What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Hawks and The Saints split the difference in an absolute thriller on Friday Night.  Collingwood & The Pussies improved their percentage at the expense of the respective Jungle Cats they were drawn to play.  Carlton & Essendon both broke losing runs against West Coast & North.

Come Sunday and the Fred Hesse Annihilation Scoreboard continued.  The Doggies exposed The Barry Crockers and moved up into the Top Four.  Jimmy’s Redlegs announced The Grand Old Flag is flying from the masthead and The Power oxidized The Chardonnays to put to any Free Settler September ambitions into perspective.

Are we alone in noticing a trend here – that the interstate clubs are falling off the pace as we near the business end if the season?  Which possibly makes Vossy’s comments revealing.  Probably not realizing the implications of his remark, he referred to the Heartland of The Game; and how they can fly under the radar in the non-football states like QLD & NSW.  Which is handy if you’re not flying well.  But it also means your not under any media or supporter scrutiny.  Which means you drop off the Back Page to somewhere between the lacrosse results and a picture of Jana Pitman breast feeding a Somalian refugee baby.  For an Aussie Rules team to regain a Back Page listing in Brissy or Steak & Kidney you have to be a winner, which, based on current trends, would suggest pouring money and draft picks into them.  Could the cynical amongst us be excused for suspecting – as to pour more money into The Lions & The Swans would cause a revolt in the Traditional States – that the Suns & the GWS Sheedys are nothing more than stalking horses for the Appalling Football League’s assault on the northern markets?  (Are you suggesting we should wait for the amalgamation 10 years down the track when the Swans & The Lions are basket cases Wrap? – Ed)

So it’s The Gold Coast Suns is it?  Who else amongst The Punters, The Pundits, The Long Suffering Faithful and Students of The Game are singularly unimpressed?  By their name, their netball outfits and their primary school rah rah song?  Look, we all accept that Surface Paradise is a bit different from the rest of the country – that’s why we go up there – for a little bit of fantasy, for a weekend or so of unreality, however The Gold Coast Suns look one Wally World too far for this little black duck.  But let’s see how it all unfolds.  Some have said there’s going to be tears.  And seeing it will be The Long Suffering Footy Public who’ll be underwriting this Handy Andy adventure, it’ll be us who’ll be shedding them.  (I bet you’ll change your tune if they re-introduce the long-legged cheer squad Wrap – Ed)  Okay, the Sunbirds would help, about s much as the Bluebirds and the Swanettes helped – both their teams and The Game.

We’ve had a couple of high profile interchange flags go up recently.  One when Freo were hauling in The Young Tigers and had drawn level.  The resultant Tiger goal led to three more Richmond shots on goal for a solid 19 point win.  The other occurred on Friday and resulted in Hawthorn’s chances of a Top Four Finish being, if not shattered, severely cracked.  We’re not talking game influencing extra presence on the ground here; just a few miss-judged seconds at best.  What’s it matter?  It’s like the hands touching the back.  You can elbow or chest a player squarely in the back to out position him, but if he’s falling back on you, or you just need to maintain touch with him you’re pinged.  Now that would be acceptable – reluctantly acceptable.  But is it enforced each time it happens in the heat of battle?  No it’s not.  Let’s by quite clear about this, The Rules of Our Great Game, and how they are interpreted need a major overhaul.  And if that includes stopping the game on challenge for goal umpiring decisions – say two a match from each side – so be it.  There are just too many blatant errors in this department for it to continue.  And do we have to keep on about it?  That it’s going to cost someone a Flag one day?

And speaking of the maggoting, Our Great Game is in danger of joining Rugby Union, where not even the players have the slightest idea of why the whistle is blown.  How many ruck contests did you see over the weekend, in which neither contesting goliath had the slightest idea who would be thrown the ball when the whistle blew?

What ever you think of the Caretaker Coach out at Whingy Hill, you have to give him full credit for guts, if not for his wisdom.  After a compromised win against the weakened North, he’s talking up his team’s chances against Ladder Leaders and talking down those who dare to criticise its direction.   In our phrase book fortune favours the brave– not the reckless.

As proof we’re not sure the Appalling Football League would welcome in their bid to convert the knuckle draggers to Aussie Rules, the G&L Mardi Gras has swung into top gear and the organizers, jointly sponsored by Uncle Toby’s Wild Oats the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, have offered a trophy for the best Akka float.  We like the Whitten Oval entrant.  Based on that Old Blue Eyes standard, we think it has every chance.  Can’t you just see Prez Smorgy, Rocket and The Boys belting this one out from under their fedoras?

Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone,

Oh, honey though our friendship ceases, from now on;

And, listen, if you can’t say anything real nice,

It’s better not to talk at all, is my advice.

We’re parting, you go your way I’ll go mine,

it’s best that we do;

Here’s a kiss! I hope that this brings lots of luck to you.

Makes no difference how I carry on,

Remember, please don’t talk about me when I’m gone.

Overseas and The Baggy Greens fall apart at the seams.  The drawn series with Pakistan had the locals talking Ashes Series, and from what we saw, the To & Froms have reason to be confident.  The Wallabies were more successful, trouncing a Springbok outfit 30-13.

And Mark Webber must be rueing those two crashes when in unassailable positions on the Asian leg of the F1 Circus.  Ferrari are back on the podium and he’s losing ground from the starting grid.  Lined up at 4th for the drop of the Chequered Flag, he finished 6th.  The Jeyden Window of Opportunity may not be the only one closing.

But enough of my gabbin.  The XVIIth Round has been and gone.  Let’s see who got the gong?

The Feeling Faints v The Mustard Pots.  For the 2nd game in a fortnight The Mustard Pots all but had it sown up only to let the Four Points slip through their fingers.  In a character building four rounds since Round XII, young Hawkers have cheered their team to a thrilling two point win over The Doggies, watched in despair as they went down to TRP by the same margin, revelled in belt the living bejesus out of Vossy’s Maroons, and to cap it all off, had to endure the spirit sapping draw on Friday Night.  Still up beat, the talk around Ausdoc Oval is very much One Week At A Time.  The St Kilda Skipper looked the better for the run of the previous week, and with a soft run home, in which they only meet Bottom Eight teams, their Double Chance & Home Final seem assured.  The 1st of these is The Bombers on Friday Night at their shared cow paddock.  The Hawks slip over to the City of Light for a Saturday night bash with The New Power House in SA Footy.

Collingwood v Richmond.  This was a David & Goliath contest, and just to prove replays can produce different results, Goliath won this one in one of the most one sided matches of the season.  The sun appears to have shifted up to the Gold Coast and left Richmond lamentably in the darkness of the Jungle once more.  They were stilted coming out of defence and their attack lacked variety.  Like The Tigers if Old, they were predictable – kick it long to Royce Richo Jack.  Jack had six shots on goal for 2-2-2.  You could tell when he was taking a shot – the booing of the sportsmen like Carringbush Faithful rose to vuvuzela pitch.  The Black&White Army in full cry is indeed a frightening howl.  And The Competition has reason to be afraid – very afraid.  Mick’s Magpies treated a committed, but mostly unskilful, Richmond like so many yellow & black witches hats at a training drill.  This Victoria Park Outfit could go all the way in 2010.  The maggoting was as confusing as ever, but in a match as lopsided as this one was, no one got very excited about that.  And with a crowd of 66,727, you can see why the Appalling Football League wants The Might Maggies to play at The Home of Football every Saturday Arvo, eh?  The Pies are back for another Traditional Rival next Saturday Arvo when they roll out the blood-red carpet for The Silvertails.  The Tiges have Adelaide at the same venue for the early one on Sunday.

The Handbags v The Gorillas.  The Cats were slicker, surer and superior in every department.  Luke Power knocked up getting kicks but after him and Rockcliff there was hardly anyone putting in for The Visitors.  Joel Selwood didn’t do his Brownlow chances any harm and The Sun’s Captain In Waiting slotted five majors.  (No Nurelle, that’s the Gold Coast Sun, not the Herald Sun – Ed)  The Pivotonians head north to ANZ Stadium to take on The Bloods next Saturday night.  For The Brisbane Bears it’s The Fuchsias up at the Lions’ Den.

NMFC v The Born To Rule Bombers.   The Roos lost playmaker Daniel Wells just before the game started and had to replace Pratt & Grima in the selected team.  Full back Thompson played in mourning for his father who passed away during the week and Hansen turned his ankle in the 1st Quarter.  But in true Shinboner Spirit, they fought on regardless.  The Bombers won this one, and no one will be more relieved than their Caretaker Coach, but with two umpiring decisions – one field and one goal – undoubtedly favouring them, the question has to be asked – did they really win?  They’ll take the Four Points of course, and while here at The Wrap we bear them nothing but goodwill, SOTG, based on the performance and circumstances, would admonish any talk of a Bomber Revival as grossly premature.  They host Saint Kilda to open proceedings for Round XVIII.  The Kangaroos, their September Chances barely alive, have The Tricolours at Ethelred on Sunday at the traditional time.

The West Coast Eagles v The Team That Never Let’s You Down.  By the Long Break it was looking as though the Persil Whites’ season was fading to black.  The Coasters were playing as they were expected to play all season and The Miseries just weren’t in the hunt.  However, like any Champion Team, they saved their best Footy for The Championship Quarter.  The Veteran Scotland, Simpson, Murphy and Judd all fired-up.  Expeditious Eddie lifted the attack and they boarded the redeye with the much-needed Four Points in the bag.  Their trial by ordeal continues as they test themselves against The Woodsmen at THOF next Saturday at the traditional time.  The Weagles have The Derby to close off the Round XVII proceedings.

The Boys of The Bulldog Breed v the Barry Crockers.  Nine snaggers to three in the Opening Stanza said it all.  The Anchormen weren’t in the hunt from then on.  In fact they may be the hunted from herein.  After The Derby next Sunday, their remaining matches are all against Top Eight sides except the one against North Melbourne.  Without Munday (& Barlow) they looked threadbare in the midfield and their Round XXI match against The Hawks could see them lose home final advantage.  In fact, they need to win one more game to secure a September Berth. As for The Bullies, they looked cherry ripe.  They don’t have the easiest run home.  Starting with North at their shared paddock next Round they have matches against Adelaide at Crow Park, The Cats on the Shifting Sands, The Swans up there and finish off with The Marshmallows.  It’s not over till Joffa dons the lamée, but on form they should hold their hard earned Top Four position.

The Demons v The Lakers.  Hearts Are Beating True For The Red & The Blue once more and all those six year olds who chose The Grande Olde Flag back in the 50s & 60s can look forward to a new era.  They totally blitzed South Melbourne in a match that looked very much like out with the old and in with the new.  The Demons attack on the pigskin was ferocious and they have some exciting youngsters coming on, none more impressive than James Frawley.   With games to come against Brissy up there on Saturday night, followed by their Co-tenants, Hawthorn, Port & North, Jimmy’s Redlegs should see The Grande Olde Flag at the masthead again before the season ends.  The picture isn’t nearly as encouraging for The Sydneysiders.   They have three home games from the last five rounds, but they’re against Geelong – staring next weekend – Hawthorn & The Dogs.  Their travel arrangements are for The Gabba and Fremantle.  Based on Sunday’s effort, oblivion beckons.

The Power v The Crows.  BKIBF.  With so much at stake you’d expect more from The Pride of South Australia wouldn’t you?  And there was a Final’s Berth up for grabs as well, eh?  As a warning to anyone who still has Port Adelaide as part of their remaining fixture, they’re BIT under Matthew Primus, make no mistake.  And what a way to farewell one of The Power’s Favourite Sons & Loyal Servant of The Club?  Josh Carr, for your absolute fearlessness and fairness, The Football World salutes you.   Welcome back from the brink Chokers, but the set shot misses by The Chardonnays would make a master class reel of how to blow a season.  With the defeats of North & South Melbourne opening the door to September, Coach Craig lamented his young charges’ inability to cope with last week’s victory over TRP.  He even laid blame.  Some of the less generous SOTG may be so bold as to suggest that, as head coach, that’s your job Neil: getting their feet back on terra firma after a Famous Victory.  We certainly hope The Addy is forthright enough to point this out.  Our delivered copy is the interstate edition and only carries AFL stories on The Crows if they win.  They renew their desperate lunge at September against The Tiges in the early one on Sunday at THOF.  They then have The Dogs at Crow Park, The Bad News Bears up under the palms, Carringbush on the MCG (Of course – Ed) and close off the H&A season against The Feeling Faints back in Adelaide.  The Tealers are JTIOWAAT.  They have Hawthorn in the Shadows of Mt Lofty on Saturday Arvo.

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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