Oh Frabjous Day


Subiaco Oval,Sunday 27 May 2012,2.40pmWST

First Half Match Report

“Beware the Rosserwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Bally bird, and shun
The frumious Sandersnatch!”

Woosha took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the halftum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Rosserwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!”

Half Time Score : WCE 2.8 (20) FD 3.2 (20)

“One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Rosserwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boys!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy Dockers
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the Eagogoves,
And the mome Eags outgrabe.”

Full Time Score : WCE 11.18 (84) FD 5.6 (36)

(Apologies to Lewis Carroll)

Match Summary

The first half was tight and tough in close.  Ross Lyon certainly knows how to put men around the ball and behind the play (Match Plan A).  Both sides tackled hard.

Ross Lyon teams line up with an Extremely Full Back, a Very Far Back, several Half Very Far Backs, lots of crumbers for them, and a Possibly Almost Half Forward for ‘in case we get lucky.’  I love how Saints fans and players rejoice at the demise of Rossball, and the return of football to their team.

The footy geniuses in the Freo “brains trust” sacked Mark Harvey, to bring in Lyon as a ‘finishing school’ coach to prepare the team for finals.  The theory was that there was only a couple of seasons left in ageing stars like Pavlich, Sandilands and McPharlin.  Time to strike while the ‘premiership window’ was open.

Ouch!  Mind your fingers as it slams shut.  Never has the term ‘finishing school’ been more apposite.  The Dockers are finished for the season.  Ross’ obsessions have coached the flair, spirit and creativity out of them.  In the second half they were a rabble. There is no Plan B in the Rosserwocky’s coaching manual.

A few statistics.  In the third quarter the Eagles had 21-3 Inside 50’s (64 to 30 for the game).  The Eagles trailed by 8 points midway through the second quarter.  In the next 60 minutes of Rossball to the mid point of the last quarter, the Eagles had 19 scoring shots (9 goals 10 behinds) to one point by the Dockers.  We let them have a couple of junk time goals, to reduce the number of jumpers off the Fremantle bridge this week.

On a brilliant, windless 24° autumn day the Dockers kicked their all time lowest score at Subiaco Oval.  Their previous worst was 6 goals 8 behinds (oh, how they dream of those carefree, reckless days).

For the Eagles, Darren Glass was brilliant in the first half and clearly BOG to that point.  He spent most of the second half squinting into the sun at the far end of the ground and improving his tan.

In the second half he was surpassed by the tireless running of Matt Rosa (career high 43 disposals), Andrew Gaff (29) and Chris Masten (25).  Josh Hill was lively and creative up forward all day with 3 goals 4 behinds.  Natanui took 2 speccies and combined with a tireless Cox to outmuscle Sandilands.  The other Docker talls – Clarke, Griffin and Dawson– failed to turn up.

Ballantyne is a poor man’s Milne.  He lacks the tank and muscle to be a midfielder.  Played forward he would sneak 2 or 3 goals a game, but Lyon doesn’t believe in forwards.  Ross has the Sam Allardyce coaching manual down pat.  Put everyone back, and hoof it forward occasionally in the hope that someone runs onto it for a goal.  Gets you a lot of scoreless draws.  It got West Ham back into the Premier League this season, why shouldn’t it work for Freo???

Next 4 weeks the Eagles have Lions, Blues (home), Magpies, Suns.  That should make us 11-2 with even luck.  Dockers have Crows (they will be on the rebound –  the Dockers only have dead cat bounce left in them); Tigers (flag faves next week), Bombers (flag faves last week), Magpies (flag faves this week).  That should make them 5-8.

Time gentlemen please.

Freo have the ALP dilemma.  Sack the boss and die of embarrassment.  Keep the boss and die of shame.  Oh frabjous day!


Eagles – Rosa, Gaff, Masten, Glass, Priddis, Waters, Cox, Lynch, Hurn (all except Kerr and Adam Selwood played well)

Dockers – Michael Johnson was a lone hand, Pavlich and Barlow in the first half, Crowley deserves credit for frustrating Kerr out of the game.  Daylight and rabble after that.









  1. A young lad was heard talking to his dad at a bus stop in central Burnie the other day.

    “Dad, what’s a ‘derby’ ?”

    “Good question son. That’s a game of footy that ensures that a Western Australian team gets to win a trophy and a player gets to win a commemorative medal for best on ground.”

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    Peter_B – I think it is becoming evident that St Kilda’s success came despite the coaching of R Lyon. Without him they may have scored a premiership or two. Players must eventually come to hate playing under such a structure. And has been said elsewhere, the Dockers supporters would have rejoiced to see that not only were they getting Ross Lyon, he was bringing Zak Dawson with him.

    I am intrigued – which of the four forthcoming games are you anticipating you might lose?

  3. AF – I have learned from the school of hard knocks (ie the TRobb/Litza/Footner playbook) not to count chickens (to muddle a few metaphors). I just reckon its an even season with a lot of good to very good (the Eagles are one of them) teams. Take out Priddis, Cox or Natanui and we are vulnerable to anyone. It all starts from them for the Eagles.
    I am only counting the Suns as a given. A wet ground in Brisbane could find us out – almost did late last year. Like most people I don’t trust Carlton, and we were lucky to beat them in the semi-final here last year. With Litza inspiring them to greater deeds who knows? Your boys go ok, and the AFL conspiracy ensures we only see the MCG once or twice a year – to give the Vics a leg up in finals.
    So for me its just the law of averages. I expect 3 wins from that draw, but 2 or 4 would be no great surprise.
    I was really worried going to the Derby on Sunday, because there have been so many ‘upsets’ and my tipping has been shit. But every time I looked at the form and the lineups, I couldn’t see the Dockers getting close to us. I genuinely wasn’t that worried when the Dockers hung around for a half, as we were getting plenty of the ball – just not using it well – partly due to their pressure. But I knew they were a ‘one trick pony’ that couldn’t maintain it.
    Glad to be proved right.
    As for you Mr Phantom – how does the AFL manage a fixture where we play the Cats in Round 20, after we have played 3 other teams twice??? Go figure. I would think it was another AFL conspiracy, but they aren’t that smart. You’ll keep.

  4. I can guess which teams you play twice PB.

    GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne (all at Subi)

    Is the “You’ll keep” bit a threat, a promise or just a damn good bite at the bait I dangled. Perhaps we could play for the Brian Peake / Bill Walker trophy. You guys seem to like collecting these meaningless gongs.

    (Can’t wait till round 20 – we will probably be playing for our lives and in a scratchy kinda mood)

  5. Phanto – I live in Derby Street – pronounced Darby.

  6. You’ll be staying in Gull Street on Friday night Dips.

    (Pronounced warm open fire, supper and Tullamore Dew)

  7. Phanto – the Rex airlines ticket says I can’t bring any dangerous liquids on to the plane so that rules out Jim Beam (thank goodness). A wee hit of the Tullamore will be very warming.

  8. Dips – I don’t think I’d be going anywhere that lets a dog fly their planes.

  9. What I don’t understand is this:
    the Eagles lay fewer tackles than any other team,
    but take more marks than any other team,
    give away fewer free kicks
    get more free kicks
    invisible gecko-feet tape ?

    are 3rd in scoring shots
    2nd in scoring accuracy
    1st in forward 50 time
    electromagnets in the goalposts?

    Can anyone help?

  10. How about when we get possession we hold on to it. We tackle so well we get the ball back quickly. Quality not quantity. I think you will find we continue to get more frees (possession again) but the disparity has evened up the last few weeks. Umpire’s interpretation has changed so they are correctly not paying high tackles where the tackle started low. Lots of time in possession answers all your questions. A strategy as old as footy. But you need to be both strong and good to do it.

  11. Stephanie Holt says

    Thanks for this fabulous article and some perspective on the ways and means of Ross Lyon. This Saints fan will henceforth always think of him as the Rosserwock.

  12. Richard Naco says

    As I understand it, most Saints fans try not to think of him too much in any terms these days.

    They’re too busy enjoying the return of entertaining footy to the tricolours.

  13. What a wonderful article.. sorry boys.. I actually support West Coast so Im not au fait with the inner workings of what is happening with your mob down the road..hope you don’t mind me blogging here..

    But as an avid footy fan, and a man who loves a nice piece of prose, this article really was second to none… it really was a wonderful piece of writing.. :-)

    Not for me to debate the merits or otherwise of your coach.. suffice to say that we at this end of the Sterling bridge are more than happy with what occurred at Pattersons last weekend… you guys have dominated Derby games for a while now.. this is one of those fixtures that we were actually quite worried about.. along with the Bombers fixture at Etihad (less said about that the better ).. so we are happy to take the 4 points.

    Nothing personal.. footy is footy …

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