Gary, it’s not that simple

Gazza – nothing more needs to be said. He said his dad’s better. End of story. Or is it? Everyone’s gotta have an opinion. Personally I think Gazza Jnr has a better CV but Gazza Snr has a better highlights DVD. Gazza Jnr  could play until he’s well past most players retirement age and then jag a few seasons in a forward pocket as the Suns get a Premiership. Gazza Snr was a bloke who could pull the crowds through the turnstiles simply by playing. I remember a  Preliminary at VFL Park Waverley where Gazza Snr kicked 9 from the wing. The Bombers found him unstoppable as did most teams that year. It was almost the completest game I had ever seen by a player. It was like there was a God on the turf playing amongst mere mortals. Gazza Jnr will be remembered as a better person and a fairer player who could also pull the crowds through the turnstiles, no mean feat in the Gold Coast’s hinterland. I don’t think Jnr has ever been to the tribunal. Snr however used to do it and then grab the bible! Snr too would have made sure about it too, regardless of the ensuing guilt. And with the impact of a Mack truck too. Anyone would be seeing stars for a week. The fall from grace for Gazza Snr after his career has obviously impacted on both Nathan and Gazza Jnr to the point that both wouldn’t tread the same path but definitely serves as a good lesson for all sportspeople once the roar stops.

A topic for the ages is the comparison, regardless of your club allegiances.

Preliminary final – Hawks vs Cats

A sigh of relief and Jeffrey Gibb Kennett reemerges from a 12 game stint as Jeffrey Goose Kennett. The Kennett Curse effectively stated that Hawthorn players were mentally stronger than Geelong players, leading to a 12 game winning streak by the Cats. The Curse was lifted after Shaun Burgoyne’s match winning goal that saw Hawthorn advance to another Grand Final and the Cats left to lick their wounds in 2013, one of nine lives gone. That the Hawks overcame a 20pt deficit from ¾ time to run out winners by 5pts meant that the Hawks had earned it the hard way. For the brown and gold faithful, this is a useful skill for the team to display as they head into the Grand Final, especially given the way they lost the Grand Final in 2012. For the Cats, it was a case of so close and yet so far. A funny thing happens as Travis Varcoe’s kick at goal veers to the wrong side of the post with precious little time remaining. Geelong, so unfamiliar with vulnerability throughout the last few years, epitomised it in the extreme. Did they panic? Were they not good enough? As for the crowd of 85000+, they got what they anticipated, expected and wanted. It was a pulsating contest from start to finish between two sides that have deserved their standing within the top 4 in 2013. In addition, the crowd got a game where the conclusion was only obvious within the dying seconds as Puopolo handballed to Roughead running towards the Hawks forward 50 arc. The Hawks have deservedly been the best team throughout the home and away season and now for the moment of truth. Like on Friday night, a win will come the hard way. For the Cats, the continuing evolution under Chris Scott will see some more retirees at the expense of some more youth. The Cats will benefit from this direction in 2014, even if some hard decisions are made. Joel Selwood was wrong, the game not pinched. The Hawks were too good.

Preliminary Final – Fremantle v Swans (NB: Perth’s Swan River did remain as named in the leadup!)

Rather than rely on golden draft picks through successive years, Fremantle, as a footy club, has had to do it the hard way. The arrival of Ross Lyon into the Dockers’ coaching box might just be the icing on the cake. Throughout Fremantle’s history there have been mistakes galore, but given their AFL history, their time is now. On Saturday Night, Fremantle turned the second quarter into the Premiership Quarter with a withering display of pressure footy. Normally composed under the fiercest of pressure, Sydney players wilted in the glare of the Purple haze. I’m going to coin the phrase Collective Asphyxiation. The RSPCA might want to investigate what happened to 22 Swans on Saturday at Subiaco. Ironically, the Swans moniker was borne of a South Melbourne recruiting spree of WA players…history counted for nought on Saturday night. However, Fremantle’s renowned Team Defence went to work on their Sydney counterparts after a wayward first quarter of 2.9. An 8pt qtr time lead became a 39pt lead at the main break. Sydney couldn’t buy any forward entries, bar Jesse White’s costly point. Whilst injuries had decimated the Swans’ finals foray, the Dockers were in no mood for sympathy. An even forward spread continued for Freo into the third led by Son Son Walters. The Swans found scoring options after half time, but only into the last qtr was there any scoreboard respectability, a 43pt ¾ time lead became a 25pt Freo win. The Dockers took their foot of the gas in the last qtr, knowing what was to be. For Fremantle, it’s a maiden Grand Final berth, a dream come true for skipper Pavlich and the Purple Army parties like its 1999! Injuries and memories healed, Sydney will hit back in 2014. Watchout!



  1. Senior was a brillian but selfish sniper. junior is just brilliant and a better player by some distance

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Senior More Dynamic his 1989 Finals series will remain as 1 of if not the most dominant by a Player in History Junior more consistent 5 MVP is amazing Pearless in the current
    Era Both Incredible Players

  3. daniel flesch says

    Agree, both incredible players. But i have 2 reservations : could they not keep their religious beliefs private ,rather than announcing them to large audiences ? And for me Garry snr.’s role in supplying drugs to a naive , fatally trusting young woman with whom he should not have been alone late at night in a room with at all, will forever influence my view of him. (Similar to another great player in Wayne Carey , but at least nobody died due to his misbehaviour.) Footballers – like the rest of us – don’t have to be angels , but Ablett snr. fell well below acceptable standards and made a mockery of the faith he trumpeted. “By their deeds shall ye know them.” Matthew 7:16

  4. Daniel – regarding the religious issue. Something intrigues me about this. I’ve heard your point of view put forward by others on a few occasions (about keeping religious beliefs private). Why is it when players like Harry O’Brien and Bachar Houli comment on, announce beliefs in, or promote their own religion we say “good on them” but when Christianity is the belief we regard the player as a “Bible basher”?

  5. daniel flesch says

    Fair point , Dips . Perhaps adherents of minority religions feel they are regarded negatively and are trying to change perceptions. Though i’m ignorant of any Harry O’B. pronouncements (or his beliefs) , i guess Bachar Houli is trying to promote a better image of Muslims than exists in the minds of many / most non-Muslim Australians. Maybe he sees himself as something of a role model for young Muslims . Houli -as the first Muslim senior AFL player is a curiosity , and gets attention for that . Not that long ago we found Indigenous players the odd ones out . Now they are a bigger percentage of AFL players than Indigenous people are in the whole population. When there are more Muslims playing it won’t be a subject of discussion. My gripe about the Abletts was their public proclomation of their faith. Has Houli publicly thanked Allah , or has he just pointed out Muslims can be part of mainstream society ? I wonder who first drew attention to his faith – himself or the media ? (b.t.w. I ‘m one of the many agnostic Aussies of the “religions cause wars” school.)

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