The 2015 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Fourteen

Greetings Tipsters


We’ll rarely have a weekend like that one. GW, we’ll never have another. Couldn’t help but wonder, why does a young man murder his father in such a frenzied attack? Blaming methamphetamines is too easy. Phil Walsh admitted that he’d ignored his kids, especially in his ten years with Port, when Cy was 10 to 20. He was trying to make amends but five or so weeks back, the AFC told him to strike a better work/life balance.


That it happened in the same week as the Schoolies’ alleged drug use hit the headlines is coincidental but it all points to the same monomania. Football, FOOTBALL!


Imagine, you’re 23 years old, famous, adored, you perform in front of 40 to 70 thousand people every week, you’re payed eight to ten times the average national income for playing football. Every detail of your life is subject to teams of nutritionists, trainers, bio-physicians.


“How’s the faecal waste been this week?”


What kind of life is that to expect of a young man? Yeah, yeah, they’ve chosen the life, but, seriously folks, what level of choice do 17 year old boys have?


Gold Coast have become the latest poster boys for this, but they’re just the team who had a player get caught. It happens everywhere. If you could track down Dale Lewis, ask him, he lost a media career for letting slip the truth.


Footballers can’t go to the pub, they might get harassed. They can’t have a glass of red the night before a game. They’re not allowed to ski, snowboard, ride a motorcycle, they’re banned from doing any of the oft-stupid, risk-taking activities that young men are prone to, especially fit, strong celebrities.


So, you say, they play football, isn’t that enough? Not when your faecal waste is subject to analysis.


Flipping heck, it must be like being at boarding school. Paul Marsh, AFLPA CEO, said recently that AFL footballers had told him they weren’t really happy with it, that confidential surveys indicated as many as four of every ten footballers were kinda miserable. Can’t really blame them, all their friends who aren’t professional footballers are living the life of young men.


Jobe Watson, an extraordinary example given his last three years, said he’d thought about quitting the game, giving up the captaincy. Who could blame him?


A few weeks ago, this column wrote about Essendon players looking at the coach and maybe thinking “you’re the bastard that dropped me into this shithole” and it seemed to have come to pass on the weekend. Oh crikey, said a confused James, they just didn’t play.


Jobe’s 200th match, it was almost like they’d made a statement.


Footballers can’t drink, cos that’d show up on the skinfolds test, so they do cocaine, pills, anything to escape, if just for a hour or two, from the relentless industrialisation of sport.


It was supposed to be fun. Gary Buckenara, on the Marngrook Footy Show last week (the best football show on telly) said that kids weren’t just kicking the ball around for the hell of it, and that it was a terrible thing for the sport. U/14s are getting instructions on the forward press, or whatever is the fashionable thing, they don’t get to run around and kick and have fun.


A great friend of mine has a fifteen year old son who is a tremendously talented footballer. The lad spends his school sports periods in the gym doing weights, he trains with his club, his school, the Swans Academy, he runs four or five miles every day. He’s 6’2” and 160+. I’d never tell the lad that he shouldn’t pursue his dream, but it’s a weird, almost monastic pursuit.


Phil Walsh put Pat D on Nat F for the match, for the sake of the game, so he said. A coach will do what he thinks will win the game, but that was a great decision. Everyone who saw the game loved it. So let’s strike the Phil Walsh Shield and award it to the AFL game of the season that best demonstrates the style and skill of our indigenous football code.


Meredith and Quinn Walsh, there are no words worth writing. May the silent minute after every match this past weekend, the quality of the tight games and upsets, the gathering at the Adelaide Oval, all stand as a tribute to your husband and father.


Cheers, Tipsters


P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.

Brought to you with the assistance of Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Honky Tonk Rock and Roll Piano’

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. Earl,
    I like your idea of the season’s best game getting awarded the Phil Walsh Shield.
    When I played under 9s, the coach told us it was all about fun.
    Winning was irrelevant.
    That changes by the time you get to the seniors, but geez it’d be tough to be a footballer in the AFL.
    Discipline 24/7…
    No one can do that.

Leave a Comment