AFL Semi Finals Post Wrap – The Then There Were Four Round

THE WRAP – THE THEN THERE WERE FOUR ROUND

Where life imitates Football

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The Kangas hopped all over The Tabbies to take out the first leg of the double in a nailbiter.  They’re up to Sin City next weekend to see how they go against The Bloods.  Then it became The Tealers’ turn.  They came from behind to over run The Woefully Inaccurate Dockers to set up a meeting with The Family Club, and a crack at TLSIS.

And Truthful Tony, Protector of The Faithful, was right. There was an imminent threat of a terrorist attack.  The Axis of Evil struck at the G on Friday night. As usual, the attack was unexpected and explosive.  Australians across The Wide Brown Land watched in horror as graphic images of the horrendous attack were brought into their lounge rooms, captured so vividly by the brave men & women of the Channel Seven camera crews who were rushed to the scene.  The 65,963 at the ground reeled in shock as they witnessed the gruesome events of the early stages of Friday night.  Here, in The World’s Most Liveable City, with The Faithful gathered to celebrate the second weekend of Holy Month, the evil of it was unthinkable.  The awfulness of it unspeakable.  Here in the Lucky Country, the Land of Beer, Girls Surf & Money, 22 fanatics in Royal Blue striped uniforms released bomb after bomb to completely stun the defenders of the Holy Grail.  As the smoke of the initial assault cleared, fire crews were able to quell the blaze and clear the way for ambulances to ferry the mangled bodies that were once The Geelong Football Team to overloaded hospitals around the city.  Thanks to Truthful Tony’s timely warning, the Holy Defenders salvaged enough reserves to fight back bravely, and some calm was restored, but the annals will record this night as a turning point in The Narrative of Our Great Game.

The history of our Great Nation’s Sporting Prowess was further enhanced when our Davis Cup Squad was instrumental in the third straight sets exit of the weekend. Taking on Uzbekistan in World Group Qualifying round, The Aussies won in a white wash.  The fist pumping and chainsaw starting was probably not necessary, but opportunities aren’t as frequent as they used to be.  And re-programming Llil Lleyton is probably a task beyond the current resources medical science.  He and Nick Kyrgios were teamed with Sam Groth & Chris Guccione.  Sam was lined up against a 20-year old Uzbek called Temur Ismailov.  Sam is ranked inside the top 100.  (Just: #97 – Ed)  Temur is ranked 527.  No real need to get the chainsaw out of the shed, was there Lleyton?

The Beitzel Medallist could come from anywhere.   Friday night’s job was pretty ordinary.  We’re as happy as anyone to put the whistle away in September, and while we’ll argue that if they can do it in September, why cant they do it in March April May June July and August?  But if that means turning a blind eye to the type of manhandling we saw at THOF on Friday night, forget it.

Saturday was a better effort, but are we the only ones who are beginning to suspect that the umpies are calling these video reviews just to catch their breath? Fair dinkum, if the goal umpies can’t call them, why are they there?  And as for the Fourth Umpire up in the box, some of the decisions he/she reversed were so clearly a goal, that you start to understand why the Curry Munchers won’t use them in the Tests.  Besides, the one that grazed the foot thick padding on the post would’ve hardly have shown up on Snicko.  For crying out loud, the bloody padding shouldn’t be there in the first place.  It’s only there to satisfy the Mothers of Melbourne.

There was another one given touched against The Cats on Friday night. And one that was equally as clearly a goal that was judged, rightly, in favour of North.  Look, if the Cheer Squad and the goal umpire reckon it’s a six pointer, that’s good enough for us.  BTW, what was the difference in that match again?  Reverse those two calls and you reverse the outcome.  IGTCSAGFOD.

It’s Going To Cost Someone A Grand Final One Day Department. Sorry to keep banging on about it Wrappers, but those over-the-head handpasses have got about as much clenched fist in them as a baby photo.  Fair dinkum, one of The Big Tomahawk’s goal-assists was a classic.  Standing as tall as a manna gum in a possum hunt, he calmly tossed the ball over his head with one hand while he waved a simulated fist vaguely in the same direction.  At no time was the second hand – the one masquerading as a closed fist –  closer than six inches from the Ross Faulkner.  From Bay 21, Row K on the second level it looked like a throw.  The slo-mo replay removed all doubt.  How three maggots could miss it at ground level beggars belief.

Have we been asleep, or has the ground level tap-on by hand been raised to an art form? It’s certainly taken dragging the ball in as the default position when the ball comes to ground.  Well done KB and all those hard working people on the Rules Committee.  SOTG may be entitled to ask why it’s taken so long for Coaches to pick up on it.  (The more you pay holding the ball against the person at the bottom of the pack the more you’re going to get Coaches instruction players not to be the one caught at the bottom of the pack with the pill – Ed)

Listening to Grass Roots Footy on 774 Local Radio on Saturday the Boys interviewed a Melbourne Eastern Suburban League umpire. You know what they tell him at training?  Pay the obvious ones and leave the fifty fifties go.  (Bring back suburban Footy – Ed)

Gigz Ladder – you can find it on http://australianfootball.com/articles/view/Gigs%2BLadder%2BComp%2B-%2BFinals%2BWeek%2B1%2B-%2BAs%2Byou%2Bwere/1101  – reveals some interesting data.  It’s a system whereby you lose a point for every position away from their finishing position you select a team to finish.  (This is not going to end with double the number you first thought of is it Wrap? – Ed)  At this stage the leader has lost only 12 points.  Gigz throws in a few wild cards just to make it interesting.  The average of the 153 contestants is 28 and the pre=season call of the card around at Bookie Central was also 28.  Which probably isn’t all that surprising, considering The Bagmen lay off against the flow of the money.  (You don’t make money in Bagman World backing your own tips Wrap; they live in our world – Ed)  The Swinburne computer scored 48 points, which reinforces the axiom – rubbish in, rubbish out.  Or it may be an indictment of the IT Department along the inner reaches of Burwood Road.

The points lost against previous season’s postition is equally interesting. The draft’s working, up to a point, but the same three teams keep sharing the pennant each year.  (Plus the Collingwood wild card every 20 years – Ed)

2013 – 38 points

2012 – 66 points

2011- 86 points

2010 – 96 points

2009 – 114 points

2008 – 86 points

2007 – 78 points

2006 – 102 points

2005 – 92 points

Or put another way

2013 – 38 points

2012 – 66 points

2007 – 78 points

2011 – 86 points

2008 – 86 points

2010 – 96 points

2005 – 92 points

2006 – 102 points

2009 – 114 points

For those ghouls still interested in news items on the EFC, they can be found in the Victorian Supreme Court Lists at http://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au

But enough of my yackin’. Let’s see who went through after Round II of the Finals.

The Shinboners v.  The Pivotonians.  The big question going around before the teams ran out was how was the Appalling Football League going to outfit two teams that play in Blue & White Stripes – one lot vertical and one lot horizontal – in Jumpers that didn’t clash yet remained representative of the Team Colours.  Full marks to Gillon of The Overflow, in duds that didn’t quite have the flair of a Jean Paul Gaultier parade, he managed to rig Geelong in outfits that were predominantly white and North on outfits that were predominantly dark.  (Einstein’s not dead as long as we’ve got Young McLachlan around – Ed)

North got off to a blinder, and should have repeated Port’s demolition of The Endangered Species by quarter time. All the talk is of The Handbaggers’ 15 minutes of Comeback Football in the last Quarter, but SOTG would put that comeback as having been launched in the Opening Stanza.  Completely outclassed by The Roos, The Cats managed 5-1, three of the majors coming in redtime, one of them on the siren.  This quiet achievement kept them in the contest on the scoreboard.  Honestly, our stringer at the match said Geelong, on the run of play, really only deserved to have raised the twin calicos once for the quarter, maybe twice.  But to be only 12 points down at the First Change seemed an aberration.  Without that 5-1 against the play, that Nailbiting Final Quarter would have just been some junk time activity and a consolation prize for the Big Tomahawk to kick three quick goals in succession.

You have to hand it to Boomer don’t you? (You wrote in the preview that Boomer’s fired up to make his mark Wrap – Ed)  Off the leash five minutes and he’s at it again.  Some dogs never learn; you just can’t let them loose in the park when other dogs are around, can you?  Personally, we didn’t see it as being all that violent.  But really Boomer; off the ball and straight at the bloke, you even managed a classic sandwich.  Sorry Old Son, we don’t want to see The Bump taken out of The Game, but fair dinkum, you’ve just had a three week rap over the knuckles, and while we’re not great fans of the invertebrates around at the Star Chamber, you can’t thumb your nose at them and expect leniency.  And please, don’t subject the Football Public to a display of crocodile tears and sobs of how you’ve let down your teammates & supporters.  We’re not listening.

The contest had a strange tempo. The Shinboners kicked a 2-5 in the Second Stanza; The Hoopers kicked five behinds.  In the Championship Quarter they each booted 3-3, then, with the half way through the Final Stanza, and with The Northerners five goals to the good, The Handbags appeared to have bricks in them.  But a Cat only has nine lives, and they’d used them all getting this far in 2014.  They unleashed a 15-minute farewell to the season and to give the Faithful of Flat Town some hope for Season 2015 and beyond.

Highlights? With the outcome well and truly in the balance – Toddy Goldstein’s mark in the goal square.  The opening goal at the 18-second mark; it electrified North.  Big Tom’s three goals in six minutes that nearly pulled the match out of the fire.  (Which really only matched Lindsay Thomas’s three pack in the Opening Stanza – Ed)  The running battle between the Geelong Captain and the North Melbourne Football Team.

Lowlights? Probably the middle reaches of the match.  Five majors in half a game of Footy.  Not a September pass mark.  Geelong’s missed kick-in would have shaken the confidence of the Corio Bay Faithful.

In fairness, it should be pointed out that apart from the skewing of the Opening Stanza scoreboard, North were crucified by the umpires. We gave up counting the number of times Geelong defenders were all over North forwards and not penalized.  It seemed the closer the play got to the North goals, the more extreme the mauling the defender could apply and expect to get away with it.  Pay those and you could add another four or five goals to the North Melbourne scoreline.

As the gathering gloom of another Long Dark Summer settles over Sleepy Hollow, what can be said about the team that wears the Navy Blue Hoops on a White Field? They’ve looked one-dimensional for some time now: one dimensional and static.  Kick it long to Big Tommy.  And if it’s not Stevie J getting the ball out it’s Joel Selwood.  (There’s a rumour going around that they’ve auctioned three times more of those bloodstained Joel Selwood Jumpers than have been torn off him on match days – Ed)  The kids from the Geelong Falcons Football Factory, mooted to fill the gaps in the firing line, haven’t quite made it through to full Pivotonian standard yet.  Add to that the fading of the light for some of the veterans at Kardinia Park and you have a familiar picture of a team in decline.  Some SOTG are suggesting that there’s going to have to be a turn around in the thinking at The Cattery for 2015 if the season’s going to provide more than a year of quixotic last ditch stands and highlight reel of a chastened Stevie J leaving Jellymont House on Tuesday night.

The fundamental issue at Cat Central is their defence. Made up of Household Names, it looks terrific on paper, but in practice, with an injury prone & ageing midfield, it’s lost its invincibility and its explosive rebound.  There’s a lot of experience there, but with experience comes age and body battering game-time.

As for The Thumpers, they prepare themselves to take on not one, but two Man Mountain forwards. They had enough trouble handling one on Friday night.  Two, and considering Buddy has the mobility of a gazelle and the hitting power of a Melbourne tram, may just be two too many.  Add to that a week off for their opponents and it looks a daunting task.  Although it should be said, The Shinboners will be sending a truckload of the well-publicized elixir up the Hume on Wednesday.

The Power From Port v The Barry Crockers.  A tale of two cities and a game of two halves.  One half dominated by a well-drilled team playing to a preset game plan.   The other half dominated by a team that Will Never Give In.  One that will Never Stop Stop Stop Till They’re Top Top Top.  And knows how to make that claim a reality.

And not for the first time Freo have kicked away their season. They had The Squawkers on toast around this time last year in the Big One, and they should have had Port broken by the Long Interval.  But let’s face it Wrappers – BKIBF.  And you’ve just got to be able to kick big scores if you want to win big games.  Grinding wins are good enough to pile-up premiership points in the depths of Winter, but by the time September comes around you’ve got to be able to pile on the percentage from attack.  Because the teams you’ll be facing have got there by being able to do just that – attack as well as defend.

What did you make of the respective pressers Wrappers? Always revealing aren’t they?  There was Rossy Lyon looking and sounding like a CEO of a company reporting a 50% profit slide.  Lots of good assets and a thereabouts balance sheet, with a new line of products to come on stream before next season.  No mention of a stocktaking sale, but that wouldn’t be good for staff & shareholder morale, now would it?

The Hink’s presser on the other hand sounded like a Football Coach inspiring a talented group of young men on a mission. Can he lead them to the Holy Grail?  Let’s travel back in time and space to the beginning of another era.  A long ago era when The Tigers ruled the VFL Jungle.  Way back to 1967.  It was a young Tommy Hafey who was being interviewed.  Tommy had come out of the bush to take the reigns at Tigerland.  He didn’t have the credentials of stardom or a track record of finals’ experience.  Tommy believed in two things.  Himself and his Boys.  Challenged about the inexperience of his young charges in a Grand Final the Little Chap in The T-shirt brushed aside the reservation by pointing out that several of the team had played in a Premiership team the previous year, either in the country or in the Richmond U19s.  Not a bad call; amongst that group were Kevin Bartlett, Royce Hart, Francis Bourke & Dick Clay.  From here in the Wrapcave we see the same Self Belief in Ken Hinkley.  The Hink was also overlooked.  He spent years taking any position he could get to learn his craft – bringing boys to manhood.  He finally got a senior gig – The Alberton Oval Basket Weavers.  Two words for the two teams between Port Adelaide and their second AFL Pennant – Be Afraid.  Make that three words – Be Very Afraid.

As for the 2015 Fremantle. The message must be clear by now.  They’ve just got to be able to kick big scores in big matches.  Whether it’s the mindset of the coaches under Rossy Lyon or the absence of forward manpower time will tell.  But before we all get stuck into the coaching style at Fremantle, let’s look at the mighty job Ross Lyon did getting them into the Top Four in the first place.  For a team that looks ordinary down a spine bookended by a couple of champions in the autumn of their careers they did a mighty job.  A couple of star midfielders and a serious shutdown man helps, as does a serial forward pest of rare quality.  Everyone’s looking for the next big CHF, unfortunately Dermies & Ducks don’t grow on trees.  But there’s the other R word to contend with at Freo – Retirements.  Age is creeping up on Big Aaron, The Pav and Mc Pharlin to name a few.  Pearce & Ballantyne to name a couple more.  Even the Iconic Zac’s 29 before next season. You could see the weariness written across Big Aaron’s face when the final siren sounded.  And the fan pix of The Captain & Vice Captain on the club website makes them look like someone’s grandfathers.  The other R word can’t be too far away for The Miasma.

Look, The Tealers went for broke in the Second Half, and Freo began to show the effects of their recent trip up to Steak & Kidney and playing The Creatures From The Black Lagoon, in the Black Lagoon. The Power Stormed home, and to be perfectly honest, have the ability and desire to match it with The Reigning Premiers in the Preliminary Final.

 

Highlights? The Port Adelaide comeback of course.  Robbie Grey’s 4-goal Championship Quarter upon which that comeback was anchored.  The incredible goal shooting of the Alberton Oval forwards.  (They don’t miss many do they? – Ed)

Lowlights? None to speak off, unless you’re one of The Purple Haze Faithful.  The attack of the Iconic Zac of course.  What happens at the Star Chamber is academic.  However, he does represent an element of The Dockers’ game that has a touch of the 70s & 80s about it.  Maybe it’s time The Dangerous Dockers dropped this element of their game plan.  It could be part of what’s holding them back.

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

The Wrap staff, along with Mrs Wrap & The Molloy Family will be going on a forty day & forty night retreat in the Wilderness to reconnect with their Spiritual Connexion to their Punt Road Homeland. The Wrap will be back for the Grand Final.  Then again maybe not.

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. Throw another pine cone on the fire. Open the second bottle of Murrunindi Shiraz and gaze longingly across to Mrs Wrap. Suddenly everything reminds us of 1967 doesn’t it Mr Wrap?
    The will is strong, but is the physical capacity still there?
    I was talking about the Prison Bar Maggies after the long train trip across the Nullarbor on the Indian Pacific, and the gruelling (?) battles against the Tiggers.
    Fine day and they will shake the Squawkers and the MCG to its foundations. Mark my words, and as we both know there were a couple of wise old owls that tipped the sweep on the weekend.
    I am off to Freo to minister to the forlorn and distraught. Can’t wipe the smile off my face. Cheers.

  2. Never had you marked down as the vindictive type Mr B. Have a bowl of mussels, another of chilli wedges, and wash the whole lot down with a cold red back or three. I’ll be there with you in spirit.

    BTW, when do you leave Melbourne? We probably won’t be back before GF Eve.

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