The 2012 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Four


by Earl O’Neill

Greetings Tipsters

I was pretty damned close to Gary Rohan when he broke his leg but among our group, Robert, Shane and Tim were just that bit closer and they heard the bone snap. Tim picked it immediately. “I know that sound”, a broken arm sending him into premature retirement late in the fourth term the day he got best-on-ground in a semi-final.

Someone behind me muttered “compound fracture” but they must’ve noticed something that flicked past me. Coupla minutes later I saw the tape go around Gary’s lower leg before he was ever so gently laid on the stretcher and I figured it was a serious bloody injury.

I’ve seen a few on teev. Richard Osborne’s knee bending sideways slightly outranks Joel Smith’s almost identical collision in the sympathy pain stakes. I saw Paul Kelly’s knee simply collapse at the SCG in ’98. Tony Lockett was so pissed off about it that he just had to go and kick 12 goals, but it was the end of Sydney’s flag chances in a season when they’d have had a reasonable crack at it. Adelaide wouldn’t’ve got past them if Kelly, Cresswell and Schwass had all been fit for that semi-final.

Such is football, such is life. I hope Rohan recovers, he has a lot of the signs one looks for in a young player. Skill, pace, attitude. Trouble is that nothing like a broken leg can destroy a potential career. Barry Stoneham was one of the best centre-half forwards running around until he broke his leg, and he struggled back to bugger-all effect. It’s likely a matter of confidence and in Gary Rohan’s case, it can cut both ways. On the one hand, it may destroy his pace, on the other, he’s young and gave the crowd a thumb-up as he was being carted off. Word is, he’s in good spirits post-op.

Otherwise, it was the best I’ve seen Swans play for some years, probably since the flag team were still a functioning unit. They were brutally physical, a Swans trademark, but, bizarrely, they were almost clinically efficient in their use of the ball. This is not a characteristic one has associated with the team I once dubbed ‘The Sinsemilla Swans’ because of their cluelessness when it came to kicking and handballing. A few times in the third term Dad muttered “that kick!” in a surprised and complimentary tone.

Post match, strolling the emerald sward with Robert, a North supporter, he commented on Swans tackling and sheer physical attack on the bloke with the ball. It makes skills look a lot better when the opposition have that split-second hesitation before going for it and explains the important marks that Swans backline took. Seven to Ted Richards, whose boots are not only purple, they feature fluoro orange swooshes on the toes. I want to get a pair of suede sandshoes with that colour scheme.

So, two points from the match. First, that anytime I plan to go see a game live, I want to sit at the front. It’s the only way you’ll see the pace of the game, the reflexes of the players and really appreciate how they can put a ball through a gap that you wouldn’t even notice on teev. Second, Longmire has the Swans playing a different type of football. It’s far more attractive and effective. The midfield has only been at the club for two or three years and the team, as a whole, look a lot faster. Worth noting that all this Sunday arvo malarkey happened without Adam Goodes.

Next week Sydney fly to Launceston to play the P&S Hogs. Only then will we get a serious idea of how competitive they are in the big term. Or will we? Are the Hogs any good? They didn’t concede a goal in the first half but still lost. How weird was that match? Confucian Mick must have loved it, a five point win in a ten goal game.

It’s three rounds too early to call form seriously, but thus far it’s all over the shop. Last year’s Grand Finallists are struggling, Wiggles, Swans and Bummers are undefeated (I’ll take suggestions on a silly nickname for Sydney), half of the top eight are interstaters and St Kilda and North are in there too. There’s an enormous percentage gap between the Hogs (ninth) and the Pussies (tenth). Take a look at the ladder, Tipsters, the Funky Purps have the lowest percentage of any team in the black but it’s still 110.7. This is shaping up as a seriously interesting AFL season.

May your team win, unless they’re playing mine.
Cheers Tipsters

P&C ‘Stop Privatisation Of Footy Productions’
Brought to you this week by a bunch of Northern Soul, especially Junior McCants’ ‘Try Me For Your New Love’.

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.

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