2018, Bondi to Blacktown, tickets for the zone please

Greetings Tipsters

Zones?! Really? What the heck! I mean, what the hecking heck!! Granted, I’ve been bitching and moaning about the roving mauls since way before it became fashionable but my suggestions to alleviate this blight all harken to the game’s history: nineteenth man; fulltime jobs for players; pre-match boozing; one coach.

Zones and anything else remotely resembling an offside rule are thoroughly inimical to the nature of Australian Football. The real key to all this malarkey, the ever-multiplying committees and study groups, the strident statements from Aragorn and Steve ‘Faramir’ Hocking, is in a statement made by a Ch7 nabob several weeks ago, that the 30 seconds after a goal is the most valuable airtime on Australian television, well, equal first with the thirty seconds after an over in a Test match.

Dwell on that for a moment. Goals, gold.

Aragorn must feel like echoing Zeus when he complained about the Swans playing “ugly football.” Here’s a team boasting Lance Franklin, the greatest forward of the last twenty years, and they struggle to kick a winning score at the SCG (happy hunting ground for Capper, Lockett, O’Loughlin, Hall). Against the Schoolies. Watching that match, I thought they lost the wrong coach. They should’ve sent Longmire to Carrara and promoted Stuart Dew.

Sydney is an incredibly frustrating team to watch and this columnist is quite relieved to no longer have an emotional investment. Too often it seems that – say, ball kicked forward into space, Swan runs onto it, do they kick it forward off the ground? Gather it on the run and head goalwards? Stop and get tackled? Stop and handball it backwards to someone who gets tackled?

If you picked the third or fourth options, congratulations! You win a vid of the 2012 Grand Final.

Grundy played in the NEAFL, cos there wasn’t a matchup for him. Seriously? He may have lost a bit of toe, but he’s cluey, borne of 240 matches experience. That would have been handy. I’m almost surprised that they re-signed Aliir, an instinctive player (whose injury cost them the ’16 flag) cos instinct aint the thing for Swans.

Then there’s that midfield getting on in years and bash crash. Josh Kennedy will be in a wheelchair before he’s 50. Hannebery, the oldest 27 yr old in the league. Chris Judd picked it way before anyone else, wrote a column couple months back, he’d seen Dan doing sprint training in Melbourne seven or eight years ago during the players’ post season break, he now runs flatfooted, has he overtrained himself to an early retirement? Few weeks back, Dan’s horrid stats hit the media and Rampe was hauled out to say “we all walk taller when he’s on the field.” And run more, too, cos he’s a liability at the moment.

As it stands, Sydney could miss the finals. Unless they do a Woosha and change everything. This week would be an appropriate time to start.

So, we fire up the Triumph Sprint, leave the SCG and head thru Surry Hills, past 88a, down Foveaux St, past the old Trade Union Club, Eddy Ave, hang a left toward Broadway, we hit Parramatta Rd and flick in between the cars and trucks and – truth be told, folks, I know backstreet runs, so I wouldn’t go near Parra Rd until I’m past the freeway turnoff at Concord – and we find ourselves in a wonderful setting for a horror movie, the Olympic Precinct, wherein dwell Monaros.

Who started the season on fire, collapsed in a heap after a draw w St Kilda and now, sans best attacking backman, hardest running midfielder in the league, full forward and centre half-forward, beat Port in Adelaide, sixth win from seven. Beat Crows in Adelaide, beat Richmond at the Showground, etc, the loss being a close one in Perth to the Wiggles. That’s some good form. Five very winnable matches pre-finals.

Some have questioned Leon’s coaching skills. Likely some within the club, as he’s been coaching from the bench the last few weeks, but it’s working. McConnell aside, the assistants are neophytes.

Ronald Dale Barassi was the first coach to sit in the stand, 1970 he had some kids take seats in the Members for him. It’s worthwhile, that overall view, but maybe something might be lost. NFL coaches are on the sidelines, spotters upstairs give ‘em the word on the broad screen.

Being a fan, you can sit upstairs and get a full view of the field, or sit a few yards from the boundary and hear the thump of boot on ball, bone on bone. Different experiences, one visceral, one analytical.

Where would you like your coach, farther from the game than any punter or on the paddock? I like the idea of coaching from the bounday line. Onya Leon.

Yeah, coaching skills. Consider, Leon and John have been there long enough for the playing squad to be what they want and playing their style, the Monaros kids run around and kick and look like they’re having some fun, the Swans kids look like they’re doing a job. That blue collar Bloods ethic needs a spark of joy.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production
Brought to you with the assistance of Ugly Things Vol 1.

PS – I noticed a bit of dieback on a street tree, so wrote the council and suggested an arborist might take a look at it. Two weeks later, truck with a chipper, a ute, five or six blokes, hanging around for too long and waking up the neighbours, it was a ten second job, next time I’ll do it myself.

About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. george smith says

    It’s no longer a freeway, it’s a tollway. So the best way out west is to take the other freeway past the Airport to Beverley Hills, then Canterbury road to Stacy Street/ Silverwater Road.

    As for the Swans, stop stirring them up. We’ve had enough of that sort of thing with the Bulldogs. The last thing we need, with my beloved Magpies heading for the SCG on August 4, is yet another Line in the Sand, Rorke’s Drift, We will take our Home Back game by a team that’s going through a bout of poor form. Let them go quietly, like Melbourne last year.

    The Swans will regroup, like they did last year. But losing your first 6 and then finishing 6th is an indication the something is wrong, which they didn’t address this year.

  2. Perceptive analysis – as always Earl. Sydney’s old players are too old to maintain the pace all season, and the young are too young to cope with the pressure and intensity all season. As good a rationale as any. I like that Sydney are unlikely to get a flag return on their outrageous Buddy gamble. Bums on seats from a financial viewpoint – yep. But that sort of long term gamble risks long term ruin. Maybe a cautionary tale for those planning to mortgage the house for the Great White Hope from the North.
    Looks like you traded the Coogee Jaguars for the Monaros just before the differential inevitably dropped out and leaked oil all down the driveway.

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