Harmsy's Handle - AFL Round 17

At the moment, the Pies are anything but hot!
A half-decent card-carrying sports fan will do pretty much anything to see what we need to see. And we’ll invoke our God-given right to express an opinion, however devoid of balance and reason, on any matter pertaining to the game and those who play it, administer it, and exploit it.

And so while anyone with any sense was north of the Tropic of Capricorn in Cairns watching the Bulldogs upset the Suns in the beautiful sunshine, I found myself fighting the wind and the rain in the Everest seats of the Olympic Stand at the MCG.

I was cold before I got up there. I had to prod the bloke sitting at Gate 3 holding a piece of cardboard on which was written in Niko pen “Dudley’s Raffle - $1 per ticket” just to see he was alive. The poor bugger was a shade of purply crimson, an ensemble that gave a nice contrast to the whites of his knuckles, which gripped his promotional sign. He was receiving no patronage at all (mainly because it’s hard to get coins out of your wallet, when it’s in a pocket six layers from the outside.

But he was doing it for Melbourne, a club which has fallen on hard times (really?). And to help pay the salary of Paul Roos who receives about $10,000 per goal, which is not a good deal if you love the grand old flag, which is not high-flying at the moment.
The genius who designed Section Q53 of the Olympic Stand has a future in yachting for he has learnt the secret of catching the wind, while simultaneously allowing any traces of heat to leave the human body via the feet. We were warm during the first half while there was actually a game of footy on the ground, but when the two sides - Melbourne and Geelong – capitulated to the futility and absurdity of it all in a stand-off of bum-numbing proportions, only those with the deepest need remained exposed. Others sought the heated comfort behind glass – and that included the 4.07 to South Morang.

Thank goodness Stephen Motlop and Joel Selwood warmed the place up in the second quarter, else there’d have been deaths by full-time.

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Michael Dodge
Image courtesy of: heraldsun.com.au

Who knows how cold it was in Hobart for the Kangas game – especially for the Saints supporters? But conditions looked OK as I stood waiting for a coffee at half-time (and for about 10 minutes of the third quarter).

Geez, Cazaly at Cairns looked good on the TV when finally I got home to thaw out in front of the fire. The Bulldogs were relentless, making it hard for the Suns to make the eight. They’re still a chance despite young Gazza’s season-ending surgery, but it will be tough now with others in the hunt.

Port Adelaide have also found the pole a little greasy in recent times. So, in answer to the question raised when they were flying a month ago – could the youngsters make it through a long season? – the meter is heading in the direction of the negative. Top four looks difficult now.

It’s at the very top end where the most action is, though.

The Pies, who were up there momentarily, are on an even greasier pole, having put together a series of losses, which have the coach bewildered and the president lashing out. As his side slowly sinks beyond the horizon of the eight, Eddie McGuire is going hard (via his hour-long Fox Footy show on Sunday nights, and no doubt his brekkie show as well) at the Swans and what Ed claims are their various ‘rorts’ – and, to his surprise, the Swans are fighting back. (Nothing that a cup of coffee with Ed won’t sort out, he tells us.) By choosing not to coach the Australian side, John Longmire is exercising his right to an Eddie-free existence, one which should be written into the national constitution, or indeed may already be there.

The Swans are making their public statement on the footy field. And it could not be clearer. The tenacity and ferocity and skill of the Sydney mid-field (there seem to be about a dozen of them) is about as unambiguous as you could imagine. They have so many options up forward. It doesn’t matter (now) how those talls managed to find their way to the Bloods, when I last looked in The Footy Record, I couldn’t help but notice they’re the ones who run out each weekend.

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard/Herald Sun
Image courtesy of: dailytelegraph.com.au/Phil Hillyard/Herald Sun

For the moment only the industrial-strength Dockers look as if they can match it with the red and whites. 

The Hawks are round about. They keep doing enough, and say very little. A mature (and successful) club knows what matters: the ability to shut out emerging threats, like the Crows, which they did on Friday night, in a hostile environment with a patched-up side. Their match with Sydney in a fortnight’s time (after having this weekend off) looms as a beauty, and then they can get a nice comparison with Freo, when they travel there a couple of weeks after that.

The Bombers have re-entered the fray, but who can tell the value of Collingwood-trouncing these days.

And so the winter struggle continues.

At least we have Eddie to entertain us, and the mighty Pies of course, the demise of whom would warm the dead.

John Harms is editor of footyalmanac.com.au

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