The 2017 Jim Thorpe Cup

Greetings Tipsters,


Jim Thorpe was a true legend.  1887–1953, Olympic decathlete, basketball, baseball, football, he did it all.  Sac and Fox tribesman, his Indigenous name was Bright Path and did he blaze it or what?


What would he have thought of “The award-winning Real Footy Messenger alerts are back for readers who never want to miss breaking news, analysis and features?”


Award winning messenger alerts, eh?  What do you have to do to win such an award?

What would he have thought of Ben Cousins? Given the tale of his later years, he would likely have understood.


None of us know what it’s like to be a kid surrounded by men telling you what a great footballer you are. He grew up in football clubs, was wonderfully gifted, his life was all but pre-ordained. He played for the Eagles at exactly the right and wrong time. He showed up for court a few days ago wearing a flimsy T-shirt.


That says it all. Professional deadshits go to court dressed like that. If anyone told him to try wearing a shirt, tie, jacket, he didn’t listen.


Same day, or close, Tony Lockett reappeared in football. Much was said about his weight but, really, the bloke has ridden the Finke Desert Race a few times, you can’t carry 250lbs on a dirtbike. Tony has his greyhounds, four daughters, and figured that there was no need to carry that weight if he wasn’t playing football.


Another bloke who took a serious weight loss programme after retirement was Terry Wallace. Didn’t make much of a coach, but he gave Ben a second chance and there is film of the Tigers singing the song after a win, Ben had a huge grin on his face and was doing high kicks in the circle. He looked thoroughly happy.


The DAFL has covered the GAFL pre-season, it’s a competition, not a practice. Will we remember it in May? I hope so, for a few dozen reasons. It’s football, it’s played hard, it’s a rough looking game but we know that skills and fitness are gonna ramp up with the access to the professional club staff.


For years I’ve been going to the footy with women who get to say ‘Cor!’, now I get to. Great exemplars, fit and tough. If I had an eight year old daughter, I’d like her to dig that.


In all seriousness, though, if I had an eight year old daughter she’d hit a chest from 40 yards, win motorcycle races, read Shakespeare and Faulkner, play all the guitar solos in City Slang, and humiliate chess masters just for fun.


There’ll be debate and discussion. The pay, you’d think it likely to increase but the media coverage has been due to the AFL’s wealth and power, not necessarily the quality of the sport (the scheduling of the comp was brilliant marketing). Pay matches audience? Next year, that ‘difficult’ second album. No longer the hip new band.


The goons at head office might be taking it for granted already. Was anyone really surprised that the inaugarul DAFL Grand Final was shifted from the Gabba to Carrara?  Dollars, tipsters, that’s the difference. It would have been great to have the Big ‘Un at the Gabba, a standalone fixture. But – have you ever thrown a party and no-one showed?  With Brisbane playing Schoolies down the road, the limited number of Australian Rules Football fans in Queensland would be split for choice and most would head for the GAFL match.


Your correspondent hadn’t thought of that aspect until that sentence spilled out. The dollars, always – opening a stadium for a few thousand people, setting up a full telecast, doubling costs for no extra return. The AFL didn’t become the power it is by throwing money around heedlessly.


Gee, I changed my tune in those two paragraphs, eh? I’ve long found that thinking about something doesn’t necessarily help, it’s when you write it down or talk to someone that you formulate a proper opinion by having to present your ideas in a coherent form.


Or something vaguely resembling a coherent form, if you write and talk like me.


Anyway, the GAFL, the first match is on teev in the other room, Richmond are five goals up, Go Tigers!  Tho they could still lose, it’s only the third term.


This is the week when us football mavens are supposed to write chin-stroking prognostics.  So, Steele Sidebottom for the Brownlow cos I like his name. Lance Franklin for the Coleman cos Plugger said he’d beat his goal record “once I teach him to run up in a straight line.”


Teams, okay, some have no chance of making the finals. Brisbane, Carlton, Essendon, Port – and Hawthorn, please God. Some we expect to be there, Adelaide, Sydney, GWS, West Coast. Footscray, how’s the hangover?


Does such a thing exist in this super-professional age?


Geelong will likely make the finals for little or no impact. St Kilda and Melbourne expect to get there or damn close, such is the plan and the form. Richmond and Collingwood will tease and disappoint. Freo may get close, maybe Gold Coast will too, North won’t.


Fourth term and it doesn’t look like Carlton are gonna pinch it. There was an aerial shot of the MCG, the green oval, the stands, it kinda made my heart flutter.


Cheers, Tipsters


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

Brought to you with the assistance of The Who ‘Such A Night’ bootleg, live in Philadephia, 1973.



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 the GAFL and the DAFL. Guys and Dolls? Or God Awful Football League?
    If Fremantle make the Finals I’ll walk backwards to Bali in a bikini. Bottom 4. My hunch is that the Bulldogs will “do a Leicester” and be closer to relegation than finals. Reckon they played everyone off a break in the finals last season. All credit to Beveridge and his men, but I think other clubs will be better prepared for their tactics this year. Don’t reckon they bat that deep.
    I reckon my Eagles will be top 4 but our ruck ranks are very thin and fragile. Also depend a lot on Josh Kennedy (cert for the Coleman) for goals. Still…. god willing and the creeks don’t rise…. the Avenging Eagle and I will be watching us battle your Monaros from a balcony in Barcelona late in September.
    Is “Such a Night” better than “Live at Leeds”? Hard to believe. Cheers.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    Peter, 1955, dir Joseph L Mankiewicz. It was that or Blokes and Chicks, BAFL, CAFL don’t make for appealing sounds. From where would you start that walk?
    Such A Night is 73, features songs from Who’s Next. Around ’01 I was swapping emails w a photog who curated Michael Cooper’s work, he said The Who were the greatest band in the world before Tommy, it was downhill from then.
    You be the judge.

  3. Earl O'Neill says

    Play it thru the big speakers, play it LOUD

  4. Bill Martino says

    Poor old PB, still hasn’t gotten over the Elimination Final.

  5. John Butler says

    Jim Thorpe’s one of the great stories in all of sport Earl. Good get.

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