The Finals’ Wrap Report III: Then there were two

Let’s get some housekeeping out of the way first Wrappers.  The Cosh didn’t have a case to answer.  You can blow all you like about the legality of it, the inconsistency of it, and the hypocrisy of it.  It was never going to turn back the tide.  After the late Neville Crow was erroneously denied playing in another drought breaking Grand Final back in 1967 – when Big Nick staged for a free at a centre bounce after goading the Richmond Captain into a pantomime backhanded swipe – this current Richmond captain was assured of being cleared of any wrong doing.   And allowed to redress that gaffe.  The people of The City State are just going to have to suck it up.

 

The Brownlow.  A worthy winner and an excruciating night.  Firstly, Bruce, you’re not Norman Gunston.  Stop doing impersonations of him.  It’s excruciating.  Having players do the cameo presentations is like working with animals & children.  Burgerman’s good luck comment was well meaning, but it came out all wrong.  It was excruciating.  (C’mon Wrap; Daisy Pearce was a delight – Ed)  The red carpet (Be careful here Wrap, the wives & girlfriends put a lot of effort into this – Ed)  okay, let’s say it was not fashion on the field.  And what was Hologram Man’s fast forward reading of the votes about – until he came to Richmond – pause – D – pause – Martin about?  You were fooling no one HM.  It wasn’t quite excruciating, but it was painful.  And unless it was a satire of previous readings, silly.  It’s one tradition we can do without.  Everyone had a copy of the media summation of how the votes would go in front of them anyway.      Then there was Dustin’s interview by Bruce on the winners’ podium.  Supposedly those personal questions had to be raised, as part of the price to be paid for the honour.  Actually, as it turned out, Bruce handled them with all the aplomb of the professional that he has been over the decades.  And Dusty answered them exceptionally well, but as they came out, were you squirming as much as Mrs Wrap and The Wrap were?  The Vales were sad and flash backs a glimpse of haircuts and a wardrobe that made you wonder what we were smoking at the time.

 

Our highlight was Dusty’s little ghost-written speech.  Delivered with the sincerity of a young man who has found himself, and reached heights beyond his wildest dreams, it struck a chord in the Wrap loungeroom.  We’re guessing it won’t be the last time he makes a speech from that podium, but none will match the courage with which he made that one.  (It also surely begs the question, was he ever going to leave Punt Road? – Ed)

 

Oh, and for all those who have been saying the Franklin above the Murray move has been a failure – Buddy polled 22 votes for The Bloods, which would suggest he was instrumental in getting them into a couple of weeks of September Action after an injury riddled start to the season.  (And the statement Wrap: No Franklin; No Sydney – Ed)

 

Let’s not forget the mother competition here either – the VFL.  The Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful were all set to break their drought with a warm up win in The Magoos when Ben Lennon took a shot on goal after the siren from outside the paint, but with the full face of the sticks to shoot at.  His kick had the legs but drifted off line and the stand-alone Port Melbourne took the Minor Pennant.  An irony not lost on Tiger Fans would have been the role Robbie Nahas played in The Boroughs’ victory.

 

So the Little Master has read the riot act to the Suns: trade me to Geelong or I retire.  While it’s not for us mortals to judge the ethereal, or what they do down at Flat Town for that matter, we can only point to the sad end of other super stars when they played a season too far.  Stevie J’s despondent last game is fresh in the memory.  And the journey of another Dual Brownlow Medallist, who played in the Imperial RedBlack&White of St Kilda, who suffered a degree of ignominy in his final year.  Ce sera sera, but it would be a crying shame to see the SOG end his decorated playing career as a hack, squeezing the very last dollar he possibly can out of his aging body and trading on his illustrious family name & its position on the Sleepy Hollow Pantheon.

 

The allocation of Finals Tickets has become the equivalent of selling indulgences in Medieval Europe: true or false?  Never mind the suits.  When players earning – on average – $200-300K per – are allocated tix, which they promptly scalp for $2-3K, you have to answer in the affirmative.  This whole ticket allocation stinks.  Some Tiger Tragics have followed The Striped Marvels since before the pyramids were built, and as such receive the reverence due to elders, but they’re just a few of the seventy odd thousand card carrying members of The Tiger Army.  (It’s modern life Wrap, people don’t count.  You watch they’ll be allocating tickets to robots within a decade – Ed)

 

Thinking outside the box in 2017.  Hologram Man has his heart set on a night Grand Final.  Gone will be the late afternoon shadows falling across the oval signal that time, like the sands of the hourglass, is running out for one of the two combatants.  Gone, the after match in the golden light of a Spring Evening.

How’s this for a compromise?  It’s a long weekend already, right?  So, get Danny Boy to switch the public holiday from the Friday to the Monday, thus bringing the Victorian RDO in line with the Labour Day holiday celebrated in the other states.  Then move the match to the Last Sunday In September. That would give everyone from interstate time to get to Melbourne, spend their lolly and get home for work on the Tuesday.  Wait, there’s steak knives here for HM.  Have a late start, say 3,00, even 3.30 maybe.  That would give people time to have their BBQs at home and settle in for the match.  (And the people with tix to spend a bit more time at the All Nations over their lunch?  One thing you’re not Wrap is opaque – Ed)  I can name a few pubs within walking distance of the G that do a very good parma & a pot Oh Pedantic One.  (And you would have been thrown out of most of them – Ed)  Look, it may even be that the Granny is held on the Monday, but think about it.  (at least moving the RDO to the Monday makes sense – Ed)

 

Well here we are Wrappers, The Big One.  What it’s all about.  Bragging rights for 2017.  It’s a Tale of Two Towns.  Snowtown v Struggletown.  Just joking: The Pride of South Australia v The Striped Marvels.  And it’s a tough one to pick.  The Chardonnays have been playing Champagne Football all season and deserve their Minor Premiers citation.  The Hon. Edward A. Betts & Charlie Cameron flank Big Tex and make angel cake from the crumbs he creates.  Not that he incapable of baking some of his own creations.  This outstanding attack is fed by an outstanding midfield that can make you pay for the slightest hesitation.  And their Talia/Lever/Liard-led defence builds a wall across half back.

 

The midfields are even.  Very even.  And that’s what makes it such a hard one to call.  Judging by the season’s stats, The Crows would seem to have the edge in the rucking contests and contested ball, but September is another season.  And The Cosh and Dusty are firing together.  Dion Prestia & Josh Caddy have settled into the Tiger line-up like a hen on the nest.  Douglas, the Crouch Bros & Sloane will have to be able to hold their Home&Away from to hold them.

 

Both teams have built their game on Blitzkrieg.  Fast ball movement that has the crowd either roaring or gasping in despair, depending on the colour of the scarf.  Throughout the season, both teams have displayed a desperation for the pigskin that has them facing off on TLSIS.  And while both have dropped their guard at various times, they are both battle-hardened and ready for The Day of Judgement.  Ironically, it was against The Crows that Richmond suffered one of its two shellackings in getting to September.  That will surely be discounted as an aberration in both dressing rooms.

 

While the Adelaide attack can be regarded as the most potent going around, The Tigers boast the best defence in The Competition.  They can sling the ball back down the ground into the chaotic quagmire that is the Richmond scoring zone in the blink of an eye.  Which brings us to that Richmond scoring zone.

 

Here in the Wrapcave, it is believed that what happens in this quagmire that the decision will hinge.  Once the ball gets in there it can be swamped by the small Tiger forwards, and becomes difficult to extract.  Sometimes, as we saw last week – when Daniel Riolli roosted four sublime majors – this can be decisive.  Sometimes it can be a bowl of treacle that prevents any meaningful outcome beyond the opposition kick-in from a behind or a total miss.  Towards the end of the season however, The Tiges had demonstrated – via the Trusty Dusty Long Bomb – that they have the ability to score up around the ton and beyond.  If The Striped Marvels are allowed to move the ball into an open forward line, their lightning fast forwards – Butler, Castagna, Riolli – will create havoc.  Then there’s their low centre of gravity bulls – Broad, Caddy, Martin – that can cause some headaches of their own.  Let’s not forget The Jack Factor.  He’s been quiet through the series, and at the end of last week’s match it was hard to read his emotions.  Was he disappointed with himself, or just in a state of shock that The Tiges had made it through?  He had no reason to be disappointed.  He contested the packs, which, as the sole big forward, was his major responsibility, but we all know Jack thrives on limelight.  Should he get away from his usual two minders, it will not only ignite TLSPRF, it could help The Tiges get up.  As a matter of interest, his highlight reel shows he doesn’t mind playing in The Black Diagonal on a Canary Yellow Field.  If he clunks a few from those packs, it would a decisive difference.

 

Now there’s a chance there’ll be South Australians reading this, and they’ll rightly claim that the case is building for a Richmond victory.   And up to a point, that’s correct, but not for a moment has the power of The Mighty Adelaide Crows been discounted.  And here at the Wrap Centre we’re happy to concede favouritism to The Chardonnays.  And before you chip in with one of your sarcastic quips Ed, I’m not patronizing our Snowtown cousins in any way.  You may remember a week ago that I tipped them.  (So what’s happened in the last seven days Wrap? – Ed)  I’ll tell you what’s happened in the last seven days Oh Profligate Pundit  of Prose: Momentum.

 

The surge of The Tiger Army may have been spiked somewhat by the appalling football league’s – urged on by the Gnomes Deep In The Bowels of Jellymont House – gouging greed.  Hardly cash strapped, but always opportunistic, the ever awful administrative body has sold our souls to the corporate wannabes and their hangers-on.  But we’re saying Dusty’s Brownlow, The Cosh’s reprieve, and Daniel Riolli’s Goal & Coach Hardnose’s Yabby Jeans Coach of The Year awards will make up for it.  (I’m sure he’d swap it for a Jock McHale Medallion – Ed)  And despite some poor taste anti-Richmond sentiment surfacing from a few sore losers from bygone days, we’re tipping that the suits and twinsets will be on the romanticism of The Tiger Train.

 

Having said all that, it really comes down to one thing.  The style of play of the two teams, and what’s at the heart of it.  (That’s two things Wrap – Ed)  If you’ll let me finish Mr Text Tinkerer, you’ll see that they’re one and the same.  The Crows line up apart, mob fisted, ready for the fray, with the notion that the first team to break ranks, to go to the last warm-up, is at some sort of psychological disadvantage.  The Tiges link arms as a Band of Brothers.  Wouldn’t you love to see Rance and Jack, bookend the line-up and remaining in place, arms folded, while their Brothers at Arms slip off, for some goal kicking practice.  There’s 20 other players; if they slip off in fours – starting from the middle – at 10 second intervals, it would take less than a minute.  What do The Crows do then?  Holding that line – two against 22 – would surely stone The Crows and reverse the psychological advantage.  (Not to mention, making them look a bit schoolboyish – Ed)

 

On Hardnose’s citation as the Coach of 2017, he’s the first to admit that his charges coach themselves, and that is always a good sign.  (See Geelong 2011)  And while Don Pyke should have run a very close second in the voting, lifting The Striped Marvels from Cellar Dwellers to Contenders would have got him over the line.  But have you ever seen a happier coach?  He seems to know something we may not have fully grasped.  When he said we hadn’t seen the best of this Playing Group yet, he may not have been pumping up their tyres.  After St Kilda caught them napping his old Port Power Premiership Teammate, Kane Cornes, said he was getting a bit ahead of himself.  Dimma good naturedly thanked him for his advice and took aboard the wake-up call.  (The Happy Team Syndrome may be something he’s brought from his time under Clarko out at Waverly – Ed)  The point here is that there’s something happening at Tigerland that is both positive and unknown.

 

The Adelaide Camp delivers a more gridiron, set play style of play.  They have plenty of moves, and they all work.  This Croweater Outfit is a well drilled, extremely skilled, super fit and totally fearless.  They’re a compleat Footy side, and they don’t come along very often.  And when they do, they’re hard to beat.

 

Now, here in The World’s Most Liveable City, we’re not close-up and personal with the hubris The Pride of South Australia will be bringing with them, but you can bet your autographed 1997 & 1998 Premiership Posters that the Minor Premiers will be oozing Self Belief.  We haven’t yet seen the teams, but it’s going to be an intriguing Grand Finale to the 2017 Toyota Premiership Season.  It’s Structure v Chaos.  If we’re going early, it’s Struggletown to break a 37-year drought for us here in the Wrapcave.  We believe in The Momentum.

 

Another prediction we’re going early on that these two teams will establish a rivalry over the next decade that will equal that which exists between Hawthorn/North, Hawthorn/Geelong, West Coast/Sydney, Hawthorn/Sydney.

 

*Thanks for picking me up on the apostrophe misuse Stephen.  Like you & Sam The Subby, I’m big on apostrophes.  I was going to use the Flip Wilson cover of the Devil made me do it, but I’ve decided to go with the Malcolm Robert’s out you offered:  it’s not what I meant to do, it must have been a mistake.   

 

While we’re on One Nation – try this link – if you haven’t already.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/video/video-news/video-national-news/siblings-viral-pauline-hanson-parody-song-20170822-4xd7o.html

 

And I’m not going to Saudi Arabia.  Mrs Wrap has just told me they’re letting women drive there now.  Really, what is the world coming to?

 

 

About John Mosig

I'm an Aussie Rules tragic who can remember, as a four year old, shaking the hand of Captain Blood in the rooms just before he ran out onto the ground after half time, as my Old Man slipped him a packet of under-the-counter Craven A cork tipped. Now it's my turn to take my grandson Ben through the ritual of character building that is the journey through PUNT ROAD to the outside world.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    So much to like in this Sir Wrappington. And for the record, I’ve been to Snowtown, but I’ve never been to me.

  2. John Butler says:

    I drove through Snowtown also, Swish. Just to take a look.

    Have to say, on first impressions, that phrase “the banality of evil” was my overriding reaction.

    Wrap, I have been assured your observations have been offered with the strictest impartiality. (not by me -Ed). Enjoy the ride over the next couple of days.

  3. Glad to see you are back on the horse Mr Wrap. Impartiality and objectivity never became you.
    Darleen sends her regards. We’ll be sitting back on the Algarve on Saturday morning with the bottle of Pooncarie Premiership Port she purloined from the top shelf before doing a runner. Woofing it down. Regards. Mr B.

  4. Great link Mr B. I actually went to school with Rennie, and my daughter went to school with his son. And cop this; Mrs Wrap was also in one of his more flesher pix. All a long time ago. Small world, eh?

    Starting to get a bit toey. Whatever happens, this is going to be good for Football.

  5. Because Richmond are good for football. Axiomatic.

  6. Any chance of a link to the virginal Mrs Wrap pix? Darleen is starting to wear on me. (And vice versa – Ed)

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Super stuff Wrapster,
    Struggle Town ? No if you go by the price of real estate.
    Footy-wise, certainly. I hope your boys break that 37 year drought. Sick of remembering 1980 when I went to my first GF and ended up leaving late in the 3rd quarter, disgruntled and wishing I was a Tiger fan. Sliding doors.
    I hope young Daniel goes one better than his Great Uncle Maurice and gets a premiership medallion. Onya Wrap !!

  8. Unfortunately Phil, gentrification comes with a price tag. Only Premiership Pennants are priceless.

  9. No Shai Bolton or Sam Lloyd in the GF side? I’m expecting Castagna to cough up plenty more furballs on Saturday.

  10. Never break up a winning combination Mr B. Never break up a winning combination. Put him down to kick their first goal.

    Besides, Shai will get plenty of chances. With apologies to Redgum: He’s only 18.

  11. Enjoy the win Wrapster. A great day for the Tigers and an the faithful.
    Cheers
    TR

  12. What a win Wrap. Just back from the Swan Street free-for-all which shows no signs of abating.
    You’ve oozed positivity all year about the Tigers and didn’t they deliver in spades? I admit to struggling to have the same faith, but this finals campaign reeks of 1980 with its relentlessness. The challenge now is to do what we failed to do back then and string some years of success together.

    100,000 members next year – my prediction!

    Eat ’em alive!!

  13. Oh, what a feeling indeed Stainless. We avoided Swan Street. Had some kiddies with us. Apart from that, I don’t think I could have trusted myself. I was bad enough as it was. Besides, I had to go home to see if we won the replay. I wasn’t convinced until we’d won it twice.

    I’m with you on the 100K Tiger Faithful. We’ll at least pass The Mayblooms & Carringbush.

    On the other point – keeping it together – I reckon we’ve got the Administration and the Football Department to build our next Golden Era. That was The Mighty Adelaide Crows we demolished. The Super Force. The highest scoring team in the land. What did they kick? 8-12. You’re right though; it’s downright scary the way we won pulling away. Son-in-law Matt had flown in that morning from Singapore. We looked at each other at some point into the 2nd Quarter when Adelaide had taken five chip kicks to clear their defensive fifty and cautiously called it, It was before we put that 2-goal break on them. The Crows just weren’t prepared to take the game on. Once those Hardwick Tigers sensed they had their measure, it was good night nurse for The Pride of South Australia.

    I’m off to watch the replay again; I’m still not convinced.

    Eat ’em alive Tigers And spit out the bones..

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