The 2018 No Zones Cup – Round Twenty Three

Greetings Tipsters


I rarely get sick. While illness and disease ravage all around me, I stride on, beer in one hand, cig in t’other, several pounds of garlic coursing through my system. Until last week, dear reader, when the flu from hell swept through me, physically akin to coming off a motorcycle, everything ached, mentally not unlike the after effects of a brain injury, couldn’t sleep, think, read, could barely even daydream. That’s really saying something, I’m a World Championship Daydreamer.


Deep within the fevered delirium I had numerous insightful flashes that would have made for a doozy of a column, if I were capable of writing or remembering. So, while there’s much to make fun of – finals scheduling, Franklin as All-Australian captain – let’s start with the teams that have played their last game for 2018.


Carlton, 2 wins, 59.3%.
If nothing else, the Boy Coach has introduced a new phrase to the footballing lexicon, I’ve seen “green shoots” in a few pieces lately. He also said that free agents would be attracted to the club by its “vibe.” Suggesting that somewhere down at Princes Park there’s a place where Jimi and Brian and Janis are still alive, possibly “jamming.” This is a club that was done 7 goals to 1 in a last term by a team that had none on the bench and only 16 or 17 on the field.


Gold Coast, 4 wins, 59.9%.
What are the odds on Dew being the last coach this club will ever have? Sure, the Commonwealth Games (does anyone remember that?) didn’t help, neither does free agency. I was kinda heartened to hear that Tom was bagged by some of the players when he told them he was leaving. May and everyone else ought be told “commit or leave” cos if they don’t stand for something, anything, they’ll fold or merge. Still, a seventeen team comp means a bye every week, ridding us of that messy mid-season.


St Kilda, 4.5 wins, 75.6%
Supposed to threaten for a finals spot this year but settled for demonstrating just where they’re meant to be. Sure, the goalkicking could have been a lot better but it might only have disguised the true mediocrity of the list and the coach and the staff. Not a single player within cooee of AA selection. Saints are a club with a longterm and unhealthy love of and reliance upon supreme individuals. Gonna be a long time ‘til yr next Nick Riewoldt.


Brisbane, 5 wins, 89.1%
The Lions clawed back some this year. The Hawthorn influence has done ‘em good, they beat Hawks twice, lost several close games and “you just get a feeeling” that they’ll take another step forward next season. I hope so, the legacy of The Last Of The Classic Football Teams deserves it.


Fremantle, 8 wins, 76.2%
At least they scrapped out the last match, but conceded 23 goals straight the week before, how’s your vibe, Ross? The Purps share more than a coach w St Kilda, Pavlich was their Riewoldt, they lost a Grand Final, topped the ladder, fell to pieces. Replumbing, rewiring, shouldn’t we get a structural engineer in here to check the foundations?


Over the next few years, Brisbane and Carlton have a chance of being reasonably competitive, I can’t see the other three doing much. It’s a 1970s scenario, the smart and strong have established themselves. Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn figured it fifteen years ago, a bad year for them is missing the finals. Richmond took note, finally got it together. Collingwood, Melbourne, West Coast seem to be on the same track.


Free agency is great for those clubs. Can’t blame footballers for wanting to move to a better team. The Schoolies could easily become a destination team for blokes who aren’t good enough to crack the seniors elsewhere and they mightn’t be the only club to suffer such a fate.


Eighteen teams makes for a broad but shallow talent pool, you can see some gasping guppies flapping about. Encourage state league players, esp the mid 20s blokes who can protect the teenagers while they learn their craft. Get used to free agents almost always joining successful clubs, and the subsequent stratification. Consider the relative fortunes of the Schoolies and the Monaros.


Enforce all the equalisation rules available, but there just aint no accounting for human nature.


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. Love your line about needing to check the structural foundations at Fremantle. Ross is the General Sherman of the AFL – burn the corn and tear up the train tracks behind you.
    Lachie Neale is off to Brisbane, and Fyfe must be asking himself why he is wasting his career.
    Suns and Dockers Bi-Coastal merger? Purple Sunsets.

  2. Lucky your flu only lasted a week, Earl! Last time I had the wretched thing, was in hospital for 2 days and a total wreck for another 4 weeks! I’ll never every say “feeling fluey” again! No such thing. Give me a bad cold any day.

    Looking forward to Brisbane next year.

  3. george smith says

    Candidates to merge with Gold Coast

    Brisbane – happened before with the contentious Fitzroy – am I the only person in Australia who always hated them? Anyway, the thought of losing another grand final to yet another cashed up Lions side is more than I can bear – so it will probably happen.

    Carlton – the moneybags have tried to purchase North Melbourne, Fitzroy and South Melbourne, as well as buying most of their players and even their coaches. But I believe they will come good as soon as they figure out this new fangled draft thing, so no.

    GWS – needs members, so move the whole thing to Manuka oval, with 2 games a year at Homebush, Cairns, and Darwin, could work…

    North – tried to merge with Fitzroy before the Cardinals unleashed their Frankenstein of the north. Unlikely to leave Victoria, an already overcrowded market, so no.

    Tasmania – having failed to get Hawthorn or North to move south permanently, a good prospect. But going from the anti-Cheers, where nobody knows your name, to the place where everybody knows which one of your workmates slept with the bridesmaid at your parents’ wedding, does not do much for peace and privacy. Plus the infighting between North and South of the Island does not bode well for stability…

    Fremantle – their current woes will be overcome, it’s the circle of life, like Scar the lion. West Oz is cashed up enough to build a brand new stadium, so it needs content. They can afford to hang around the mean streets for a while, don’t need a bunch of blokes who can’t tell a Manna gum from a 28.

    Footscray – remembering 1989 – no, no a thousand times no!!!

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