The 2016 Eddie Gilbert Cup – Round Nine

Greetings Tipsters


There are more AFL accredited journalists than there are AFL players.  That figure doesn’t include me or Sal or Fearless or Wrap or any of the folks who write great match reviews for the Almanac.


Saturday, Age and Australian both ran pieces about Geelong, how they’d got it together for another tilt at a flag, compared to Collingwood, who’d messed it up.


Woops.  Twenty minutes in, those journos must have slapped bruises onto their foreheads.  The 4&20s laid down one great quarter and held on.  The Corio Baysiders couldn’t nail it.  The score read 11.7 to 7.11 in the third, there’s gotta be a song in that.


I grab The Australian a couple times a week.  Football and national to international news.  Do I want to read an indepth report with colour photographs about a lane on the Spit Bridge being blocked for 36 hours?  Am I interested in the latest rumblings from Putin and Xi?


It’s a handsome newspaper, the last broadsheet in Sydney.  The Sydney Morning Herald was a mess before it went tabloid and hasn’t gotten any better.  Daily Telegraph is a brash mess.  The Australian is a newspaper you can sit out in your backyard with, do that snap o’ wrist to straighten it out when you go to the next page.


The best of the journos writing for the old mastheads have years of experience and contacts and files full of stories they can never tell.  Rohan and Robbo, f’rinstance, have been doing this for decades and – note to Rohan:  smarten up, get a few collared shirts and a razor.


Professional media is constrained by confidentiality and advertising.  The netsquawk has no constraints, nor serious sources beyond a spliff and a sixpack.


(Note to self – write an Ellroy-style column soon.)


Earl hit the cyberroad.  Cynicism in his coat pocket.  Cruised Ninth St, the heart of Journotown.  Rumours flashed by.

He gouged a kerbspot.  Stretched.

”I used to be a boundary rider.”

Her last words.  Before the lifestyle show came thru.


Lately I read about a White House staffer bragging how he fooled ignorant reporters, average age 27; he was in his 30s.  How did that come about?  Shouldn’t the White House Press Corps (note to Barack – it’s pronounced ‘cor’, not ‘corpse’) be full of hard-bitten cynics in their 50s who’re gonna ask the hard questions?


In football, just as in the world, you need professional journos who know how to put a story together – concept, background, information, write it up with a smart conclusion.  Caroline Wilson and Chip Le Grand came at the Essendon/WADA story from different angles, but between them they put in a helluvan effort to shine some bright lights on the tale.


There’s a sense of prestige attached to breaking a story in a big metropolitan newspaper.  Cracking it on a website doesn’t carry the same cachet.  It’s all a part of that late great Twentieth Century culture, like ‘Love It To Death’ and the VH Charger, that I’m getting nostalgic for.  Six digit telephone numbers.


There is so much news now that any story can get washed away in the torrent.  Thirty years ago we had a few teev networks, a few newspaper chains, experienced and competitive people, if there was a story to be found, they’d race each other to it.


If I was an Illuminati boss, this world of ceaseless chatter would be vastly more suitable for my evil plans than the 1990s.  I read hours of news every day, liberal, conservative, I’ve read a lotta history, information does not lead to clarity.  Spratly Islands, anyone?  How about Kylie Jenner?


Analysing info sucks up masses of computation power, we’re drowned in info sans context, it’s blip, blip, blip, from every direction, how long since you read ‘Huckleberry Finn’?


Take a step back from the world, 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.


  1. “Take a step back from the world.” Sound advice Earl. A few years back I worked out that I had more useless information in my head than I could ever use, so what was the point of more knowledge? Use what I had and connect with people more seems to have made me happier. I reckon some of us use knowledge gathering as a form of defensible life avoidance.
    On another thread I called writing for the Almanac “a harm diversion program for footy idiots”. I rest my case.
    30 minutes of sanitised Turnbull v Shorten, or 3 hours of Swan Districts Reserves? The black ducks are infinitely more entertaining and life affirming..

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