The 2017 Matt Millen Cup – Round Three

Greetings Tipsters


Satmorn, on the road by 0730, cruisy job at Dave and Helen’s place, then Leichhardt where I parked the van with barely four feet of space, mowed horribly overgrown lawn, trimmed a crop of bam-bloody-boo with pole loppers for three hours, then Jack’s place to discuss improvements, then a quote, then a weed-spraying follow-up in Hurstville, then another quote for mondo-grassing a garden patch and removing a pond, then I got home and checked the scores to discover that Monaros had recorded a comfortable win.


Such is the life of the freelance gardener.


Frinite, Swans put in the worst performance I’ve seen of them in many a long year, moments of clueless, stupid play that cost them dearly.  It’s not as if 4&20s are all that good, though they did well on the night.  This is shaping up to be, if not quite a rebuilding season for Sydney, then definitely a development season.  Ain’t it a funny ol’ world?  Swans would have won the ’16 flag had Aliir played, he was one of the best against Monaros with his instinctive play while many of his teammates were bamboozled by the pace of their opponents.


Nat may have found his Cigar Club team, mid first term it was thirteen Forward Forays to zero, for the arithmetically suitable score of 1.3 to 0.0.  Well, he may require a Cigar Club full forward, besides Fasolo.


Rocket and Ross sent me their thanks for writing off Schoolies and Purps last week, they said it was just the tonic the teams needed to turn their form around.  The Purps were quick with the ball, fast on the toe, they made the Dogs look like the Swans.  It was a good match, most unlike Frinite’s drearfest.  Cam McCarthy kicked two, did some good work, it was heartening.  Twelve months ago I wrote a column somewhat critical of him and his mum replied in explicatory detail.  I’m sure she was there to enjoy it, good luck to you and your family, Mrs McCarthy.


What’s happened to the Carlton strip?  Didn’t it used to have white bits?  It was a good look, a whole lotta old dark navy blue and they played well, too many misses early, but Essendon kicked a bunch of behinds when the game was in the balance.  Strangely, I found myself rooting for the Bombers, I’ve no idea why.  I care little about either team, but it was a good match, slipping and a’sliding in torrential rain.


Meanwhile, checking the scores from Carrara.  Two goals to zip, maybe that’s just lucky.  But it got better.  And better.  And even more better.


Suneve, fans of seventeen GAFL clubs were cheering on the Schoolies.  Schadenfreudian?  You bet.  It was good while it lasted.  Hawthorn have fallen off the trapeze, missed the net, hit the sawdust with a bonejarring thump the likes of which we haven’t seen since the last hat-trick team.


Are the players still moping about Lewis and Mitchell being traded?  Highly unlikely, but their replacements are handball-happy insiders, that goes against the slick-kicking style Clarkson’s team was built on.  It’s a slow team now, the youngsters haven’t come on as expected, the high draft picks have been traded away, it’s like the late 90’s Hawks, when their ill-humoured graceless fans caused me to rank them last on my list of favourite teams.


That and the horrible colours.  Cleveland Browns, anyone?


At least Cleveland hosts the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame – even if the MC5 still haven’t made it – and the Cuyahoga River caught fire a few times.


Anyway, let’s take a look at the ladder.  Hawthorn are last, with a percentage of 63.3.  Oh, I’m sorry, did you miss that?  Hawthorn are last, with a percentage of 63.3.  Sydney are sixteenth, zip-three and 82.7.


Up at the pointy end, Adelaide, Richmond and Geelong are undefeated and have very winnable games this week.  The Crows have had two meritorious wins, Tigers one, Cats have pinched three.  The Tricolours are looking the goods, jury is still out on the felines.  Monaros host Port at Manuka, which oughta be a cracking match that will tell us a lot about these two teams.


Sixteen or so years back, I had dinner with my first wife in a fancy restaurant in Manuka, the food was great but what I remember most is picking up the bottle of wine to top up our glasses, a waiter came out of nowhere, “I’ll get that for you, sir.”  Wow!  I’m not used to that.  An old friend told me about dining at a super-ritzy restaurant in New York that had bathroom attendants.  Crikey!


Essendon are still a bit flakey, Melbourne won’t know how to cope without Max’s beard, St Kilda can beat Collingwood if they kick straight – and there’s been some woeful goalkicking this season.


The Top Five will likely be there in September.  Except maybe Richmond, they know how to collapse in an inexplicable heap like no-one else.  Wiggles have enough of a home-ground advantage, Dogs will get there at the expense of Essendon or Melbourne, maybe St Kilda will sneak in.  Maybe Swans will get their act together and make it to the Elim.


I dunno.  Neither do you.


Perky Girl and I have taken an interest in Samantha Lane the last few years, can’t have been easy for her, a woman in blokes’ world, the hint of nepotism.  But she’s gained confidence and the hair and wardrobe have really come together this year.  It’s high time some of the blokes took a hint from Sam and got their act together.  The DAFL was good for her.


I liked the low-scoring DAFL games, most every match was in the balance until the last term, made for great tension due to the shorter quarters, the different style of play, I miss it already.  That, and I’m a man with a gender-wide crush on women.  Onya ladies!


Cheers Tipsters


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

Brought to you with the assistance of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.


* Matt Millen was CEO and prez of Detroit Lions, ’01-’08, responsible for the worst NFL win/loss in that time and the only all-loss season in NFL history.

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. Earl – the Hawks look like a bloke who needed a couple of new legs, so he traded in his head and his heart to get them. Clarko is a strategic genius but there is chockloads of talent playing like headless (or heartless) chooks.
    Has there been a worse 3-0 team than Geelong? Beat Freo in R1 before they had heard your motivating message. Then North and Melbourne outplayed them for 3 quarters and threw it away. (See Hawthorn above – only legless but with the head and heart).
    My Eagles are just going. Time for Adam to drop the Bill Bixby visage and send a few messages. Lewis Jetta can permanently warm the pine in the WAFL. Jack Darling can join him in the hall of mirrors for a few weeks. McGovern forward. McKenzie, Schofield and Barrass down back. Can’t wait to get Drew back (words that I thought I’d never say).
    Magic Bus or Pictures of Lily?

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Hey Earl, are you a

    business card in Red Eye operator? small ad in the local paper bloke? or friends of friends only business?

    ABN and full insurance or fingers crossed?

    Xero? MYOB? Glove Box?

  3. Ashwood and O’Neill – LLB; MBBS; GAFL (Adelaide and Western Sydney). Branches lopped; Ears bent; Compost spread.
    Official Landscape Gardening Partners of the GAFL.

  4. Punxsu.... Pete says

    Love your work Earl. Great read

  5. Earl O'Neill says

    Peter: Magic Bus; Lewis Jetta played the season of his life in 2012 and was never again near as good; I quoted for a job at Monaros HQ in late ’13, unsuccessfully, one day I’ll check to see if the mini-golf course is still there.
    Mark: hipages, even gardeners aren’t that far behind the times; ABN, etc; spreadsheet and Perky Girl, Chief Financial Officer.
    Punxsutawney Pete: much thanx. Yr fave local band of all y’ve caught is?

Leave a Comment