THE WRAP – ROUND X
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. Competition Leaders and Flag Favourites humbled and humiliated. Yes Bomberland Faithful, a loss by one straight kick is an humiliation when it’s delivered by a winless team with a scoring percentage lower than Julia Gilliard’s approval rating. Then there’s the Rise & Rise of The Spirit of Tigerland – from the cobbled lanes and mean streets of Struggletown to a respected force. And we have a real Coleman Medal battle on our hands as first Jumping Jack starts snaring his grabs and Buddy Bewdy finally gets the radar tuned in to the Tall Timber.
First it was the Friday Night Lockout at the Boutique Arena at the other end of town, where the Coach Hardnoses prepared Tigers came of age, and Coach Watters Feeling Faints maintained their win-one-lose-one record. Then came the day of reckoning. Sheedy’s Shenanigans went goal for goal down at Corio Oval until TRP switched on the afterburners to kick a 2nd half 12-9 to 2-4. Down in Lonny, Buddy saw off The Shinboners off his own boot as The Squawkers stamped out any chance of North Melbourne becoming the darling of Hobart Town. In the City of Light, it was The Pride of South Australia who prevailed, but not before The Barry Crockers gave them a scare or two. But the best was yet to come. The Round III Premiership Favourites faltered for the 3rd time running, this time lifting Port Adelaide to four & six. If that wasn’t enough, with the Whole Football Universe watching on a wild & woolly Saturday night, the newly self-installed Premiership Favourites from Whingy Flat were humiliated by Competition Easybeats Melbourne.
Come Sunday and there was only a bit of mopping up to do. Brisbane did their part with a come from behind win when The Ladder Leaders seemed to be cruising to the Four Points and a bit of percentage. In a round that saw some abysmally low scores, The Swans mastered the Sydney conditions and held The Kennel Coughs to 5-10 (40). There weren’t many Auskick sides that scored less over the weekend. To put the Expansion Experiment into perspective, and close off the Round, Carringbush finished three points shy of a 100 point winning margin over The Little Master’s Sunbeams.
What was that ringing endorsement of the CEO by the Appalling Football League’s Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick all about? It sounded like the board’s is 110% behind their CEO? Maybe even 120%, eh?
But enough of my persiflage, let’s see who’s going to be going again after Round X.
The Feeling Faints v The Tigers. TLSJOF & TLSPRF were out in force. This was a battle of the middle order. The Tiges making their long awaited move back to respectability; The Seaford Saints trying to maintain theirs. And it played out that way. Purists raved about the toe-to-toe slugout in the last as first Richmond, and then St Kilda looked likely to land the killer blow. The Tiges kicked 6-2, The Saints 6-4. Crickey, you can follow Juventus and not see that many goals in a season. No wonder they burn down stadiums. The hero of the night was Jumping Jack Riewoldt. Loosely guarded, and holding his grabs, he slotted 8-3, three of them, plus a score assist in the crazy final stanza shootout. Worrying for The Saints must be that their high possession winners, with the exception of Armytage, were all household names. At Tigerland, with the possession count evenly spread, the rewards of planned recruiting are starting to show. And keep an eye on the number 24 for Richmond: Ben Griffiths. He can roost the ball a country mile. They were contesting one of his kicking with the centre circle in camera. The Tiger Army is on the move. From the Deep Woods to the tough waterside bars of Morristown the tom toms are beating out the message – BIT – BIT – BIT. It is now safer to look into the eyes of The Angry Phantom than XXII Tigers. The coming-of-age Richmond Outfit host Freo for the early one next Saturday. The Sainters travel up to Wally World to take their turn on the free Metricon Ride.
The Pradas v The Lesser Western Sydney. There was an eerie silence over Kardinia Park as the siren wailed to signal the half time break on Saturday. A silence so profound you could hear Geelong’s last three Flags snapping in the brisk nor-easterly piping in off Corio Bay. And the halliards beating a tattoo against the smart new aluminium poles above the Reg Hickey Stand. The Expansion Tyros from Breakfast Point had absorbed every blow and dished out a few of their own. Was this going to be The Boilover? No, not yet. The Pradas were loaded with house bricks for the 2nd half as Chappy, Stevie J and Harry Taylor. Jimmy Bartel & Co restored equilibrium to the Competition by more than doubling the Penrith Pygmies’ score. Next weekend they lead off the 1st weekend of the Mid-season Split Round when they line up The Beleaguered Rattzbaggers. (Shouldn’t that be line up against The Beleaguered Rattzbaggers Wrap? You know you’ve got more carry over points than Jake King on those anti-Carlton bias charges – Ed) The Orangemen slip back up to the Shadow of The Blue Mountains for The Bye.
The Mayblooms v The Shinboners. What can you say? Will the real Hawthorn Football Club please stand up? They started the season Flag Favourites, dropped a couple of tight ones and were creamed by Steak & Kidney. After a three (sort of) convincing wins against mediocre to weak opposition they were treated to a football lesson by The Emerging Tigers. It would appear they benefitted from the lesson, because Buddy Bewdy delivered a master class of his own down at Hork Park over the weekend. And at the same time thwarted the Great Helmsman’s attempts to develop a pseudo North South rivalry between The Hawks & The Roos. The Appalling Football League can only be thankful Jeffery Gibb wasn’t still the head honcho at Glenferrie Oval to convey that message to them from the President’s Pulpit. North, after being tipped to move up the Ladder this year, find their season in tatters. They have the bye next week to see if they can find a stray dray load of the vitalizing elixir and to get some combustible material into the Gasometer. The Mustard Pots slip aboard The Overlander to take on the Alberton Oval Battlers late on Sunday.
The Pride of South Australia v The Purple Horde. Adelaide were always going to win this one, despite some Pundits talking up a couple of Fremantle surges. Are we alone in feeling that Ross Lyon’s enigmatic after match conferences aren’t as cute when speaking as the Dockers’ Coach as they were when he represented The St Kilda Football Club? It may not have been their best performance for the season, but The Chardonnays avoided the embarrassment of going down to a lower placed side, something the other incumbents of the Top Four couldn’t manage. They have some mid-season R&R due next weekend, while The Barry Crockers try and snap a losing three match losing streak at THOF when they’re gusts of the RFC; a.k.a. The Tigers Of Old.
The Demons v The Gliders. It was football as a winter game on Saturday night yet 42,987 taped Iron Chef and rugged up for the G. They were treated to the seminal moment of the first half of the season: the toppling of The Whingy Hill Blowhards by The Besieged Redlegs. This was The Melbourne side that hadn’t shown a pulse all season and was looking in need of a quadruple bypass before Hearts Once More Beat True for The Red & The Blue. They hadn’t looked like winning a game and were the dead set certainties to take out The Coveted Sylvan Shield for 2012. Their opponents were equally dead set certainties to take out the prize at the other end of the spectrum, according to anyone you asked along Puckle Street. That well-known patisserie was churning out celebratory premiership cakes as fast as they could get the cochineal and the liquorice to blend into the icing sugar. There was hardly a freezer east of the Maribyrnong that didn’t hold at least a couple. With shades of 1948 showing, Essendon butchered opportunity after opportunity with errant kicking. Bomber fans must have wondered how they were going to put up with another five years of their newly signed Million Dollar Man, but he wasn’t on his Pat Maloney when it came to splaying the pigskin. That aside, the contest was still there to be won at the citrus break. In fact The Wayward Bombers were up by nine points. Which in the context of the conditions was a more than handy break, especially since their opponents hadn’t won a 2nd half quarter all year. Until now. The Essendon Coach’s post match was as revealing as anything we saw on the field. It was obvious that he saw no need to explain his charges’ performance to the general football public or the Whingy Flat Faithful, but contractual obligations compelled him to take three cream puff questions from the mike-holding Richo. The body language was somewhere between controlled, seething anger, and the gut-wrenching realization that your team’s not up to the tight contest. Jetta’s undignified, nay, un-Australian cameo performance when tackled may just be the tip of the iceberg. (Un-Australian Wrap? They’re strong words – Ed) I’m told he’s already on notice for a previous diving. Surely he’s carrying a repeat offender loading by now. But getting back to Hirdy’s post match. Surely a more honest answer than “we were beaten by the better team on the night” was required. Their last term performance deserved at least ”The opposition demonstrated a greater desire for the football when it counted, which is something we, as a playing group, will be addressing on Tuesday night”. They have till Saturday Night to rectify the situation before they host The Lakers under cover. The Dees have to set themselves for the Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster.
The Power From Port v The Royal Parade Silvertails. Poor Old Juddy must be wondering what then hell he’s got himself into. After The Suns, it must be the most frustrating captaincy in the League. He put in his usual sterling effort but his teammates just weren’t up to the challenge. And while it gives us no pleasure here in The Wrapcave to have to voice these observations, with The Team That Never Lets You Down in apparent free fall, they have a huge challenge ahead of them. With Geelong next Friday night under cover, followed by West Coast over there, The Bye, Hawthorn & Collingwood, they could be looking at 6 &14 with eight games in which to accumulate the seven match points to assure them of September Action; six at a pinch. Of course, if they drop The Bye game, they’re in all sorts of trouble. And while we don’t necessarily believe it possible, there are some unkind critics who believe, on their present form, that there is a possibility that they may not get through that round unscathed. Along this journey of Self Discovery, Richmond, whom they have humiliated and ridiculed so often over the last decade, Sydney, who are a Top Four Prospect, ditto The Dons, and St Kilda await them. The half-mast position for the Old Dark Navy Blue Banner might become a permanent fixture along La Via Lygon for 2012. Meanwhile, at Alberton, this Matty Primus trained combination has earned The Right To Wear The Silver, Teal And Black And White. This is their 3rd win on the trot and they’re playing inspired football in The True Port Adelaide Tradition. They host The Mighty Fighting Hawks next Saturday as a true yardstick of their progress this season.
The Lions v The Eagles. The Brissy Lions had shown flashes of form in belting the three Cellar Dwellers they’d played thus far, but along the way they’d been dished up some quilting’s by everyone they came up against. They were up against The Competition Leaders this time and no one but Boss Voss and a few diehards expected them to do more than provide percentage fodder for The Rampaging Eagles. Not to be. In keeping with the watershed pattern of the round, they hung in there all day, and even when headed significantly in the opening stages of the closing term they kept at it. That they closed the better than three goal gap and went on to win by two points speaks volumes for the coaching staff & the players and will hopefully draw more to The Gabba than the miserly Metriconesque 15,546 in future outings. Both outfits have The Bye next week, which is a bit of inspired fixturing from the Ayatollah and Angry Adrian, considering it’s the longest road trip of the season.
Sin City v The Sons of The West. Coach McCartney feels his team’s performance was just a bit of kennel cough and not a symptom of terminal distemper. Good luck Brendan. So far you’ve beaten GWS, GCFC, NMFC & Melbourne and have a negative percentage of 93.9. Sydney took full advantage of the situation and enjoyed some handy target practice. They’re back down to Melbourne to take on The Marshmallows under cover next Saturday night in what promises to be the match of the Round. The Doggies have booked a trip to the vet for next weekend.
The Collingwood Magpies v The Gold Coast Abletts. We didn’t catch a lot of the call on this final match but the bit we did catch had the Suns’ Skipper kicking the ball in after a Collingwood behind. He found a G. Ablett, who in turn laid off by hand to the running Ablett. After three bounces he drove the ball deep into The Abletts’ attacking 50 to find the leading Ablett laces out. Being on an acute angle hard up against next door’s passionfruit vine, he shorted by foot to the unattended Ablett at CHF who quickly turned onto his trusty right boot and drove the ball through between the Hills Hoist and the garage for a major. Hopefully, someday he might get some of the other kids to play with him. But that doesn’t look like any time soon. Not until he’s got his 2nd Brownlow at least. Collingwood were never in danger, and let it be said, the opposition accepted, this was as slick a display of Australian Rules Football as you’d see anywhere. Ignore the Buckley Magpies at your peril. They have their old nemesis Melbourne next round for the Monday Blockbuster.
And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.