THE WRAP – ROUND XXI

WHERE LIFE IMITATES SPORT

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  The Sainters tested themselves against the Mighty Magpie Machine and came up a bit short.  (Maybe even a long way bit short – Ed)  The Tullamarine Jetstars served up the Biff to The Dishlickers, and in the process, well and truly greased the rails upon which The Glenferrie Rocket is sitting.  Brissy proved what we all suspected, The Metermaids are looking a bit sunburnt as the days draw longer.  The Blues let The Dockers into the contest toward the end, but it was all over long before then.  And The Family Club won a friendly against a Port Adelaide Hoteliers Sunday League representative team.

Come Sunday and it was West Coast’s turn to play Melbourne, which they duly did.  The Tigers Of Old turned up at The G to rock Sydney all the way back to Coathanger Bay, and The Pussies used up a life to scrape home in the City of Churches.

Is there life after Football?  You’d have to think Mickey the Maltster is of that view.  The other day he gave a press conference in front of the Carringbush backdrop – the one with all the sponsors names emblazoned on it.  Up there with Emirates was of course Adidas.  So why was Coach Brewery wearing a sweatshirt with a puma on the collar.  And on Friday night he’d obviously been to Coles & Garrard to cash in on the buy one get one free offer.  He and Assistant Coach Mark Neeld sported matching spectacle frames through the night.  Plain lenses of course, but the message still got across.  Is there life after Football?  It appears there could be for some.

Did you catch the Appalling Football League promo for The GWS Innovations during the long break during Friday’s telecast?  Or did you slip out for a few buckets of the latest appetizing KFC offer?  You hung about?  We’re impressed.  What did you glean from it?  That Sheeds lives in Park Orchards, which is the same distance from the Bleak City CBD as The Goliaths’ home ground is from Sydney’s CBD?  Empathy with the multi-ethnicity of Western Sydney?  That’s nice.  Except that Park Orchards is a verdant enclave of bush blocks in the Leafy East, an enclave homogonously Skip, right down to its last jar of Vegemite.

And were you one of those to whom Coach Mumbles was referring when he told us that a lot of people said he wouldn’t be able to handle coaching again?  “That’s where we want them to see me”, quipped the Master Plumber.  Pure Sheedy.  We look forward to more pronouncements from Breakfast Point as the campaign of Self Delusion builds for Season 2012.

And while the tag The Giants may connote an irresistible force, The Bogans might be a more suitable moniker.  He’s already dubbed The Bloods the Vaucluse Swans and he said Kafka’s hometown was as boring as dog turds.  “There was nothing to do.  There were hardly any pubs, no TABs.  I’d rather be in Penrith”.  Thus the coaching mastermind dismissed the home of Emil Zátopeck and Martina Navratilova; the city that inspired Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to write some of his most celebrated works.  Better make that The Jolly Giant Bogans.

Somewhere in a land far, far away in the dimly lit past it was written that one should be wary of Greeks bearing gifts.  That this message has persisted down the ages suggests that there is some fundamental truth in the warning.

Which leads to today’s homily.  Our Great Game is built on deeply seated tribalism.  Nothing more, nothing less.  A xenophobic hatred of the other Tribes, tempered with the philosophy of a fair go.  The first fine Sunday, pump up the tyres on the Malvern Star and ride from Footscray to St Kilda via North Melbourne, Essendon, Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Melbourne, Richmond, Hawthorn, & South Melbourne.  With an early start, and even with a break for a latte at the Puckle St Pâtisserie you’ll be down in Acland Street for a late lunch.  If you’re initiating grandchildren into the geography of Our Great City you could travel by tram & train.  Every ground had it’s own stop(s).  There was another Tribe, Geelong, that lived in a far away corner of The Bay.  These were the Original 12 Tribes, and it was for your Tribe you’d walk through fire.  It was said that the two most powerful people in Richmond were the priest at St Ignatius and the coach at Punt Road – although not necessarily in that order.

Now that the Tribes have been scattered, what have we got?  The Swans play out of Sin City & Fitzroy out of Brisbane.  The Junction Oval Seagulls train at Moorabbin but are soon to drift even further down The Bay to Frankston.  The Hawks play over in Tassy and have moved camp from the narrow confines of Glenferrie Oval with its art deco grandstand out to Waverly in the Shadows of Mt Dandenong.  Even Traditionalist Power House Essendon are fleeing their North Essendon vantage point for a no-expense-spared re-development out on the basalt plains of Tullamarine.  Collingwood have left Carringbush and The Yarra Falls End to set up on Gosch’s Paddock and at the Old Olympic Pool Glasshouse.  And we can’t play a mid-week game of bowls and slip up to the bar for quick whisky & soda to catch a glimpse of The Lads going through their paces; they’re out at Casey Fields, near where Tommy Woodcock cared for Phar Lap and trained Reckless.

True, The Game has changed.  Ron Barassi said back in the late 60’s that The Game would become professional one day, and it has.  It’s faster and the skill levels are extreme.  Look back on some old footage.  Classics such as the 1967 GF.  The match is archaic by modern standards, but does that make Freddy Swift’s game-saving mark on the goal line any less exciting?  Or Polly Farmers’ shirt front on Paddy Guinane any less solid.  (Well, at the pace they moved in those days of two on the bench and no interchange, yes. – Ed)  Or Royce Hart’s screamer over Peter Walker when Roy West went down the guts with his kick-in in those desperate closing minutes.  Fast forward to 1989 and The Cats are back in TLSIS, this time against The Too Old Too Slow But Extremely Unsociably Hawks.  What went down that day would have had the invertebrates at the Star Chamber reviewing the tapes of the match till Christmas, and see both sides battling to field a full team till the Queen’s Birthday round the following season.

So what have we lost, and what have we gained?  Sure it’s more comfortable to watch at the ground, and the TV coverage is spectacular.  But is that part of the problem?  The Game has become a spectacle rather than a Clash of Twelve Tribes?  Who is going to care whether or not Port Adelaide continue in The Competition, other than those itching to have a crack at them to boost their percentage?  Certainly not the Nigels who have moved there from North Terrace to push the gentrification of the once gritty watersider and seafaring community, the fiercely loyal community that once made the Black&White Jailbird Bars of Port Adelaide the most hated and fearsome Guernsey in the land.  Once the cuteness of the Gold Coast Kindergarten wears off, who’s going to give a rat’s tossbag about their plight?  And when we tire of the Bogan whimsicality of Coach Mumbles, who’s going to stud the boots and weave the run-through out in Panther Country?  Which brings us back to where we came in.   Beware ??? ??????? ??? ????? ????.

Maggot Watch – As always, it was hard to split them this week.  We liked the firm no-nonsense whistle on Friday night’s GF Replay Clash.  There were some beauties, and here we have to commend the drama coach around at the Lexus Centre.  Nick Maxwell milked a free with one of the most graceful slumps you’d ever want to see when Kossy and he had a discussion on the merits of early 6th Century BC Tuscan poetry.  There were others, but so expertly executed you have to watch the slomo replay to pick them up.  And it’s assumed we’ll see more of it next season under Coach Fig Jam.  Andy Krakouer slipping his neck into Icon Zac’s embrace was as much about body awareness as stage craft, but that little bit extra was something, that sincerity of occasion Robert Helpmann made his own, had the Iconic One hanging his head in bewilderment.  But Tazza’s shepherd on Kossy, what’s the beef there.  A good old fashioned shoulder shepherd that dropped the big #23 like a burst bag of wheat.  Please, please, please don’t let the Mothers of Melbourne take that out of The Game.

Over in the Land of The Great Unwashed there’s been a baton change.  That’s right folks, The Flannelled Fools Warnie and Ou Ah used to used to beat up with monotonous regularity have gone three-zip against The Curry Munchers and taken the mantle of World’s # 1 Test Team.  While we congratulate our English cousins, we can only lament the state of The Baggy Green and speculate why Andrew Hilditch is still Chairman of Selectors.

While we’re over in Europe, we doffs our lid to Casey Stoner for his win in the Czech MotoGP.  Held at Brno – where they managed to design and manufacture some of the finest small bore rifles in the World without a pub on every 2nd corner and a betting shop on every other one Kevin – Our Casey won by 6 seconds after passing the defending champ Jorge Lorenzo on the 3rd last lap.  Go you Aussie Good Thing.  Put a gap in ‘em.

But enough of my persiflage, let’s see who were the guns in Round XXI.

St Kilda v Collingwood.  First off, let’s put paid to the rumour going around that Saint Kilda were foxing; just testing themselves; not wanting to give too much away.  Let’s look at this theory and measure the historical evidence against what we witnessed on Friday night.  Nasty Milne once more demonstrated that he is, as Doubtful Thomas insists, a flat track bully.  Kossy was his usual lumbering-giant self.  Icon Zac had us with our hearts in our mouths every time the play came near him.  Adam Schneider will concuss himself one day if he keeps slapping his forehead after every misses an opportunity.  And they’ve worked out to double tag St Riewoldt off the bench.  Collingwood worked out their game plan and executed it with brutal efficiency.  The St Kilda Coach, of whom it must be said has a great future in the media, was honest in his appraisal.  “Our finish inside 50 has got to get better.  We had plenty of opportunities but we slaughtered the ball.  They took their chances; we didn’t take ours.  It’s got to be about the basics – punching from the zone, lowering your eyes, shepherding correctly, (Was he talking about Tazza or Icon Zac here? – Ed) winning the 50/50s, working really hard.  It’s been a great contest, but their skills have been the difference”.  Their skills have been the difference.  You could have knocked me down with half a brick.  Their skills have been the difference.  Go on with you Rossy.  Their skills have been the difference?  Who would have thought …….  You have to believe it gives us no great joy to have to write this, but Carringbush are a very, very, very good side.  They have talent to burn – that Tasolo, where do they keep finding them? – and a Self Belief that builds to an intensity that breaks down other sides until they’re a gibbering mess.  The Feeling Faints matched it with The Pies for half a game, but despite the Incumbent Carringbush Coach’s apparent fury at his charges’ late match lapse of concentration, The Saints were all at sea in the 2nd half.  They have a trip to the Other Olympic Park next Sunday for the early one in an Eight Pointer that could define their season.  The Woodsmen, with memories of the tearful grand Final and the drubbing that followed the next year, are back at Victoria Park to welcome The Victorious Brisbane Lions.

The Family Club v The Friendless Chokers.  This was the Buddy & Junior show.  The new Batman & Robin.  A nice little practice run for The Mustard Pots before next Friday night’s Class of the Bitter Enemies.  A clash that will be watched closely from Perth.  The Three Esses made it to the better player list for Hawthorn – Suckling, Shiels & Smith, and Slammen Sammy Mitchell would have had to have collected a vote or three for a 33 possession performance – 13 of which were contested.  The Chokers?  You reckon it’s going to take some funding to get GWS & the GCFC up to speed.  Port are beyond being a basket case; the word clinical would be sure to find a certain resonance amongst thinking wordsmiths.  We’ll all be hanging out to hear how the Ayatollah spins it after the much vaunted circuit of his extended empire.  Next Sunday Port host the equally challenged Bulldogs over at Footy Park..

The Barry Crockers v The Silvertails.  Just when you think they’re The Dangerous Dockers they morph back into Flaky Freo.  Or Are The Rattzbaggers just that good?  To be fair, injury has taken its toll on The Stevedores, and 2011 looks a season too far from here.  Big Laurie wasn’t really ready to come back, but for the desperate straights his team was in, he pulled on the boots over his injured toe.  This was their 2nd thumping at home by an interstate team in three weeks, and their 3rd thumping on the trot since their narrow loss to the WCE.  It must be hard on the Long Suffering Fremantle Faithful, but their future is in their own hands.  The Silvertails are building for September and some Blues Brothers may feel justified in putting off the spring cleaning of the holiday house until after the 2nd week of October.  The Blues next test themselves against The Mayblooms on Friday night.  The Purple Guys battle it out under cover for Glorious Ninth against the Shinboners on the Sunday arvo.

The Western Dishlickers v Essendon.  Just how good is this Bomber Hird?  But we shouldn’t take anything away from their opposition; they were a bloody shambles.  Rocket knows what’s coming, and it’s fair to say he shouldn’t be surprized.  With Adelaide moving to the Picturesque Adelaide Oval and Melbourne’s supposedly promising list beckoning, there’s sure to be life after Footscray for someone as well credentialed as Rodney Rocket Eade.  Which brings us to the Marshmallows.  The Much Maligned Stanton had 39 touches on Saturday night to overshadow his Skipper and David Zaharakis who notched up 50 between them.  It should be noted however, that they shared equally 32 contested possessions in that tally.  With Hurley back on the paddock and the Coaching Committee at Whingy Hill finally working out where Paddy Ryder plays best – looking straight ahead down alongside Professor Gadget – they are starting to make a mark.  Their mid-season slump ruling out any chance of a Top Four Finish, they’re sure to make it through to the 2nd Round of the Finals Series.  We’ll know more about them after they’ve faced the challenge of The Weagles on the Balmy Shores of Oceania Indicus next Saturday.  The Yap Yaps face an equally daunting challenge: Port at home.  Lose this and watch the Stands at Whitten Oval wobble.  (Before they fall on the Coaching Panel Wrap? – Ed)

The Brisbane Loins v The Gold Coast Sunshines.  TLSPRF will again lament the sight of Andrew Raines, son of Favourite Son Geoff Raines, listed amongst the best afield again.  As was expected, Brissy got their act together for this one.  And if the Ayatollah and Angry Adrian are thinking of shortening game time to save the delicate young recruits they’re bring up through the proposed AFLNS*, they could do well to track the progress of The Gold Coast Suns this season.  Heading the injury list is nappy rash, as their performance on Saturday night clearly displayed.  Don’t shorten the game time oh Great Divinity, shorten the so & so season you idiot.  And save the players and the punters from overexposure and the subsequent fatigue.

The Fuchsias v The Eagles.   What can you say?  Is this the future the Ayatollah and the Angry Ant envisage for us under their program?  (Given up calling it a fixture Wrap? – Ed)  The 15,709 diehards who turned up at Ethelred Stadium for the early match between West Coast and Melbourne would have got what they expected when they parted with their hard earned – another eight goal drubbing of The Fuchsias.  Pretty soon the catering contractors will have to jack up their prices to cover their costs.  Although they may find even the most committed dipsomaniac amongst us would baulk at shelling out $10.50 for a pot of mid-strength.  (The fewer Punters at the ground the more at home catching the match on TV?  It makes sense. – Ed)  The Weagles slammed on 7-7 in the 2nd term to have the Four Points in the bag by the long break.  To their credit, The Redlegs fought back and only went down by TNPM in the 2nd half.  Maybe it’s a turning point.  They’ll find out next Sunday when they have The Battle of The Co-tenants on The Hallowed Turf at twilight.  The Eagles fly home to make sure the hot water’s turned off for the Bombers on Saturday.

Struggletown v The Lakers.  At last, The Boilover.  And you watch The Tigers come home with a wet sail from here.  Trent Cotchin tossed the coin in the absence of the regular #17 and, with a glimpse into the crystal ball, played a Captain’s Game.  But TLSPRF will again be questioning the selectors omission of Shane Tuck for so much of this season.  One of Richmond’s failings this year has been their inability to get their hands on the Pigskin.  Tucky had 13 contested possessions amongst his 28 disposals.  And doesn’t he love it down and under?  Essendon fans would have cried to see Bomber reject Bachar.  Houli’s raking drop punts penetrating the forward line off halfback.  His goal from outside 50 after a three bounce run through the midfield will be on the Punt Road 2011 highlight reel.  There was plenty of Red&White around the ground to supplement the local South Melbourne diehards, but they just couldn’t urge their team to Bring Down The Thunder From The Sky.  So what happened to The Lakers?  To be honest, the 1st half was a matter of who made the least errors.  But by the Championship Quarter The Tiges were showing enough to suggest that The Yellow&Black Army was on the march once more.  Alex Rance had worried Goodes out of the contest and the rest of them were just under so much pressure they were ineffectual.  Their present position of 8th is under threat and their last few weeks is under question.  It will be questioned next Saturday out at Homebush when they take on The Culture Club.  Both OTR, this is a season defining contest for both clubs.  The Tiger Army stays at The Peoples Ground as guests of their Co-tenants, The Melbourne Football Club.

The Pride of South Australia v The Greatest Team of All.   The Sleepy Hollow Millionaires nearly bounced a cheque over in the City of Light when they ran into an Adelaide side that is finding its mojo under coach Bickley.  They snuck in by less than two goals, and only kicked the sealer deep in extra time.  Expected to brush aside the Adelaide Panhandlers, they found themselves having to earn every kick and conceded every stat column except marks and goals – four and two respectively.  The Big Hairy Cat may have set his chances of playing a 4th Premiership team received a set back when he let his natural instincts get the better of him, and his teammates take a week off to ice their bruises.  The Chardonnays head up to Wally World for a spot of R&R beneath the bangalows, and to test their newfound Self Belief when they take of the GCFC OTR.

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.

With the drama coach at the Lexus Centre likely to have a bearing on the finals we thought it would be appropriate to quote some of the greats who have trod the boards.  Try this one for bitchiness.  It’s from W.S. Gilbert

No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have; and I think he’s a dirty little beast

We all love a good put down.  Film critic Paul Kael wrote of one performance

The only flair was in her nostrils.

Meooow!!!  And, considering his demeanour of late, lets finish off with a message for the Incumbent Carringbush Coach from no less a wit than Benjamin Disraeli.

My definition of an agreeable person is one who agrees with me.

Eddie & Bucks, please note.

*AFLNS – Appalling Football League Nursery System, which should not to be confused with the AFLPA; the AFLPA will be replaced by the AFLNS once a pool of budding little superstars has been established.

 

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. Wrapster – I have fears and queries about where the game is going. You make a good point. We now get a sanitized spectacle rather than a good football stoush most weeks. Where will it end? Who knows. But I can tell you, for me it will end when the umpire blows the whistle one day and awards a free kick ‘Obstruction’. Sadly I think that day is coming.

  2. John Mosig says

    Your fears are shared across the Football Universe Dips. This used to be a game that was a right of passage for our young men. Now it’s just a plaything of the self anointed gods.

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