The Wrap: The cream rises to the top

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Doggies chewed up the Bombers in the Pipe Opener in an entertaining match under cover to consolidate their September Credentials.  Carlton stormed home to crush The Valiant Lakers.  Geelong, playing with the wind piping off Corio Bay, played its part in keeping The Dees to under four wins for 2009.  Hawthorn confirmed that rumours of its demise were grossly exaggerated.  And Brissy took the honours over in the West where the match was played in true winter conditions.

Come Sunday Port prevail over The Eagles and The Battle of The Caretaker Coaches ends up in a stalemate: the 1st for the season.  The Round ended the way it began, the cream rising to the top as The Seagulls helped themselves to the chips while The Crows went home hungry.

The service team from Clive Peeters have made the adjustment to the set and sure enough, there they were.  On average there were 4.5 punches per player for the match.  That Diddums Didak and McGlyn threw most of them is beside the point.

It’s Monday Morning and the deathly dirge of the Coaches Carousel creeps into the very soul of The Devoted.  With Carla at his side, looking for all the world like she’d lost a bet, the upside of which was the winter in Barbados without the kids, Eddie sat stonily watching Coach Brewery’s high wide and handsome game plan unravel.  Under relentless pressure the Carringbush boundary riders fired the ball out on the full several times and missed crucial targets on many others.  Eddie’s thoughts may have even wandered to happier days when Bucks, Mickey & he walked arm in arm towards a Lexus Centre dawn.  As the Carousel lets The Seekers tell us The Carnival is Over the quandary facing all and sundry at Victoria Park becomes the harsh reality of 2009.: Bucks or Mickey?

WHO WON THE EIGHT POINTS FOR ROUND 16

Bulldogs    1    0    1    1    4    7
Bombers    0    1    0    0    0    1

Carlton    1    0    1    1    4    7
Sth Melb    0    1    0    0    0    1

Geelong    1    0    1    0    4    6
Melbourne    0    1    0    1    0    2

Hawthorn    1    0    1    0    4    6
Carringbush    0    1    0    1    0    2

Brisbane    0    1    1    1    4    7
Fremantle    1    0    0    0    0    1

The Power    1    1    1    0    4    7
The Coasters    0    0    0    1    0    1

Richmond    1    1    0    0    2    4
Nth Melb    0    0    1    1    2    4

St Kilda    1    1    1    0.5    4    7.5
Adelaide    0    0    0    0.5    1    0.5

Paul’s done the percentages again.  It real highlights the top three doesn’t it?

Total    Games won    ¼s won
1    St Kilda            109.50    64    45.5
2    Geelong        101.50    56    45.5
3    Bulldogs        88.50    44    44.5
4    Brisbane        78.50    40    38.5
5    Collingwood         78.00    40    38
6    Adelaide        75.50    40    35.5
7    Carlton            71.00    36    35
8    Essendon        69.00    32    37
———————————————————-
9    Hawthorn        67.50    32    35.5
10    Port Power        61.00    32    29
11    Sydney            51.00    24    27
12    Richmond        37.50    14    23.5
12    Nth Melbourne        37.50    18    19.5
14    West Coast        37.00    16    21
15    Fremantle        32.50    12    20.5
16    Melbourne        28.50    12    16.5

The Eight Point scorecard certainly puts a gap in the Top Three and The Rest, eh?

Cadell is in the wars and just can’t make an impression on the 3’ 7” leeway he’s carrying.  Michael Rogers’s decision to get back on his bike after a pile up a few days back has paid dividends and he’s setting himself for a stage win or two as Le Tour approaches some more up hill & down dale hell riding.  And we’re finding Aussie Heroes everywhere.  It turns out that Heinrich Haussler, the Stage XII winner is actually Harry Littlehouse from of Inverell .  Harry tells us the best is yet to come and that he wants to ride with The Aussies.

Along St Johns Wood Road the scene is not pretty.  Mitchell Johnson can’t get his action right and Hauritz is in the horrors, dislocating his spinning finger attempting to snare a full blooded drive from the All England Skipper.  We have them six down for 364.  Not pretty, but they shouldn’t be able to last much longer, then we just have to haul them in and set them a target.  Let’s hope, eh?

Things have gone from bad to worse.  The Pohms are piling on the runs and we look like having to survive five sessions and run down 600 runs.  With Monday a school day, the viewing on Sunday night may end early.

My English friends have been strangely quiet.  As Pup & Haddin dig in and afternoon showers predicted they lack the confidence to start the wind up.  And just to show that those South Africans stick together, Rudi Koertzen declines the option of a 3rd opinion that would have clearly showed that Phil Hughes was not caught cleanly.  With the All England team becoming more and more composite, the use of umpires who are totally neutral should be considered.

After Tiger Woods missed the cut the interest fell on the 59 year old veteran Tom Watson pulling of a 2nd win in Golf’s most prestigious trophy 32 years after he won his 1st.  That a 32 year old journeyman (which generally means a nice enough sort of nobody) became the villain of the piece when he took the Clart Jug in a play-off.

But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s strutting around town after the XVIth Round.

THE BULLDOGS        3.5    4.6    10.9    15.13        (103)
THE BOMBERS        3.1    6.2    8.2    11.4          (70)
The Bombers v The Bulldogs.  This was not quite what the doctor ordered for the ailing Sir Frank Downright.  The Dons were valiant, and at one stage looked like taking the game away from The Doggies.  But they ran out of legs against this professionally prepared side.  The Scrays, lacking the sublime pace of the Bomber Mosquito Fleet, decided to set them chasing leather.  They kicked long, they kicked wide and they kicked backwards.  And they kicked to each other.  In the end it wore the Bombers down and they took The Dish Lickers too the Four Points comfortably.  The Bomber Faithful were doing what they do best at Whingy Hill – about some of the decisions made by the adjudicators from Maggot Central.  And impartial SOTG would be inclined to agree with them.  They were the sort of poor calls that sap the confidence of a young team, but it’s something they’ll have to live with.  You can’t always get the rub of the whistle the way Lloydy does.  And as unkind as it may seem, it’s about time they put Scotty Lucas out to graze.  We may well see glimpses of his former self, but they will only be cameo roles.  This is not the way to remember a champion.  And put up your hand if you’ve heard this before – ‘No Watson, No Essendon’?  The Sons of The West have a September preview next week when they take on The Saints under cover on Saturday.  For The Bombers it’s back to The G next on the Sunday for a contest against THE TIGERS.

THE BLUES        3.4    4.6    10.8    19.10        (124)
THE LAKERS    3.1    6.3      9.5        9.9          (63)
The Blues v The Bloods.  Even without BBBBarry, the brain fades at Steak & Kidney continue.  This time it was Kieren Jack who gave away the multiple yardage that started a Silvertail Championship Quarter avalanche.  Juddy put in another sterling effort and his value and example around at Princess Park is worth every shekel of his stipend.  The Fev bagged a lazy five to improve his Coleman Credentials and remains at the head of the count after Round XVI.  And the return to form and CHF of Brad Fisher cannot be underestimated.  The Bluebaggers are developing a formidable attack for September but need to keep winning to be there.  They get that chance against The Collywobbles next Friday night at The G.  If it was a good day out for Coach Ratts, it was every coaches’ nightmare for the embattle Sydney mentor.  With BBBBarry already seeking solace after Football, Mickey O approaching 300 career games and retirement, Adam Goodes an aging Dual Brownlow Medallist and his great teams of 2005 & 2006 just that, Coach Roos is surely looking to rebuild from the ground up.  However, this is the face of a slanted recruitment position from the foot of the Blue Mountains.  They have The Redlegs at the National Capital next round in a Battle For Draft Picks.

THE MOGGIES    7.4    9.9    14.13    17.15        (117)
THE FUCHSIAS    0.2    3.2       7.3      11.5          (71)
The Handbags v The Fuchsias.  If you’d just arrived from another planet you’d be confused by the results here.  The team in The Red & The Blue had won its last two encounters.  The team in the Navy Blue (sort of – Ed) & White Hoops had lost theirs.  Kicking with the Corio Bay Doctor at their backs, The Homeside set up a seven goal break that they carried through to the Final Siren  without much trouble.  They regain a few stars – Bartell, Harley, Kelly S. Johnson – for their GF rematch against The Rejuvenated Hawks next Saturday night.  The Dees slip up to Canberra to take on The Swans.

HAWTHORN        3.4    5.6    12.9    18.13        (121)
COLLINGWOOD        2.3    7.5      7.7    11.10          (76)
Carringbush v The Waverly Wanders.  If the maggots ever gave Buddy a fair go he’d kick another ton.  But he wasn’t the only one confused by the some of the calls from the whistle blowers.  But to be fair, The Hawks had drawn the Line in The Sand and defied Collingwood to cross it.  It wasn’t an easy match to adjudicate.  They probably did a good job just stopping it getting out of hand.  McGlyn was all over Diddums like a case of swine flu but he wasn’t the only Collingwood player who had a dose of the sneezes.  Eddie was shown glowering up in the stands; Mickey flinging the head piece onto the desk.  No sign of Bucks.  The Ghosts at The Yarra Falls End would be greatly disturbed by the Carringbush performance.  They lost the fight and lost the match.  That’s just not the Collingwood Way.  And make no mistake, The Mayblooms are BIT.  Buddy was in everything.  Wherever he goes, something happens.  He kicked 5-4-1, but that’s Buddy, and had 24 possessions.  His opposite number kicked 2-2-0 and had 17 ineffectual possessions.  The Hawthorn Skipper led from the midfield and the defence had no trouble closing down the Collywobbles’ forward line once the fancy short game around the boundary line broke down.  Footscray showed last week what tackling pressure does to the confidence and game plan they have developed around at the Lexus Stadium.  No doubt Bucks would have been taking it all aboard too.  We’ll see just how much The Leafblowers have regained of their Mojo next Saturday night at THOF.  For The Woodsmen it’s The Bluebaggers at the same venue on Friday Night.

BRISBANE        1.1    3.3    7.7    9.8        (62)
FREMANTLE    2.3    4.4    6.5    7.5        (47)
The Barry Crockers v The Brisbane Lions.  With the Boss Voss look alike shining in the gloom of Subiaco, The Lions showed they are of the right mettle.  Challenged to half time, they handled the pressure of the atrocious conditions better and consolidated their September Credentials.  They slip home to prepare the Gabbatoir for The Shinboners next Saturday night.  Freo stay at home as guests of Crosstown Rivals West Coast at the Traditional Time in what is likely to be a bitter and confusing battle for Bragging Rights & Draft Picks..

PORT POWER    6.5    10.8    11.9    12.13        (112)
WEST COAST    1.1      3.3      6.5    11.10          (76)
The Power v The Wiggles.  The Power fell shot of a perfect Eight Point score but kept their September Hopes alive.  Collect the $1.12 and put it back in the Willow Mint tin for next week.  Next week both teams face their momento de la verdad.  Port in The Showdown and West Coast in The Derby.

RICHMOND    4.5    10.6    11.9    12.3        (85)
NTH MELB        1.3    3.3    8.11    12.13        (85)
THE TIGERS v The Shinboners.  THE TIGERS started at $2.20 when it was announced that Cotchin & Cousins were late withdrawals.  In the absence of Foley, RICHMOND were without three of their starting midfield.  But THE TIGES were having none of it.  By The Long Break they were seven goals to the good and North had raised the twin calicos on only three occasions.  It was then that they opened a fresh keg of The Revered Elixir.  They possibly slipped a couple of flasks around to the maggots’ room, as they got on The Shinboner case when hostilities resumed.   By the Final Siren scores were level and players, fans and prospective coaches were left totally unsatisfied.  Make no mistake, these two teams don’t tank.  The bad blood goes back to when RICHMOND’S Great Era under Tommy Hafey was drawing to a close and North’s star was rising under Brasso.  North famously beat THE TIGERS in the 1975 Preliminary Final to get a crack at The Flag.  This ignominy was heaped on top of the events of the previous year.  Hungry had scooped every award going around at the time yet Keith Grieg came from nowhere to collect his 2nd Brownlow.  To further stir the PUNT ROAD Faithful, Grieg finished 7th in the Syd Barker count at Arden Street.  But this match was about the future, not the past, nor the present for that matter.  2009 is not going to go down in either club’s annals as a stellar year.  More a vintage year for a couple of clubs with a long history of struggle against the odds.  With prospective coaches fleeing TIGERLAND left right and centre, the playing list was on display.  The same can be said of North.  Who impressed the most?  North for getting back into the match?  Or THE TIGES for saving it when all seemed lost?  The TIGES had the younger list and three walk up midfielders missing.  A new clubrooms and facilities and a huge and passionate supporter base.  North have a small supporter base, new clubrooms & facilities, relied on an aging champion for their drive and have a very good administration.  You be the judge.  And what was wrong with Ben & Trent?  A bad oyster is the official bulletin at this stage.  You be the judge there too.  RICHMOND have Essendon on The Paddock That Grew next Sunday arvo.  The Kangas are up at The Gabbattoir on Saturday night.

ST KILDA        4.4    10.6    13.13    15.15    (105)
ADELAIDE        4.2      5.2        5.4        7.6      (48)
St Kilda v Adelaide.  Supported by the fact that they kicked more than half their score in the first 20 odd minutes of this contest, it would be safe to say Adelaide’s new game plan will need a major review if they are going to contend in September 2009.  But to be fair, they ran head on into a Saint Kilda Combination that leaves no wounded and takes no prisoners.  And are they on a roster down there at Moorabbin?  Each week it’s someone else’s turn to pop up.  This week it was ex-Bulldog Farren Ray’s turn to win he bag of spuds donated by Jack Ford of Koo Wee Rup.  Thanks Jack, every little bit is appreciated.  Let’s save the superlatives for a worthy occasion.  Only a score away from a perfect Eight Point Game, These Feeling Faints are the genuine article.  And would the scalpers please stop bothering the Girl At The Front Desk.  None of the Junction Oval Seagull Bandwagon tickets held by members of the Wrap staff are for sale.  We gave plenty of advance notice early in the season.  It’s no good coming around now bleating that there’s no room left on The Bandwagon.  You’ll just have to tag onto the end of the parade.  Next round sees The Doggies test their mettle against The Sainters under cover on Saturday night.  The Crows have The Showdown against the All Conquering Port Power.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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

90

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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