Reversing the Batting Order

This is the time of year when half the Almaknackery (that is the half that has already been sent to the Knackers Yard) has a traumatic decision to make.  Like all difficult choices most of us put it off until the very last moment.  Whose colours to nail to our mast???

Most weekends I only watch the Eagles and the Friday night game.  I hear snatches of radio description of the rest, or get score updates via the AFL website.  But the diary has large slashes ruled across all the finals time slots. And I can’t really enjoy a footy match without barracking for someone.  Footy is a journey of mad subjective passions, not objective rational aesthetics.  The Colosseum not the Louvre.

So I sat down to reverse the batting order for the teams remaining in finals contention.  Who do I have a soft spot for; who am I indifferent toward; and who do I despise?  Those categories gave me a framework, but the fine differentiation of degrees of detestation was a test.  How do I hate thee, let me count the ways.

Soft Spot:

1.       Port Adelaide – My 81YO Dad’s team; and being a native Croweater they have to get my first preference.   Kenny from Camperdown is the poster boy for middle-aged battlers everywhere.  See what we could do given a chance.  Hamish Hartlett has the best name and right foot in the game.  The Power (Phil Taylor as honorary patron?) may not be around too long but I’ll be cheering every step of the way.
2.       Richmond – Mr Wrap and Crazy Cheryl – say no more.   It’s like they’ve let out the mad relative that’s been locked away in the attic for the past decade.  Christ knows whether they’ll play a David Helgott sonata or shit their pants – but gotta love them either way.  Hardwick has the best chisel jaw in footy, but is still working on the mad Parkin eyes.


3.       Fremantle – They may be scum but they’re our scum.  Ross Lyon reminds me of Ulysses S Grant – totally ruthless in razing the fields – but his men will follow him anywhere.  I can see him in retirement; whittling on the front porch with a bottle of moonshine for company.   Pav deserves 2 medals – Ballantyne should give him his.
4.       Geelong – Like watching Diego Maradona.  Fat overindulged pigs who have gorged far too long at the trough of success.  But I can’t turn away from the artistic creative beauty of their play.
5.       Sydney – Look enough’s enough.  I barracked like a banshee for them in last year’s GF, but the underdog thing has had it’s day.  No Jetta and probably no Goodes, so the artistry has gone.  Longmire is Ross Lyon without the mad eyes and assassin smile.  Kurt Tippett!!##**
6.       Collingwood – Nearly made the despised category, but hating Collingwood is so 20th Century.  It is a real pros and cons balancing act.  Buckley talks more sense than any coach is entitled to.  Scott Pendlebury is like watching Mandrake pull a gold coin out of his ear without moving his arms.  Harry O is a mad bastard as a player and a person – in the best sense of the term.  Eddie and tatts are the main things that count against them.  Billy Swan’s boy is entitled to tatts, but not bouffant Billy Elliott.  Giving my favourite Clydesdale (Lynchey) a retirement paddock just snuck them over the line.


7.       Hawthorn – Ruthless bastards.  Smart arses.  Sam Mitchell has the knowing smile of the eternal head boy.   Buddy self-defines ‘buddy love’.   Thinks he’s LeBron James, but has 10% of the smarts and effectiveness under pressure.   Clarkson has the bantam thrust of a British Army Sergeant Major.  Ross Lyon without the sense of humour.  But above all I have a historical dislike of Hawthorn from their ‘take no prisoners’ ruthless decades of the 70’s and 80’s.   I still rate Lethal Leigh the best footballer I ever saw, in the same way that I rate the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht.
8.       Carlton – Born to Rule.  Noblesse oblige’ arrogance.  George Harris; Ian Collins; Bob Menzies; Wes Lofts; John Elliott; Richard Pratt; Mick Malthouse – need I go on.  Manning Clark; JB and Litza are their only redeeming feature.  But they are like Lord Ha Ha denying the holocaust.

That’s my list and reasons.  What’s yours?  Almanackers (no extra ‘k’) with teams still in contention are welcome to enter their views (is it tempting fate – like the ALP saying what Liberal policies they will vote against in Opposition??)



  1. Peter Fuller says

    I enjoy your contributions to the Almanac, but I’m sure that you’ve been too hasty in your condemnation of the Blues. We’re a broad church, because as well as those reprobates you’ve mentioned, you haven’t adequately considered the balancing elements. You’ve overlooked Jim Cairns (born in Lygon Street), the sundry theatricals (e.g. Graeme Blundell, Jack Hibberd) acdemic types from up the road, criminals (the Moran family) etc.. That’s even before you consider our solid multi-cultural credentials. I would also argue that Malcolm Fraser who would at one time, have been numbered among those for whom we had to apologise, is now sufficiently rehabilitated to be included among the redemptive elements.

    In any case, surely you have cast in your lot with the Perth plutocrats, when Freo is the obvious choice for the class-conscious, whatever one’s views about Ross Lyon. So what about the beam in your own eye, brother!

    I hope that this will offer sufficient justification for you to join me in an enthusiastic “Go Blues.”

  2. Thanks PF. There is no logic to ancient hatreds. Its like Ireland; Yugoslavia or Syria – somewhere in the ancient or recent past you or your family was wronged. Often we have no idea how or when.
    I would respectfully suggest that the Moran’s belong with Elliott, Pratt et al (some are just more up front in how they rob you). Jim Cairns (with Joanie Morosi and Rex Connor) went a long way to denying Whitlam a third term. He and the ‘theatricals’ belong to the Lord Ha Ha branch of the family.
    If it’s any condolence, the Blues will always rank above Essendon for me (it used to be line ball but Hird’s narcissistic psychopathy was the clincher).

  3. Thanks for leaving out Malcolm Fraser — he’s gone all soft in his dotage…

  4. Bugger off. We don’t want your indifference. Bandwagoner.

  5. Peter,
    We welcome you to the Power. Love abounds in our domain, none more so that to our Kenny !

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