AFL Round 10 – The 2014 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Are we witnessing Kennett’s Curse Part Two? Hawthorn lose a string of important players to injury and suspension and now Big Al Clarkson has copped Guillain-Barre syndrome, “a form of nerve inflammation affecting the spinal cord” and will miss some matches while recovering. Fortunately, the long-term outlook for Al is pretty good but he could conceivably be out for months.


That Flag Repeat seems to be slipping away from the Glenferrie grasp. Doubtless, you’ve all read that they won every stat bar the scoreboard on Satnite, but it didn’t always look that way. Port seemed to be running all over them in the first half without scoring and it’s full credit to the Mayblooms for hanging in there. A champion team indeed.


Post Round Ten, when every team has played nine matches – if you’re gonna have byes, then this is the way to do it, six games a week for three weeks, unless every team has the same week off and we have a state carnival – the northern end of the ladder has an unusual flair.


After last season’s heroic turnaround we expected Port to be up there, but 8 from 9 and 146% is great form in anyone’s language. Geelong, you know them, every year they’re gonna fall from grace, are 7 from 9. Man-mountain Tom is a force of nature (at his best), witness the moment in the second term when he missed a tricky mark, gathered the ball, ran through and/or over three backmen and gave off a handball for GHS to kick the goal.


Equal on wins are the Gold Coast Schoolies! It doesn’t hurt to have Gary Ablett as a captain in best-of-career form (Brownlow betting has him at $1.85, the next is $9) but they’re doing the job. I can’t comment too much on the Schoolies because I haven’t really seen much of them this season, aside from when they beat the Monaros and that doesn’t really count.


Snapping at the heels of these pretenders are the last two premiership teams. Just as Hawthorn are suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Sydney are hitting their straps.


What the hell does that mean? According to Collins English dictionary: (Australian, informal) to achieve one’s full potential or become fully effective.


Yes, I knew that, I should’ve asked, where did it come from? Thanks to ‘The Phrase Finder’ (, of course it’s an English website!) for this etymological explanation: “‘hitting your straps’ comes from horses in harness, they wear straps to keep them in the correct gait.


“Four legged animals have four gaits – they can diagonal leg sync, front and back sync or side to side syne. Hence, walk, canter, trot and gallop. When a horse is running at full speed without breaking its stride, it hits its straps as it stretched out in the rhythm of the trot.”


Many thanks to Victoria Dennis for that explanation. Now, where were we?


Ah, yes, the Swans. They play this week’s Top Three over the next three rounds, that oughta sort out some ideas as to where they really stand in the grand scheme of things. They could win all three and that’d really get the Melbourne journos in a tizzy.


The Goldies have an even more testing few weeks. Adelaide, Sydney, West Coast, then Geelong, Hawthorn and Collingwood.


Collingwood, eh? The ol’ 4&20s. Equal on wins with Hawthorn and Sydney, yet not rated. Maybe if Trav could discover his inner Tom Hawkins they might score a more generous assessment. As it stands, Freo, with one less win, seem to be considered more worthy. Must be some sympathy thing for Ross.


If we dare look toward the big end of the season – and do we? Bloomin’ heck of course we do! – let’s reckon that the Goldies will win a final, maybe make it to a prelim. Collingwood can expect much the same. Freo have a dream run coming up and don’t play any team they might not be expected to beat, Wiggles aside, until Geelong in The Twentieth Round. So they’re likely to get a few rungs up the ladder.


Sydney have the capablilty to outscore any team in the League, that’s what you get for having a Coleman Medallist for a coach, and a solid, if ageing, backline. Geelong just keep on keeping on, tho their best players are veterans with a load of tough finals matches behind them. Hawthorn oughta be just as dependable but injuries, not the least being Clarko’s, may have already screwed their chances. Port are young and fast and flashy, have little finals experience but that don’t necessarily count for much if they’ve verve and dash, and that they do.


So the Flag team will be – – – the one that wins the Grand Final. Oh dear, I’m Irish, I should be able to channel some Wildean wit. But this week, I’ll leave it at Geelong, Sydney or Port.


Cheers, Tipsters

P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.

Brought to you with the assistance of ‘Play Loud, Volume One.’


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. Hmm. No one would wish Clarko’s illness on anyone. He is the best strategic coach in the AFL. I reckon Brendon Bolton can join Brendan Joyce as an AFL footnote by taking over a champion team and delivering the flag.
    To my eye the strength of the Hawks is the ‘one steps down/two step up’ ethos. It is not just an ideal, Clarkson has built a base to make it a reality.
    The 2013 flag was built on making Buddy a disposable, decoy forward. I doubt that the Swans have the same luxury.
    Leave Roughy, Mitch, Squirrel, Gibbo and Loch on the bench for another 6 weeks to freshen up. They’ll do better than 50:50 in their absence.
    Its like a Champions League contender keeping up to speed in the FA Cup.
    I don’t like Hawthorn, but I respect them enormously.
    Still faves for mind when the whips are cracking.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    After last night, I’m deleting Geelong from the Flag Fancies list. Good thing I qualified the above assertion with ‘this week.’

  3. Rob Burke says

    Looking forward to further updates, might even have to catch up on AFL! Just liking the copy and feedback at this stage.

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