The Wrap (is back!): Finals’ Edition 1



For the Philosophical Marngrook Follower


G’day Wrappers.  You won’t believe this, but here I was sitting at the bar of The Pooncarie Pub and who should walk in the door but Sir Frank & Lady Downright. Wonderful woman Lady Downright: striking, gracious, intelligent.  She must often wish she’d listened to her girlfriends.  Apparently Sir Frank had taken a sabbatical from Downright Lie & Procrastynate, and  the Downrights were on a pilgrimage to Ungarie in search of as many splinters of the True Daniher as they can find.  Anyway, I’d just picked up my cheque from Jack McCraith’s Milparinka freezer and was cutting it out with a few mates.  When Sir Frank joined us we got to chatting, as you do, and the conversation got around to Football, as it does at this time of the year.  Fair dinkum, you could er knocked me down wiv ‘arf a brick.  He told me Richmond had won a final and were a chance to take out The Flag.  I immediately rolled up my swag, left my faithful blue heeler, Mr B, with the barmaid, wished Sir Frank well in his quest and headed south.  Could this be the sign the whole world has been waiting for.  The miracle that will save us all from damnation?  Return equilibrium to the World Order?  Turn back the rising floodwaters?  Quell the violence of the storm?  Establish the rightful order?   Supplant anarchy with harmony?


It was difficult at first, returning to Melbourne.  The traffic was horrendous and the trams were now longer than a B-treble road train.  I stopped in at the All Nations to gather my bearings and the talk was cautious but confident.  I threw my beanie in the door around at Wrapcave Publications and the old crew were welcoming.  They’d even kept my old Olivetti and Tiger Tuff coffee mug.  Mrs Wrap wanted to know where I’d been, but Narelle rushed out and bought a carton of chocolate eclairs.  Our Noble Nobbler of Nuance plonked a season’s load of cuttings in front of me and told me to get on with it and not to try to be too smart – because I wasn’t.  So here we go again Wrappers, the Business End of Season 2017: The Year of The Tiger.  (Wrap!  I heard that – Ed)





Adelaide – Minor Premiers and superbly coached by Don Pyke, The Pride of South Australia have been the team to beat all year.  But they’re beatable.  They lost 6½ matches over the journey, one of which was a draw against The Hapless Carringbush.  They have The Dead Cat Bouncers this weekend.  A big test for both outfits.  Paddy Dangerman returns to the ground that made him famous, this time wearing the Navy Blue & White Hoops of Moggs’ Creek East. The Rabid Adelaide Mob have promised him a Respectful City of Churches Welcome.  The Moggies didn’t respond favourably to their Hungry Tiger Welcome on the Night of The Long Knives Qualifying Final at The G.  They can expect no less when they run out on the Picturesque Adelaide Oval.  Chris Scott is being hailed as a miracle worker in the chic waterfront bistros along Eastern Beach and out at the Great Western Hotel, but Don Pyke’s favoured to take out the Jock McHale Medal, as well as Coach of The Season Citation.  We see nothing coming out of this contest to change that.  It’ll be a great contest, but from where we’re sitting, we see the only impediment to the Summer torpor at Sleepy Hollow being how they’ll cram their salary cap to give SOG a testimonial year.  Or maybe even go as far as to take a good hard look at themselves.  The Mighty Adelaide Crows from here in the Wrapcave.


Geelong – More soul searching and less navel gazing.  They finished second and pulled themselves out of an early grave against The Highly Fancied Swans to get their ticket on The Overlander, so all’s not doom & gloom down at Flat Town, but the Faithful & the Sponsors will be wishing for more in 2018.  One blink at this point of their journey and it’s straight out the door and into the wastelands of a rebuild.  And they could do worse than ask their old sparing partners out at Dingley Dell what that’s like.


Richmond – The chook manure finished up as topdressing on ME Bank Oval, and boy, hasn’t it produced some growth?  At this time last year their final report said: The list is loaded with talent but there’s a dearth of Footy Nous.  The same old skill errors and poor judgement that has let them down so many times in the recent past are still prevalent, and Coach Hardnose’s Pressers haven’t inspired.  Two changes that should be noted are the arrival at the club of Blake Caracalla and Neil Balme.  Both footfall department journeymen, both with Geelong experience on their CVs.  The Tiges have added a few players to their list, and, touch wood, have a physical fitness department that has revived the careers of the injury prone Grimes, Vlastuin & Astbury, and kept the rest of the playing group at the top edge of their game.  It would be impossible to talk of The Tigers without mentioning their midfield brigade.  Led by Trent Martin and Dusty Cotchin, they’ve become one the most formidable combinations going around in 2017.  They’re on the second line of favouritism for The Flag going into their Preliminary Final against The Gwizz.  They should win.  If they don’t, you’d be well advised to return to your homes as quickly as possible and wait for the all clear to sound.  BTW, their VFL side is steaming.  Watch this space.


The Greater Western Sydney Giants – After last year’s disappointment, The Orangemen were expected to come out with all guns blazing in 2017.  Fourteen wins and two draws and a mediocre percentage should be, considering the talent and the money that’s been poured into the Breakfast Point Experiment, considered a failure.  Fourteen thousand fans at a 20K+ capacity stadium to watch them play the final that took them into the third round of September was pretty pathetic, especially considering 3K+ of those punters had paid extortionist airfares to fly across from Perth.  As a marketing exercise, it’s the equivalent of selling pork buns in Baghdad.  It’s just not going to catch on.  Their reception on Saturday is not going to be pretty.  The Striped Marvels are out of their cage, and they haven’t tasted raw meat for 37 years.  Hugh Wirth may have to call for the tranquilizer gun.  Where to next season for The Leviathans?  They’ll probably sacrifice a coach and throw a few virgins into an active volcano, but that won’t help, any more than it will stem climate change.


Sydney – Last year it was recorded here of The Swans that they’d done it again, The Bloods.  Just when you thought it was time for the R word, they’ve show us all that they’ve been rebuilding on the run.  Well, they have done it again: imploded when they were set to Rain Down The Thunder From The Sky.  They got off to a slow start and were coming home like Bonecrusher.  But it’s the modern game.  The opposition gets hold of you, and it’s good night nurse.  This is the third time in four Septembers that they’ve folded and had to slink back to Sin City.  The Hawks famously kissed them off in 2014 when they, The Bloods, were favourites for The Flag (It could be said The Squawkers owed them that one Wrap – Ed) and they were favourites last year when they went down to The Blue Collar Bulldogs.  They may have to pin up the slogan that September is Another Season somewhere in the clubrooms.  Probably over the trophy cabinet.  For someone of their talent, it’s a C+ for The Emerald City Swans.


Essendon – From Cellar Dweller to September Contender in one season.  Welcome back Bombers.  Anymore of this sort of thing and we’ll be able to hate them again, for all the right reasons.  They’ve got a superstar in Red&Black in Young Joe Daniher and we’ve been told that there’s a tribe of brothers & cousins behind him.  They’ve got this season’s Rising Star and they’ve jelled as a team.  They may have made it to September by default – beggars can’t be choosers, eh? –  and they lost a few matches through inexperience.  They’ve cleared away some of the deadwood and they’re getting their act together out there on Melrose Drive.  Considering the way they handled the return of many senior players from their penance, a B+ this year.


West Coast – Not sure what to make of The Wiggles.  They played half their matches on the western edge of The Fatal Shore, and were gifted two wins in the Derby.  They gave us something to talk about in their Elimination Final, which for sheer edge of the seat, heart pumping excitement was right up there, but they still fell down on the road.  No shame in that; it’s the reality of living in one of the world’s best kept secrets.  However, it’s back to the forest for the next crop of Cousins & Judd mushrooms for West Coast.  In the context of their 2016 season, a C+


Port Adelaide – Another ET – Enigma Team.   They’ve been in trouble all year.  During the season, with their coach for not showing the desire of a group wanting to be taken seriously.  After letting Victory slip through their fingers in the Elimination Final, by their Prez, for pretty much the same thing.  Their framework stars are not getting any younger.  The Hink has signed on till 2021.  He’ll never have to work again, but the feeling in the Wrapcave is that he’ll have earned that retirement, and that early retirement may not be altogether out of the question.  In the context of their previous season they’d have to be a B -.





Melbourne – Talk about arterial fibrillation.  And against Arch Rival Carringbush.  Shame.  Probably saved Bucks’ job as well.  (For which many at the Astra Centre may or may not grateful – Ed)  Glorious Ninth was not part of the master plan in The Longroom.  They were one of two teams tipped to graduate to September this year and while they had some Famous Victories, they also suffered some Inglorious Defeats.  Sorry Redlegs, this is a D, and a stern note to your parents.  Can do better, a lot better.


Footscray – The brew drunk from the Premiership Cup is heady stuff.  It takes more than one tube of Berocca to cure the hangover.  But it may well be more than a Premiership Hangover that’s caused this year’s failure at Whitten Oval.  And you Sons & Daughters of The Mighty West, you have to believe me when I say it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to have to say this, but it has been a failed year.  There seems to be a dose of kennel cough running through Doggieland, and it ain’t getting any better.  Look, it’s really none of our business, but should someone take on the troubled Jake Stringer and dispel his demons, it’s going to make the Sgraggers look a bit, well, sgragged.  At that, we’ll let sleeping dogs lie.  They’re an E for Season 2017.


St Kilda – The Feeling Faints have let themselves and the Long Suffering Junction Oval Faithful down again.  Along with The Dees, they were expected to graduate this year.  It didn’t happen.  The reasons are obscure.  They jumped Richmond and hammered them into the artificial turf of The Dumb, but apart from that they were never really in the hunt.  Will need to do a lot of soul searching down there at Eel Race Road if they’re going to contend in 2018.  Same as The Fuchsias – a D.


Hawthorn – Fourthorn no more, The Mayblooms have come back to the field.  The writing was on the wall at the end of last season and Astute Students of The Game cashed in on it.  The Ty Vickery ploy didn’t work out, nor did the Jaeger Bomb, but that’s not to say they won’t work out next season.  Never write off the Leafblowers.  Clarko rode them with soft hands and had them reasonably well placed at the home turn, but once the whips started cracking at the top of the home straight they hit the wall.  After a spell on good grass they’ll harden up again next season.  Considering they were lucky to qualify for last year’s Group One Carnival coupled with their mistreatment at the hands of the handicapper, you’d have to say that they had a reasonable season.  They paid their training bills.  B+.


Collingwood – Good Old Carringbush Forever.  They never disappoint, do they Wrappers?  Side By Side We Stand Together.  Even though the mention of Coach Figjam can start an hour-long harangue of his coaching style from any group of two or more Monochrome Army soldiers.  I think it has to be understood that building a successful Footy Team is more than just recruiting a few outstanding players and making sure they have white shorts for the away matches and black ones when they’re playing at home.  The Mighties proved more than once this year that you don’t have to be dead to be stiff, and they showed they had the fast ball movement style of play that the Modern Game demands.  With a Bootstrapper to Oval Office review of the club underway, expect them to be quite a handful next year.  There’s a consensus at Victoria Park & beyond that The Woodsmen have made the right call on the coaching situation.  Bucks has had the pressure removed for a year or two, and his charges are all his now.  They might not have finished up The Ladder, but they played Honest Football all season.  And they knocked Melbourne out of September.  A glowing B+


Fremantle – It’s a long way across the Nullarbor, and sometimes it’s hard to see into the Mauve Miasma rising from the hummocks. Ross Lyon has a coach–for-life contract, so there’s no worries there, but at some stage the Faithful will want to see some water turned into wine –  at the very least.  The injury card can only be played so many times.  A D+ at the very most.


North Melbourne – It’s hard to believe The Shinboners were contenders a couple of seasons back.  They vigorously recruited some mature players and, with Toddy Goldstein firing and a more than half handy midfield, made a dash for the Big Prize.  Sadly, like Robert O’Hara Burke & William John Wills, they fell short of their mark.  No purpose would be served in laying blame for the fizzling out of the energy at Arden Street.  Those who make the decisions Under the Shadow of The Gasometer know who they are.  The Kangas, too, were stiff on more than one occasion – as a percentage of 87% from six wins testifies – but GTWTCO; that’s the bottom line.  With Toddy showing every sign of burnout, and a seemingly demoralized midfield, The Soupboners are going to have to imbibe deeply of the magic elixir to move upwards in 2018.  No more than a D.


Carlton – The charge along Royal Parade, promised in 2016, hasn’t eventuated in 2017.  They took some notable scalps in their six wins, and ran a few close seconds, but took some terrible beatings along the way.  Coming from the Worst List in The Competition they’re making good, if slow progress.  They’re blooding the future Bluebaggers, and The Bolter is preaching to a sympathetic congregation, however, The Long Suffering Silvertail Faithful will expect to see more in the plate in 2018.   A generous C for 2017, but will have to do better next term to build on the steady progress already shown.


The Metricon Marauders – Two words sum up The Metermaids’ 2017 Season: Abject & Ablett.  Let’s face it Wrappers; the Expansion Itch has developed into a full-blown carbuncle.  The Gold Coast is a sporting graveyard. Everything’s been tried.  Soccer, basketball, netball, ARL, and AFL (twice).  A third of the population is there for the last couple of years of their life, a third for a couple of weeks of performing dolphins and wet & wild rides, and the other third is there to facilitate the other two thirds.  And half of them are Kiwis.  They won’t, but the best thing the appalling football league could do is cut their losses & combine the two Queensland teams into one.  The Q Clash is a construction.  A fabricated yawn.  It could even be said that to commit the cream of the nation’s Football Talent to the culture-free zone of Wally World, to satisfy a corporate marketing whim, is nothing short of exploitation.  When their best player needs to only turn up for 2/ 3rds of the matches, the rest can’t be all that dedicated.  Let’s be honest with ourselves here; chapter & verse aren’t necessary: E-


The Bad News Bears – With five wins on top of last year’s three, you’d have to admit it’s a huge improvement.  But they’re having the same trouble as The Sunbeams holding onto young stars, who have dreamt all their lives of kicking a goal from outside the paint to win a Premiership for their teammates and supporters.  The only cure is success.  They defeated some fellow Cellar Dwellers, and embarrassed Essendon when The Bombers dropped their guard.  There were a few rays of sunshine, but not enough to make the flowers bloom.  C, or maybe a C+.  Showing signs of promise, but must not leave homework around where the dog can get at it.



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.


  1. Magnificent Wrap, Wrap.

    The Tigers of old…………….

  2. Well Wrap, I advise you take a better hat with you when you return to the Murray-Darling.

    Collingwood B+ and Hawthorn B+. Is that how you assess them? Or how the performance has made you feel?

    Also thought you might have been drawn to comment on water policy and the commitment of civil servants to TGOTN. (The Good of the Nation).

  3. BTW I will be seeing Sir Frank Downright at a gathering next week, which will be celebrating the coming together of the two best teams in the AFL competition. Any questions you would like me to ask him?

  4. The Wrap prides itself on its objectivity JTH. Any suggestion otherwise will be referred to Rebel Wilson’s legal team. Collingwood weathered a Force 10 storm all year, yet sailed into tranquil waters with all masts still stepped. That’s a B+ where I come from. Hawthorn were gone for all money early in the season. Their silky 6.5L V8 was running on 4 cylinders and they started off the back of the grid. Despite the underpowered engine and the severe handicap, they still delivered value to their punters. I backed them to miss the Finals and, living here in the Leafy East, had no end of takers. But that’s not why I gave them a B+. I thought they managed what could have been a freefall into oblivion extremely well. You watch, they’ll get Ty sorted for 2018, and he’s still a deadeye dick. The Jaeger Bomb will hit the park running next season too.

    Commenting on non existent water policy and politically appointed civil servants? I’ll spare you the diatribe. Just a few key words: community apathy, democracy, and deserves

    The two best teams in the Competition Dips? You mean Richmond’s VFL & AFL sides, do you? I tell you what, I dare you to ask him if he thinks Sheedy stayed on at Whingy Hill too long, and if James Hird was framed. Let me know when he’s finished expounding his case.

  5. “Woof, Woof”. As soon as you headed back to the Leafy East I grabbed Darleen, raided her SMSF and booked 2 tickets to the Iberian Peninsula. We are having a great time and she is tickling my tummy like in the premiership years. I’ve cut off all internet contact so she can’t check her balances. Hope your Tigers win this weekend so you stay away a while longer. Win the week after and I don’t expect you back in Pooncarie again.
    AFL? They speak of little else on the Ribeira. “Eu nao entendo”.
    I tell them Coach Hardnose is doing a fine job at Old Trafford, and young Ronaldo is a shoo in for another Brownlow. They nod their heads. “Es doida louco”.
    Means vigorous agreement. Apparently.

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    Good to have you back Mr Wrap.

    2 points:
    Both B Caracella and N Balme also have Collingwood on their CV
    Richmond VFL were not “steaming” just two weeks ago when they got smacked by Williamstown. Fortunately for them we have a finals system that then allows them to play a lower placed team to get into the grannie. I hope the Borough give them a shellacking.


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