THE WRAP – ROUND XXI
WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL
And what a round it’s been in Footy Eddie. On Friday night The Handbags led at every change, seeing off a second half challenge, to send The Saints marching back to Seaford for Season 2012.
Come Saturday and it was Boilover time. First it was The Lions who plucked The Crows, then the Roos put some white feathers onto the pile to add a touch of variation with the black. The Dees did what was expected of them up in the National Capital, and The Barry Crockers beat The Tiges to win that vital 12th game.
By Sunday it was time for a day out with the family as the Fixture had lined up three non-events. Three Cellar Dwellers v three September Contenders. Sydney was the most impressive with an 82-point win over The Ladradoodles on their way to kicking The Sweep. West Coast won comfortably without impressing and The Hawks copped a Citrus Huddle blast from Coach Clarko as they pottered along to 62-point win, 32 of which came in the Final Stanza.
Good to have Bruce back in the commentary box? Not sure, but he certainly brings out the best in Dennis C. Did you pick up this one from the Velvet Fog? Referring to a Bulldog’s player on Friday night – He’s got Cats all around him like a bowl of milk. Like we said, he certainly brings out the best in Our Dennis.
There’s someone else we’ve missed during his Olympic duties – the Ayatollah. Getting onto the front foot straight away, he drove the tanking issue straight through the packed cover field to the boundary. Anything that affects the integrity of the competition, we put in that basket things like salary cap, we put in that basket performance enhancing drugs, we put in that basket things that relate to betting scandals, information sharing and, of course, tanking if that exists. Cardinal Pell Pot couldn’t have looked the microphone in the eye and said it any more convincingly, or with any more conviction. Although the information sharing has us a bit puzzled. Does that mean telling tales out of school? You have to wonder if he read Peter Wright’s Spycatcher on the long haul back on the Flying Kangaroo. Or maybe he’s been infected by Julian Assange’s brave stance in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Ayatollah indeed moves in mysterious ways.
Another one of those quiet achievers who seems to be getting a bit more airplay these days is Maffra’s own Jeffry G Geischen. After Stevie J’s set shot on goal was smothered by St Kilda’s Jack Steven, who was not standing the mark, The Geisha has told us that: As soon as a player like Johnson or Tom Hawkins gets the ball now the alarm bells go off, for the umpires but also the opposition players. OK Geisha, so as soon as Buddy – or anybody else – starts his angled run-up he’s fair game? Have we got that right? What if the umpires alarm bells haven’t rung in this case? What if the tackler has moved towards the transgressor before the call of play-on? And Angry Adrian, can we expect a video review of these sorts of incidents to decide whether the tackler/smotherer has broken the 5m barrier before the call? But more importantly than any of the above, since when have the whistler blowers been anticipating play rather than adjudicating as events unfold?
After so many significant Curtainraisers – in terms of outcome & form evaluation – next Friday’s match – Struggletown v The Gliders – may not seem to have much going for it. But let’s not be overly hasty in dismissing the bitter rivalry between these two clubs. James Hird, a couple of weeks back, spoke of the special hatred between The Shinboners & The Dons. Sort of a lions v hyenas thing. SOTG would have shared a quiet smile. The queue for that claim stretches 10 times around the MCG and out to the homelands of the other 11 original tribes. It’s been 2008 since The Tiges finish above Essendon, and it’s this match that will probably decide if Richmond holds those bragging rights for Season 2012. There’s also the head-to-head between Trent Cotchin & Jobe Watson. Watson has been a long standing favourite for the Charles Brownlow Fairest & Best Medal; Cotchin has only emerged from the pack over the last few rounds with some blistering displays. But wait, where are the steak knives? We’re coming to that. Jumping Jack Riewoldt is sitting four back from The Pav on the Coleman. With the Essendon defence reduced to three men with butterfly nets, he has the chance of a lifetime to set himself up for his 2nd Coleman.
We stand corrected. Last week we stated that five players we described as Loyal Servants of the Club who had left Melbourne prematurely had been part of the team monstered by The Bombers in the 2000 GF. A letter bearing an Ho Chi Minh City postmark – no Nurelle, that’s in Victoria Street – has pointed out that only Green & McDonald played in that Fateful Final; Bruce was a late withdrawal and Miller & McLean were not yet at the club. Interestingly, the missive was dismissive of Brock McLean’s comments, more on the grounds of the quality of the messenger than the quality of the message. But the Long Suffering Redleg Faithful questioned the appellation of Loyal Servant to all but Brad Green. We concede to this summation, and apologize to any other of those Long Sufferers who drag themselves along to the Demon’s matches week after week year after year to watch their bland attempts whom may have been equally upset by the suggestion of loyalty from the players named.
You can certainly tell when the Great Helmsman’s BIT, can’t you? The budget toe cutting at Jellymont House quietly but perceptively picks up. The latest piece of evidence is the stinging denouncement of Israel Folau’s latest insipid performance. It appeared on the AFL website no less. In part it said Issy was totally disinterested in making any type of meaningful contribution to help his team. Folau seemed to be sulking as he trudged from one end of the ground to the other, with zero impact on the contest. If that’s sport’s journalism I’m a librarian. But wait, there’s more. (More steak knives Wrap!! – Ed) And here’s the nudge – referring to his Aussie Rules involvement the piece goes on to kindly suggest that staying on the payroll – the appalling Football League payroll – would appear to be to be an almighty waste of his sublime talents and it seems now he would be best served cutting his looses and returning to a game that made him a super star. An AFL spokesperson said There’s no direction the AFL executive gives the website. He got this out just before a heavenly bolt vaporized him. Of course Coach Mumbles played his role superbly, justifying his appointment and salary. I think the expectations are too much. It’s ridiculous to even start saying he can’t make it. After all, it’s Sheeds that has to deal with him face-to-face. All very enlightening, but we’re not sure that we’re hearing let a hundred thoughts contend. Let a thousand flowers bloom.
Maggot Watch. Nothing to report – other than nothing’s changed. Let’s hope it doesn’t cost someone a Grand Final this year.
No word from our Ammo stringer, but the word’s not good for The Panther Faithful. The Carey Fairies went down to The Finger Biscuits 5-8 to 6-6 in appalling conditions at Dunshea Oval on Saturday.
But enough of my persiflage. Let’s see who were the guns in Round XXI.
The Pivotonians v The Culture Club. As much as the outcome was never in doubt, wasn’t the Football worth the admission, eh? Have you ever seen anyone as classy as Stevie J. That look away handpass in heavy traffic that helped set up Taylor Hunt’s 2nd goal? And later, the look-away footpass into the pocket that set up another for the jPod? And you’d hitch down from Sydney to watch Lenny Hayes play wouldn’t you? Not that he’s likely to be playing again this season if the denizens of the Star Chamber remain true to form. It was a Jack Ziebell all over again. There was talk at half time that there was only one team that could beat Hawthorn for The Flag, and that was Geelong. But by the final bell there was talk of the team that could beat Geelong: The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires. With the Big Tomahawk chopping them down as he went, this was a team on a mission. And where would St Kilda be without Stevie Milne? They’ve put up a fair sort of a showing this season under their new coach, but they rely on too few each week, and there seems to be a gap between the Old Guard & Generation Next. And no Nurelle, St Riewoldt wouldn’t have made one iota of a difference to the outcome. They have GWS under cover next Saturday for the early one, but will only be vying for Best Team Out of The Finals – Glorious Ninth. The Moggies are back on the work in progress arena at the Bottom End of The Bay as hosts to the Team at The Other End of Geelong Road; this one’s the early Sunday match.
The Human Hamstrings v The Miseries. Essendon would have beaten only two sides this round – GWS, and then only by TNPM*, and Port Adelaide. Their miserable 2 goals 6 behinds in the second half far outperformed anything that Matty Knights dished up, which begs the question why was he paid out? And the sight of Hirdie sitting in what could have been a corporate box for all the interest he appeared to be taking in the unfolding on-field turmoil. With the thousand yard stare overseeing a massacre of Cambodian proportions, and Bomber Thompson addressing the troops, the Whingy Hill Faithful would be entitled to ask who is the real Senior Coach is at Bomberland. They should also be asking who’s going to pay for all those Old Dark Blue Jumpers their team shredded in the only action of the match in which it could be said they took it up to The Opposition. On the other hand, Students of The Game may be reviewing the odds of how long it’s going take the Essendon Hierarchy to get a round to shooting Bambi for the second time. As for his opposite number, it was an armchair ride for Rattz, as his bemused demeanour suggested. The Silvertails slipped into The Eight momentarily as The Gliders dropped points, percentage and their bundle. They’re off to Wally World next Saturday night to build on their percentage and stay in contact with September. The Marshmallows have been invited to attend THOF for a fundraiser to save The Endangered Species.
The Penrith Pygmies v The Fuchsias. The Western Bulldog’s full forward can tell you what a lonely place the National Capital can be. With a crowd of 7,561 it felt every bit as lonely for The Dees & The Giants. Luke Power joined the 300 Club and Melbourne kicked 11-18 to The Orangemen’s 9-5, and that about sums it up. The Redlegs are back in Bleak City next Sunday to close off proceedings against The Free Settlers. The Experiments are also headed that way, to take on St Seaford early on the Saturday.
The Barry Crockers v The Striped Marvels. The Stevedores, after allowing The Tiges to get a start, tightened the game up in a disciplined way and choked off any chance of a Richmond Revival. Not that The Tiges didn’t help them by being tiringly predictable. In the last fortnight they kicked scores of 132 & 150 points; on Saturday they kicked the princely total of 72. This was Rossy Lyon coaching at his miserly best. We’ll never know if Big Laurie was always going to play or not, nor will we know if he made the difference between the two teams, but there’ll be more than a few Punters who feel entitled to ask for their stake back on the strength of it. (So, is it tanking or match fixing?- Ed) The Dockers win has them sitting 8th, and lined up for Finals’ Fodder. They discover next Sunday in the twilight zone against North whether or not they have to come across in September. The Tiges have the return Dreamtime match to open proceedings.
Carringbush v The Shinboners. The Big Men Fly – or not. The Maggies, with four goals on the board in the opening 10 minutes, had the goalless Kangas looked gone for all money. But with the runners administering doses of The Magic Elixir around the ground, The Shinboners hauled in that lead and were never troubled thereafter. And speaking of the thereafter, have we seen the end of The Pied Warblers for season 2012? They looked decidedly outclassed, their 61 points scored under cover beating the Gliders’ 60 points by TNPM. North were down three of their stating XXII remember, one of them the key backman and accomplished spoiler Grima. That both teams had giving their all was evidenced by the goal-apiece Final Stanza. But by then, only the Diehards amongst the Carringbush Faithful were left to witness the last rites. Cloke was beaten, again, and Dawes’ night was summed up when, alone 25m out on a slight angle, he bounced the ball off his ample chest attempting the simplest of marks. They can’t be as bad as they appeared on the night, otherwise they wouldn’t be sitting 4th, but with September nearing, the Dreaded Collywobbles loom as a dark cloud over the Lexus Centre. They have The Weagles next Saturday in the gathering twilight of Fortress Sooby. The Boners have invited The Barry Crockers across for the late one on Sunday to establish the September Credentials of both sides. And are we alone in recognizing a similarity between the execution of the North Melbourne game plan and that of Arch Rivals and Traditional Enemies Hawthorn?
The Brisbane Lions v The Pride of South Australia. If you think The Maggies were exposed this round, spare a thought for those Free Settlers, the ones who built the City of Churches. Going in as warmer than warm favourites, they got off to a flyer. Better than six goals to the good at the first huddle, they only managed another six majors over the duration to let a vital Four Points, a possible Double Chance & a Home Final slip through their scaly claws. They’re away again for the Penultimate Home & Away Round, this time The Fuchsias on the Hallowed Turf to wind up proceedings for Round XXII. That’s two Top Four Aspirants The Lion Kings have knocked off now. Next week’s journey takes them to Footy Park as guests of The Power From Port on the Saturday.
The Tealers v The High Flying Eddie The Eagle. If ever a match underwrote the call for a relegation system, this was it. That Poor Old Port are in disarray is not the point to come out of this meaningless contest. The performance of The Eddie Eagles would have to be questioning as well. True, in the gloomy Shadow of Mt Lofty on a lonely Sunday at West Lakes in front of 13,683 shivering and bored fans is hardly the ambience to inspire, but leatherlust and outright meanness should have driven The Coasters to a goalfest. That it didn’t this close to September must have The Coasters’ Faithful, from Shark Bay to Kalgoorlie, wandering if they can book that trip to Bali a bit earlier than planned a month or so ago. They’ll find out a bit more about themselves, as will their opponents of next Saturday when they host The Collywobbles. Port are at home again, this time as hosts to The Victorious Brisbane Lions.
The Sick Man of the AFL v Top of The Ladder South Melbourne. This match went as expected, and confirmed The Lakers as Top Bird. As for the Underdogs, only Ryan Griffen and Matt Boyd showed anything that resembled roaring and biting. They turn right down the Geelong Road as they pull out of Whitten Oval next Sunday for more of the same. The Bloods slip back up to Sin City to host The Paid-up, The Proud & The Passionate.
The Mighty Fighting Mayblooms v The Wally World Sunbeams. You can only play as well as your opponents lets you – or inspires you to. In the third of three matches that an honest AFL website would have scathingly claimed brought The Game into Disrepute, The Family Club beat The Abletts in front of 23,098 fans spread around a stadium designed to hold over 100K. The Mustard Pots won and prepare themselves for the Minor Premiership Decider up in Tinseltown next Saturday in the twilight of Moore Park Road. For The Metermaids, it’s back up to the World of The Mighty Metricon as hosts to The Silvertails.
And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.
* TNPM the narrowest possible margin, Jimbo.