THE WRAP – ROUND XX – WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. On Friday night The Weagles did a Hawthorn on The Cats; the difference being that they regained the lead to beat a Gallant but undermanned Geelong side.
The Olympics settled down for you after the swimmers left the pool? Us too. And wasn’t there the usual run of heart warming and heartbreak stories, eh? Sally Pearson was our favourite of the former. And those quiet achievers from the land girt by sea – the matelots. To see the beaming happiness of those satisfied with a podium finish regardless of the assay would bring a stone to life. Even those who were thrilled to competing in an Olympic Final.
Of the heartbreaks, none was more wrenching than Matthew Mitcham’s botched attempt at his trademark, Beijing-winning backward 2½ somersaults 2½ twists dive. (When you’re hot you’re hot I guess – Ed) Then there was Steve Hooker’s confusion. The kindest thing to say might be that as a champion high jumper he makes a better celebrity speaker. But 20K walker Claire Tallent had to take the cake. How cruel can it get? Hubby Jarrod had already taken the silver in the 50K men’s event and Claire was on track for equal bragging rights. We’re sure we speak for many when we muse how the judges can pick whether the competitors have at least one foot on the ground at all times without the use of a slo-mo footage. (Harder than picking whether Murali chucked or not, you’d have to say – Ed)
Those lesser sports are something else again, aren’t they? Those women’s rhythmic events with ribbons & balls, you could go blind watching them couldn’t you? Such grace, timing and flexibility; they’ve got more tricks than a monkey on a vine. (Don’t forget the rhythm Wrap – Ed) Oh, and the rhythm.
But our favourite was without doubt the BMX riders. Now there’s an extreme sport for you. Regarded as the thin edge of the wedge when it first appeared in Beijing as a medal sport, it was thought to be the beginning of the end of the Olympics as we know them. (Do you want to mention that it was introduced here in Oz as the ‘guest’ sport Wrap? – Ed) I tell you what, it’s Ben Hur on speed and minus the snorting stallions. Talk about a generation change. The riders are anonymous in Dark Vader helmets and the just over half a minute event, covering a 450m meter course, is a thrill a second video clip. Competitors go down like there’s someone on a grassy knoll picking them off with a shanghai, and as soon as they clear the broken bikes and bodies off the track there’s another line-up of masked chariot riders waiting to launch down the 8m ramp on the death defying gold rush. Seeing is believing. And yes Oh Chiefly One, I’m proud that it has become our contribution to Modern Olympic competition.
Maggot Watch. The Lucyjet was out again this weekend. Someone at Maggot Central has had an itch that finding touch over distances as great as 50m is now a deliberate out of bounds. Or maybe Angry Adrian has thought that, with the Great Helmsman returning soon, he had better be seen to have done something. Something other than the unravelling mess that we have seen over the last six weeks.
In the absence of any word from our Ammo stringer, it’s probably safe to say that The Thunderdome Panthers are hopping from one stepping stone to another from here in.
But enough of my persiflage. Let’s see who got plenty in Round XX.
The Coasters v The Pivotonians. All those investors who took the Moggies in this one and tore up their tickets when they heard that Chappy was a late withdrawal would have been scrimmaging around on the floor of the TAB after the first quarter. But it was all in vain. Once Big Tom went down it was time to shred them again. And should we be looking at Stevie J for a podium finish on Blondes’ Night? He was like a little boy in the first half – in everything. (The Star Chamber may have the last word on that Wrap – Ed) SOTG may argue that as a midfielder he makes a better half forward, but who else have they got down there at Kardinia Park? The Handbags hung in there as long as they could, but as the late great Living Legend, Captain Blood, would tell you, the longer the game goes, the big men don’t get any smaller. And it was an old fashioned rucking combination of Nick Nat Nui & Big Cox that dominated the air and Kerr, Priddis and Shuey who did the damage at ground level. The Moggies are back with us again next Friday night, this time under cover against The Feeling Faints. The Eagles are off to the City of Churches to see what the new style Port Adelaide Tradition is all about.
The Feeling Faints v The Fuchsias. Seven goals six behinds is always going to beat the team that kicks 2-2 in the Championship Quarter. And that about sums it up for this one. The Long Suffering Junction Oval Faithful will be talking of September when they gather around the cafeteria queues and sneak out for a morning smoke. They’re a team of great spirit and have re-discovered their mojo under Scotty Watters. There’s a few young blokes coming on and their senior and veteran players are still leading from the front. A good deal of the conversation will be focussed on September, but the minds of the more pragmatic faithful will be drifting to Season 2013. And what is a Junction Oval Faithful if not pragmatic? For the vanquished, it’s the same old names at the top of the possession count, which smacks of a lunchtime footy match up on the local Rec. As unfair as it sounds to those involved, it might be time for a massive pull through at Melbourne. They owe it to their Loyal & Faithful Supporters. (What! Both of them? – Ed) The Feeling Faints open Round XXI on Friday night against The Catters OTR. The Dees have GWS somewhere in the Hinterland of the Emerald City.
The Pride of South Australia v The Barry Crockers. The Chardonnays had something to crow about as they methodically dealt with The Anchormen. The opposition was fierce, and the win was more meritorious than the scoreboard suggests. It was Freo’s accuracy around the sticks and their relentless pressure that kept them in this contest, up to a point. With their Skipper & Ballantyne held to moderate games their main attacking guns were blunted, and really, they never looked like they were going to win. The Barry Crockers are back to the Balmy Indian Ocean Shores of The Wide Brown Land to turn off the hot water in the showers for Richmond on Saturday arvo. The Free Settlers are up under the palms on the Saturday night.
GCFC v GWS. Playing this match in the twilight was appropriate. Someone had to win it, and that someone was The Sons of the Gold Coast. That victory has earned them a trip to Bleak City as guests of the HFC on Sunday to close off proceedings. The other team involved in this embarrassment has earned a crack at seeing if they can find a pulse in the cadaver of the MFC.
The Bloods v Carringbush. You’d start looking for four leaf clovers if you barracked for Steak & Kidney, wouldn’t you? How stiff would you have to be to run into Carringbush the night they kicked straight – and you kicked poorly? The Pies took home the bragging rights, but SOTG would have noted that September has a different set of heavenly adjudicators, and the judgement may be reversed under their stewardship. Cloke & Dawes had 13 marks between them. Four of Cloke’s five were contested; none of Dawes. How many hamburgers is Cloke supposed to be worth again; we weren’t paying attention before? The Emerald Hillers are back in town to play The Western Chihuahuas under cover for the middle match on Sunday. The Four&20s take a rare trip across Elizabeth Street to host The Shinboners on the Saturday night. (Something about the poor gate when North play – Ed)
Captain Carlton v The Gorillas. A seven goal Championship Quarter sealed this one for The Miseries to keep their slender September Options open for another week. Looking every bit of mediocre until the Rt Hon Edward R Betts voted on the matter in hand, The Rattzbaggers kicked away to win comfortably win, despite allowing the Opposition to kick half their majors in the Final Stanza. They have their moment of truth next Saturday arvo in the early one when they face The Spluttering Bombers in what could well be the 2012 decider for both Outfits. The Maroons are back home to host The Mighty Adelaide Crows on Saturday night.
The Mighty Fighting Hawks v The Chokers. Any team at this level that can kick eight & 11 goals in a quarter has to be respected. The Power gave it the usual Port Adelaide Traditional shot, but by the Final Stanza it was good night nurse. However, all eyes in the Leafy East will be on the medical bulletins emanating from Waverly this week. With Gibson & Riolli on the injured list, and Buddy still in wraps, they’ll be considering contingency plans for their September Campaign. They have The Bye next weekend against GWS to wind up Round XXI. Port are back in the City of Colonel Light to roll out the Teal Carpet for The Eddie Eagles early on the Sunday.
Struggletown v The Sick Man of the AFL. With three games to go, the name Trent Cotchin is starting to light up Brownlow Betting Boards around the Football Universe. With 35 possessions, 14 of which were contested, and 3-1 with two score assists, he played his best game ever for the Endangered Species. But The Doggies weren’t to be overawed. After being blitzed in the Opening Stanza, they roared and bit their way back into the contest. Coach Hardnose cracked the whip at the Citrus Huddle and The Tigers responded. They kicked 5-2 while holding the Opposition to just three behinds. And they fell just short of kicking The Sweep. But it has to be asked of the Opposition on the day, just how committed are they? They kicked 10-5 in the middle stages and an aggregate 2-6 in the first and last quarters. Their tackling was insipid, and their field kicking was woeful. Not that The Tigers had much to brag about. (Except this year’s Brownlow winner, eh? – Ed) They too made errors worthy of a team that has 9th Rung as its ultimate goal. Something to work on over the Long Dark Summer. They are off to the Pleasures of Fremantle next Saturday night with a mathematical possibility of making Glorious Ninth. Footscray have South Melbourne at the Telstra Dome in the twilight.
The Human Hamstrings v The Shinboners. When the stakes are high, the first one to blink is the loser. And it was well into the Championship Quarter before The Marshmallows got a cinder in their eye. With three goals in the time it takes to shake a dead lamb’s tail three times, Boomer Harvey had spiked a troika of snaggers and it was game over for the gallant but overwhelmed Dons. In front 42,674, The Shinboners demonstrated that thy are ready for Finals Football, and for that matter, ready for Collingwood next Saturday night. The Bombers, hanging in there by the last threads of their harness, face the equally matched Silvertails in what for Purists & Pundits will be a classic encounter early on the Saturday.
And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.