Update! The AGB: First with the big stories.
This is not the first omen:
The Geelong Football club has confirmed a senior player has been arrested over a scuffle involving police on the eve of the Cats bid to win their first premiership since 1963.
"Defender David Johnson was involved in an incident outside a Geelong night club last night. The police were called and are investigating the matter." Geelong spokesman Kevin Diggerson said in a statement today.
It's just another catalyst for another gut feeling that tomorrow won't be the catwalk Geelong fans seem to be anticipating.
Chip Le Gronday in the Australia:
WHEN Brisbane was at the height of its powers in 2003, anyone who spent grand final week at the Gabba would have seen a club comfortable with itself.
The team was confident in where it was headed and convinced in what the result would be. Walking away at the end of that week it was clear the Lions would win a third consecutive premiership.
The most revealing day was the Monday, when one player after the next sat down in a room full of reporters and answered a broad range of questions with startling self-assuredness. From Michael Voss to Simon Black to Mal Michael and Martin Pike; they all understood why Saturday's game would be won rather than lost.
The following year at Alberton, the experience was much the same. Senior coach Mark Williams, for all his reputation as a bit of a grouch, showed himself to be a warm, engaging personality. Uncelebrated players such as Josh Mahoney and Brett Montgomery enjoyed the chance to tell their stories.
Port Adelaide had never been that deep in a finals series. But like the Lions, the Power players handled themselves as if they had seen it all before.
Which brings us to Geelong this week. Like Brisbane in 2003, Geelong is the best team. Like Port Adelaide in 2004, the Cats have a perfect opportunity to amend the history of finals failures that hangs like an albatross around the club's neck. Yet Geelong, despite bold intentions and careful planning, appears lost in the September haze.
Reminiscent of federal Labor's spats for spoils, are reports club legend Bobby Davis has cracked the shits the Geelong players will stay in Melbourne instead of heading straight back to Geelong for the post-match celebrations. You think he'd know better.
Now, not one Geelong fan I've talked to has said Geelong are home; they aren't that stupid and they've probably worn out their fingers touching any and every bit of wood in Geelong. Nor are the even slightly smug. It's just that they seem serenely confident tomorrow will be The Great Day when the Catters finally get that premiership monkey off their back. They are asking for trouble.
"We'll never stop, stop, stop..."
Last word to Cameron Noakes in The Age, who seems to have picked up the same vibe. You've just got to wade through his issues to find it:
Hoops are high, but bandwagon doesn't bowl me over
WARNING: the following material contains content that may offend (especially if you're a Geelong fan).
I HAVE thoughts inside my head. Horrible, filthy, ineffable thoughts and I want them to stop, but they just won't stop.
People think I'm twisted. My wife thinks I'm despicable. She says if our relationship is to improve, I need to grow a beard and find my soul and write about beautiful things, truth and spirit, the grace of indigenous footballers and bucolic wonderlands.
My wife is secretly in love with Martin Flanagan.
One day, when I woke from a dream about '80s Caro, I caught her dreaming about Martin.
In the morning, she had a glow in her cheeks and she said "Let's go to Tasmania", and, "Why do indigenous footballers often win the Norm Smith Medal?"
I was furious. I said: "No" and "I don't know" and stormed out, thinking about Maurice Rioli, Peter Matera, Michael Long, Andy McLeod and Byron Pickett.
And I started thinking about Port Adelaide.
You see, I'm just a dirty Melbourne boy and I know I should be swept away by the music of Geelong, but I can't get Port out of my mind.
It sounds like treason, but I'm attracted to sporting superpowers and I like the fact that Port is in the business of putting cups in the cabinet.
Everything suggests that Geelong will smash the Power (take the brackets 43-60 points and 61-plus at FootyTAB) but I am worried.
I'm worried that we are all under the spell of the blue-and-white hoops.
The question is not "Why would a man put sex toys in sausages?". I mean, we've all been there. It's "Why have them wrapped and cooled back at the butcher's?":
BERLIN - Staff at a German butcher's shop were shocked to discover a customer had hidden two sex toys in their sausages for transport to Dubai, police said.
"It was two latex dildos with a natural look," said a spokesman for police in the southwestern city of Mannheim.
After shopping there earlier in the day, the man, who spoke broken English, returned to the butcher's with two large "Schwartenmagen" sausages.
He asked a shop assistant to wrap and cool them until he departed for Dubai the next day.
Spotted courtesy of TimT, but I can't remember exactly where.
No idea what the record is for the number of colons in an article, but Gideon Haigh's piece in today's Australian must come close:
NOTHING succeeds like success, says the proverb. For confirmation, look no further than the cricket grounds of South Africa. Test matches there usually struggle to attract a quorum. For the past 10 days the grounds have brimmed with life and noise for a world championship of the game's newest variant, Twenty20: a heady mixture of thrills, spills and the epiphenomenon of mass marketing.
The conclusion, moreover, was close to ideal. Where the 50-over-a-side World Cup earlier this year was fatally undermined by the early exits of India and Pakistan, here those traditional antagonists reached the final, having earlier tied after 240 deliveries. The subcontinent is the hub of the game and cricket observes the golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules. India and Pakistan, and perforce the world, are about to go Twenty20 crazy.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, some of my best friends use colons. Big words, too; although it's never the done thing to use epiphenomenon in mixed company.
Still, despite a penchant for the prolix, there's nothing wrong with Gideon's sentiment: Twenty20 is a load of pants.
tONY asks the question "So, now the lineup's settled, TT, who're you backing in?"
Fair enough, I said I'd reply today, so I will. But if Aussie Rules is not your cup of tea you might want to stop reading now because I have a feeling this one is likely to go on and on and on and on. And if you do like Aussie Rules, you still better grab a cup of tea because I have a feeling this one is likely to go on and on and ... yeah, righto.
First, to Friday night. There's been a lot said and written about the Collingwood/Geelong game. As you'd expect most of it has centered on the "Pies honourable/Cats rusty" thrust. Less expected was the idea this was a surprise. It shouldn't have been. Last week I tipped the Collingwoods and outlined what I thought were the reasons. The Pies, coached by Malthouse to play tight finals footy*, would clamp down on the Cats, deny them space, then hit them on the break. Conversely, the Cats, with the weight of expectation building during a stellar season, would choke and the Pie would get over the line. That's pretty much what happened, except for the not insignificant detail that Collingwood didn't, in fact, get over the line. But they nearly did. Nevertheless, if I thought that, at least the occasional media footyhead should have thought it too.
* Malthouse did the same at West Coast, but obviously had better players. Still, I'm not alone among my WA mates in thinking WC might have snagged an extra flag or two in the late 90s had they got rid of Malthouse sooner than 1999 and freed up the Eagles' game plan. I concede it would have been hard to dump him, but if they had they would have been spared Ken Judge.
Next, Saturday afternoon night evening. Let's be frank, the Kangas are not a top four side. Yes, yes, don't get all literally literal on me. When I say top four side, I mean Top Four Side, not a side in the top four. Sure, they finished in the top four, but their list was never going to compete when it mattered. Dean Laidley's done a bang up job getting the Roos near the top, but he just didn't have the cattle. Prior to the match I thought there might be a scenario similar to Friday night. Laidley, after all, is a Malthouse protege and coaches the Roos to block up space, etc, but he lacks the players to carry it out as well as Collingwood. Port are significantly better than North, so were always going to win, especially on their own paddock.
Another thing raised was the notion that Geelong were significantly advantaged by the week's break. I don't buy that. Several sides have won recent Preliminary Finals without a break: in 2006 the Eagles beat Adelaide; in 2005 Sydney beat St Kilda; and in 2003 Brisbane beat Sydney. Yes, if you go back through the years the sides that have had the week's break are more often than not the sides that made it through to the Grand Final, but historically the top one or two sides were clearly the best one or two sides; that's not the case now, what with a remarkably even competition. So if anyone said to you "Geelong should win because they have a break", I trust you told them to get stuffed. Geelong won because they were better.
(Fat Vautin made a good point in yesterday's Storm/Parramatta PF when he said the team with the break usually takes a while to get going. This looked very much the case on Friday, but Collingwood couldn't capitalise on Geelong's early lack of rhythm.)
So, how does all that lead into the Grand Final. Well, for a start both sides have had a break. Or more correctly, both sides have had a chance to get over their break and get rid of any rust. Geelong looked the sloppier on the weekend, but they had the harder game, and anyway, the Collingwoods made them look sloppy with their pressure game. Maybe you can draw historical precedents. In 2001, Essendon wobbled past Hawthorn while Brisbane pantsed Richmond. This allegedly took it out of Essendon, enabling Brisbane to overrun the Bombers in the GF. But in 2004, both Port and Brisbane had tough PFs. The common denominator, then, is not tough PFs it's injuries. In 2001, Essendon took injured players into the GF; the same for Brisbane in 2004. So are there any injuries? Well, Egan is a long term loss and Cam Mooney might have a dodgy back, but there's not much else apparent from either side.
Tip-wise, most important is how the sides match up. Collingwood match up well with Geelong so that was always going to be close. And if you look at the numbers, Geelong and Port are 8/1/8, so you can't split them on head-to-head. Mind you, it would have been tempting to go for North against Port on the back of their 13/5 record. On top of that, every pundit and their pet chucks in the game five weeks ago when Port pipped Geelong in Geelong, but the Cats were missing Bartel and Ling; they were "due a loss" too, as they say, for whatever that's worth, and I think it is worth something, although I'm not sure what.
Before the 2004 GF I first tipped Port, but my core footy philosophy, that the tougher teams win the games that matter, swayed me into changing my tip to Brisbane. But! The Brizroys took injured players (especially Lynch) into the GF and the fitter Port rolled them. It's not so cut-and-dried this week. Both sides will have appreciated getting their acts together last weekend, both sides seem to be OK injury-wise, both sides have plenty of skill. But while Port beat you on transition, Geelong have the physical game. Significantly, too, while Port and Geelong are No.1 and No.2 for scoring this season, Geelong is No.1 for defense, but Port are No.10.
So, what does that all add up to? Well, if Geelong's key defenders can hold Port's forwards then Geelong should win. But you never know, Matthew Egan's loss might be significant. Port might play around Scarlett and Harley and try to suck sweeper Milburn out of the play; this would nullify Geelong's rebound. Nor were Geelong's attack overly convincing on Friday night. Can Port exploit Mooney/Nablett and cane Geelong going back down the other way? Can the Burgoynes and Cornes brothers cut up the Geelong on-ballers? Will Ottens and Blake/King, who flogged the Pie ruck duds, be able to handle Lade/Brogan? Will Hawkins come in for Nablett, who looked toothless on Friday? Will Choco Williams pull a rabbit out of a hat? Will I change my "tip" before Saturday? Can I be any more inconclusive than that?
Elsewhere; how's this for chokeworthy in Melbourne's Eastern Football League.
VERMONT miraculously escaped defeat to win its third consecutive premiership, surviving a late charge from Noble Park to claim a thrilling four-point victory in the Eastern Football League grand final yesterday.
With six minutes to go, the game looked over when Noble Park's Kris Barlow (a former Hawthorn player who was recruited from Vermont) failed to capitalise on a 25-metre penalty, missing from 10 metres out which allowed Vermont to keep a two-goal lead.
But the Bulls were not finished. They slashed the margin to five points and, after a quick clearance, again sent the ball forward to Daniel Kennedy, who marked just outside the goal square as the siren sounded.
As the crowd ran on to the ground, Kennedy blew his chance and handed Vermont its 18th flag since the league began in 1962.
Or what about the Upper Great Southern Football League in Western Australia? Wickepin won the Grand Final after finishing the home-and-aways third. Not so strange, you might think. But in a final four system, Wicky won the First Semi Final by five points, the Preliminary Final by five points and beat Yobbo's Axis of Evil, Kukerin/Dumbleyung, by five points in the Grand Final.
And here's an odd one from Victoria's Kyabram District Football League: Stanhope thrashed Ardmona by 87 points, but the best-on-ground medal was awarded to an Ardmona player.
Back in Melbourne, Adam lays into the MCC members, but the lock out was a fuck-up waiting to happen. There are 100,000 members, of which I'm one, yet only 20,000 seats. Do the mathematics. Then, with the majority of fans barracking for Melbourne, Collingwood, Geelong and Essendon and with members still being allowed guest passes for Preliminary Finals it was a stone certainty members were going to be locked out at any match involving two of those teams. It serves the MCC right; they've been made to look stupid because they tried to milk a few extra dollars out of the members guests.
Good article by Richard Hinds on the TV footy coverage. For what it's worth, I reckon Seven have gotten better across the year and have finished pretty strongly; whereas Ten need to concentrate on the footy and ditch the bells, the whistles, the kitchen sink and the stunningly unfunny Strauchanie.
HOW many football commentators does it take to change a light bulb?
Not sure. But, safe to say, had there been a blown bulb during Ten's telecast of the Kangaroos-Hawthorn semi-final, a team of callers and experts could have climbed up the tower to screw in the replacement without disrupting the flow of conversation in the commentary box.
The AFL's finals format is designed to test teams under extreme pressure and identify a worthy premier.
This year, with Channel Seven having joined Channel Ten in producing a share of the finals - after Nine, to its lasting regret, handed Ten the entire finals series under the previous deal - they have also become something of a showdown between the two commercial broadcasters.
Another good article, this one by Debi Enker about Footy Classified. Personally, I reckon FC is a bit too tricked up, and I can't cop Hutchy and his intentionally provocative persona that makes him sound like a smartarse school kid, but FC has the makings of a good show if only they can find the right balance between insult and insight.
ONE of the most arresting sights on television this year has been Caroline Wilson and Wayne Carey glaring at each other across the desk in Footy Classified. While it's not spectacular in the traditional TV sense of the word - no breathtaking action, dazzling camera moves or epic crowd scenes - this clash of footy titans has been compelling.
The Age's chief football writer and a 3AW commentator, Wilson is not a journalist inclined to shrink from confrontation, nor is she easily intimidated. Women who have spent years groaning at the antics of the fellas in the blokey bastion of footy shows feel some pride in the fact that there's now a woman on the scene tough enough to stand her ground in the defence of her opinions.
Yuvraj Singh - again! Not sure if he can replicate his buckle & swash in proper cricket, but he's certainly on a roll in Sorth Efrica. So is Sreesanth. Serious question: Is he the worst behaved cricketer? The consensus around here is that he's a fuckenidiot! Just imagine the rumpus if he was an Aussie.
Still, it seems to me there's way too much in-depth analysis expended on T20.
India's achievement in winning the cracker of a semi-final - and ensuring that there will be one world trophy without Australia's name on it - can hardly be overstated. Or can it? Were there signs of weakness in the Australian team from the start?
Losing to Zimbabwe was a shock of Krakatoan proportions. Ultimately, of course, it didn't matter: England suffered the backlash and the Aussie vehicle rolled on in to the Super Eights, the dent to the bodywork revealed to be no more than a scratch.
One pattern to emerge from the tournament is that successful teams can take the loss of three or four top-order wickets in their stride. Yes, a bit of careful rebuilding is required - take the singles and ensure no more wickets fall - but keep some big-hitters at the crease and hope remains. Pakistan came back from three early wickets against Sri Lanka and four against Australia. New Zealand almost seemed to base their approach around a rescue act from Craig McMillan.
It also seems to me Straya need to get Errol Alcott back.
AUSTRALIA has been knocked out of the Twenty20 World Cup in the semi-finals by India, with the tournament taking a terrible injury toll on the world champions.
India will now play Pakistan in the final at Johannesburg tomorrow.
Mike Hussey became the third Australian to suffer a hamstring strain in a week as Australia went down to India by 15 runs in an entertaining, high scoring clash here early this morning AEST.
He will have scans today when the team returns to Johannesburg to determine the extent of the injury and is in doubt for Australia’s one-day tour of India. The team leaves on Tuesday for the seven match series, which also includes a Twenty20 match.
A tram driver was "distracted" by two teenagers having sex in a "stupid position".
Crash blamed on sex
A tram driver has beaten a charge of careless driving after a magistrate heard he was distracted by passengers having sex.
Samy Metry, 53, crashed into the back of a stationary car because he was shocked and surprised by a teenage couple "hard at it" in a "stupid position" in the otherwise empty tram.
Distracted? More like he was having a right old perve while trying not to get sprung.
Someone at the Herald Sun must think so, too, if you compare the paper excerpt above with the archive excerpt below.
Driver gets off
A TRAM driver has beaten a charge of careless driving after a magistrate heard he was distracted by passengers having sex.
Samy Metry, 53, crashed into the back of a stationary car because he was shocked and surprised by a teenage couple "hard at it" in a "stupid position" in the otherwise empty tram.
So, José Mourinho has left Chelski. Surely then, he's the guy to replace Tracksuits Arnold. If he does the business for the Socceroonies, he'll be a jet; and if he stuffs it up, well, at least he'll be entertaining.
"It is omelettes and eggs. No eggs - no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem."
~~ José explains how it is when you're missing key players.
"Paul Collingwood: right hand bat. Favourite shot: lap sweep."
England's captain, Paul Collingwood, was forced to make a public apology yesterday for an impromptu visit to a Cape Town lap dancing bar and, to add to his woes, his team-mates were also embarrassed as an equally ill-judged defeat against New Zealand left them on the brink of elimination from Twenty20 World Cup.
Collingwood will definitely captain England in the one-day series in Sri Lanka, with the England and Wales Cricket Board refusing to view his misjudgment with the same gravity as Andrew Flintoff's drunken pedalo affair in the World Cup, an escapade which was considerably more alcohol-fuelled and cost Flintoff the vice-captaincy.
David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, emphatically responded "of course he will" when asked if Collingwood would retain the job in Sri Lanka after a tabloid newspaper revelled in his visit to Mavericks following England's defeat against Australia. The board formally pronounced that Collingwood had "been shown an inappropriate area", which as definitions of lap dancing bars go sounded accurate enough. Last night they fined him some £1,000.
There was no suggestion that Collingwood was drunk, he left soon after midnight and he was playing golf by 7.30am on Saturday, 36 hours before England's next game against South Africa. He had been socialising with England team-mates in a Cape Town nightclub and had accepted a lift home with people he dubbed as "not massively close friends".
Nevertheless it was ill considered and some self-recrimination was necessary. "I was taken to an inappropriate bar and I realised that I had to get out of there," he said. "It won't happen again. I made a mistake. I have apologised to everybody already. I am disappointed with myself."
What's with the plain confession, anyway? It's "As for the pink wall, the mirrors, the toilet-attendant, the French barmen, the two bouncers and the stripper called Fantasy; I can't remember them."
Leapster has embarked upon a film review-a-thon. It should be well worth the reading given he's into the sort of movies one should be into: the ones he likes.
I love movies, of all kinds, and that sort of includes even a lot of the bad ones. At least I love to stick my head in the combat zone with most movies and grapple them within an inch of both of our lives. It passes the time. I figured if I’m going to be doing that once a day anyway, and I’ve got a website sitting there which is traditionally 99% antique wood-based old posts and cobwebs, I might as well combine both factors, and pass on some of the tedium to you. Thus the plan is, to write about the insanely divergent movies I’ll be catching up with on a daily basis, during my declining years, said rate of decline snowballing at a more impressive rate almost by the second.
Don’t look for any particular connection between these movies, because that way lies madness, I can assure you. The pictures will shuttle backwards and forwards all over movie history, not to mention genres, approaches, degree of inherent trashdom, ideal foodstuff to be consumed in accompaniment, aspic ratio, and any question of current availability. I’ll have grabbed them off the internet, out of JB Hi-Fi, off cable, or via some near-rusted-solid old videotape.
Whether it’s movies, music, TV or whatever, I’ve never bought the argument that the latest is necessarily the greatest, or the most worthy of being endlessly blathered about. An unconsidered popular culture leads to a puffy, foofy, bloated dead duck’s ding-dong of a popular culture, something that can be witnessed and confirmed on a daily basis in terms of the load of old rope put over as popular culture to an uncomplaining and thick-eared general public on a daily basis in newspapers, women’s toilet magazines, E! News type crap-storms, Ofrah Windsock, and the general downhill-run of network TV programming rosters. (Not to mention the aerated alfalfa that gets passed off as movie reviews in the mainstream media.)
From older movies (or albums, or whatever), and sometimes even stinky ones of a particularly arresting aroma, we can learn about where the popular culture has been, what bacterial strains of it survived, what didn’t, and why, and detect, if not an actual pattern, touchstones that trace a history of vital movie-making worth keeping, that still beats in the hearts of good, or at least galvanising, movies right now.
If all we see and talk about is the current megaplex cheese and its blue-vein ‘gourmet’ on a water-cracker art-house sidekicks, all we’re learning about there is, at most, contemporary commerce. Basically you’ll know what sells a choc-top this week. Not that that’s not an area worth keeping an eye on, but that’s business studies and nothing to do with any aesthetic of movie criticism.
Any form of pop culture criticism basically is the opposite of any code of football. The latter automatically requires air under pressure, and the former already has too much of it. Read the newspaper movie reviews and tell me I’m wrong.
No matter how many housing developments’ worth of bricks you can successfully manufacture without straw, you can’t make perspective without perspective. You got to see the movies. All kinds of movies. You got to get down in the pit and grapple with them suckers. You can’t just brush off the ones you feel inherently and mystically “above” somehow. That’s the Marge Pomerantz school of coffee-table reviewing.
It really helps if you love the idea – the medium, if you will Hortense – of movies. ‘Critics’ who think they’ve somehow become one of the cool kids just because they review movies are deluding themselves on the public’s time. They’re still the same Harry-high-pants nerdenheimers who got routinely victimised at school, proving that the whole area of bullying needs a comprehensive re-evaluation in terms of valid sociological benefits. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them about, and they’re about as useful in the long run as the impacted movie-nerd types who write in critical jargon code to other movie nerds and leave basically the entire general public high and dry.
My movies and reviews might leave you none the wetter or the better, but I don’t just play favourites, I don’t care how old the movie is or isn’t, and I have no shame over whether the movie company I keep might inherently make me look like an idiot to some snooty espresso-breathing, black shirt buttoned to the neck, Hal Hartley jibber-jabbering horse’s patoot.
Conventional wisdom has Geelong a certainty for this year's premiership. While Collingwood, after struggling to beat West Coast in a sapping thriller at Subiaco, will be cannon fodder for the all-conquering Catters in this Friday's Preliminary Final.
Here's something I wrote at Demonland back in July:
What hurts me, more than anything, is not that we've missed our window of opportunity, it's WHO we've lost it to.
Sure, we haven't been quite good enough to consider ourselves a solid chance, but for several years now we've been told all we need to do to win a flag is keep presenting as a top four prospect. The more often we were up with the top teams, the more likelihood there was we'd be a chance to snag a flag. Just as long as we continued to make the finals.
Now, this year. First we tinker with our style. Instead of fine-tuning last year's style, we tried the run-and-carry. Sure, it was supposed to augment our original game plan, not supersede it, but either way it's been a flop. It was apparent from the first quarter of Round 1 when St Kilda had nine scoring shots to our seven (and numerous OOFs) that we were in deep doo-doo for 2007. We just weren't tough enough to carry the ball into crowded areas and keep hold of it. That was followed by a shed load of injuries, starting with Brocky, our most important mid-fielder, in the second quarter of Round 1.
So, just as we think we might be well placed to challenge for the top four, just as we think this could be our year, just as we get out hopes up, we're out of the running in a finals that are the most open they've been for years.
Out of the current eight, we are better than Hawthorn, Norf, Port and Footscray at our best. (We should have beaten three of them, anyway.) We'd need to be at our best to challenge the present Geelong, who are burning, but IT IS Geelong, the one team more painful to barrack for than Melbourne; surely, something will go wrong for the Catters. West Coast are struggling and despite their pantsing us in Perth, are vulnerable here. The Sydney Pinks are looming large again, but they are coming from a long way back. Adelaide seem to be timing their run better than last year, but they aren't as imposing as they were at times last year. That leaves Collingwood. Malthouse coaches his teams to win finals. Should the Poys get a break in the finals they will be a major threat. Tony Shaw was right to say they could pinch it.
But are we at our best? Are we F**K! And where are we? Virtually stone motherless last and out of the bloody race.
You know what I won't be doing this September? Watching football. To have any of those sides scum a flag in the year we decide to go backwards will be too painful for words. Collingwood for obvious reasons. Sydney because the AFL granted them a flag in 2005 with the Hall decision (just compare that joke with Davey's last night). Hawthorn, North and Port because they aren't good enough to deserve one. Geelong and Footscray because that will mean we are one team closer to the team with the longest premiership drought. Adelaide because in their 16 year history luck has already granted them TWO flags.
The only less-painful-than-the-rest option is the side that will never stop, stop, stop til they're top, top, top, because I don't know even one Port fan.
Well, OK I lied. I watched last night and I'm glad I did, it was a thriller. But Collingwood's win in Perth also had me thinking ominous thoughts about the Poys winning this year's flag.
Historians may cite the 1980 Preliminary Final when Collingwood, who finished the home-and-away season fifth, beat Geelong by 4 points. They may recall the 1981 Preliminary Final when Garry Sidebottom missed the bus to Waverley and Collingwood beat Geelong by 7 points. They might even go so far back as 1953 when Collingwood were able to stop Geelong's record run of 23 wins. They also beat Geelong in that year's Grand Final to stop the Catters going back-to-back. Although "back-to-back" wasn't around in the days before Australian sports commentators discovered America.
There's also 1990. That year the Collingwoods, as we sadly remember, went on to win the flag after they drew with West Coast in the Qualifying Final. Suma Magic pressure-bunnied an easy shot to cause a replay. Last night Andrew Embley missed an, admittedly harder, shot to "draw" the game and force the extra time that's been in the rule book since that 1990 QF. We'll let Glass off the hook; he's a backman, after all.
(We won't let David Wirrpanda off the hook. He dropped a sitter chest mark to allow Collingwood back into the game. Then later fluffed a one-handed pick-up on the half-forward flank that would have enabled him a clear charge into the forward line. It was reminiscent of the 2005 Grand Final when he squibbed the contest that allowed Amon Buchanan to kick the winner.)
There is a school of thought that blue collar, hard nosed Collingwood will always beat countrified, flash Geelong when it matters. There's something in that. Tough sides are always the ones I'll have my money on in the finals. You've only got to look at most of the last, say, 25 years, when the physically imposing side is the one that's won the flag nearly every year.
Look at the 2002 and 2003 final series. On both occasions Malthouse had the Pies smothering, space-clogging game at its peak. It was a pity for them - but not for the rest of us - that they met powerhouse Brisbane in each Grand Final. That game plan is working again this year. They've suffocated both Sydney and West Coast and then stung both on the break. And neither Port nor Geelong are as good a bet as Brisbane 2002/2003.
Look, too, to when the Poys played Geelong at the MCG this year. They were probably outplayed, but still had their chances to win as they hung on for an ... ahem ... honourable loss.
They can reverse that result next Friday night. Had Geelong played West Coast, they would have smashed them. Collingwood is different. It won't be the Geelong cakewalk many people think, it will be a tightly fought, in-close, pressure game where Collingwood will do everything they can to choke up Geelong's run through the middle.
Sure, the Cats have been magnificent most of the year, and most every unaligned punter has them as favourite. Sportingbet has Geelong $1.60 for the flag and Collingwood at $6.00. But, like I wrote above, Geelong, more than any other team, is likely to give its fans grief. Get your hard earned magic beans on Collingwood. And don't forget to enjoy the traditional AFL fantasy game: 100 Gorillas. You know, counting the number of times the media say the crowd will be 100,000. I say 57.
Then, if the Pies beat Geelong, they are for me, a monty to beat Port, who I think will beat whoever they play in the other Preliminary Final in Addle-aide.
PS: In the pursuit of full disclosure, I also post this comment that I made this morning at Demonland:
Well done Collingwood! You knocked those cocky eagles off their perch. Living in Perth as a loyal Victorian, I love to hear those one-eyed Eagles fans moaning about their loss or suddenly losing all interest in footy. You have got to live over here to experience it.
~~ Bobby Mckenzie
I second, third AND fourth Bobby Mac.
Having lived in Western Australia for 15 years, there is no doubt WC fans are the most cocky and obnoxious fans in the league. Why do you think Dockers tragic, Matt Price, spends countless column inches caning the Eagles? He knows how nauseating WC fans are. Think smug Carlton fans at their worst and triple it.
For a Melbourne fan living in isolated Perth - who, by the way, was introduced everywhere as "Meet, Tony, he's a Victorian" like I'd killed their dog - it was dead set unbearable.
Chuck in the fact that, with only only two teams in Perth, there is saturation coverage in the papers, on the telly and on the radio. You just can't escape it. What's more, I was there when there was only the Eagles, no Dockers. West Coast dominated the news bulletins (not just the sports sections, either) and West Coast players read the weather, hosted sports reports, had jobs as sports reporters, wrote newspaper columns, did the Lotto numbers and were in too many ads to remember. It was just a nightmare.
Worst of all, though, is the hard-done-by attitude of the West Coast fans. They will not concede they enjoy even the slightest advantages. It's "we get nothing!" everywhere you go.
Bobby Mac, you want to know the best way to get a rise out of the Eagles fans? First remind them that the AFL (VFL as it was then) virtually gave them two premierships with early draft concessions. Rub it in that Victorian clubs were prohibited from drafting in WA. Razz them about their home ground advantage while casually shrugging off their pathetic travel excuse. Tell them they've ONLY won three flags when they should have won at least six.
In short, tell them they are under-achievers.
That said, I still have many West Aussie friends (maybe not so many if they read this) and now I'm back in Melbourne, away from the WA nightmare, and surrounded instead by cretinous, band-wagoning Collingwood fans. Despite having a long held animosity to West Coast, I don't subscribe to the Victorian media-driven idea that the interstate clubs are evil interlopers. I would rather Port win the flag than Richmond; I would rather Sydney win than Essendon; and yes, I would rather West Coast win than Collingwood. What's more, I think the Poys will beat Geelong. It is Geelong after all; heartbreak awaits. That means Collingwood will play in the Grand Final and because they will probably play Port, they will win. Repeat that: Collingwood will win the Grand Final. Sounds hideous, doesn't it?
As that noted football expert, Dr Zachary Smith, was wont to exclaim "Ohhh, the pain."
I'm sick of the hoopla that accompanies every Australia loss. You'd think we're invincible. No one wins every game, and the more games we play, the more likely it is we'll lose. Especially in a tin-pot tourney like the ICC World Twenty20, which incidentally, is not the Twenty20 World Cup.
There is a feeling that Australia had this coming. Their attitude towards Twenty20 has verged on the indifferent from the format's very inception, and at the end Ricky Ponting tellingly said "we've got to start respecting the game a bit more." He admitted he was embarrassed by the result adding that there "would be many Australians back home feeling the same way."
While Straya being beaten by Zimbabwe is an upset that is mildly upsetting, it is also a surprise that is not very surprising. The shorter you make the game, the more likely an upset becomes. Think about football. How often is the lesser team in front or "on the pace" at quarter time, only to get blown away once the favourite gets into stride. Chuck in a shit pitch (not, of itself, a bad thing), rock all practice, overcast conditions, the Zims doing everything right and our reluctance to even be there - it's batslotto.
Be interesting to see how a grouchy, stuck-in-the-mud Spanky writes it up given he shitcanned the tournament today:
ONLY stick-in-the-muds were unable to enjoy cricket's first multi-national staging of a frenzied game. Only grumps did not cheer as the ball was belted to every corner of a famous arena.
Only grouches did not appreciate the flashing lights, blaring music, fireworks, skimpily clad dancers and slogs laid before a heaving and cosmopolitan crowd. On another balmy African evening, thousands upon thousands feasted upon a brazen display of batsmanship.
Many wore red miners' hats, although not, surprisingly, matching red noses. They all looked distressingly happy.
And yet it was, in many respects, awful.
Everybody say, is he all right?
And everybody say, what's he like?
Everybody say, he sure look funny.
That's...Tony the Teacher, honey!
They want to introduce a new feature to the school intranet. You post your dial and staff members will recognise you to say "Hi, Tone" as they pass, instead of self-consciously ogling the ground and grunting as they do now. There's a list of five faves, too, so they'll get a feel for common interests. My own profile should convince them I'm made of the right stuff.
Watch This Face
Tony T. Teacher
Power Industry Guru
Five Things about Tony
1. Movie: Once Upon A Time In The West
2. Food: Roasts
3. Team: Melbourne
4. Cat or Dog: Gnome
5. Quote: If they move, kill 'em!
Gold. Who says Bert Newton is past it?
Newton asked a young female contestant to name a gift that was hard to return.
"This is a pretty filthy answer, but it's all I can think of and there's dirty people in your audience," the woman said. "So I'm going to go with vibrator."
Newton then made a series of vibrator jokes.
"I can hear a hum of some kind," he said before telling the woman to check her trousers.
Newton then asked the contestant's sister if she wanted "to get down and dirty" and, while hugging the woman, said: "I think you may have left your motor running."
Ok, so that's not his best gear. Dirty Berty showcased better material back when his hair and face were his own. But it's funnier than anything a family group spokesperson is likely to come up with.
~~ "Knock, knock."
~~ "Who's there?"
~~ "Family Services. We've come to take your children."
To think Nine are axing Family Feud. They should replace it with Family Fume, a show in which nanny-state outragists are asked to come on down to see who can come on up with the windbaggiest professional complaint.
Sigh. There goes yet another football tradition:
MAD Monday, football's annual day of infamy, may be going the way of the drop-kick and the shirt-front . . . and the footy trip, as Mike Sheahan writes.
Reports from the six Victorian AFL clubs that finished their season last weekend indicate a new level of player responsibility at the traditional post-season wake.
"I just think everybody is more aware of their responsibilities," Carlton chief executive Greg Swann said last night.
Last Friday I was putting together a post on Equine Influenza - or what most sane people call horse flu - with the heading EI, EI, Ohhh!, but I ran out of time.
There was also this nag-ging feeling that since I'm always bagging the gee-gees, it might just be a case of the same-olds.
Still, I had every intention of doing it when I got the time and yesterday I got the time, but the first thing I saw when I opened yesterday's Age was that headline on the right, which pissed me off no end.
It was a double piss-off, too, because I knew the headline would appear at some stage, but because of my slackness I'd missed the chance to beat the biggies to the punch; something I find more than a little galling.
Not only that! The horse flu crisis in Victoria was a dud. Turns out the sick horses in Albury only had colds or headaches or hangovers and the Age headline was a false alarm.
Nevertheless, once I'd managed to extract my fist from out of my monitor I started typing another post.
This one was going to be about Plugger Ponting's new hair and was going to be called Extra Cover. That's gold, I though, but flicking now through the Herald Sun, there it was again.
As they say in the classics: Being scooped once is misfortune, being scooped twice smacks of carelessness.
Fortunately, I had Nabs' excellent fillum review to post, because I'd run out of ideas for yesterday.
That's when my eyes landed on a headline from the other end of the Herald Sun: that one over there on the right.
Now, shadenfreude appeals to me just as much as the next bloke. I mean, if it wasn't for other people's misfortune, this blog would barely exist. So was this a juicy story of a rich wanker fallen on tough times? A bit of Sullivan's Travels, maybe?
It was not, but it was still funny. Click the picture to find out why. Well done, that subby.
Grogflog returns. And returns to its original mission statement as well. Which was not just to say good things about good movies, but also bad things about bad movies as well. And “The Brown Bunny" is very very bad indeed. Not even in a “so bad it’s good way” or superbad dogz! or bad in a way that challenges conventional wisdom. It’s just bad - and bad in a way that really leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and the mind.
(2003. Wan colour. Script: Vincent Gallo. Direction: Vincent Gallo. Cinematography: Vincent Gallo. Score: Vincent Gallo. Producer: Vincent Gallo. Set design: Vincent Gallo. Costume: Vincent Gallo. Makeup: Vincent Gallo. Hair: Vincent Gallo. Catering: Vincent Gallo, etc, etc)
I thought I should finally check this one out because of the various controversies surrounding it. Like getting booed at Cannes (well OK, that sounds interesting) and Chloe Sevigny sucking the Gallo genitalia for real in front of the camera (which sounds like a refreshing change from doing it to get in front of the camera).
The IMDB synopsis blandly states: “Professional motorcycle racer Bud Clay heads from New Hampshire to California to race again. Along the way he meets various needy women who provide him with the cure to his own loneliness, but only a certain woman from his past will truly satisfy him.”
There is however a twist at the end which I won’t spoil, mainly because the nearly two hours of utter bloody tedium leading up to it will do that first.
I can handle cryptic narratives that never quite knit themselves together, deal with viewpoints that take me outside my comfort zone, appreciate the subtle nuances of emotionally allusive landscapes and don’t automatically equate lack of technical flair with lack of good storytelling.
But "The Highway Hare" commits the ultimate filmmaking sin. It’s as fuckin' boring as
batshit rabbit poo.
At least fifty percent of the screen time is taken up by Vincent brooding over his rugged looks in the rear view mirror as he drives through the dullest bits of the American Midwest and Southwest.
The women he meets along the way are given desultory parts that require them to be irresistibly and unthinkingly drawn to this magnetically monosyllabic loner on his odyssey of the soul across the lower 48.
The hand-held, grainy 16mm blown up to 35mm cinematography and crackling ambient sound-heavy audio are trying very hard to signal this is like real, man, it’s like the authentic voice of a damaged poetic soul. It makes your teeth hurt to watch how he strains to make it look like the kinda film he's not actually making.
Do you really reckon a quite soigne and MILFy indeed Cheryl Tiegs, while leaving a gas station, would spontaneously initiate a, like just like real life dude, heart to heart conversation with some strange, mumbling and utterly uncharismatic ferret in a leather jacket that looks like it was bartered for a gram of bad speed? The whole scene played like a bad porn setup without the actual bad porn. That pretty much sums up the whole "The Road Rabbit" experience in toto for me.
Well perhaps Vince does have hidden charms. If you’ve got a spare 50K, why not find out for yourself? Ladies only though. And naturally born too. I’d like to think he was tongue in cheek with that offer but judging from "The Bronze Beast” I suspect he really thinks he’s a walking wet dream. Which maybe he is, but only in his shaky, grainy, blown-up hands.
And yes, the blowjob scene with Chloe? Short, frank, utterly unerotic, no pop shot and as hamfistedly and coyly faux naturalistic as the rest of the flick.
To be fair, some of the on the road scenes did capture a certain vibe about motoring through the USA which I enjoyed for the first 30 seconds or so. But really I found this flick as tedious as watching some inner city adland hipster carefully shape his facial hair for 119 minutes to look like a street desperado. A truly pretentious art film pretending it’s not. Which is far worse than other way around.
It's such bad faith in all senses of the phrase. Implicitly claiming to be emotionally real and so powerful because of its studied cruddiness yet quite unable to deliver any believable characters, interesting story or creative va-va-voom. The perfect mirror image of some honestly shitty straight to DVD movie that knows it's not much chop but hopes you'll get a kick, and they'll get a dollar, out of some hearty exploitation of base human desires.
Did I mention "The Lurid Lupine" is also just bad in the classic sense of the word? Bad. Narcissist newt waste nodules. Preening poodle hemroids in fitful motion. Really bad. I'd feed the master reel and its creator to a feral pig if I could possibly find one willing to stoop that low and open up that wide. It's bad. Complete crap really.
The most entertaining thing to come out of “Vincent Does Himself” was a great exchange of insults after Roger Ebert shitcanned it.
Vincent: “Ebert is a fat pig with the physique of a slave trader.”
Roger: "One day I will be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny."
Vincent: “I put a hex on your colon and hope you die of cancer.”
Roger: “Enduring a colonoscopy would be more entertaining than watching The Brown Bunny”
Vincent: “I was misquoted. I meant his prostrate.”
If only the flick itself had such quality dialogue.
GrogFlog’s verdict: “I'm not going to be okay, Bud.” 1 out of 10 rabbit droppings.
Coming soon: Look, I will write about this amazing Oliver Reed flick soon, I promise. Or hands up anyone for a Phantasm retrospective with The Tall Man as guest commentator. And also an elephant stamp* for any one who can pick this fillum quote: “Our complaints are brief. We make them against the nearest wall.”
*Competition not open to Aftergrogblog employees and their families.
Well, not in the Top 10 of Herr Shane Warne's Top 50, anyway.
50 - 41
50. Jamie Siddons
49. Darren Berry
48. Brian McMillan
47. Chris Cairns
46. Dilip Vengsarkar
45. Waqar Younis
44. Alec Stewart
43. Mike Atherton
42. Ravi Shastri
41. Justin Langer
40 - 31
40. Kapil Dev
39. Stuart MacGill
38. Sanath Jayasuriya
37. Steve Harmison
36. Andy Flower
35. Michael Vaughan
34. Bruce Reid
33. Allan Donald
32. Robin Smith
31. Tim May
30 - 21
30. Kevin Pietersen
29. Shoaib Akhtar
28. Saeed Anwar
27. Jacques Kallis
26. Steve Waugh
25. Darren Lehmann
24. Brett Lee
23. Stephen Fleming
22. Martin Crowe
21. David Boon
20 - 11
20. Adam Gilchrist
19. Aravinda de Silva
18. Merv Hughes
17. Matthew Hayden
16. Andrew Flintoff
15. Graham Gooch
14. Rahul Dravid
13. Anil Kumble
12. Mark Waugh
11. Courtney Walsh
10 - 1
10. Ian Healy
9. Mark Taylor
8. Ricky Ponting
7. Muttiah Muralitharan
6. Wasim Akram
5. Glenn McGrath
4. Allan Border
3. Curtly Ambrose
2. Brian Lara
1. Sachin Tendulkar
Tim Lane is right about Shane Warne and Steve Waugh.
It will state clearly that Warne regarded a contemporary Australian great as being flawed. Alas, such skewed comparisons between Waugh and players of clearly inferior records expose the man making them as being less than completely objective.
Objectionable, more like. And by THE Waugh you know which Waugh. There would barely be a cricket fan in this wide brown land who rates The Other Waugh and his stylish 40s above Steve Waugh and his repeated heroics, despite what they might think of Tugger's reputed selfishness. Like Tim says, Warne's been hanging around with Ian Chappell too long.
Still, while Warne is a bit of a fat head, he revealed a previously hidden diplomatic touch in explaining Murali's selection at No.7:
No matter what anybody thinks about his action, he is wonderful to bat against for the experience of facing a ball that turns so much. He has helped to turn Sri Lanka into a formidable side at home. It is also worth remembering the work he did in the aftermath of the tsunami when he gave so much hope to people in despair. And we all love that smile.
A slick side-step followed by shmaltz; a career in politics awaits.
In batting order, my Top 11:
11. Curtley Ambrose
10. Dennis Lillee
9. Malcolm Marshall
8. Shane Warne
7. Richard Hadlee
6. Adam Gilchrist
5. Brian Lara
4. Viv Richards
3. Ricky Ponting
2. Sachin Tendulkar
1. Allan Border
With apologies to Greg Chappell, Steve Waugh, Martin Crowe and [grits teeth] Ian Botham. The side might be one batsman short, but no one is going to score any runs against that attack.