THE WRAP – ROUND XVI
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. The Handbags were loaded with house bricks on Friday night as The Guccis consolidated their place in September, while at the same time questioning The Bombers’ September credentials. On Saturday it was Collingwood’s turn to have their papers checked. Eighty seven thousand, seven hundred & fourteen turn up to see them flunk out. The Pride of South Australia brought The High Flyers down to earth, and Brissy got up in the dying stages to beat Arch Rivals Gold Coast in a low scoring – in every sense of the word – yawn at The Metricon. The Doggies somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of Victory, and Melbourne, after bursting away to a five goal Opening Stanza, managed only three more for the rest of the match to lose by nearly the same margin.
Come Sunday and Sydney moved to Top Spot with a convincing win over the errant St Seaford. The Tiges drifted further from their Cherished Ninth when they allowed Drew Petrie to kick five majors in the Final Stanza. And Fremantle fiddled while their percentage burned as they sent Sheedy’s Shenanigans Down Below.
Maggot Watch. Remember these names: Hay, Nichols & Rosebury. Why? Because they have just scored the maximum votes ever given in the 120 years of the Harry Beitzel Medal count. If you thought you’d seen it all with Richmond’s ‘worst 47 seconds of Football ever played, here was the worst 100 Minutes of umpiring you’ll ever witness – hopefully. At one stage Jetta remonstrated with one of the little lime green men only to be told the whistle had been blown to award him the free. And when Big Tom flattened a pack with an ambitious leap that had very little to do with the ball once he’d launched himself, he too received the largess of the maggots. But the clincher had to be in the shadows of ¾ time. West was taking a shot outside the paint, took his allowable time and was asked to play on, then the siren sounded. By our reading of the Rules was that was it. When the ball is in general play and the siren sounds that’s the end of the term of play. Not so according to Maggot Nichols. The ball is recalled and the player takes the kick from behind the mark from which he played-on before the siren sounded. Please explain Geisha.
Maggot Watch II. For the 2nd time this year, Richmond we’re on the wrong of some game breaking decisions. They must be running a roar meter pool on the TLSPRF around at Maggot Central.
Would the real coach of the Essendon Football Coach please stand up? Did Lingy let the cat let out of the bag, so to speak, when he said he recognized the hand of his old Premiership Coach on the playing style of The Dons? Hmmmm.
One Eagle that got the job done the weekend was the one from Healesville Wild Life Sanctuary. He/she didn’t have to do much, just look as though it was likely that the seagulls would feel the shadow of death pass over them. Perched on the arm of his/her handler, she/he had the seagulls all a flutter. Roosting along the big scoreboard, they weren’t sure if a stale chip and a piece low nutrient hamburger bun was worth the ante. A welcome relief from their usual ground invasion.
A week’s a long time in Football, eh? So is a second. No sooner had The Tigers set the record for the worst 47 second passage of play in the history of The Game, than Essendon topped it when they conceded two goals in 35 seconds to let The Cats blast away to a much needed, and match turning, breathing space. More than that, it could well be the passage of play that defines Essendon’s season. (Just as it defined the Tigers’ – Ed).
How long are we going to countenance the Five Ringed Circus the Olympics have become? What’s happening in London is a damaging and dangerous farce. I’m sure it’s been promoted before, but wouldn’t we all benefit by having a standard venue for the games held every four years. It could be used between times of course, for world championships & rock concerts. Our first call on the site is somewhere in Greece. It would renew the cultural link with the Ancient Games and provide a financial boost for the troubled drachma. The other benefits are obvious. John Coates on the bread roll is something many would like to see, but the truth is, he’ll never have to work again anyway. And he’s not on his pat there.
What is it with Carringbush since they moved from Victoria Park? You could be excused for feeling they’ve lost their direction finder. Back in the days when John Wren sat beside Dr Mannix in the Social Club Stand, anyone putting themselves before The Club would find themselves waking up in a bluestone lane somewhere to the east of Wellington Street, wondering how he got there and why his ribcage was so sore. Apparently that’s not how they do it out at Broady.
The Aussie Good Things had a rough trot this weekend. Mark Webber didn’t make the podium, neither did Cadel. And Adam Scott blew a four stroke in the British Open.
But enough of my persiflage, let’s see setting the scene in Round XVII.
The Pivotonians v The Gliders. Just to prove a week is a longer time in Football than a fortnight, those Krazy Kats from Corio bounced back to life to gun down The Spluttering Bombers on Friday night. With The Big Tomahawk axing the opposition – he managed 5-1, 2 SA & 10 contested possessions – and Duncan starring, The Moggies restored the Self Belief of The Sleepy Hollow Faithful. From the Ford Works canteen to the trendy bistros & seafood cafés along the Eastern Beach, from the respectable heights of Newtown to the saltpans of Stingaree Bay, the tom toms are beating out the message – BIT – BIT – BIT. Some SOTG, however, are taking a more sober view of the outcome. Suggesting a dead cat bounce, they’re citing the axiom that you can only play as well as your opposition allow you to. And it has to be said, The Dons more or less allowed The Pussies to do as they liked. True, The Pradas took full advantage of the situation, and it is rumoured that Balmie has opened a Contrition Hotline at Cat Central for all those Brave Little Catters who had resigned themselves to a period of the dreaded Rebuilding Phase, but flagellation may be premature. With Adelaide, Hawthorn, The Weagles, St Seaford & The Bloods unlikely to offer the same license as The Marshmallows, only The Western Poodles offer any solace in the remaining six matches. With a so-so percentage, September Action is still, although better than a mathematical possibility, hypothetical. For The Gliders it was the confidence sapping crash landing they didn’t need with Hawthorn, Adelaide over there, North, Carlton, Richmond & Carringbush to come. You could honestly say that, like the little boy with the barrow, they have the job in front of them. With an eroding percentage, they’ll need to win at least a couple of those matches to feel comfortable about making it through to September. And just on that percentage, as Oscar Wilde would have said: to be quilted in one game could be regarded as unfortunate. To be quilted in two looks like carelessness. With half the team on sick leave, it’s looking a season too far for Bomber’s Babies. Although we have to emphasise that it gives us no pleasure to have to say this, there’s no hiding from the truth; The Dons looked decidedly battle weary, and it’s going to take all the people management skills of Bomber Hird & James Thompson to get them back into a formidable fighting unit. We won’t have long to wait to find out how they’re going with the project. They front up to The Mighty Fighting Hawks next Friday night under cover. The Corio Kittens host The Free Settlers on Saturday for the early one.
Carringbush v The Mayblooms. No Buddy. Yes Hawthorn. Make no mistake; this is the team to beat for the 2012 Flag. They dismantled Collingwood in a way only Early Season Premiership Favourites Carlton have done, in Round III. (Doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago? – Ed) And here’s a tip, if you’re playing The Unsociable Hawks, bring your own footy, because you won’t get a touch of theirs. And isn’t what they do with it so awesome, eh? Dane Swan had 49 touches yet you wouldn’t have him in your best three. (The Sage Pundits couldn’t find room for him in their best five – Ed) Jock McHale would have dropped him next week for his meaningless stat gathering. Although back in those days they had another word for it. In fact they had two words for it, and they begin with an S and a B. As for the MDM* – 10 touches, 2 marks, 1 tackle, 1 goal. He also kicked one behind. SOTG are suggesting it’s his behind that should be kicked, and smartly. And no one will convince anyone here in the Wrapcave that Darren Jolly is 100% fit. You wouldn’t have to be Dr House to diagnose a clear case of the Dreaded Collywobbles here. But enough of yesterday’s team. Let’s talk about Riding The Bumps With A Grin. Let’s start with some stats, seeing it’s already been featured in this summary. The top five Magpie stat collectors had 49, 34, 34, 29 & 22. Never mind who they were, other than to say the usual suspects. (Come on Wrap, name names – Swan, Beames, Pendlebury, Sidebottom & Shaw – Ed) The top five Hawks had 33, 26, 22, 21 & 21. OK, name them and tell us their jumper numbers. See, the quiet achievers. BTW, that’s 37% more ball, which just goes to demonstrate that a workhorse will out perform a show pony every time. SOTG will be casting their mind back to the days of Judge, Buckenara, Morrissey, Hendrie & John Kennedy Jnr when The Glenferrie Oval attacking flankers could be as damaging as Peter Hudson, Dermie & Dunstall. The Mustard Pots draw the Line In The Sand at Docklands next Friday night. Get the kiddies to bed early, or get Snow White & The Seven Dwarves from Blockbuster till it’s their bedtime. Carringbush are off to Skoda Park for some light entertainment on the Saturday. BTW, anyone who hasn’t put their fist through a wall either hasn’t got a fist or lives in a cave. Send the Waverley maintenance man around to plaster over the hole and move on.
The Pride of South Australia v The High Flying Eagles. This was a big win for The Free Settlers. They’ve further eroded The Eagles percentage and relegated them to two games off a Home Final and a game off the double Chance. And don’t The Crows look a better side with Graeme Johncock in it? Their run home is as soft as it gets in comparison to the other September Contenders. The Moggies (A), The Marshmallows (H), The Barry Crockers (H), The Lions (A), The Fuchsias (A) & The Metermaids at home. Maybe a couple of Danger Games, depending on injuries, but that’s about it. For The Weagles it’s a little bit tougher. Brissy, Freo, The Pussies & The Pies, all at home. Port & The Mayblooms away. Some work ahead of them from that itinerary. They start with the return Brisbane match next Sunday. The Chardonnays are off to Sleepy Hollow to take in the pleasures of Corio on the Saturday.
The Metermaids v The Lions. Queensland Football is alive and well, after a fashion. Judging from Q Clash IV, you may feel obliged to ask why we’ve got two teams up there under the palms. The combined score of both teams would have beaten three of the winners from the round – Port Adelaide by 23 points, North by four and Sydney by two. Next Sunday The Bears take the Longest Road Trip to face The Avenging Eagles. The Sunbeams stay at home for The Bloods on Saturday evening.
The Kennel Coughs v The Miseries. After everything The Miseries have been through this week, it looked at one stage as though they were going to be further humiliated by a team that hasn’t got around to giving re-building a thought. It was Carlton’s persistence rather than any brilliance that brought them back into the match. That they went on to take the Four Points was more to do with their opponent’s lack of it. The Yap Yaps have the Feeling Faints under cover on the Sunday. For The Silvertails it’s a visit to The Hallowed Turf to take on Arch Rival & Traditional Enemy Struggletown.
The Fuchsias v The Power from Port. Crikey, they have more at some Auskick sessions. Six thousand. Seven hundred & fourteen clicked through the turnstiles to see The Melbourne Redlegs throw away another match, this time to The Power From Port. They kicked five majors in the Opening Stanza, then could only manage to find the big opening three more times in three quarters of Football. This can’t be allowed to continue. Apart from the fact that it’s bringing The Game into disrepute, it could even be argued that some people are taking money under false pretences. (Careful Wrap, they’re slanderous words – Ed) The Tealers are home to Freo next Sunday. And, using the term loosely, The Demons are guests of the Shinboners on the Saturday.
The Tinseltowners v The Feeling Faints. After hitting the ground at a hundred miles an hour, The Saints coughed up a 28 point lead to go down by 29 points. They’re out of The Eight but have a reasonable – if they’re good enough – run home. They’ll board the Frankston line train over the next six weeks, getting off at Richmond twice and Southern Cross the other four times. They start off with The Troubled Bulldogs next Sunday and then have The Pies, The Dees, The Catters, The Pygmies & The Blues. As has been said already, all winnable if they’re good enough. The Bloods loom astride The Table. Yesterday’s scoreboard belies the dominance they had over this game. But for inaccuracy in front of goal they could have had their foot across St Kilda’s throat by the Long Break. Josh Kennedy was his persistent self, and clearly BoG. The Glenferrie Oval Faithful must be wondering why the 3rd Generation of Kennedys to pull on the boots isn’t running around in the GoldenBrown. (Isn’t Tuckie one of the favourites to take out this year’s Captain Blood Award at Punt Road too? Ed) The Lakers start their run to September with a Metricon ride next Saturday night and finish it with a trip to Simonds Park in Round XXIII; the latter being a real danger game. The week before they have The Hawks up at Moore Park Road in a match that could well decide the Minor Premiers. Working backwards from the penultimate round, they have Carringbush at ANZ Arena & The Rattzbaggers under cover. Not altogether daunting, but fraught with danger.
Struggletown v The Shinboners. There’s a rumour doing the rounds that they have a pool going at Maggot Central to see which umpires can top the roar meter at Richmond matches. Yesterday’s effort would have gone close to scooping the pool. But they’re bigger than that at Struggletown, and would be the 1st to admit that this was another one they let slip through their grasp. And until they tighten up their game, Glorious Ninth is there for the taking – if they’re good enough that is. As for the Shinboners, they’re the real thing. Toddy Goldstein is reminiscent of Skinny Martin in his heyday and they have a traditional North Melbourne defence that Jock McCorkell, Pat Kelly, Ted Jarrard & the Reeves Brothers would instantly recognize. And if anyone is wondering why the Club has been almost mute on the Star Chamber interpretation of the Jack Ziebell affair, their remaining fixture might explain a few things. Cop this for some downhill skying. They’re all in Bleak City except for a trip to Skoda Park. Melbourne, Footscray, Essendon, Carringbush & Freo. If they can’t make it through to September from there, they should move down to Hobart permanently. It’s still mathematically possible for the Tiges to taste September Action. They have a couple of road trips. To the Gabba, and to Subiaco as hosts of The Anchormen. The local matches are against Carlton – this Saturday night – The Doggies, The Bombers & Port. Not an insurmountable task – if they’re good enough. It really is a matter of how many wake-up calls do they need around at Punt Road?
The Barry Crockers v The Penrith Pygmies. If you reckon The Tigers can break your heart, spare a thought for the Long Suffering Fremantle Faithful. In desperate need of a percentage boost to squeeze into September, they blew the perfect opportunity. They had The Western Sydney Experiments goalless to half time, yet kicked a season defining 8-14 in reply. Of their last six matches, three are in Perth; one against their Cross Town Rivals. They host Richmond & Melbourne, and travel twice to The City of Light and once to The World’s Most Livable City to play The Shinboners. GWS have six beltings coming up, starting with The Magpies next Saturday at Skoda.
And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
*MDM – Million Dollar Man