The Wrap: Serious questions about Cats after topsy-turvy round

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Bluebaggers asked some serious questions of The Sleepy Hollow Pradas’ credentials to contest the September Challenge Rounds.  The Scraggers have a Dog Day Afternoon as they kick themselves into Limbo against The West Coast Eagles.  Over in Van Diemens Land an undermanned TTTBFTF removed any doubts that TRP were still badly in need of the Barocca.  The Bombers faced a similar bitter truth as The Maroons drew level after the siren.  Over in the City of Churches it was The Crows who ate The Humble Pie as the Four & Twenties moved up to 3rd on The Table.

Come Sunday and The Shinboners moved north a rung and RICHMOND proved THE TIGER doesn’t change it stripes just because there’s a new with a whip and a chair at The Curcus.  Over where the Leeuwin current warms the sand dunes The Barry Crockers opened the door for Essendon, Sydney and even The Title Defenders to scramble into September Contention.

You want tanking?  You’ve got tanking.  What other explanation could there be for the results this weekend?  We got one winner home.  It was pretty clear that Melbourne would be tanking.  But who would have tipped the others?  There’s one exception of course: Port Adelaide just choked.

And how many got more than one right?  And there’s no half points for a draw.  Just to let you know you’re in good company, The Sage Tipsters Ladder Leader Garry Lyon on 106 tipped only North Melbourne.  He was leap frogged by Rohan Connolly (105) who took St Kilda Collingwood, North & Sydney.  Even their Scottish Terrier only got Carlton, West Coast, St Kilda & Freo.  What a missed chance for the Canny Canine.

And have they got them media savvy down at Linton Street.  Zac Dawson was being interviewed by Before The Game anchorman Andy Maher.  Andy, always one for following the script, asked the Former Hawthorn Cult Figure if the Playing Group at Moorabbin discussed going through the season undefeated.  Getting into the swing of things he answering that yes, they talk about it all the time and even ran a book on it, before saying, no, only joking.  We’re totally focussed on the team performance and are JTIOWAT.  What do think he was going to say Andy?  But it was nice that you asked.

And what price a Collingwood v St Kilda GF?  Wouldn’t that be a classic?  Especially if we had déjà vu all over again with The Saints victorious by TNPM.  The scalpers will be rubbing their hands with glee at the very thought of it, eh?  And on current form it’s the most likely outcome.  You’d excuse the Ayatollah for doubling the price of the entry fee wouldn’t you?  Go on.  Of course you would.

And aren’t the Punters livid over the St Kilda team sheet?  They want more transparency.  Sorry lads, it’s not about your welfare; it’s about winning The Flag.  You’re just going to have to factor that into the punt.  After all, the name of the game is gambling isn’t it?  The only lay down misères you’re going to get in life are the ones you deal yourself.

But one thing they should take up with the Artful Football League, or at least take into account when assessing the odds.  And it’s those pullovers The Pivotonians are being forced to wear as an away strip.  How can anyone expect them to play in those insipid outfits.  The Greatest Team of All plays in Navy Blue & White Hoops.  The fans aren’t getting their money’s worth.  There was no clash.  Their opponents wore the Navy Blue All Carlton Knows.  This whole clash strip thing is a nonsense.

It’s not often this column is in full accord with the utterances from the Oval Office, but Eddie’s suggestion that there should be a break between Round XXII and the 1st week of the Finals carries a great deal of merit.  The Brownlow, the All Australian Jumper Presentations and lots of other end of season festivities could take place.  It would give greater emphasis to the Finals themselves.  Would this make the season too long?  It’s all ready too long.  Why do you think the results of Round XIX were all over the shop like a burst bag of wheat?  With nine matches a week soon to be foisted upon us, something’s going to have to change to protect the brand.

And what’s this word health – in the context of the players’ health?  It’s everywhere.  ‘The health of the Playing List’.  ‘The medical team is working to keep so and so in good health’.  ‘It will depend of the health of the team’.  ‘So & so is improving in health’.  Sounds like the Mothers of Melbourne have been asking about their little Johnnys and Jaydens.  What ever happened to ‘he’ll live’ or ‘he’ll be right for the finals’?  A player will either hold together for the full Hundred Minutes doped up with painkillers or he won’t.  What’s it matter if his bones turn to chalk in his early forties or his muscles wither before he turns fifty?  What’s his health got to do with it?

Over in the Land of The Great Unwashed The Baggy Greens pulled level with The Pretenders.  Although The Homeside did manage to spoil what would have been a great riddle – who hit centuries in both innings of the 4th Test?  Yes Nurelle, you got it right.  It would have been England.

And talking about classy crowds, aren’t those To & Froms of world standard?  The boos for the Australian Captain echoed around Headingly as the Balmy Army welcomed Punter to the crease.  If only they realized what a great honour this is considered in The Land Down Under; to be so feared by an opponent.  Especially one so knowledgeable as the English.

But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s still around after the XIXth Round.

CARLTON    14.13    (97)
GEELONG      8.14    (62)
Les Misérables v The Handbags.  That cavalier smile Bomber used to have up in the box has disappeared.  Replacing it is the desperate teeth-clenching grimace of a coach who knows his team has left the road and is careering down a dangerous slope out of control.  It’s unthinkable that they would lose 2nd spot, but not mathematically impossibility.  They have more holes in their line up than Brumby’s water strategy.  An aging list and replacements that are not even good ordinary players has the 2007 Premiers looking vulnerable to a Straight Sets Exit come September. They hold no fear for The Doggies, Adelaide, Brissy and now Carlton.  They beat The Pies in Round III before The Woodsmen had settled into the harness.  As for The Blues, they turned their season around on Friday night.  One win off securing their entry pass for September, they have Port Power over there next round.  Should they falter, there’s always The Fuchsias the following week followed by The Crows under cover.  However, SOTG will be asking the crucial question, does this result tell us more about Carlton or more about Geelong?  Around at Royal Parade they’ll be talking Double Chance, and if they’re good enough that’s not out of the question.  For The Pussies it’s a trip to Steak & Kidney for a Danger Game on the other Olympic Park followed by The Dish Lickers and The Barry Crockers down at The Cattery.

WEST COAST    16.6    (102)
FOOTSCRAY    13.19      (97)
The Tricolours v The Coasters.  The Coasters snapped a 20 game losing streak on the road to win this one.  The Bullies are well and truly in the  doghouse.  Of course, BKIBF.  The kids learn that at Auskick.  The Scrays have lost 3rd spot, and that nice comfy 1st Saturday in September meeting with The Troubled Cats.  Now, presuming they can hold the Double Chance, they meet The Rampaging Junction Oval Seagulls.  And with The Lions at The Gabbattoir, The Pradas under cover followed by Carringbush on one of their rare journeys away from the MCG the only guarantee they have is that they’ll play on in September.  Danny from Droop Street got it absolutely spot on, The Dogs may not be ready for the Longer Journey.  They’ll need more than a Rocket to get them into orbit again.  Their form has been iffy for a couple of weeks now and their list is looking a bit threadbare.  The Weagles can build on this and the return of Fortress Sooby looms once more as the road trip to Hell.  They have a couple of winneble matches against North & THE TIGERS over there to finish off the season straddling a trip to Crow Park.

ST KILDA        10.14    (74)
HAWTHORN        7.7    (49)
The Mayblooms v The Sinners.  Never trust the fall of the coin.  This was without doubt St Kilda’s most meritorious win of the season.  With the Magnificent Eight taking a breather, The Seagulls showed just what an accomplished side they really are.  And here’s a big statement, unless The Hawks drop their line in the sand attitude they’ll only be mediocre again next season.  Those complementary elbows to the ribs and jabs to the breadbasket that they hand out each week as a matter of course are costing them.  And costing them dearly.  In goals and team effort.  The Game’s moved on since Dermie’s days.  Someone should tell them around at Glenferrie Oval.  And haven’t they got some depth around there at Moorabbin.  Stevens and McEvoy are just a couple of youngsters who are going to feature in this Saint Kilda Golden Era.  Again, it told us as much about The Saints as it did about The Hawks.  The Unsociable Hawks aren’t the sort of team to be pressured out of a game easily, but every time they tried to run the lines they got thumped by a St Kilda tackler or three.  The resultants pounding took its toll resulting in poor decision making and sloppy ball skills.  Even Mr Junior Magic himself couldn’t weave his way through the St Kilda’s Wall.  And the Former Hawthorn Cult Hero Zac Dawson knocked out one of Buddy’s front teeth in a marking dual just for good measure.  One can only guess how many Magpies they’ll leave impaled on the MCG Pickets come TLSIS if The Maggies persist with the white line roulette they play around there at the Lexus Centre.  The Hawks have Adelaide away, RICHMOND & Essendon on The G to finish of a very forgettable a season.  The Feeling Faints have The Bombers & North under cover then a practice run on THOF to wind down the Home & Away part of Season 2009.

ESSENDON          13.9    (87)
BRISBANE        12.15    (87)
The Dons & The Maroons fought out the second draw of the season to leave The Bombers a propeller blade short of a September lift off.  They held the much vaunted Gorilla attack to what could have been a losing score, but have yet to find replacements for Scotty Lucas and Pretty Boy Lloyd.  True, the Bears could have kicked straighter, and that must be a worry for Boss Voss.   The Bombers have The St. Kilda’s, The Barry Crockers and The Mustard Pots coming up to finish off what has been a commendable season.  They’ve got the last of the ties to cut off the windsock out there at Whingy Hill and there’s still a few patches to sew over the holes.  But Season 2009 demonstrated that they have the right attitude out there, however they seem to have run into a bit of turbulence toward the end of a long season.  The Maroons have The Cats & Dogs, both OTR, up under the palms and a trip down to Tinseltown to finish off the Home & Away Season.  They still need a win to consolidate their September entrée.  However, a Top Four Finish is mathemaatically possible.

COLLINGWOOD    13.11    (89)
ADELAIDE          9.14    (68)
The Pride of South Australia v The Mighty Melbourne Magpies.  Come the Halfway mark and this could have been anyone’s game.  Both sides were extravagant around goals and an amalgamated score of 6-17 told the tale.  It was pressure Football and neither side could get their game to click.  The 1st one to show any semblance of precision was The Magpies.  They kicked 10.4 for the 2nd Half against the Homeside’s 6.4.  And therein lies the tale.  It was a good one to win and The Maggies have RICHMOND & Steak & Kidney at home and The Doggies under cover over the closing stages of the H&A Season.  They also discovered a new Giraffe in Cameron Wood.  He gets better every week, and with the return of Golly Josh over the next few weeks The Woodsmen will have a half handy following division for September.  And speaking of Wood, remember when he took that shot from outside the arc, from the cheer that went up you’d have sworn he’d nailed it, but then you had to realize you were dealing with the sporting Adelaide crowd.  The pigskin had drifted behind the big sticks.  Another classy effort from the Rabid Adelaide Mob.  On current form, it’s feasible that The Woodsmen could go through undefeated over the closing rounds and will tackle September from as advantageous a position as could be expected in this Year of The Saint.  The Crows weren’t disgraced, but they were well and truly beaten on the night.  They have Hawthorn & Carlton over here and The Coasters in the Shadows of Mt Lofty.  Not exactly a dream run.  But if they’re good enough for the 2nd half of September they should be good enough to consolidate their September credentials and even have a dip at the open 4th Rung giving them the Double Chance & a Home Final.

NORTH MELBOURNE    19.9    (123)
MELBOURNE         8.13      (61)
The Shinboners v The Redlegs.  Caretaker Crocker and his Charges Joined In The Chorus for some just reward after weeks of fruitless effort.  The looming presence of Todd Goldstein was too much for the struggling Demon defence and he booted a lazy five to top off a dominant ruck display.  As for The Dees, tell a boy he’s a tanker often enough and he’ll tank.  With The Coveted Sylvan Shield all but bolted down in the Long Room Trophy Cabinet, and with matches against Freo and The Might Feeling Faints on The G, plus an undercover outing against clash strip rivals Carlton, the even more coveted PDP also seems assured.  We hope we don’t put the mozz on you Demons when we say well done in accomplishing the Coveted Double.  Caretaker Crocker, having broken through into the Winners Circle, has The Rampaging West Coast over at The Fortress followed by The Seagulls under cover and The Chokers in the Shadows of Mt Lofty to establish where they’ll be sitting at the Draft table.

SOUTH MELBOURNE    18.15    (123)
THE TOOTHLESS ONES      10.8      (68)
THE TIGERS v The Swans.  There’s an Old Jungle saying – When the moths start leaving the Tiger Skin, it’s time to get a new rug.  And did anyone else catch the look on Ben Cousins’ face as he walked off with his new teammates?  Yes, Ben, it is hard to soar like an Eagle when you’re playing with turkeys.  Make no mistake, this was vintage RICHMOND and it’s easy to see why Sheeds & Cambo shied away from taking on the coaching job.  With Collingwood & Hawthorn followed by West Coast over there to finish off what can only be described as a Lamentable Season, THE WOEBEGOTTEN TIGERS can look forward to starting their Draft Season as soon as Melbourne take the 1st two picks.  The Swans join Port Power Essendon & Hawthorn in the mathematical possibilities for Eighth Spot on The Ladder.  And didn’t Mickey O have a good send off.  Maybe not the electric 19 year old of bygone days, he was still a livewire.  Adam The Goodes wouldn’t have done his 3rd Brownlow chances any harm either.  The Swans will be lamenting their one point loss to The Saints but if their good enough they could make the fairy tale come true from games against Geelong & Brissy up in the Harbour City and The Pies on The G.

THE ANCHORMEN    17.14    (116)
THE CHOKERS          11.8    (  74)
The Barry Crockers v The Chokers.  If this is how a club with a century and a half of Proud Down To Earth True Port Adelaide Tradition and an Enviable Honour Roll to match it treats its chances to build a reputation at the Élite Level you’d have to wonder how a bunch of glitzy tyros with a troubled rugby league cult hero at the masthead are going to fare.  But then they won’t have the Choker Culture to contend with.  It is beyond belief that a club that has been through so much ribbing as chokers could do it again.  Fair dinkum, this was as big a choke – if not as visible – as their LSIS effort of 2007.  Remember 2007?  It was the last time Geelong won a Flag.  Whether they hang on to win enough points from meetings with Carlton & North in the City of Light or The Lions at the Gabbattoir is immaterial.  Who expects them to go beyond the 1st weekend of the Finals?  There’s something really wrong at Alberton Oval, and with the Us in the equation of Them and Us – a formula that has served them so well in the hot house environment that is the City State wedged between the desert and the Southern Ocean – the Us is an ever diminishing factor as the industrial heartland of The Port becomes gentrified.  Maybe they can reinvent themselves drawing from another set of resources, but as they stand at the moment, there seems no answer to the form fades that litter their journey to Purgatory.  Unfashionable at home, uncompetitive away, the future is as bleak as the salt marshes they face to their north.  The Barry Crockers should be uplifted by their performance.  They’d have to start favourites next weekend against fellow Cellar Dweller Melbourne.  They follow that up with a home game against The Rampaging Bluebaggers over there and finish the season off with a trip to Cat Central.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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

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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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