The Pre Wrap – The Finals Week I

 

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

Ciad Mile Failte. What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie. The Bottom 10 have ridden off to the Draft Table and The Eight Contenders for September Glory line up. There’s talk around that this year The Premiers could come from anywhere, and this weekend we’ll find out who two of them aren’t – going to be Premiers.

Yer Could Er Knocked Me Down Wiv Arf A Brick Department. (Or is it They Really Did Say It Department Wrap? – Ed) Yes Coach Bradley, it’s you we’re all looking at. We’re prepared to apologize to the players on behalf of anyone who said they weren’t trying to win last Friday Night as long as you’re prepared to apologize to the Football Public on behalf of your club not trying to pick a team that would have a fighting chance of winning that match. Unless of course you jolly up and ask why we can’t all take a joke. If you think the booing was bad when Richmond ran out against Port Adelaide this time last year, you wait until your Arden Street Squibs run out onto The Big Stage on Sunday.

And as for Drew Petrie whinging about being tunnelled, that didn’t go down too well at Punt Road either. We don’t catch much of The Dermster in the Wrapcave, and that’s by choice. His laconic font-of-all-knowledge accent tends to grate as much as some of the thoughts it expresses. But this interview was replayed across the airwaves on several locations, so it was unavoidable. Backmen have been working forwards under the ball with body contact since Jack Regan’s day. In fact it happens all over the ground. It’s called outmuscling. Bad call Dermie. A forwards’ whinge call.

What it is with Gillon of the Cuff & Collar Push? Are his ears painted on? Or is he really just a hologram projected at us by the Appalling Football League? Every year since the practice started under the Ayatollah, the fans have groaned at the choice of overseas’ artists on Grand Final Day, and the fact that they’re from overseas. I mean really? The Meatloaf was off. Tom Jones was from a previous century. We have a vibrant music industry of our own, one of international standing, so why can’t we celebrate the Indigenous Game with our own artists? Hologram Man says he’s one of the people, at one with the people, a man for all fans. I know it sounds like we’ve got a set against the current administration, but if you say one thing and do another you’re going to attract criticism Gillon.

It was sad news from Moore Park that Buddy was having some problems with his life. He’s an Ornament to The Game and a Sydney Bloods’ Icon. We’ll all miss him. Get well soon Lance.

It’s probably not the time to bring it up now, but at some stage Sydney are going to have to revalue their balance sheet, and it’s unlikely they’re going to be able to amortize their long term investment in their marquee player. Naturally there are some unkind fans who have written in with mention of the karma bus, but we’ve stopped opening any mail with a Leafy East postmark, so the flow has stopped.

Jake Carlisle wants out from the Club That Dare Not Speak Its Name. The Rumour Mill has it that he may not be the only one. Adam Treloar looks to be off to The Little Club Along Swan Street. And The Kreuzer is definitely leaving Optus Oval. (On a walking frame maybe? – Ed) He was the Number One draft pick the year was Number two Ed. Who would have thought, eh? But the one we’re watching is Jack Who. He wasn’t selected for The Redlegs last match and is out of contract. Maybe a bargain there for someone. Then maybe he’s headed for the Ammos. Old BGS could do with a big lead-up forward down there at Elsternwick Park. But if The Kreuzer is worth a Number 2 Draft Pick, what’s Jack worth in terms of draft picks? Check out the table below. It compares the average of the two.

                                 Jack Watts     Matthew Kreuzer
Matches          16.3              14.83
Kicks               8.73              5.98
Marks              5.15              2.92
Handballs        7.15             6.05
Disposals        15.8             12.03
Goals               0.72              0.55
Behinds          0.38              0.55
U Poss           10.45              5.99
Cont Marks    0.71              0.92
Bounces          0.17              0.07
1%ers               1.92              3.48
Cont Poss        5.5               6.11
Clearances     0.66             2.00
Tackles           1.92              3.48
Hitouts           0.54             17.91
Clangers         1.94              1.63

 

Stats don’t lie? Jack’s a better shot on goal. True. He has, on average, 3.5 more disposals a game. True. Everything else is pretty even. It’s not till you get down to the clearances, the 1%ers and the tackles do you see a difference. (And that’s the difference Wrap. Both have ruckmen’s figures, except one’s a key forward – Ed) And the same one gets in amongst it more*.
Jesse Hogan has unsurprisingly won the Rising Star Award with 49 votes. Patrick Cripps came second with 47. Dom Sheed came in second with 27 votes and Isaac Heeney scored 12. All the rest were in single figures. A bit of a ho hum Commentators award, but the Mums love it, and when you look at the previous winners you can wear the medal with some pride.
We notice The Matildas are getting a bit Bolshie. And can you blame them after the money the FFA have blown over the last few years? They’re being paid a miserly $20.5K per. Wayne Gallop has tried to fob them off with $23K. Like how many are in the squad? The Gels wanted $40K. It’s a bit more than the stipend they’d pull from Centrelink, but hey, they put back in National Prestige a lot more than they take out of the pool they’ve got around Oxford Street. Watching the announcement by the football association’s CEO had us groping in the bucket of polystyrene house bricks our therapist has suggested we keep beside the Wrap Recliner. Fair dinkum, if he’s not on something north of half a mill we’ll go he for tiggy. (Try something north of seven figures Wrap. Maintenance on those steely locks doesn’t come cheap – Ed) What is it with hair & sporting CEOs Ed? So where’s that Sista who ran Westpac for a decade and stacked up enough of the folding to underwrite a moon launch. Couldn’t she dob in half a mill to cover the Gels baby sitting and housekeeping while they’re at training and carrying the National Banner at home and across the seas? And there must be some other Sistas out there. Surely Jeanne could sling a bit their way from the Pratt Foundation. And can’t some of the bros pitch in? Tony can whimsically offer $100m to build a museum in rural France for young men who didn’t come home from the War to End All Wars. Surely he can stump up a few bob for some more contemporary Aussie Flag Bearers? The way we treat our “non-professional” sports people is shameful enough. The way we treat our female sports people – unless they’re Kathy or Jana – is a disgrace. (Or Svetlana Wrap; you were a bit keen there at one stage I seem to remember – Ed)

But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s going to be going to be beating the drum after Round I of The Finals.

West Coast Eagles v The Mayblooms over in Perth on Friday night. This is the Big One. Whoever gets the Home Preliminary Final here will be in the box seat for The 2015 Premiership Pennant. The Leafblowers have won over there this season and feel they have the firepower to go with The Weagles. That’s without the Nic Nat Nui Factor. You see, The Panther wasn’t playing in that match Round XIX match. The Hawks have been messing around with their tap ruckmen all year. We’re not sure they’ve got it sorted yet. The mobility of Ceglar would be our choice but the brains trust at Hawthorn has been drawn to Hale & McEvoy. One thing that equals out the clearance battles is the loss of Chris Masten to The Weagles midfield.
Nevertheless, The West Coast midfield cannot be overestimated. They’re elite and create multiple chances for Darling & Kennedy, who in turn either mark or crash the packs for Le Cras & Co to pounce on the loose ball. At the other end The Coasters have to cover the Mercurial Riolli and the Systemic Hawthorn Attack. Both these sides can kick cricket scores if the ball comes in quickly. We’re backing The Weagles’ to take the honours in the clearances and create more turnovers. Port & Richmond have shown how a carefully balanced construction of slowing the game down pressures The Mayblooms off their game. And how closing it down prevents them from getting up off the deck.
Just to throw everyone’s theories out of whack, Ward Rooney is telling us that it’s going to be another wild & wet night over amongst the hummocks. It could be back to Country Football conditions, which is a last man standing affair. In which case you’d have to lean towards The Visitors. In fact the Wrap Loungeroom will be decked out in the Golden Brown of The Leafy East, and with The Weagles bringing in Wellingham, McGinnity and the ex-Hawk Ellis, we have a feeling their starting to run out of soldiers over there.

The Mauve Miasma v The Bloods on Saturday arvo over in Perth again. Sydney have been tremendously weakened in the midfield with the loss of Parker and Jack. And Buddy’s absence leaves a huge hole in the forward line. Then there’s Backman Smith out. Who’s going to dampen the small forward, whether it’s Ballantyne or Walters? Neither of these two sides have been all that impressive in the second half of the season, but they both won a Double Chance with percentages of 120 something.

The Bagmen have The Anchormen in at $1.33, which is about right. They have the Swans out at $3.40, which sounds a bit generous in a two horse race. But when you take everything into account it’s the $1.33 that’s generous. From where we’re sitting it’s hard to see The Bloods pulling off a Famous Victory. (Some Students of The Game are saying it would be a miracle – Ed) A $1.33’s not bad odds for a miracle Oh Ponderous Purveyor of Prose. With The Bourse soaked in red ink, it could be the way of the future.
The Doggies v The Pride of South Australia on the Paddock That Grew. This is anyone’s match. The Free Settlers have been playing on adrenalin for weeks now. Last weekend against The Catters they failed a chance to stamp their authority on The Competition. Not sure if they were put out by North’s selection shenanigans or what, but as it turned out they let an opportunity for a Home Final slip through their fingers.
They’re up against a team that has also been running on adrenalin. The new regime has turned The Doggies around. They have flair, commitment and talent. The Crows have an X Factor forward line. The Hon Edward C Betts alongside Big Tex is a scary combination. Russell Morris should get Eddie, but he’s almost impossible to stop. We’ve always rated him highly around here in Wrapland, and he’s having a breakout year in his new Colours.
This is probably the toughest of the lot. (You seem pretty confident about The Mustard Pots Wrap? – Ed) The loss of Jordan Roughead & Jason Johannisen leave big holes in the Doggies line-up, but they attack from all angles and move the ball at electrifying speed. The Wrap Loungeroom will be decked out in the Tricolours of The Sons of The West, but our money will be riding with The Mighty Adelaide Crows. Jacobs & Dangerfield will have the edge in their respective departments and we’re thinking Tallia can cover Stringer. All that having been said, if The Doggies get off to a flyer they could pull this one off.

It could even go to extra time. See what Little Tommy’s successor will give you on that.

Struggletown v The Arden Street Squibs at THOF on Sunday arvo. The Tiges felt robbed of a contest last Friday night and will be in a savage mood. They don’t play North well for some reason. (There’s a few they haven’t played well for a number of seasons now – Ed) I’ll tell you who they do play well Oh Censorious Corrector of Comas & Colons; they play Fremantle, Hawthorn & Sydney very well thank you. They beat Collingwood twice this season for the first time in ages, so the signs in that respect are good. Look, it’s been said that we can’t see the coconuts for the jungle around here in the Wrapcave, but we’ve been saying for some time now, underestimate The Striped Marvels at your peril. This is a team that is moving upwards. They have one of the best backlines going around, ditto their midfield, and a forward line that has some serious firepower. They can slam on quick goals to turn a match around in a few minutes.

So what about their opponents? They’ve been hot and cold all year. As they have been for a number of years now. Remember, this is the team that played off in a Preliminary Final last season. This season they just scraped into The Eight. We’re not so sure they’ll be going into this one with much confidence. Really, talking about bringing Daniel Wells into the side sounds like it’s a farewell game for him. And spelling 10 players last week looked like a copycat move, and quite frankly, a bit weak. And a bit misguided. Everyone dreads the midseason bye for the break in the continuity of the season. The Wives love it because they get a few things done around the house and the garden. And the Girlfriends love it because they get to fly somewhere exotic up in the pointy end. But the Fans hate it, and there’s invariably a drop off in form. Why impose that on yourself?

And it’s not as though The Kangaroos have had a strenuous run into September. Since Round XI, when they lost to the Swans under cover they’ve only played three September Contenders. They hauled in a battle & travel weary Fremantle, fresh from a Bruising Western Derby, on the Shifting Sands and went down to an equally Battered Bulldogs returning from a visit to The Eyrie. SOTG will be questioning the wisdom of ducking a real contest with the September Bottom Four Benchmarks, Richmond. Then there are those who believe Coach Bradley has a plan to win on Sunday and declined to show his hand. They have a game and a forward line that can be explosive. But The Tigers have a well-drilled, settled, flexible, disciplined backline. We’re going for Struggletown in this one. Comfortably in the end.
Good tipping and even better punting.
* Stats from afltables.com Well worth a visit.

 

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. Terry Towelling says:

    Not that it precludes him from being traded, but Jack Watts is not out of contract.

  2. I hope that Mrs Wrap is kicking the cat later tonight, but that things brighten up by Sunday in the Wrap Cave for yourself and TLSPRF. The Avenging Eagle is hoping that McGovern’s shoulder, Priddis’ thigh and the wifi connection hold up (in that order).
    Regardez vous.

  3. Didn’t know that TT. That makes what happens next even more interesting. He obviously isn’t part of the current coaching panel’s future planning.

    And Mr B, I have a feeling the AE made the right call. Tiptoe through the tulips while you can. We’ll be thinking of you both tonight.

  4. Terry Towelling says:

    I’m not sure about “obviously”. I don’t think you can read any more into being dropped for round 22 than any other round.

    I think Roos showed with Jamar that if he’s going to mark someone’s card, you’ll know it has been marked. I may be completely wrong on this.

  5. Round XXIII is the farewell round for those going into mothballs. You’d think he’d be allowed to play it out with his teammates TT. But like you, I may be completely wrong on this one.

    Le rapace est mort. Vive le rapace!

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