The Wrap: Now for the big one

THE WRAP

Where Life Imitates Sport

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. The Feeling Faints toughed out an absolute thriller as The Dogs get boned once again at the last hurdle.  The Saturday night event was a fizzer, with Carringbush doing most of the fizzing.

Forget Derby Day and Cup Week.  Don’t you just love Preliminary Finals Day and Finals Week?  Tonight is the Night of Nights for Melbourne Hairdressers & Dressmakers as the Brownlow Blondes and their escorts trip down the Blue Carpet.  You wouldn’t miss it for quids, would you?

Are we the only ones concerned that there might be trouble at Whingy Hill?  First it’s the Head Sniper who is rumoured to have cleaned out his locker.  Now it’s the troubled Andy Lovett.  Should we be asking what’s really troubling him?  Looking over the pickets from the outer it looked as though he’d packed his troubles away and was enjoying his Footy again.  We haven’t been past for a while, but has anyone noticed?  They haven’t got the windsock tied down out there again have they?

Andy’s move couldn’t have anything to do with Shaun Burgoyne’s exit from Alberton could it?

No such trouble at PUNT ROAD.  The Number 12 will still be seen at Auskick as RICHO signs up for another year at TIGERLAND.

And what’s this about the Brownlow being a mid-fielders medal?  Has it ever been anything else?  As Edmund Burke told us so many years ago, Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.  Back in the early days when it was awarded to the Fairest & Best, the annals are crammed full of the names of Centremen, Rovers and Ruckmen playing in collared woollen jumpers.  The Gentle Giant Roy Wright won two, Billy Morris, grace in motion, Baron Ruthven, Chicken Smallhorn and possibly the greatest of them all, Hayden Bunton, were all midfielders.  Bill Hutchison and Dick Reynolds were both what today would be called on-ballers.  Ian Stewart & Booby Skilton, now there’s’ a couple of worthy winners, you guessed it – midfielders.  The Brownlow has always been about midfielding ball magnets.  Got over it.

Back in those days the Newspaper awards were £100 for the player voted best and fairest by the scribes over the 18 Round Season.  They moved that up to £500 and later the winner received a brand new Holden sedan.  You’d have to ask how far we’ve come?  And the corollary to that – have we gone too far?

Who’ll win?  Everyone’s tipping Ablett.  We had Didak for a place after a purple patch mid season and then we swung to Goodes for the best place bet.  We don’t really care, just as long as the girls have a good night out.  We’d like to see Gary Junior win it.  A smug Ablett would be less trouble next Saturday than an Ablett with something to prove.

Off shore and The Diamonds took an unassailable lead over The Ferns at Wellington, but The Saggy Greens fell short of whitewashing The Old Enemy.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see how it came to pass that St Kilda and Geelong are playing off for the Premiership Pennant of 2009.

ST KILDA                 9.6       (60)

FOOTSCRAY          7.11     (53)

St Kilda v The Western Bulldogs.  This was one for the purists.  A scoreline from the early days of last Century.  A tight one-on-one tussle played at a furious pace.  Sure there were mistakes made under pressure (57 to 53 – Ed), but this was Pressure Cooker Football.  The Dogs held The Saints goalless in the Opening Stanza, and on a dry night with no wind, that wasn’t a bad effort.  However, they weren’t able to translate that superiority into Scoreboard Pressure.  And that, at the end of the night, cost them the game and their year.  It was heartbreaking to see them go down.  But it would have been equally heartbreaking to see the dreams of TLSSKF scattered amongst the seagulls and drifting pie wrappers.  It would have been a hard one for the Football Gods to decide, and that’s why the decision is not left to mere mortals.

Of course Maggot McInerney, conscious of his looming 2009 destiny did his best to influence the outcome.  His call against an innocuous shoulder by Lake on Riewoldt before the ball had been bounced to commence the 2nd Half won’t do his chances for Maggot of The Year any harm.  (SOTG & Punters may have been less than a little surprised at how little it took to bring the St Kilda Captain down – Ed)  And his call of Deliberate on Akka’s 50m kick that found touch on the third bounce was pure spite.  Maggots McBurney & Chamberlain picked up the odd point for not recalling bad bounces and Mighty Mouse tried to get in the face of a few players, but by his standards, it was a MOTY losing performance.

The Saints won this for no other reason than The Dogs aren’t just there yet.  They don’t have the Game Breaker you need in these big matches and will suffer ongoing disappointment until they do.  Akka and BBBBarry on the same forward line?  Now that’s a strike force to fear.  They gave their last drop of blood for the cause and it must be heartbreaking for The Sons & Daughters of The West, but they can hold their heads high.

Other than their ability to pull themselves back into the contest, The Saints failed to impress.  True, an admirable and essential quality, and one backed by the inspirational performance of St Riewodlt.  His contested marks would have had SOTG comparing his Result Influencing performance and style with those of another Tasmanian forward: the Sublime Royce Hart.  And the philosophy – one that some SOTG may be labelling one dimensional – seems to be kick it long to Rooey.

This game, like so many, was won in the Championship Quarter.  St Riewoldt’s gift in the goal square opened proceedings before the ball had been bounced, and Nasty Milne’s snap with seconds to go closed it.  Never mind the what ifs.  That’s the way it was.  Lenny Hayes & Nick Del Santo kept The Feeling Faints alive with tireless on-ball performances and didn’t the Much Maligned Raph Clarke come good when the match had to be saved in the last?

They’re keeping a lid on it down at Linton Street, and one would be excused for thinking Friday night’s game would have given them something to think about.  Not the least, the apparent tiredness of the Playing List.  Forward playmakers such as Schneider, Milne and Kossy were down on performance, although Kossy did take that Leaping Leoesque match saving mark in the Last Line in the Shadow of Full Time.  But doesn’t your heart leap into your mouth every time the Iconic Zac goes near the ball?  Although it was perfectly clear they weren’t playing The Collywobbles, they would like to think they can lift quite a few notches for next Saturday, especially in attack.

THE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL            17.18   (120)

THEN THERE’S COLLINGWOOD        6.11       (47)

Geelong v Collingwood.  First of all, full marks to Channel Rove’s Saturday night production team for their presentation of the match.  Bruce’s mastery of the art of stating the bleeding obvious was off set by some of the best camera work we’ve seen for a while.  Don’t know about you, but Kelli Underwood’s voice over took us back to the oestrogen enriched netball courts that ran beside the car park on Saturday afternoons.  The presentation started with an intro of clips that told anyone watching what OGG is all about.  Then those shots of the Lads coming up the race – I’ll bet that galvanized cladding at the entrance to the locker room took you back a bit, eh?  And didn’t those Cats look big coming out of the shed?  The crowd shots, the glimpses of the coaches through the non-reflecting glass, the overview of the ground and the long distant shots of The G, lit up for a Melbourne Saturday night, gave a real sense of place.  Surely we live in the Best City in The Luckiest Country in the world playing Our Own Game in Our Own Way.

But there was more to come.  Carringbush slotted the 1st two majors and the camera panned to Eddie & his brave little family.  Carla had the boys adorned in Collingwood Jumpers from the end of season sale around at the Lexus Centre Merchandise Department and they looked ready for a big night.  At that stage there was no indication it was all going to end in tears for the boy who has everything.

Then the camera panned down to the boundary line where Mark Howard revealed what any one with half a brain already knew: Pendlebury out, Beames in.  Some SOTG may have been wondering what that was all about.  Obviously the subterfuge had been planned somewhere in the Bowels of the Lexus Centre, but whether it was the brainchild of the Coaching Panel or had been a directive from the Oval Office is not clear.  The result however was the same; it made Collingwood look silly – and not a little bereft of ideas.

Brad Ottens buried his 2008 demons when he slotted a pressure goal from where he missed in last year’s GF.  The Big Hairy Cat had two chances to dispel his, but SOTG, and the St Kilda Football Department embedded in the crowd, would have noticed that they are alive and well.

The umpiring was all over the shop and it was clear that maggots McLaren, Rosebury & Ryan were going to stamp their mark on the contest early.  They’d thrown away the range finders and 25m passes were deemed play-on not 15.  Fifty metre penalties stretched to 70m.  Lot’s of confusion created, which after all is the role of a good maggot.  And didn’t the Veteran Scott McLaren turn in a blinder?  Overlooked in early betting for the Darren Goldspink Medal, The Bagmen have pulled him in to the 3rd line.  His inconsistency and ability to turn the flow of a match could have earned him an appearance in next week’s Big One.

Digger of course, would have been in his element.  The umpires were crucifying Collingwood.  But so were Geelong.  They were copping it from both sides as the words of Mick The Maltster from early in the season came echoing back– Geelong at their absolute best will beat us at our absolute best, because they’re a better side.  You got that right Mick.

By the Long Interval The Woodsmen were still in the contest on the scoreboard.  However, The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires were looking ominous.  By ¾ Time The Maggies were beaten.  They didn’t even try in the last quarter.  When the siren sounded for full time on Friday night, the Bulldog players collapsed in anguish and exhaustion.  The Collingwood players walked with their heads down.  The Ghosts at The Yarra Falls End would be livid.  In their day, win lose or draw, they would have made sure Johnson was stretchered off, Mooney, Rooke and Scarlett reported and Varcoe would have paid with his life for having the temerity to kick two goals against them.  Fair dinkum, if this been a fight, the referee would have stopped it before the Last Huddle.  If it had been a hurdle race they would have put up the curtain and done the humane thing.  By the last quarter, with the Collingwood Faithful streaming to the car park and the early Epping line train at Jolimont Station already packed, Carla, in the name of common decency, had thoughtfully put jackets on the boys to cover the Colours.

Of course, The Black&White Army is nothing if not fickle.  Having cheered themselves hoarse during the season whenever he went near the ball, they’d saved enough breath to give Neon Leon a couple of Ironic Cheers when he finally had consecutive touches in the Shadow of Full Time.  But he wasn’t on his Pat in failing in the glare of the spotlight.  Fancy gyms, personal fitness advisers and dietary programs for each player can only take you so far.  So can GAD.  (We didn’t see too much of the much vaunted GAD on Saturday night Wrap – Ed)  So can a professional coaching staff.  That they lack big name players became glaringly and embarrassingly obvious as the game wore on.  It could be argued Coach Brewery did a mighty job just getting them so far.

Carringbush’s only goal in the 2nd Half came from the Boy From the Kilcunda Crays who cleverly outmarked a couple of Geelong defenders right in front.  He missed another chance later, but with half The Pie’s scoring shots after half time, and 77% of their score in that Shameful Period of Football, he was clearly their only effective forward.  The outcome has left them with a lot of thinking to do around at the Lexus Centre, and you would have thought that by now Mick had put enough aside to never have to work again.  You’d have to question why he’d put himself through this for another couple of years.  Should The Maggies falter in 2010, Sadists, Football ghouls and the tabloids will be camped along the Yarra behind the Lexus Centre in anticipation.  By the way, have you tested the market on Coach Most Likely for 2010?  That’s right, you can’t get a shekel in the black on Coach Brewery.

So what about The Greatest Team Of All?  The Big Tomahawk didn’t do much if you look at his stats, but he created space and was always threatening.  He’ll just love lining up on Iconic Zac.  No reports and no injuries would be the best part of the result.  Mrs Wrap marked this down as an Exhibition Match by the time The Handbags had kicked the 1st three goals of the Championship Quarter and reached for the A2.  The Pivotonians won the clearances 43:12.  They were never going to be beaten with that sort of supremacy.  Nor where they challenged.  St Kilda won’t fold like a house of cards, and Varcoe won’t be allowed to run in to score a couple of easy goals.  Next week has all the markings of a GF for The Ages.

And remember, if you read it in The Warp 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:

    Superb summation Your Wrapness

    Channel Rove could really do with your perspective to liven up their Fifth Quarter efforts.

    I think the whole Pendlebury farce tied in nicely with Mick’s Psychology 101 column the previous Saturday. What, indeed, were they thinking?

    One thing, and excuse my public display of ignorance, but WTF does SOTG mean? I’m sure the answer will be embarrassingly obvious, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get told.

  2. Get ready to slam the palm hard on the forehead JB. It stands for Student of The Game.

    Speaking of Mick, I caught some SEN talkback today. He might be the pin-up boy at the Lexus Centre, but they’re sure sick of him around at Victoria Park. The first dip in form next season is going to provide some circus.

    Might see you Friday if you’re going, eh?

    TW

  3. I’m looking forward to a Collingwood slump and the questions about Buckley taking over early to start

  4. John Butler says:

    Consider the forehead slapped TW.

  5. Peter Flynn says:

    John,
    Really enjoyed reading your wraps.
    May they continue next year.

  6. Thanks for the kind words Peter. And thanks to Daff & Harmsy for dedicating the space for all us Football Tragics.

  7. John – now that’s a wrap !

    One team will be very sad on Saturday afternoon about 5pm. Who do you think it will be?

  8. Thanks Dips. All the smart money seems to be with the Moggies. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that their favouritism is warranted. However, I think they’re overlooking the St Kilda midfield, the St Kilda defence and the St Kilda attack. Not to mention the brittleness of the Geelong attack. True, they’ll be out to redeem themselves and they’re both physical sides. Let’s hope this turns out to be one for the ages. Me? I’m sticking with The Feeling Faints. I’ve been with them all year, why change now?

    Eat ’em Alive Sainters!!!

  9. John Butler says:

    TW

    I’m with you re the Saints (though no shirts will be wagered).

    In late breaking news, I will be at the luncheon tomorrow.

    Be careful what you ask for.

  10. Ryan made the most horrific feature film ever made. read here: http://moviebake.com/movies/buried-starring-ryan-reynolds-worst-movie-of-all-time/

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