Cardboard Villains


Stockbroker Stadium,  5.40pm (AFL **##!! TV Time) Thursday the can you **!!##  believe it 14 June 2012 

Chris Judd’s 5 All Time Favorite Woody Allen Movies:

  1. Take the Money and Run (1969) – for taking the Visy cash instead of another premiership with the Eagles
  2. Stardust Memories (1980) – for when the body can no longer achieve what the mind dictates
  3. The Front (1976) – for leadership – a pretender among pretenders (Mitch Robinson was right)
  4. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) – for the marking infringement and 50 metre sook that finally conceded tonight’s game to the Eagles
  5. Sweet and Lowdown (1999) – a tale of two clubs (Elliott, Pratt and Collins V Ben Cousins – no choice there)

Thought I might vent a little spleen of my own, and save Litza the effort.  Funny old game tonight.  Been unusually cold and wet in Perth all week.  There was a half hour downpour about 2 hours before kick off, but the only real rain during the game was at half time.  The surface was good underfoot and the skilled players on both sides kicked well all night.  However it was slippery and that made ball handling and clean disposal difficult.

In the end I thought it was Carlton’s “Rope a Dope” game plan against the Eagles “Million Monkeys” master plan for scoring goals.  I can’t work out if Ratten is a genius or a dope.  Does he get the most out of a team of speedy squibs (hello Garlett, Yarran, Betts and Gibbs on tonight’s performance), or has he created a seriously non-competitive game style that can never win tough games against top sides?  Both probably.

Here’s how the game went.  Ratts sensibly decides that his mob are hopeless jokes, and they need to absorb some pressure for a while.  He starts with Kreuzer (who can play – but not in this role) and/or Eddie Betts (who I love – but he didn’t turn up tonight) as a one or two man forward line.  The rest flood back and the first quarter and a half is the Eagles shooting fish in a barrel.

Unfortunately, most of the time we miss.  Sporadically the Blues flick it out wide and get it over the back for a running goal.  Most of the time it doesn’t work, as Glass is much quicker than Kreuzer when the ball is in the open.

Meanwhile in Mad Monkey land the Eagles midfield is practising for August when Josh Kennedy gets back from a busted ankle.  We continually bomb it long to undersized forwards in the square and Watson, Jamison et al do a fine job of punching it over.  We miss gettable set shots from 40 with monotonous regularity, but never mind, we are 28 points (and I mean points) clear late in the quarter.

Now the dope gets roped.  Having let the Eagles punch themselves out, the Blues flick it wide and kick a couple of running goals and at half time we lead 5.12 to 4.4.  What the?  The other mob hasn’t turned up yet and we are only 2 goals ahead.  Smart coaching I reckon.  Ratts gets the most of his collection of speedy squibs.

Half time is an anxious wait as the rain returns, and I ponder my time worn belief that the last 10 minutes of the first half is reliably the best indicator of the second.  Whoever has run and belief late in the first half invariably goes well after the break.

And so it proves in a third quarter where the Blues kick 4.4 to another wasteful 1.5 to the Mad Monkey Millionaires.  The Blues are 3 points up at the final break.  What the?

In the 3Q huddle, Mr Twigley (nee Judd) checks his bank balance and portfolio on the IPhone.  How dare the AFL schedule matches on Thursday pay days, and when its moving day on the market!  This is Patersons Stockbroker Stadium after all.  Early in the last quarter, the great man runs to the boundary unaccompanied to yell for his broker to sell Visy and buy banana futures.  To illustrate he trips on a banana skin as the ball arrives, and it bobbles over the boundary line to the applause of the Eagles faithful and the ringing endorsement of ASelwood.

The Eagles kick a couple, and the Navy Blues have run out of both rope and run.  The great man arrives late at a marking contest on the Eagles forward line and decides that Cox needs his arms removed to make the grab more challenging.  When the free is awarded, he takes umbrage at Matt Priddis’ suggestion that it is great to have him back, because Matt is no longer the slowest man on the field.  ASIC sensibly penalizes the great man 50 metres for insider trading.

The Eagles skip 22 points clear with less than 10 minutes left, and the game deteriorates into one of those final meanders between the exhausted and the dispirited.  A couple of late lazy goals ensure the flow of dividends for one more week to some of the inflated (pay packet not height) Carlton forwards.

Not a game with a lot of highlights.  The Eagles are hard workers and tacklers, but the skill set is a bit lacking.  Dumb football turned a stroll into a tight contest.  Next week’s contest against Collingwood at the ‘G, will be the first real marker of whether we are a serious contender.  The next will come with the late season return of Josh Kennedy (and much less crucially Embley and Nicoski).

Carlton are a fast break basketball team that has turned up in the wrong competition.  It’s footy Brett, but not as we know it.  Ratts has read the Pat Riley and Angelo Dundee play book.  Alan Jeans is a foreign language.

The Blues will always be hard to beat on the skating rink at Etihad with the lid on, but not on a footy ground.  Murphy will obviously improve them, but Waite is the missing link.  I doubt that his body (and brain) will ever let him realize his potential.  They need strong, hard big men.  Kreuzer would be a very good athletic ruckman in the Dean Cox mould.  Robbie Warnock is Jason Madden without the leg speed and skills.  Good to see the Dockers give away a dud for a change.  Warnock is so useless he must be on at least $500k from the Visy squillionaires.

Naitanui was probably the best afield – 25 disposals and 31 hitouts is a fair effort.  The AFL website says he got 136 DT’s, and I didn’t even know that he drank.  A ruckman who is in the best 3 midfielders on a wet night is an astonishing athletic achievement.  If he ever learns to kick, he will be an AblettSnr who rucks.

In the end I gave my 3 votes to Scott Selwood partly for 33 disposals.  But mostly because he got them on the Cardboard Villain who amassed 12, but did give a couple of handball assists to the boundary umpire.

The hard men were Carlton’s best.  Carazzo, Robinson, Scotland and the key defenders in Watson and Jamison all deserved to have their dividend cheques franked this week.

Notable that on a wet night when the going was tight and tough inside, that among Blues worst were Yarran, Garlett and Betts.  Josh Hill was one of a couple of Eagles who did little.

Is it because I is skinny?

WEST COAST 3.3        5.12      6.17      10.19 (79)

CARLTON         2.3        4.4       8.8        10.9 (69)



Eagles -S Selwood, Natanui, Shuey, Glass, Priddis, Darling

Carlton– Carazzo, Robinson, Watson, Scotland, Jamison.

VOTES –S Selwood(WC) 3;  Natanui (WC) 2;  Carazzo (C) 1


  1. John Butler says


    This article once again proves that cheap insults will never substitute for a decent game analysis.

  2. Lord Bogan says

    I don’t know JB, I found this rather entertaining. Well done PB.

  3. Thanks, PB – you must made a harrowing evening that little bit worse. I have no response other than my family is sticking by me during this difficult time.

  4. Can’t wait till August 10th PB.

  5. Great to hear from you JB. Hoped that if I launched enough silvertail schrapnel over the parapet you wouldn’t be able to resist lifting your head out of the Stockade. Wouldn’t like to meet your boys at Ethihad in a semi with Waite back. The challenge is getting there.
    Yours is still my favourite piece in the 2011 book (sorry about the result). I am working on a piece called “The Fine Art of Booing”.
    I look forward to your response.

  6. John Butler says

    Don’t worry PB. A response is on the way when I get a little time.

  7. Mark Simms says

    Have to agree with Lord Bogun: some concise and perceptive analysis here, plus some decent cheap insults.

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