What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The flags are ¼ mast along La Via Lygon as the paperboys herald the news – The Shinboners are BIT.  The Hawks also, as they play their first real game of Football for the season against The Hapless Chardonnays.  The Power came out of the blocks like Shirley Strickland, but by Full Time they had managed 8-7 (55): match-losing Football against a professional outfit like Sydney.  Then it was Essendon’s turn; they managed a respectable 12-11 (83), but their opponents for the night were The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires, who notched up a cricket score Arthur Morris would have been proud of.

Come Sunday and down at The Punt Road End, TLSPRF could be seen after Full Time, furiously working their calculators over the AFL fixture for the remaining 10 matches.  The Doggies shake off their Kennel Cough to put The Lions in the doghouse, and over in the State of Excitement The Sainters won the match and the melée to emphatically put the F back in Freo and send a message to everyone that they will challenge for September Glory.

Saving the best till last, Melbourne & Collingwood presented the 67,4545 Pundits & Punters who made it to The G for the QBB the 1st Draw of the season.  And aren’t The Monday Experts going at it hammer & tongs?  Quarters & Luke Darcy feel the fans deserve an out come; so to Hutchy and Doubtful Thomas.  Wallsie, Kero & G. Lyon feel the Fans have a decision; one they should accept – the verdict of The Football Gods.  Collingwood didn’t deserve to win with such poor kicking on goal & The Fucshias, while taking the fight up to their rivals, didn’t do enough to win.  The day they have penalty shootouts is the day I stop watching.  And they don’t do it in soccer Quarters – not in the home and away series.

We said we weren’t going to talk about money in sport this week, but we can’t let this one slip by.  Just how smart are the dummies we’ve got running the show up in Spring Street.  Tiger Woods should be paying us to provide him with a gig to re-launch his Tawdry career.  And has anyone else noticed how poorly that career is going since the comeback?  It’s almost as though there’s something missing in his makeup don’t you reckon?  Almost as though there’s a change in the chemistry that was the Old Tiger Woods.

Aussie Rules 1.01 – defend the goal at all times.  Some Wrap Subscribers may be old enough to remember when the team lists in the Footy Record (RRT 3d) showed the team’s goal as the defending goal – like in Rugby.  It was some time in the 50’s when it was changed to the attacking goal.  One of Lindsay Thomas’ goals off the back of a goalsquare pack was a classic lesson in how not to guard the goal.  There wasn’t a defender between him and the Big Opening.  Once the ball spilt to the back of the pack it was always going to be one of the livewire forward’s seven majors for the night.

How many of the Bluebagger Faithful have picked up the likeness of Eddie Betts to one of the great personalities of The Game who also pulled on the Old Dark Navy Blue?  I’ll give you a clue.  He played in the 60s & 70s, his initials are SJ and he displayed the same ability to get in the face of the opposition.  (No one likes a smart arse Wrap.  If you mean Syd Jackson, just say Syd Jackson – Ed)

And The Shinboner Faithful would have been stirred by the appearance of a couple of Favourite Sons at the game on Friday.  Phil & Jimmy Krakouer Joined In The Chorus to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Friday Night Football.  And for those watching the highlight reel and are still wondering about the identity of the mullet headed Richmond player who nearly decapitated Phil with a stiff arm challenge – it was the Senior Carringbush Coach in his playing days at Punt Road.

Maggot Watch.  During the North/Carlton game we witnessed the first free ever to be awarded by the emergency umpire, for behind the play roughhouse.  When the bloody hell did that happen?

Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done department.  Maggot Stuart Wenn may find himself called up to the Maggot Central Star Chamber during the week to explain what was going through his mind when he reversed the reversal of a reversed free kick to Alwyn Davey against David Wojcinski for some extracurricular activities in which the two found themselves engaged.  First he paid Davey, then he reversed it and gave the ball to Wojcinski after taking his number.  He then recalled the ball after Wojcinski had taken his kick and gave it to Davey.

Still on Maggot Watch – they’re cruelling one of the best spectacles of The Game – the run-down and the tackle.  Would someone around at Maggot Central please explain how you chase a player with the ball and tackle him without giving away a free kick for in-the- back?  Of course the ball carrier is going to fall over when he’s arms are pinned and the tackler has hit him at pace from behind.  And nine times out of 10 he’s going to pitch forward taking the tackler with him.  All too often a good run-down and tackle are being penalized.  And it risks taking the electrifying chase & tackle out of OGG.

And wasn’t it good to see Triple Beitzel Medal Winner Scott McLaren back with a big match.  His free against Aaron Joseph for ‘in the back’, to Lindsay Thomas dead in front 30m out, was one of the most courageous decisions we’ve seen for a long time.  Later he paid Lachlan Hansen’s half volley mark in almost the same position.  Why he has been so sadly missed from the big stage was demonstrated a short time later, when he paid a similarly dubious diving grab at the other end.  Consistency may not go down too well at Maggot Central, but the Fans love it.  Although he lost marks when Jacobs sat Boomer on his backside in a little bit of foreplay and he blew the whistle.  Come on Scotty, it was only Harvey for krists sake, and he wasn’t bleeding or anything like that.  Even though he’s missed a bit of Footy, we’ve got him as our Harry Beitzel Medal favourite.

So that’s Scott McLaren for the Beitzel, Brendan Goddard for the Brownlow and Jack Riewoldt for the Coleman.

The money thing keeps coming back.  And the hypocrisy.  Abby Sunderland, America’s answer to Jessica Watson, sits alone and attacked for finding herself dis-masted in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  Attacked for sailing at the wrong time of the season and for the cost of the rescue – all $300K of it.  The Mothers of Melbourne are all over her case.  In castigating her for her foolhardiness they conveniently ignoring that Our Jessica was flattened several times in the same waters.  And if $300K is all it costs to get the global exposure for Brand Name Australia, is it starting look as though the Appalling Football League has paid too much for Carmichael Hunt & Izzie Folau?  (And the Vic government for Tiger Wood? – Ed)

Speaking of the Mighty Karmichael, he’s certainly a crowd puller.  The Craigieburn ground management had to order another barrel from the Diggers Rest Pub and send out up to Wallan for extra dogs’ eyes.  The AFL may be patting itself on the back over the media coverage, but from what we saw you’d have to think Guy McKenna has got his hands full with this one.  BTW, just how big’s the Coburg list?  Jordan McMahon was wearing #73.

We caught the Channel Rove News on Saturday and would have to say that while Madam Secretary may not be quite ready to line up at Full Forward for her Beloved Dogs, you’d have to say she’s make a great Club President.  When asked about the possibility real soon of her taking over from Glorious Leader she slipped into overdrive.  “This speculation is, in my view, completely absurd”.  If that’s not Canberra speak for ‘the Club & the Committee are 110% behind the Coach’ I’ll go he for tiggy.

And we can’t let this one slip past without comment.  The tragic Arkansas (USA) floods that left behind a devastated valley and sadly cost 40 lives were described as floods without warning.  We would have thought the 17” (425mm) of rain in 24 hours would have been a bit of a warning.  But it’s always easier after the event., eh?

They were still playing the Tigerland Theme Song over the PA at The G when we were half way to the Jolimont station.  Mrs Wrap said that it makes up for the time a couple of years ago when The Tiges beat Carringbush, and they’d lost the disc.  The LSPRF had to improvise the Yellow&Black war cry, which they did in stunned and scattered groups around The emptying and echoing concrete coliseum.

Caretaker Coach Report.  For those who came in late – the Essendon Camp, concerned that ill informed sections of the public feel that, driven by scurrilous media speculation, Matthew Knight’s role at the Club is to warm the seat for an as yet unnamed successor who has actually played in The Red&Black.  They have nominated their legal representative and senior consultant with Downright Lie & Procrastinate, the venerable Sir Frank Downright, as spokesperson on matters relating to the coaching staff.  Now read on – Not his fault Bombers lost to a Geelong that came to play……Reckon Bombers did as well as they could—gave it a red hot go.  But clearly time for decisions at selection table.  McVeigh on to ball as suggested by Lloydy because he can play.  Welsh back to backline because he is a very honest player but nothing other than a defender.  Dyson to Bendigo because after 6 years at the Club he is nothing other than a battler.  So  for this week the coach gets a 6 out of 10 but only because Bombers were playing Geelong and I reckon he should have learnt a few things about his team which I expect to be addressed at selection this week. (So who’s coaching the team Sir Frank – Lloydy or Knighta?– Ed)

Velvet Fog Watch.  On Friday night, after an act of inspiration from North’s Skipper – “He’s the man who puts the ‘oo’ in Kangaroos”.  He can’t possibly rehearse those lines, or surely he would drop some of them before Game Day.

Picking up Friday’s fish at the Camberwell Market this week brought the World Game into focus.  The stalls were decked out in the GoldenGreen of The WideBrownLand and Socceroos Scarves were everywhere.  In a blind act of solidarity we set our alarm for 0400 hours on Monday.  We won’t do that again.  What is it with the human memory?  After ever Bear Market we swear off speculative investment, then ride the next Bull Market with all the enthusiasm of a drunken cowboy.  Likewise soccer.  We remember taking the pledge after the last World Cup Circus, but here we were again, eyelids held up with fishhooks.

So how many of us joined the Socceroos on the couch at 4am on a holiday Monday?  We will admit to having a hangover from Jumping Jack Riewoldt’s lazy 10-goal bag, but as hard as we tried we just couldn’t get into the World Game.  Jack kicked more in a quarter than the Socceroos look like kicking in the whole tournament.  It only took 8 minutes for all the old doubts to creep back in.  By the 55th minute, Tim Cahill had been sent off by the notorious card flasher, maggot Marco Rodriguez, for a tackle he clearly tried to pull out of.  And when Maggot Marco missed a Deutschland hand ball in the Green&Gold penalty box that settled it.  And what’s with the navy strips?  Frank Lowry should have told the FIFA that Australia plays in Green & Gold.  The Germans won 4-0 and received countless Palme d’Or nominations.  So on to Ghana without Tim Cahill, and we suspect Harry Kewell.  They’ll have to dig deep to avoid a straight sets exit.  But they’re really going to have to do something about the flies over there; they were deafening.  (Never mind Jumping Jack’s lazy 10 Wrap – there was more heart stopping exciting in one Quarter of Our Great Game in the QB Blockbuster than they’re likely to see in three weeks of action in Seth Freaking Africa, unless they let the lions lose in the terraces of course – Ed)

Other overseas’ news and Llil Lleyton beat the Fed in a Wimbledon lead up tourney and the Wallabies trounced the Lions.  Emma Snowsill edged out Arch Rival & fellow Banana Bender Emma Moffatt in the World’s richest women’s triathlon event ($236K) in Des Moine USA.  Casey Stoner stayed on his bike to finish midfield and Mark Weber will be rueing the home straight blunder in the Turkish GP as he relinquishes the drivers’ Championship lead to Louis Hamilton when the Englishman took the chequered flag in Canada and Weber finished 5th.

Hey, just how much money are The Bagmen making?  Bet 247 are offering ½ your money back on a losing bet.  Now there’s a target for Glorious Leader’s tax Nazis.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who dived & delved in Round XII.

The Shinboners v The Silvertails. That Top Four Finish seems a bit further away with every round for The Flaky Bluebaggers.  The look on Judd’s face as he walked off the ground suggested he knew this mob weren’t going to deliver him another Flag.  And they’re certainly not going to win one with Waite & O’hAilpin in the key forward positions.  (And to think they cleared Kennedy & Fevola – Ed)  By the time Thomas had kicked his third and The Roos led by 47 to 9, Lethal was picked up on the effect’s mike intoning, “They’re going to be hard to beat from here”.  And so it proved.  At times The Blues looked like they were coming back – which is not the same as coming – but the Scott Thomas led Shinboner Defence stood tall.  Doctor Barry’s therapeutic head massage appears to have worked.  He’s given up the silly stuff and is a much better footballer for it.  And didn’t the Arden Street Faithful bring down the Gasometer when Thomas kicked his 7th?  Even more so when Boomer chipped in with one.  Make no mistake – Coach Bradley has got them playing Committed Football and they have TTSA.  The Friday Night Pharaohs have The Power From Port on the Shifting Sands of Ethelred Oval next Sunday for the early one.  The Ever Coming Miseries play Freo at the same venue on the Saturday night.

The Mayblooms v The Pride of South Australia.  This was an outcome that would have sent a collective shudder down the spine of The Competition.  They only needed two quarters of Football to beat their opponents four quarter score.  Their 1st & Final Quarters totalled 13-8 (86).  The Crows managed 11-11 (77) all day.  The Hawthorn # 33 was at his dynamic best and finished with three majors, as did his fellow forwards Roughie, Buddy and the Club’s Spiritual Leader.  Make no mistake here, The Mustard Pots are BIT.  In the last five weeks they’ve gone from Cellar Dweller to The Eight and lifted their percentage into the black.  It doesn’t seem so long ago that they played a Wooden Spoon Decider against the hot favourites Richmond and just missed out on allowing The Tiges their first win of the season.  Since then they have fought out a couple of tight finishes against The Bloods up there & Port Adelaide at THOF, and smashed Carlton and now Adelaide.  The Chardonnays, to be perfectly honest, were a rabble and the final score actually flattered them.  Freefall is an ugly word, however, it is a word they will be finding heading the back page columns of The Other Advertiser on Monday morning.  They get a chance to re-group at Crow Park against The Fuchsias in the second half of the split round.  The Hawks drag Essendon away from the Shifting Sands and indoor comfort of The Dumb for the Pipeopener on The Hallowed Turf next weekend.

The Baby Bombers Mk III v The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires. If you want to measure yourself for Season 2010 just invite The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires up to town for a Saturday night soirée.  The Dons slammed home the 1st goal of the game in the opening passage of play and the 46,358 crowd of fans, punters & SOTG crammed under the roof at Docklands rippled in anticipation of a new dawn at Whingy Hill.  It proved to be a false dawn.  The Reigning Premiers slammed on three goals in as many minutes and you could hear those Rolls Royce Merlin engines driving The Bombers Towards The Premiership Flag splutter.  That they recovered and, for want of a true boot from Gumbleton, would have hit the front at one stage is a credit to them.  However, the crash & burn awaited them, and by the end of the night they were 12 goals in arrears of their guests.  The bottom line is that Essendon aren’t up to standard.  They made some terrible blunders, which may have been the pressure from their opponents or they may have been dazzled by the limelight of the occasion.  Although you’d have expected Matty Lloyd’s Full Back of The Century to have been able to handle Geelong’s Rookie Recruit of Year.  But Tripper Fletcher wasn’t the only Bomber to have his colours lowered.  Only Michael Hurley, off the hook for abusing a taxi driver, won on the night.   The Caretaker has a week to get his Marshmallows hardened up for what is shaping up as a season defining match against The Family Club next round on the Friday night.  The Moggies have the 2009 GF replay on the G in the 2nd Friday night match of the split round.

The Power From Port v The Sydney Bloods.  This was it for The Chokers.  Before 20,106 of their Tormented Faithful they had to give them hope, which they did in the Opening Stanza when they booted four straight to lead The Swans at the 1st Change.  But that was close to half the sum total of their night.  They managed 4-7 for the rest of the match and looked a sorry bunch indeed.  Winter at Alberton Oval can be a miserable time, and our hearts go out to those who have to endure it.  The Swanees are in The Eight, less than 2% behind The Miseries and level on points.  And they got there without anyone noticing.  They have a night game out at Homebush on Saturday week against The Pies, which should answer some questions about both teams.  The Tealers come across to Play Good Old North Melbourne in the early one next Sunday.

The Richmond Tigers v The West Coast Eagles.  With Jumping Jack Riewoldt priming the pump with a lazy five in the Opening Stanza, The Tigers had the Eagles under it all day.  By the timed he’d nailed his 8th major the chant of Riiichoh was ringing round the ground.  But it was more than Jack’s 10-goal haul that ignited the Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful.  Under Triple Premiership Full Back Justin Leppitsch’s tuition, Brett Delidio has finally matured into a solid CHB and defence organizer.  The midfield has developed a real edge with recruits Dusty Martin & Trent Cotchin and old hands Mark Jackson & Shane Tuck.  Shane Edwards & Jake King, previously fringe players, have matured under Coach Hardnose and the whole team has lifted.  Underestimate The New Tigers of Old at your peril is the message the tom toms are beating across the Deep Woods of Struggletown.  As for the vanquished, there seems no redemption for The Weagles.  After their good showing against, admittedly the Sleepy Hollow Millionaires, last week, they entered this match as equal favourites.  By the Kia Ora Cordial Citrus Huddle they were quoted at $200.  There were no redeeming features of their game and Woosher, after so much was expected of his charges this season, has got, like the boy with the barrow, the job in front of him.  They have The Sons of The West over in The West to close off the first weekend of Round XIII.  Richmond have The Bad News Bears up under the palms on the Saturday night.

The Kennel Coughs v The Brisbane Lions.  The Dishlickers lifted their percentage into the 120s and are just a game outside the Top Four after their demolition of Vossy’s Lions on Sunday.  Bulldog Barry led from the front with a 6-goal haul and provided a forward target.  He opened up the forward line and typified the New Look Footscray the cerebral Rocket has designed for them.  Giving away the fancy possession game that has had them looking like Chihuahuas so far this season, The Bulldogs bit and roared their way to an 11-goal win over The Hapless Coasters.  Ever wasteful in front of goal, they kicked 17-19.  In a contest in which they held all the high ground, you could be excused for thinking they could have had time to steady in front of goal.  The Tamed Lions skulk back to The Lion Cage to prepare themselves for the Battle of The Big Cats next Saturday night.  The Doggies are off to Perth against The Coasters for the late one next Sunday.

The Barry Crockers v The Feeling Faints.  The F word is gaining currency.  It has nothing to do with paying for it Nurelle – and we all know what you think of those sorts of girls thank you.  From Purple Horde to Purple Pretenders in two easy lessons.  First it was the over confident trip to the City of Light, now it’s Last Year’s Reigning Runners-up at home in front of 37,569 Fremantle Faithful and a smattering of Junction Oval True Believers.  And who better to lead the charge than Nasty Milne.  Fired not doubt by Coach Kornflake’s stinging observations, he converted 13 possessions into 4-1 and made the St Kilda forward line a dangerous place for the ball to be.  It could be said that the Sheedy protégé coach at Freo outsmarted himself with the mind games: the chartered jet dig and instructions to get inside the heads of the Saint Kilda players.  And it could be time to put the Hayden Ballantyne joker back in the pack for a bit. The match developed into a low scoring affair as games against The Saints tend to be, and goals were hard won, which makes Stinky’s four a solid contribution.  The Dockers tried hard all day but they couldn’t crack The Saints defence or contain their damaging midfield.  It didn’t help that Pavlich was held, by his standards, all day.  Brendan Goddard was BoG again and two of Saint Kilda’s reinvented rejects just keep keeping on: Farren Ray & Adam Schneider.  They’re in the Top Four and have Geelong at THOF Friday fortnight for the GF Replay.  The Barry Crockers have the other Biggest Loser at the Boutique next Saturday night.  (I would have thought The Socceroos 4 zip drubbing in Durban would have made them the Biggest Loser of the weekend – Ed)

The Redlegs v The Magpies.  Say what you like, but the Blockbuster between these two Arch Rivals always seems to live up to its name.  Once more they presented our Gracious Queen with a birthday present for the annals.  Sure Carringbush should have won.  After all, they had 22 chances to nail it.  So why didn’t they?  One of the Melbourne plays from the kick-in down the wing that resulted in a goal, the play that included Jetta & Davey, and the Carringbush counter attack, said it all.  They were sure and bold, Aaron Davey holding back the handpass was beautiful to watch.  The poise, the timing and the execution, all done at breakneck speed.  From the wing they centred the ball and Brad Green scored.  When it came to Collingwood’s turn to claw back the six points, Neon, finishing the thrust from the corridor, drove the ball deep into the pocket for the hard pressed Cloke to spill an awkward pass across the boundary.  SOTG & September coaches would have noticed Carringbush’s tendency to play wide when pressured; and make no mistake, The Demons applied plenty of it.  This is a team on the move.   And as you know, we’re not afraid of the Big Statements here in Wrapland.  You heard it first here – Richmond & Melbourne will play a major role in who holds aloft the silverware on TLSIS within three years.  It wasn’t Golly Josh Fraser’s fault that the two Magpie defenders in that fateful moment in front of the Melbourne goal were shepherded out of the contest, but it was his responsibility to mark the Melbourne # 40 .  BTW, who is that #40 for Melbourne?   (It’s the player you said wouldn’t play in a Melbourne Premiership team Wrap; only close to BoG yesterday.  – Ed)  And who didn’t silently ride that across-the-body shot of the Melbourne #4 as he hoicked it from wide in the pocket when the match was there to be won?  Both sides play away in the 2nd leg of Round XIII.  The Pies are up in Steak & Kidney.  The Redlegs are to visit the Free Settlers.

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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