3 clubs, 23 rounds, A slab of passion….

Fine white line between pleasure and pain

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 10.25.52 PMThe to camera interview with Trent Cotchin, Richmond Captain, wearing a sparkly leather vest, make up and studded dog collar during Mad Monday celebrations belied the severity of the all time domination by Port the day before in the Elimination Final. Richmond had already attended the Hell Fire Club the day before where the lash, nipple clamps, studs and neck chains were solely in the hands of the collective Port Dominatrix. This was no consensual dance as 6 goals in 10 minutes from the opening bounce saw the once proud Tigers handcuffed to the rack chasing unattainable tail having forgotten the pre-game agreed signal for “stop”. No switch today here til the final quarter when the Tigers kick 5 goals to 1 with the Port Power moving onto the next encounter with Greco Roman wrestlers the Freo Dockers. Cotchy came in for a whippin’ of his own having won the toss and elected to kick into the wind. The blooded welts and cuts lashed to the Tiger psyche cast a leather clad shadow over the season end.

But it wasnt the only  false step from Punt Road as Troy Chaplin’s “stick it up em” parting Port Adelaide email from 2012 emerged in the lead up to the game. Having left when Port was a pre President Kochi untreatable basket case for the then greener pastures of Richmond Hill and feeling cock a hoop about being on board the “Tiger Express” first stop September and leaving stagnation behind on a passing line.


Hadn’t had enough, went back for one more boot into the carcass did Troy. “Doing all the right little things”. Like getting the studs evenly matched on the dog collar? Lot of talk about how amazing the atmosphere can be at Adelaide Oval and how streets ahead are the pre-game entertainment, pyrotechnics, neon advertising and home team “branding”. Much is made of the reverential INXS snippet from “Never tear us Apart” choreographed to swaying fan’s holding at a 10 to 2pm angle Port scarves engraved with the song title. Bogans with Attitude – straight outta Liverpool. Kinda ends a bit quick on the game countdown clock cross fade of the siren into the mix. Talk about high fidelity nostalgia! – Next thing you know they’ll be reincarnating U2 to launch a smart phone complete with new free song!

Screen shot 2014-09-09 at 10.34.38 PMSeems there were a few Tiger Express versions – the 5 buses charted by the club along with a flight and title by proxy to the “Overland”. By games end, it was chuffing out of Adelaide central hauling a thousand or more tails between legs back to Melbourne one diesel fuelled kilometre at a time. Loved via the Victorian Railway Enthusiasts Facebook page one Passenger took time out from his grief to share his life long love of rail in documenting abandoned diesel engines along the once great western rail network (in the guise of rationalisation) corridor of Stawell, Horsham and Dimboola. Earlier the cars and buses on convoy to Adelaide oval had stripped the mid trip town of Kaniva of donuts, pies, flake and caffe lattes some 12 hours out from the game. Rumours abound from our moles inside Waack’s Bakery that local storekeepers subscribed to a pact to withhold hot pies and sausage rolls from visitors after one too many “Kaniva Pie?” enquiries from blow in Tiger fans collapsing under the weight of rapturous side-splitting guffaws.

House break in’s and thefts are on the rise, mainly it is claimed by local authorities due to the Ice bucket challenge epidemic spawning unpredictable behaviour and aggression. We’ve been forced to step up our security in the event the TV is lifted in the led up to September action forcing us to an away uncontrolled venue to cheer on the combatants. Yet it’s not like the old days for ice addicts when lifting the television after forcing the bathroom louvre ajar was a routine soda. Back then once the getaway car was torched and back in your sanctuary, you’d plug in your booty, attach an aerial or if required, fashion a bare coat hanger into a black op style ersatz receiver and you’re adjusting the colour and contrast on Bruce McAvaneny visage within seconds while crunching Milk Bar pilfered cheese and onion chips straight outta the bag. These days, once you flog the thing, you have to retune it to the local stations, set up the date, time and name of the beast and you can forget about ripping that shirt off the hanger to fashion an aerial – those damn UHF signals are just not fashion friendly! After 45 minutes of endless set up and with “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” further away than ever,  the shakes are setting in. Inevitable that in an ice bucket fuelled rage you’ve smashed the device into a thousand pieces on that stress busting 3rd unsuccessful sweep for local channels. Yep my buckets got a hole in it. Back on the streets for another idiot box.

Swan Buddy Franklin went off like a fully shaken can of COLA in the last stanza against Freo. Well held until shifted to a wing, he erupts the back paddock that is the Sydney Olympic Park with two electrifying goals. The first he pops out on spec from 75 out and wins the true bounce. The second is cannon fired from his left tight on the boundary splitting the goals with such force that it’s truncated trajectory is tracer like.  No team was won the flag playing all 4 weeks since Adelaide last century so Fremantle, along with Port are up against it with half their senior defence (Johnson, McPharlin) missing and guttersnipe goal sneak Hayden Ballantine with a busted jaw and an inability to kick enough goals. Port’s vicious ran and carry accountable footy might prove tighter than a latex suit.

Tactful insights from the Warrnambool Standard suggesting a higher level of inside intelligence that is usual between one time teammates and siblings aka the Scott brothers who coach against one another in this week’s Semi Final. Give new meaning to the coach blistering the walls at half time in an old fashioned team bake.

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Finally, I knew Hawthorn was going to win the Qualifying final on Friday night when I saw pre-game that:

a) Our banner was about 40% wider and taller than Geelong’s
b) During the national anthem every Hawk had an arm about their teammate whereas Geelong players were an average .75 metres apart
c) Sewelly was playing his 200th game
d) No one had mentioned Zombie Jeff Kennet for the first time since 1982. Many of us have been cursing him long before 2008.
e) The Geelong guy opposite me was eating a cold BYO pasta bake out of Tupperware with his  bare hands.

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Hit me on the chest with your centimetre perfect pass