The 2016 Luke Beveridge Cup

Greetings Tipsters


Many words have been writ, many thoughts expressed.  Footscray have won the most storied flag since 1970.


The Bulldogs were the better team.  I was cheering for Sydney but middle of the third a feeling of historical inevitablity crept in, driven by manic handball around the packs.


Fourteenth in ’14, finalists in ’15, premiers in ’16.  One important change to the list in that time and no-one rated Boyd before his rucking in the Prelim.  Surfer Luke is a genius with player management.


Lost in the rush is his tactical nous.  He out-coached Leon at the Showground and the glory of hindsight makes the Grand Final result seem pre-ordained.


Whereto now?  Is this the start of a Bulldog dynasty?  In many ways, they deserve it.  A few years back I stayed w old mates in Footscray, walked down the main drag and was impressed by the Whitten Oval, opening onto a park like an invitation.  I saw Rohan Smith exit his car, a big lump of charcoal grey German 4WD.  Few could deny them this flag that may have been decided when the fans heading to Sydney were shouted brunch at Wodonga.  How many clubs have a connection to the locals like Footscray?


Monaros are making efforts toward that.  Ah, yes, the ‘Corporate Entity.’  According to many, Swans are a corporate entity too.  If you’re a fan of any of Melbourne’s Flaccid Four, be reminded that the VFL pimped Swans to millionaires and used the money to cover, f’rinstance, the disastrous trade frenzy that Richmond and Collingwood indulged in.  By late 90s, Swans were worth a quarter of the teev rights, being the only team in the biggest city.


Footscray Football Club is a corporate entity too.  It’s the Twenty First Century, folks, no-one gets to be successful otherwise.


Seventeen mobs of coaches have several months to figure out how to beat the Bevo Boys. Some of them, as is the nature of such things, will attempt to replicate it.  That’s foolish, Footscray is a team that plays to the strengths of players and coach.  Much like Hawthorn.  Freo tried to ‘upskill’ and look how that turned out.  Footscray will be thereabouts, contender-wise, for a few years yet.


There is one team who will be gnawing the bone over summer.  Monaros braintrust have, so rumour has it, taken Steve Johnson into a dark room and beat him with rubber mallets.  Leon was watching the Grand Final and muttering “It should have been us, it should have been us.”


Swans are repeating the 1930s.  For all their strengths, they were done by speed and enthusiasm.  Sure, they’ll be up there next season, but so will a resurgent Hawthorn and those pesky youngsters.  St Kilda and Melbourne will have taken heart from Footscray and be feeling their oats.


And that’s the ’16 AFL season.  I’ve trouble remembering to put my NFL tips in, but Detroit Lions are 2 from 5.  By the gods, there is something relieving in following a perenially useless football team.


I sort of watched the V8 Supercars race at Bathurst.  Tal, Rob and I were rehearsing in the loungeroom.  When in doubt, play ‘Wild Thing.’


Is there some literacy test that sports commentators are required to fail?  Last two laps they kept yelling “This is unbelievable!”  Um, it’s happening right in front of you.  It is not unbelievable.  At least they didn’t say “literally unbelievable!”


“It’s so close!”  Ah yes, there was a pace car out four laps from the finish, of course it was gonna be close.  It’s not an endurance race but a series of sprints.


Later that eve we were treated to the ‘Brock’ teledrama.  Not bad as these things go.  The first shot was allegedly 1969 and Peter had ‘Mobil’ writ across the tail of his hotrod Austin A30 while hooning down a rural backroad.  That wasn’t a great start, but it did get better.  Mostly pretty well done, but it must have been made as a three or four part show and drastically edited at the last minute to make a two-parter.  Big gaps in the narrative, characters who were more than extras but appeared too briefly.  There were a few shots of Peter in a Collingwood guernsey and it got me thinking…


If ever a movie or teledrama was to be made of a footballer, who would it be?  Ron Barassi.  No-one else has the character, the life story – his father died in WW2, he grew up with Norm Smith, he played in the great Melbourne teams, he went to Carlton – “Where’s your heart, Ron?”  “Right here,” thumping his chest – the 1970 Grand Final, North Melbourne, Melbourne, Sydney.


But the way things are, we’ll probably get a shithouse Ben Cousins biopic first.


Cheers, Tipsters


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

Brought to you with the assistance of “I Saw His Eyes”, a song I wrote on Saturday after hearing that Dave, a mate who drives trains and celebrated Cronulla’s win, copped a leaper a few days later.



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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. Love it, Earl.
    If the Monaros bigwigs were in a dark room, I wonder how dark was the room housing the Collingwood decision-makers.
    “It should have been us, it should have been us” is a great scene you paint.

    Barassi: the Musical?

  2. John Butler says

    Always need to read the credits in your stuff Earl. Quite the sting in the tail.

    So much food for thought in this one. Swans repeating the 30’s – might be one of the great football calls. Bur who will be the new Machine?

    I concur with your thoughts on the Monaros. If there was one team to put your money on for next season….

    Absolutely correct to say that all AFL teams are corporate entities now. Silly to pretend anything else. But they are entities with diverse back-stories. That’s why the the Dogs are still more compelling a story than the Monaros. But nothing stays the same forever.

    Love your work. :)

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    I spoke too soon about the Brock show, ep2 was mostly terrible.
    Swampy, trust Fast Eddie. Cloke out, Wells in, surefire winner.
    John, Sharky’s Machine.

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