The 2020 Mark Twain Cup – Round 3


Greetings Tipsters


Ol’ Squire MacLachlan, he always know the right things to say. Case in point, on telly Wednesday night, oh, the aplomb! Up against the combined intellectual power of retired full-forwards and ruckmen, grilling him about competition expansion, he hedged, he ducked, he weaved like Cassius Clay. I almost expected some rhyming braggadocio.


Of course, he didn’t actually say anything of import, but he said it well. I only wish he would ditch the suit sans tie look. Make a decision, sunshine! Either wear a suit with a tie or take a fashion tip from Rohan Connolly and wear an old Husker Du t-shirt. Or from me, and wear a garish Hawaiian shirt.


Thurseve and a clash of old enemies, The Sixteen Flags Cup. Remarkably, 72,000 people showed up. Even more remarkable, it was actually a good match. The tide swung one way, then the other, it was hard and tough and fast and open, moments of brilliance, like Hurley’s mark in the second and Eddie’s twist, baulk, kick that sealed the result late in the fourth when the Bombers were ‘surging’ (it’s in the official ‘AFL’ guide to match report terminology, beneath ‘silky-skilled left footer.’) Is Joe Daniher back from Ireland, or has he been seduced by Guinness and swarms of sparkling-eyed colleens? They sure need him. Carlton 14.11.95, Essendon 11.16.82


On to a chilly Frieve in the nation’s capital, where Footscray sought to exorcise September demons. And didn’t. They came out full of huff’n’puff – some reckon Dunkley should’ve been reported, this correspondent doesn’t agree, it was good to see him flying the flag – but de Boer wore Bont like a comfy old shoe and one must wonder why, with all the ruckmen floating around in the trade period, the Dogs didn’t snag a big bloke. Mumford strolled around like your war vet grandad, being cranky and tripping over, but always cushioning his fall w. a young Bulldog. GWS 14.14.98, Footscray 8.12.60


Classic football time, Satarvo at the MCG, we weren’t disappointed. A 78,000-strong crowd were treated to a wonderful exhibition of modern football. Carringbush leapt off the blocks early, with four goals in 15 minutes. At times, it threatened to become a war of attrition but then one of the old stagers would cut a move and open up the game and the young ‘uns would feast upon their experience. Burgoyne has lost pace but reads the game two kicks ahead, he could stop for a can of Fanta and still be in position to receive the ball and pinpoint a kick, whether 20 yards or 50, that would shift the game off its axis. Pendlebury played a work of art but Shaun was the difference. Hawthorn 16.15.111, Collingwood 15.17.107


Over to the city of churches and weird noisy bands – let us take a moment to remember Charlie Tolnay, of Grong Grong and King Snake Roost, a unique stylist who never hit a chord in his life but played so many scrambling notes that he didn’t need to – for Lions at Crows, as our American cousins would say. And, geez, bloody hell, crikey, the Liquorice Strips ain’t anything you’d write a postcard home about. Brisbane barely got past second gear but Adelaide was stuck in neutral. Easy to talk about the ’17 GF and the infamous camp, but players like Tippett and Davis were fleeing the AFC years earlier. One does have to wonder… Brisbane 13.15.93, Adelaide 9.7.61


Neighbours become good friends, so the song goes. Port visited the marvellously named Marvel Stadium to meet North and got, as the guidelines might say ‘A Power Shock.’ Doubtless, the phone lines at 5AA will be running hot this week, with folks calling for Ken’s sacking, beheading, quartering, etc. Fact is, North dug deep into that Shinboner spirit. Grandad was a North fan, I’ve long had a place in my heart for the club. Shaw must have had the team studying film, all those bloke that ran riot last week were harassed, bumped, tackled and shaken away from their game. Brown kicked six, three in the last term when it started to look like a training session. North Melbourne 14.12.96, Port Adelaide 10.14.74


Now we flick across the continent to Perth, the most remote city in the world, where the Eagles hosted the Cats at Perth Stadium. I like the architecture, it’s a perfect build. Seats all round, plenty of zip, zang, zowie, w. all those LCD screens, tho I reckon they could really use some laser light shows. Cf, the championship match in ‘Kingpin’, ’96. Anyway, question being, are Cats good enough? Not that good. Sellletfield can’t carry the team anymore. McGovern threw a blanket that Tomahawk couldn’t cut through. Tim Kelly stuck it up them. West Coast 17.15.117, Geelong 11.14.80


And so the sun shines bright on new day. Depending on where you are. Squire must have been a bit shirty, showing up at the MCG on Sunday to see 14000 scattered around the grand arena. Not unexpected, when Melbourne host Fremantle. Fyfe dragged the Wharfies over the line and let us speak no more of this alleged ‘contest.’ Fremantle 9.14.68, Melbourne 6.13.49


Ever noticed sometimes a team will play down to the level of its opposition? And sometimes up to that level? Both happened when St Kilda hosted Richmond and it was almost a marvel. Lynch and Riewoldt kicked seven between them, and that was the difference as every Saint queued up for a miss. Even the runner may have had a dip. Tigers are a bit slow off the mark, but so it was last year. Richmond 12.14.86, St Kilda 11.18.84


Will Gold Coast surprise someone or fall in a heap? We all wondered, they did it Suneve, a bunch of kids let off the leash ran wild. A couple of the ol’ time-on slack-offs and running outta puff in the fourth, they still almost had this Swans held on in a surpisingly tense match Stewie said “We’ll learn from this”; John said much the same. Sydney 13.14.87, Gold Coast 12.13.80.


It’s only three rounds in, not much to be drawn from form thus far. The better teams are better, as would be expected.


Cheers Tipsters


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Brought to you with the assistance of Fountains Of Wayne’ ‘Welcome Interstate Managers.’




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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. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Where’s the ladder?

  2. george smith says

    You really have it in for Collingwood don’t you. Thank the Lord that the gamers have an alternative view of the future, with victories to the Pies over both Richmond and Hawthorn in AFL Evolution 2. go see it on YouTube, it will be good for your soul…

  3. Jeez I know I said last week that we needed some upsets – but the Bluebaggers and the Mayblooms? The satchel swingers would have been praying for the Feeling Faints and the Schoolies. Not to be but Yoshi and Yvette have something to hope for at least.
    Hope Fountains of Wayne release a new album soon. You only mention them because the singer is Chris Collingwood. How many bands/singers with AFL name connections?

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