Round 23 – Review: The 2016 ‘For You Ze Var Is Over’ Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Footscray will appreciate the week off, as idiotic as it is to everyone else (more on Gillo’s idiocy later), for North it’s two weeks to mull over things and that’s a touch ironic as it was inspired by them playing teenagers in the last round of 2015.  But we’ve next week to write about that.  Let’s take a gander at those teams who are already on holidays.


Brisbane, poor bastards.  Justin reached heights few dare dream of with Lethal’s Lions, the last of the classic football teams, and depths none would contemplate as a coach.  The Lions were woefully miserable this season, setting several undesirable records.  Folks in the know say the club is dysfunctional at the top, it’s seeped down to the laundromat that washes the players’ socks.  They are the New Melbourne, there’s no Jackson or Roos this time.


Monday, the board held a secret ballot over Justin’s future, decided against him, got on the fone.


“Hi Justin, how ya going?  Good, good, ahh, listen Justin, don’t bother coming in today.  Yeah, take it easy.  Look mate, take the rest of the week off, okay?  And check the AFL website in an hour or so, you never know what you’ll see there.”


Then sent the players an email.


Few would knock back the chance to be a senior coach but anyone would be hesitant about this job.  Justin put playing time into the kids, but the club’s a mess, they had to hock the gym equipment, now the players work out with lumps of cinderblock as they fall off the walls.


Brisbane needs a coach with a good record.  Choco’s missus hated Sydney, he’s unlikely.  Roos is off to Hawaii, he’s gonna look into “mindfulness and leadership.”  Worsfold has a gig already.  So does Clarkson, tho he’d be perfect, Gillo is thinking about selling the back 40 from the family property in case goading him with “Think of the challenge!” doesn’t work.  John Barker is in the news but he’s thinking “Crikey, Don got to coach Adelaide first up, do I really want to take on the New Melbourne?”  Fair enough, big call for a rookie.


Whoever drinks from that chalice, progress will be incremental and measured in effort and enthusiasm, not results.


Like Carlton.  The worst list in the comp had a few good wins, a mid-season winning streak, impressed the fans.  Gonna be a long haul when yr leading goalkicker managed 22 – that’ll look good on the honours board – so SOS’ll be ringing his former employers.  “Kid aint getting a game , second round draft pick suit you?”  There’s youth and, thus, hope around the backline and midfield but they need a proper forward line.


Essendon will get most of the B12 back, the kids have had a good run at the top level, the club seems to have got itself together, they’ve a good coach.  But don’t expect a finals appearance, they’re not that good.  It’ll take a while for the returnees to mesh back in, learn the new game plan, get to know teammates.  Jobe will get satellite telly in his New York café so Australians can drop in and watch the footy.  Jobe, get a liquor licence.


St Kilda and, less so, Melbourne can take their holiday with some expectation of making the Eight next season.  Worth noting here that the Palais Theatre on the StK Esplanade will be demolished, bar the façade.  Beautiful old theatre, largest in Australia, I’d like to speak to the structural engineer to ensure that it really was beyond salvation.


Twelve wins would’ve got the Saints into the Eight most years, but they got thrashed a few times too often.  They’ve gotta fix that if they’re to contend.  Demons, for all the improvement, still managed to again say goodbye to a coach with a pantsing in Geelong.  Dees won’t be a contender for another coupla years.


Please note, there are contenders and there are Serious Contenders.


Gold Coast and Collingwood fans can blame injuries.  The Schoolies copped an horrendous toll, the AFL midfield sat in the stands with the WAGs while the NEAFL midfield chased blokes of far greater skill and experience.  It was gonna take Eade two years to get the team back in shape anyway, party animals to the left of him, happy clappers to the right, here he is, stuck in the middle with a clue.  And a great full-forward.  Eade’s got a good record, tho no-one has coached more games without a flag.


Bit different for the 4&20s.  Can Buckley coach?  Lotta Pies fans reckon not.  Another mediocre to middling season will pressure down, a thrashing between rounds 17 and 21 will see an assistant coach in for the rest of the season.


Or maybe Eddie will fill in.  Or one of his kids.


Then there’s those other Magpies, Port Adelaide.  Regular mediocre team or a disappointment?  They aren’t playing ‘the Port Adelaide way’.  2014, played out of their skins and got within a kick of a Grand Final.  Swans fans are still dwelling on that.  Port haven’t done much since, a middling team and Koch’s farnarkling isn’t gonna change it.


Now we get to the real disappointments.  Take a deep breath, folks, plunge into the icy pool of mortification and chagrin, it’s time to talk about Fremantle and Richmond.


The Purps have the unenviable claim of the worst slide from the Wm McClelland trophy.  The Schoolies beat them before the injury curse struck.  They concentrated on skills in the pre-season, some say they slacked off on running, why can’t they do both?  Neither skills nor running were much in evidence, they oft looked bored or wistful.  StK players say that Ross wore them out.  Good luck with the next four years, Purps.


Signs of discontent, Ballantyne wanting out, Fyfe talking up his free agency fifteen months ahead of schedule, Sumich leaving.  If I was a Freo fan I wouldn’t be thinking about finals for a while.


Saturday, Richmond, the worst performance I’ve seen in a long time.  23 goals to 2 by the time I walked away.  Club culture?  The club has got it together over the last few years, but not where it counts, in the football department.  They’ve a Coleman Medallist playing on the wing, pity he can’t kick it to himself from 60 yards.  This Richmond team reminds me of the Tigers of the late 1990s, perennial underachievers.


They’ve sacked five assistant coaches, makes me think of Richo kicking out of bounds from the goalsquare.  Neil Balme is being shoved sideways, he should be the first recruit, he’s got a good record, we know that the Tigers love bringing heroes back into the fold.  Knife in the back a year later, but maybe Gale can postpone it for two.  Unless magic happens, Richmond won’t make the finals next year.  Or the next.


Gillo’s cluey enough to negotiate a teev deal unlike any known in Australia, he’s not stupid, but he sounds like it when he says things like “the investigation started in August and as I understand, it’s been an incredibly detailed forensic investigation.”


Is he channelling Harry Hansen, legendary LAPD homicide detective who led the Black Dahlia investigation?  No, he’s talking about Lachie Whitfield, fifteen months ago, according to his ex-girlfriend who he split from fourteen months ago, evaded a test for illicit drugs by crashing at Craig Lambert’s house, with Gubby’s assistance.


Whitfield denies the allegations, strenuously, as media that deal in multi-syllabic words might say.  What do we have here?  An accusation that was investigated by the club at the time, they hired a QC to check it out, sent it to HQ over twelve months ago.  Coupla days ago a semi-literate goon for the AFL’s ‘keep the muesli munchers onside’ media outlet writes it up.


“Fairfax Media has reported that Nowland is being presented in some circles as a woman scorned”, Sam Nowland being the ex-girlfriend.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.


Craig and Melissa Lambert have a great reputation for looking after young players, they put several years into the Monaros.  Graeme Allen is the Tony Lockett of his field.  None of us know what football managers do, but we know that some have an innate clueyness.


Monaros sent the QC’s report to Gillo June ‘15, Craig and Graeme have moved to new jobs requiring the Politburo’s sanction, they’ve been around the system for decades, depending on your point of view, they’re unimpeachable or untouchable.


Bitter ex-girlfriend, a journo noting the sackings and decline in revenues, ‘breaking this news’ might come in handy when negotiating a new contract.  Not unlike the ‘Pies on drugs’ rumour that popped up a few days before Round One, coincidentally also playing Swans.


That’s the plan, of course!  Gillo tweaks things to ensure a Swans flag before Monaros win two straight.  Will he swag a Scray flag?


Cheers Tipsters


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. John Butler says

    Love your work Earl.

    This week with added conspiracy theory!

    To quote the Reverend, ‘I want my 400 bucks!”

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