AFL Round 6: The Pre-Wrap

THE PRE WRAP – THE ANZAC DAY

Round VI

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

What a week it’s been in Football Eddie.  Round V, in keeping with the cultural occasion of renewal, we saw several significant results.  Results that, while not quite axis-shaking at the time, could be seen as harbingers of destinies as Season 2014 unfolds.

The Tiges scramble home against The Brisbane Lions with their traditional one quarter of Respectable Footy.  Neither side would have taken any comfort from the way this match was played.  Five Rounds in and they’re still not sure what Lite ’nEasy plan they’re on around at the Me Bank Centre.   The Mighty Magpies questioned The Shinboners’ consistency and showed ominous signs that Coach Figjam is getting things done his way.  The Buddy Bloods outscored and outplayed The Purple Haze to suggest that reports of their demise are totally unfounded.  For ours, one of the most significant results of the Round was over on the western extremity of The Fatal Shore, where The Power From Port took the Four Points against The Wedgies.  Does it tell us more about The Eddie Eagles or The Tealers?  One thing’s for sure though Wrappers, this in one The Eddies would have inked in pre-season.

Then there was The Freewheeling Bombers.   A couple of years back they overcooked their health supplements program, this year they look as though they may have overcooked their list management.  But let’s not take our eyes off those Feeling Faints.  Coach Richo has the youngsters fired up and what’s left of the old brigade re-born.  You can put St Riewoldt down for this year’s Charlie for ours.  I can’t recall a more influential game than the one the St Kilda Captain put in on Saturday night.  (Oh, I don’t know Wrap; what about the influence the Carlton Skipper had on last year’s Elimination Final? – Ed)  Did anyone ever tell you you’ve got a nasty streak in you Ed?  At one stage he marked the rebounding ball out on the wing side of wing half forward and passed diagonally across the ground to open the play.  When that receiver had played on it was St Riewoldt who was contesting the kick at the drop of the ball as near to true full forward as you can get.  (Just say the goalsquare Wrap.  You’re not getting paid by the word – Ed)  And this was in The Championship Quarter.  (Now you know where they get the name from Wrap – Ed)  He must have a bigger tank than MH370.

The Free Settlers took care of The Orangemen quite comfortably and The Dees quickly learnt they weren’t playing Carlton this week.  Although they made them earn every kick, they were beaten by the outright class of The Inaccurate Abletts.  And The Blues lead at every change and may be out of intensive care at last.  Not so The Bullies.  Kennel cough could well have returned to Whitten Oval.

On the Easter Monday it was The Hoopers who outplayed The Mayblooms all day to take the Four Points and Top Spot on The Ladder  Not disgraced, but not convincing, the Hawks may have had an off day.  Roughie & Cyril were two key personnel who turned in games they’d like to forget, and their star recruit McEvoy couldn’t take a trick.  They’ll look more balanced with Brian Lake back in the defensive goal square.  The Moggies looked balanced and got a lot of drive from Mackie & Stevie J, and The Big Tomahawk was unstoppable.  And hasn’t Rivers fitted neatly into The Moggies’ backline.  Whoever’s in charge of list management at Demonland should be hanging their head in shame.  Clarko didn’t seem to be too worried about it.  And not without reason.  The Hawks can play better – a lot better – and he’s got a notebook full of ways to stop The Handbaggers next time around.

Speaking of the ex-Footscray defender, how come he’s not match hardened to return to the side straight after he’s served his suspension?  Does that mean the XXII who ran out in the GoldenBrown in Round I weren’t match hardened?  Or for Rounds II, III & IV for that matter?  But who are we to question a Dual Premiership Coach?

Not sure what the Philosopher Coach is saying here.  In fact it could be this week’s cryptic puzzle.  Let’s see how you go deciphering this utterance from   Visy Park.  I think the most important thing for us to focus in on is how hard we have to work to get into a position to win, not about winning.  The massive difference is, if you focus in on what everyone is screaming for, then you forget the technique.  The technique has got to be consistent and persistence about playing an opposition that is very dogged, a dogged side in one manner but is a highly skilled side in another.  Don’t know about you, but we made more sense of the meandering ox and those infernal barking dogs, not to mention the eternally moving caravan.  But it seemed to work, so who are we to criticise?

Not sure what the Locum Coach is on about either.  First of all he compared his Geelong teams with this current Essendon Outfit.  Not sure how you see it, but it looks a bit like comparing you ex-wife with your new wife.  (Or comparing your ex-husband with your current beau – Ed)  And we all know how that would go down.  But don’t go away; there’re the steak knives to come.

As a club we didn’t go in ready – it’s a shame, we missed a great opportunity.  So far he’s tracking right.  I’m not sure how much recovery sessions our boys have done (after Perth).  The good players I’ve been associated with would have done twice as muchThey would have reported and they would have got more massage and they would have eaten right and slept well and just done everything right, so if it got to that point they should find something to get the team over the line.  Wow!  Cop that Young Harry.  If he’s not sure how much effort his players put into their recovery sessions how does he know it was only half as much as other players he’s coached put in?  (And how come he knew how much they put in? – Ed)  But that aside, these modern Essendon Coaches seem to be making an art form of not knowing what’s going on, eh?  About the only thing he left out was they were making him look bad.  As a Dual Premiership Coach it was their responsibility to make this swansong year, that he took for the sake of the club remember, to be a memorable one.  (The club and a very healthy six-figure annuity, rumoured to be comfortably north of half a big one – Ed)  Don’t worry about that Bomber; she’s already shaping up to be an even more memorable season than last year, and that was the mother of all memorable seasons for the EFC.  (Think it will be a Grange vintage Wrap? – Ed)  They’ll be bringing out a special edition Coolabah cask for it Oh Worshipful Wordsmith.

Naturally it didn’t go down well with at least one club legend, nor in the Locker Room for that matter.  James Hird lookalike Dyson Heppell said on the Sunday Footy Show It’s a tough situation coming of a really tough week.  I certainly put in the hours for recovery this week.  I don’t think the other boys took it lightly either.  Triple Coleman Medallist Matthew Lloyd was stunned by the remarks and had no trouble saying so.  (They also seem to be making an art form of standing up to the coach out their at Melrose Drive.  First they tell their Sabbatical Coach to pull his head in, and now they’ve publically corrected their Clatyons Coach.  It’s a tough gig coaching Gen Y, eh Wrap – Ed)

But are we all missing the point here?  Our recollection is that Bomber quit a year earlier than his contract with Geelong stipulated, citing coaching burnout as the reason.  Everyone took the crocodile tears shed and bon voyage expressed at The Cattery as a sign of good grace, but if you happen to be having a beer down at the Sporting Globe in Ryrie St you may hear that they felt they had got the best Bomber had to offer.  And that another year of Bomberisms would have been a Bomberism too far.  Come home soon Jimmy.  All is forgiven.

For those who came in late, Bomber Thompson spent 11 years down at Geelong bringing in two Premiership Pennants with a team that some say coached itself.  With a year to run on his contract – a year in which Gary Ablett Junior was the centre of the worst kept secret in the History of The Game as to his intentions for the following season – Thompson, after much shillyshallying, declared that one, he was the victim of coach burnout, and two, he was not resigning from Geelong to become Director of Coaching at Whingy Hill*.  We all know those declarations to be only half wrong- he did turn up at Whingy Hill as part of the “dream team” coaching combination with Pretty Boy I.  But you have to ask yourself, what if he was half right – and had sauced a red-hot porkie with some good old-fashioned honesty – and he was suffering coach burnout – could the dream team be turning into a Bomberland Nightmare?  (Ahh, such a rare commodity these days Wrap – some good old-fashioned honesty.  Savour it – Ed)

And speaking of the Much Decorated Pretty Boy II, he mentioned in his column last week – in discussing the Fierce Geelong Hawthorn Rivalry – that it went back the 2008 GF.  No Matty, it went back to the Savagely Contested 1989 GF.  Arguably the Last of The Knucklemen Grand Finals.  It finalized a season in which The Mayblooms ran down a 56 point Pivotonian half time lead.  In those days the curse ran the other way.  A reverse curse if you like.

Are you getting sicked & tired of column inch after column inch whingeing about the congested play.  Some of the solutions proffered are downright scary.  There’s talk of borrowing from the U8s, where they have different coloured wristbands for forwards midfielders and backs.  Only scores kicked by players wearing the forward colour would count.  (I thought they’d dropped scoring in those matches – Ed)   Then a mob of legends – led by KB, the most legendary legend of them all – that want the ground measured of like rugby, soccer & gridiron; only certain players being allowed in certain areas.  Or each team has to have a certain number of players in the forward 50 arc, like netball.  Crikey, imagine the video replays and linesmen all that would require.  Now we don’t profess to be einsteins around here in the Wrapcave, but how would it be if the maggots just paid the free kicks for incorrect disposal we see every week?  Surely that would open up The Game.  And it would reward the tackler at the same time.  Coaches will soon train the close-in possession game out of them if there’s a risk of a turnover.

We’ve had our first nomination for The Robbie Flower Medal – Jimmy Bartel.  Did you cop his interview on Footy Classified the other night?  The Geelong  # 3 did his family, his school, his club and his city proud.  You wished you had three daughters so you could marry them all off to him.  And are The Leafblowers at risk of losing their Family Club Mantle?  If you lined The Pivotonian Brownlow Medallist up against the wall-punching, junior umpire-abusing coach of The Paid-up Proud & Passionate it would be declared a no contest.

The Sage headline tells us Slammin’ Sammy Stosur is looking for positives from the Fed Cup semi final loss to the Fräuleins.  We had a quick whip around the typing pool at morning tea and the only positive we could come up with was that it will all be over pretty soon.

And if you think we’ve got troubles aplenty emanating from Maggot Central, take a goosy gander at the northern code; the one where they drag their knuckles along the turf to maintain an upright position and throw the ball backwards as a celebration the evolutionary progress they’ve made.  Over the last three weeks they’ve had three matches decided by controversial refereeing calls.  But we did get a memorable comment from Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart.  We’ve had our share of 50:50 calls, we’ve seemed to be on the other side of the fifty.

Then there’s the round ball game.  The so-called world game.  Melbourne Victory’s coach, Kevin Shiraz has blamed a blatant infringement in the penalty box in penalty time for his team’s scoreless draw with Korean club Jeonbuk Motors.  They’ve been knocked out of the Asian Champions League.  This was definitely a penalty.  The penalty didn’t go our way, but I think it was obvious and clear to everybody that it was a certain penalty.  There was no mention of a car-burning ritual, although the sponsors of the team that came 2nd in the preliminary round would have generously provided some.  Jeonbuk Motors finished second behind the Guangdong Dragons in their group to move on to the final 16.  And where are the Mothers of Melbourne when you need them?, do they really want their Little Johnies & Bettys exposed to this sort of heartbreak, frustration – and let’s be honest here – sense that everything may not be quite kosher.?

But enough of my gabbin’.  Let’s see who’s going to be left in the mix after Round VI.

The Anzac Day Blockbuster.  The Mighties go into this one unchanged.  The Same Olds have dropped Jetta, Myers has pulled a hammy and Hocking is suffering from Soreness.  Soreness??  Here we go again.  Doug Bigelow must be spinning in his sepulchre. Fair Dinkum, can’t they give him a shot of cortisone or something?  (Come on Wrap; you know under AFL sanctions syringes have been banned from Whingy Hill – Ed)  Actually, both sides look an even match on paper.  But it’s The Monochromes that are running on form and a growing confidence.  It’s Anzac Day and anything can happen.  Three defeats in a row would surely send a tremor through the Essendon Camp, and it may even dampen the ground swell to keep Bomber on as senior coach for next season.  Three wins on the trot would consolidate The Woodsmen’s hold on a Top Six, or better, position.  We tossed the Wrap Penny and it came down no Goddard no Essendon.

The Feeling Faints v The Roy Boys on Friday night at the Westpac Stadium.  Where the hell’s the Westpac Stadium?  Have we gone back to Suburban Footy or something?  Not that we’re against turning the clock back to the drop kick, the 19th & 20th man and ovals that looked and smelt like a cow paddock, but we do need time to editorialize about it.  (Settle down Wrap.  It’s an exhibition match over in the Windy City – Ed)  What!  They’re playing in Chicago now?  (Just get on with the coverage Wrap.  You’re not paid to think – Ed)  Okay August Adjudicator of Content, but I do like to be told what’s going on around here.  The Bears are in disarray and The Sainters have got their halo sitting at a jaunty angle.  The Seaford Seagulls on the bit.  They could even kick The Sweep if they make the most of the Blizzard.

The Barry Crockers v The Shinboner Spirit over there on Friday night.  The Mauve Miasma is back home and they go into this one without the serial pest Ballantyne.  The Roos lost Thompson to the Star Chamber as well, and have made three other changes, only one of them forced.  Freo OTR v Gasometer Gal; are you kidding?  The Anchormen to send North reeling and raise all those old doubts they live with at Arden Street.

Gold Coast v The Orangemen at the Metricon for the early one on Saturday.  The Leviathans jumped The Swans, may have been stiff against The Saints and beat Melbourne convincingly.  A fair enough sort of start to the season.  The Abletts have won three and been taken to the cleaners by last year’s finalists.  Our thinking is that the bright lights of Cavell Avenue will be too much for The Lads from Breakfast Point.  The Metermaids.

The Miseries v The Eddie Eagles on the Shifting Sands in Saturday’s gathering gloom.  The Bluebaggers actually looked like a football team in their unexpected breakout win against The Yap Yaps last round.  The Wedgies didn’t impress against Port, although they’re a few that haven’t impressed against The Power.  You know what, I think The Silvertails may have turned the corner.  We’re going to give them the kiss of death.  There’s something not quite right about The Kings of The Big Game, and while we can’t quite put a finger on it, the fact remains that their only three wins have been against Cellar Dwellers, and The Handbags tore them apart down at Cat Central.   That’s right Blues Brothers, at $2.10, Carlton are The Wrap Roughie of The Round.

The Fuchsias v The Bloodstained Angels at THOF on Saturday night.  Smoko’s over Dees Fans.  Back on your heads.  In a word – Steak&Kidney.

The Labradoodles v The Pride of South Australia under cover for the early one on Sunday.  The Dishlickers were looking good there for a bit with a couple of gutsy wins.  And if ever a team warranted swabbing it would have to be The Mighty Adelaide Ravens.  But with the Ayatollah keeping his head below the parapets in this his Testimonial Year, that’s not going to happen.  We’ll stick with them and at $1.68 they look quite juice.  And they’re The Wrap Wotrya Amanoramouse  Investment Opportunity of the Round.

Struggletown v The Mayblooms for a late start on Sunday on The Paddock That Grew.  The Mustard Pots OTR doesn’t auger well for The Toothless Terrors.  They’re without their key backman, their other A grade midfielder and their 1st Ruckman.  TRP have regained Schoenmakers & last years Norm Smith Medallist, and are blooding New Boy Hartung.   The Striped Marvels have had the wood on The Leafblowers over the journey, and in their last two encounters they thoroughly dusted The Glenferrie Cowboys – but not this time around.  It’s on free to air so if the kiddies are inside for the day you may have to switch on the parental control function.  It may get quite ugly before the Final Siren’s Gone.  You could do worse than take them in The Sweep, and at $1.18 they’re The Wrap Mortgage Buster of The Round.

Port Adelaide Aggression v The Handbags on the Adelaide Oval to wind up Round VI of the 2014 Season.  The Power have the best percentage in The Competition, but apart from The Weagles over there, they haven’t really come up against anyone apart from North, and they lost that one in uncharacteristic fashion, coughing up a Citrus Time Lead.  The Tabbies are undefeated after their Kennett Curse Victory on Easter Monday.  They’ve won their other matches as they wished without playing like Sleepy Hollow Millionaires.  Collingwood gave them a good run for their money and Lowly Brisbane sent them home with something to think about.  It’s not such a haul from Adelaide to Perth and The Tealers may not be exhausted as The Pussies, who are coming down from the hype of the Famous Victory, not to mention a bruising encounter against a Fearless Foe.  Look, as you may have noticed, we’re huge fans of the Ken Hinkley Method, and love the way Jay Shultz and Westy can kick a winning score.  You guessed it Wrappers, at $2.10 we’re making The True Believers One & All the dual Roughie of The Round.  Look out Robbie Waterhouse, here we come.

(Well done Wrap, you got through a whole preview without mentioning the Appalling Football League – Ed)

Good tipping, and even better punting.

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

* – At the time, CEO Brian Cook indicated he was a bit worried about his coach, who was a little bit tired, a little bit down.  He emphasized however that the club came first.  The club has indicated to Mark that we hope he fulfils his contract, which has one year to go, but only if he is fully committed to coaching.  You don’t compromise the club for the sake of one individual.  The year after Thompson walked out on the club to take up the post of Director of Coaching at Melrose Drive – the posting he was never going to take up – The Hoopers added another Pennant to the wall of the Members’ Bar.  This season The Cats, after five rounds, sit astride the Competition Table undefeated.  Essendon are Glorious 9th with two wins and Anzac Day to come.  What are the chances of seeing You Don’t Compromise The Club For The Sake Of One Individual airbrushed over that space on the R. S. Reynolds Stand previously boasting – Whatever It Takes?

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. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Excellent pre wrap , KB legendary player but overall his efforts in the media match his coaching record , Entertaining read well done re the navy blues , pre wrap thank you

  2. I actually think KB has a certain bush lawyer’s logic which I don’t mind.

    Nice Carlton tip Wrap.

    Will Port honour your dual roughie weekend?

  3. Big test for The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires Harmsie.

  4. Thanks TW, This Essendon thing still has more acts to come I suspect.
    I blame you, I have an insistent other half wanting to know why I haven’t found a washer set for the Hansa flick mixer tap, currently spreading water generously across the kitchen counter. I’ll get to it now.
    Thanks again, good insight and laughs.

  5. It’s up there with The Riddle of The Spinks & Who Killed JR Mike. And if you believe Tania, there may even be a grassy knoll to come yet .

    Hope you got that washer in. Modern plumbing can have its own mysteries.

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