JK’s Round 12 Wrap

by John Kingsmill

Coming back from Gay’s today,
there was a new piece of graffiti
on a neighbour’s wall. Love, it read,
in cursive longhand, on an alley wall
in Regent Street South.

It reminded me of Arthur Stace, writing Eternity
on Sydney footpaths in chalk in the thirties.
I saw Love from my balcony before I read
your mail. It made me smile – I don’t know why.
I imagined a boy on a bike, cycling home

at 2am through the cold late square,
flush with warmth, and stopping
at the wall. “I have to tell the world,”
he thought. “This is too good
to keep alone.” He wrote Love,

staked his flag, and cycled home.

Our southern world is in strife again. More aftershocks
in Christchurch – a 5.5, then a 6. More old buildings fell;
no deaths, thank christ, but tears and fear. PM John Key
said: “We have a long-term plan.” That’s disconnect.

Back home, a volcanic cloud from an earthquake
in Chile travelled around the world and then settled over
Melbourne. No flights for a day or two from Tullamarine;
No ins or outs with Melbourne; Hobart stranded, New Zealand

cut adrift. Channel Ten said that cloud is now hovering
over Adelaide. I don’t buy that. It’s travelling east.
That means two circuits of the globe. But who knows?
The sunset tonight had touches of faint purple,

and golden yellow, strange colours that James Ashton
used more than a century ago but should not be
in our winter sunset palette. Maybe god is confused.
Or maybe it is me.

Thus, my weekly footy report may be fudged tonight.
Melbourne had a chance against Collingwood today,
on this long weekend Monday, but even without Swan,
and Thomas, the Legs were never in it. The Woods

by fifteen goals. Next week, Collingwood have the bye.
Then they come back, refreshed and reinforced for
their assault on the second half of the season. They
are a beautiful squad, right now. Malthouse is turning

them into a beautiful team. Love. Yesterday, Freo
struck back, at home and shut Essendon out.
A six-goal smack. David Munday fractured his fibula.
Freo live for one more day. Seventh. The Dons are eighth.

Sydney (fifth) clawed a victory against Richmond (eleventh)
by ten points in the wet. An unspectacular game but
Sydney are good – they are quiet, a sleeper in the comp,
but they are there. Carlton ate Brisbane for breakfast;

North swallowed the Suns by ten goals;
we will move on. On Saturday, Geelong and Hawthorn
played a beauty – 13.10 to 13.5, the Cats by a kick.
And Hawthorn had their chances. Geelong remains

unbeaten with eleven on the trot, the best performance
by a new coach in the history of the game. Mind you,
three of those wins have been by less than a kick,
with some bad calls falling their way. They remind me

of Port’s 2007, when Lady Luck kissed that team
week by week and then turned her shoulder
cruelly, and harshly on the wedding day.
In the battle of the duds, between St Kilda

and the Dogs, the least bad team came home
by four on Friday night. It lived up to its call;
I abandoned that woeful game at half time
and joined Gay for a more entertaining show

on Channel Two – Hustle which featured
a Fine Cotton horse-race con. That was more fun.
And, now to Adelaide versus Eagles at AAMI
on Saturday at 2pm. Let’s say, first, that Cox

and Nattanui are the most effective ruck duo
in the league in an era where the second ruckman
is almost passé. Worsfold may have solved
the puzzle of the sub. He has two bigs who can win

the ruck, play forward or back and run all day.
Worsfold may end up as the coach of the year.
In 2010, he flattened out on the bottom of the ladder.
Half a season in, he’s knocking at a top-four finish.

15.16 to 10.7 against Adelaide. The Adelaide press,
of course, is only concerned about the failure of Craig
but there’s a bigger story here. Le Cras kicked five,
Nicoski kicked three, Embley had 29 disposals,

Selwood had 19 pressure acts and seven tackles…
the Eagles are rising. That little bastard, Daniel Kerr,
who I loathe, played a beautiful game, running through
the centre at the bounce of the ball, collecting taps

on the run for the first forward thrust.
These guys have got it together. Rosa, Hurn
and Shuey fired; Priddis, only half-baked
on Saturday, was still a damaging player.

The Eagles will do some real damage this year.

But not our team, dear friend. Graham Johncock played
an even four-quarter game; he held up his end.
Bernie Vince was good; Scott Thompson played a regular
sort of game; Patrick Dangerfield had moments of brilliance,

as he always does, Rory Sloane played with his heart;
Andy Otten had 20 disposals in his long return;
Matthew Wright snapped two quick clever goals;
Nathan van Berlo had 18 pressure acts;

Petrenko fired up in the third quarter. There were cameos
across the field and throughout the game – but this team
lacks cohesion, method, self-belief. The Adelaide team has
been accused of playing without passion or intensity.

They showed passion in the first and third quarters
on Saturday – but there’s a thin line between intensity
and panic. The truth is that this is a rebuilding team.
Cameos are never enough. Winning football is about

intuitive linkage, acquired reflexive responses by every
player to every situation. It’s a glorious complex dance
that happens all by itself. The coaches conduct it, maybe,
but the musicians must become more attuned

to the instruments on their left or their right,
rather than the conductor’s baton. Adelaide are
a long way from playing in tune and in time.
They are not a happy orchestra.

The only question they face is not the conductor;
it’s discovering those players who can not play in tune.
This may take some years. Ask Worsfold.
He’d say the same.


  1. Richard Naco says

    Superb letter, JK, and a perfect summation of all that truly matters in our game and beyond.

    Your mate’s lucky.

    As are we.

  2. John Kingsmill says

    Thanks, RN.

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