What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie.  Little Gazza has come clean with his burning ambition – he just wants to toss the coin.  Now we just have to wait and see who’s going to give him the most coins to toss.

We’ve heard that the bitterness won’t last but the Jason Akermanis will.

All Australian Controversy.  (Isn’t it always? – Ed)  The Saints have taken it as an insult that Lenny Hayes was omitted- and rightly so.  But what about Matthew Pavlich at CHF instead of Buddy?  Or even put Hall out at CHF and drop Buddy?  Come on, let’s be honest, he didn’t really have that good a season.  And what about Deledio across halfback?  Anyone care to pick a team from The Rest to play the All Australians?  A first ruck of Jolly, Bolton & Hayes would be a good start, eh?  The spine of Scarlett, Fisher, Kirk, Pavlich & Podsiadly picks itself.  Nasty Milne is as good a goal sneak as you’ll see in a generation and Eddie Betts for sure.  You’d grab Dangerfield to keep Harry O honest and add a bit of spice to the attack.  And match him with Hawthorn’s Osborne on the opposite flank.  How about Brett Deledio and Josh Kennedy (SYD) across halfback.  Chris Neman in one back pocket and Nick Maxwell in the other.  Wings would be Daisy Thomas and Jimmy Bartell.  Spare big fella would be Shane Mumford and the rest of the interchange would be made up of Varcoe, Nick Del Santo & the work horse Jobe Watson.  Lets see how that lines up.

Official team in red.

Back Maxwell (COLL) Scarlett (GEE) Newman (RICH)
Hall (WB) Riewoldt (RICH) Le Cras (WCE)
H-Back Deledio (RICH) Fisher (STK) Kennedy (SYD)
Didak (COLL) Franklin (HAW) Chapman (GEE)
Centre Thomas (COLL) Kirk (SYD) (Captain) Bartell (GEE)
Montagna (STK) Hodge (HAW) Selwood (GEE)
H-Forward Osborne (HAW) Pavlich (FRE) Dangerfield (ADL)
Goddard (STK) Taylor (GEE) O’Brien (COLL)
Forward Milne (STK) Podsiadly (GEE) Betts (CARL)
Frawley (MELB) Lake (WB) Enright (GEE)
Followers Jolly (COLL) Bolton (SYD) Hayes (STK)
Sandilands (FRE) Swan (COLL) Ablett (GEE)
Interchange Mumford (SYD) Varcoe (GEE) Jobe Watson (ESS) Del Santo (STK)

Jamar (MLB) Johnson (GEE) Judd (CARL) Pendlebury (COLL)

The All Australian half back line appears to be their strength and you’d have to say they’d win, but they wouldn’t have it all their own way.

Under the Big Top out at John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve the 3-ring circus continues.  Fair dinkum, every day there’s a new act announced.  And I’ll tell you something else, if the Essendon Football Club was publically listed they’d be suspended.  You gotta be joking.  What are they up to out there at Whingy Hill?  With all sense of proprietary thrown out the door in the way they dealt with the undermining in the media of Coach Caretaker right up to the ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ coaching apparition of James Hird, they’re doing their very best to trash the brand.  One thing’s for sure, as far as high farce is concerned, the other teams, they don’t get near.  If they were a movie, National Lampoon would do the production and Chevy Chase would play the coach.  Whoever that happened to be at the time.

Continuing our end of season summary on how the dropouts have fared this season, let’s look at the latest two.

5th Sydney/SMFC.  The Swans went further than many, make that most, pundits predicted.  That they’ve done this over the last few years speaks volumes for the Administration, the Coaching Team and the Playing List.  They came home with a wet sail to finish just outside the Top Four, but only beat one team in that elite group – Footscray – which makes their 5th place an honest representation of where they’re at with their Football.  The Dynamic Duo of Captain Kirk and Coach Roos take its bows and passes the Bloods over to Generation Next, coached by long-term apprentice John Longmuir.  The list is youngish to middle range, with a disturbing number of their regular better players born in the early 1980s.  While this could be disconcerting in one sense, it assures the club of a strong leadership group during the transition from one coaching style to another.  Goodes, Bolton, McVeigh, Mattner, Kennelly, O’Keefe, Richards, Pyke, LRT & Shaw were all born in 1983 or before.  They make an imposing list of senior players; equally they’ll leave a huge hole at retirement.  The culture is good.  They’ve picked up a future 200 game player – if not future Club Captain – in Joshua P Kennedy (Better blood lines there than Makybe Diva  – Ed) and boast the 2010 Rising Star Daniel Hannebery.  Jetta & TDL will only mature & Mumford, while not quite replacing Darren Jolly yet, has been a more than handy pick-up.  Their consistency has meant they have been towards the end of the draft queue for a while, however, the club has a happy knack of developing players, and of keeping senior recruits from other clubs keen.  Look no further than Daniel Bradshaw for evidence of that.  This philosophy doesn’t collapse at the retirement of two people, albeit, two key people, however, SOTG & Punters alike will be paying close attention to the Tinseltowners next season for signs of where they’ll be heading in Season 2011.  Such is the standing of Roos & Kirk in the Football World.  As a spokesperson for his club and The Code, Coach Roos spoke with a calmness & wisdom beyond his years.  (Compared to say Rocket Eade, his last coach – Ed)  The year after next they share the Sin City turf with Sheedy’s West Sydney Inventions.  Such a forward thinking club as The Swans will have a contingency plan for that.  Their 2010 Report card reads another solid year as would be expected of a student of his capacity.

6th Fremantle.  The Purple Haze thinned noticeably  late in the season as they suffered cruelly from injury.  Losing hot Brownlow prospect Barlow from the midfield robbed them of crucial midfield drive.  The Born Again Tarrant’s injury unsettled the defence.  They have matured slowly under Coach Enigmatic .  With their list they were expected to feature in 2009.  The form of Rhyce Palmer has been disappointing and SOTG could be excused for suspecting nagging body weariness.  Taking nothing away from their 2010 season, they tired badly toward the end of the long year of travel.  They only won three of their last eight matches and five from 11 in the 2nd half of the season.  This after being touted for the Double Chance.  But it’s a two-way trip.  They were only beaten twice at home – by Collingwood & Sydney.  Looking ahead, Paul Haselby has hung up the boots, and Delicate Des Headland would have to be a candidate for retirement as well, but they don’t have a long list of Senior Players.  They’ve room to delist a few.    Likewise, Scott Thornton’s return to Trevor Barker Oval would not be an unexpected draft.  Pavlich has signed up for four years, ensuring he’ll finish his career as a Docker.  Big Aaron, Roger Hayden, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee & Antoni Grover are all approaching the veteran class, however the younger players have shown they’re ready to take on the responsibilities of representing South & East Fremantle at The Highest Level.   Pearce, Silvagni, Morabito, Mundy, Maine, Duffield, the future Superstar Stephen Hill & the Sublime Johnson make a formidable group of youngsters.  They played their GF a week early this year when they jumped The Wayward Hawks in the Elimination Final.  Will need to at least hold position or improve in 2011 for this season to be a pass.

Maggot Watch – This round of finals is the play off for a GF birth.   It’s been hard to separate these two teams all season.  Mick Vozzo, Stevie Mac & the No Nonsense Matt Stevic have the Saint Kilda v Footscray match and probably have the better chance to impress.  However, should it become one-sided, and Footscray dog it, the chance to impress is lost.  Maggot Central has put their ace team into the main match, which may provide a clue as to which way they are leaning for TLSIS.  For us here in the Wrapcave we’re going for Brett Rosebury, Razor Ray Chamberlain & Heathie Ryan to win through with inconsistency, controversial 50s and blatant frees in front of goal ignored in a fiery match.  Maybe even a name or three on the charge sheet just to show they maintained control throughout.  For the Match Review Panel to reject on Monday of course but only after a proclamation from the Oval Office.  And it’s Razor Ray for his 2nd Beitzel for us too.

But enough of my gabbin.  It’s the 3rd Weekend of September and we’ve got two matches to appraise.  Let’s see which two teams are most likely to have found their way through the maize.

Good Old Collingwood v The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires on The Paddock That Grew tonight.  Bomber Thompson, in his own laconic way, has been talking this one up as a grudge match.  Mick’s held his fire till the eve of battle and like Nelson before Trafalgar, kept it simple & to the point: Our best is enough.  And they have been the best team all year.  They may only boast four All Australian blazers against The Cats’ six, but there’s an old saying at Victoria Park that a Champion Team will Beat a Team of Champions every time.  And with Ward Rooney predicting Hewy will send down a shower or two, we’re going to declare our hand early: Carringbush.  No Cakewalk mind you, but they’ll win the hard ball and be able to close down the Geelong stars.  It’s all about pressure, and The Pies have been able to apply this in spades ever since Bucks became Mick’s apprentice.  The Maggie’s tall players will also contribute more.  Mick didn’t recall Presti and has given the task of checking The jPod to Nathan Brown.  Presti’s sure to have been going over the routines all week with him.  Reid will worry Moon Doggie off his game in the slippery conditions and Ottens & Tomahawk shouldn’t present more than nuisance value for Jolly & Leroy Brown.  Cloke will be too mobile and too strong for Long Tom Lonergan and Bomber may regret leaving Mackie out of the side.  Dawes will hold Scarlett back in the square leaving the forward line open for Diddums Didak, Sidebottom, Beams & Ball to weave their magic.  The Moggies’ forwards is no slouches either.  Bomber’s Go To Man Paul Chapman is an absolute whiz when it comes to team lifting goals but the Collingwood Captain will keep him honest.  Stokes, Byrnes, Varcoe & Stevie J are some of the best goal sneaks going around.  But the Collingwood pressure on the ball carrier is sure to cause turnovers, and who better to take advantage of them than Harry O, Heath Shaw, Maxwell & Tovey?  Both sides are superbly skilled with foot & hand and a lot will depend on first possession and who handles the conditions best.  Ablett can be covered and Scott Pendlebury’s just the boy to do it, while the Ronnie Wearmouth look-alike is an out and out Thoroughbred.  Across the centre it’s anybody’s game, but Swan can do more damage and can run longer and harder than Ling.  Really, it’s a line ball this one.  But by the end of the night we’re tipping that The Mighty Magpies, with their younger, hungrier side, will have given Bomber a deeper reason for his odium.

The Junction Oval Seagulls v The Sons of The West at The G on Saturday Night.  The Doggies got up last weekend in a thriller, however, they just may have played their Grand Final to get to the 3rd Weekend in September.  That having been said, The Saints are an unknown force.  Wasteful in front of goal and playing a style of keepings off, they rarely look as though they are going to take a match by the throat.  But looks can be deceptive.  Not unlike a balled up snake, they bide their time before striking.  Masters at dictating the pace of the match, they should be able to slow down the Bulldogs’ run and score through Riewoldt, Schneider & Milne.  Big Rooey will keep the All Australian fullback honest, and may even give him some aerobic exercise.  But it’s down back where they excel, from where they control the tempo of the match and quite frankly, apart from Bulldog Barry, the rest of the Footscray attack looked lack lustre last week.  You’d expect more from them after a week of Rocket flying up them, but it’s hard to shake off the feeling that The Kennel is more of a Doghouse.  And it’s more than just Akka.  Things just don’t seem to be exactly as they should be around at Whitten Oval.  Too many players have been in and out of form all season.  The return of Morris on Kossy will be welcome but everywhere else it’s St Kilda winners.  Goddard, Del Santo, Hayes, Gardiner & Montagna all look too strong for their direct opponents.  Murphy helped turned the game last weekend, but only after The Swans repeated their fade out that nearly cost them the match against The Miseries. To get that far in the first place.  The Icon Zac on BBBBarry should provide some entertainment and it will be a sad farewell for the Footscray Skipper and Games Record Holder, and although we accept that The Bulldogs will come out snarling alright, but no matter how much they bite and roar The Team of The Mighty West won’t be able to stop The Saints from marching in to their 2nd successive GF.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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.

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