The Wrap: AFL Semi-Finals

Where Life Imitates Sport

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  We watched as The Pride of South Australia were overhauled by The Valiant Magpies and the Doggies mauled the Lions.

But the biggest exit this weekend came a million miles from THOF.  Yes folks, it was over at Arthur Ashe Arena.  It was Serena taking on, not our Kimmie, but an inoffensive, sharp-eyed lineswoman who had called the older Williams sibling for a foot fault.  It was an extraordinary performance, and one that would have had the stadium’s namesake spinning in his grave.  Arthur Ashe was the epitome of a sportsperson and a gentleman.  (Will we ever see his like again? – Ed)  Here was a countrywoman giving a demonstration of the extreme opposite.

The Big S claimed she didn’t make a death threat against the lineswoman.  We’re not trained medicos here at The Wrap, Serena, but even with our limited first aid we’d be so bold as to venture that with a tennis ball shoved down your John o’ Groat your chances of drawing sufficient oxygen to sustain life would be pretty slim.  We await the verdict of the invertebrates at the Governing Body as to how they handle this one.  In the days of Harry Hopman there’d be no question about it: a life ban.  In the days of the Tennis Circus, with its higher prize money and lower standards it may be different.  The response of the product endorsees may be of equal enlightenment.

Over in the Old Dart the Pyjama Party has continued.  Bing Lee scattered the skittles as the Saggy Greens moved to an unbeatable 4-zip lead over the To & Froms.  Meanwhile over where they put the rum in the coconuts there’s talk of a truce between the warring factions.  the standoff appears to be thawing in time for the West Indies Tour Down Under this summer.

Even The Diamonds are getting into the act, taking a 3-2 lead in a low scoring contest in the last match of the West Island leg of the Five Test Series.

But enough of my gabbin’. Let’s see who’s going to be around and why for next Saturday’s Penultimate Finals Round.

FOOTSCRAY    16.11    (107)
BRISBANE           8.8      (56)
The Western Bulldogs v The Boys From Old Fitzroy.  Come on, own up.  Who went to bed at Half Time?  The Gorillas did what they could, but a goalless Opening Stanza just about did it.  By the end of the night the Doggies had pulled away to a decisive victory.  The swirling conditions contributed to a low standard game and it soon became apparent The Maroons had played their personal GF at home last week.  It wasn’t quite clear to whom Boss Voss was talking on the phone.  You could be excused for thinking it may have been his sister-in-law down at Bairnsdale making arrangements for this year’s Christmas get together.  With the game – on the scoreboard at least – still in the balance, he seemed remarkably cheerful.  In the other box, Rocket was keeping the pressure on, still barking instructions down the wire with his charges goals to the better and the opposition under the showers for the night.  The Lions slip home to Brissy with a couple of finals under their belt and Season 2010 to look forward to.  A good crop of youngsters.  A rising super star in their Daniel Rich.  A solid start for their Rookie Coach and a born-again revival for the Gabbattoir Faithful.  The Sons of The West take some form into their clash with The Minor Premiers next Friday night.

COLLINGWOOD    12.11    (83)
ADELAIDE        11.12    (78)
The Premiership Cakewalkers v The Pride of South Australia.  This was all about GAD.  And as such was a Famous Victory.  As reviled as Carringbush are throughout the Football World, they lost few friends on Saturday night with one of the gutsiest performances they have put in all year.  (Probably since the Tearfull GF – Ed)

In 29oC heat it looked bad for The Maggies.  (It built up to 30oC under the full glare of the lights – Ed)   Relying on a running game against a team with marking power and a long kicking capability, they started poorly.  When the 185cm Knights outmarked the 204cm Wood to goal it looked as though The Pies were outclassed and going to be thoroughly outplayed.  Going into the 2nd Stanza five goals down they were soon 32 points in arrears and The Crows were storming.  However, unused to the Melbourne water, they weren’t turning their up-field advantage into scoreboard pressure.  The Woodsmen notched a couple against the flow of play.  Some pure magic from Brad Dick and a Monster Bomb from Harry O’Brien played their part and Sidebottom & Shaw were holding back the Adelaide advance.  But the biggest problem for The Chardonnays could have been found on the team bus.  Discarded copies of the Adelaide Advertiser: the players had been reading what the parochial pen-pushers of that most parochial of provincial papers had been saying about the West Lakes Team’s forward marking power.  Kick it high & long and they’ll mark it.  Apart from a trademark Birdman screamer you’d ride across from Port Augusta on a fixed wheel Malvern Star to catch, they did nothing.  Nothing apart from squandering a marked possession advantage.  Carringbush were still in this one.  But just.

Come the Championship Quarter and the water turned into wine.  And The Chardonnays turned into vinegar.

The Dale Thomas, putting his head over the ball, had shrugged his show pony tag and was inspirational doing the team thing.  Late inclusion Steele Sidebottom was showing his metal; Wellingham, Swan and Didak were everywhere.  The Crows were starting to look less slick and some inspiration from the Will o’ The Wisp Brad Dick had the Black&White Minstrels in full song.  When Travis Cloke starts kicking goals against you you know you’re in trouble.  And the Pride of South Australia were in a lot of trouble.  With 6-2 to two behinds, The Pies had come from nowhere to be 10 roast joints to the good at the Citrus Huddle.

But could they hold out against the bigger bodied Crows in the trying conditions?  The temperature was still in the mid twenties and they’d been at it flat chat all night.  Whoever won this was going to have to front up next weekend to a team that spent the night sitting in the stands monitoring their every move.

If you want to send your cousin in Tehran or Tel Aviv a disc of what OUR GREAT GAME is all about, go no further than the Final Stanza of the 1st Semi Final of 2009.  We’ve all viewed it at least a couple if times now.  (Well, maybe not in the City of Light – Ed)  First it was The Crows who hauled in the Collingwood lead and got their noses in front.  Then time for Joffa to reach for the lamé jacket.  But before he could unzip the back to get it out The Crows were back in the lead.  All seemed lost until the garrulous Umpire McInnerney, realizing Umpire Ray ‘Mighty Mouse’ Chamberlain was ahead on points for Maggot of The Year, decided to pay a free kick in front of goals.  And let’s be fair here, the maggotting had been consistent on holding in marking and rucking contests all night.  If the Adelaide backs hadn’t picked it up after 100 Minutes of Football they were never going to pick it up.

Carringbush live another week.  The Chardonnays slip back to Adelaide to lament where they lost a match that was theirs for the taking.  Was it the un-chemically treated Melbourne water?  Was the raging of the Black&White Army in the intimate atmosphere of the Colosseum a factor?  Coach Craig gave the impression he knew what it was, but was going to keep it for his end of season address to the players in the privacy of the locker room.  Some SOTG may be excused in drawing the conclusion he thought they suffocated in the oppressive conditions.  The ‘C’ word not used lightly in the City of Ch**ers and we’ll leave them to sort that out themselves.  Rest assured, they’ll be back next September to atone for their lapse this year.

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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