The 2018 No Zones Cup – Grand Final

Greetings Tipsters

Your correspondent’s original intention was to write a better informed match review, subsequent to the brief impressions I scribbled in the immediate aftermath. But many others have done that, and better. Suffice to say that Darling’s third term was a game changer and I nearly fell off my stool laughing when he dropped that mark in the last and Wiggles’ icing the clock after the last goal was calmly masterful in a way that symbolised the match.

Collingwood, 15 wins, 120.4%
In a season riddled with injury, they just kept getting better, evolving a game style to fit their strengths that was a joy to watch. Angry Granite grew a beard.

West Coast, 16 wins, 121.4%11
Premiers. Simpson has developed a team that plays a lot like his old club did twenty years ago. Luvit!

Coaching is evolving. Leon Cameron moved to the field mid season and stayed there. If that’s where he’s best suited, of course. Every team has nine or ten coaches, the head coach can be where he wants, he’s more a manager. Bill Belichik stalks the sidelines (yes, it’s a much more concentrated game) but he’s in constant contact with his eyes upstairs. ‘AFL’ head coaches will delegate more, they might be in the box or at the bench, they might sit amongst opposition fans. It’s a brave new world.

Especially w the new rules. I’m really looking forward to the Gene Simmons goal tongue. I hope they paint it red, with flames down the sides. The blokes in the goalsquare , will they be restrained by umpires clasping litter pickers to their wrists?

Six teams in the last three Grand Finals might suggest a new era of good ol’ equalisation. But – Footscray fell in a heap, Adelaide collapsed, Sydney struggle. There’s a bunch of teams in the middle to lower reaches of the comp who will likely stay there for an awful long time. The talent pool is spread thin, free agency has affected player movement – fifteen years ago, Greg, fan and student of American football, told me that free agency would change everything.

Such as the lesser McGovern, one year into a three year contract, says “I want out” and the club says “Okay.”

Now let’s get a mid-season trade, then he could say “Carlton are crapulous beyond imagining, I wanna play w (insert team here)”

The best player name of 2018 is Esava Ratugolea. Beaut rhythm, sounds like a stick being dragged along a picket fence. Fan of the year is the Geelong supporter w the blue and white outfit and the fantastic face paint. Sharp and detailed, whoever you be… Onya.

The days are getting longer and warmer. There’s no better weather than Sydney in spring. Azaleas are going nuts. I watched a T20 match for more than five minutes last night (chicks, not blokes). The NFL is on telly Monday (Detroit lost to Dallas, oh so narrowly). There’s a few rounds of the Moto GP to go.

That’s a class for prototypes. Superbikes is a sort-of production-based racing series. There’s Superbikes 1000cc, Supersports 600 and Supersports 300. Ana Carrasco won Supersports 300 this year, the first woman to, in a world motorcycle series, score pole position, win a race, lead a race from flag to flag, win the championship.


Ana, you are the Trans-Dementia Champion of 2018. Kay Petre, Camille du Gast, and many another woman who drove racing cars in the 20s and 30s, would be well proud of you.

Cheers Tipsters

P&C, A Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia Inc.
Brought to you with the assistance of Cheap Trick at Budokan.


More Earl can be found here (you won’t regret it)


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. Thanks Earl. My weekly highlight.
    Earl is like a box of chocolates. You never know which one you’re gonna get. The hard nuts. The soft centres. Or the weird flavour you can’t quite put a name to – but wish you had tried before.

  2. bravo, Earl.
    i’ll try that on local picket fences tonight.

  3. There’s a fellow on the Eagles’ rookie list by the wonderful name of Ajang Ajang, a ruckman,so I believe.
    I can’t wait for him to come up against the equally euphonious Aliir Aliir

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    ‘Angry granite grew a beard.’ Might just be my very favourite Almanac sentence of 2018.
    Closely followed by ‘Ratugolea. Beaut rhythm, sounds like a stick being dragged along a picket fence.’

    Thanks Earl.

    Sydney spring is struggling now! I have a hot water bottle on my toes as I type. Although no-one’s complaining ’bout rain.

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