AFL 2014 : A synopsis inspired by Paul Kelly

After half a round of AFL, the maelstrom and hyperbole is flowing freely. As an accountant, I’m sure I haven’t used those two words in the correct context. I have however seen them used an inordinate number of times already in the ever increasing “serious” analysis and press surrounding the AFL.

For those that spend last weekend at cricket finals or the Grand Prix, the story so far is;
It is basically how far the expansion teams;
It is Chicken Little time for the Melbourne teams;
And let’s face it; the game is dying because the crowds were down.

So really, lets just all get a grip and take a true look at the season in a unique and appropriate way. That is by reviewing each club by aligning their current standing, hopes, dreams and potential with a song by the great man Paul Kelly.

Now we all do (or should) be aware that when it comes to sporting pursuits the great man is a lover of all sports. His lyrical output though has been leaning towards cricket, and the longer form of the game at that. But it is only a small leap in relative conscious thinking and thought that we could adapt a number of his fine pieces of work to summarise the true status of our 18 teams that together make up the AFL.

Adelaide: Adelaide

Well, Im being Captain Obvious here. But really, did he give us a choice?
Delving a bit deeper, although the song has sad undertones, it is the last three lines that have resonated with most football followers.

“All the King’s horses, all the Kings men
Wouldn’t drag me back again
To Adelaide, Adelaide, Adelaide”

How many of us have thought this after trudging from Westlakes.

Really, who knows how they will perform on the ground. But the upside to the whole year is that we will be at the Adelaide Oval and that my friend, is a very good thing.


Brisbane: I Can’t Believe We Were Married

The pundits will have you believe that it will be a hard road for our friends from Brisbane town.

Thus the reflective nature of this song selection. They seem to be a shadow of their premiership glory, both on and off the field. A broken man whose partner has scarped with the new love.

The decision to honour the old Brisbane Bears jumper during the year too sneaks of a breaking of past traditions. As good as Brisbane has been at placating the Fitzroy supporters, it appears that passion maybe waning.

“Yeah sometimes we see each other on the street
Maybe at a concert or some party
We say hello, talk about the show
I can’t believed we were married”

Carlton: Careless

Oh dear. Not the start that was wanted. Mick Malthouse said the premiership clock was at 11 o’clock. I think we need to ensure it was a clock and not a sun dial, because things don’t look great as the storm clouds gather.

Self proclaimed “Pokie King” Bruce Mathieson has come out and said that they are the worst recruiters in the business. They have been careless in managing the club. There are sinister undertones of a coup at Board level. While “Sticks” Kernahan maybe one to “Stand by Your Man”, I think the words below are more appropriate

“I know I have been careless
I lost my tenderness
I’ve been careless
I took bad care of things”

Collingwood: Be Careful What You Pray For

Another team that is in a crisis according to the main stream media and water cooler talk. The Stalanistic approach of the zealous McGuire / Pert / Buckley team does not seem to be paying the dividends that the club had hoped for. There is still a lingering unrest amongst the Collingwood faithful that maybe the wrong rein has been pulled and the wrong reign ended.

At the beginning of the first game, Pert wanted to know why the game wasn’t at the MCG where 90,000 could adore their beloved Pies. Two hours later, the trio were glad only 30,000 were there to witness the slaughter.

“Be careful what you pray for
You just might get it
Be careful what you pray for
You might regret it
You get your hands on the glittering prize
Now everybody’s coming at you from everyside
Be careful what you pray for
You just might get it”


Essendon: Somebody’s Forgetting Someone

Again, who knows? It is going to be another trying year for those who Don the Sash.

Even though there is a new coach.

Even though his predecessor is learning the art of business in Fountainbleau.

Even though the fine received by the club equated to Big Andy’s bonus, the players are still the effected ones. For them the fear is the unknown. Unfortunately, no one is forgetting.

“And every time I hear those bells
I think I’m done for
And every time they cast their spell
I think I’m done for
Nowhere to run for
Somebody’s forgetting somebody
Somebody’s letting somebody down”


Fremantle: Deeper Water

I have to admit this is my favourite song by the great man.

I also have to admit, that I also have a bias towards the boys from Freo as my “second team”.

I like their attitude, I like their unfashionableness, I like their song but most of all I like the fact that my daughter likes calling them the hooks, because to her that’s what the anchor looks like.

They are destined for greatness, as long as the tall guy in the middle and the man up forward who bleeds purple can stand up for one more year.

The words below describe what the side has transformed to under the guidance of the coach. He has taken them from the boyish youth of the Harvey years to the grown men they are now.

Please please please wear the purple strip when you make the grand final this year.

“On a crowded beach in a distant time
At the height of summer see a boy of five
At the water’s edge so nimble and free
Jumping over the ripples looking way out to sea
Now a man comes up from amongst the throng
Takes the young boy’s hand and his hand is strong
And the child feels safe, yeah the child feels brave
As he’s carried in those arms up and over the waves”


Geelong: Foggy Highway

After watching the first competitive game down at Kardinia Park this year, this song rang true. For a period you could not see across the ground. Admittedly it was rain not fog, but hey what is a bit of poetic license.

Maybe it was because of the fog that Gary Sidebottom missed the bus all those years ago. The trip down the highway has been so daunting for all other clubs over the past decade. Many are hoping and believing that this year it maybe not be so.

Like the town itself, there is a belief that they may have been to the top of the mountain and are now on the other side. If that is the case, then the following rings true. The good times maybe temporarily behind them.

“I’m on a foggy highway
I’m on a lonely road
I’m not long for this world
I’m on a foggy highway”


GWS: From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Again, Captain Obvious makes an appearance. But when a full toss is thrown up, then you have to despatch it.

While the nomadic Kevin Sheedy spruiked his form of lunacy and promotion to the far flung reaches of Australia, Leon Cameron has been moulding a side behind the hype.

The inclusion of some harder bodies and minds has helped him this year (in Round 1 at least). In Josh Hunt, Shane Mumford and Heath Shaw there is 4 AFL premierships. That is experience that $10m could not buy.

Now the panic is that GWS will not have to wait 8 years. And unlike Vincent’s people the current generation did not have to go through great hardship or lack of wages.

Haven’t quite worked out who the tall stranger is, but hey they are the Giants after all.

“Then Vincent Lingiari returned in an aeroplane
Back to his country once more to sit down
And he told his people “Let the stars keep on turning
We have friends in the south, in the cities and towns”

Eight years went by, eight long years of waiting
‘Til one day a tall stranger appeared in the land
And he came with lawyers and he came with great ceremony
And through Vincent’s fingers poured a handful of sand

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow”


Gold Coast: Elly

Now I am cheating here, as the song was written by Kev Carmody, but the great man does a version on his Hidden Things CD.

The song is about a young girl who is lost and then compromised. She takes a turn down a certain path and ends up in the oldest profession in the bright lights of Surfers Paradise.
She doesn’t lament her fate, but takes to it with gusto. Success is achieved, but at a price.

Now as the lyrics say, Elly is the Gold Coast, and Ill leave it to the readers judgement as to who the losers are as there is one team just can’t seem to get over the line against the Suns up north!

“If the decks been marked before the deal
You learn to compromise
Or you get to know the cool hand with the dice
You learn to live off losers, for they make the mistakes twice
You’re living in high society but you’re street wise
Just to survive, just to survive”


Hawthorn: Everybody Wants to Touch Me

As reigning premier, they are the hunted.

They are the family club that has made a corporate success (even if in the early years dogs outnumbered humans on their membership list).

They are chasing back to back and have lost their marque player.

Their form early is sublime.

The words below just outline what they are facing and what the other clubs are chasing

“Everybody’s lost their manners
Everybody’s in a rush
One starts to push, another starts to shove
Then they all get caught in the crush

Everybody wants to touch me
Everybody wants a slice
Everybody wants to touch me
Want a little magic in their lives”


Melbourne: God Told Me To

I was going to cheat again and use a Steven Connelly song “Hard Times” also on the Hidden Things CD.

Other than being a bit obvious for what Melbourne is facing, I didn’t want to cheat again.

Paul Roos is seen as and hoped to be the messiah of Melbourne. He faces an uphill battle. The players were looking for leadership and he is the one to lead.

The words below are right for both Roos and the players. The mission is difficult, but will the players be able to do what Roos tells them to?

“My mission is most righteous, my cause is true and just
The wicked need chastisement, you know it’s either them or us
God told me to
I did what I had to do
God told me to”


North Melbourne: Tease Me

Again, this is one that jumps onto the page.

They have been promising for years. Can this be the time for North to live up to their potential? Can Boomer hang on for one last foray?

Their fans are ardent. They survive on the smell of an oily rag.

Their best is outstanding, but it is as fluky and as consistent as my putting stroke.

The verse below sums up so many things about North. Their ability, their inconsistency, their hope, their supporters and their passion. Can the other Scott drag them across the line?

“It’s oh so late, it’s too late to care
Time gentlemen please
I’ll have one scotch, one bourbon, one beer
Please don’t let the music stop
‘Cause you know, baby, what it is that you got
You don’t even have to try
Oh I’ll love you ’til the day you die
C’mon tease me, c’mon tease me, baby
C’mon tease me, I can take it, baby”

Port Adelaide Beggar on the Street of Love

It is hard being the under dog in a two horse town.

It is even harder when your president is a Fly In Fly Out type of guy.

But with the coach they have a true football magician. With their history, they are born fighters.

All will work out well, with a few dollars from the equalisation fund.

“All the rest have no charm
There’s nothing they can give me
What I want makes me poor
In this great big world of plenty
I’m holding out my cup
Only you can fill it up
I’m a beggar on the street of love”


Richmond: Don’t Start Me Talking

There is nothing more passionate than a Tiger supporter. Unfortunately, there is also nothing as illogical. Talkback radio stations live for the rollercoaster ride of Richmond. One week the coach should be publically flogged the next he should be in a bronze statue outside the “G”.

It is what football is. It is Melbourne in winter.

It can lead anywhere, but usually it leads to ninth.

“Don’t start me talking or I’ll have it all my way
Don’t start me talking ’cause night will turn to day
Stars will run and hide
Strong men weep a tide
So don’t start me talkin”


St Kilda: Nothing But A Dream

We all know and love the confusion that is St Kilda. This year is to be no different. They are akin to an hour glass. At the top they have some stars. At the bottom they have some kids. In the middle, they are a very thin.

Maybe their time and link with New Zealand this year will assist them, hobbit style.

High on a hill, deep in a forest
At the end of a lonely road
Inside a house of New Zealand timber
Lives a young queen all on her own
She took me in and did her healing
And said ‘You can stay if you know when to go
But don’t take too much when you start your stealing
Just a little’s enough-you’re the one who should know’

You will fall, you will fall
Nothing but a dream, nothing as it seems
You will fall, you will fall
Nothing as it seems, nothing but a dream

Sydney: From St Kilda to Kings Cross

Well, it does roughly map the journey that the club has taken. It wasn’t 13 hours on the bus, but it has been a long time since we used to sit back and watch our “second team” every second Sunday from Sydney (interspersed with Army Reserve Cup matches on alternate weeks).

Through all this time they have managed to become ingrained in Sydney, while not appearing to sell out to the glitzy and seedy way of life that Kings Cross portrays.

Unfortunately with the “Buddy Deal” have they finally sold their soul?

“From St Kilda to Kings Cross is thirteen hours on a bus
I pressed my face against the glass and watched the white lines
rushing past
And all around me felt like all inside me
And my body left me and my soul went running”

West Coast Your Little Sister (She’s a Big Girl Now)

It seemed to happen slowly. At the start, it looked like it could never happen. The Eagles now not only have a true competitor, they are now the under dog.

The rules out west have changed; there is a new sheriff in town. I don’t think the old dog is down for the count, but the riches of the west have to be shared.

“It seemed to happen in a dream
Like the corn at summer’s end
She was standing fully grown
Peaches hanging on the tree
I shook some loose, she bit too quick
All the juice came running down
Your little sister’s a big girl now”


Western Bulldogs: I Keep Coming Back for More

One flag in their existence. Name changes. No Money. Mergers. Takeovers. Moments of glory. Moments of Agony.

The flag still flys in the west. Their supporters do keep coming back for more.

Probability says it will happen one day, but maybe not this year.

“Won’t somebody help me please
I’m afflicted with a strange disease
No doctor can help me, neither can the nurse
‘Cause the cure I crave is just making me worse
And I keep on coming back for more”

All lyrics were taken from Paul Kelly, except Elly which was from Kev Carmody.

All were taken without their permission, but have been reproduced with admiration.


A mediocre local sportsman now paying for the sins of the past. Golf and walking the only options. As JTH said, you are not a golfer if you cant shoot under 85. Im not a golfer


  1. Gotta love Paul Kelly – Rostrevor Old Collegian, former Kensington cricketer and life-long Norwood supporter. Oh – and a reasonable musician and song-writer at times.

    Nice work with the match ups.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    V Clever and entertaining aussiegus well done and ditto Shotgun above

  3. St Kilda – Dumb Things

    Dwarves and schoolgirls and stalking
    I’ve done all the dumb things

    I threw Dal Santo in the ring
    I’ve done all the dumb things

    Went to Seaford when Moorabbin was king
    I’ve done all the dumb things

    Now another rebuild is the thing
    I’ve done all the dumb things

  4. aussiegus says

    Sean. Thank you. Impressive re write. A whole new world opend up in a Greg Champion kind of way.
    Cant believe my proof reading missed a club. But then again, sadly they had dropped from my consciousness went they left Moorabbin. I had pencilled in Nothing But A Dream. Will have to update accordingly

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Very good aussiegus

    One for the AFL expansionistas –

    Every F*cking City

    And most teams –

    Tease Me
    Before Too Long (every dog will have his day)

    And the follow on Coodabeens reference –

    Billy Baxter

  6. ned_wilson says

    Great article. Thanks for sending in part 2 – I’ve squeezed it into the original text.

  7. Stainless says

    Are you having a subtle dig at Freo with “Deeper Water”? I’m sure you know how the song ends!

    Given the outpourings of vitriol about Richmond on this site over the last few days, I’m surprised no-one’s suggested “Dumb Things” as our song.

  8. I would have thought “How to Make Gravy” fits Essendon better. Hopefully ASADA will have Lord Jim in the can for Christmas, and not ‘outa here by July’.
    Very clever. Thanks AG.

  9. Rick Kane says

    Brilliant aussiegus, piss funny. I’m saying that as a Hawks supporter (and we come out of this very clever and fun analysis looking pretty cool). I’m sure you know that Paul Kelly has said Everybody Wants To Touch Me is his reflections on what a pregnant woman must feel and think. Here’s hoping we give birth to another premiership!

  10. mickey randall says

    Aussiegus- brilliant. You matched lyrics and clubs extremely well. The conflict and despair that run through Paul Kelly’s songs connect nicely to being a football supporter! Agree that Deeper Water is a mighty song.

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