The 2015 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Nine

Greetings Tipsters

You can never take things for granted in sport. Less than twelve months ago I was talking with folks about Marc Marquez’ chances of winning every Moto GP championship for the next five years. So far this year, he’s won one race and crashed out of two others, he’s 49 points behind Jorge Lorenzo (a win earns 25 points) in fifth and, with a Honda that is clearly lacking against the Yamaha and Ducati, would have to rely on bad luck overcoming his opponents to have any real chance of winning the championship in 2015.

That’d be a great analogy if Hawthorn had lost on the weekend. Anyway, nine rounds in is a reasonable time to cast an aspersive eye over the ladder, let’s place a foot on the first rung – oh crap, what’s that stuck to my shoe?

Carlton can only get better and they showed a bit of spirit against Sydney. Not often that a ten goal loss could be seen as a positive, but it was a vast improvement on previous weeks. Gold Coast have all but started afresh. New coach with a professional attitude and the interesting job of managing evangelists and party animals in the same team. Brisbane, well they’ve a paddock full of room for improvement and a quiet administration.

These three clubs all share a few unpleasant characteristics, a ferocious injury toll and some poor recruiting decisions over the last few years. Better things were expected of the Queensland teams this season.

Melbourne’s best is better but their worst hasn’t shifted and there’s still too much of it. St Kilda are quietly going about a similar business but with a better percentage.

So that’s the ‘No Hope Five.’ Now we get to the ‘Contenders or Pretenders?’ North overacheived last year, they’re inconsistent, lack starpower and should consider hiring Trav’s psychologist. Geelong have finally done what many pundits have been predicting for five years and faded, they’ve another hi-profile injury list. Port show little sign of the pace and skill of ’14 but may have something left to offer. Essendon have probably overacheived at this point, like the others in this paragraph, they can look good sometimes, but not against the good teams.

One of these weeks I’ll get around to writing about the Bombed in a bit more detail. As it is, the ‘four and five’ teams are slipping back and none have a percentage over 100. Now the ledger turns, from the nine teams with wins and percentage in the negative, to

Footscray, like many a young, developing team, have their moments of inconsistency, but can turn it on when fired up and playing to a plan, as they did on Saturday – hard work and tactical nous, they’ve a good style of football. Richmond have their inconsistent weeks, too, but with less excuse, they’re not a team of kids. Adelaide are playing some good football, they’ve copped injuries too but still ran Freo damn close despite kicking 7.15. Hawthorn are further back than we’d have expected, but they are still Hawthorn.

GWS suffer the inconsistency bugbear of young teams, overflowing with talent but just a winter slump away from missing the finals. Collingwood still haven’t played a serious contender, but their third term was brilliant.

Sydney grind away in the manner we expect but have a potentially serious deficiency in the ruck. West Coast, the first team to top 1000 points this season, don’t but the holes in the backline may be tough to cover in July, let alone September. Fremantle are undefeated and concede an average of just 62 points per match.

So, maybe you’re wondering “What does the team behind the ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup have to say about the next few months of football? Do they have predictions about the makeup of the finals? What do Vanessa Huynh’s mathematical calculations say?”

As indicated last week or the week before, Vanessa’s brilliantly incisive analysis of football is not fit for public consumption, the lass is too damned sharp. Not that she doesn’t drop a scarily fantastic file on my desk most mornings, that’s fine by me, we go to her parents’ restaurant to discuss it.

Of the four & five teams, Port might sneak into the Eight. This week’s Top Three and Hawthorn oughta be there, barring catastrophic Dwayne Johnston type disaster. Adelaide and Richmond are looking okay, Collingwood are showing some style, GWS and Footscary can play sharp, brilliant football and take out frontrunners… So, nine weeks done, that’s ten teams who may play finals, and that’s just our opinion.

”Indigenous Round” is an anodyne term, why not call it “Blackfella Round”? Top marks to Richmond for the best guernsey of the weekend. Didn’t hurt that the club colours worked in nicely, but the design was a beauty. While many teams went for a watermark-style thing or some random-ish splashes, Richmond’s strip was close to their traditional look and beautifully executed.

Adam Goodes got all the headlines. I was watching the game, teev muted and music on the stereo, my initial reaction was “Great, love it! Nothing like a bit of Richard Sherman braggadocio!” I can’t remember just what I was listening to, we had folks around for dinner, but a few minutes later I thought it mighta been a bit too much ‘look at me’ for a team sport here.

It was a deliberately provocative action. Adam Goodes is too smart a fellow not to have figured the likely reactions. A Carlton cheer squad member wrote that they weren’t offended, but some of the women were a little frightened. That’s understandable. He stands 6’ 5”, 220lb of bone and sinew and finely-tuned muscle, he did a war dance complete with spearing actions.

Right in front of a group of Carlton fans. Directed at them. He didn’t head upfield, he didn’t aim at the Swans fans. There’s no comparing it to Tadgh’s cheerful Irish jig on the dais in ’05.

For me, it was a great piece of theatre, yep, great to see. But I’m a fan of American Football, maybe I’m more used to this kinda display. I’ve seen a lot worse on rock and roll stages.

Adam wanted to make a big statement, and it was talked about all weekend. Footballers, especially those with two Brownlows and two flags over 359 games, have enormous egos. The more I think about it (when I’d rather be thinking about whether the A9X was the greatest Australian racecar of alltime), the less I like it. Sunday Telegraph piece about how Lewis Jetta would’ve done the dance if he’d kicked a goal first was just a bit too slickly writ by Neil Cordy and…

Oh, thank the gods! Vanessa just showed up with another pile of mathematical analyses, bless you. I look forward to seeing how her unimpeachable stats match with my instinctive predictions.

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.

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