The Pre Wrap – The Finals Week II


For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

Ciad Mile Failte.  What a week it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The post mortems have all been about The Striped Marvels.  Chokers.  Undermanned.  Even a few that put Coach Hardnose on notice.  We finally got around to watching the replay the other night.  They were going gangbusters up to Half Time.  Jack had nailed three in a 7-goal Second Stanza Blitz.  Then, there it was.  We had to rewind it a couple of times and run it through in the Slomo mode, but it was unmistakable.  The camera caught a group of Richmond players walking off for the Long Break, and they were joking and laughing.  That’s right Wrappers; they were all but slapping each other on the back.  Mr Potato Head couldn’t believe his eyes.  He walked right into the middle of them to make sure he wasn’t mistaken.  Naturally he offered some well-meaning advice while he was about it.  Still laughing, they good-naturedly sent him on his way.  They don’t need another tall back or a mobile back-up ruckman.  Or a lively goalsneak à la Eddie Betts.  They need a Fat Lady.  And a great big one at that.  Decked out in Yellow & Black sequins.  One that can be seen from both ends of the ground.  With a very loud voice, so when she sings every Richmond player will know when it’s over.  Because that’s twice in three Finals now they’ve stopped at the long interval.  Over in the City of Churches last year they didn’t even get started.  Think about it Dimma.  Benny’s got the coffers bulging.  Even if you’ve got to give up a First Round Draft Pick and a whole lot of lolly for her.  Just get her!

But enough of my gabbin’.  Let’s see who’s going to be going through after Round II of The Finals.

The Mayblooms v The Free Settlers on The Paddock That Grew on Friday night.  The Leafblowers will be out in force tonight.  The Born To Rule Dingley Dell Paid-up Proud & Passionate were quite taken aback with their Heroes’ input last weekend.  They’ll expect – and they shall receive – more this weekend.  The backline will have pulled itself together.  Admittedly against a pretty powerful attack, but Gilham, Stratton, Burgoyne & Gibbo were below par, Lake went missing and Frawley was all over the shop: literally.  Moved from back to front he was turned inside out whichever end of the ground he was played at.  They can’t seem to be able to make up their mind about who’s going to ruck, and others in their veteran group, while maybe not quite ready for a walking frame, are showing signs that they know the price of the best motorized models.  Too Old Too Slow worked once, but this is another century.  Their line-up looked unsettled last weekend.  Now, without Gunston they look decidedly unbalanced.  Langford’s been omitted, and they’ve brought in Ryan Schoenmakers & Billy Hartung.

And this is probably as good a time as any to ask the question on everybody’s mind.  Is it time for a rebuild around at Glenferrie Oval?  They went down into the depth of despair in the early years of this Century to load up with some early draft picks.  Let’s travel back through space & time Wrappers, and live for a moment at turning points in the course of the events of The Leafblowers.

2001* The Hawks picked up Luke Hodge with a Priority Draft Pick.  Rick Ladson (R1 P16) & Campbell Brown (R2 P32) were in the same draft

2002 Brad Sewell (R1 P7) & Michael Osborne (R2 P23)

2003 Zac Dawson (R3 P41)  Pause for reflection here Wrappers.  The only recruit from Hawthorn’s selections in the 2003 Draft still playing at the Elite Level is The Iconic Zac Dawson.

2004 This was the year The Mayblooms loaded up.  Another Priority Draft Pick so they’re still down there in The Cellar.  With their PP they grabbed Roughie.  With their Round 1 pick, # 5, the took a chance on a big Western Australian with a troubled reputation called Lance Franklin.  They still had a Round 1 pick left from some astute trading with which they chose their current Vice Captain.  And with their Round 2 pick, # 18, they took Clinton Young.

2005  Xavier Ellis with yet another Priority Draft Pick, which this year was pick # 3.  (Yes Wrap; we’re counting.  No need for the bold italics.  That’s three so far – Ed)  Grant Birchall was a Round 1 Selection, # 16, and Brett Guerra joined the club from St Kilda.  It was also the year they used pick # 6 – yes Wrappers, yet another Round 1 Selection – to pick Beau Dowler.  Beau only managed 16 games at Ausdoc Oval but because his named rhymed with howler he became everyone’s bad draft choice example.

2006 Matt Suckling was promoted from the Rookie List and Gibbo came across from North to join Brent Guerra.  This heralded a move to fill specific positions from mature age recruits that has been a key element of Hawthorn’s success.  Gibbo & Guerra went on to become the cornerstones of The Hawk’s’ rebound backline.

2007 Cyril (R1 P12) & Bredan Whitecross (R2 P29) were the recruits this year.  Stuart Dew was the Mature Age joinee with a 3rd Round pick: # 45.

2008 was the year they picked up Luke Breust with a 3rd round Rookie List Pick at # 47, and added Ryan Schoenmakers (R1 P16) and Liam Sheils (R2 P34) to their list.

2009 was unremarkable: Ben Stratton (R 3 P46) the only one to play over 100 games.  Taylor Duryea was probably kept out of the side by Brent Guerra’s longevity.

2010 saw Isaac Smith selected with The Leafblowers’ 1st Round pick: # 19.  Their 2nd Round pick (#38) finished up on the Gold Coast after playing only 6 games.  Paul Puopolo joined The Family (R4 P66)

2011 Bradley Hill was their Round 2 pick: #33.  It was about this time the drop off in 1st Round draft picks becomes quite noticeable as they trade them in pursuit of mature age recruits to fill specific roles.  It’s not a new policy at Hawkland, Paul Salmon being the best example of that.  He went on to join the likes of Lethal Leigh, Tuckie, Dunstall, Dermie & Col Austin in The Leafblowers of The Century Team.  Hale, McIvoy, Gunston, Lake & Frawley all came to Waverly in this way.  (You’re waffling on again Wrap; get to the point – Ed)

The point here Oh Mummified Mangler of Meaning is that every era has a lift-off point; a pivotal momentum that launches it to greatness.  Maintaining that momentum eternally is no more possible than perpetual motion.  And as good at it they’ve been out at Waverly, all good things must come to an end.  The Hawthorn team that runs out tonight may bear witness to the decline of the era that was spawned at the 2004 Draft Table.  (You finished with the history lesson now? – Ed)

They have to hold down an Adelaide forward line that boasts two of the best in the business: The Hon Edward A Betts & Big Tex Walker.  And if the Unsociable Hawthorn midfielders can’t slow down The Crows’ forward entry it’s going to be Tex & Eddie Show to tell your grandkids about.  And don’t underrate The Crows’ midfield, or their rucking capability – areas in which The Mayblooms have been exposed this year.

When it comes to backlines, Talia & van Berlo lead a team as committed as they are talented.  The Hawks are without ex-Adelaide CHF Gunston, and to be quite honest he leaves a huge hole.  Roughie is the pack splitter down forward for The Hawks, but it’s Gunston’s deadly boot that gives the Mustard Pots their scoring authority.  Cyril & Poppy are also beneficiaries of Roughie’s presence.  Should he be need up the ground, as is often the case, Hale doesn’t create the same havoc on the forward line as the more mobile Roughead.

Look, before I get You Know Who on my case again, we’re split down the middle here in the Wrapcave.  If The Yankee Doodles come out as The Mighty Fighting Hawks we reckon they’ll pull this one off.  They’re a proud club, as well as a successful one.  And with a supporter base behind them – one every bit as unsociable as the Rabid Adelaide Mob – they’ll prevail.  They shouldn’t lose two in a row.  (Unless what you’ve said above carries a good deal of truth in it – Ed)  We’ll be wearing the Poos & Wees of the Leafy East tonight, but won’t be surprized if The Pride of South Australia prevails.  Investors should be cautious.  And with The Bourse showing signs that it may overcome the panic of recent days, we’d sit this one out.

The Bloods v The Shinboners up on The Cow Paddock on Saturday night.  Sydney lost Reid over in Perth and The Kangas have stuck with the combination that served them so well last weekend.  The Swanees went down to The Mauve Miasma, but that was through bad kicking on goal.  The Norsemen prevailed against Richmond with some equally wasteful goal shooting.  But for all those Ardent Street Faithful who are heading off to Steak & Kidney to see if they can find the public transport links to Homebush, pause for a moment.  You’re not playing The Striped Marvels this week; you’re playing The Bloods.  You’re playing them away, and they’ve got their backs to the wall.  The Tiges tore you apart in the Second Stanza last Sunday.  If they’d gone on with it you’d be pet mince by now.  (But they didn’t Wrap – Ed)  True, you’re fight back was memorable, but don’t let the mental frailty of the opposition on that occasion lull you into a false sense of Self Belief.

Right, looking at the team lists, The Lakers don’t look all that undermanned.  For all the talk of having Palmer & Jack out, Josh Kennedy, Hannebery, Tom Mitchell & Brandon Jack are more than half handy, and Gary Rohan is due for a good game.  They can match it with the Roos’ tough nuts.  And they’ve got plenty of outside runners to match North’s strength in that area.

And we reckon that Teddy Richards can handle Petrie or Waite and the Half Back Line of Shaw, Grundy & McVeigh are as good as any running around.  True, they’ll have their hands full.  The Roos have Ben Brown down there as well to give three marking options; a combination which Richmond had trouble matching. Boomer had a blinder last week, but he’ll have Rhyce Shaw blowing in his ear this time, not the user-friendly Taylor Hunt.

At the other end of the ground The Swans have Adam Goodes back in Dual Brownlow Form.  And hasn’t Kurt Tippet filled out into the space created by Buddy’s absence?  Sam Reid’s marking and mobility will be missed but Sydney have a way of filling gaps.  Ben McGlynn & Isaac Heeney are a lively pair of goal sneaks.

The X-factor here is Toddy Goldstein.  If Mike Pyke can cover him, Sydney wins.  If Toddy turns in a blinder The Norsemen win.  Then there’s the Y-factor: del Danto & Higgins.  They’ve been brought into the side by The Gasometer Oval Strategists for this very occasion. The weather is typical Sydney: a 70% chance of rain with 5-15mm forecast.  But Ward Rooney also says the rain will have cleared by the evening.  North are coming off a 6-day break and The Swans are coming back from Perth after a last man standing contest with The Anchormen.  It’s now or never Soupboners.  And at a healthy $2.45 we didn’t have to look twice.  You guessed it Wrappers; Good Old North Melbourne are The Wrap Roughie of The Round.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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

* Stats from  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.


  1. I don’t believe today could go any slower for this Adelaide fan, Urgh.

  2. In with a huge chance Ben. A huge huge chance. The Crows are playing some seriously good Footy. The Unsociable Hawks seem to have lost their way somewhat. Although it’s unusually for them to lose two on the trot. And certainly not at this end of the season.

    Good luck.

  3. Absolutely Wrap, in with a massive chance I reckon. Can’t believe the odds for Adelaide to be honest, Hawks deserve favouritism but gee, Adelaide at $3.50 outsiders?. Some serious value there.

    Over the past few years when we’ve matched up against the Hawks I’ve hoped we could win.

    This time it’s different – I know we can win tonight.

  4. Josh Gibson definitely didn’t come across in 2006… The Hawks drafted Sam Gibson that year as a rookie, he was de-listed then found his way to North and is now one of their more consistent midfielders.

  5. Thanks Syd. A case of too many Gibsons. I looked up the trade history on Wikipedia – the font of all knowledge. The Hawks’ Gibbo was drafted to Hawthorn, at his request, at the end of the 2009 season along with North’s Round 5 draft pick, # 69 overall, with which The Hawks selected Taylor Duryea. North received a 2nd & 3rd round pick from the Hawks: numbers 25 & 41 respectively. It gave them Aaron Black & Ayden Kennedy. Aaron Black’s played 50 games. Kennedy left Arden Street without pulling on a senior guernsey.

Leave a Comment