THE WRAP – FINALS ROUND II

WHERE LIFE IMITATES SPORT

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  Rumours of the demise of the Hawthorn Football Team for 2011 have been greatly exaggerated.  They weathered all The Thunder The Bloods could Pull Down From The Sky to move on to Carringbush next Friday.  Meanwhile, over in Perth The Miseries, after coming out of the blocks like Shirley Strickland, once more fell agonizingly short of the mark in September.

And hasn’t this Ross Lyon Affair sparked some interest.  The mailbag has been fizzing with questions – like what right has The Great Vandalli to take exceptions to the Fremantle Board making the appointment without first running it past him?  That an AFL club not only dared, but succeeded in blind-siding him with an internal appointment appears to have rocked the planet off its axis and the polar ice caps are in peril of a meltdown.  Should we be recalling the immortal words of Congreve?  Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.  There would be plenty of Roy Boys in a position to advise on that one.

And have you noticed it too?  The only party that has come out of all this with honour is the party (apparently) wronged.  The party that has rights to Congreve’s words.  Saint Kilda Football Club, take a bow.  We feel sure all Wrappers join with us here when we wish you well – for the immediate future and beyond.  And we hope the current aura of sobriety is a sign of an ongoing maturity, one that has eluded you since your coming out way back in the heady days of 1966.

And to all those stone throwers out there in Footyland, we feel we can do no more than commend you to the words of one of our own – Adam Lindsay Gordon

Life is mostly froth & bubble

Two things stand like stone

Kindness in another’s trouble

Courage in your own

Look, we’re not sure this will help, but what if we see this for what it is.  There’s plenty of stuff that is threatening to render the very fabric of OUR GREAT GAME that should be receiving our attention.  This whole thing is a distraction from some serious issues – for instance the money available to prop up the recruitment of Israel and Karmichael would be two on our agenda for openers, long before we got around to examining how a 20-year old with 31 games under his belt can be paid the money not available under the salary cap to out and out Champions of The Code.

Let’s see if he dares follow tradition and carry his Jumper Number – the sacred # 31 – with him to Panther Country.  Which reminds us of one that did the rounds back in the days of North’s First Coming.  A Footy fan passes through the Pearly Gates and is being shown around the Cloudy Domain by St Peter.  They come across The Holy Oval and the Perpetual Match is in full swing.  There was Bob Pratt talking screamers in his # 10 Lakeside Guernsey.  Captain Blood in the Colours of Struggletown, fending them off wearing the #17 he made his own.  Then he saw a player in # 31 screaming obscenities at the umpire.  Our Footy Fan was shocked.  He turned to St Peter and said in alarm; I didn’t know Barass was dead!  Shhh, said St Peter, quickly glancing around to see who was in earshot.  It’s The Boss’s Son.  He only thinks he’s Ron Barassi!!  Boom!  Boom!  Now we can all get some sleep.

And hands up those who are suspicious of how Juddy – and we don’t mean him any disrespect – how Juddy & Carlton can benefit from a ruling that allowed him a über remuneration package to re-locate to Melbourne, yet the same protection vulnerable clubs could have used to hold their young stars was removed in time for GWS & GCFC to commence their cross border raids?  Feel at liberty to raise both paws.

But before we get onto these more important issues, let’s take a closer look at each step in the Ross Lyon Affair as if it had happened in isolation.  It might help us regain some perspective on the issue.  Because, while we’re manning the barricades and waving the banner, our homes are being looted, our children sold into slavery.

Point No 1.  Fremantle decide that Mark Harvey isn’t the coach they want.  He wasn’t listed as a rider on the Coaches’ Carousel because, a) he’s coaching a no-profile club across the Nullarbor; and b) we were too busy speculating on Rocket, Neal & Deano.  But Mark Harvey’s coaching performance has hardly inspired this season.  And we would be naïve to think the Dockers’ Administration woke up last Wednesday and said, hey, let’s get a new coach.  Furthermore, it would be fair to say they didn’t need Mick Molloy to point out why, any more than we need Tony Abbott to point out Julia Gillard’s shortcomings.  Hold the front page – Committee sacks coach.  It happens every day.  And it wasn’t as if he was Ray Carroll or Norm Smith for goodness sake.

Point No 2.  St Kilda had put their coach – Ross Lyon – on notice at the beginning of the year by saying they’d review the coaching position at season’s end, and if you ever want to clean out your desk voluntarily Roscoe, feel free to do so.  That suggests a loss of confidence.   Again – stop the press Committee not happy with the coach’s performance.

Point No 3.  Ross Lyon decides he’s on shaky ground at a club where shaky ground is the status quo.  In his five-year tenure he has seen nothing to suggest that things are about to change.  The rumoured antics of some of his playing group, including senior players – and he and the Committee would have been a lot closer to judging how much fire there was under the smoke – fell well short of the demands of a professional sporting body competing in the most senior code in the land.  In the week after his players were unceremoniously bundled out of the finals by a team that wasn’t even fancied to make the Eight, it was time for him, Ross Lyon, to review his career and the St Kilda Football Club to review their coaching position.  Ross Lyon decided to leave St Kilda.  Coach resigns.  Okay, man bites dog.

(The woeful start and the late rally are history, and let’s be quite clear about this, only the insiders at St Kilda really know what went down at Seaford, but what ever it was, it provoked a response.  Albeit, a negative one.  Remember also that the club administration was in conflict with its landlord and despite being a Contender over the last few years, was losing money – see above re shaky ground)

Point No 4.  Who can recall a more dynamic or fluid end of season?  The media, in the light of the long drawn-out year – one that had Sports Mad Melbourne suffering Footy Fatigue – poured the petrol on the fires of speculation surrounding coaches and players.  With the situation looking like the Fall of Saigon, a football club committee decides it needs a coach and moves decisively.  Now that is headlines.  Heave Ho Freo – Way To Go.

Point No 5.  So what really is the problem?  The shock of the suddenness of it all is understandable, but why the vitriol?  (Surely the KFC could see that Mark Harvey was terminable – Ed)  Has the decisive action been deemed un-Australian?  Where’s the drawn out speculation that has The Bagmen touting the odds, (And collecting the coin – Ed) the media selling advertizing and having something to talk about, and gnomes deep in the bowels of Jellymont House rubbing their hands together in glee at the exposure of The Brand?  Is that the answer?  Bad Docker Freo??  Bad Docker??

Point No 6.  Now this is the sleeper.  Could all this leave the Ayatollah with another basket case on his hands?  No money, no coach, no ground, The Culture Club is once more adrift.  GWS & GCFC will have to be propped up – and although we of the hoi polloi aren’t privy to the budget allocation for this – you can bet your Ethelred Stadium takeaway concession that it will overrun.  Port Adelaide & North Melbourne are unfashionable, the latter having to sell itself down in Hobart Town to make ends meet.  (An unsavoury thought – Ed)  The Doggies, The Lions and The Crows are in re-building phase – read limbo.  And The Tiges & The Dees are no certainties to move onwards and upwards.  No wonder the poor bugger is trying to hang on to every red cent in the kitty he can.  Which in turn leaves him in conflict with his employees, who in fairness would be able to whip him with his pre-GFC expansion fantasy.

Point No 7.  From the firestorm that erupted over The Ross Lyon Affair, it would appear the Football Public are none too happy the way the show’s being run.  And while we don’t run to London style riots here in the WideBrownLand, the tension that boiled over last week suggests a deep disaffection in The Football Community.  And unlike in the case of a Saint Kilda Premiership, Football is shaping up the loser.

But hey, don’t let that get us down.  There’s plenty of time before the glaciers disappear and the last panda dies in Moscow Zoo.  Suck in some more Outrageous Self Righteousness from the Shadows of the Sandstone Curtain – The Greater Western Cockroaches’ Kevin Sheedy has warned us Fremantle’s actions could damage the club’s fabric.  I’ll put it on my desk calendar Kevin.  And while I’ve got you there Mumbles, can you please explain how poaching Rising Stars from struggling clubs isn’t ripping the fabric out of those clubs.  Those youngsters are the Favourite Sons of the Mums with the blanket across the knees and the thermos under the seat.  And the Dads on the terraces with their Saturday arvo drinking mates.  These lads represent the hope that the Long Suffering Faithful cling to, like driftwood in a storm.  You really are becoming a blabbering old geezer.  And it raises the question – is your salary at GWS calculated by the published word?

And let’s all put our hands together and welcome another Mark to the Senior Coaching Fraternity.  This time it’s Mark Neeld.  One of Football’s many honest Journeyman, he has come up through the ranks.  And if the Long Suffering Redleg Faithful (I bet you wouldn’t have been game to call them Long Suffering back in the 50’s & 60’s Wrap – Ed) need a comparison look to the dressing room of their Co-tenant.  That’s right; the Little Man in The T-shirt had a similar record when he came to Punt Road.  Dedicated battler at Tigerland, he moved to the local league and won a Flag.  At 27 Tommy went up to the Goulburn Valley League and made Shepparton the most feared team in one of Country Victoria’s Premier Leagues, winning a troika of Flags before being recruited by The Legendary Graeme Richmond.  We all know the rest of the story.  So little Redlegs, dream easy through The Long Dark Summer.  Your team is in safe hands.

Hey, missed out on AFL GF tix?  Get along to Ethelred Stadium for the VFL GF next Sunday.  Willy v The Boroughs.  It doesn’t get any more traditional than that, eh?  (Except there’s no terraces Wrap – Ed)

Go you Aussie Good Thing.  Put a gap in ‘em.  Rumours of the revival of Australia Cricket have been grossly over exaggerated.  Those of the demise of Australian Rugby unfortunately turned out to be well founded.  And can Llil Lleyton pull this Davis Cup Qualifier out of the fire?

But we can’t round out this segment without looking at the antics of those armoured of the Seppball Code.  FFA are sponsored by Hyundai.  Harry Kewell, their only Household Name Player, has signed up with Ford.  And it’s rumoured he’s open to offers.  When you supp with the Devil you need a very long spoon, eh?

But enough of my persiflage, let’s see who’s going through after Round II of The Final Series 2011.

The Mayblooms v The Bloods.  This was never in doubt.  By the time they huddled for the first change of ends The Lakers had managed just one solitary sleazy joint and The Mayblooms had kicked what could have turned out to be a profligate 3-5.  It wasn’t.  By the Long Break The Hawkers had straightened up their radar and booted seven straight.  Sure The Bloods had pulled the margin back to 18 points by the Citrus Huddle, but then, Enter The Buddy.  Under an injury cloud all week, he stopped Sydney in their tracks when he kicked three of The Mustard Pots’ seven Last Quarter goals.  But it was a night of heroes.  The sometimes maligned Jordon Lewis, sporting the Red Badge of Courage for the 2nd week in a row, was in everything.  Josh Gibson knocking up a World Record 21 spoils.  True one of them could have been mark of the year if he’d gone the grab, but he found a spring that was missing against The Geelong talls last week.

The Squawkers have recruited well and have the spirit to give The Pies a real test next Friday Night.  They applied the blowtorch to a club renowned for its own brand of pressure and came out convincing winners.  Any team that can have not one, but two 7-goal quarters in a final must be doing something right.

The Bloods would be disappointed with the result, but probably pleased with their first season under John Longmire.  They have ridden out the transition with flying colours and may yet help their Captain celebrate a 3rd Brownlow.  Speaking of whom, he follows in a long line of Courageous Bloods’ Captains.  In his 300th he had a 1st half to forget, but rallied, shrugging off the effects of some friendly fire and led his side’s Championship Quarter Revival.

In this, the 1st year of The Longmire Era, The Swans have consolidated the ground their predecessors took, and have established themselves as an integral part of the Sydney landscape.  On current form and depth, Mr Kevin Bloody Sheedy will be rueing his Vaucluse Swans jibe for some time.  The Sydney Swans are a top ranking team and have a heap of talent.  They still have a following down here from the old South Melbourne days, and are respected and admired by friend & foe alike.  Although, it has to be said, 55,198 was a poor showing for two such worthy teams.  Some on the list are getting on a bit, but their tradition of recruiting & drafting players into The Bloods Football mould is well established.   Shake Down The Thunder From The Sky and bring on 2012.

The High Flying Eagles v The Miseries.  Well, well, well; you don’t have to be dead to be stiff, eh?  But if you kick the 1st four goals and squander a 3-goal quarter time lead you may have to look a bit further than an umpiring decision in the goal square.  And let’s face it, not paying it – and that comment in no way implies that it was there – wouldn’t have done Razor Ray’s Harry Beitzel Medal chances for the Most Incomprehensible, Gutless and Inconsistent Maggot of The Season.  But come on, not even Ned Kelly, fully armoured, would have paid that one at Subiaco, Cutthroat Final or not.  And let’s face it, in the context of the 2nd Half, and especially the Frantic Final Stanza, it would have been a travesty to decide such a brilliant match on a 50/50 goalsquare free.

And speaking of frees, were we the only ones to fall asleep counting them in the 1st Half, especially the 1st Quarter?  Fair dinkum, it was death by a thousand whistles.  There were 51 all night 40 of those must have been before ½ Time. Talk about cruelling The Game.  And in those all-important centre bounce clearances three of the softest frees – two against The Nat and one against Daniel Kerr – helped The Miseries off to their flying start.  I’m sure Woosher would concede Walker’s goalsquare infringement in return for those three vital clearances.

Thankfully some one suggested to the maggots to swallow the whistle for the 2nd Half.  (Otherwise they’d be taking their early morning swim in Shark Alley down at Margaret River, eh Wrap? – Ed)  It was an absolute bottler of a match.  Carlton burst early but The Weagles kicked eight straight to look in command at the long break.  However, The Silvertails wouldn’t say die.  They kept coming and coming, but like Christmas to a six year old, it never seemed to arrive for them.  They left nothing out there on Subiaco’s wide-open sward, but came home empty handed.  (And wasn’t the Oval in superb condition? – Ed)   Sadly, there are still those amongst us who will celebrate The Princes Park Faithfuls’ agonizing loss.  But every fair minded Student of The Game would doff their lid to the sheer bravery of The Only Team All Carlton knows.

Incurable romantics will naturally be pointing to The Rattzbaggers’ 3rd narrow September bereavement and suggesting that what the Football Gods giveth, The Football Gods taketh.  They were certainly short of a power forward, and must have envied West Coasts surfeit in this regard.  Eight of The Homeside’s goals were scored by their power forwards.  Three from the boot of the ex-Carlton Kennedy, who was seeing the game out of one eye after a 1st Quarter collision.  As testament to the intensity of the contest, The Blues lost Thornton when he crash-landed from a marking contest.  No wounded were left, no prisoners were taken.

At the end of the day it came down to something many have said, but we’ll go with another Kennedy – a good big man will beat a good little man every time.  And you’d have to say the five players stood out – the evergreens Embley & Kerr, and Matthew Priddis for the Weagles.  And Robinson & Murphy for The Visitors.

How much toll the effort has taken out of The Coasters will be revealed next Saturday when they run into Geelong on The Hallowed Turf.

There’s the usual speculation and conjecture about the coaching position at Optus Oval.  Rattz has been stiff, and three September campaigns with a team that, and don’t reach for the keyboard all you Blues Brothers till you hear me out, with a team that plays above itself.  For ours, that’s a credit to the Coaching Panel.  Whether The Big K, Jarod Waite and Biggsy would have got them over the line is conjecture.  They weren’t fit and that’s all there is about it.  Juddy tried his heart out all night, but there’s something bothering him.  He gifted a goal with a desperate kick across the face that would have had him dragged and showered under The Late Great Norm Smith.  And it wouldn’t have made the plane trip home any easier for him knowing that the margin was only half a snagger.  It will make it even more embarrassing for him should he pick up a 3rd Brownlow.  (Maybe it’s the fumes of the cleaning fluid he’s using to polish the brass name plate at Raheen effecting him? – Ed)  The Blues would be disappointed, but they made it through to the 2nd week and at one stage during the season were challenging for a Top Four Finish, until Wallsie blew them the Kiss of Death.  That they didn’t grab that opportunity suggests they’re not ready, or don’t have the depth to cover injuries.  Maybe they need a Bob Chitty or a Ken Hands to explain to some of Juddy’s antagonists that tagging can be hazardous to your health.  (Or a Diesel or an Enforcer? – Ed)

Hope your team gave you value over the weekend, and hope for the future.

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

 

* KFC – Knowledgeable Fremantle Crowd – how’d you go with that one Jimbo?  We’ve had it before you know  – the Knowledgeable Fremantle Crowd.

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. Dear Wrap,

    Entertaining as always, as was the interim wrap on the weekend, which suggests you really are un-wrapped on all this self-righteousness as you term it over the Lyon-Harvey thingo.

    Mark Harvey has not impressed me over his time at Freo. So I can understand the argument for the seeking of a new coach.

    I don’t understand the logic of the argument that goes, if we’re spending so much time getting fired up over this issue then we’re numbskulls becuase there are other more important pullings of wool over the eyes.

    My logic suggests then we look at each issue individually.

    And therefore it is completely appropriate to see what went on with the Lyon situation. I reckon it’s the duplicity which is the key feature. My first reaction on hearing it was that I was sick of footy. What do you believe? I’m sick of politics. What do you believe?

    But there are a lot of good in both.

    I agree there is an imagined honesty in the Willy-Boroughs game, as there is when Mitch Robinson goes at a Sherrin.

    The contest of ideas: self-interest in a team environment (including board/exec team) creates an interesting situation. Some clubs manage it better than others, but no execution of policy and systems will work absolutely. The good will of people of character counts for something (although I haven’t read Macbeth for a whil, to sharpen my romanticism up).

    I think it’s a great issue – and I can understand completely why it has CTPI (captured the public imagination)

    Does tihs mean ultimately I’m an observer holding up a romance barometer to everything?

    ONe interesting observation: why was Michael Nettlefold on the front foot for the week BEFORE Lyon took off? Why had he offered himself up to so many media engagements?

  2. Great Wrap Wrap. I take your point about he 50/50 re Walker however Ill raise you the 50/50 of the Jameison infringement on Kennedy up the other end that was paid. A couple of point of of the game, Setanta must have finally played his last game. His free kicks and poor decisions cost Carlton and Thornton played his one game last week and didnt stand up in the first half and couldn’t in the second. I think Warnock did a terrific job for most of the night at as lone ruckman. I think Razor must be dropped from the umpires panel. A good umpire should not be notice .Chamberlain takes out a full page ad everytime he appears and nearly destroyed a great game. The WC were good when they needed to be but 9 goals straight including 3 that fell over by a foot, the previous mentioned Kenndy gaol and a freebie off the ball in the square made it tough. If carlton had kicked the first 3 of the 2 nd quarter,as they should have, it was all over for mine.
    cheers
    TR

  3. Was it Belinda who said “can Satanta do anything that resembles something?” TR.

    I’m sure I saw her in the crowd in the last quarter with a bloke with a red nose high up in the stands.

    I hope you are on the blue and white payback bandwagon this weekend.

  4. Setanta.

  5. Harmsie, it would be so easy to say if you’re tired of Football you’re tired of life – but I’m afraid I have to agree with you. I remember an old bloke with whom I worked with back in the early 80’s – a Hawthorn man born & bred – who said he was tired of Football; it had become all about the money. Happily the the pouch a week of Port Royal finally caught up with him and he’s not here to witness this latest bit of shabbiness.

    And tired of politics too Harmsie? Has there ever been a better example that Life Imitates Sport?

    As usual, you’re on the money – romanticism is the fuel of life. And never mind the hypocrisy that’s bubbling to the surface, haven’t the events got us examining our values, eh? The continual battle between morality & self interest. The never ending story of good and evil. Where would we be without it? Probably totally evil or totally moral. So who gives a rat’s toss bag about morality when it’s measured against Club Loyalty. That was the bottom line when we were back living in the trees, and not even Armageddon will change that. Remember, it’s the winners who write history.

    TR – how about the elephant in the room – Juddy’s errant kick across the goal face that resulted in a WCE major. And I take it Razor Ray has your votes for The 2011 Beitzel Medal? Mine too.

    Phanto – Maaate – I’ve still got my West Coast Wankers T-shirt from out at Waverly.

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