The 2015 ‘Mopsy’ Fraser Cup – Round Ten

Greetings Tipsters

Ruckmen have been copping some stick lately. Matthew Lloyd and Wayne Carey dropped their two cents into their columns on the Age in the last coupla weeks, ruckmen don’t do enough around the ground, don’t kick goals, block the hole, all that.

Those two worthies have forgotten more about football than I will ever know, but maybe, just maybe, they’ve a blinkered view, kicking 1653 goals between them. (Wayne, incidentally, kicked 727 in 272 games, a neat set of numbers.) I spent a bit of time at The Showground watching Mumford and Martin. They don’t do an awful lot outside of the ruck contests other than get ready for the next one.

Ruckmen are the biggest men in most any Aussie Rules team, they need to be. They have to hold their ground in 100 or so contests every game, close to one every minute, sheer size and physicality is the key for most of them. It’s silly to compare every ruckman to the freakishly talented Dean Cox.

The sub rule has changed the ruckman’s game. They can’t take a breather on the bench and teams are less likely to take a second ruckman into the game, which has affected around-the-ground play. Mike Pyke’s around-the-ground performance declined signifigantly when he became the sole ruckman.

Shane Mumford would be close to the best ruckman this season. He accumulates hit-outs and uses his barrel-chested frame to make room for the midfielders, he gets a few possesions but no-one’s gonna judge his game on stats. He might even be allowed a glass or two of red the night before a game.

Charlie Dixon broke a team rule by drinking a glass or two of red but he said it helped him relax and get a good night’s sleep. The Schoolies left a loophole, that players were allowed a glass or two at a family do, so it’s pretty easy to see how Charlie figured that his one or two weren’t gonna cause any harm, and they handled the fallout terribly, allowing the media to get all over it instead of keeping it quiet.

This just highlights something that’s been lurking around for a while, the intense lifestyle pressure that players face. Look, they’re young, famous, fit and wealthy yet are barely allowed to enjoy it. Every meal, sleep, breath and fart are documented and analysed by teams of health and “wellness” professionals. (Where did that horrible word “wellness” come from? I’d like to hunt down the one who formed it and give them a good talking to.) How soon before we read something like:

“Pies drop Pendlebury for breaking team rule”
Collingwood announced today that decorated captain Scott Pendlebury would not be playing in the crunch game against West Coast for breaking a team rule barring sexual intercourse for three days before a game.
“The boys know that a bit of kissing and cuddling is okay,” said Gary Pert, “but roo… ah, intercourse is just not on.”

So, wada ya reckon about Essendon, eh? They seem to be in the ol’ ‘world of pain’, especially when Jobe ain’t on the field to keep them focused. By halftime I wondered what effect Daniher’s early misses may have had on the team, whether it just made them drop their heads that little bit. And there’s Hirdy on the boundary, wouldn’t it occur to some of the players, sometimes that, with a career in jeopardy, that bloke might be just a bit responsible? You know, that bloke that spent a few months in France last year, has pleaded ignorance of everything, who really should have resigned immediately and sought penance in volunteering to coach a VAFA team and try to rebuild his once-golden image.

It’s all about the club, except for when it’s all about the ego.

Meanwhile, Richmond beat Freo in Westralia. Meaning what? First, that the Tigers are starting to look like a better team than we thought they were. Four straight wins with a more considered ball use has the Tigers in the Eight ahead of their bye. It’s a good base for the rest of the season. Second, Freo can work on the deficiencies and apply themselves to a quarter-by-quarter lockout against the Schoolies, who’ve such a long and impressive injury list that that nickname is horribly appropriate.

Begging the question, how could alleged premiership aspirants Sydney only manage four goals against them after halftime? That was, at the least, a slack effort, when they should have kicked a minimum of 20 goals, like Hawthorn did.

Ah, yes, Hawthorn. “Just wait until they start playing good football” seems to be a prevailing tone of commentary. But what if they don’t? They’re not a young bunch and they haven’t beaten anyone sitting any higher than tenth on the ladder. Sure, they can pile on the goals against the lesser lights of the comp but haven’t really done anything this season to warrant any laudatory kudos. Not yet, anyway. Adelaide in Adelaide this weekend ought give us an indication.

Finally, vale Chris Judd, Footballer. Long live Chris Judd the bloke and I hope he continues to pen the occasional column. He’s a sharp fellow and we’d do well to have him around football.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.
Brought to you with the assistance of Frank Sinatra’s 1954 album ‘In The Wee Small Hours’

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. “In the wee small hours of the morning
    When the whole wide world is fast asleep
    You lie awake
    And think about the girl
    And wonder ’bout the things that might have been”
    (No gooogling there, just the wistful voice of the COTB echoing in my head. They say that was the first true LP with a coherent linking of songs).
    With you on all your footy comments except Mumford. Handy but big Sandi is the best ruckman by a mile, and Nic Nait took Mummy to pieces in Perth.
    Regards to all the Trans Dementia team. You can restore the Perky Girl avatar any time you like.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    I dim all the lights and I sink in the chair
    The smoke from my cigarette climbs though the air

    Wouldn’t it be great to,hear Afghan Whigs take on that?

  3. The Wrap says

    I have a feeling The 2015 Tiges are the real thing Mopsy. There’s something about their game that looks very Hawthorn-like. And there’s a lot of youngsters in there who are maturing quickly. There’s truckloads of Self Belief around at Punt Rod right now. And they’re getting more delivered each week. A good time to climb up on the Band Wagon and plug in your axe. Or your vinyl player.

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