AFL Round 18 – The Wrap: The Day of Doom Round

 

THE WRAP – ROUND XVIII – THE DAY OF DOOM ROUND

WHERE LIFE IMITATES FOOTBALL

What a round it’s been in Footy Wrappers.  On Friday we witnessed The Demolition Derby between The Mighty Fighting Hawks and The Troubled Melrose Drive Pharmaceuticals.  No second prizes here for the losers, although The Dons Coach, Shoeless Jim, seemed to be able to take some positives out of the contest.  It is possible he may have been watching a different match to the rest of us.  (It may also be possible that he’s setting himself up for The KRudd Shield for delusional excellence; it would appear to be the only silverware open to them from here – Ed)

Saturday produced two Fred Hesse Annihilation Scoreboards, two near Boilovers and a constriction that would make any boa’s day.  Between them, Melbourne & St Kilda, kicked 9-10 (64).  Carringbush, with their traditional wayward boot, once more left the door ajar for Sheeds’ farewell to The Hallowed Turf, but still managed to improve their percentage by the Final Bell.  The Miseries were equally as wayward.  Having 40 scoring shots to 22, they only managed to win by a tick over seven goals.

The Shinboners totally obliterated The Wretched Redlegs.  The Losers, and that’s not a word we use lightly or often in this column, The Losers kicked one solitary goal in the Opening Stanza and didn’t bother the scorers in the last.  Geelong’s Opponent wasn’t much better.  They were level pegging with The Pussies at the First Huddle on 4-1 apiece, then only managed to scramble 1-5 for the remainder of the match.  If the Ayatollah’s up-coming trip to NYC for an equalization conference will address these sorts of un-equal contests then we’re all for it.  Although it does raise the question of why his 2IC has to be there at the same time.  Shouldn’t one of them be home here minding the store?  It’s not like things are running all that smoothly, is it?

Come Sunday and Port’s errant goal shooting had them having to wheel out the Old Port Adelaide Aggression to secure 8th spot of The Ladder.  The Boys Of The Bulldog Breed put The Wedgies’ season into perspective, as did The Bloods for Richmond up in Steak & Kidney.

Spare a Thought Department.  In a note of seriousness, let’s hope they’re keeping a close eye on Shoeless Jim.  His Post-Match had the ring of an in-the-event-of-my-death video.  In a flat, tightly controlled voice, he talked of the effect this unresolved matter was having on people’s lives, and the grave implications of the delay.  He asked an off-camera advisor if he could say more, but was directed otherwise.  Hence, it’s not clear what manner of effect, but some of the more cynical SOTG have mused that the concern couldn’t be for the effect on the players, or the ‘pharmacological experimental environment’ would never have been instituted at Whingy Hill in the first place.  (Are you saying that you don’t put a V8 motor in a Torana unless you’re going to scrap it after you’ve finished racing it? – Ed)

Spare a Thought Department II.  The peptide of misfortune that has swept over the Essendon FC has claimed another victim.  This time it’s their Chairman David Evans.  Trying to find a conciliatory path through the swamp that this tangled mess was always set to become, he followed Captain Oates out of the tent.  There’s sure to be a plaque one day for Chairman Evans.  There’s a telemovie in it as well, on say its 10th anniversary.  But in the meantime, and while our hearts go out to David Evans and all those Bomber Faithful embroiled in this sorry, sorry event, we have to live with and react to the ever unfolding circumstances of the situation.

Once it was decided to table the report in August it was going to become a longwinded, messy and damaging affair.  There are two immediate questions that the August date places on the agenda: why so far into the future, and is it a co-incidence that this date would allow Essendon to play out the season to full crowds?  (They weren’t playing to a full house after ¾ time on Friday night – Ed)  My point exactly oh Great Corrector of Text.  What’s your memory like?  Cast your mind back to the early days of this soap opera.  Fair dinkum, it’s been running longer than Blue Hills.  (Make that Neighbours for Gens X, Y & Z – Ed)

The opening scene of Act 1 is set out where the Maribyrnong meets the Mountains, and was along the lines of Gosh Golly, we may have erred.  Just to be sure, could we please have an arms length review of our procedures out here at Melrose Drive?  Thank you ever so much.  You’ve been very kind and understanding.

Scene ii switches to Jellymont House.  The Great Helmsman is addressing a barrage of microphones and digital recorders.  Flashlights pop illuminating the milieu of Appalling Football League sponsors on the backdrop: bookmakers, junk food purveyors, and alcohol dependent brewers & distillers.  The usual stuff that we know we should take only in moderation, if at all.  The stuff that really doesn’t add anything to our lives.  The stuff the AFL gives as much thrust to as the sponsors’ budgets will allow.  Off stage a newspaper boy’s voice is heard spruiking his merchandise – it could even be one of those urchins that sell along La Via Lygon, Young Benito perhaps.  Extree!  Extree!  Read all about it.  Australian Crime Commission names names in drug cheat scandal!  The EFC is one of those names.  Another is NRL club Cronulla.  The Sharks go into immediate damage control and transparently start negotiating best-case scenarios for their players and their club.  The response from the country’s senior sporting code is more muted.  Not quite Peace in Our Time, but not far off it.  Something along the lines of we’re going to have a thorough investigation of this grave matter.  All will be revealed in August when the ASADA report is tabled.  The party in question – the EFC – goes into denial, and gets on the front foot with claims that we’ll be exonerated when the Report brings everything into the light (the truth comes out as Shoeless Jim keeps telling us – Ed).

Scene iii is a series of walk-through cameos of the various players sprouting their take on the situation, but the theme is that 1) the club has not broken any laws.  2) It’s most likely that that is what the ASADA Report will say.  3) There is no suggestion at this stage that the club will lose premiership points or that players will be suspended.  4) There’s nothing to do but wait for the report.  Just as the curtain falls on Act I an incredulous Shoeless Jim and a gathering of officials look stunned as they wander across the darkening stage muttering, they told us it would take six months – what’s all this August talk about?

Act II opens with The Bombers blitzing everyone but those above them.  They’re in a position to challenge for The Flag.  It’s getting deep into the season and the strain begins to show.  The Fourth Estate keeps doing what the Fourth Estate has always done – fought to have the truth brought into the light so it can be examined more clearly.  (And sell content Wrap; don’t forget the content – Ed)  One intrepid reporter in particular, a regular tigress, senses from the conciliatory love–in the scandal is becoming, that the whole thing may be swept under the shag pile at Jellymont House.  And that The Dons will get off with a hefty fine, maybe lose a few draft picks, but be free to continue their best season in decades, and contest the Finals with a full list.

Scene ii.  Switch to a narrow hotel bar.  The mote thick atmosphere is illuminated by a yellowish fluorescent glow filtered through nicotine stained tubes.  The walls are stained the same waxy deep tan, contrasting with the pasty white faces of most of the clientele.  Pictures of Horace Lindrum, Keith Miller, Laurie Nash & Joe Pompeii adorn the walls.  It is in that no-mans time zone between the close of business for the day and the need of sustenance that The Tigress stalks.  By the time she leaves she has several plain brown envelopes secured in her handbag.

Scene iii has all hell breaking loose as leak and counter leak rip asunder the construct that this whole sorry mess is merely a minor infringement of process that, in August, when the ASADA Report comes out, will fade into distant memory as we bask in the cosiness of the Brownlow voting and the September Carnival.  And that the supplement injection program at Whingy Hill has in no way compromised the integrity of The Competition or given the Essendon players a chemically induced advantage.

Scene iv shows the Whingy Hill clubrooms the day after The Bombers have been totally demolished by Arch Rivals & Premiership Favourites Hawthorn.  Resembling Hitler’s bunker, already there are several absentees from pre-season launch poster that blazoned the slogan for the season – What Ever it Takes.  Missing are the CEO, the Chairman, the Football Department Manager, and the whole performance enhancement department.  The scene is one of utter and absolute gloom.  Shoeless Jim reaches with trembling hands to remove his rimless glasses.  No words are spoken.  None are necessary.  It is obvious that the delay of the Report’s release is having an effect on people’s lives at Essendon.  The light fades as the muffled sound of a bombardment can be heard above.  But through the fading sounds of the bombardment comes the sound of a marching army singing an at first muffled refrain that becomes louder and ckerer as the curtain slowly falls.   Our boys who play this grand old game, Are always striving for glory and fame!  See the Bombers fly up, up,

Act III.  Scene i. –– and this Wrappers is the Act we’ve been waiting for all season.  The one in which justice is not only done, but seen to be done.  Let’s look, hypothetically of course, at some of the scenes we could expect to roll out in this final act.

Do we see the AFL executive stepping off the plane at Tullamarine hit with a barrage of subpoenas drawn up by Downright Lie & Procrastynate?  Charges ranging from Bringing The Game Into Disrepute to leading Shoeless Jim & the EFC down the garden path?

Do we see the Report castigating Essendon, but not able to find any illegality due to the fact that ASADA was not up to speed on what’s kosher and what’s not, and consequently advised The Bombers’ football department staff that they were in the clear?

It’s claimed that leaks from the ASADA Enquiry show that some Bomber players aren’t matching their 2012 performance standards.  Is this in itself damning that they gained a competitive advantage?

It’s also claimed that a drug company has used the documented results of courses of their product to demonstrate, in an approval application, that this drug(s) has had beneficial results in shortening recovery time and building muscular and tissue strength.  No names.  Just that the stuff works.  (Did it name the peer group reviewer(s) Wrap? – Ed)

Does it come out that the AFL, and other sporting codes for that matter, and ASADA have been resting on their oars in the matter of drug use in sport?  It would appear from the ACC Report that they may have been complacent to the point of derelict in keeping up to speed on trends and technology in chemically enhanced sporting advantages.  (With all these overseas trips you’d think they would have been on top of it wouldn’t you? – Ed)

What started out as a tragic farce has become farcical tragedy.  There’s a lot more to come out before we write the final act on this.  One thing’s for sure though, no one’s coming out of it with their reputation untarnished.  It’s already taken a huge toll at Essendon.  That alone deserves a full and thorough investigation of not only the pharmaceutical element, but the role of the dramatis personae in this ever so piece of public theatre.  Nothing short will suffice.  The AFL Inc is just that, a major corporation with a serious budget, a huge financial dependency role and a public responsibility bordering on the spiritual.  For it to be seen as the personal fiefdom of a seemingly unaccountable coterie borders on the obscene.

Of course, Students of The Game of Life will be captivated by the comparison between the recent shenanigans in the National Capital and manoeuvrings surrounding Jellymont House & Whingy Hill, but it warrants more than that.  Will we get it?  That’s where we might let the curtain fall at the end of Act III, Scene iii, eh?

But enough of my gabbin’.  Let’s see who is going to be seen to have been after Round XVIII.

The Peptides v The Mayblooms.  They may like to check the withholding period on the labels out there at Whingy Hill.  You’d have to suspect they’ve passed their use-by date.  This was as clean a piece of surgery as you’d want to see on a Friday night outside the emergency department at the Alfred.  The Dons looked like they were going to make a match of it – for half a quarter.  But once The Hawkers got their second wind it became a procession.  Cyril was his limited underplayed self, but was rarely beaten and conjured some magic whenever he was in the play.  Buddy was simply unstoppable.  And were we the only ones who noticed that when the Club Song got to the part where they sing We Love Our Club & We Play To Win that it was Lance who led the choir?  The Bombers chucked a few angry pills at one stage, but if that’s the best they can do, they’re not going very far.  And as for carlisle’s cowardly elbow to Franklin’s kidneys, if that doesn’t bring three seeks  the game’s not fair dinkum.  (It was the only touch he got on Buddy all night Wrap,; don’t be too hard on him – Ed)  The Marshmallows spent the night chasing GoldenBrown Jumpers, and looked nothing like a No. 2 Team.  The Hawkers have The Endangered Species at the traditional time at the traditional place next week.  The Flying Syringes have Traditional Rivals Collingwood at the same venue to close off  the round.

The Abbletts v The Miseries.  The Bluebaggers were challenged all the way in this one.  But in the end experience trumped youthful exuberance.  The Silvertails sit threateningly at Glorious 9th waiting to take advantage of any seismic shift above them.  They host The Dockers under cover next Saturday night.  The Gold Coast plays The West Coast over there in the gathering gloom.

The Fuchsias v The Shinboners.  16,959 of The Long Suffering Faithful bothered to turn out for this one.  The caterers had three pie warmers operating and the sign said no waiting.  Fair dinkum.  This is death by a thousand cuts for The Redleg Faithful, and is something the AFL will have to jump on immediately, if not sooner.  Never mind stop the boats.  The AFL brand is taking a battering as it is, and if you consider that The Pool, in a friendly, could pull 95,000 to The Home Of Football on a school night just to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, the real threat to Our Great Game has already made landfall.  North up-grade to Friday night at the same venue against The Handbags in Round XIX.  The Dees have an outside chance of wrenching The Coveted Timber Trophy from the steely grasp of The Redhot Pre-season Favourites: The Orangemen.

Carringbush v the Orangemen.  The Giants took it right up to The Woodsmen.  They led them at the Long Interval and were only a couple of rushed behinds off the pace as they turned for home.  As is sadly the case, experience took it’s toll of youthful exuberance, but not before Jeremy Cameron had torn the Carringbush Defence apart with a 7-goal haul.  The Breakfast Pointers have invited The Recalcitrant Redlegs up to Skoda Stadium for the early one on Saturday.  The Figjam Magpies close off the Round against The Bomber Hird at The People’s Ground.

The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires v The Feeling Faints.  The Pivotonian Faithful would have enjoyed Their Brave Lads’ Fine Effort under lights on Saturday after dark at Kardinia Park.  But it did nothing for Football.  They sit 2nd and look sure to host a home final.  They start the first step on that short range objective on Friday night when they are guests of the Shinboners on the Shifting Sands.  The Sorry Saints are up under the palms on Saturday night.

The Barry Crockers v The Pride of South Australia.  The Boa Constrictors didn’t let the Mighty Adelaide Crows catch breath.  Poor kicking didn’t help The Chardonnays much either.  But that comes with the pressure.  The loss and the breakeven percentage would have to shut them out of this year’s September; however, they get a crack at salvaging some glory when they take on Blood Rivals Port Adelaide with a chance to knock them out of the Eight next Sunday.  The Barry Crockers are over here on Saturday night as guests of The Silvertails.

The Power From Port v The Brissy Lions.  This was a bit of Old Fashioned Suburban Footy in front of 22,613.  True, not a lockout, but the Footy was Tight & Tough, and worth every bushel of the entrance fee.  The Power won, as they have a few times this season, by never stopping till they Drop Drop Drop.  They keep building on their talent base to match their Self belief and they’ll soon be a force.  And at this point let’s throw in a Big Statement.  Once they start playing at the Picturesque Adelaide Oval they’ll start picking up corporate and membership momentum to go with their on-field success.  (Not as long as the Descendants of the Free Settlers rule they won’t Wrap – Ed)  They have The Showdown next Sunday arvo.  The Lions host The Seagulls on the Saturday night.

The Doggies v The Coasters.  The smart money was onto this.  That The Eddie Eagles were undermanned, and that The Doggies had grown from Pomeranians to Alsatians.  It was pretty even for a good part of the match, but The Doggies pulled away quite comfortably in the end, thus putting a full stop and a double exclamation mark to West Coast’s season.  No longer the senior representative of The State of Excitement, there needs to be a lot of questions asked of The Screaming Eagles 2013 Campaign, and we feel confident that The Westralian will ask most of them.  They’re at home next Saturday arvo for The Abletts.  The Doggies have invited The Lakers back down to The Heartland for the early one on Sunday.

The Bloods v Struggletown.  The Striped Marvels jumped away and were in this one early.  But they were only able to add 4-6 to their opening stanza of 5-3.  Yes Wrappers, it was that bad.  Like a rabbit in the spotlight, they were blinded by the pure system of Sydney.  They’ll take a lot away from this contest, and next week’s encounter with Last Year’s Runner-up at the traditional time & place.  The Bloods are back in Melbourne next Sunday as guests of The Sons of The West.

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. Peter_B says:

    What was the title of the movie Mr Wrap.
    The Godfather; Wall Street; Lock, Stock and 2 Smokin’ Barrels?
    I keep coming back to The Sopranos.
    The Great Helmsman has a certain rotund resemblance to the much mourned Tony. It is reported that the great man’s last meal was “a pina colada with two additional shots of rum on the side. He then ordered the exact same round to wash down helpings of fried prawns with chilli mayonnaise and foie gras, followed later by two beers.”
    I hope they are keeping a tighter rein on the expense account at Jellymont House.
    The Great Helmsman seems a fundamentally decent family man like Tony, trapped in the pincer of his own base appetites and the commercial demands of the marketing monster that the Appalling Football League has become.
    “Its time to go to the mattresses” as Tony observed at the end of Season Six.

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