Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Arse On The Way Out…

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It was a highly emotional crowd at the Telstra Dome last night who bid farewell to veteran whistle-blower Darren Goldspink after a long and distinguished career full of fine achievements. That is, if all you want to achieve in life is to piss people off…

A real shame Goldy couldn’t hold on for a few more games and bow out straight after an Essendon-Hawthorn game – that would have been fitting! And he won’t have to worry about the fans finding a new ‘most-hated’ umpire…come on down, Ray!

Onto football matters, last night’s NAP cup match came to a predictable conclusion with St Kilda winning pretty comfortably, even with a number of top-line players out. The Sainters would have enjoyed the first opportunity to play two decent ruckmen in the one game, and have them walk off unassisted.

And thank goodness Fraser Gehrig decided against giving the game away…big Frase provides all manner of entertainment and we saw glimpses of the madness, ill discipline and slotting goals from outside 50 that we all love to watch. Plus, the extra prizemoney might come in handy after this costly little mistake

Richmond’s performance was frightfully similar to those of last season – fell behind early, crappy first half, challenge for most of the third but blow chances in front of goal (Richo mostly), lose momentum and opponents wrap up match early in fourth before cruising the rest of the way. Unless they play 25 or 30 practice matches in the next five weeks before the season opener against Carlton, things don’t look good…

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, can take heart out of their narrow win over the Kangaroos in Darwin. Nathan Thompson managed to survive the hitout, though Daniel Wells’ hamstring did not. But, speaking of survival, both these clubs might well feel like winners today with whispers of preparations for an 18-team competition in 2011-2012. This prospect would mean neither side will be forced to relocate or merge and the League would have to guarantee they remain in operation.

Last night’s TV Highlight: a virtual lock for this accolade every week, Dennis Cometti’s description of a Matthew Richardson error as ‘delusions of adequacy’!

Last night’s TV Lowlight: a virtual lock for this accolade every week, boundary rider Ricky Olarenshaw’s grand announcement that it was Fraser’s big comeback to football. Yep, he hasn’t played an AFL game since Round 22 last year…the same as everybody else on the ground! Yep, I really enjoyed Nick Dal Santo’s emotional comeback to the game as well…

So, what can we look forward to today…apart from taking the piss out of Channel Ten’s Ricky-O equivalent?

Skilled Stadium, Geelong – 4:40pm (local): Geelong v Melbourne (Fox)

A decent crowd is expected to flock to Kardinia Park today…though that’s just to hang out at the netball courts hoping to get a photograph with the premiership cup! As far as the match goes, the Cats could probably beat Melbourne with 17 players if they wanted…and we might just see it happen too! Go on Bomber, you know you want to!

New coach Dean Bailey is determined to open his account with a win and if the Cats send most of their stars over to the netball courts to pose for photos, they might even come close. Off-field though, the Demons are as far from competitive as you can imagine with low membership numbers and key staff getting the arse ending their time with the club. Where’s Diamond Joe when you need him?

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide – 5:40pm (local): Port Adelaide v Carlton (CH10)

Port will field a side full of youngsters in their first run since last year’s Grand Final debacle with Mark Williams aiming to keep the same game plan that serverd them so well on that day. But Warren Tredrea will be out there…what a great opportunity to trial some goofy goal celebrations in preparation for the season proper.

Carlton have yet again been the talk of the off-season and usually do well in the NAP Cup before reality kicks in around March/April. With the Melbourne media on Judd Groin Watch, the rest of the country can enjoy the debut of top draft pick Matthew Kreuger Kreuzer.

Gold Coast Stadium, Gold Coast- 7:40pm (local): Brisbane v Essendon (CH10)

Brisbane are missing some key players and Jonathan Brown is flying on the track after a full preseason…but he is forced to watch from the sidelines? How cruel. New recruit Travis Johnstone is probably the most intrigiung player to watch in this one but there will be no Beau McDonald, the premiership ruckman pulling a Goldy and retiring before he has a chance to break himself again.

Hey, did you know that Matthew Knights has just taken over as Essendon coach? Whether Knights starts with a win is anyone’s guess with most of their big and not-that-big names sitting at home. But the Bombers will have a shitload of young Western Australian kids on show who may well be enjoying their time at Windy Hill but would much prefer to play for a high-flying club back home…who really know how to party!

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