The Pooncarie Letter: Mr Wrap Returns



When we came in this morning there was file of tanned roos skins and a Brockoff biscuit tin stuffed with pieces of butcher’s paper.  We sent the tanned skins off to St Mary’s House of Welcome in Brunswick Street for throw rugs but when we unravelled the butchers’ paper we found that the pieces carried what appeared to be random ravings, however, when coordinated they formed a written message.  In the interests of prosperity, we’ve relayed the message here in its entirety.  The original manuscript has been hermetically encased and may be viewed on Wednesday & Friday afternoon by appointment upstairs at the All Nations.  Just tell them at the bar you’d like to see the Pooncarie Letter.  For those who can’t make it there, the letter reads as follows


If you’re reading this missive it will mean that those heroes who stayed on as a rear-guard after last September’s bombing attempt on the Wrapcave have managed to salvage the code books and password to the Wraptransponder.  If OGG is to be saved, it is they who should be most remembered.


And yes, OGG is in danger.  Not because of congestion.  Not because it has become too violent for the Mothers of Melbourne.  Not because it has lost its appeal, or for that matter, public support.  It is in absolute peril because it has been captured by a gang of corporate and bureaucratic geniuses.  I ask you; where do they make these drips?  Surely no one is born this way, surely.  They wouldn’t have been moved up from kindergarten if they had.  But before we get onto that, let’s have some examples.


Now I see more footy than you’d expect.  I’m usually in at The Telegraph by five on the Friday with a load of goats & rabbits for the chiller and some yellowbelly & yabbies for the kitchen.   After a long bath and a chilled bottle of Coopers Best Extra I’m ready for a weekend of Foxtel and Dorrie’s casseroles.  Sure there’s been some dud matches.  But there’s always been some dud matches.   And sure, there are some clubs that are down in the dumps.  But there’s always some sides that are down in the dumps.  If Champion Data had been around in 1897 we’d have documentary evidence of it.  Which raises the question that I’m staggered no one’s thought to ask yet: Why change what’s bringing the Fans in through the turnstiles and gluing their eyeballs to the screens?  It still dominates the conversation around the coffeemate and the BBQ.  It still bridges class, culture & faith divides.  


One reason that pops up like a meerkat on meth is that Hologram Man’s surrounded himself with a Wall of Flogs at Jellymont House.  Now all they have to do is keep smiling and make sure no one breaks the operation rules – salary cap infringements and other breaches of governance, like approaching players/coaches still contracted to other clubs, that sort of stuff – and act promptly on discrimination and other social issues.  Do that efficiently, promptly and assertively and they could keep that gravy train of theirs going till the cows come home and no one would be any the wiser.  The turnstiles would keep clicking, the ratings would hold their broadcasting value and the fans would be happy alternating between bitching and bragging as they always have.


But oh no, not these ego-driven psychosuits.  Remember Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother?   Driven by a manic desire to change everything she saw: mice into coachmen, pumpkins into coaches, and coal shuttles into glass dancing pumps.   These “masters of everything they touch” around at Jellymont House must carry the same gene.  Embalmed in some divine right to reinvent The Game and oblivious to the disaster of their previous Looney Tunes adventures up on the Gold Coast and out in Western Sydney flood plain, they plunged into AFLX, which would have been better named AFLY.


Did these spuds honestly think they were going to globally market a board game version of Aussie Rules against The Beautiful Game?  There was talk of breaking into the China market.  Good grief.  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’ve been gazing up at the desert stars too long, but I would have thought getting a crowd of more than 15K to watch The Suns & The Giants would hold priority over getting 10K ex-pats and Chinese school kids to a match in Shanghai or Hong Kong.


Then after coating themselves in all the AFLW pretentiousness they could drum up from their media department they – when it suited them – dumped re-packaged the women’s comp at the whim of their broadcast partners without a blink of shame.  Or for that matter, a nod to the underpaid participants.  William Congreve wrote in The Mourning Bride: Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d / Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d.  Forewarned is forearmed Gillon et al.


Then there was the cry for more goals.  Heaven help us that they never raise their horizons above their AFL Global hallucination.  What if they ever escaped Docklands and made it to Canberra.  We’d all be in more shit than a Werribee duck.  But getting back to more goals.  If you want more goals, watch basketball.  And look around you.


Soccer has been packing them in around The Planet since 1863.  The very purpose of the round ball game is to protect your own goal.  Defence is part of Footy too, so if one team’s defence is better than their opponent’s attack, that’s half a win.  Think of the great defenders over the years: Danny with a Y Minogue, Jack Regan, Teddy “Stick it up ‘em” Whitten, SOS Silvagni, Alex Rance, Mopsy Fraser.  Where would The Game be without them.  No, defence is integral, and the current rules have the contest between defence and attack pretty well balanced.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


But if they want more goals, the solution’s simple.  Pass the message down to Maggot Central – pay more frees in front of goal.  And not just to Ben Brown.


So why do we need more goals?  For more ad breaks?  Who doesn’t tape the match and fast-forward the ad breaks?  And who’s to say The Competition’s going to become more even because of it?  For obviously it won’t.  The difference between a good team and a mediocre team will only become more magnified.  Blowouts more common.  Then we’ll have to devise another set of rules to close the gap.   It’s endless. 


Then there’s the congestion.  For crying out loud, isn’t getting the ball out of the congestion part of The Game?  The inside grunt?  The trench fighting?  The close up and personal?  It’s what we took to Gallipoli.  It’s what we took to Tobruk.  It’s what we took to Kokoda & Milne Bay.  It’s who we are.  Congestion.  God help us; who are these dismal rule-changers?  


I caught one of them – the Head of Football Operations – the other day hitching a ride down to Wentworth on the mail truck to get a new wishbone assembly for the Land Cruiser.  Talk about Captain Cliché.  And you’d reckon he’d swallowed a copy of Don Watson’s Weasel Words for good measure.  I mean really, where do people learn to speak like that?  I reckon if I’d heard one more moving forward, body of work or unpacking a whole host of things I would have dived into The Darling.


But when he said that crowding prevents stars like Daicos & Betts from bringing off those unbelievable, physics-deifying snaps on goal I started to wonder whether he’d really played The Game at all.  Stephen, it’s the crowding that makes those goals so memorable.  It’s because of the crowding that we admiringly recall the goals of The Macedonian Marvel & The Honourable Edward A. Betts.  


So we’re getting a whole suite of new rules come 2019.  Six six six.  What is this?  Netball?  And what difference will that make?  Just a lot more running.  If you want a better style of Footy, you keep your players fresh, right?  Not run them off their feet getting back to form a 6 x 6 x 6 format for a few seconds while the Pigskin is bounced, and then having to run back to reform the team structure.  All this is just going to slow the match down?  Even ten times more than the childish ruck nomination process they’ve got in place at the moment.


Then there’s the 18m goal rectangle.  Why not make it 18m goal square?  Now that would really give the kicker a range of options.  And it wouldn’t look so ridiculous.


Thank God they didn’t bring in the “last touched free kick” rule.  They have it in South A and from what I’m hearing from the City of Light it’s not gone down at all well with The Fans.  Let’s not become soccer.


Then there’s the thought to have four maggots controlling the match.  One reason was to prolong the working life of Razor Ray.  You shudder at the thought of it, don’t you Wrappers?


Is Our Great Game in Peril?  Absolutely, but not as much peril as Our Great Nation.  Sadly, once more it’s been demonstrated that Life Imitates Football.  As this communication goes to press, the Liberal Party is deciding who will lead the coalition government into oblivion.  Meanwhile at Jellymont House the psychosuits dream up more ways to wrest control of The People’s Game from the Eighteen Tribes.  


Believe it or Not


The AFL has changed the rules every year bar two in the past 22 seasons, 


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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.


  1. Geez Peter B, spot on, thanks! I feel like I went back in time and wrote that Pooncarie Letter given it reflects just about everything I feel about the AFL honchos and their meddling. Four maggots, four interpretations.

  2. PB (or is it The Wrap in a cloak?). I have a solution. Why don’t we just make the footy ground one, big, rectangular goal square with one bloke in it. Then we would have no congestion at all! Problem solved.

    After the next election, the greatest political assassin of them all, will replace the incompetent assassins of the coalition. Old mate Bill would be laughing all the way to the abattoir.

  3. The article is 100% the original thoughts and words of the Great Man himself Mr Wrap – the Sage of Pooncarie – the Moses who along with Coach Hardnose saved The Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful from the wilderness.
    Advancing senility meant that I failed to change the author box in editing his contribution and posting it to the Almanac site. Now rectified – my apologies.
    On other less important matters – the demise of the coach of the Canberra Raiders had me thinking of Norm Smith’s 1965 sacking when Melbourne were 8-4 after winning the 1964 flag and 6 of the previous 10 premierships. Mic Rees piece is worth reading for historical perspective – when the back room faceless men think they are bigger than the club or the game.“tony-charlton’s-football-show”-round-13-1965/
    53 years without winning the ultimate prize. Prescient?

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    What about the handing over of the Under 18s comp to Mr Pinchypinchy because some of the pimply kids from Echuca don’t always wear the correct polo shirt? Follow the money.

    (PB – were you thinking of Penrith?)

  5. Good call Swish. BTW, any truth in the rumour that the lemmings follow the money too?

    And thanks for the link to the Norm Smith story. Knowing ion, and in some cases, having been there at the time, adds even more value to one of The Game’s most prodigious awards. Dorrie sends her regards and said to tell you the little fellow’s quite grown up now and has moved to Sydney to join the mercantile marine.

    Don’t you worry about Our Little Mate Bill, Dips. All he has to do from here is to keep his nose clean and his trap shut and he’s over the line. It’s hard to believe those spuds in the coalition could be so blinded by self-interest to expose themselves to the degree in which they have.

    And BOD, what about those score reviews. For over 100 years we happily accepted the goal umpire’s call, now we’re monitoring the movement of arm-hairs to decide whether or not the Leather Air Conveyance was touched on its trajectory from the Puma to the goal line. Some of the reviews have been so glaringly unnecessary they should be embarrassing to those who call for them. But then again, if a .375 nitro express cartridge isn’t going to penetrate Rhino Ray’s hide, embarrassment’s not going to do it.

  6. Activity for its own sake is not progress, but the Appalling FL appears not to know this. Score reviews have caused the inevitable, as seen in cricket, umpires become too gun-shy to make decisions now. Not convinced that increasing maggot numbers from 1 to 2 to 3 has achieved much and take away the blasted micoriaphones.

  7. Wash your mouth out Bucko. Activity for its own sake sits at the very core of human existence. Why back in ancient times (Proverbs 16:27) we find that Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. (But don’r tell Fred Schepisi though; he thinks they’re the Devil’s Playground) Without activity for activity’s sake we’s be back in the Garden of Eden playing maggot-free Marngrook, going hunting & fishing whenever we liked and watching the seasons roll by. See what activity for its own sake has brought us?

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