The Post Wrap – Finals Week 1: The ‘Then There Were Six’ Round

THE WRAP – THE THEN THERE WERE SIX ROUND

Where life imitates Football

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  The Reigning Premiers took the first step on their way to Back-to-Back Pennants with a convincing Victory over their nemesis of recent times.  Even Doubting Thomas would have to admit The Kennett Curse was well and truly exorcised.

Saturday started off in The Rain Capital Of Australia and out to Lake Homebush we all waded to watch Rossy Lyon’s Dockers Play like Rossy Lyon’s Saints.  It didn’t work last time and it didn’t work this time, although it took a couple of Buddy Moments to turn The Purple Tide.  Then it was Saturday Night at The Home Of Football.  Those who The Gods create, the Gods destroy.

Come Sunday and Yellow & Black Caviar’s winning run came to heartbreaking end when the stewards had to put up the screen.  We’d like to pass on our sincerest condolences to friends and relatives of The 2014 Endangered Species.  We know they’ll gain strength from their grief, and we join The Footballing Nations of The Game That’s Played Around The World in wishing them all the very best for Next Season.  For we all know, don’t we Wrappers, that hope bleeds eternal and there’s always a Next Season.

The Beitzel Medallist could come from anywhere.  Friday night’s match was a ripper.  Razor Ray was the standout in a team that has just about booked itself for The Granny.  Not sure if the directive came from Maggot Central, but the Men in Fluoro Swallowed The Whistle.  (Should we be calling it Australian No Rules Wrap? – Ed)  Sure there were a few missed.  But it was even.  Hale got a soft mark, true, but that came two minutes after he was manhandled off the ball as he was favourably set to contest what would have been a sitter – thirty out, dead in front.  Even Mrs Wrap yelled, that man’s being held!

One thing though, when is Cambo going to get the lads to watch for those over overhead out-the-back disposals that look more like a rugby pass than anything you’d find in Bruce Andrews’ How to play Australian Rules Football? Saturday arvo’s team up on the Cow Paddock, were a bit hard to read, and far too pedantic; they umpired by the rules and not in the Spirit of The Game.

What’s Your Decision?  (And this has to be the daddy of them all)  It‘s Saturday night and the season of both clubs is in the balance,.  An Essendon player throws himself on the ball in front of Levi Greenwood, right at his feet.  We’re inside the North attacking fifty and The Shinboners are storming home.  Your decision?  Wrong – head high contact with the foot.  Like all those people who tried to bite Dipper on the elbow.

Over in The Portress it was a hard game to umpire, you couldn’t hear yourself think over a mob that had more venom than a fierce snake and didn’t stop booing from the moment The Tigers ran through the banner.  Honestly, we thought Tony & Joe must have been the invited guests of Christopher Pyne and were sitting amongst the Port Adelaide members.  But credit where credit’s due.  At one stage the frees were 12 to 3 in favour of The Visitors.

Come Back to Bite You on The Bum Department.  Free Agency.  What a time bomb that’s turning out to be.  Draftees are taken as 17 year of age.  The cream of the crop goes to the bottom sides.  Young kids are whisked away from their family & friends, sometimes to another state.  Sometimes they find they’ve got a bus ticket to a city they have to look up in an atlas.  Come eight years they’re 25.  If they turn out to be guns, they’re at their most productive, and they’re the ones those bottom sides will be hoping to build a team around.  However, under free agency, even restricted free agency, they can command a hefty contract at one of the better placed clubs, one that only needs to plug the odd hole to remain up there near the pointy end of The Competition.  An offer to move to a lifestyle zone, such as The World’s Most Liveable City, is an added incentive.  (Is that why St Seaford is so keen to become St Kilda again? – Ed)  Could be Oh Tirelessly Setter of Type.  How much more competitive would they be with Goddard & Dal Santo in their line-up?  How much leadership could those two provide?  And Melbourne – Tom Scully was no great loss – he was a poor choice in the first place – but to lose James Frawley is damaging to a club that has no idea of what it is or where it it’s going, let alone how to get there.  James is 25 and one the best key defenders going around.  Add to that the six years of concessions given to GWS & GCS from 2008 to 2013.  That’s left a huge imbalance in The Competition.  An imbalance that is not going to right itself readily under Free Agency.

Speaking of Toms, do we really need Thomas John Woodward belting his heart out to us about his tragic love affair with a biblical princess, or how he can turn the four grey walls that surround him into the green green grass of home?  Surely we’ve got enough world-class performers of our own who we can trot out on TLSIS.  And wasn’t Gillon of The Cuff & Collar Push going to listen to the people from now on?  Crikey, if that’s the case, he must be doing the rounds of the geriatric hostels dotted around Nerang.

The Bomber Scandal just won’t go away, will it?  But Bomber will.  Speaking on the Ryder Situation, he told reporters that whatever happens next year is Hirdy’s problem.  With ‘problems’ popping out of the woodwork like muppets, it could be that Our Hero is going to have a few with which to deal next year.  (maybe they need to hire a fireman to follow him around – Ed)

Anyone catch Robbo & Vossie interviewing Ratz on Saturday morning?   Make a lot of sense?  Impressed?  Yeah, us too.  And this is the bloke The Softcocks sacked to install Mickey the Maltster.

But enough of my yackin’.  Let’s see who’s going to be still seeking remember September Glory after Round II of The 2014 Toyota Premiership Year.

The Family Club v The Pivotonians.  It was again a Roughie snap that woke The Sleeping Hawks from their slumber. The Pussies were a couple of goals to the good and applying the pressure.  The Big Tomahawk had spilt a couple of sitters, but surely that couldn’t happen all night.  (It did – Ed)  Then, reminiscent of the great Geelong sides of the previous decade, The Mayblooms slammed on three majors.  It was at this point that astute SOTG could sense The Leafblowers had taken control of the contest.  The Catters fought back, as is their want, with a couple of red-time goals that sent Clarko into a fit up in the box.  All tied up at Half Time, it was anyone’s game.

But was it?  Tom Colossus was statuesque in every sense and the Hawthorn rebound and run was killing the Handbaggers.  They Stood Up And Fought With All Their Might, As Is Their Tradition, but the die was cast.  The hand to hand fighting was a take no prisoners, leave no wounded affair.  Stevie J was in the thick of it, so was Stevie M, but it took its toll.  They could only be in one place at a time, and Stevie J looked a bit season-weary by the end of it all.  Apart from the odd opportunity goal, The Pivotonians – superbly led by this year’s Brownlow Medallist – lacked a focal point in attack.  It was only a matter of time.  At the Lemnos Cordial Citrus Break The Hoopers needed three goals to head their opponents, they faced a daunting task.  They’d only kicked eight all night.

This match was played at a frenetic pace.  In the end it was Hawthorn’s press that created the turnovers.  Under pressure, the Geelong’s skill levels fell away.  Once the ball was free, it was The Hawk’s ball movement that carried all before them.  Talk about Loose Men Everywhere.  And that about sums it up.  The Hawks simply overran The Cats.  (You ready to say The Hawks have got the wood on The Cats yet Wrap? – Ed)

But we can’t let Bradley Hill’s game pass without mention.  Fair dinkum, sometimes he’d take on two opponents at a time.  This was a mouse playing with a cat(s).  Beautiful to watch.

The Mustard Pots get a week off.  The Moggies have to do it all again next week.  And to be perfectly honest, the feeling here in the Wrapcave is that they’re looking at a Straight Sets Exit from 2014.  They looked decidedly one-dimensional once Big Tommy got the sulks.  When Harry Taylor was moved into attack to help out he left a gaping hole in the defence.  Some SOTG are unkindly suggesting that Coach Christopher may be running out of chess pieces.  Even more worrying, their goals mostly looked like highlight tapes from a previous era.

As for The Mighty Fighting Hawks, their Bottom Six have taken that step up.  Spangher and Duryea didn’t do much, but they did it well, and most importantly, they were disciplined when the pressure built, and they stuck to the game plan.  A confidence-building win that has The Leafblowers waiting for either Port Adelaide or Port Fremantle in a fortnight.

The Bloods v The Barry Crockers.  The Conditions were ordinary.  The umpiring was ordinary.  The crowd was ordinary.  And the match was ordinary.  The Dockers were at their Dockerish best, and that about sums it up.  Sydney, as Sydney so often does, took the Preliminary Finals Berth on offer in a workman like display.  Buddy of course rose to the occasion, as he has so often in the past, with a couple of trademark goals just when The Mauve Miasma looked to be rising from Homebush Morass.

Rossy Lyon wasn’t too happy with events and didn’t take kindly to one of The Fremantle Faithful wearing one of those composite scarves that The Stevedores wore when they wavered between Flaky Freo and The Dangerous Dockers.  Rossy explained to the misguided supporter – who had been living in Steak & Kidney these last half dozen years – that the new colours were Indigo & White and the new image was The Purple Haze.

Not sure what the match tells us, other than the Bloods are seriously good, if not awesome.  And that The Barry Crockers are undermanned down back, which is not a good way to be when you’ve got to face the forward power and ball movement of a Resurgent Port Power, albeit at home, to play any further part in September.

The Shinboners v The Flying Syringes.  Held to two goals to half time, The Kangas appeared set to be culled from Season 2104.  The Peptides were coursing and The Bombers were flying high.  But Coach Bradley had an ace up his sleeve – Boomer Harvey had opened a vintage barrel of Shinboner Spirit at the Long Interval.  They bounced away with a 7-1 to 4-1 Championship Quarter and were within a couple of straight kicks at The Kia Ora Cordial Citrus break.  Boomer slipped some more of the Spiritual Elixir in the OJ and it was game on in the Deciding Stanza.  The result could have gone either way, but The Football Gods resolved that a result that was Good For Football would be a more beneficial result than one that was good for the EFC.

The match may have heralded a couple of future stars as well.  Joe Daniher showed he’s a chip off the old block, and Ben Brown answered that in spades.  A pair of beanpoles, they were exciting to watch.  Ben popped up out of nowhere in this fifth game and was instrumental in swinging the match in favour of The Roos.  They go on to take on The Cats, when we find out which twin has the Toni.

The Bombers splutter back to The Hangar for a complete refit.  New pilot, new navigator, new motor.  They’ve done a marvellous job keeping the old crate in the air this season.  Peppered with flack, attacked from all sides, faulty navigation system; it was a miracle Bomber was able to keep the old crate flying, never mind piloting it through to the target zone and dropping at least half a load on the North Melbourne Gasometer.  Well done chaps.  Top hole and all that stuff.  Hope that new chap is half as good, hmm, hmm?

And let’s not forget the crowd: 78,559.  That’s more than turned up to witness one of the Modern Era’s most engaging and tightly fought rivalries.  Geelong & Hawthorn only pulled 74,753 through the turnstiles.

The True Believers v Struggletown.  You could hear the booing from the Mt Barker Lookout.  The Portress is well named.  This was never going to be easy.     And it wasn’t.  At the First Change Port had kicked 8-1 to 1-1.  Okay, so Port were kicking with a gusting northerly, courtesy of the Richmond Captain deciding it would be better to come home with it when everyone was tired.  By the Long Break the score was 14-5 to 3-2.  There was no coming home from there.  It was the Tiges who were getting tired.  Tired of chasing jumpers.  Tired of turning the ball over.  Tired of trundling back to the centre for another re-start after yet another Port goal.  This wasn’t a repeat of last year when they had Carlton on the mat and let them up.  They were never in the contest after the first 9 minutes and 45 seconds.  That’s how long it took The Power to notch 4-1 and totally dismantle The Striped Marvels.  There was nowhere to hide.  They did shake their fist at The Tealers when they were coming home with the wind and everyone was tired.  But we were all tired by then.

Port re-pack their bags and head off across the Nullarbor for a re-match with Freo.  For The Endangered Species it’s the Long Dark Summer and a re-think about how they prepare for 2014.

And remember, if you read it in the Wrap, you’ll know it’s not crap.

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. You are remarkably calm about your Tigers, Mr Wrap. Are the sedatives working or did you see beyond the hype and expect it anyway.
    The thing that annoyed me about the umpiring in the 3 games I watched was the automatic “high tackle” when blokes clearly led with their head/ducked their head in order to draw a free when they were caught. It is a blight on the game, and will end up CAUSING the very injuries it was intended to stop.
    I have a strong suspicion that the Mauve Miasma and the Pivotonians are old; banged up; and their kids are not there yet. A fast track next weekend should get both Port and the Kangas up. Kangas would be mince meat for Sydney, but Hawks – Port on a warm Saturday arvo in a prelim could be the match of the finals.
    Port remind me of the classy autumn derby winning 3YO that strugglled on the muddy winter tracks, but class and speed comes to the fore on a firm Spring surface.

  2. Nice to see Nerang getting a mention. Up until now it had been nothing more than the turn-off to Carrara.

    Sorry about the Tiges.

  3. I’m leaning your way on next weekend Mr B, but I have to be careful what I say. There’s still a strong cabal of Sleepy Hollow Millionaire Faithful embedded in the Almanac editorial staff.

    God’s waiting room John; how could you leave it out?

    Thanks for your kind thoughts. I had a good laugh about The Striped Marvels this morning when I was writing the Wrap. So much so that Mrs Wrap wanted to know what I was on when I took her up her morning masala chai. And fielding the dozens of emails from well wishers ranging from the Downright Family, who were deeply concerned, to the Blues Brothers, who were highly jubilant helped ease the pain. But I did go to bed early last night.

    Like Arnie & Douglas, we’ll be back. Might even be good enough to meet your Moggies next September. Now wouldn’t that bring back some memories?

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    That was some blitzkrieg by Port Adelaide in the first term yesterday.

    You might say “It was only Richmond”, but I’m not buying it. It wouldn’t have mattered if that was Hawthorn, Sydney or the All-Australian team out there; they were going down.

  5. Agreed Skip. There’s something special about The Power From Port. The whole is far greater than the sum of the parts.

  6. I enjoyed seeing the prison bars in action on Sunday. As someone who has spent sixty years looking at the Collingwood Magpie jersey I don’t think that the Port Magpie jersey is much like ours at all. On the other hand it is an inspiring jersey and watching Hinkley’s boys in action had an echo of Fos Williams’ boys. While I will be barracking for the Power against the Dockers next weekend I won’t enjoy a teal victory as much as prison bar victory.

  7. Twenty-six SANFL Flags says it all Dave. Let me quote from the opening stanza of their Battle Hymn.
    “Power To Win”
    We’ve got the Power to win
    Power to rule
    Come on, Port Adelaide aggression
    We are the Power from Port
    It’s more than a sport
    It’s the true Port Adelaide tradition
    We’ll never stop, stop, stop
    Till we’re top, top, top
    There’s history here in the making
    We’ve got the Power to win
    We’ll never give in
    Till the flag is ours for the taking
    POWER!!!
    You watch, they’ll draw uncommitted Adelaide behind them now that they play on the Picturesque Adelaide Oval. Make that ecumenical, Victorian-hating Adelaide. Besides, everyone loves a winner. The Tealers will become The Power From Port all right. The booing was non-stop on Sunday. Never mind Crow Park, The Port – and The Portress – is with us.

  8. Only a fool would bet against a Hawks-Swans Grand Final which would be a 50/50. Likewise Freo and Geelong should be favourites this weekend. History tells us the Top 4 rarely go out in straight sets but hopefully this year can be different.

  9. Depends on what game North unpack. And how many soldiers Fremantle have left to step up to the firing line Dan. I’m going with the Kangas at this early stage. The Catters look a bit depleted. And also taking a punt that The Power are not just flat track bullies.

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