black Army, building on last year they have hit 50,521 (60,000), and after Friday night’s Famous Victory, the target is within the realms of probability.
The next group is led by Essendon with 46,725 (50,000) members. It’s not clear whether this figure is before or after the rash of refunds triggered by the voodoo sports science scandal. The Free Settlers claim 45,000+ (50,000) of the crème de la crème of Adelaide society. Another convenient round number. Far be it for us here in the Wraproom to hold doubts as to the veracity of any press release from West Lakes, other than to point out they do have form. Then comes The Only Team All Carlton knows. All 41,590 (50,000) of them. You’d wonder at that low figure, considering the number of Bluebaggers you get your ear chewed off by when they’re up and about. Whether this reflects the changing demographics of La Via Lygon, just plain stinginess, or the long downhill slide since the days of Black Jack and the salary cap embargo is not clear. A slide, by the way that has yet to be convincingly arrested. Heave Ho Freo claim 40,000+. (Maybe they forgot to number the tickets – Ed)
The thirty thou group is led by The Cats who boast 35,182 season ticket holders, more than the ground can seat. Anyone know how many visitors’ tickets are available on match day? Unfashionable Port has sold 33,810 memberships for 2013. The way they’re flying you might even see a few of them turning up. The Reigning Premiers have signed up 31,427. A handy number in a rugby state.
Just missing out on the above group, with 29,860, is St Kilda. North & Melbourne have 28,145 & 27,395 respectively. They have both targeted 40,000. While that looks good on their AFL submission, you’d be excused for wondering where they were going to come from. The Doggies weigh in at 23,616, and deserve more.
Probably the biggest surprize is Brisbane. The Lions can only muster 16,057. You’d expect more in a one-team town with a recent Three Premiership era not all that far behind them, but then it is a strong rugby state. (And you’re only as good as your last Flag – Ed) GWS at 11,189 & The Gold Coast Suns at 10,711 make up the rest. Size counts all right.
If you had a leaning towards Guy McKenna as The Coach Most Likely you’d better move quickly. In the clearest indication yet that a change is looming up at The Metricon, the Ayatollah – in general conversation about the greatness of his old teammate at Arden Street – suggested The Enigmatic One may coach again. Tell you what; it could work you know. Take this excerpt from an interview with Mike Sheahan on Open Mike back in June last year. Recalling a coaching ploy he initiated at Kardinia Park, he said, ‘There was once …….. when I asked them to bring a blanket to the MCG. And the reason being, we sat down like we were Indians, and we were going to attack the natives and all that sort of stuff. So it was just a symbolic thing, because we were playing poorly and you do something different’. While it’s a novel departure from the Bruce Andrews’ Coaching Manual, we can only hope that the Lost Boys up at Neverland will understand what Peter Pan wants them to do. (Although it’s hoped they don’t attack the natives. The Indians were they natives – Ed)
Although, if Jeff13 has his way, Clarko will have to be shortening in the call. With Buddy not signed, the injury list growing alarmingly & a fade out against The Singh Pirates when seemingly in command, he’s pushed the plight of The Dees off the back page. Advice from the immediate past president is not what they need right now Old Son. If you really loved The Club you’d keep your big trap firmly shut. But maybe that’s not the way they play at Hawthorn. One thing’s for sure, there won’t be too many grins while they ride these bumps.
But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s was the gun after Round I.
The Silvertails v Struggletown.. The 28th of March will forever be held as an anniversary in The Wrapcave – as a day to commemorate the re-birth of The Tigers. And they did it in typical Struggletown fashion – the hard way. With the Whole Football World watching they let a seven goal break slip to a nail biting next-goal-wins finish as The Blues stormed home. But like The Tigers Of Old They Never Weaken Till The Final Siren’s Gone. At a first look at The Tigers in the heat of battle for 2013 a few changes from 2012 stood out. Chokko Williams’ development program has made a difference. Dusty Martin was a driving force, particularly in the first half, and Reece Conca & Ty Vickery seem set for breakout seasons. The backline, under extreme pressure when the Richmond midfield stopped to a walk in the Final Stanza, stood firm enough to defend the comfortable lead the team had built up earlier. A nail-biter for TLSPRF, but they can kick back until they face The Feeling Faints on The G next Friday night, comfortable in the knowledge that GTWTCO. And before the Blues Brothers start the flood of emails about what might have been – in the first quarter Richmond hit the post three times and Jack had two touched off the boot. They gave The Miseries a 22-point start and had hauled them in by half time, and blown that out to a 42-point lead in the Championship Quarter. That’s a 64-point turn around. Of course they were tired by the Final Stanza. Besides, what’s better than beating Carlton by 10 goals? Giving them a sniff and beating them by less than a straight kick. As for The Miseries, it’s hard to know what to make of them. They were thoroughly smashed except for 10 minutes in the Opening Term and a spirited rally in the last. There were signs of ill discipline. Three 50m penalties – admittedly one was as ridiculous as it was costly – showed lack of judgement. A couple of off-the-ball frees were costly too. One gifted the Richmond Vice-Captain a goal and one paid to Alex Rance when The Blues were storming home cost them a possible goal and momentum. Mickey’s reference to his players being lazy was obscure – did he mean in play or in coming to the bench to interchange? But they’ll get used to the ambiguities around at Visy Park as the shadows lengthen and the stalled ox munches meaningfully in its cud. After being torn apart in the GAS Cup Final by Brissy, this further lapse of concentration – if that’s all it was – after seemingly having the Tiges on the ropes, would have SOTG & Punters thinking cautiously about The Silvertails for Season 2013. Some observers felt Carlton had too few contributors, who gave too little too late. But it’s early days yet. The Tiger Army would be happy with the outcome and, knowing they can only get better as the season unfolds, will be flooding The Punt Road End on match day. For The Bluebaggers it doesn’t get any easier. Coach Brewery lines up against Coach Figjam for the Malthouse McGuire Shield next Sunday at 15.15.
The Western Yap Yaps v The Maroons. With fewer household names than the Gillard Cabinet, The Boys of The Bulldog Breed totally demoralized their opponents and sent Boss Voss back to Brissy with something to think about. Make no mistake; there’s a New Dog on the block. A New Dog with a new collar and a new bone to gnaw on. A Young Dog true, but one that is full of go. And there’s enough Old Dogs there to make sure they know when to stay back and when to go out. As for The Bad News Bears, who knows what the take home message is from this outing. Maybe don’t believe everything you hear and read in the Melbourne media and sports bars about The Dishlickers being is disarray and contenders for the Coveted Timber Trophy. The Sons of The West welcome The Barry Crockers to the Shifting Sands for Round II at the traditional time. The Lions host The Free Settlers under the palms a bit later.
The Jolly Orange Giants v The Vaucluse Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. The Swans did what they had to do without really getting out of second gear. The Giants have certainly grown a few inches and a put on a few pounds since last season and will worry a few on their day, and you’d go along just to watch Toby Green attack the pigskin. They visit the City of Churches as guests of The Tealers next Saturday night as a further test of their progress. The Reigning Premiers host The Sunbeams on the afternoon of the same day.
The Metermaids v The Feeling Faints. Here’s one The Bagmen dined out on. Who would have thought? Hard to tell if it’s an aberration or whether The Feeling Faints have slipped. Sure Little Gazza notched up a heap of possessions, but The Seagulls 10-17 was match-losing Footy. Did they take The Metermaids too lightly? You’d like to think they didn’t, but St Riewoldt & Stinky Milne couldn’t fire up, and they weren’t on their pat malone. How much of a hole as the departure of Brendan Goddard left? The team is bigger than the individual, but there are some SOTG who believe Goddard should have been made Captain at Saint Kilda. The Seagulls have The Wasps waiting for them next Friday night at THOF. As for The Abletts, they’ve opened the season on a winning note in front of the vocal Metricon crowd and only have a short bus ride down the Pacific Highway to Moore Park Road where TRP await them on the Saturday arvo.
The Fuchsias v The Power From Port. No surprizes here. The pummelling the club has taken over the off season may not have helped, but surely a body of men at this level can put up more of a contest than they did on Sunday in front of the staggeringly pathetic crowd of 22,924 who sat through the debacle in the echo chamber of their home stadium. (Fevola Medal votes will be given for this one – Ed) Make no mistake; this is a serious situation, and one that is going to come to a disturbing and ugly conclusion as the season progresses. Some Students of The Game are already questioning why, when on-field leadership is an obvious shortcoming, the club has chosen to clear so many of its senior players; players who have been snapped up by other clubs to fill gaps in their own lists. But let’s take nothing away from Port. They sit astride the Competition Table and with The Penrith Pygmies next Saturday night they should still be there next Monday. A basket case last year, they’re playing with Spirit & Self Belief. Melbourne could do a lot worse than study the Alberton Model. They have a class forward in ex-Tiger Jay Schultz and an efficient midfield & defence. Most importantly they have that Old Port Adelaide Aggression back. They’re going to trouble more than a few this season.
The Shinboners v Carringbush. This was a test for the North of 2013. Were they going to start beating the sides above them? Sadly for Shinboners all over the world, the answer, at least against Buckley’s Heroes, was an emphatic no. They were with The Maggies until the Long Interval – in a fashion. SOTG may have detected the change in momentum when The Pies kicked the last two majors of the First Half to regain the lead. They went on with the business in the Premiership Quarter kicking 4-4 to 1-1, to lead by 21 points at the Citrus Break. North came back in the last with four goals, however The Pies kicked three of their own to win by 16 points. But the scoreboard didn’t tell the real story. Carringbush started without Daisy Thomas, Luke Ball, Andy Krakouer, Alex Fasolo and Diddums Didak. Then they lost Copeland Trophy Winner Dwayne Beams and Heath Shaw from the selected list when Beams rolled an ankle and Shaw got a crook Easter egg. If The Norsemen were ever going to pull off a Famous Victory and get their 2013 Campaign off to a flyer, this was it. They missed the opportunity and failed the test. Even when they booted four consecutive goals to look a faint chance in the last, it was against a Magpie Outfit that was down to one interchange player. Sorry Shinboners, but that was a sub-standard performance. They’ll need to lift their game and channel their aggression more constructively if they’re going to make an impression next Sunday for the early one at the same venue against The Pivotonians. For Carringbush, it was an outstanding performance. Playing as a team, there’s every indication that they’ve settled nicely under Coach Figjam, and that they’re going to have a big say in who holds aloft the 2013 Premiership Cup. Back on their beloved MCG next Sunday, you’d imagine they’d be straining on the lead waiting to have a crack at those Malthouse Blues.
The Mustard Pots v The Hoopers. Just when you thought The Mayblooms had finally cracked the hoodoo, The Pivotonians showed they have more tricks than a monkey on a vine. With The Hawks blazing away and seemingly in control, the Leafblowers were at full throttle from Mont Albert to Montmorency. But when The Moggies manufactured the last two majors of the Opening Half it was looking like there was a chink in Hawthorn’s armour. And so it proved. With a 5-5 to 1-2 Championship Quarter, The Handbags clobbered The Reigning Runners-up. And don’t let the final score fool you. From total dominance, to not being able to penetrate their forward fifty, this was a monstering for The Squawkers. If we disregard the hype that surrounds any contest between these two (Not always an easy thing to do Wrap – Ed) what does it say about two protagonists? Well, to start with, Hawthorn haven’t leant how to consistently convert set-shot opportunities. 8-9 to the Long Break could have easily been 10-7 or even 11-6. True, the match was played at a breakneck pace, but they had the momentum, and if you believed what you heard from the Geelong Cheer squad or Coaching Box, the rub of the maggots. The Pivotonians stuck to their guns and their game plan, and once they sensed that The Mayblooms’ intensity had dropped off they pounced. And it was Selwood, Mackie & Chappy who led the counter attack. But they also got drive from their youngsters. Steven Motlop was as electrifying as any of that illustrious Football family. Taylor Hunt & Billie Smedts also played with maturity beyond their years. But at the end of the day, it was Hawthorn’s inability to maintain momentum, and the fading out of key personnel. Only Mitchell, Sewell, Stratton & Birchall had more kicks in the second half than the first. Apart from lifting the roof off every time they went near the ball, Roughie, Buddy & Cyril had mediocre days. They’re going to have to put this behind them before they slip across the Nullarbor to take on The Eagles OTR next Sunday to close off Round II. The Pussies have The Shinboners for the early one on the same day.
And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
Let me leave you with the wisdom of Ghandi & de Jouvenel.
Live simply, that others may simply live
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.?
And try this one as an icebreaker on your next internet date.
A penguin walks into a bar and asks, “Have you seen my brother”.
The barman’s says, “I don’t know. What’s he look like?”