Almanac Cricket and Footy: So, your team are cheats – Advice from a Bombers Fan

So, your team are cheats.


As a Bombers member, I’ve been here before. It’s unpleasant, although you’re just a fan after all. But even if your only need for sandpaper is to remove the blood from your picket fence after your ill-advised DIY letterbox attempt, you’ll soon learn that you’re a walking ambassador for your team and that sport can illicit all sorts of emotions.


Indeed, there will be those who read the above and are already fuming at the audacity to compare what happened at Essendon FC with a three-man conspiracy to ball-buff. The fact I didn’t do that at all is of no consequence. The switchboard has already lit up and many have thrown their collective heads back.


So, if you’re a planning a northern summer in the Lakes District, a skiing holiday across the ditch, a poolside retreat in Goa or you happen to interact with some ex-pats from the ICC nations on a regular basis, remember to keep the below in mind.


Your rivals will dine out…despite their own failings


England’s recent effort in getting bowled out for 58 in Auckland showed one thing in common with the Carlton sides of late 2016, all of 2017 and early 2018 – they struggle to reach three figures.


For the period between ‘that’ press conference and CAS handing down the 12-month bans, Essendon’s record against Carlton stood at four wins, one draw and no losses. Even in the affected season of 2016, the Dons were still able to knock off Bolton’s Boring Blues.


Do you think the Bluebaggers (both in stands and press boxes) let up for a minute? No. (Not that I would either.) This is notwithstanding the fact that, like England, they’ve played fast and loose with the rules in past.


Even if the poms were to continue their miserable Trans-Tasman form and go winless from here to their home Ashes in 2019, they’ll still be giddy from the altitude atop their high horse leading into the First Test.


Not that they’ll let up prior to that. It’s only a matter of time before Nasser Hussain claims he asked Australia to bat first in 1994 to protect gun all-rounder Martin McCague from what our bowlers could do with a XXXX bottle top.


There is no room for reason


Despite the heavy-handed nature of the penalties, there will still be some who believe that the players/coach got off lightly. Some will think Lehmann should’ve been sacked, others will claim Bancroft should’ve got a longer ban while a few may ponder whether Steve Waugh’s slower balls in the 1987 World Cup were the result of ‘grippo’ applied to his inner right palm.


You may feel the urge to offer an alternative, considered view. Don’t bother.


I went through a period of correcting those who said that James Hird ‘got off unpunished’ from ‘the saga’. With as much droll as I could muster, I’d casually mention that he was banned from coaching for a year. From there, I’d just slide my poncho over my shoulders and await the spittle. Apparently, a year’s pay and European education is not most people’s idea of purgatory.


Other teams do it better


Gee, aren’t New Zealand the flavour of the month?


It seems that all those inside and outside of Cricket Australia are falling over themselves to point out the sparkling sportsmanship coming from the land of the long white cloud, with Brendan McCullum already floated as a possible replacement for Darren Lehmann. It wouldn’t surprise to see the Australian touring party each being handed a copy of Ken Rutherford’s autobiography, A Hell of a Way to Make a Living on the flight home from Johannesburg.


Like the Western Bulldogs, who were often held up as the ‘anti-Essendon’, the Kiwis are a likeable team who many would adopt as a ‘second team’. Of course, the comparison only goes so far, as the Bulldogs actually won something.


There will be a period of introspection and there will (quite rightly) be a review of the cultures and attitudes within Australian cricket. I can’t imagine any pre-season army boot camps will be held but I do have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot about mindfulness prior to next summer.


There are still games to be played


A very good friend of mine is a keen punter, a staunch family man and, paradoxically, a Carlton supporter. Whenever the most recent racing scandal blows into town, he likes to remind me of the following, “mate, at the end of the day, there is always another race. You can have your possums, your piglets, your cobalt, your fixes, your shocks on the whip and everything else, but there’s always another race to watch or punt on.”


That may be a bit cold, but the point is (I hope) that the games keep coming. The Fourth Test could yet produce a win and the series beyond that could see a Maxwell or Renshaw flourish while Tim Paine’s crooked finger directs a more humbled unit.


What’s more, the pile-on that we’re currently enduring make future successes sweeter. I still recall rolling up to the MCG in round 2, 2016 to see more Demons fans in stands than I’d ever witnessed (including the 2000 Grand Final and the first post-GFC Polo Ralph Loren clearance). Clearly, they were there to feast on a depleted Bomber carcass, but they left without a (cheeseboard) cracker.


So whether cricket to you is something you put on the radio to drown out the lawnmower next door or you have already picked the best vantage point at the Junction Oval for the 18/19 season, it’s important to remember that the show still goes on.


And if the Mancunian in accounts starts to get lippy, just smile and say ‘that’s quite funny. Should you get an MBE for that?’


Or not. Perhaps just wait for when we roll them for 99 (that one’s for you, Blues fans).


About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.


  1. Very droll Andrew. Every sign that your Bombers are well on the way to becoming a ‘redemption story’. If only James had cried at a presser and asked for forgiveness for letting the wolf in to eat the gingerbread house. Can he coach cricket?

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