The 2019 Brett Deledio Cup.

Greetings Tipsters


Will the Monaros be battle weary or battle hardened? A few weeks ago I was wondering about Leon’s coaching career. Since then the team has played the most exemplary three matches of their short history.


Frinte, Richmond accounted for Geelong. Not much I can say about that cos we went to the cinema to see ‘Descent Into The Maelstrom’, the doco about Radio Birdman. Great flick, highly recommended for music fans and students of group psychology. Brilliant visuals and pacing, great music, accompanied by the only showing of ‘Let The Kids Dance’, a short assembled from interviews and footage that didn’t make the movie, about the effect Radio Birdman had on the scene and on people who went on to do great things.


Some of the folks featured in the movie were there, including one best described as the villain of the piece. The others are friends and we discussed the movie and the band and various details. The fifty or so in attendance was entirely in keeping with a band who played most of their shows to the same few dozen people and the aura of secrecy that still surrounds them.


We grabbed a taxi on Broadway and I checked the score. Holy flip! Geelong are three goals up at halftime! The cabbie had the Rugby League on the radio and scores from the MCG filtered through, it was clearly the Tigers’ game by the time we got home.


Satarvo, I was reasonably confident. Magpies looked more assured for the first ten minutes before the Monaros took control but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. Aagh! 2.6 and one OOF. Then Zac grabbed the ball in the middle and sparked a run of six goals, JC picked up his game – and wasn’t it great to see him and Darcy Moore going at it? If not quite Carey v Jakovich, it was a real one on one battle that we see too little of these days.


Moore, Howe and Grundy kept their team together. When Cameron made it 8.8 instead of 9.7, there was a chance and Collingwood took it. A few quick goals and Leon told ‘em to flood the backline. So that any time they did clear a kick, there was no one there to take it. I reckon he was negating the Magpies fresh legs. The Monaros couldn’t afford to get caught in an open field and get run down like the Cats.


I was on my feet for the last five minutes, pacing back and forth in the loungeroom. Gruelling, intense, pocket football, Shane Mumford’s moment. He threw himself at the ball, at anyone who might keep him from working the clock, precious seconds ticked away with every block and scramble.




The famous Monaro resplendent in orange [Image from wikicommons].

Yell the song for the cameras, quick shower, on the bus to the airport. No messing about.


Greater Western Sydney had never won a prelim, never won a final at the MCG, never won a match without Greene or Whitfield in the team. A stat flashed on the screen just before the match, Leon was 0-5 in prelims as player and coach. No one had gone 0-6. I felt a bit more confident then.


Greene and Whitfield will be back next week, fresh and primed. Toby was born to play a Grand Final . Question is, have the Monaros already played their Grand Final? We’ve seen it before, but these blokes don’t have decades of hope weighing their shoulders. They were straight back home to hunker down in the Olympic Park bunker, away from prying eyes. The core of this team has been together since the beginning. It’s a unique focus.


The obvious tactical issue is that they haven’t played a team with one forward of the calibre of Lynch or Riewoldt. One on one, they can cover them (yes, of course Davis will play, the man is a warrior) but it will change the balance. Rioli on Shaw? Martin tagged out of the game by de Boer?


Matt’s a great story. A fringe player at Fremantle, he got more game time in Sydney and this season, when Leon decided to revive the role of the tagger, Matt got the job and has been wildly successful. No coincidence that the mid/late season slump coincided with him being out injured.


Battle weary or battle hardened? The latter was the difference between Monaros and Magpies. Another match away from home? Yeah, like that’ll trouble them, Monaros only play nine games a year in Sydney and one’s at the SCG.


Doubtless, these, and many more details, will be picked over like vultures on a buffalo this week. For now, reflect and give thanks that one of the two best team songs in the league will be rattling around the MCG Satarvo.


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.




  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Surely that wasn’t the first time you’d seen the Birdman doco Earl? I saw it a couple of years ago, as did Gideon Haigh, who sat a few rows below me. Denis Tek was just behind us in the line on the way in. Shorter than I’d expected him to be.

    I’m not exactly warming to the Giants, but I’m starting to have some grudging respect for them, especially after seeing them on Saturday, when ponchos were the winner.

  3. Lots of pundits pantsed this finals series. Dogs v Giants, Cats v Eagles and now Giants v Pies. But for Tom Hawkins careless Will Schofild bound arm who knows what might have been Friday night.

    Makes one wonder what the fate of the latest and penultimate GF virgin will be. Will the Giants rise to the occasion like the Lions in 2001, Port in 2004, or will they be like deer in the headlights like the Dockers in 2013.

    i rather think they need a decade or two of might-have-beens before they can become a real football club.Too much success too soon for my taste. And Greene does not deserve to play next week. He still looks and acts like a pampered sulky boy who cannot understand that it is his behaviour which needs to change.

  4. Here’s a tip for the tipsters – don’t bet on football, fools and their money are easily parted. With footy – you just never know. Anyway, if Richmond doesn’t win, GWS will, provided it isn’t a draw then extra time will be played.

  5. Earl-I’m sure that you’ll enjoy the week. It’s great to immerse yourself in. My standard reply and I’m not wishing this upon you is when people ask me of this Crows disappointing 2017 grand final I reply that this is true, but gee, the month beforehand was tremendous fun. Good luck!

  6. Earl O'Neill says

    Mickey, thanks. Closest comparo is Swans ’96 but they topped the ladder.
    Swish, Deniz is too intense to be anything other than a little bloke. Concentrated ambition. Ron and Warwick are the stars of that movie. Oh, the stories I have heard… but I am bound by the code of secrecy.
    Ken, Melbourne in 2000 was the ultimate ‘deer in the headlights’ of recent times. Monaros fly under the radar, and good on ’em. The club does a lot of community work, has a DAFL team, netball team. Yes, the ‘AFL’ handed them the ball. They took it and ran. Unlike the Schoolies, who dropped it. Then stood on it and punctured the bladder.
    A wooden spoon and a potential Premier. Mixed results; Caddy, Lynch, Prestia were all GC players once.

  7. Ah yes Earl, the Gold Coast. Graveyard of sporting franchises. Is it something is the water?
    If your team does get to a GF there is no point in worrying that they might lose. There are 16 other tribes who’d swap for your place in an instant. So indeed, enjoy the rid., Repeat seasons are not guaranteed. I expect the Frankenteam to figure prominently in the next few years though. They have no shortage of ability, and as you note have made use of the advantages given them.

  8. Earl, I’ll be barracking for your mob. Although I’m a Victorian (and now back in Melbourne), I’ve lived in Brissie and Sydney for 43 years. I’ve certainly developed that “anti Victorian” attitude over time when it comes to footy – especially given Victorians’ dislike of the Swans – hence I support interstate teams in finals. And when it comes to the big power clubs like Collingwood and Richmond, I will always want the opposition to win.
    I could ramble on about how good it is for AFL in Sydney – and it is – but I stupidly still carry that “they gave us nothing back in 1981 when we were dumped in Sydney” attitude when it comes to the Giants and their AFL-backed instant success. Maybe it’s time to let go! Go Bloods!

  9. Great piece Earl. On Friday night I was watching Leo Rondeau, a Tennessee via Texas from North Dakota country singer at the Spotted Mallard on Sydney Rd. On Saturday evening I was driving down Punt Rd as hundreds of Pies supporters, streamed outa the G, their disgust and fury tattooed into the fibres of their being, minutes before their team woke up and nearly stole the Prelim.

    I hope it is a battle hardened Giants that take on the Tiges, and I’ll be barracking for them.


  10. Thinking about it, I don’t really care who wins, as long as it’s not Richmond. Then again, I could change my mind by Saturday – we’ll see.

  11. Onya Earl. Should be Swan Districts Cup. Little club with a proud history from Struggle Street in NE Perth. Home of the Avenging Eagle. Naitanui; Chris Yarran and Michael Walters together in same street growing up and same Colts flag. Seeing Lewis Jetta as a kid up from Bunbury streaming off half back is a great memory. Broad and Rance for the Tigers; Coniglio and Slammin’ Sammy Taylor for your Monaros. Saw Sam promoted from Colts into the League side for finals in 2017. Skinny but never outmatched. Marking over blokes bigger and stronger. Go Monaros (mum had a Torana; I had a V6 Cortina – does that qualify?)

  12. Good luck to your Giants, Earl. Kick a Vic and all that. As for the “too soon” argument, the Giants are in their 8th season by my count – the Eagles won a flag in their 6th season (and 8th), the Crows in their 7th (and 8th), and the Power their 8th. GWS are right in the sweet spot (foregoing a couple of other teams). If the Vic league wants the interstate money they have to occasionally hand over the silverware.

  13. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    How the worm has turned PB. A strange fantastic dream.

  14. Incredible. Murtceps. (Monaros Unbelievably Radical Toby Crazy Earl Premiership Season?) Or Spectrum backwards.

  15. Earl O'Neill says

    Some Possibility Earl Can Trumpet victory Satarvo.
    Cortinas never had a V6. Should have, the Falcon six weighed down the front suspension.

  16. Shows how little I know about cars Earl. I do remember TC 250 cubic inches of chronic understeer and the 4 turns lock to lock. Only drove when pissed. No RBT’s in 70’s. My survival is convincing proof of a Higher Power.

  17. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Sorry to hijack your thread Earl, but well done PB for selecting a clip from Channel Nine Adelaide’s “Move”, which was more than a touch grittier than Happening 70 etc. Lots of monochrome Oz gold from that era, hosted by Vince Lovegrove.

  18. Earl O'Neill says

    It aint hijacking, Swish, just a wander in a new direction. Vince managed Divinyls, the drummer drinks at my local.
    Peter, I had an HJ panno, understeer king. Only way to get it around a corner was to wrench the wheel and floor it at the precise moment, which would scare the hell outa the drunk/stoned/etc folks in the back.

    Dave, Jan, Rick, everyone who has chosen to cheer the Monaros on Saturday, my heartfelt “Onyas!”

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