Saturday, September 21, 2002

COLLINGWOOD: 13.13 91. Who dares to doubt my awesome predictive powers?

Friday, September 20, 2002

A FEW DAYS before Collingwood destroyed Essendon in the 1990 Grand Final, I wrote a little newspaper item about the magnificent omens indicating a Magpie victory. The number 13 loomed everywhere:

•It had been 13 years since Collingwood had played in the drawn 1977 Grand Final, the closest we'd come to victory since 1958.

•Collingwood's Premiership total stood at 13.

•Alan Richardson, who wore 13, was dropped on the eve of the big match.

And there were a bunch more that I can't remember. Anyway, in the Grand Final itself ...

•Collingwood scored 13 goals

•Craig Starcevich practically sealed the match after being brought on at the 13th minute of the first quarter

•And 13 charges were laid after a brawl at the quarter time break in which Gavin Brown (26 – double 13) was knocked out.

Things didn't go so well in 1992 and 1994, the last two years Collingwood made it to the finals. A lack of thirteens was the problem. We got kicked out after scoring 12 goals against St. Kilda in 1992; the bastard Saints scored 13.13 91. A twelve-goal score also saw us lose in 1994.

So, how do things look in 2002?

•During the home and away rounds, Collingwood won 13 games.

•Against North Melbourne in round 13, Collingwood scored 13 goals to win after receiving 13 free kicks.

•In our only game this year against Adelaide, who we play on Saturday for the right to compete in the Grand Final, our halftime score was 13.8, and our final score was 138.

So we will defeat the Crows. The numbers tell us so. There is only one negative omen: it's been 12, rather than 13, years since our last flag. But Buckley magic will overwhelm that statistical flaw. Go Pies!

RICHARD COLLESS is either extremely brave or extremely foolhardy – this is not the first time he has dared cross the most powerful man in football!

"The recent ravings of (Collingwood coach) Michael Malthouse following on the Eddie McGuire comments are just a single example of the constant pressure that we are subjected too by rival clubs and, like any other club in this competition, we are constantly competing with other codes.”

Eddie Everywhere’s response was swift and thoroughly ambiguous:

McGuire, speaking during his hosting segment on Channel Nine's The Footy Show, said he did not want to insinuate Sydney had paid Wallace.

But he said prospective coaches wanted to go to non-Victorian clubs because they were allowed to pay their players 100 per cent of the salary cup, with Victorian teams only allowed to pay their players 92.5 per cent.

"It's pretty clear that there's ... no fluke that there's two teams without coaches at the moment (the Bulldogs and the Kangaroos) and both of them are at 92.5 per cent of the salary cap," he said.

"So boo-hoo to the Sydney Swans who feel so hardly done by at the moment.

"It's not that flash for some of the clubs in Melbourne who are trying to make things happen."

McGuire said of Wallace's scenario: "Luckily at the Swans there's no pay-out because you wouldn't want them to be paying two coaches next year but he hasn't sacked his manager because he's pretty happy with things at the moment.

"Work all that out - because I can't."

Neither can I – what are you saying, Eddie?!

And I should have put this warning up front – if you don’t want to waste all day watching a status bar graph crawl its way across your screen, don’t hit any of the links to the AFL website. It’s at its slowest today – which is saying something.


Collingwood vs Adelaide, MCG, Saturday Afternoon.
Collingwood come into this game fresh after a two week break, and Nathan Buckley comes into the side for Molloy. Adelaide have named an unchanged lineup. The Age tipsters lean to Adelaide by 10 tipsters to 7.

Adelaide have match hardness, self belief and finals experience. They went missing again for a half of football last week, yet still kicked 20 goals, and a come from behind win like that can be inspiring. It was rather like the 1997 preliminary final against Footscray, although there the Crows didn't squander a 40 point lead.
Yet such games can work against you too. It might lead to that emotional feeling that it was the win that mattered. Certainly, no one tipped Adelaide to do as well as they have, not in Melbourne, nor even in the City of Churches.

Collingwood are entereing uncharted territory. For them, big game nerves might play a factor, but they are fresh, young, fearless, and brilliantly coached. If they have been using their week off wisely, they should be able to overcome their nerves.

My tip is for Adelaide. I think that the experience and the self belief is too great for Collingwood to overcome, and it's actually been a while since Collingwood played a really good solid game of football- their win against Port Adelaide was a case of Licuria, and Port losing it more then anything else. My heart says Adelaide by 90 points, but my head says Adelaide by 24.

Brisbane vs Port Adelaide, the Gabba, Saturday Night.
Brisbane are rested, fit, and invincible at the Gabba. All 17 of the Age's tipsters have gone for them. Charman goes out for McDonald. This should be easy.
Port Adelaide are tired, unsteady, and suddenly got the yips. No one gives them a rats chance. Lade goes out for Wakelin.

Do you see something wrong with this picture too?

There's NO SUCH THING as a sure bet in a final.

Brisbane go into this game fit, raring to go, in great form, and have had the fortnight off. They are playing at their stronghold, which has been breached only once this season, and they saw off their last challenger, the Adelaide Crows, with almost embarrasing ease. There's no negatives at all.

Port Adelaide go into this game with a nearly full strength line-up. They are fit, and have at last won their first final, a good come from behind effort against Essendon. Their coach has a few matchups to worry about, most prominently, where to play Chad Cornes, (My guess is he will play up forward; Jonathon Brown won't be caught out this time.) They are free from expectations.

My Tip is for Port Adelaide to win. This is not a case of Adelaide pundits sticking together. I loathe Port Adelaide and all their works, no matter how much I respect their onfield achievements. Do you expect a Manchester City fan to cheer on Manchester United? No. My mind goes back to early 2001 where the supposedly invincible Essendon side lost a game to Carlton which had four key players out. I saw Carlton priced at up to $6 dollars, and somehow I just knew they were going to win. Complacency is Brisbane's enemy here, which is remarkable considering they lost to Port Adelaide less then a month ago. Final's football is something else, but you can't argue that they won't be affected by what's gone on for Port Adelaide in the last fortnight. Port Adelaide to win by 15 points in perhaps the match of the season.
THE CITY OF MONASH has taken the chance for one last bite out of the AFL. They have sent a rates bill of $2.7 Million dollars for the old Waverly Park.
In Adelaide, the City of Charles Sturt makes sure it gets the most out of Football Park too. Can't trust these local councils, can you?

Thursday, September 19, 2002

BRUCE McAVANEY does nothing to quash “those rumours”.

On Talking Footy on Tuesday night, McAvaney was discussing with former Crows coach Graeme Cornes whether Wayne Carey would struggle with the hype in Adelaide and compared the situation he faces with that of Tony Modra.

McAVANEY: You made the famous comment that Modra’s a more popular person than Don Bradman and in the context you were right because he was a “sexier” man…


Wednesday, September 18, 2002

THE ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM is announced. Dermott Brereton thinks
"the selectors make a choice knowing that they are being overly flamboyant, in hope of predicting the future rather than simply rewarding the immediate past."
and looking at the selection of Pavlich, one can only nod in agreement. Dermott was also horrified that Andrew McLeod didn't get a mention, however as a intimate Crows-watcher, I'd have to say it hasn't been one of his standout seasons.

I was surprised no-one from Collingwood or Essendon got in, and I also thought Crawford was lucky to get in. All in all, it's hard to argue with the bulk of the side, although there's plenty of quibbles about some of the positions.

NORTH MELBOURNE look likely to pick a rookie coach, with front runners being Mark Harvey and Dean Laidley. This suggests that North are looking to the bottom line more then anything. However, I always enjoy seeing new talent having a go, so good luck to the winner!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

MICK MALTHOUSE'S explanation for declining crowds, as reported by The Australian:

"Supporters are not fools," Malthouse said. "They don't want to see a side with 92.5 per cent salary cap play against the 'Sydney cap' or the 'Brisbane cap'. They don't want to see a million and a bit dollars difference in the salary cap and think: 'There's five good players. We haven't got those good players. What hope have we got?'

"We're seeing all the hallmarks of people getting pretty disappointed and disillusioned with sides they follow that aren't on a fair break.

Does anyone have a silo of salt? Taking coaches seriously about the salary cap is like listening to Saddam Hussein denounce pre-emptive military action.

COULD THIS be the first scoop that we at OBIS have broken?

From Arma, Footy Banter Team Founding Father (retired):

“If I know anything about web coding of forms, the Ten Poll on the AFL website is a sham.

I checked out the code on the page, and the percentages are "hard coded" into the page, i.e. no matter what anyone might vote, the numbers don't change.

I thought "no, that can't be right".

So I entered about 20 responses for the response with only a 6% response.

And sure enough - no change to the numbers.

Perhaps if you know someone who is a real web programming head you might want to get them to check it out. But I reckon that the AFL website is publishing the numbers that it wants to create the impression that it wants to.

Perhaps it's a bit of a "who cares" for the Essendon question.

But what if they were asking something a bit more touchy, (e.g. "Do you think that the free to air networks have done a better job that last year in covering the footy?”) and then publishing their own made up numbers as "results".

I know that they are very unlikely to ask that one, but I think that you can see where I am going.

That is all

Big Arma”

The Poll in question was the one on "how many premierships should Essendon have won between 1999 and 2002?"

Arma did his snooping on Monday afternoon, I checked around 10pm Monday night and again around 7:30 Tuesday morning.

Same result every time - no matter how much I clicked on "4" as the answer, it still came up "6%".

Over to you, Channel 10 AFL website people - Is your poll a sham?

IS THIS story, displayed prominiently with a colour photo in today's West Australian, a peace gesture?

The Eagles have appeared in the wrong (front) half of the West for nearly a week as the paper has waged a campaign against the club. And fair enough too.

West Coast has been less than forthcoming after the explosive Ben Cousins/Daniel Kerr story broke last Monday. The club said skipper Cousins had broken his arm after falling down the stairs at Claremont nightspot Club Bay View, but neglected to mention the fact he had punched team mate Kerr in the face on the same night.

When this story was printed on Tuesday, the club issued a statement saying it had not heard of the incident until it appeared in the paper. But coach John Worsfold subsequently revealed that he knew about the incident on Monday.

When journalists were threatened that a press conference, called for the retirement of Mark Merenda and Richard Taylor, would be terminated if questions were asked about Cousins or Kerr, the West had had enough. That prompted these opening paragraphs from Grant Taylor, a police roundsman, under the headline "Cover-up over Cousins":

ATTEMPTS by the West Coast Eagles to cover up a fight between captain Ben Cousins and teammate Daniel Kerr have backfired.

In an embarrassing admission yesterday, coach John Worsfold revealed he knew about the fight when asked at a press conference on Monday how Cousins injured his arm.But he did not mention it because "nobody asked me".

All of a sudden, the Eagles found themselves in unaccustomed territory at the front of the newspaper. A prominent graphic detailing the club's off-field troubles gave the impression of a club in crisis. There was no doubt that this was war.

But today, the waters appear calmer. West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett is given a good hearing as he attempts to dispell perceptions of a "rude, arrogant and smug" club. The piece speaks of a "new era of openness and accountability". The accompanying picture of a smiling Nisbett between the club's two premiership cups looks like a PR job well done.

Who can explain the seemingly rapid reversal? Perhaps the West's cricket writer and media columnist John Townsend, who we are informed is an avid reader of OBIS, might give us a clue?