The 2016 Peter Caven Cup – Round Four

Greetings Tipsters


When did we last see a greater exhibition of elite Australian Football than the Crows/Swans game Saturday night?  There’s already been a slew of great matches this season but this was a cut above the rest.  Two or so kicks in it all night, ferocious contest, hardness, pace, talent, crowd invective and a storybook ending – for the home team, at least.


Beyond all that, it looked like a new style of football.  It was gonna take a few weeks for teams to get fully used to the new rules, out of bounds, 10m and interchange cap, two of the best teams revealed the glorious possibilities.  Spotfires at the fall of the ball across the ground, players hanging back from the rucks, a better sense of positional play, all made for a game that seemed like a glorious way forward such as we haven’t seen since Geelong ’07.


Sometimes moving forward means bringing something back, we were treated to a few examples of Pagan’s Paddock, it was a joy to watch.  Most appropriate from John Longmire and no doubt appreciated by the Incredibly Shrinking Wayne Carey.


Have you been observing him at the round table on telly?  His arms still seem to fill his sleeves but his shoulders are narrow and sloping.  Next to Ling, who has given in to gravitas, trimmed his hair and learnt to knot a tie, and even Basil Zee, Wayne has the physical presence of Bruce Mac.  Still, he remains one of the better commentators, incisive and fearless.


Anyway, despite being born within sight of the SCG, I figured Adelaide to win about 15 minutes in.  Sydney dominated the first term but couldn’t make it on the scoreboard.  Adelaide stayed in touch by virtue of their precise and efficient kicking.  With only five goals apiece at halftime this tense, exciting match exploded into immortality with a thirteen goal third term and an edge of the seat last that was decided with 32 seconds left on the clock.


Football was the winner Saturday night.  Adelaide and Sydney are shaping up as contenders.  By marvellous coincidence they play two other contenders next weekend, Hawthorn and West Coast respectively.


Next day the other Sydney team played the other Adelaide team.  Port were terrible, Monaros were great, especially in the second.  A tremendous display in its own way, when you come up against a team that aren’t gonna play hard, you really oughta beat ‘em to the ground then put your foot on the neck and smack ‘em about some more.  If not for a 2.8 Premiership Quarter, the Monaros could have ruined another Port coach.


That was the pattern for the other matches I saw on teev this past weekend.  Frinite, halftime I wrote on FB ‘Fire Dept have been called to Punt Rd to extinguish blaze created by Richmond fans burning 2016 merchandise.’  A Tigers mate who lives in Texas wrote to thank me for saving him from watching the game.


Sunday I watched ‘Demons Eat Cold Pies.’  Dimma and Nat should form a support group, Sanderson and McCartney could be their mentors.  PCX-LTD.  Premature Contract Extension – Led To Disaster.  Sanderson’s uncanny resemblance to Hunter Stockton Thompson could be an asset here, in the unlikely event that anyone at the AFL has read ‘Fear And Loathing At The Superbowl.’  Failing that, at least one of them could get PCX-LTD as the rego plate on their BMW 4WD.


My divinations from these four matches are: Adelaide, Sydney, West Coast are very good; Monaros and Melbourne are contenders for the Eight; Richmond and Collingwood are not; what the heck is wrong with Port?


I continue to resist the lure of Pay-Teev.  Four matches a weekend is enough for this scribe, but I miss out on the likes of North Melbourne.  As has been mentioned by Everybody, last time they were atop the ladder Brent Harvey had 38 games to his name.  Last winner of the Ted Whitten Medal, if I remember correctly.


North have been sorta thereabouts for a few years without really impressing anyone at the sharp end.  Perhaps we’ve been distracted by Hawthorn, Geelong, Fremantle, Sydney, the glamourama clubs.  (Hmm, better scratch Freo from that list.)  The Shinboners just keep plugging away, now they’re off to a 4/4 start; and there’s a Magpie pecking about in my backyard right now.  I’m watching him through the window.  He’s exploring carefully, checking out the lie of the land, looking for worms worth eating.  Perhaps he’s Fast Eddie’s latest high-performance guru, weeding out the deadwood, to coin a mixed metaphor.  There he goes, flying over the fence.  Seems there aint even a Jesse White in my backyard.


Shinboners may be a smokey for the flag.  Clarko reckons the better team has lost to his mob two weeks in a row, he’s a sharp operator and a few grains of salt ought be added to his comments, but Ol’ Father Time may be catching up with Hawthorn.  A knee here, a shoulder there, players at 32 or 33 who aint gonna bounce back next week like they used to.  It’s early days and prognostications best wait until at least seven weeks in and even better until the wet grounds of July sort the men from the boys.


But that isn’t a factor like it used to be.  The Terrordome is, ahem, pristine all year.  Every other ground has been resurfaced in the last ten or so years and have drainage facilities that can draw away multiple gallons of rainwater.  When was the last time we saw an AFL match played in a mudpit?  Gillo, I’m talking to you.  Some of us desire a Mudpit Round in July, played on rural grounds especially selected for their water-retaining capability.


Football, wet day

She’s there, I say

Please share my umbrella


Gillo loves to babble on about culture and society, but a Mudpit Round could be something special if we got The Hollies out here to promote it and he threw enough money at Graham Nash.


Some twenty years back Sheeds suggested a Mums Round.  Did that ever come to fruition?  There are so many themed rounds now I lose track of them, but there really oughta be a Mums Round and it oughta be the biggest and best theme round of all.


They bear the players, they feed them, wash their filthy socks, shorts, guernseys, feed them, drive them to training, feed them, drive them to games and stock up bigtime at the supermarket, butcher and grocer so they can feed them.  When they’re watching the game, they feel every bump, thump and tackle like no-one else could.


If there isn’t already a Mums Round, there should be.  And if there is, it aint being promoted enough.  Dumbarse AFL with their billions of dollars, if they’d decided on Grand Final extra time six years ago, St Kilda would have a second flag.


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.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff Earl especially love the mud pit round, a very enjoyable read

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