The Wrap – Round XVIII: Where life imitates football

And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  For those old enough to remember the mixed aromatic messages of the suburban barbershop – the stale nicotine & newsprint blended with the cloying scent of au de cologne and the heady richness of cured tobacco – you’ll remember the phrase Next Please.  Those with nostalgic urges for those easy going times, you could do worse than spend a pleasant Sunday Morning out at Glenferrie Oval– because after they tell you that they’re TIOWAAT, you’ll hear them ask Next Please.

On Saturday it was The Stingaree Bay Tabbies that set the pace, knocking The Mighty Adelaide Crows off their perch.  North Melbourne continued on their winning way at the expense of The Substandard Dees.  The Pies were hot up at Skoda Park and carded a par 20-goal win against Sheedy’s Shenanigans.  Steak & Kidney coasted to a comfortable win over The Golden Suns.  But the saddest outcome was at The G, where The Striped Wonders once more snatched defeat from the jaws of Victory.

Come Sunday and Freo nearly doubled Port’s score to keep themselves in the Race for September. The Felling Faints showed no feelings for The Kennel Coughs as they held them to the lowest for the round.  And to finish off, The Aquilae fell one straight kick from winning The Sweep against The Lions.

Maggot Watch.  The Classy Whingy Hill Cheer Squad were out of their seats a few times on Friday night.  It had little to do with urging on their Brave Boys and a lot to do with the umpiring interpretations.  And let’s face it; their Brave Boys gave them little to rise from their seats about.  Of course, they, nor anyone else, would go so far as blame the umpiring for Essendon’s insipid performance, but it is frustrating when you’re careering uncontrollably downhill without brakes, steering or safety helmet to be booked for a speeding ticket.  One example that would have caught the Football Public’s eye would have to have been Courtenay Dempsey’s boot on the line at a kick-in – a ball up in the Hawthorn goalsquare the result.  And sure, it was obvious to those at home as it was for the adjudicators paid to police such banal cribbage.  But for crying out loud, Fletcher does it every time.  Maybe they’ve got long memories around there at Maggot Central.  How long ago was Hirdie’s anti-maggot outburst?

Maggot Watch II.  Let’s make this perfectly clear; Richmond did not need the umpires to lose on Saturday.  They were perfectly capable of doing that on their own.  It’s OUR GREAT GAME that is under threat from poor on-field adjudication.  Imagine, using this game as a demonstration model, trying to explain the Rules of The Game to your cousin from Beijing, let alone how democracy is superior to the one party system.  When the legal system fails, the society relying on it for just adjudication breaks down.  There would be no doubt in the mind of anyone watching on Saturday night, whether decked in the Yellow&Black of Struggletown or the Old Dark Navy Blue All Carlton Knows, that The Game’s on-the-spot legal system is failing miserably.  This is apart from the fact that it cruels The Game as a spectacle.  The cultural intent is a rite of passage for our sons.  The purpose of the umpire is to invisibly ensure that the Rules of Engagement are adhered to.  They are not part of the performance; they are part of the facilities, such as the turf and the scoreboard.  The overly officious and technical umpiring was of such a nature that voting for the Harry Beitzel Medal for Maggot of The Year was suspended for this match.

Maggot Watch III.  As if the field umpiring wasn’t frustrating enough, the video review system to determine the validity of a particular scoring effort, and its use, is a farce.  Anyone listening to the 774 call of the Carlton-Richmond match would have heard the commentators call the direct opposite to the Fourth Umpire’s judgment from the upstairs’ review screen.  The final margin was four points remember.  We’re not going to go into who should have won if the calls were reversed, because they’re not going to be.  But we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – it’s going to cost someone a Grand Final one day.  Of course the best one of the three was when the field umpire (Margetts) was heard to tell the goal umpire that the video revue was inconclusive so they’d go with the boundary umpire’s call that it was touched.  Do they really have any idea of what’s going on?

Final word – for this issue – on the umpires.  If they insist on being part of The Game, what would be wrong with naming them in the play, just as players are named.  Great common sense shown there by Dean MargettsUmpire McInerney ignored the exaggerated fall by Jetta and called play-onThe umpires have swallowed their whistles to the benefit of the contest.  Of course, it rubs both ways, and should they err, the offending umpire should be named so true balance of their respective performances could be ascertained.  Just a thought Geisha.

And get your money on Jobe Watson for the Brownlow.  If he gets as many votes as he does soft frees he’s a shoe-in.

With commentators sporting hairstyles from the Peter Jackson light trim to the full Puckapunyal and the Ashley & Martin rebuild, isn’t it good to see Lingy in a nineteen seventies mane?  And didn’t his interview with Hirdy take you back to the days of the well-thatched footballers running around in mullets, coiffures and ponytails?  There were three ponytails at Tigerland that spring to mind – Richo, Wayne Campbell & Mickey Gail.  There must have been others around.  The Hawks probably took the prize for Mullets.  Ayries’ was a classic; Pritchard, Dipper & Dermie would have all run him a close second.

Don’t you wish the Olympic Games were on every year, and run all winter?  Travel safely Bruce, and take your time.

The Aussie Good Things were a mixed bag over the weekend.  The Ladies 4 x 100 medley team plucked Gold! Gold! Gold! out of nowhere, but poor old Stephanie had a bit of a meltdown when the other girls swan away from her in the pool.  Mark Webber started 8th & finished 8th, but he’s still 2nd in the standings.

But the Huffington Post get’s our medal for Day II over in the Olympic City.  Covering the US skeet champion Kimberly Rhode’s 3rd gold and 5th consecutive games medal since she took gold in Atlanta, we’re not really sure they gave their words as much thought as current circumstances in the US warranted.  Allowing their patriotic hubris get the better of them, they wrote – In qualifying, Rhode set another Olympic record, missing only one of her 75 shots.  Rhode led by four points entering the final, and the way she was connecting Sunday, there was no way she was getting caught.  USA Shooting touted it as the biggest day in shooting history.  Hard to argue with that. Amen to that.

But enough of my persiflage, let’s see setting the scene in Round XVIII.

The Human Hamstrings v The Family Club.  We’re not sure what the answer was, but it was about the ten-minute mark of the Opening Stanza that the request went up to the Essendon coaches Box – cash or credit?  Nor are we privy to what the Master Class cost them, apart from the loss of credibility, Four Points and another truckload of percentage.  With a horror run home against Adelaide over there, North under cover, The Revitalized Carlton, The Angry Tigers and Collingwood at THOF, it could finish up costing them an invitation to play on beyond the end of August.  Our stringer at the match said that he hadn’t realized just how many of the Whingy Hill Faithful were at the ground until they kicked their first goal with 11 seconds to go in the first quarter.  By half time, he said, it was easy – you just had to count the empty seats.  It would be fair to say, the Whingy Hill True Believers in the stands showed as much lust for the fray as their team did out on the ground.  It would be equally fair to say that we may just be witnessing the beginning of the end of the two coaches experiment at Whingy Hill.  This is the third match in the last four in which they’ve not only shown limited aptitude for The Game, but even less desire for The Pigskin.  And while you can excuse young players for mistakes, you’d think they’d at least be hungry for a touch of leather.  Make no mistake, the Essendon Football Club are in more doo doos than a Werribee duck.  It might be time they TAGHLAT**.  Could it be possible they don’t have the players?  We keep hearing about their soft tissue injuries and a Whingy Hill Strategy that delivers short term pain for long term gain.  Where have you heard that one before?  Communist Russia between 1950 and 1990 for openers.  Look, they’ve played above themselves all season, and it’s finally caught up with them.  When Jobe Watson spilt that sitter on the wing with the whole forward line open in front of him you knew that this was a team that was totally & utterly fatigued.  It’s not a sin, but it is a fact.  Okay, enough of the losers; we could go on all day talking about their shortcomings.  What about those Mighty Fighting Hawks?  Are they any plumb pudd?  The name of The Game is Football, and can they kick it?  Have you ever seen such deadly set-shot shooting on goal?  Suckling, Hodge, and that Gunston?  And their field kicking?  Beautiful to watch.  They notched up 27-18 for the night; five of those behinds were rushed.  That’s 27-13 off the boot.  There’s no heart-in-mouth stuff at Ausdoc Oval that they have to put up with down at Catland when Big Tommy’s lining up the big sticks.  (Or when Buddy’s got a set shot – Ed)  Good point Oh Chiefly one.  Maybe they play better without the omnipresence and predictability of Buddy?  The Mustard Pot defence?  Not really tested on Friday night, but it looks a lot better with Guerra back, and Murphy back at Box Hill.  (The Maybloom Cheer Squad ask you to put that in Wrap? – Ed)  and while it’s often been said that you can only play as well as your opponent allows you to, a trailer load of Red&Black witches hats would have provided more of an obstacle to The Hawkers’ midfield.  They dominated the depleted Essendon, spotting up targets at will.  It’s been suggested the Bombers were reluctant to run in case they did a hammy, but that sort of talk we find malicious, and you certainly won’t hear it coming from The Wrap.  (We only mention it here in the public interest– Ed)  The Hawthorn ball movement by hand was just as efficient and their tackling was frighteningly reminiscent of Conan the Barbarian, Dermie & Dipper, and their running game of Kennedy’s Commandos.  And wasn’t the spellbinding legerdemain of Cyril just totally hypnotic, eh?  The Leafblowers are back with us again next Friday night when they host The Geelong Guccis.  As they say out at Waverley – Next Please.  The Hamstrings have until Sunday to recover before taking on The Pride of South Australia on the loneliest patch of turf in The Land in the gathering gloom of the City of Churches.

The Pivotonians v The Free Settlers.  With Stevie J off concussed at the Opening Bounce (Shades of Dermie circa 1989? – Ed) The Moggies were on the backfoot early in the piece.  That they went into the Long Break over five goals to the good of The Visitors speaks volumes of their fighting spirit.  That they were forced to cough up that lead speaks volumes of the resilience of The Mighty Adelaide Crows.  That The Cats had regained that halftime margin by the Final Bell with only two men on the bench after Joel Corey pulled a hammy speaks of a Handbag Renaissance.  Make no mistake; this was a classic match between two teams Who Know How To Play The Game.  (One better than the other of course – Ed)  The Hoopers have lifted significantly over the last few weeks – or should that read since The Big Tomahawk regained his Self Belief?  There is no doubt that his performance means a lot to The Moggies, and the return of Christensen & the increased input from Stokes.  They bank the Four Points and move up to 11 wins for the season.  Needing at least one more Victory to book their September ticket, they face their old nemesis, The Mighty Fighting Hawks, on Friday night.  The Unbowed Crows are back to their native South Australia where they’ll host The Marshmallows in the twilight of the weekend.

The Shinboners v The Fuchsias.  Next week’s Footy Record will show that North beat Melbourne by 54 points.  SOTG however will be more critical.  With yet another chance to pile on percentage against a re-building side, they blew an opportunity to lift themselves to a position on the Ladder from which they could claim a home final for at least the first weekend of September.  Toddy Goldstein was amongst the votes again and he remains The Wrap Roughie on Brownlow night.  (How long since a ruckman won a Brownlow Wrap? – Ed)  They have The Western Corgis for the early one under cover next Saturday.  The Fuchsias host The Sunbeams on the Sacred Turf to establish the pecking order down there in The Cellar.

The Orangemen v The Mighty Maggies.   When the going gets easy the soft get going, eh?  Taking nothing away from their 20-goal Victory, it was hardly more than a training run for The Maggies.  And it sure boosted their percentage, which is only thereabouts for a Top Four side this season.  The Saints will give them more of a challenge next Saturday night.  The Pygmies are back at Skoda Park to host The Power From Port.

The Miseries v Struggletown.   It doesn’t matter where you start; it’s still the finish of The Tiger’s season.  Coach Hardnose may not punch holes in the Coach’s Box, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a man of strong passion and deep commitment.  There’ll be more than a few Tigers playing for their future at Punt Road in the remaining five rounds.  True, it wasn’t a great night for Football, and the umpiring was as confusing as it was frustrating.  And if you don’t think the umpires get a pet talk between quarters – there were 50 frees for the night; 19 of those were in the Opening Stanza.  TLSPRF would be entitled to ask: wwhy us?  It’s not like it’s the first time they’ve been at the end of some absurd umpiring.  It was James Hird wearing the red sash who blasted the maggots.  Not The Tigers.  They’ve always embraced the umpires.  After all, they gave up their coach so we could all be absolved of our sins didn’t they?  But let’s move on.  For The Tiges it’s to warmer climes under the palms on Saturday night, and then onto 2013.  For The Royals it’s to host Ladder Leaders Sydney under cover Sunday in the Twilight Zone.  And it has to be said, The Rattzbaggers gave their all on Saturday night.  The lead changed a dozen times and with both clubs playing for their season, it was The Silvertails who clawed their way to the lead to take the Four Points and keep their mathematical chances of September Action alive.

The Metermaids v The Bloods. Apart from Sam Reid’s knee, there’s not much to come out of this match other than the Four Points and the percentage.  The sun is setting on The Gold Coast’s season as September looms.  However, with matches against The Fuchsias next Sunday and GWS after that at home, they still have a couple of chances to sing their rollicking song.  It falls away after that with matches against Hawthorn, Carlton & Adelaide.  (Carlton at Metricon’s more open than you’re giving it credit for Wrap – Ed)  The Bloods get to re-enact the 1949 Bloodbath under cover next Sunday.

The Tealers v The Barry Crockers.  Good to see Rossy Lyon hasn’t lost his touch.  The lockdown yesterday must have been excruciating to watch.  However, it’s got The Anchormen knocking on the door of The Eight but they’ve slipped a shade in the percentage gap The Shinboners hold over them.  They nip back across the Nullarbor where they host the Return Derby for the early one on Saturday.  The Power From Port are off to the Blue Mountains as guests of GWS on the Saturday at the traditional time.

The Feeling Faints v The Canine Parvoviruses.  This was a new low for The Sons of The West.  In a weekend of atrocious weather, they managed to kick the lowest score of the round – this, in the climate-controlled comfort of The Dome.  In fact, so far this season they’ve topped the ton only twice – against GWS (104) & North Melbourne (101).  They’ve kicked less than 50 points on four occasions and even in their win against GWS under cover they only managed the princely total of 72 points.  Obviously something will have to change; in fact a lot will have to change, starting with the attitude of the Playing Group.  This process, with a new Coach and an old President, may not rival The Dark Night Rises, but it may not be far off it.  They have The Shinboners next Saturday for the return bout at The Boutique Oval at The End of Bourke Street.  The Culture Club have Carringbush on The Big Stage after dark on the same day.

The High Flying Raptors v The Northern Leos.  Don’t let the five majors The Maroons scored in the dying stages of this match fool you.  The Weagles roosted nine while they were doing it.  This was a Comprehensive Victory and a renewal of The Coasters Self Belief.  You’ll also notice that they pulled a healthy 35,767 through the turnstiles too.  Compare that to the 23,498 who turned up under cover to watch two local teams on a wet Sunday afternoon in Melbourne Town,  and the 14,583 who braved the New Arctic Park to watch Freo & Port run around in a 17-goal match.  (The other Port – Port Melbourne – get more than that at a Preliminary Final – Ed)  The High Flyers stay where they are as guest of Cross Town Rivals for next weekend’s closing event.  The Lions have the Battle of The Jungle up under the palms.

And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.

* TIOWAAT – taking it one week at a time

** TAGHLAT – take a good hard look at themselves.

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. Wrapster – the barrister in Collins Street would be hurting a lot. I hope you go easy on him.

  2. John Harms says:

    Wrapster, who will be the prelimiary finalists this season?

  3. Ben Footner says:

    Question marks still linger over Adelaide, however I can’t help but feel that the pivotal moment of the game came before the opening bounce with the late withdrawal of Jacobs. A different game would’ve been played out had he lined up, but well done to Sanderson for having the fortitude to pull his lead ruckmen and keep an eye on the bigger prize.

    I have a feeling there may be another match up between these two sides in the major round.

  4. The Wrap says:

    I presume you mean Sir Frank Downright Dips, of Downright Lie & Procrastinate, the legal eagles retained out at Whingy Hill. Allow me to assure you, they have never shown the quality of mercy, nor shall we.

    We’re not on a fishing expedition here are we Harmsie? I’m flattered. Hawthorn & Sydney pick themselves. Then there’s four others who can make it through to the third week. And yes, one of them is Geelong. The others are of course are Collingwood, West Coast & Adelaide. The Moggies need to roll the Hawks & The Weagles on the way to September. They’re playing inspired Footy and deserve to at least get as far as the Prelim in defence of their title. Chappy needs to get back to his MVP self for that to happen. If they can get over those two hurdles – WCE & HFC – you’d expect their confidence & finals experience would carry them through to the third week. If not, the other two Preliminary Finalists will be the Weagles & The Crows. Collingwood look to be fading, Sure they looked good up at Skoda, but I don’t think they have the fire power to mix it with the big boys. If we’re talking real money, I’d have to say The Coasters and Adelaide at this stage are. On current form, having earlier home finals, they should be there..

    Having said all that, the Fairy Tale version is The Handbags slip up a gear and finish the season like a German band, winning enough, including this Friday night, to get a home final. Presuming they’re on the opposite side of the draw to The Hawks, the two face off against each other on TLSIS. Behind by 23 points at the citrus huddle, the commentators are saying things like, if Hawthorn can’t beat Geelong from here they’ll never beat them – ever. Coach Christopher moves Walker to CHB & Taylor to CHF. Chappy earns his second Norm Smith with a 15 possession quarter – ten of them contested – and Big Tommy Hawkins drills four – two from out where the arc meets the boundary and another two from 30m out on the slightest of angles, Harry Taylor having honoured both leads to create these two opportunities. Harry himself picks up a brace. But as they say, better get those sheets in the wash before Mum sees them.

    But it’s not impossible. They’ve certainly rolled up their sleeves over the last few weeks and are looking decidedly workman like. If anyone can do it, it’s this Geelong team. If they do pull it off they can rightly claim to be The Greatest Team Of All. But firstly they have to win on Friday night.

  5. The Wrap says:

    Here’s something to ponder – does the advantage lay with Adelaide because their coach knows how Geelong runs from his years down at Sleepy Hollow – or does the advantage lay with Geelong who know how Sando thinks?

  6. Rick Kane says:

    Dear Mr Wrap

    What a splendid answer, defusing an impossibly loaded question. It sounds as if you have spent time at the feet of Socrates & Carnegie (Dale, that is).

    The race to the Finals officially starts next week, Round 19. There is a stake in most games. Losers in 6 games will feel great pain and potentially difficult journeys from here on in. Giants, Powers, Lions, Tigers, Demons and Suns, you don’t have to read on.

    If poets couldn’t produce the mythical story of Karmichael Hunt kicking true after the siren to defeat the Tiges, then what hope have they of seeing through to the fortunes that lie in wait following next week’s battles? They should, in the immortal words of Springsteen, from Jungleland, stand back and let it all be.

    Round 19 is all about winners and losers (“and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line”, Springsteen again). Come Monday, the ladder will tell the tale of this Round’s toil and trouble and indeed, toll.

    Cheers

  7. Wrapster – yes indeed, I do talk of Sir Frank Downright who, sadly, had to delve into his wallet and shout a lunch after the Bombers were no match for the Cats a week back. But he is a man of honour who settles his debts.

  8. Phantom says:

    Wrapster,

    there is a Happy Hawk running around the N W coast of Tassie proclaiming that the Hawks will win by 10 goals plus on Friday night (after paying me another of 8 straight Chokitos) and looking for a taker.

    I don’t punt beyond the odd choccy bar (some don’t even pay those bets) so I can’t do anything about it.

    What should I do?

  9. Phanto – take him on! The Cats v Hawks games haven’t been decided by 60 points across the last 10 games put together.

  10. Phantom says:

    Don’t bet Dips. That’s the problem.

  11. Good time to start Phanto – with a certainty!

  12. The Wrap says:

    Take it out in Violet Crumbles Phanto, and pass them on to the kids at the next family day. It’s not really a bet if it’s for the club. Think of it as tin rattling.

    And speaking of Sir Frank & wagers in the same sentence Dips, I’ve sadly been the one honouring the gambling debts over the last few years. But with the worm about to turn, it’s comforting to know he’s a man of honour.

  13. Rick Kane says:

    Dear Mr Phantom

    I do trust that I’m the reference you cite in your point that some don’t even pay their bets. I think I am therefore I am.

    I have tried in a variety of ways to ship the freedos across the torrid Bass but have failed at the last hurdle on each occasion, not unlike the team for which I have accumulated such a debt. I hang my head. Ah, now that’s done, I steady myself for the next instalment of the ongoing Cats and Hawks freedo wars. Bring it on.

    Cheers

  14. Are the under 9s playing this week?

Leave a Comment

*