Almanac Footy: What your club needs.



Otway ruckman, Al McKenzie. Happy to chat with Nank.



Sydney needs Tom Lynch. Or Stroppy Jack. Sorry, Buddy, a forward who can mark regularly overhead. Other than that, they’re a pretty tight bunch.


Carlton need Nankervis. About half the teams in the league do. Their new bloke is great in the air. Will just get better. But the way Nank lands and bulls open a pack would free up Cripps.


West Coast need a lot. I showed the kids I coach a game of theirs to see what not to do. Top of their need list would be a fit Nic Nat, I guess.


Papley doesn’t need a damn thing. He’s pretty perfect in my books.


Hawthorn are weird. They have pieces, but are also missing pieces. They really need a bit of this and a bit of that. Crisps would help. Maybe Grimes. Lynch. Langdon. On-baller, key defender, key forward, top line winger. One of each.


Richmond need to get Bolta and Baker back in the backline. Hey! It worked! You don’t lose a running machine from defence like Houli, then also move the other two. Great to see the Tigers backline flow again.


Sometimes I think they need to give Trent a hot chocolate and a nap.


Dusty still rarely plays four quarters, but knows, like a good boxer, the key moments in a bout. But Lynch, love or hate him, is the key. So often it takes two defenders to stop him, which makes it far harder, numbers-wise, for the other mob to run it out. That’s when Richmond’s chaos goals work best.


They do need another game bushing mid. Oliver, Cripps, Bomp, a four quarters man, to help with those fadeouts. Take your pick.


And both bookends fit.


The Roos need Andre the Giant. Throw in Brutus Beefcake and the Iron Sheik. Poor Goldie, such a trouper! They’d still lose with half-a-dozen 90s wrestlers, but be good for a laugh.


Gold Coast need to move to Tassie, change their name, jumper, colours, and playing list. And their silly logo, that looks like a bad add for Copperart. Tassie would need propping up, but no more than the Suns. It’s beyond a joke.


Collingwood need a good PR agent. And Lynch. And Crisps, Grimes, Andre, etc… They have far more money than any other club. That means better coaches, more coaches, better equipment, doctors, better everything it takes to mould raw kids into elite footballers. They should, in theory, never bottom out.


But, really, they’re a tight unit, with a super running backline. I’d add Ed Langdon on the wing, or Lockie Neale, just that explosive-slash-elite midfielder, or even Joe Daniher from Brisbane.


They’ve got some great kids down forward, and Mihocek is pure, pure workhorse. They just need that CLUNKER! Imagine Mihocik on the other mob’s third best defender!


Pendles and Cotchin can swap teams, then go sit at a bar and reminisce about greatness. Although it would be no contest. Trent won a Brownlow, but was, in honesty, very good. Pendles spent about 12 years being great.


Both are still of service, but simply don’t tear games apart.


Otway Districts are so close! Too often we get done by about three goals and change. In the crunch times we just don’t have a forward clunker like Kennedy, or Lynch. That straightens the team up.


Geelong need to organise a good fountain of youth! God damn, imagine that list if every player was 28! Yeow!


Losing Melbourne need to recruit Stevie May from winning Melbourne, then they will be winning Melbourne again. Or something. Time travel is tricky.


Melbourne need a little less slapping it on the boot from their greats. It makes them too vulnerable to a good defence. Put some pressure on their mids, and it’s slap, slap, slap.


The people who do the score reviews need a hip-hop soundtrack. Then, that annoying, artificial construct that teaches people to not accept the umpire’s decision would be hilarious!


The game needs Buddy Franklin. It just does. Preferably the one of a decade ago, but such is aging. We’ll take what we can get.


Adelaide and Port need to merge. Haha! How funny would that be!? The players could just pull up deckchairs on the crowd and watch.


But no, really, they do. Port would get a few handy key forwards, though not as handy as Lynch and Stroppy Jack. Adelaide, ironically as far as club cultures go, would get a bit more class.


What Port really need, though, is a new coach. Ken, you’ve been a great servant, but it’s time, mate.


The Doggies aren’t that far off, on their good days. Trouble is, they also have bad days. Really, they only need one more of everything. Lever in defence. Zorko, or another bull on-ball, just the one cloning machine for Naughton. Three of four of him down forward would be handy. If that happened, at least one Naughton would get the opposition’s 3rd or 4th best defender… then look out!


Maybe they need to compliment him with Mihocek.


And a few players who play four quarters.


In the ruck they have English, who is handy. Does handy win you a flag though? Unless you’re Hawthorn. Then, handy ruckmen win you dynasties! One per decade! From Don in the 70s, up.


What the Doggies actually need, as do half the teams in the comp, is not the Nank, or Nic Nat, or Max, but Jackson from the Dees. A back-up ruckman who is very good. Then, there won’t be that 5 minute release of applied pressure each quarter.




Let’s give them Sodo, and his moustache.


Or a top line ruckman, and make English the top line back-up. Same with Geelong.


The Giants need DeLilio back. Haha! No, really. Then they’ll have someone to blame.


They never quite got their mix right. When they started, Sheeds said he was coaching the best juniors team on the continent. Everybody drooled in a five year anticipation. Maybe he was, but not every good kid grows up to be a good senior player. I know, I’m a juniors coach. Sometimes it takes years to figure out who has the ability to improve, and do does not.


Freo are doing very nicely right now, thank you. I wouldn’t want to rock their boat. What a great back half!


Same with Brisbane. Going well. But what a mighty midfield! Give them Gawn. Give every team Gawn. The silk of ruckmen. Or Nankervis, the bull.


Or even poor Goldie. If only for Goldie. He’s way better than they have, and deserves some winningness to retire with.


Or Brisbane can simply take the 70s, 80, 90s, 10s, Hawthorn route.


If I had to get serious, I’d give them a top line ruckman, and running machine defender, like Rioli or even Baker, who is so underrated. You can throw that kid anywhere.


Or a Tom Stewart or Jezza Howe, just that bit of flair in their backline to go compliment the waddle of Rich.


Essendon need everything. Sorry, they just do.


St Kilda need a slightly better version of each player. Swap Butler, who’s good, for Greene. Paddy, who’s great, for Max, who’s elite. Jack for Bomp.


Maybe St Kilda and Essendon could swap bits and pieces and end up with one great finals side… and another North.


Do a list of every team, with two players from other teams, and see what’s what. The AFL is a tight drum. It would take very few stars to be the glue between your best and your worst.


Tommy Lynch, come down to Otway, mate. We have every bit as much heart as Richmond. You would not find a more genuine bush club, a more community-based club. We need your clunk.


Bring Nank if he’s about. Our ruckman, Big Al is a gun, but can’t be everywhere. I suspect he’d be happy to slot into CHB.



You can read more from Matt Zurbo Here.



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  1. george smith says

    As far as Collingwood goes, we have the players to give Mihocek a chop out, their names are Krueger and Johnson. BUT they have run foul of Mr Injuries this year. Neither will be much use until next year, so our gallant run from 8th spot to the flag is a bit moot.
    The bigger worry is that the Magpies might sell the farm for a power forward, spending money we don’t have after Grundy’s Franklin-like contract. Far better to go for a moneyball proposition such as Sam Weidemann or Jake Riccardi, if at all.
    The problem with power forwards is the successful ones, Cameron, Daniher and Lynch, are complementing other power forwards, such as Hawkins. Franklin pops up occasionally but hasn’t got the Swans the run of finals wins they need.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    Love it Matt. Adelaide and Port merging is a great idea. No one would roll up! Hawthorn need more Sicilys only disciplined. Very talented player. I read your Monday wrap and I too thought Mihecek was well worth watching.. Happy for Melbourne to get it and kick as they once did well.

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