Matt O’Connor

So, what the hell was THAT all about?

Trade Week (or the “Exchange Period” to use its official title) turned out to be like those garage sales where you turn up too late and end up flipping dolefully through boxes of Boz Scaggs LPs and broken toasters. Except that if Scaggs had been offered up in Trade Week, he may well have been snapped up.

Any trade fair that boasts Mitch Clark as its pin-up boy is already in strife. Mitch may turn out to be the answer toMelbourne’s prayers, but his career to date (save for one banner year in the ruck) has been less than whelming. Demon fans will keep one eye on the prospects of whomever it isBrisbaneselects with pick 12 for future comparative purposes.

I have obviously not paid enough attention to the early works of Jack Gunston, who almost stole Mitch’s mantle during TW. Hawthorn moved Kennett and Earth to get him into the family, and the search now begins for a nickname other than Norman.

When North announced at its press conference that they had snaffled Will Sierakowski for pick 58, you could have heard a pin drop. Coz no-one was there, not even James “I’m Travelling Beautifully Just At the Minute Even If I Do Say So Myself” Brayshaw. Only Hawthorn fans and Mr. and Mrs. Sierakowski knew which team he was departing from. Stay tuned for Rex to dub him NOSAV (Nephew of a Shark Attack Victim) if he cracks it for a senior game.

Some gangsters calling themselves GWS turned up half way through the week, lined the other clubs up against the wall and systematically fleeced them of all their draft picks (to add to the huge pile they had already been given). True, in some cases, they left some players as compensation – but none that could claim any association with GWS. Gun recruiter Steve Silvagni had already nailed down Phil Davis and Rhys Palmer. Rumours that his instructions were actually to recruit Leon Davis and Rhys Stanley proved unfounded.

Word is that GWS were so aggressive they even made a play for homesick soldier Gilad Shalit, but not even they could match Israel’s offer of 1,000 Palestinians. Instead, as they were leaving, they scooped up Chad Cornes, Dean Brogan and Luke Power, presumably as players, not assistant coaches.

After two years back in Ireland, Marty Clarke had to return to Collingwood via Western Sydney, the Pies once again using their first round pick (all the way down at 25) for experienced cattle. Collingwood’s first pick at the National Draft will now be number 50, so recruiter Derek Hine can have a nice sleep in.

Known for their success at garage sales,Sydneyfound Mitch Morton, Tommy Walsh and Tony Armstrong in a dusty crate in the corner of an Etihad back room. Don’t be surprised if they slot seamlessly into new roles with the Bloods.

Geelong opted for derivatives trading, giving pick 26 to Gold Coast for picks 32 and 34. No humans were harmed in this transaction, and it will no doubt turn out to be another master stroke for the Midas Cats.

The Blues slapped a “Back in 5 Minutes” post-it note on their door on the first morning and weren’t seen again.

So, all in all, not much to whet the appetite of footy fans looking for a post-season feed. As Jake Niall wrote in The Age: “Little happens because no one wants to sell anyone who is good and no one wants to buy someone who isn’t”. Quite.



  1. Peter Flynn says

    Amusing MOC.


    It’s possible that the AFL will schedule the Mitch Clark ‘rivalry’ match for Round 1.

    What twaddle!

  2. Hi MOC

    In 1974 CBS promotions men opted to focus on Boz Scaggs over Bruce Springsteen after his second record, The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle didn’t deliver the goods or move the units or whatever. Little did they know. And little have they learnt.


  3. Mitchell missed the boat back west when he left the Lion pack
    Big Jim stepped in, did not miss him and put 11 on his back

  4. Great piece, MOC – love the Gilad Shalit line.

  5. MOC – sod the draft. Last night I watched the Grand Final again. How good was Varcoe’s last goal?

  6. As good as his first Dips.

    If you care to watch the ’09 one again you will note that he snuck off in the last quarter but stuffed it up on the wing with a handball.

    Once bitten, twice high.

  7. Ben Footner says

    I like to call it the ‘Spud Shuffle’. For all the talk that’s all it ends up being most of the time.

    That said I’m pretty happy with the way Adelaide worked the system last week.

  8. Matt, very enjoyable read. And now that GWS pretty much a monopoly on the draft, that is another highlight of the off-season lost.

    @Dips – Varcoe’s goal is getting better each time I watch it; it is worthy of becoming legend. I am contemplating self-flagellation for all the times past where I have wished him out of the side for repeatedly avoiding body contact.

  9. Oh, and I agree with your take on trade week, but as with everything, there is an exception to the rule. We got a pretty handy ruckman a few years ago…

  10. Love it MOC. You’re initials would be proud of this one.

  11. Pete,

    the last time the Cats traded a first round pick for two lower picks they got Christensen and Vardy.

    Several clubs are only taking their minimum three picks because they believe it is a weak draft. The Cats are taking all five including young Bews at 102.

    Sneaky old Steve Wells appears to be up to his old tricks again.

  12. Dips – there were a lot of goals kicked in that last quarter. I CAN’T BE EXPECTED TO REMEMBER EACH AND EVERY ONE! NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!

    Litza – thanks. The sole reason for the piece was so I could use that line.

    Phil – I’m intrigued. Do I share my initials with someone else much more famous? Or are you referring to my MOCking of the subject matter.

    And Rick – your comment brings to mind Richmond’s great 1999 Draft Pavlich/Fiora cock-up.

  13. MOC – fair enough. If you can’t recall it I’ll give you a quick run down:

    Varcoe competes for the ball at CHB by running bravely with the flight to make a contest (Selwood-esque bravery is not normally in his armoury). The ball spills and he contributes to getting the ball out of the danger zone to the wing. On the wing Christensen and Johnno combine well to win possession. Meanwhile Varcoe is sprinting up the wing. Neon Leon is no where to be seen. Johnno kicks the ball to the Cats’ half forward line where Mitch Duncan competes with a Pie defender (might have been Toovey but at this stage they were all starting to look the same). They both get hands to it. Suddenly Varcoe appears and steals the ball from their grasping hands with the same ease that James Bond snatches a champagne from a waiter’s tray. Breathing hard after his magnificent sprint up the wing (Neon Leon is still not visible), Varcoe grabs the footy, saunters onto his left foot and snaps a goal. It was Ablett senior, Jarman, and Diesel Williams all rolled into one. As the ball floats through the goals he stretches his arms out and looks to the heavens like a bloke who has just popped through the winning goal in a tight grand final. It’s worth another look.

  14. Dips, you forgot Varcoe’s toe poke on the wing (after sprinting from CHB, and before sprinting to the half-forward flank) to put the ball into space for Christensen and Johnson to combine well.

    It was Harry O competing with Duncan, and Ben Johnson was chasing Varcoe.

    Gotta say, Ben Johnson played a magnificent game…

    As far as Leon goes, he may wish he was Varcoe. Making an impact in a GF makes all the difference. A bit unfair in a way, I guess.

  15. That’s a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, Dips.

  16. Andrew Fithall says

    I am with you Matt. This hijacking of the conversation on an unrelated story is a good example of how Geelong supporters are turning themselves into one of the most disliked supporter groups. The arrogance is unbecoming and the righteousness wearing very thin.

  17. We can only try Andrew.

    The bar is set at a very high level.

  18. un·be·com·ing adj. Not in accord with the standards implied by one’s character or position.

    During the 80s and particularly the 90s, the Cats, and by default, its supporters, became the target of a fair bit of derision from opposition supporters for our perceived failure to a) reach our potential, and b) win important games (read GFs).

    The terms “soft” and “handbags” were bandied about pretty liberally. The tag has been hard to shift, and so has the mental state of many Geelong supporters who even until the final siren blew, felt insecure.

    The characer and position of the footy club has changed over the past 5 years. Maybe, just maybe, so is the psyche of the supporters. Maybe the standards that once applied no longer do.

    Imagine how arrogant we will be if Colin Carter’s request in his letter to the AFL is granted and the Cats VFA record is included in the AFL/VFL records. We’ll then have 17 premierships in all.

    Oh, happy days…

    PS. I do have my tongue in my cheek.

  19. Richard Naco says

    “This hijacking of the conversation on an unrelated story is a good example of how Geelong supporters are turning themselves into one of the most disliked supporter groups. The arrogance is unbecoming and the righteousness wearing very thin.”

    This has to be one of the most puerile & petulant comments I’ve ever seen in this forum. I very much hope that it was tongue in cheek, because children who chuck tantrums like this would be made to go stand in the naughty corner for a very long time.

    In this awful abyss of the off-season, any conversation is welcome. And the true art of conversation is to basically meander all over the place, drifting from subject to subject without resolving anything, and just relishing the art of the interchanges for their own sake. This thread, as such, is a blessing.

  20. Richard,

    that very long time in the naughty corner wouldn’t be about 20 years would it?

    2030. There could be a pattren emerging.

  21. David Downer says

    Nicely done MOC,

    I too lament that such a well-written ditty is hijacked (again) by the Geelong almanac mafia.

    There’s always enough sanctimonious Cats articles elsewhere on this website to bloody play amongst yourselves!

  22. pamela sherpa says

    Now now , you non Geelong supporters- (I’m not a Geelong supporter by the way )-winners are grinners and the rest of us can suit ourselves. Good on them. Let them rub it in to the rest of us any time, place, and space like they . That’s sport and life!!!

  23. Thanks pamela; very gracious and respectful of you.

    I’d just like to point out too that this is not the first thread on this particular website that has gone “off piste”. Many are the posts where the subsequent responses end up in a place totally unrelated.

  24. troubled magpie star says

    Good work as always MOC. Excellent use of the garage sale motif. I wasn’t familiar with Bozz Scaggs work. Music entered my world around the time of KIss and AC/DC. However, I do love getting lost in second hand stores with the proverbial milk crates full of old vinyl. It’s like a trip back in time. My favourite such escape used to be a place called The Rhyll Bazaar where the wife and I holidayed on Phillip Island. I once discovered a Lionel Richie cover where he sported the mo with the trademark curly mullett and a lemon polo shirt (collar up) beneath a jumper of a type of resplendent pastel aqua only the ’80s could spawn. I surveyed it in paralysed fascination – such an alarming display of colour, capped by that schmoozy Lionel R. grin. It became for a time in my mind, a benchmark in poor taste. Until good old Lionel appeared about 10 years later at the G before the Pies won the replay. Now I think he’s totally awesome. Meatloaf however, that’s just unpalatable whichever way you try it. Bit like Geelong winning the flag. (oops did I just say that). Nah sorry, good on ya Cats, well done.

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