Round 15 – West Coast v Essendon: Raking over the Rolls

Spoiler alert: Cleaver has lost his career; his wife is in a lesbian relationship; and his son Fuzz is bonking his ex-prostitute Missy.

And he thinks he has it tough?  I had to sit in the cold at Subiaco drinking plastic thimbles of red for the same price I can pay for a bottle of the stuff; and eating cold chicken rolls (very nice dear – highlight of the evening until Cal McGregor encountered Cleaver’s sister in the stair well).

Football should be a combination of drama and skill.  Finely honed to entertain and maintain interest like a Cleaver Greene rant.  An 18 team AFL has reduced the average skill level to that of cats playing blackjack (thanks for the metaphor Cleav).  As you can see, getting home to watch the replay of Rake was the highlight of my evening.

Prior to the game the Eagles 2006 premiership players (minus one unavoidably detained) meandered around the boundary with children in hand.  Players used to stack on the kilos when they retired, but most looked lighter and healthier than in their playing days.   Big Q was no longer a man mountain, and Beau Waters is lean and training for the Hawaiian Iron Man.  It was a reminder of how much weights and mystery powders are now required to turn bodies into battering rams for the assaults of a professional collision sport.

There were the solid citizens and the chancers just as there are in any community group.  Sport holds up a common mirror to society and if we don’t like what we see then we are blind to the flaws in ourselves and our neighbours.  AFL players are tin gods not role models – just like the rest of us – only better paid.

Essendon had not read the script and for much of the first half it was hard to tell the grand finalists from the cellar dwellers.  The Bombers kicked the first two goals and were dominating the clearances.  Our midfield has delusions of adequacy based on silver service delivery from NicNait, but were reduced to beggars relying on the crumbs offered by Scott Lycett.

Essendon led by 3 points at the first break with Leuenberger and Jamar dominating in the ruck.  It was only late in the second quarter that my Eagles got a bit of run going to lead by 3 goals at the long break.  With 10 free kicks to 2 at the half our best players were Margetts, Farmer and Deboy.

The second half started in the same manner.  A desultory arm wrestle with no goals and lots of infuriating sideways football and turnovers for the first 15 minutes.  I was starting to think that the Eagles had put their match payments on Essendon at the line – to raise bail money.

The turning point was Jamar going off with a hamstring injury and Leuenberger starting to hobble on chronic knees that represent half Medicare’s annual cost blowout.  Joe Daniher was forced to move into the ruck and without him the Bombers lost all forward structure and method.  Three late goals had us 36 points clear at orange time but it was painful stuff.

The umpires donated a couple of howlers to start the last quarter and the Essendon players dropped their bundle after matching the Eagles in general play for much of the game.  Kelly and Bird fought on but Stokes and Cooney were already counting their EOFY superannuation balance.  Bombers fans have only mercenaries and kids as penance for the hubris of their previous management.

The two that caught my eye were bookends Joe Daniher and Michael Hartley.  Hartley competes and moves well at full back.  In his 11th game he held Josh Kennedy to just 3 goals.  Daniher played at centre half forward in the first half and worked hard to provide a target.  His marking was elite and his kicking much improved.  With support next season he could win the Coleman.

The Eagles players should be measured on their performances and stats to half way through the third quarter.  Yeo, LeCras, Wellingham and Cripps were all flattered by junk time wins once Essendon lost their rucks and their structure.  Jetta disappointed again.  Simpson is obviously frustrated by the form of much of his side.  Mackenzie and Redden are brightening Les Everett’s day at the East Perth Eagles but realistically we lack the depth to make wholesale changes.  Youngsters Barrass and Nelson are getting valuable experience but both are another pre-season away from having the strength and smarts of an AFL footballer.

Jeremy McGovern’s marking and creativity in defence and the reliability of captain Shannon Hurn at half back were my only bright spots in an underwhelming display by the home team.

The Avenging Eagle charitably suggested that poor opponents can drag you down to their level.  I told her Essendon couldn’t use that as an excuse for their last quarter.  She says I am a grumpy old man who doesn’t like going out on weeknights.

Summoning my best Cleaver defence I pleaded that I look at games through the prism of a hoped-for better future.  I wanted to see something that suggested we are getting back on track to be competitive in September.  We have the Kangaroos under the roof next Sunday and then 4 eminently winnable games against lower sides before facing up to the silk department in the last 3 rounds.

Based on recent events our prospects look dim, but (spoiler alert) even the down trodden can receive unexpected miracles.  Perhaps Cleaver will join the other 226 shiny bums elected to Federal Parliament today on $200K+ a year.  Perhaps my Eagles will give the Kangas a touch up next week and march into the Top 4 in September.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Hope we are not pretenders like some.

WEST COAST      3.4   8.5   11.7   20.10   (130)
ESSENDON          4.1   5.5     5.9     7.10   (52)

Our Votes: J McGovern (WCE) 3; C Greene (ABC) 2; C Rolls (A Eagle) 1



  1. Peter- no contest in my lounge room Thursday: Cleaver 1, Footy 0. My favourite line was when Cleaver’s disbarment was announced and he called his executioners, “fruit bats.” His descent into hell continues to be terrifically entertaining.

    If C. Green was on my voting slip this morning I’d have given it serious consideration…

    Like all matches involving the Bombers this year, it is wholly uninstructive. Glad you enjoyed the AE’s cold chicken rolls.

  2. Rulebook says

    Good entertain get read PB the blues get shunted off the key time slots for poor performance yet the druggies have had a thursday,friday night and kept anzax day mind blowing stupidity ( yes the draw is worked out previously but when the court results came out re its own incompetence surely changes had to be made) spot on re your eagles a lot of questions still to be answered

  3. John Butler says

    Capturing the mood of the nation perfectly PB.

  4. Mea Culpa – the Eagles play North at Subiaco next Sunday. I just assumed we were away because we were at home this week. Normally only get games in a row at Subi around the Derby.
    The fix-turing gets weirder and weirder. Still I’ll take it.
    Reckon I will shift from sullen to screaming for next week.
    Cleaver for PM. If we have to have an egotistical untrustworthy lunatic for PM, he/she might just as well be funny.

  5. Rulebook – “the druggies”? I was about to take offence and then I realised you were talking about them not us. I am just so used to getting that from Everett and Gorman.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    I’d forgotten this game even took place. Cleaver was on in my house too. Though I doubt I’d sit down and watch an Essendon game whatever night they were playing at this season.
    Going by your votes should McGovern run for parliament?

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