The Welcome Back Wrap

For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower

Ciad Mile Failte.  And what an off-season it’s been in Footy Eddie.  As the Flannelled Fools make way for the Muddied Oafs we look back over the Long Dark Summer.  A team of Victorians took the Sumptuous Sheffield Shield and The Baggy Greens hoisted aloft the Border-Gavaska Trophy with a convincing 4-zip result against an India that seemed determined to preserve its away-from-home reputation.  That they had to grab defeat from the jaws of Victory more than once indicates how highly they prize the mantle of Hometown Tigers/Travelling Pussy Cats.

But all was not harmonious in the Baggy Green Camp.  Captain Pup put himself before the team.  Playing with a dodgy hammy, he was incapacitated in Adelaide and handed the Captaincy over the Steve Smith.  The team rallied behind the 25-year-old Skipper, as did the Nation, however, they still sit 5-6 behind the Curry Munchers overall.

Pup’s dummy spit and ensuing spat with the Poobahs at Cricket Australia was unedifying to say the least.  His eventual retirement on the eve of the Final engendered more a sigh of relief than an indrawn breath of shock.  Watching him stand during the anthems for the Semi Final, as glum as a letterbox, he had the look of a man who had woken in the wrong dream.  Beside him, his baby-faced deputy was belting out Advance Australia Fair as if he was scaling the ravines of Anzac Cove on his was to Lone Pine.  I ask you, would you stand beside the former, or follow the latter?

The there was the World Cup of Cricket, the quadrennial showcase of global ODI.  The heavily fancied Seth Effricins wobbled their way through to a Semi Final loss to The Black Caps.  The To & Froms departed early, ostensibly to get back among the Dark Satanic Mills to prepare for the coming Ashes Series.  Not too sure what they can do really.  Apart from line up the body bags in Trafalgar Square.  The Aussies were superb under the leadership of Stephen Smith and the captaincy of Michael Clarke.  The attack never tired, and Mitch Starc nearly bowled us to an unlikely Victory over The Black Caps in a Group match in the Cake Tin.  A match that lasted 55 overs in which 19 wickets fell and the margin was only two runs.

Come the final and it was over in six balls.  The New Zild Skipper fell charging the bowling of Mitchell Starc, and that was about it.  The outgoing Australian captain made an untroubled half century while the incoming Australian Captain, appropriately, hit the winning run.  Oh, and an Australian wicket keeper once again upheld the Baggy Greens’ reputation for boorish behaviour.

Speaking of boring, the Mercedes Benz Benefit Race was run around Albert Park Lake in an event that looks to have set the tone for the 2015 F1 season.  (Watching grass grow moves closer to extreme by comparison – Ed)  Our Boy started his Red Bull Racer in 7th place and despite over a quarter of the field dropping out he moved up only to 6th.

Then there was the Asia Cup.  We won it convincingly in the end, but not before a few heart stoppers.  The local Competition garnered some of the afterglow from the spotlight and fireworks, but fair dinkum, when you see enough blatantly flawed umpiring calls to make Razor Ray Chamberlain look like Mother Teresa you tend to drift away from the roundball game for sanity’s sake.

Sally Pearson kept doing what Sally Pearson does best, and we said farewell to Ocean Grove’s Favourite Son.

We may have said farewell to Llil Lleyton too.  How we’ve warmed to him over the years.  Talked a lot of sense into the mike too.  One senses Farewell will be more Au revoir for Llil Leyton and his actress wife Beckie.   (And their kiddies too Wrap: so photogenic – Ed)  Nick Kyrgios is fast becoming the next big thing.  However, there was some sound advice from the broadcast dugout that his big-serving game would be more effective if he pulled his head in a little.

Our highlight of The Hibernation?  Seeing our first Missing Poster under the railway viaduct in Auburn Road.  It had a pair of red cricket balls and a notation If found please return to the England Cricket Team #MissingBalls. And this was in January!  Couldn’t find out who actually authorized the billboards, but KP was autographing any that were brought to him at the back of the broadcasting box at the Adelaide Oval.

Have we finished with the Essendon Drug Scandal?  Who knows?  Who cares?  Of course Little Jimmy had his say on the matter after the Bomber 34 were let off the hook.  After a strident apology he finished with This is all about those 34 payers and whether they did or didn’t receive performance enhancing drugs and it’s been proven today by the tribunal that they didn’t receive performance enhancing drugs.  Wrong & wrong Pretty Boy.  It’s always been about you.  And the tribunal – in the absence of any records – could only give the players the benefit of any reasonable doubt.  Without those records, there’s no proof of innocence or guilt.

The season can’t come quick enough for True Lovers of THE GAME.  Our Great Game.  The One True Game.  And I tell you what, if they don’t play it in Heaven, I’m not going.

So, as the acrid smell of briquette smoke mingles with the sandalwood scent of belah, and the sweet thunk of Bata Scouts sinking into Ross Faulkners can be heard across the nation – from the Meanstreets of Struggletown to the shaded cul-de-sacs & crescents of the Leafy East – from the cobbled bluestone lanes to the never ending plains – and dare we say it – from sea to shining sea – the WideBrownLand awakes from slumber.

The Wrap end of August ladder is the traditional feature of this 1st issue after the retreat of the Long Dark Summer.  And here it is.  (It’s actually the beginning of September Ladder this year Wrap – Ed)


1)    Port Adelaide – Can Port maintain the momentum of Season 2014?  Kenny H has The Lads From Alberton primed for this season.  Add Paddy Ryder to that mix and lookout!  Easier draw and 12 games at The Portress and they’ll be sitting on top of the heap come the end the Toyota Premiership Season.


2)     Hawthorn – The Squawkers will be there again; make no mistake.  We wrote that last year and see no reason to change it.  The Family Club is a great cover for what really goes on oput at Waverley: a hard edged business administration coupled to a Football Department that is as imaginative as it is ruthless.  Sure they’ve got a tough draw, but that’s the way they like it around at Ausdoc Oval.  While it could cost them top place going into the Finals Series, they’re set for the Double Chance & a Home Final..


3)    Richmond – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Ignore The Tigers this year at your peril.  You have to carve your way into Punt Road through the Self Belief.  They have a draw from Heaven.  Fourteen matches at THOF.  Two more across town and six on the road.  With only eight matches against 2014 Finalists The Tigers are ready to pounce.  They’ve recruited well and have some top youngsters coming on.  Ben Griffith is providing focus at CHF and there’s others taking pressure off Jumping Jack.


4)    Sydney – The Swans will be there of course.  They’ll be keen to avenge last years GF humiliation.  Tippett & Goodes seem a luxury, but they’ve got a thereabouts draw and should make it into a Top Four rung, although, let it be said, we make this prediction with little confidence; this is not the same administration that built the Bloods’ Football Culture.  Locker room harmony could define their 2015 season.


5)    North Melbourne – Still not too sure about The Shinboners.  They stormed into September and almost blasted The Greatest Team of All back to Flat Town in the Opening Stanza.  That they fell in a heap and, with 5 minutes of cold shower football, let the Cat’s back in sums them up to a good degree.  They had to fight to the bitter end to secure that win, but win they did.  Sydney gave them something to think about and they’ve been busy plugging gaps during the Long Dark Summer.  Although we’re not quite sure that Vin Waite is the right sort of sealant.  If they can throw off their inconsistency they could break through to the Double Change.


6)    Fremantle– They get 12 games at home, two against West Coast and should make it through to September but we don’t believe we’ll be seeing them come TFSIO.  While they’ve got Excitement Machines in Hills, Mundy, Ballantyne & Fyfe, they rely too much on aging key players such as Sandilands, McPharlin and Pavlich.  Their recruitment seems all over the shop.  They dropped a bundle of them at the end of Season 2014.  Bumbling Scott Gumbleton headed a list that included Michael Wood, Josh Simpson and Kepler Bradley.  Only Kepler Bradley could be said to have paid his way, and then only in a limited construct.  (Do you mean as a thug Wrap? – Ed)  Having said all that, they could be interchangeable with Sydney.  Both teams have similar problems of imbalance across the lines and down the middle.


7)    The Meter Maids – A new coach, the last of the deadwood cut away and a raring-to-go Little Master.  Less and less depends on him though, and Rocket will be sure to enforce that message with his playing list.  And Andrew Raines would have to rate as a more than half handy picked up.  With a draw that could have been pulled out of Andrew Demetrio’s hat and a favourable run with the Football Gods we’re saying they can make it through to September.


8)    Geelong – Looking at their list management you’d be excused for thinking The Greatest Team of All is a work in progress for Season 2015.  We’ve got them scraping through, but astute SOTG will be counting the number of lives they use up getting there.  Christensen will be a big loss, and around at Tigerland they’re wondering what Taylor Hunt did to be de-listed.  Mitch Clark and The Big Tomahawk blundering around the same forward fifty arc is likely to rival the Circus Ringbarkus for thrills & spills.


9)    Adelaide – It’s difficult to separate the Gang of Four Mediocre Teams.  Does a New Broom Coach mean a New Adelaide Crows?  The Pride of South Australia is a proud club, and not one use to playing second fiddle to the Scum From up Past The Salt Pans.   They’ll be as hard to read as ever, but if they gather some momentum they’ll be a force to contend with.  The Hon. Edward A Betts is enjoying his Footy over there amongst the Free Settlers.  On a sadder note, out at Waverley they’re saying this will be Patrick Dangerfield’s last year in the City of Churches.  But for 2015 we’re putting The Mighty Adelaide Crows at the head of this bunch


10) Essendon – The Messiah is back from his sabbatical and the stage has been cleared to play the full list from Round 1.  Whoopee do.  They’ve got more senior coaches out there at Whingy Hill than Reg Ansett had in his Pioneer Tours fleet.  They’re shambolic list is underwritten by some aging mercenaries and a handful of gangling goal sneaks.  Will badly miss Paddy Ryder and if anything should happen to the Everywhere Man Dyson Heppell their season will take a nosedive.  The AFL has given their reckless pharmaceutical program the all clear.  We’ve yet to hear from the Football Gods.  Their judgement will be crucial to The Bombers’ 2015 Season.


11) West Coast – More was expected of this list last season.  They sure put on some shockers, but take those out of their season and it showed some promise.   Their home ground advantage was about as advantageous as a packet of MCG fries is nutritious.   We’re tipping they’ll learn from last season and tighten up their game.  Could even be knock knock knocking on Heaven’s door should the stars align for them.


12) Carlton – Sorry, I’ve spent the last few weeks morphing from the chrysalis stage; did Mickey really say that?  But why only undefeated over the Home&Away Series?  If they’re that bloody good, why not tip them to go all the way?  He was joking wasn’t he?  He did follow the statement with a line along the lines of the Happy Ox ploughs the furrow deeper for laughs on an empty belly.  But hey, it’s the final year of his contract; sure he’s going to come out with all guns blazing.  Sorry Blues Brothers, no get out of gaol card this season.  Not even with Super Judd in top condition.


13) Collingwood – Just when they thought it was safe to turn up on match day, the Monochrome Army gets another kick in the guts.  They must be wondering what they have to do to get out of the headlights and back into the limelight.  With their own list now under suspicion and the Oval Office totally flummoxed, Fig Jam leads them once more into the Valley of The Shadow of Death.  Sadly, on this occasion they seem bereft of the comforting rod & staff.  Travis & Levi won’t make up for Nick Maxwell, Luke Ball & Ben Hudson, as aged as they were.  It looks all downhill from here but any team that boasts Scott Pendlebury as its Skipper will be one should never be taken for granted.


14) Brisbane – Showed a bit of form last season and although hit hard with retirements, the youngsters have not been backwards in coming forward.  Once more a trip to The Gabbatoir is to be a feared prospect.  Dayne Beams will blossom away from the claustrophobic public glare that floats over the Westpac Centre.  (Like a mantle of doom – Ed)  We wouldn’t be at all surprized to see them three or four rungs higher up the Ladder than 14th at the end of the 2015 Toyota Premiership Season.


15) Melbourne – The Dees loss of James Frawley has just added to their woes.  They put in a few good performances last season, but far too few to say they’ve made headway under the AFL appointed, and some say financially supported, Administration & Football Departments.   (But we’re not one of them, are we Wrap? – Ed)  With Nathan Jones and hopefully Jesse Hogan lifting them and Heritier L giving some trademark run and carry, they’ll provide some amusement to Students of The Game and the Punters something of rollercoaster ride, but TLSRF may not have much to cheer about for long stretches of The Season.


16) Footscray – You can never be sure about The Doggies can you?  Losing Tom Liberatore for the year has left a big hole on the game plan and in the locker room.  Their list just isn’t convincing without Cooney, Giansiracusa, Griffen, Higgins & Liam Jones.  However, Punters may be well advised to watch for value through the season once the players start to jell under Luke Beverage.  Or not.  Their Whocares Cup form has been far from disgraceful.


17) The Greater Western Sydney Giants – You can’t help but feel they’re guessing up there at Tom Wills Fields, can you Wrappers?  Players and administrators move at the flip of a chequebook and they’re stuck out on the Western Rump of a city that is in transition.  After the Wanderers took the Asian Club Championship and The Socceroos took the Asian Cup, the roundball code is paramount.  Australian Rules Football has taken a step backwards.  And a losing Australian Rules Football team, in a two-team city, hardly rates more than park rugby.  A long haul for the code and a quagmire for the AFL.


18) St Kilda – Good to see Ahmed Saad back after uncomplainingly serving his sentence for consuming an off-the-shelf energy drink on match morning.  (Uncomplainingly Wrap, as compared to whom? – Ed)  You whistle and I’ll Point Oh Masterful Masticator of The Message.   They’re rebuilding at Eel Race Road, and more strength to their arm, but Lenny Hayes’ departure has left a heart sized hole in the Saint Kilda psyche that will take a couple of seasons to fill.  (At least – Ed)  They’re rebuilding The Sainters    Spiritual Home where Fitzroy, High & Barkly Streets meet Dandenong, Punt & St Kilda Roads.  It may be from whence they launch the next Seagull tilt at The Flag.  In which case it can’t come soon enough for everyone who loves The Game and all it stands for.

The Flag

Can The Mayblooms make it a Threepeat?  Last year we talked of The Barry Crockers revenging the one that got away.  They didn’t make the Grand Final.  The Power felt they were stiff in last year’s Preliminary Final and would have got their noses in front given another minute or three.  Would The Mayblooms have eased off the pedal in a Grand Final?  The True Believers, in The Port Adelaide Tradition, Never Stop Stop Stop Till They Drop Drop Drop, but that may not be quite good enough.  And to be perfectly honest, no other teams measure up to the overall skills, calmness under pressure, the courage and staying power of Hawthorn or The Power.  Some come close, but not close enough.  I’m going for The Leafblowers to roar away with this Season’s Flag, but only because they have the greater depth.  But only incumbency gives The Mustard Pots the edge in the favouritism at this point.

The Coach most likely

We gave Guy McKenna the Kiss of Death last year.   In this modern game, you don’t need to blink to fall by the wayside.  The newbie’s should be pretty safe, but what of the others.  Little Lord Hirdleroy should be safe now that a good deal of the dust has settled, but they’ve got ex-senior coaches hanging from the rafters out there in the hangar.  Now we’re not suggesting for a moment that they’ve been appointed to keep an eye on Shoeless Jim, or took the shilling with an eye on the main prize, but are we alone in thinking it a little odd that this coven of sacked coaches has turned up at Melrose Drive when the club is in the direst moment since Bobby McCracken called a few mates around to his lounge room 143 years ago after work to draw up a constitution?  (When the only Uncle Dougs in sight were tobacco and beer – Ed)  The Marshmallows would have to implode dramatically, but jut missing the Finals won’t – or at least shouldn’t – cost him his job.

Roosie is more likely to walk than be sacked, besides, you’d reckon he’d have a platinum handshake built into his deal should the club tire of his services.

That leaves Coach Brewery & Captain Brownlow in the hot seat.  Anything could happen at Victoria Park.  The way they’ve started out this season doesn’t augur well for harmony & stability.  They’re going to have to pull out that trait they have in spades around there along the Yarra – GAD – for a string of on field performances to shore up the Incumbent Coach’s position.  As for the Philosopher Coach, it’s our guess he’ll be asked to reapply for his job at the end of the season.  Fans of vitriol are advised to have their tapes warmed up for the occasion.  It’s going to be fast and furious.

The Fevola

Will The Bombers make it a threepeat in the club section of this award?  It seems hardly likely.  Everyone’s totally exhausted from listening to James Hird sermonize from under wet cement, and really Wrappers, the heat’s totally gone out of this one, don’t you reckon?  We’ll deal with it on the field, like men, from here in, eh?

No, we’re sticking with for a gambling, and the revelation that organized crime has infiltrated clubs beyond our previous belief.

The Brownlow

As usual, this one’s an educated guess.  Around at Punt Road they’re telling us that Dusty Martin has settled down and is tipped to make a huge impact this year.  Then there’s a string of champions and up&comers who could have a stellar year.  We’ll go for Dusty & the Carringbush Captain to share the medal in 2015.  With Patrick Dangerfield.

The Coleman

Take your pick – the Eagle’s Josh Kennedy, Roughie again or Jeremy Cameron.  We’re going for Jumping Jack Riewoldt, relieved of the double tag due to the Tigers’ multiple forward options, to drill a bagful.

The Robbie Flower Medal – Bucks for the way in which he carries himself when the pressure builds for his replacement.  Our guess is that the winner will come from somewhere totally unexpected.   As it usually does.

So, let’s join in the chorus where hearts beat true and march-in Season 2013.

  1. Port Adelaide
  2. Hawthorn
  3. Richmond
  4. Sydney
  5. North Melbourne
  6. Fremantle
  7. GCS
  8. Geelong
  9. Adelaide
  10. Essendon
  11. West Coast
  12. Carlton
  13. Collingwood
  14. Brisbane
  15. Melbourne
  16. Footscray
  17. The Greater Western Sydney Giants
  18. St Kilda

The Silvertails v The Striped Marvels on The Paddock That Grew.  There’s no love lost between these two, and what better venue and occasion at which to put Mickey’s wild prophecy to the test than at THOF for the Traditional Season Opener Blockbuster.  We’re tipped The Tiges to settle down and go on to win by four goals.

The Fuchsias v The Gold Coast Suns.  It’s at The G but that won’t matter.  The new look Rocket Propelled Suns to emphatically announce their 2015 Challenge.  The Metermaids comfortably.

The Tinseltowners v The Marshmallows on the ground that nobody wants to play on.  The Bloods are taking The Bombers into the twilight zone, and that’s where they’ll leave them.  The Swannies mucked up their 2014 Opener against their Crosstown Rivals.  They won’t make that mistake again.

Brissy v Carringbush.  The Lions have denied the Captain Brownlow led Maggies a couple of Flags, and they’ll denied them the Four Points in this one up in The Lions’ Den.  The Boys From Old Fitzroy for our money.

The Dogs v The Weagles on Saturday night under cover.  The Wedgies should get the away part of their season off to a flier against The Kennel.

St Kilda v GWS on the Shifting Sands for Sunday’s early match.  Look, we’re going for The Junction Oval Seagulls here.  They just may have a surprize or two up their sleeve early on in the season.  That is before they run out of depth and the long season tests the stamina capability of the young bodies down at Seaford.

The Pride of South Australia v The Kangaroos on the Picturesque Adelaide Oval.  If North are going to be contenders they’re going to have to win this one and win it well.  Which they should.  But may not.  We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt early in Season 2015, but not with any confidence.  You just don’t know what they’ve been cooking up besides ice over the there in the City of Light.

Fremantle v Port over there in the gathering gloom of Easter Sunday.  This will be a regular arm wrestle and one of the matches of the round.  Our money’s on The Power.  We’ve tipped them for the McClelland Trophy so they’re going to have to get off to a good start.  Beating The Mauve Miasma in the sand hummocks of Perth will be a good start.  The Power From Port.

The Mayblooms v The Pivotonians on The Big Stage to close off Round I of The 2015 Toyota Premiership Season.   For the first time in living memory The Squawkers take on with The Moggies a bit of a spring in their step.  Don’t get us wrong, they’ll be showing The Handbags all the respect they deserve, but there’s a feeling out at Waverley that they’ve at last got Geelong’s measure.  And won’t those Leafblowers be roaring when they do?

Last year we wrote The Wrap is going to be a bit intermittent this season.  In line with the Abbott/Hockey budget cuts, and so as not to appear un-Australian, we’re halving our work force.  We feel, like Dame Gina & Premier Tony, that there’s far too much featherbedding going on in the country so we’re removing the feathers from the bed.  If moral doesn’t improve we’ll remove the bed.  457 visa applications have been made, and presuming they’re successful we should be able to bring you a full coverage of Irish League Soccer matches, the Indian Premier League Cricket and the target shooting in Syria & Kiev.  So what’s changed?  They’re still at it in Syria & Kiev, and Premier Tony is still trying to bleed us all white to fill his coffers for his planes and submarines.  Although Dame Gina has been relatively quiet outside the family lore courts.  And The Wrap budget cuts will still prevail during the part of the season that coincides with the Northern Hemisphere Summer.

Good tipping and even better punting.

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. Dear Mr Wrap,
    Good to have you back. MClarke and JHird have been missing you (like piles). I recall that last year we both made ridiculously optimistic predictions about Struggletown and the Wedgies. I see you have fallen for the same trap. I won’t be. Things are grim on the Fatal Shore.
    The Kennel is the Roughie of the Round ($2.50 is stealing money).
    The Avenging Eagle and I are also off to her ancestral home on the Adriatic in September and October. We figured there would be nothing to distract us at home.

  2. Those Perth late winters and early springs can be murder can’t they Mr B. Which side of the Adriatic?

  3. 6? Bugger off! And Fyfe for the Brownlow. Hope you are wrong about the game on Sunday. The Nab Derby was a joy, especially when someone pressed the wrong button for our super goal, and we were about 800 points in front for a short while….

  4. John Butler says

    Good to have you back Wrap.

    One slight correction – India only lost 2-0.

    Very harsh on Clarke. Hopefully the Blues will be equally harsh on the Tigers tonight.

    But never fear, Ben Cousins is probably still looking for a gig.

  5. Never been a fan JB. He always put himself before the team. And the ‘sportsmanship’ intensified under his watch. On many occasions he was the instigator.

    You want real class go no further than George Bailey. He’s the Clubhouse Leader for the Robbie Flower Medal, and his performance is going to take some beating.

    These first-up matches haven’t been kind to The Tiges over the years. Hopefully we’ve got it right this year. If only just to blow the Patient Ox’s prediction to the winds.

  6. Kepler. Thug? Bugger off ed.

  7. Great to have you back

  8. John Butler says

    (sound of prolonged sigh)…Good thing I went early El Wrappo. There was not much danger my mob was going to give me anything to talk about afterwards. Not really a game to savor for its quality.

    I wonder what Cuz looks like in Navy Blue?

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