Finals Week 3 – West Coast v North Melbourne: Diabolical! Got it it one Brian

“Diabolical trouble”. Brian Taylor’s summation of North Melbourne’s fate in the third quarter if the West Coast had stretched their fifteen point lead to twenty one. One can only image that things went to DEFCON 1 in the coach’s box when the Eagles got out to thirty points.

The game had hardly set scoring records however as the boys in the box constantly remind us “There plenty of time left for North” and “Thirty points is nothing in modern footy”. If there was plenty of time and thirty points is nothing in modern footy then why was sixteen points diabolical trouble at the 15 minute mark of the third quarter? Obviously one man’s idea of disaster is another man’s feeling that the game was still in the balance.

If Brian had to proffer a view on what was diabolical, why did he not turn his attention to the chap in green who was single handedly redefining the word? Is it a height thing? Does Ray Chamberlain hold a vendetta against anyone over 4’9”? Does Ray’s vertical limitations provide him with vantage point normally available only to burrowing animals? This could be the only explanation as to why Ray is the only person on the planet that can see a free kick 20 metres in front of goal.

Probably none of the above yet this man insists on imposing his will on a game he clearly has never participated in. It is widely rumoured that Ray auditioned for Game of Thrones. The producers preferred Peter Dinklage who at least allowed other actors on the set and the cameras to get an occasional glimpse of some lady bits rather the Ray’s pumpkin head.

Ray and Brian are like serial photo bombers. Imagine a bridal party having paid $2000 for commemorative snaps in Fitzroy Gardens returning from their honeymoon eager to view the photo album. Standing resplendent in front of the blooming azaleas the pair see a moustached Taylor baring his bum behind them as Ray’s head appears from under the bride’s dress. At least the photographer can digitally remove these annoying pests.

Those of us in TV land have no suck luck. Other than turning off the tele or throwing it off the balcony, we must endure these two buffoons who together could make Mandela’s biography all about them.

Perhaps it was the fear of getting out of the state had a second WA side lost a prelim but, for all intents and purposes, Brian and Ray did their utmost to unsure the paranoia and insecurities harboured on the western seaboard were not inflamed any further than the previous evening. Wasn’t it good to see a few Dockers fans enhancing the West’s reputation for inclusiveness! Might I suggest that supporters over the age of 10 who wear sleeveless jumpers to the footy may go some way towards identifying who we are there to watch and the ones our mums warned us about.

That and the fact the morons involved were on the side of the fence that was serving grog.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Well said Tony, though you have undersold the awfulness of Dean Margetts.

  2. Easy Robb, enough slagging off small blokes or I might start a new offended class of people – the vertically challenged. I’ve already got the chant:

    What do we want?
    When do we want it?

    The view from down here is quite magnificent, thank you very much.

    Dips – 5’6″ 1/4

  3. Rob – Dean was complicit I agree. Just that nobody can beat Ray to the whistle. 42 free kicks in a game of footy, let alone a prelim, is a disgrace. Mind you, 37 the night before was just as bad
    Dips – you positively tower over Ray by more than just height

  4. Brian Taylor gives me the tom tits calling tiddlywinks, but surely any fair diabolical listing from Saturday night starts J.Waite; B.Brown; D.Petrie………..

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    As an umpire myself, I would say the umpiring in both prelim finals was a disgrace and as bad as we have ever witnessed. The positioning and interpretations are diabolical. Rowan Sawyers should have been sacked long ago and
    Wayne Campbell has his limitations. (Get a ruck coach for the umpires as well. As for Razor Ray he should not be umpiring under 8s let alone AFL).

  6. Although my favourite commentary moment of the season was on ABC radio when they perceived a bad umpiring decision and started off with the “if only umpires played / had a feeling for the game” diatribe, until they realised it was Jordan Bannister

  7. DB
    agree with that call. Jarrod put in second half that made every Carlton supporter smile that he can’t do that to them ever again.

  8. Peter Fuller says

    Perhaps that was an excusable error by the commentator. Jordie had 14 games for Essendon over three seasons, and spent the rest of his playing career with the scarcely plausible impersonation of a football team, Carlton 2004-09.

  9. Problem with the umpires for a long time now is they think they are part of the show (Chamberlain especially). The more theatrical the gestures and running in style, the better it seems. Take away the microphones for a start and preferably the numbers and try to get your positioning right. As for Taylor, words nearly fail me, but if somebody like S. Newman can still get a media gig, anything must be possible. Old media problem, the more sensationalistic (is that a word?), the more likely a “personality” will survive. It’s called Murdoch’s Law…

  10. Paul, I couldn’t agree more about the umpires stepping back from the lime light. The adage that a good umpire is one you don’t remember rings true. And stop talking to the players like there best mates. Call then by their team name or number only.
    Malcolm, Sawyers has been terrible with weekly changes of interpretations. Unless a bloke has had his head pulled off, the players from both sides have no idea which way the decision is going as there is rarely the same application of a rule applied twice in a row with ruck contest being the perfect example.

  11. Don’t blame the umpires for North Melbourne’s loss.
    I played and umpired junior and senior footy.
    I see things from both sides.
    The umpires might’ve made six mistakes for the game.
    North’s players kicked out on the full nine times for the game, and turned the ball over plenty.
    And West Coast kicked 10:20.
    Could’ve been 15:15, and North would’ve lost by plenty.
    I love North, but they lost on their own…

  12. Tony, agree re the names, forgot that additional irritation. Rugby Union refs say “roll away gold 4” or some such. Sounds OK for Australian Rules. The irritating cry to ruckmen of “don’t hold” is very irksome. They know the rules, if they are holding, blow the whistle and pay a free kick. If not holding, shut up. Do not presume to teach players how to play.

  13. Peter Fuller says

    I umpire at a level as distant from AFL as Broome is from Melbourne. I sense that you wouldn’t like my umpiring methodology, as I talk to players all the time, not just “don’t hold” in ruck contests, but also “don’t crib the mark”,”don’t hold or push before the ball arrives” in marking contests,”taggers, don’t hold” (if there’s time, I’ll explain that they can have touch contact but not push).
    The advantage I see in this approach is that a player pinged for such an infringement has no basis for complaint. It’s also true that the players I deal with are far less skilled and knowledgeable, particularly about the rules (adults as well as juniors)
    I do agree with you that players who hold on should be penalised, but then umpires are likely to be criticised for paying tiggy-touch frees. Note how often in the contemporary game, players in a race for the ball will be holding or otherwise infringing, but very rarely penalised. Frequently, however, both ruckmen or marking contestants are holding, and it’s rarely obvious who offended first. My verbal then is “you’re both holding, no free”.
    The advantage is that I’m not miked up, so that it’s only the players in the immediate vicinity who endure my advisories.

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