2015 AFL Grand Final – The Final (Ever?) Wrap.

THE FINAL WRAP

Where Life imitates Football

Le Rapace est mort.  Vive le Rapace!.
(Or as they say at our local barbershop: Next please.)

 

Fair dinkum, is that all there is to a 3-peat?  That’s two teams they’ve sent over from the West now, and one from Steak & Kidney.  But there’s more to it than that. West Coast were clearly the Second Best Team in The Competition.  Is The Family Club that much further ahead?  It was the sort of dominance that used to prevail in the pre-Coulter Law days, and in the open slather of the chequebook recruitment before zoning came in.  (Lethal’s 3-peat Lions were almost an AFL side.  Given a recruiting buggy ride, the appalling football league prevented Fitzroy amalgamating with Footscray and shunted the cream of The Roy Boys up to The Re-located Bears under Hawthorn Legend Leigh Matthews at The Gabba – Ed)  The question on everybody’s lips – can The Mayblooms match The Magpies’ Four Successive Flags – will be answered next season.  But there’s no second prizes for guessing that down in Dingley Dell they’re just taking it one season at a time.

As for the pre-match – save it for the post match concert.  I mean really, Grand Final Day is about The Football.  The acts were good in themselves but they were irrelevant.  Spangled 1970’s rock outfits and a matching guitar ensemble would have had them jiving in the aisles Festival Hall or the Palais.  (If  the sound system had been plugged in – Ed)  But this was the MCG .  The blonde lass was professional – quite classy in fact – as was that Pohmmy bloke with the hairstyle from the 1940’s and the music style from the 1980’s.  But it’s not just us.  At least not at The Footy.  When will the organisers of the AFL Grand Final accept that Our Great Game, while it might be The Game Played Around The World, it’s primarily a celebration of our own culture?  The departure of Winter.  The arrival of Spring.

And Mrs Wrap hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that people are watching the telecast around The Globe.  We should have our own world class artists on display.   And we should be having some iconic Australian songs like Waltzing Matilda & I Still Call Australia Home in the mix.  That’s what overseas people want to see.  (It gets the tear ducts of the ex-pats at The Slug & Lettuce pretty much flowing too – Ed)   That’s why they come here.  (That and the weak Aussie Dollar – Ed)  Someone once said you never go broke selling people what they want.

And to hear the crowd singing along with Mike Brady when he belted out Up There Cazaly from a soap box near the boundary through a sound system that would have cost less than a mobile pie stall to set up was choking stuff on the day.  (He can still hold those high notes too I see Wrap – Ed)

Talking about tradition, North Melbourne won their first Grand Final Day Sprint.  No one thought anyone but Majak Daw would win.  And after a slow start in those makeshift yellow bloomers 13 Cabs had togged them out in, he went on to win on the bit.  We missed who said it from the booth, but it had a bit of Usain Bolt about it came across the airwaves loud and clear.  Ouch.  (It could have been Bruce; it had the McAvaney stamp on it – Ed)  And 13 Cabs, in front of 98,633 at the ground and a viewing audience of millions, donated $5K to a nominated charity.  Double ouch.  (If only their fares were that cheap, eh Wrap? – Ed)

The heat played a part in the match, but both sides had to play in it.  It was the smaller Raptor that handled the conditions better.  But the appalling football league has to put its foot down in future seasons to ensure that one of The Nation’s Premier Sporting Event is not again pushed into the torrid post equinox season.  (Or is this part of the tactical push for a night Grand Final? – Ed)

But enough of my gabbin’.  Let’s see how it all unfolded on The First Saturday in October.

The Aquila Audaxii v The Mayblooms.   Firstly, congratulations to the team out at Maggot Central.  They got it spot on.  Although, it must be said, it was an easy match to adjudicate.  Shuey kicked The Weagles first major from a recital that would have earned him an A+ at any performing arts academy in the country.*  It put The Wedgies seven points to the good but it fired up The Paid-up Proud & Passionate and once Cyril had slotted their opener a minute or so later, it became a procession.  By the time of the first change of ends The Hawkers had kicked 5-0 to West Coast’s 1-5.  SOTG had that knowing look and The Bagmen were thinking they may have been a bit generous, especially with the line.

* (Cyril’s chase down of Mark Hutchings was the only other poor decision that sticks in the mind.  Hutchings actually got a fist to the ball, but it would have taken a brave umpire to call against The Rabid Leafy East Mob on that one.  And from the blind side – as in the earlier Shuey instance – you have to call them as you see them – Ed)

Actually, as far as the match went, that was about it.  True, The Eddie Eagles had a dip in the middle stages of the match.  They kicked two unanswered goals and three behinds from halfway through the 2nd Quarter but when they kicked the opening major of the Second Half they still had to score four unanswered goals to head TRP.  And that was never going to be allowed to happen.  (For those who feel more comfortable dealing with solids than gases, The Eagles closed the gap to 19 points – Ed)  Both sides were throwing everything into the contest and it was goal for goal until The Mustard Pots pinioned The High Flying Kings of The Big Game.   After three unanswered Hawthorn goals the margin at the home turn was 50 roast joints.  And The Eagles’ goose was well and truly cooked for season 2015.

The final margin was 46 points, but with tired legs The Hawks superior accuracy fell away and what could have so easily been a 6-2 Final Stanza became a pedestrian 2-6.  Even the 54-point difference highlighted West Coast’s miserable inaccuracy.  They had 21 scoring shots to The Leafblowers’ 27.  Memo to any coach who has ambitions to hold aloft the Premiership Cup, you’re never going to do it with a team that can only kick eight goals on a dry day.  (The Eagles kicked their 6th goal just after the match entered time-on in the Final Quarter – Ed)  In fact, it would have only won two Grand Finals in the post war era – 1945 to today.  Carlton beat Essendon in 1968 with a score of 7-14 (56) to 8-5 (53) and in 2005 when Sydney beat WCE with a score of 8-10 (58) to 7-12 (54).

There were just so many Hawthorn highlights.  And so many West Coast low lights.  Captain Courageous lead his team at the firing line right up and down the battlefield.  His standing left foot snap from deep in the pocket would have to be Goal of The Year.  For both style and context.  (Even The Hon Edward A Betts would concede that Wrap – Ed)  Duracell Man’s arched back was equally conspicuous where the combat was most torrid.  Roughie, with The Shoe taking up his role down forward, was an effective linkman.  Gibbo, Chip Frawley, Taylor D, Stratton & Birchall broke up so many Weagles’ attacks they could have been had up for threatening an endangered species if the WWF had been on the ball.  The rebounds they launched from this were pounced upon by Rioli, Gunston, Hill and Smith who kicked 10-3 between them.  That’s right Nurelle, more than the XXII players on the other side combined. Hale & McEvoy crashed packs all day to ensure The Eagles weren’t able to gain the aerial strength they’d displayed through the season.

But Grand Finals are all about pressure.  And under Coach Clarko Hawthorn is all about pressure.  The Coasters will benefit from the experience, but it was hardly a state secret.  That Grand Finals are all about pressure.  (Maybe you have to experience that Very Special September Pressure before you understand it – Ed)  Don’t tell me Ed; tell ‘em down at Punt Road.

But the antidote to pressure is composure.  And while The Leafblowers remained focused and balanced, The Weagles lost theirs completely.  To give some idea of just how one sided this event was, Hawthorn had eight players who had over 100 Dreamtime Points.  From Captain Courageous with 147 to The Bürgermeister with 102.  West Coast had one: Andrew Gaff with 103.  But nothing, apart from their inexcusable shooting on goal, summed up West Coast’s plight more than – in what may well have been his last action for The Family Club – the sight of Brian Lake throwing himself across the boot of Josh Hill as he too-casually tried to grub one through running into the open goalsquare.  It broke the tension in the coaches’ box where the adrenaline rush had everyone tensed up.  Clarko not long earlier had a definite tremor in his hands.  And we know more than one denizen of the Leafy East was shaking like a dog shitting razor blades.

For the record, Darling finished up with four marks and Kennedy six but they only managed 1-1 between them.  (Both scores credited to Darling – Ed)  The Coleman Medalist didn’t bother the goal umpires but was involved in 3 score assists, Darling 1.

Probably the least said about The High Flying Kings of The Big Game the better.  There were numerous instances of them falling apart.  A pass bouncing off Darling’s forehead.  Shuey not seeing Cripps in the goalsquare when he was crowded into a low percentage close-in shot by a couple of Hawk defenders.  (A goal at that point would have kept them in touch with TRP in the torrid open passage – Ed)  The failure of their prime movers Nic Nat Nui, Yeo, Masten & Priddis to take the game up to The Hawks.  (Simmo’s sure to have ordered mirrors to the fitted to the back of every locker before the pre-season gets underway – Ed)  The failure of their forwards, including this year’s Coleman Medalist, to maximize their limited opportunities was painful to watch.  Repeated failures by hand and foot, equally so.  Numerous fumbles.  In fact Simmo’s presser at some points ran parallel to Rossy Lyon’s the week before.  There’s a word for it; two words actually: Stage Fright.

What put The Weagles’ performance into sharp contrast was the way The Hawks went about their business.  They did the ordinary things extremely well and the extraordinary things extraordinarily well. And when acts of courage were called for, they did them unflinchingly.  The Bürgermeister flinging him self backwards into a pack to mark in the Eagle goalsquare exemplifies this 2015 Hawthorn Premiership Side.

It was a lovely touch to see Cyril Riolli join his two Uncles with a Norn Smith Medal.  The Wrap Loungeroom was widely spread.  We had it as Luke Hodge, Mrs Wrap would have given it to Roughie (Those Gippslanders stick together, don’t they Wrap? – Ed) and Nurelle was sure Duracell Man was going to win it, but there you go.

So the curtain falls on yet another Year of Football.  As always, it’s kept us entertained and driven damn near insane.  But now it’s time to get those lawns done and the hedges clipped.  The summer veggie beds worked up and ready for planting.  Kipling’s Flannelled Fools replace the Muddied Oafs and the lazy buzz of summer builds to its Mummifying Post Festive Embrace.

And so we drift off into the Long Dark Summer, each with our own deep thoughts.  Our reflections of glorious moments shared, agonizing moments of doubt, frustrating moments of a season that could have been.  Reflections of where Life and Our Great Game have taken us and may take us as the years roll by.  Here in the Wrapcave those reflections have led us to close the door behind us as walk off into the beckoning world.  Not close the door on Our Great Game, but on reporting on something that has been a feature of our lives here in the Wrapcave since 2002.  So it is with a pang of melancholy we thank our readers over the last 14 years for their loyalty and their mailbag contributions.  We’ve had a lot of fun haven’t we?  And we’ve banged a few beehives along the way.   We’d like to also thank Nurelle at the front desk, all the stringers and type setters, and all the work experience kids who have made the daily runs to the sandwich shop via the TAB to collect everyone’s wages and the petty cash money for the office.  We can’t say farewell without mention of Mrs Wrap.  Her patience and observations has been the guiding light of Wrap Publications.  You’ll all be missed.

We feel The Game has moved on from the Essential Tribalism that created it, and like the world itself, it has become a puppenspiel.  Sadly, we feel the marionettes are dancing for the money, and the power its influence brings.  We’d just like to leave you with an underwriting philosophy  – if you read it in the Wrap you can be sure it wasn’t crap.

May next season be your season.  And if it’s not next season, there’s always the one after that.

(He’s usually like this as the days draw longer and the buds begin to burst, although this year I think he means it.  A couple of days ago he asked me if I had Keith Dunstan’s mobile number.  And before you ask Nurelle, no, I didn’t have the heart to tell him.  I’ve suggested a sabbatical in Provence but he scornfully shook his golden mane.  Let’s see what happens next season when the acrid smell of briquette smoke mingles with the sandalwood scent of belah, and the sweet thunk of Bata Scouts sinking into Ross Faulkners can be heard across the nation – from the Meanstreets of Struggletown to the shaded cul-de-sacs & crescents of The Leafy East – from the cobbled bluestone lanes to the never ending plains – among sandy hummocks and by still waters – under pines and palms and the Shadows of Mt Lofty – and dare we say it – from sea to shining sea – as the WideBrownLand awakes from slumber – Ed)

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. Tony robb says:

    Bravo John, Bravo. Thanks for your wrap and enjoy the garden
    cheers
    TR

  2. Trucker Slim says:

    Thank you Mr The Wrap for coverage like no otherage. You truly do excel!

    The Hawks were magnificent, every last foot(ball) soldier.

    Two small observations.

    1) The Ed said, “The Eagles closed the gap to 19 points”. Not true. The margin was reduced to 24 points early in the Third when Darling goaled. Then Schoenmakers (proving himself worthy of selection) kicked true. Eagles scored their second for the quarter to bring it back to 25 points and then the mighty Hawks took over. That’s as close as it got.
    2) At the ground there was only one person who was going to win the Norm Smith. Junior. He dominated. Every time he went near the ball the Eagles were scared and the Hawks were rewarded. That tackle was one of the highlights of the game.

    Cheers

  3. aussie80s says:

    * (Cyril’s chase down of Mark Hutchings was the only other poor decision that sticks in the mind. Hutchings actually got a fist to the ball, but it would have taken a brave umpire to call against The Rabid Leafy East Mob on that one. And from the blind side – as in the earlier Shuey instance – you have to call them as you see them – Ed)

    It looked like Hutchings got a handball out but on the replay it was clearly a one handed handball – therefore correct decision of incorrect disposal.

  4. Bob Morrow says:

    The Wrap retiring – NO . Let’s hope Mo does a Dame Nellie or a J. Farnham.

  5. Sorry about that Trucker Slim. Arithmetic was never my long suit. Ask anyone who’s tried to sort out a lunch bill with me. The point I was making was that as much as they tried to talk it up in the broadcast box, it was never going to happen.

    A third Norm Smith for Hodgie would have been just too much you reckon Slim?

  6. Wrap, you are joking aren’t you?

  7. (No one’s seen him since Sunday John. His desk is as exactly as he left it: a bloody shambles. His car’s gone, and his swag. We can’t find the camp oven or the axe anywhere so we reckon he’s got them with him. And the rabbit traps and the bag with the square hooks don’t seem to be where they usually are We’ve got Citibank checking for any card entries, but we have a feeling he’ll turn up somewhere along the Darling north of Pooncarie. Look, If he calls in, slip him a fifty and we’ll fix you up at Christmas. – Ed).

  8. Rick Kane says:

    It was all Cyrill’s this time.

  9. I’m glad to see the back of you.
    The footy season that is, not you Mr Wrap. You are a true ornament of the game and the Almanac. Who published your stuff before the Almanac? Pravda, Private Eye, Charlie Hebdo, Smith’s Weekly, The Argus?
    I don’t know who could write those rambling, incoherent diatribes for the site once you’re gone.
    I’ve got your back.

  10. Dave Nadel says:

    On your comments about the pre-match entertainment, Wrapster. There are very few things that the NRL does better than the AFL but pre-match entertainment was one of them. The AFL produced a talented American whose best days are behind him, a bland Canadian who performed his only significant hit competently, and a lesser known Englishwoman who lip synched her song and messed it up, Mike Brady doesn’t count as pre-match entertainment. Like the National Anthem “Up There Cazaly” is a permanent part of the proceedings.

    The NRL produced Cold Chisel. An iconic heritage Australian band whose image fits the Rugby League demographic. Chisel sang three of their greatest hits and 80% of the crowd knew the lyrics, Yes, those hits were recorded even earlier than Chris Isaak and Bryan Adams’ hits but Cold Chisel’s songs are part of the culture. And even though the songs were about Vietnam Veterans PTSD, growing up in Grafton and running off to the Northern Territory to escape the boredom of factory life they still seemed more relevant to a football final than “A Wicked Game”, “Summer of 69” and whatever Ellie Goulding’s poorly articulated song was about.

    Oh and Wrapster. Don’t retire, we enjoy your work too much!

  11. Paul Buxton says:

    Why is Up There Cazaly not the National Anthem? I voted for it…

  12. Dave Nadel says:

    The national anthem referendum was held in 1977. Up There Cazaly was released in 1979,

    I voted for Waltzing Matilda, but if Good Old Collingwood Forever had been on the ballot paper…………..

  13. (The NRL also produced a contest they’ll be talking about in a 100 years time when Hawthorn’s 3-peat is just an annotation in a record book. You know they’ve registered the hash tag #fourthorn?

    Just for the record Dave, I haven’t spoken to anyone who didn’t vote for Waltzing Matilda. Just imagine how easy it would be explaining to the newly arrived citizens of The Fatal Shore what the song was about and how it is that it’s The Spirit of Australia that you hear as you walk by that Billabong. We wouldn’t need no history wars and no John Winston Howard’s white bread version of the last 227 years ago Our Poor Fella Country.

    BTW John, we’ve got a focus on him. He filled up the car and three jerry cans at Wycheproof. He was towing a boat – Ed).

  14. Peter Flynn says:

    Say it aint so Old Mate.

  15. Dear Wrapster – will you change your mind if we table a 6 year deal, largely a front ended contract of course, and include a prime block of land in Leopold? We can’t have you hanging up your pen just yet. Think of the ripple effect this will have on the economy!

    And whatever you do, don’t go to Sydney.

  16. Wrap – wrap yourself up in cotton wool for a few months.
    When the umpire bounces the first football, unwrap that cotton.
    Or when the trade season starts.
    Or when the draft happens…
    Cotton wool ain’t no tomb, and footy isn’t cotton wool…

  17. (Still no sign of or word from him Dips. Someone in a yellow & black beanie bought 200 yabby traps at Ouyen and paid cash. It made the local paper. Our Sunraysia stringer dropped us a line. He kept an eye on the bridge at Buronga but he thinks he may have headed out through Yelta. It looks like he’s headed up the Darling as we suspected. We don’t know if he has his phone with him or has it turned off. If he’s heading to where i think he’s heading he’ll be out of range anyway. We’ve asked the storekeeper at Bindara Station to send word back with the mail truck if he calls in for flour & sugar. And he won’t last long without tea – Ed)

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