The Wrap – Round XV

THE WRAP – ROUND XV

WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL

And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  On Friday night it was a famous Victory for truth & justice as Captain Carlton drove the Carringbush Interlopers from the field.  By Saturday night The Ladder had undergone a major reshuffle as The Gliders crash landed against The Feeling Faints.  The Weagles snuck home by a couple of points against The Shinboners down at Blundstone Arena before a capacity crowd.  Steak & Kidney & The Pride of South Australia put The Maroons & The Power, respectively, to the sword.  And The Tigers of Old lowered The Emblem For You & For Me on The G.

Come Sunday and The Hawks turned on the light & sound show at The G when they blitzed Sheedy’s Shenanigans by nearly 27 goals.  (More than QPR & Fulham kick in a Premier League Season – Ed)   The Moggies burnt another life up in Wally World to sneak in against The Metermaids.  And Freo won the Big Yawn over in The West against The Dishlickers.

While I’ve got you there Eddie, how’s that scheme to get Mickey Malthouse into Visy Park going?  It might be time to float the idea again.  Then, maybe not.

On this Cloke bizzo, you know, the protracted contract negotiations.  Carringbush have already displayed early symptoms of The Dreaded Collywobbles.  Just as they did last year after their then coach, Mickey the Maltster, said his heart was really buried at Punt Road.  You’d like to think the club was bigger than the player, wouldn’t you?  Especially around at The Lexus Centre.  Can you imagine how long it would have taken a Travis Cloke circa 1929 to stuff his footy boots and athletic support into his gladstone bag and hightail it out of Victoria Park if he’d pulled that one on Jock McHale.  Forget putting the Longines on him.  Suffice to say his feet wouldn’t have touched the ground till he was on the south side of Victoria Parade.  Look, he’ll be 29 in four years time.  If it’s time to hand in the jumper, both he and the coach will know it. By that stage, he’ll never have to work again anyway. If he’s got another year or two left in him at the time, so be it.  He can negotiate an extension.  (Or a trade. – Ed)  Whatever’s driving this stand-off, it’s not helping the Club, the Black&White Army, the sponsors, the Coaching Team, and if you’re listening Travis – your teammates.  Put your X on the dotted line, tell Bucks, Gary & Eddie you’re sorry you jerked them around, put your head down and get on with what you’re paid to do – kick goals and open up the forward line.  Because, son, you’re not doing much of that at the moment.

Are we the only ones who would like to utter a quiet word in the Great Helmsman’s ear when he gets back?  Don’t laugh; have you noticed the PA system – at least at The G – has been wound back a few hundred decibels?  We weren’t alone in this one, that’s for sure, but the squeaky axel gets the grease, eh?  You guessed it: it’s those clash strips.  The punters hate them, SOTG hate them, and the style police hate them.  If you thought Prue Acton’s Commonwealth & Olympic Games outfits circa 1970s let our athletes down, what do you make of the nonsensical ‘basketball’ singlets Our Brave Boys are expected to wear into the fray?  The Bombers looked like a Salvation Army band on Saturday night.  (They played like one too – Ed)  Those Hawthorn clash strips are even more ghastly than the calf scours & diarrhoea colours of Ausdoc Oval.  As for Carlton, The Only Team All Carlton Knows wears Old Dark Navy Blue.  It’s neigh on impossible to imagine them in any other colour.  The Persil White strip was bad enough; in Powder Blue they look positively nondescript.

Now, here’s one to think about.  If you can have a three-goal wind advantage, what’s the negative equivalent of playing in an unfamiliar jumper?  Take the crowd factor.  (See items above & below)  If you’re team’s playing in a colour combination dreamed up by a 1st year RMIT fashion design student on acid, how quickly can you roar out “BALL!!!” or “MAN!!!” when you’re not sure which team you’re barracking for?  And it only takes that split second of hesitation to convince a lime or chartreuse clad adjudicator that he should have paid it.  Let’s face it, we give them a hard time, and admittedly, they make some dreadful blunders, but the infringements in those scrimmages come thick and fast.  The adjudicator’s mind has moved on to the next decision.  If the crowd doesn’t see it, why should he?

Maggot Watch.  Here’s one to put the red bullet beside: # 25, Nick Foot.  A Vandemonian by birth, he was the All Island Maggot of The Year in 2010.  He keeps up with the game and has a good bounce, but his main attribute is that he reads the crowd well.  The Tiges got the better of his misjudgement, mainly because they made up a healthy proportion of the crowd on Saturday.  He took the Beitzel Medal votes for Round XV and, although new to the judges, should feature in the final count.

Maggot Watch II.  The worst decision of the Round, especially on the context of the match, and the context of the overall history being written, AWS, of The Gold Coast Football Club.  The Sunbeams were giving a pretty good account of themselves against TRP.  I’ve forgotten who it was, Joel Corey maybe, handballed from a free.  Jared Brennan intercepted the handball and was streaming towards goal when he was pulled up and penalized 50m.  The result, a 12 point turnaround.  The final margin?  Fourteen points.  Still a Sleepy Hollow victory, but you never know how much wind that took from the Gold Coast’s sails for a few passages of play thereafter, do you?

Don’t want to put the mozz on Cadel, but looking good, eh?  Go you Aussie Good Thing.  Put a gap in ‘em.

And talking about putting a gap in ’em; isn’t that Roger Federer just a true champion.  Andy Murray played well enough to have won just about any tournament in the world, against any player in the world.  Roger Federer, seven times All England champion, we salute you.

Five Ringed Circle Watch.  Not sure what’s happening, but the already aroma rich air of the equine entourage has taken on a deeper, more polluted tang.  We do hope they sort out their little problem.  Coming as it does, on top of the weightlifting extortion scandal, it doesn’t reflect well on the lower profile sports.  The antidote is The Sage’s Good Weekend Olympic supplement.  The item that brought a lump to our throat around here in the Wrapcave was the Peter Norman story at the Mexico City Games.  Life imitating sport again.

But enough of my persiflage, let’s see who was out and seen in Round XIV.

The Right Royal Parade Miseries v The Mighty Magpie Machine.  The Ghosts at The Yarra Falls End will be stirring again.  Well may Joffa & the Black&White Army say wah huppn?   Blind Freddy and the man outside Hoyts could tell them wah happun.  They stopped listening to their coaches and started believing what they read in the newspapers.  That’s wah happun.  They’ll be better for the experience; the experience of having their trousers pulled down and having their bottoms smacked in front of The Whole Football World.  We’ll find out just how much they’ve learnt from the outing next Saturday night when they take on TRP at THOF.  But they’ll be doing it without Sharrod Wellingham for his bone crunching charge on Kade Simpson, who had no idea that people still did what Sharrod did.  He certainly wasn’t following the Late Great Living Legend, Captain Blood’s advice, that’s for sure.  (Do you mean protecting himself Wrap?  That’s what the three umpires are for I would have though. – Ed)  So, what can be said about The Rattzbaggers that hasn’t already been said about Lazarus, Little Johnny Howard & KRudd? And who’s that # 5 at Carlton – the old bald guy?  Where have they been hiding him?  But it must be painfully obvious to everyone by now: no Kreuzer, no Carlton.  Friday’s papers had them under a cloud, under the pump, under the hammer and under a shroud.  The papers are wrapped around the mutton flaps for the dog and the fish & chips for the Little Woman & the billy lids.  The M&S crowd get them again on Friday night when they take on The Shinboners under cover. North will provide more opposition than Collingwood, and Toddy Goldstein’s clash with The Kreuzer augurs to be a match clincher.

North Melbourne v West Coast.  You don’t have to be dead to be stiff, eh?  The Roos did everything right except outscore The Weagles.  They had them lined up by the Long Break and even at the Citrus Break they looked to be holding them off.  Then, as good teams do, The Coasters rallied in a Frenzied Last Quarter, and won the close one.  With Hawthorn & Essendon pushing for a Top Four Finish and a Home Final, this was more than just a Famous Victory.  In the context of the season, this was truly a Meritorious Win.  And timely too.  Next Sunday they close off the round with a GF replay against Ladder Leaders Sydney, at Fortress Sooby.  The Kangas, as gutted as they must feel, hop home to prepare themselves to tackle the born again Silvertails to open proceedings for Round XVI.  It was a draining loss, for both players, coaches and TLSGOF.  They’ve slipped out of The Eight.  They have the lowest percentage of any of the Gang of Four on seven wins vying for 8th Rung.  Time to uncork another barrel of the Spiritual Elixir, eh?

The Tigers of Old v The Fuchsias.  As profligate as Richmond were, Melbourne were more so.  Coach Hardnose, after the turmoil of the week, put a positive spin on it, but this was a chance to do something about their percentage.  And they blew it.  It could be said they were lucky they were playing The Fuchsias.  True, they had a scratch side, but that wasn’t the problem.  Time and time again they had chances to put The Dees away and pile on some percentage.  Time and time again they butchered those opportunities.  While it could be said, Melbourne pulled them down to their level.  It would be equally valid, based on this performance, that Glorious Ninth is theirs for the taking.  The highlight of the day would have had to have been one of Ben Griffith’s kick-ins.  Without wind assistance of any kind, it had the pack contesting in the centre circle. (So why does he kick it short in field play Wrap? – Ed)  They’re off to Cairns to try their luck at Cazaly Stadium next Saturday evening.  The Long Suffering Redleg Faithful will be praying that the Ayatollah doesn’t come back with an itch for a European style relegation system, because quite frankly, they’d be for the chop.  Not sure what they’re doing, but clearly, it isn’t working.  They have Freo under cover next Saturday.  They played before 46,773 this week.  On their current form they’ll be more staff at the food & beverage outlets than in the stands.

The Bloods v The Maroons.  Sydney just keep doing what they do best: doing the ordinary things very well.  The Lions had no answer you’d have to have Josh Kennedy down as a dark horse for Blondes’ Night.  And Sam Reid’s finding his feet in the Red & The White too.  Brissy just weren’t in the mood.  Their Captain had an off night, but to be fair, he wasn’t on his Pat Malone.  Only Zorko and Hanley stood out in Maroon.  The Bloods test themselves against Traditional Rivals West Coast, late next Sunday.  The Gorillas have The Saints up at The Gabba.

The Sainters v The Grey Army.  With a Top Four spot beckoning, maybe even Top Spot itself, The Grey Army went into the fray with banners high.  Although some of The Whingy Hill Faithful had their misgivings, even they would have been shocked by the total capitulation.  Seventy-one points is only a rushed behind off 12 goals.  Considering they only kicked just over 10 in total for the night, this was a genuine shellacking.  (Is who kicked eight goals against St Kilda in Round XV 2012 going to become a trivia night question? – Ed)  On top of that Hurley is out with yet another hammy and Heath Hocking absence, for his less than courageous bump on Lenny Hayes, is likely to further strain The Marshmallows’ already stretched reserves.  We’ll set aside our judgment for the time being, suffice to say there’ll be some sleepless nights out at Whingy Hill till they get back to full strength and iron out some of their failings.  You’d have to wonder where they’ll finish up if Jobe Watson throws a shoe.  They have Port in the Shadow of Mt Lofty on Saturday arvo.  A worrying thought given their record over in The City of Churches.  For the Feeling Faints it was a famous Victory.  Of the five new coaches, four of them untested, Scott Watters is one of the success stories.  He’s certainly made more of a difference at Seaford than his predecessor has made at Fremantle. He’s got The Seagulls soaring , although, in true Culture Club tradition, they’re as unpredictable as ever.  They’re up to Brissy to take on The Lions next Saturday night.

The Power From Port v The Pride of South Australia.  The Chardonnays won this won quite comfortably.  The Adelaide CEO & President sat with the Port Cheer Squad for the Opening Stanza, and the their opposite numbers did the same with the Rabid Adelaide Mob.  Designed to bring harmony between the two clubs, it achieved the desired effect.  So much harmony that The Power forgot to play in The True Port Adelaide Tradition.  The star of the match was Sam Jacob: 19 possessions and 61 hitouts.  (Didn’t he used to play for Carlton? – Ed)  The Tealers have what’s left of Essendon next week, over in the City of Light on the Saturday.  The Crows are off to Sin City to take on what’s left of GWS.

The Mighty Fighting Hawks v The Big Big Sound ?From The West Of The Town.  The Fred Hesse Annihilation Scoreboard match of the Round – probably the year.  The Western Sydney Experiments ran headlong into The Unsociable Hawks on a mission.  They missed the 200 points by a straight kick and a rushed behind, but that wasn’t their mission.  Their mission was to build up enough percentage to take them to the top of their group.  Sitting 5th, just one win out of the Top Four, they should move into that group that after two of the teams above them play each other next weekend and they take on Footscray on the Shifting Sands late on Sunday.  The Jolly Orange & Charcoal Giants host The Pride of South Australia on the Sunday.

The Abletts v The Handbaggers.  Nearly another wah happun moment for the Round as The Sloppy Hollow Millionaires fell in against The Abletts yesterday.  Look, we don’t want to draw the ire of those True Believers from Corio Bay and the Volcanic Plains, but honestly, if Chappy hadn’t come good, the unthinkable could easily have happened.  That was most definitely not The Greatest Team Of All out there on The Metericon.  The Bangkok Pradas scrambled the win, which considering how many non-contributors they had, was commendable in itself, and they’re two wins and a shade of percentage up on the baying pack, but Little Pivotonians will not be sleeping easy this week.   While any Bean Counter would sing the praises of the wisdom of giving away a home game to boost the gate, the Football Department’s  Neil Balme & Chris Scott, seeking every bit of edge they can glean, may well be lamenting not being able to drag Collingwood & The Black&White Army down to the uninviting environs of The Cattery.  It’s on Saturday night BTW.  With their Self Belief renewed, The Sunbeams are hosts of the RFC up at Cairns.  The same venue at which they jumped The Tigers last year for one of their three wins.

The Barry Crockers v The Western Chihuahuas.  That The Sons of The West outscored only The Overawed Giants for the Round probably sums up where they’re at under their new coach.  The decision to let the experienced Rocket Eade go is starting to look an unsound one.  Footscray is clearly in transition, and has gone into free fall.  Key players such Lake & Cooney seem distracted.  Griffen & Cordy have also lost their spark.  Bob Murphy played better football when he was Robert.  Shaun Higgins appears to have morphed into Shaun of The Living Dead since his injury.  And the loss of every Western Mother’s Favourite Son, Callan Ward, to GWS Adventure was nothing short of criminal.  On top of that, the stats suggest that, in the absence of any of the recruits moving up into the better contributors list, they’re relying on the established players to do the heavy work.  Sorry Little Doggies, but you’ll be finished your tertiary education and have your trade ticket before The Sons of The West strike fear into the hearts of The Opposition again.  And you can take that smirk of your face Fremantle.  You weren’t much better.  The Tricolours host St Kilda on Saturday night.  The Anchormen hop aboard the Indian Pacific to try their luck against The Demolition Demons, also under cover, on the Saturday arvo.

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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