Where Are The Forces of Good?

So, because I enjoy a punt, I have a betting account. Its a very small-fry operation: $2 here, $5 there: a balance that rarely exceeds $100, and supplemented by deposits from my personal account 4 to 6 times per year.

I’m no Kerry Packer, as Whale Roberts once sardonically observed – but that’s another story.

I’m convinced that, with discipline, I could run that account to generate a profit. On my scale, it would only be enough for an ice-cream of a Tatts ticket once a fortnight or so; but I’m certain it could be done. The secret (don’t bother getting your pencils out – there is nothing startling here) is only backing the short priced favourites in conditions that suit, and structuring the bets to cover losses from the occasional but ever-present upset.

All that is required to make the system work is the discipline to stick to the plan.

I’ve never done it successfully, and I never will.

The reasons that it cannot work for me is that it eliminates the very reason why I enjoy a punt. It purges the joy from punting as quickly as a bad oyster will … well, you know where I’m going. Take away the joy, and you take away the very reason for being in the game.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why the Ross Lyon football philosophy will never work for me. The Fremantle Boa Constrictor may well win a premiership with this joyless, clinical suffocation of its prey – but is it worth the price? Surely the Forces of Good must prevail.


About Danny Russell

Danny Russell, feet planted firmly in the island state, is easily led. "Scratcher" Neal led him to the Cats where his loyalty has remained (despite being sorely tested). The weekly magazine "The Story of Pop" led him to music beyond the focus of Tasmanian AM radio of the 70s.


  1. Jill Scanlon says

    I absolutely agree. While it may bring ultimate success it is a very unattractive and unwatchable style of play.
    Suffocation is an excellent and most appropriate word.

  2. David Zampatti says

    That, Danny and Jill, as was amply demonstrated last night, is a crock.

    Tell me what’s joyless, unattractive and unwatchable about Michael Johnson and Luke McPharlin, Stephen Hill, David Mundy and Nathan Fyfe, Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich and Chris Mayne? Or, if you like footy to be played by tough blokes who go in and get their jumpers dirty, Matthew De Boer, Tendai Mzungu and Ryan Crowley? Or blokes who are too big, like Aaron Sandilands, or too small like Lachie Neale? Or blokes who’ve come from nowhere and play for a team that gives them a second chance , like Michael Barlow, Lee Spurr, Danyle Pearce, Kepler Bradley, Jon Griffin and Clancee Pearce? Next year you’ll see blokes like Antony Morabito and Viv Michie who’ve overcome hideous runs of injury to make a go of it.

    Bugger me, I’ve just about named the whole team, who are exactly the same sort of blokes, playing pretty much the same sort of game that you love about the Cats, Danny, and you love about whoever you love, Jill.

    All you are doing is regurgitating the same rubbish the Swans had to endure back in the day before you all got told how admirable their discipline and ability to shut down the opposition was. A reflex opinion based on some sour crap arising from one (admittedly pretty ugly) performance early last year and drilled into you by superannuated ex players from flailing Melbourne clubs who haven’t updated their three talking points about interstate clubs in years (as they hurry past them to burble on about the latest Collingwood this or Hawthorn that).

    I met a woman from Columbia once who told me that Americans know three, and only three, things about every other country in the world. It’s okay for you, she said, you’re beaches, Sydney Opera House and Steve Irwin. Tough for us though, she said, we’re cocaine, shallow graves and porn actresses.

    It’s exactly the same process that makes Freo joyless, unattractive and unwatchable.

  3. Don’t let him bully you, Danny and Jill. Fremantle are definitely joyless, unattractive and unwatchable for me while they are winning.
    I wish they’d go back to inconsistent, creative and self destructive. It was endlessly entertaining – like watching children paint.
    By the way the GF will be Sydney V Freo. Freo will take out the Cats, and Sydney will kamikaze the Hawks.
    So all you ignorant, inner city 774 ABC listening Melbourne buffoons should get ready for another joyless late September. (Copyright “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Mark Doyle)

  4. Bill Martino says

    I agree with you, David. In the midst of their pressuring the life out of Carlton there was plenty of attractive and entertaining football to be seen.

    Despite living in an inner-city Melbourne suburb, I would love to see a Sydney vs Freo GF.

    By the way, one other thing that really annoys the Colombians I know is seeing the name of their country spelt incorrectly.

  5. Peter Fuller says

    I’m with David and Bill. I went to last night’s match, hoping that my Blues would be competitive, but expecting the game to play out much as it did. Fremantle were too well-drilled, too hard and too skilful for Carlton. Currently the Blues cannot sustain the level of intensity that is required against the best in the competition.
    I agree with David that there is real pleasure in seeing the skills of Walters, Johnson, Mayne, Mundy, Hill and others. That these skills are executed in the tightest of spaces is even more impressive. In a matter of minutes during the second quarter, Mayne took two astonishing marks, launching himself into packs. Fyfe is an amazing player. In spite of a heavy tag, he was just about the most influential player in the game. His fearlessness is no less notable than his widely-appreciated skills; all this with their best player, and another in their best half dozen, sidelined.
    Aesthetic judgements tend to be subjective. While most footy fans enjoy free-flowing, high-scoring matches, tight contests have their own attraction.
    The game is the better for the variation in playing styles, and the different skill-sets which players (and coaches) bring to it.

  6. daniel flesch says

    Very readable David Zampatti . As aggro and inflammatory as Mark Doyle , but with markedly better style…. Here’s why ColOmbia is called after the bloke we call Columbus. He was Italian: Cristoforo Colombo . Of course the Americans have Columbia University and Washington D.C. (District of Columbia ) because they are Americans and speak a language related to English. And Bill Martino , despite living in NSW for the past 33 years , i don’t want to see the Swans anywhere near the H.O.F. on 28th. Sept.

  7. David Zampatti says

    Looks like the carnival is over for Pirot (sic) and Columbine (sic).

    But not for freo.

  8. Bill Martino says

    Daniel Flesch, I can’t really work out where you’re coming from with regard to Colombia’s name, I mean you seem to be attempting to answer a question that no-one has actually asked: “Why is Colombia called after the bloke we call Columbus?” Surely the answer would be more like: “Because, for better or worse, he was an important personage in that part of the world.”

  9. I agree with Danny. It’s no surprises that Ross Lyon was an assistant at Sydney, under Paul Roos.
    But Roos was a lot like Mick Malthouse, when he coached West Coast. Malthouse, as a defender, coached the Eagles the same. Sure, they’d win by five goals, but they’d hold the opposition to six or seven. It was boring.
    The 2005 grand final is said to be a classic, but I can barely watch it. There are two reasons it is remembered; the four point margin and Leo Barry’s mark. If it had been a home and away game, no one would’ve cared, and rightly so.
    The difference with Lyon is the inconsistency. Fremantle don’t always play defensive. I picked them to beat Carlton, but thought they’d finish with 12 goals.
    Please remember, Subiaco is the AFL’s biggest ground.’
    Lyon clearly has different game plans for different venues.

  10. Have to agree with David people are still hanging onto some outdated ideas about Ross Lyon and the purple haze. The total score in the Freo and Carlton game was 196 points, 14 points higher than the game between my Roos and the Cats on Friday night which was as a fast paced game. I can’t see how the Freo game style can be that bad to watch if it generates nearly 200 points in a game!
    The other thing that is worth consideration is that they have played a fair portion of the season without their best forward and arguably have had their best 10 play less games than most of the other teams in the 8. I am willing to bet most of the other coaches in the league would be trying to tie the game down and make it as congested as possible when the best players are not available.

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