The 2014 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Half Review

Greetings Tipsters

The old get old and the young get stronger, may take a week and it may take longer.

Jim Morrison was a dickhead but he nailed Round Half with that line. The four victors have, between them, less than half the VFL/AFL history of any one of the vanquished. Yep, four clubs, each with over a century of history got cleaned up by teenagers and toddlers.

It was good for the soul. This writer hadn’t taken much interest in the pre-season. Three weeks ago, I kicked out the jams and wrote to the tipping group:

Come September, and the NFL starts, just as the AFL hits the finals. I used to miss the first two or three weeks of the NFL. Not this year. Maybe it was due to the Detroit Lions being on FTA in the first week, maybe it was because of a subtle shift of taste, but the first few weeks of the NFL season took up much more viewing time than the AFL finals.

I’d record the games and Perky Girl and I would watch them. I’ve never seen her so intent on watching, it was one thing to see her staring intently at motorcycle racing, but American Football really grabbed her attention.

We watched games and rewound plays, pausing it every quarter-second to see how the D would react, how the QB handled it, is his O-line doing the job – as you would if you’re watching a chess game when every piece has an opportunity to slam another piece into the ground with a split second to do it.

I like Richard Sherman’s hair, I like his mouth, he’s a character, he has a lot to say and he backed his mouthiness with a Superbowl ring.

A few weeks later, AFL pre-season matches started. There was something dull about it all. No flair, no excitement, just the same old crap I’ve been reading for decades. No Richard Sherman, just the same players saying the same things.

No theatre. It’s kinda dull. I’ve oft suggested that The Hives should play the Grand Final, but, no, it’s just another lousy piece of shit covers band, cos they’re Aussie, oi, oi, oi, aren’t we fucking embarassed by that now? We should be.

From Zeus down, we like to bang on about what a great football code we have, worth a billion dollars in teev fights, but we are suffocating it.

American football is focussed in an almost military style. Australian football is – well, used to be – loose, but it aint no more. It has, to this viewer, become an almost dreary spectacle that, with every passing year, more and more resembles Thomas Hughes’ description of a match at the rugby school.

Australia’s once-glorious football has devolved into a boring shell of what it used to be. America’s football is crammed with characters and drama.

Lucky for Zeus that his only competition is soccer, the dullest footlall code ever, and the rugbys, equal second in the dullest code ever stakes.

I used to love our indigenous football code Mayhap, I still do. But the regimentation of it all is inimical to the style that made it great.

Frinite, got home from the restaurant and watched the last term and a bit of Freo’s demolition job and I’d be very disappointed if no sub-editor in the country came up with ‘Dockers Eat Pies!’

The Funky Purps are no longer funky nor particularly purple. They are a machine, the culmination of Ross Lyon’s philosophy. He was just practicing with St Kilda, who only got into the VFL in 1897 because they knew how to party. They will never be a machine, the ghost of Trevor Barker wouldn’t allow it.

Collingwood won’t make the finals. I figured that last week when I glanced across an article talking up Jesse White. Half a dozen decent games in one season after being in Sydney since days of yore and Barry Hall does not make for a great player. He’s big, quick, skilled, but he lacks “Je ne sais pas.”

Buckley’s press conference was impressive, though. He’s straightforward, doesn’t mince words, doesn’t get het up – in reply to a question about Lynch and others said “What difference would they have made?”, a pointed but not angry or bitter comment – and addressed the journalists by their names.

Which was impressive in itself, because aside from the guy with Ch7, who had to wear a suit, the rest of them looked like homeless bums. Cheap, ill-fitting T-shirts were the garment of choice. Had the camera been dropped on the floor, we’d have been treated to the sight of supermarket thongs and worn-out Dunlop Volleys with overlong nails poking through the toe.

These guys know there’ll be cameras around. They have mothers who will chide them on their poor dress sense. It’s not that hard to put on a decent shirt, to check yourself in a mirror and fix the collar, f’gawsakes, you’re only going to the MCG! I’ve seen journalists reporting from warzones, with bombs exploding behind their heads and .50 cal bullets flying about and they’re wearing a shirt and tie.

So come on, you blokes of Hun and Age, lift your game. I’m gonna borrow Harmsie’s press credentials one weekend and embarrass you into dressing properly.

Wayne Carey should’ve buttoned his jacket, but I liked his comment on Cloke, that he only works in one direction, leading up. I like Carey as a commentator, he talks like he played, he don’t mess about. “Bruise-free football,” that’s a beauty!

And so to Saturday afternoon. I had to drive Vern the van (90hp, 3600lbs) out there ‘cos Rita the motorcycle (130hp, 460lbs) is in pieces, as my variously fucked knees will attest. I had to pay for parking and it took at least 20 minutes to get out of the carpark. These trials are new to me, but not unsurprising. Cars are a pain in the arse, but they still beat the hell out of public-bloody-transport.

That was great afternoon and you can read about it here:

Lance wears the same number as Dermott, who arrived in Sydney at about the same age, twenty years ago. I can’t help but think that Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin may become known as Lance ‘Neville Fields’ Franklin. He already is, to this column.

It was the worst of the Eade days all over again. I started looking for Jason Mooney (no offence to Jase or Rocket, but if you were there then…) I haven’t had cause to write ‘Serepax Swans’ for many a year, but it fits. Matty Lloyd wrote yesterday that Neville’s best days are behind him and I can’t help but agree. He’s a quicker, more skilful version of Jesse White, but no more brains. I figured last year, may have even writ, that Neville would be a bad choice for GWS for many reasons, not the least being that Cameron would be a significantly better player by the end of the 2015 season, if not this one.

He’s a better player now.

We got home and watched the Goldies run rings around the Tiggers. Remember when 40 touches in a game was something special? It still is, unless you’re Gary Ablett Jr. The man is a freak of nature and I wish he was playing for GWS, then I could cheer for JC and Son Of God!

Those Richmond fans, bless ‘em, they get so het up every March. The Tigers will roar! The Tiger Army is on the march! Yet the club is, like St Kilda, wrapped in a culture that stymies their best efforts.

I watched the Richmond v Carlton final with a Tiger mate. I’ve never seen anyone so devastated by the result of a football match. They’re a passionate bunch but, as Robert Walls said of his time as coach “I grew to hate the word ‘passion’.”

And so to the Blues (“I woke up this morning, my team had a shitty list, Yeah, I woke up this morning, my team had a shitty list, If I’m going to the game, I’m gonna have to get pissed.”)

Yeah, Port are looking pretty sharp, eh? The match wasn’t on FTA so I don’t know much about it but that Port did to Carlton in the last term what West did to Sydney. Confucian Mick is being very Lao Tzu about it.

Bloody hell, we’re in for the long haul. March superstars are now March embarassments.

Oh, just in case you were wondering, Detroit Lions mid-season were 6-3, atop the division, finished the season 7-9. They lost six of their last seven games after leading in the last quarter in every one. I chose Detroit as my team because of cool cars and great music, all of which are forty plus years in the past.

Cheers, Tipsters

P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production
Brought to you with the assistance of Aimee Mann’s ‘The Forgotten Arm’

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. The switch of clubs has re-energise you Earl.
    “The ghost of Trevor Barker.” Big Jesses. An honest coach. Journos who get fashion advice from Gideon Haigh. Calling out all the ‘passion’ bullshit that makes Tiger fans sound like George Calombaris. Mick scamming for a new superannuation deal, before he has won a game.
    And then Aimee Mann as the fairy on top of the tree.
    For the rest there’s Buddy ‘Neville’ Franklin.

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