AFL Round 3: The 2014 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Now that was more like it: a good weekend of football.


I flicked on the teev Frinite – by crikey, 10.4 to 2.5 and it isn’t even halfway thru the second term!  By coincidence, ‘Search and Destroy’ chose this moment to random-play on the stereo, loud.


It was one hell of a statement by the HFC.  They were in another universe of football and it reminded me of Geelong in ’09, a team utterly intent on making a statement.  If they win a flag this year, they’d have a legit claim to be the best team of the last ten years, which will only add more spice to the rivalry ‘tween them and the Cats.


It was a good weekend to be a fan of Australian football in Sydney, there were four games on free-to-air.  I got home from work on Sat with plenty of time to get comfy on the couch with a sandwich and a bowl of grapes and watch the team FTKA my fave.


Sydney played a blinder against the Crows last year and have been a bit of a rabble ever since.  They’ve looked unbalanced and clueless so far this season.  Adelaide have been okay, aside from the rohypnols they seem to have been eating at three-quarter time.


Swans started well, as they have this year, but didn’t lose the plot this time.  Excellent goal kicking in the first half, while the Crows were spraying their shots, kept them in front.  The locals had a serious dip in the third, getting to within two points but it was 12.5 to 1.10 from then on.  The  Crows were seriously crap in the last, allowing Sydney to stroll around, collecting the ball and kicking goals whenever they felt like it, and resembled nothing so much as a collection of licorice-allsorts coloured traffic cones.


73 then ran a few shows about cars before the Collingwood-Geelong match.  Remember when the telecast started ten minutes before the game?  The teams would be announced, retired players would give their brief analysis and then straight into the game.


Not any more.  Now we get a panel of chat starting one hour and ten minutes before the game.  It’s not that bad, not for five minutes, maybe even ten.  But an hour-plus, bloody hell!  In the interests of research, I stuck with it and learnt that Dane Swan is a huge fan of musical theatre.  Yep, really.  Mary Poppins, Lion King, he’s seen them all.


The pre-game featured far too many unfunny in-jokes and not enough analysis.  So many channels, so much time, so little worth watching.  Good football match, though.  I doubt the 4&20s will do much this year.  They may make the finals, may get to “shape the finals” but, as Buck said, you won’t win many games if you only kick eleven goals.  And you can’t expect a small forward to kick five every week.

As for Geelong, let’s hold off judgement for another two weeks.  They’ll have played West Coast and Hawthorn by then.


Dad and I went out to the Showground on Sunday (match report here).


Paul Roos has since said that he rang Mark Thompson for advice, bringing to mind Robert Walls’ advice to Mad Sheeds, that you haven’t coached until you’ve coached a cellar-dweller.  Not that Mark has, but Paul is deep in strange territory these days.


North had a good win, something that will keep them warm at night with dreams of maybes and what ifs.  The Shinboners were Grandad’s team, so I’ve always kept an eye on them, but, for every meritorious win, they simply lack the quality cattle to be much of a threat.


As do Richmond.  Both teams are hamstrung by a club culture, but the Tigers is one of masochistic self-destruction, while North’s is more of a wistful “if only.”  Not unlike the Bulldogs, who – I hate to say it, cos it’s patronising – are everyone’s second team.  We want to see them win, unless they’re playing our team, we admire their community spirit, their history, but we know they’ve buggerall chance of pinching a flag.


Okay, there’s little doubt that Thompson is a better coach than Hird and that Essendon are playing a great style of football.  Maybe this has a lot to do with Thompson’s statement, worth quoting in full – “It doesn’t matter how I coach – I’m coach for this year, I’m enjoying it. I’m doing things that probably a coach who wants to have a career for a long time can’t do because I’m just having a go. I’m just playing young people and doing different things. I’m doing exactly what I want. It would be nice for the players to have some success. It’s the reason I’m doing it, so let’s do it well.”
Not unlike how he coached the Cats.  The interesting part is that Peptide Jim is slated to return for the finals, when his twelve month suspension expires.  Imagine the Mosquitos finishing fourth and up against Hawthorn in a qualifying final at the MCG.  Who’s gonna say, on Wednesday eve “Thanks for your work, Mark, but James flew back from Paris today, so he’ll be calling the shots in the box on Saturday”, eh?


Tim Lane wrote a good piece last week in the Age last week and his last paragraph read “The way to restore the “real” playing area is to reduce the number of athletes involved, thus raising the aerobic bar. Such a break from tradition would help foster the most fundamental tradition of all: a game of continuous contests between individuals spread across the ground.”


A year or two back, I suggested that the return of the nineteenth man would be the solution to this boil on the bum of Australian Football.  I won’t go that far – nor do I agree with suggestions that some number of players should be restricted to the 50m zone – but how about this idea: eighteen players onfield, four substitutes, who are allowed to leave the field once.  They can go back on, if the coach feels so inclined.


These young men are full-time athletes.  They are vastly fitter and stronger than players of fifteen years ago, they’re young and foolhardy (incidentally, pilots of P-47 Thunderbolts in Europe in 1944 were often teenagers, because by the time a pilot was in his mid-twenties, he had too much commonsense to fly a P-47 the way it was meant to be flown, especially in ground attack missions) and they will cope.

If the interchange is scrubbed, then coaches will have to manage the troops in a more conservative manner, which ought to mean less of those ugly packs, less kicks into no-mans-land, more individual contests and, maybe, just maybe…  a full-forward standing in the goalsquare, shoulder to shoulder with a fullback, watching play upfield and ready and waiting for a sharp break from the pack.  Like Lockett and Dunstall used to do.

It’s good to see the young ‘uns in the Eight this week.


Cheers Tipsters


P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production

Brought to you with the assistance of Cole Porter’s Very Best.


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. Great thoughts as always Earl. Great photo.
    Here is a clip of a great song (courtesy of Francis Leach): Spitfire

  2. It’s a good day when Search and Destroy comes up on a random shuffle while watching sport on telly

Leave a Comment