AFL Round 11: The Pre-Wrap

THE PRE WRAP – Round XI

 

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

What a week it’s been in Footy, Eddie.  The kerfuffle about The Little Master’s Elbow felled a couple of copses of Pinus radiata and the ASADA investigation got a booster injection from the news from across The Ditch that match fixing is endemic wherever it can be economically sustained.  Adam Scott retained his Numero Uno ranking in World Golf and Cadel…..well, we love him and we love his dog. But it would appear Ocean Grove beckons.

Let’s deal with The Fairy Prince first. The one going for his third Brownlow. For crying out loud, there was nothing in it. It was nothing more than a get-off-me friendly reminder. If we’re going to take that out of The Game, we may as well be playing Soccer. Look, even if it had been Jake King it wouldn’t even have rated a free kick on the day. Although a penalty from the Star Chamber would have been a bonanza for The Bagmen.

Which raises two more issues – gambling in sport and the manipulation of the results, and playing soccer. (They’re both the same issue Wrap – Ed) More of Tasmania’s heritage has gone through the chipper this week just to tell us the bleeding obvious: wherever there’s a buck to be made, someone is going to work out a way to make a sure-fire buck.  A low scoring sport in which crucial decisions by either a single player or a single referee can dramatically influence an outcome is the most vulnerable.

And what better sport to trade in than the World Game? Played internationally and bet on by punters who would wager which raindrop is going to slide down a window pane the quickest, by desperadoes brought so low by depravation that their only way out is seen to be the intervention of the gods in their favour, by Sports Fans demonstrating faith in their team and an urge to put their money where their mouth is, by Students of The Game who like to back their judgement, by those who think they can work the numbers and shop around for the best odds.  And then there’s those who see this feeding frenzy as the chance to make a killing.

True, there are other sports that are under attack from result fixing – tennis is one. Google Nickolay Davydenko. And now, from across The Ditch, we are getting confirmation of what everyone has been taking for granted for years. So how safe is Our Great Game?

Let’s look at our strengths & weaknesses.  XXXXIV players & nine men/women advertising Play Station are involved. And throw in some decisions from the Coaches’ Box that can influence outcomes. That would cost a fair whack to manipulate and be hard to keep on the quiet. Even Richmond’s 9-20 against The Spirited Redlegs looked genuine. And how could Travis Cloke miss more easy shots than he does? (What about Buddy, Wrap?  William Tell splitting the apple one week and all over the shop like a burst bag of wheat the next – Ed) Don’t tell me about it Oh Worldly Wordsmith, tell Jack Riewoldt.  Then there’s the huge number of scoring shots and passages of play. True, in a tight match a crook decision can conjure a result, but crikey, the maggots make crook calls all the time. And they come under review – from Cambo at Maggot Central, from the coaches ‘please explain’ calls, and the ever vigilant media bulldogs and sniffer hounds.

Even when it comes to the Brownlow voting, getting under the skin of the Gold Coast Suns captain is an instruction every opposition coach would give his team. It works on Stevie J a treat, and Rossy Lyon probably doesn’t even have to remind Player Crowley to get in his face. So why would a result manipulator have pay to have the Raging Medal Favourite driven to retaliation? Nevertheless, as unthinkable as it is, in fact it feels outrageous to even suggest it, but what if the evil ones got to the raging favourite at some stage in the future? What would it take to throw a Brownlow? You’d have to say it wouldn’t be money, so what other influences could be brought to bear? The obvious one is the one that finally unseated Lance Armstrong. After all, performance enhancing substances are supposedly what brought him all his success in the first place. Far fetched? Probably.  But possible? Yes.

Of course we could take out the ‘fairest’ in The Fairest & Best description of the Brownlow. And call it the SportsBet Medal. That way a suspension would only mean the loss of opportunity to poll votes. (Only you could come up with selling the naming rights to The Brownlow, Wrap – Ed)

All that breast-beating aside, yes, of course we’re vulnerable, but the answer is in the hands of the administration of The Game.  The April Fools League could cut its ties with the gambling industry. It wouldn’t stop gambling, but it would markedly diminish the pool and the exposure.

One thing that has puzzled us here in the Wrapcave has been the identification of what is going on. In this day & age of high-speed computers, surely any irregular betting patterns would trigger pre-set alarm thresholds. Which raises the question – are they not monitoring the betting trends? Are the bad guys able to hide it? Or is the system being knobbled in some way, either electronically or anthropologically?

(Editor’s note – Wrap Subscribers will be pleased to hear that we finally tracked down our senior writer – we mean that in the nicest possible way of course – and got the net over him. He’s back on his regular medication and you’ll be happy to hear he’s on the mend)

Get the happy footage of those Socceroos heading off to the cull in Brazil? All decked out in the GoldenGreen of The Fatal Shore? Fresh from their one-all draw against an under-strength outfit from the Rainbow Republic, didn’t they look like world-beaters hopping aboard the Flying Kangaroo? And the band played Waltzing Matilda.

But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s headed for Football Heaven in Round XI.

The Bloods v The Pivotonians at Moore Park Road tonight. The Swans should have too much forward power for the weakened Geelong defence. They’ll make a good account of themselves and they have their own Goalsquare Gorilla in the Blue & White Hoops. In fact, with Ward Rooney predicting late afternoon showers, mainly in the east, The Cats, with Varcoe & Motlop firing, may not be as disadvantaged as would seem at first glance. But with The Bloods in great form, playing at home, coming off the bye, and their opponents only having a 6-day rest, it’s Steak & Kidney for ours.

The St Seaford Seagulls v Carringbush under cover on Friday night.  The Woodsmen just scraped in last weekend against The Weagles in an unimpressive display. The Feeling Faints are coming back after a rest. It would be nice to think these two Traditional Rivals can slug it out toe to toe, but on paper it looks very much like a mismatch. And that’s the way we’re going to call it.  Collingwood.

The Fuchsias v Port Adelaide for the early one (in the shadows of Anzac Hill – Ed) on Saturday. The Demons have been making a good account of themselves lately and have so impressed their coach with their progress that he’s taken up his option for a third season. This week they’ll be given a salutatory lesson in how a basket case can be woven into a Premiership Contender in two easy seasons. And don’t Coach Hinkley’s comments take you back? Back to 1967 when Tommy Hafey was asked if he thought his bunch of inexperienced kids could win the Flag. He said it wasn’t a problem. Most of them had played in the Richmond 3rds (U19) Premiership the year before. What he didn’t add, was that he’d coached Shep United to Triple Flags and played in the 1959 Richmond Amateurs Premiership side. How’s that for experience? Of course Port Adelaide can win The Flag. Ken Hinkley told them they could, and that’s good enough for them. They’ll win on Saturday too. And you can put them down as The Wrap Safe as Houses Investment Opportunity of The Round. (You sound like you might be climbing aboard the Alberton Oval Bandwagon Wrap – Ed)  Make no mistake Tenacious Tinkerer, the Tealers are the story of 2014.

The Maroons v The Miseries at The Lions’ Den on Saturday in whatever passes for twilight up there in Bananaland. The Bluebaggers have got a bit of a wriggle on after a woeful start and are making a run at September. Brissy haven’t got enough to stop them. In fact, they looked the part in those old Bad News Bears strips last week. Carlton.

The Dreamtime Match – The Same Old Syringes v The Wasps. The Striped Marvels monstered The Free Falling Giants last round, but they’re not letting that colour their judgement. They know this is going to be a tough one. Would the real EFC please stand up? Can’t follow this mob. Serving it up to The Reigning Premiers one minute, falling apart against The Feeling Faints the next.  Sydney really dismantled them before the bye, and their Locum Coach seems to have slipped off his medication again. With The Tigers kicking it long to Jack we’re going for The Visitors here. But it’s a real toss of the coin job. It came down Richmond, but the real winner will be the prematch celebration of our indigenous heritage. A heritage that held this country together for over 60,000 years. (See you’re still using that old penny Wrap – the one with the Tiger’s head on one side and a Tiger’s tail on the other – Ed)

The Free Settlers v the Red & Yellow Horde for the early one on Sunday at The Picturesque Adelaide Oval. This is going to be a beauty. The ground is sold out again, and they’re not all coming just to see The Little Master bat. A real test for The Suns. The Rabid Adelaide Mob is a baptism of fire at the best of times, and with their team mathematically in the mix for September they’ll be in full throat. The Suns are sitting comfortably on the third rung of the Ladder, courtesy of a comfortable fixture draw. No disrespect is implied, just a statement of fact. We’re of the view that The Chardonnays are going to sparkle on Sunday, and that The Sunbeams will fade like the curtains when they brought in daylight saving. The Pride of South Australia.

The Tricolours v The Anchormen in the twilight zone under the dome. Sorry Doggies, try as we might, we just can’t see it.  The Mauve Miasma.

The Mayblooms v the Greater Western Sydney Leviathans at THOF at the nowhere time of 4.40. Seriously, this is something Gillon of The Overflow is going to have to sort out. The Hawks have sadly lost their Coach to a debilitating illness, and we join The Whole Football World in wish him a speedy recovery. (If only it were that easy – Ed) But, when one man goes down another one steps up to the firing line. GWS were thoroughly pantsed last week up on their home turf in front of less than 8,000 diehards, most of whom had caught the Spirit of Progress up from Spencer Street Station. The crowd will be bigger – the Leafblower Faithful love the smell of fresh blood in the water – and so will the hiding. Put the Hawks down for The Sweep and GWS for the lowest.

West Coast Eagles v The Shinboners on the Balmy Indian Ocean Shores to wind up proceedings for Round XI. We gave them Roughie status last week, and they nearly got up. This week they’re back home. The Northerners kept The Moggies in sight last week, but they were always in their dust and never really in the hunt. Not too sure here, the Kangas have let us and their Faithful down in the past, and we believe The Weagles are about to get some air beneath their wings. What the heck? It’s those High Flying Birds of The Big Game for us here in Wrapland. The Wedgies.

Good tipping, and even better punting.

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

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. AFL footballers could never throw a match. What a lot of tosh Mr Wrap. Think of the precedent of Aussie good blokes Lillee and Marsh confessing taking the 500/1 after the poms were forced to follow on.
    Must have been the same down at Sleepy Hollow when the boys saw the 100/1 on offer about them losing by over 100 points. After all – there can be no other feasible explanation for last night’s farce.
    Lots of blokes in dark glasses in the collect queue at Corio this morning stuffing wads into sportsbags.
    In the phrase of the immortal Blacksox scandal – “Say it aint so”.

  2. The Wrap. says

    Didn’t catch the match, just listened to the Tomahawk kick his three majors on the car radio on the way home from dinner. What a monstering! Still trying to get my head around it.

    Surely it couldn’t possibly be so Mr B? Not The Pivotonians.

  3. Neil Belford says

    Well as it turned out Sydney could have had Kosi and Richo at their respective worst in the forward line they still would have had 7 between them. The Sydney mids shovelled the ball down their throat so many times you would had to ask yourself who was playing in the middle for Geelong. Stevie J must have still been reading the puff piece about him in the press during the week because he was invisible, as he often is when the going gets tough. You can excuse Murdoch and Guthrie because no-one really knows if they can play footy yet, and on that outing they might both have to find out in the Falcons, but clearly
    1. If Geelongs old mids don’t turn up – no Geelong
    2. Don’t believe anything that gets written about Sydney’s forward line is being the difference – in the second quarter when it mattered, they were crap – it’s just that it didn’t matter. The Cats were hopeless around the ball all night and Sydney didn’t have to change a thing. They just kept at it.
    3. Good sides have figured out Geelong only have a plan A – and nothing else. The evolution of Chris Scott as a coach from here on will be interesting.
    4. People have made this call before, but last night it was clear – Cats are gone.

  4. Neil Belford says

    Sorry – I forgot. Geelong do have a plan B – when they are losing Harry Taylor goes into the forward line. Kind of 90’s Sheedy style. It never works and last night the lack of tall backs meant Scott was cruelly denied even this ‘do-something’ strategy.

  5. The Wrap. says

    Good call NB. The Cats may have used up their Nine Lives for Season 2014. The alarm bells should have been ringing when The Striped Marvels ran them a close thing a few weeks back. They’ll have every bounty hunter in town gunning for them from here in. They looked vulnerable. In their favour, they’ve been pushed heard over the last three rounds by the AFL’s fixture.

    But don’t take too much away from The Swannies. They’re gathering momentum, eh?

  6. Cold as the morgue. I’ve seen Harry White work harder on a drifting favourite, than Varcoe.
    I reckon Harmsy had his boy stone cold, and laid them for a fortune on the 100+ margin.
    He’ll be moving to Northcote Heights soon.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Wrap – Melb v Port is the early one at Alice Springs, not the MCG

  8. The Wrap says

    I can’t seem to get that one at The Alice right Swish. Can you pls change that to “in the Shadows of Anzac Hill” Mr B? Ta.

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