Tag Archives: Grant Thomas

Damn Stupid Pressure! (Septocemia – 2009 AFL Finals Series)

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WHAT…ME WORRY?

Pressure. It has cost us some wayward government ministers,  it can drive young divas into a head -shaving, umbrella-waving fit of rage and it forced the temporarily rampaging Adelaide Crows into their shell during the third quarter last Saturday night. And Grant Thomas ate it for breakfast (plus a little bit more, you suspect…) but look where it got him!

That’s right – it’s preliminary final weekend and the buzzword this week has been ‘pressure’. Our two grand finalists will be determined by the end of Saturday night and for all four competing clubs, the pressure is freakin’ ginormous. Though Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse has his own little theory. He reckons that this pressure mainly applies to Geelong rather than his own club!

Apparently, the Cats are suffering under the weight of excruciating pressure that comes with being the outstanding team of the past three seasons but only have one flag to show for it. The Saints and Dogs are also under pressure having not won the comp for well over 40 years. His own club, however, seems devoid of pressure somehow…

MalthouseCake

Under pressure? Feeling stressed? Mick has just the thing for you…a nice piece of cake!

So lemme get this straight – the coach with ten years in charge at the self-proclaimed ‘biggest club in Australia’, responsible for a couple of really good years but no ‘great’ year and, most notably, no premiership to show for it; this guy is not under any pressure at all? And he thinks Geelong is under more pressure than anyone? Um…ok?

Not saying that Malthouse is a bad coach or even an overrated one – the guy is good; see last weekend as a case in point. But he has been at his current club longer than the other three coaches taking part at this preliminary final stage and, unlike the others, he also has a concrete deadline of September 2011 before handing over the keys to Nathan Buckley. No pressure though, Mick! Maybe writing these opinion pieces relaxes him…

His misguided attempt at psychological warfare has made this week a little more interesting but Bomber Thompson would not be the only person to laugh off something he has said this year. But before we see the Pies and Dogs do their best to handle the occasion on Saturday night, we have ourselves another little pressure-soaked prelim tonight!

FRIDAY NIGHT

First Preliminary FinalMCG, 7:45pm (local): St Kilda v Western Bulldogs (SEVEN)

RiewoldtIce

After being wrapped in ice for two weeks straight, Nick’s knee feels fantastic! A little numb though…

St Kilda have been the best team all year but not so great in recent times trying to leap this particular hurdle. But things are different this time…honest! And Shane Warne has been talking to the players so what could possibly go wrong?

They do look the stronger side and should prevail but if something bad were to happen to an especially important but troublesome knee joint, anything is possible. Except for Max Hudghton running out to play…that ain’t happening tonight.

DogsIce

If being coated with ice works for Nick Riewoldt, it’s good enough for the Dogs! Next…the head!!!

The Doggies are in the mood for an upset…but not the type of upset they felt after losing last year’s prelim! Saints coach Ross Lyon is aware of the danger the Dogs present but then again, what else is he going to say?

One thing he won’t say is ‘We’ve gotta shut down Will Minson’. Now, big Will is important to their structure and is a handy player and all but seriously – if he is so crucial that he holds the key to the Western Bulldogs making a grand final, I’d be more than a little worried…

SAINTS by 28

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Round Fourteen – Saints Defeat Cats, Now Face Connor MacLeod!

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Only decapitation from the blade of the Highlander stands between St Kilda and immortality! Or they might lose to the Doggies…

There can be only one…undefeated team left!

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And that team is…St Kilda! The Saints survived in an epic contest at Whatshishead Stadium. Thirteen wins each, two months of anticipation and no shortage of hype but the game delivered everything we all expected…perhaps more! An amazing start, great fightback from the Cats and a grandstand finish. How crazy will the build-up be to this year’s grand final if both these teams make it…please let it happen!!!

There can be only one…reigning premier – but not for long!

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The Hawks are stuffed.

There can be only one…Tom Cruise!

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And he was at the footy on Friday night to take in some of the action between the Pies and Bombers. Katie Holmes was there too…she spent the night trying to find a back exit or open window from which she could escape! Run Katie – run for your life!!!

There can be only one…Jim Stynes!

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The former Demons star and club president faces a tough battle having been diagnosed with cancer. His team put in a performance on the weekend that befitted the emotional week for all involved at Melbourne…unfortunately, this type of performance is a rarity for the Dees.

There can be only one…Kevin Sheedy!

SuperSheedy

The highly predictable campaign to make Sheeds the next coach of Richmond was officially launched last week after the crushing loss to St Kilda. Of course, all his supporters appear to be aged 50 or above…and his campaign manager is a guy who was so out of touch with the coaching caper twenty years ago, he got the flick from Tigerland and refused to go near the place until recently. As great a coach as Sheedy is and/or was, do any of these old dudes realise it is almost the year 2010 now?

There can be only one…most glamorous WAG?

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According to the Herald Sun’s annual footy survey, these are the types of questions us footy fans really want to know the answers to. Now I know that this particular media outlet is designed to entertain us rather than inform us so there is no point taking it seriously. But honestly…shit like this is just a waste of f@&$#ng time, isn’t it?

There can be only one…Channel Seven!

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A flashback to a classic Geelong-St Kilda match…the perfect lead-in to yesterday’s blockbuster. But what did CH7 show before this?

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Yep, nothing helps builds the anticipation for a massive game of footy like…Revenge Of The Nerds 4!!!

There can be only one…Terry Wallace!

WallaceMedia

How the hell does Terry Wallace get flooded with offers from all forms of media after his disastrous tenure at the Tigers? And is there anybody less qualified to comment on what Richmond should be doing right now than the guy who just actually effed it up over five years?

The Games:

FraserGoal

Magpie fans celebrate as ruckman Josh Fraser plays well and doesn’t even dog it once! Suck on that, Grant Thomas…

Well, Anzac Day seems like a lifetime away now, doesn’t it!  And nice to see our beloved media hacks working Tom Cruise references into their work as best they could! That’s right – Collingwood Cruised to victory against Essendon to open round 14 action, leaving Matthew Knights to pick up the pieces and keep Essendon in the finals hunt. At least Mark McVeigh will be fresh for the next match…unless Dean Solomon is back in town this week!

PregameDees

Alright, which of you blokes have stolen the footys? We only have two and can’t afford to buy any more. Just give ’em back, will ya’s?

Yes – Melbourne finally had a win! Yes – they did it for Jim Stynes! And yes – they showed the passion and commitment to make their supporters proud on such an emotional day! But, come on – they were playing an equally crap team who have barely won outside of Perth since Chris Judd left town. If they couldn’t win this match, then there was no hope for this club whatsoever…

BrennanCarr

It will cost him a few weeks but for what he did to Josh Carr, on behalf of the AFL world, I say…thank you Jared Brennan!

Gee, the Power must really love Mark Williams! In the first game since they learnt that Choco would be given the opportunity to coach on at Port Adelaide, his team blitzed high-flying Brisbane in the final quarter and dragged themselves back into finals calculations. So how did they do it? They prepared…now that’s a handy tip!

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Wow, a rare smile and a big thumbs up from Doggies coach Rocket Eade! But who is he copying…Barry Hall or Arthur Fonzarelli?

Bulldogs – awesome! Hawthorn – shit! Probably no need to elaborate much more on this one…

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Surely you don’t need to employ Kevin Sheedy as your coach to teach players where your footy boots are meant to go. Um, Nathan Foley…try your feet!

Up at Carrara Stadium, Adelaide scored a relatively comfy win over Richmond. Local boy Kurt Tippett showed a liking to playing footy in Queensland with five  goals for the winners. Wonder if he has heard about this new team that will be starting up on the Gold Coast soon?

MickeyO

Micky O’Loughlin whoops it up after kicking the sealer. He only has a couple of months left so let him lap it up while he can!

Whether this was Sydney’s first taste of life without Barry Hall has yet to be determined. If so, it appears that it will be a struggle. But the Swannies did win a close one against North Melbourne that keeps them within reach of the finals. But let’s face it…without the prospect of witnessing a Bazza brainsnap, who really wants to see Sydney feature in September action anyway?

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Steve Johnson out? Guess it is too late to change my tip…

What a freakin’ game!!! What a freakin’ game!!! What a freakin’ game!!!

CarltonYellows

The famous old dark…yellows? No, seriously…THAT is the Carlton team. They actually played in that!

Fremantle and Carlton played last night? Really? With all the excitement of the St Kilda-Geelong game, I totally forgot! Apparently, the yellow team won

Round Three – Should Have Laid Off The Choccy Eggs!

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Heath Shaw – seems like a touch…a touch too much!

Talk about having a crappy Easter break! Collingwood’s Heath Shaw would have been feeling sick to his stomach all weekend without the aid of a single chocolate egg (or many of them in succession, like the rest of us!) after his report for touching an umpire last Thursday night. Unfortunate because it was actually Alan Didak who touched the umpire, Shaw was just covering up for him…again!

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Now this is the best way to touch an umpire…gently, respectfully and with a smile!

The matter has been sent straight to the tribunal so it will be a pretty big night there…particularly if there are a few players who elect to contest charges stemming from round three. But while some people in footy might have had a crappy Easter weekend; Heath Shaw, John Worsfold and Terry Wallace immediately spring to mind; it pales into insignificance compared to the anguish that the family and friends of ex-Hawk and footy documentary whiz Rob Dickson must be feeling. How sad…knocks the stuffing out of you, doesn’t it!

The Games:

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Busted nose for Steve Johnson…guess he won’t be able to rely on his looks anymore!

Geelong continue on their merry way as they steamroll Collingwood…causing the normally-obtuse Mick Malthouse to deal in the bleeding obvious. The Pies were made to pay for numerous acts of inaccuracy…which makes you wonder whether Heath Shaw meant to grab the ump’s arm or was actually trying to grab him elsewhere and just plain missed! Bloody skill errors…

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Be it celebrating with teammates or wrestling with opponents, Kossie just can’t stop whacking blokes in the head!

St Kilda could hardly have been more impressive during the opening three rounds, and Nick Riewoldt has yet to really get going. So maybe this is (finally) the year of the Saint? The Eagles looked very average and you can just imagine John Worsfold being so pissed that he would have confiscated every Easter egg from his players on the long flight home to Perth!

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Two weeks ago, Essendon were a crap team and everybody at Windy Hill hated Hayden Skipworth…seems neither of those things are correct.

Carlton’s rise to premiership glory stalls after the Bombers win a classic in front of seventy thousand at the ‘G. If only Fev wasn’t injured, and if only Matthew Lloyd was really finished as a footballer (like he was last year), the result could have been so different. But…it wasn’t! And a big thanks to the bogan footy family who interrupted a quiet Saturday night dinner at the local Chinese restaurant in Warrnambool with random screams of “Go Bombers”. Made my night!

The Sydney Swans were meant to be Brisbane’s bogey side…sure didn’t look like it! The Lions knock off Sydney at home and it seems like the message of Voss is getting through…though if they are really setting themselves for a return to the big time, beating Collingwood at home is a must. And a Friday night as well…rare territory for Brisbane.

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Doesn’t look like Dean Bailey is loving life as Melbourne coach but…

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HE LOVES TO COUNT…AHH AHH AHH AHH AHH!

First we had Lloydy, now Warren Tredrea rises from the Useless AFL Player grave to kick six goals as Port bounce back after a poor showing in Perth last week. But come on – they were playing the Demons at home…as if they weren’t going to romp it in! The only problem they were going to have was with discipline…and yes, they struggled in that area again. The coach will be delighted. No, seriously – he will think it’s unreal! He loves tough guys…

The premiership hangover theory can be discarded too as Hawthorn put injury woes and tragedy aside to win easily over North Melbourne. It ended a miserable week for the Roos, Dean Laidley referring to the scrutiny around the chicken sex video as akin to World War III.  Well, without the global significance, the devastation and the mass killings of soldiers and innocent people, of course! Apart from that, yeah – just like a war…

The Crows did manage to handle their week of scrutiny a little better than the Roos, fighting their way to a good road win against the Dockers. Three rounds in and how many wins do Fremantle have? None! Luckily, coach Mark Harvey has a supporter in the coach that just knocked off his team. Grant Thomas is definitely not a supporter…but that probably works in Harvey’s favour!

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Will the Tigers find inspiration from Richo snorting his glove through his nose and out his mouth? Well, anything is worth a shot for Richmond…

The Western Bulldogs, a top-four team in good form, had a good win yesterday over Richmond, not a top-four team and not in good form. So the outrage and hysteria about the Tigers seems a little over the top and, dare we say it, contrived by media types who need content for the week. But if Terry Wallace is feeling heat now, imagine what he will cop if they fall to the winless Demons this Sunday!

Bounced Out In Straight Sets? (Welcome To Septocemia!)

The second week of the finals series is always a fascinating time. Every year we have two sides who were good enough to finish in the top four, but all of a sudden find themselves fighting for survival after missing out on a preliminary final berth and a nice week off. Some clubs are able to bounce back and progress, others fail to recover and exit the finals series in straight sets!

And it has been mind games-a-go-go leading into this weekend’s cut-throat semi finals with all four teams fighting tooth and nail to award themselves underdog status. And then there is all the speculation over who will risk their injured stars in a do-or-die effort to win on the weekend…which drove one network we all know and loathe to new heights (literally) that only a powerful dose of Septocemia could inspire.

Look, it’s a footballer! And he’s standing on some grass! What a scoop!!!

St Kilda’s closed training session was ambushed by the Channel Nine helicopter yesterday, in an effort to show what most of already know anyways – that Luke Ball might play on the weekend…or he might not. What an exclusive!!! The Saints had their bit of fun by trotting out some other guy in Ball’s number 14 jumper, which the network reported with it’s typical disdain for reality, but they would have not been too concerned about the whole thing. Sorry Tony jones…we just don’t give a shit!

And they wonder why most people think Channel Nine are evil…

But the Saints should be more concerned about yesterday’s headline in the Melbourne Age, the one that screamed “I could have won!”. Oh, wait a sec…we just assumed that it was yet another quote from former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas, who seems to have a bit of trouble letting go. But no, it was Peter Costello talking about last year’s federal election! Funny…they both share that same smarmy, off-putting smirk!

Would you trust either of these men with your vote?

Anyway, we digress…will either of the Dogs or Saints suffer the embarrassment and the inevitable media slaying of being bounced out in straight sets? And will it even matter anyway? We have the AFL equivalent of Roger Federer (Geelong) and Raphael Nadal (Hawthorn) waiting in the wings, preparing for a shot at a grand final berth next weekend. Will any of these four teams playing this weekend have the capacity to shock the football world and knock off a raging hot favourite on preliminary final weekend, like Andy Murray did to Nadal at the US Open last week? Is there a weedy Scotsman amongst this lot that can knock out one of the top seeds and qualify for the big decider?

FRIDAY NIGHT

Aker may have a better chance of winning the Davis Cup than another premiership cup!

Second Semi Final – MCG, 7:50pm (local): Western Bulldogs v Sydney (SEVEN)

SWANS by 9: After being ‘Franklin’d’ last Friday night, the Dogs have been yapping all week about the things they must do. So, if you read all the reports this week, all they need is a call to arms, to go back to the future, find their own spark, respond better to the heat of finals footy and make a few changes…or not. For if they don’t win, 2008 will be a wasted season…but relax boys, there’s no pressure!

In Sydney, the land that football forgot, the Swans appear to be in a happy place. They romped home last week on the field but also won the fierce battle for underdog status too! They have cast off the ‘spent force’ tag (for one week at least…), are choc-full of self belief and will be drawing inspiration from the great Paul Kelly. We think that Sydney will continue to fly the flag for the interstate clubs and keep the coach smiling..well, he has plenty to smile about right now.

SATURDAY NIGHT

Plenty of promise but failing to live up to the hype…is Justin Koschitzke the Chris Guccione of the AFL?

First Semi Final – MCG, 7:30pm (local): St Kilda v Collingwood (TEN)

PIES by 19: Mick Malthouse may not be reading too much into St Kilda’s loss last Sunday but he should read plenty into the loss his Mapgies inflicted on them straight after the Shaw-Didak debacle! It looks good for Collingwood – the captain appears ready to go, the coach is wary and the kids are terrific. And with a massive crowd ready to rock the ‘G, it seems that only another bad dose of ‘blockbusteritis’ could prevent the Pies from qualifying for the prelim!

Ross Lyon’s underdogs are hoping to recover from last Sunday’s beat-down and fire up for the Pies. But having been exposed by the Cats, and with serious doubts over the fitness of valuable midfielder Luke Ball, their chances don’t look good. They didn’t handle the increased pressure of finals footy and they have struggled against the Pies in recent times; all this despite being the trendy pick as the best Victorian challenger for quite a few years now. We predict another blown season and no pot’o’gold at the end of Robert Harvey’s rainbow…but it will give them time to prepare for the supposed arrival of Daniel Kerr!

No More Kangas, No More Crows (The Lost Weekend)

The Cats are looking ominous again…even Cam Mooney’s man hugs have a finals like intensity!

And then there were six. Well, there’s definitely one and probably a second…the other four can probably start organising which sex toy they’d prefer to wear on their Mad Monday! Septocemia has hit week one of the finals and claimed both Adelaide and North Melbourne. while two other clubs have a second chance at glory…or at least stringing out their season for another week!

But it all appears to be academic…Geelong are just too freakin’ good it seems! Despite the efforts of many media types to declare St Kilda as some sort of genuine challenger, in particular the notoriously mouthy ex-Saints coach and Nick Riewoldt groupie Grant Thomas, the Saints were lucky to finish fourth in the first place and even luckier that they didn’t lose by 100 points or more as the Cats went through the motions in the final quarter to avoid further injury problems. And the craptacular performance of Riewoldt is living proof that he should be more particular about which male groupies he should spend his time with!

But Hawthorn also progressed to the preliminary final after an equally impressive win and look set for their first grand final appearance since the early nineties. Something bordering on the miraculous would need to happen if any teams other than the Cats and Hawks find themselves in the Grand Final!

Matty Scarlett wishes Robert Harvey a happy retirement…or something like that!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Alright guys – we have a big final against Hawthorn, our form has faded late in the season (again) and the whole nation is watching us. So tell me…how do we beat the Hawks tonight?

“……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….”

Yep, that’s great…don’t all f@#%&$g speak at once, will ya’s!!!

Second Qualifying Final – Hawthorn 18.19.127 def. Western Bulldogs 11.10.76

The Buddy Show rolls on as Lance Franklin’s eight goals fires Hawthorn past the Western Bulldogs and into a preliminary final. Franklin’s dazzling display again confirmed that he is the only thing standing between Geelong and the silverware but a few of his teammates have some fitness issues ahead of the prelim. Lucky they have an extra week to prepare…

The Doggies, on the other hand, struggled to handle the pressure of finals footy and haven’t been all that impressive late in the season either. So even if they do bounce back against Sydney in the semi finals, what hope do they have against the Cats?

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

This man just won another final interstate…and is he happy? Course not!

First Elimination Final – Collingwood 19.11.125 def. Adelaide14.10.94

The only result that could be considered an upset occurred on Saturday afternoon when Collingwood escaped from South Australia with a come-from-behind victory. It was yet another interstate triumph for the terminally grumpy Mick Malthouse and talk of a premiership challenge will be flooding out of all those Magpie fans. Awesome…

For Adelaide, their finals campaign was over before it started…or at least before it should have started, which would have been on Sunday in the first verses fourth qualifying final. Instead of a second chance, it is an early exit, plenty of disappointment and a string of harsh post-mortems. Probably lucky they had a record-low finals crowd to experience it all…

SATURDAY NIGHT

Now that’s a bunch of happy Swans…but has Barry Hall just applied a ‘brain-sucker’ to Jude Bolton???

Second Elimination Final – Sydney 17.8.110 def. North Melbourne11.9.75

Perhaps there is a little life left in Sydney yet! After a tight first half, the inspirational Brett Kirk showed the way to guide the Swans to a solid win over North Melbourne. Leo Barry feels that the criticism of their older players served as motivation to beat the Roos…so he will really look forward to the Melbourne media telling them how shit they are this week!

It’s all over for Shagga Grant!

For Dean Laidley, saying he was disappointed at North’s exit would have to be a massive understatement! As history will show, they blew it in round 22 and were then overrun by a Sydney outfit that are supposedly past it. But Laidley feels they are in better shape now than they were after last year…well, they will suffer one less finals flogging this time around. That has to be a positive…

SUNDAY

Stephen Milne finally makes an impact in a finals game…if by ‘make an impact’ ,you mean ‘got busted being a sly little prick and gifted Geelong a double-goal’. Top work!!!

First Qualifying Final – Geelong 17.17.119 def. St Kilda 8.13.61

Geelong make mince meat out of St Kilda and now only needs to knock off either the Dogs or Swans in a fortnight to make the grand final. Even the typically reserved Cats coach could not help but express his delight in how well his team played. It wasn’t all great news for the Cats though with Paul Chapman under an injury cloud after leaving the game early and young midfielder Brent Prismall went down with a shocking knee injury.

St Kilda must have felt like legends in their own mind after flogging a weak Essendon side by over 100 points last week but reality just kicked them in the arse! And Ross Lyon couldn’t wait to declare his side as the underdogs for next week’s semi against Collingwood at the post-match press conference….well, he probably started preparing for the Pies at quarter time yesterday!

One Heck Of A Party! (The Lost Weekend)

A big win and the meat in a bald man sandwich…it was a dream night for Cam Mooney!

The Geelong Football Club were good but not quite good enough in 1989. And 1992…and 1994…and 1995! But after sweeping all before them in 2007, the Cats are looking likely to go all the way again after conquering their two nearest rivals in consecutive weeks! Hawthorn did create a fierce contest and deserve a lot of credit for making the Cats work hard for the win; though Clarkson blaming the umpires for the loss was not the smartest move…considering the inaccuracy of some of their forwards.

But the Cats and Hawks opened Party Like It’s 1989 round with an enthralling battle in front of a massive crowd at the MCG on Friday night but Geelong prevailed, as most people predicted. The rest of the round, however, was one unpredictable event after another! No fewer than five teams in the top eight lost on the weekend and St Kilda, who were again being touted as top four material, crashed to a shock loss to the equal-bottom side and tumbled out of the eight! Wow…we really knew how to party in the late eighties!

Upsets freakin’ galore…that was the theme of Party Like It’s 1989 round:

SATURDAY

The happiest moment of this young Bomber fan’s life!!!

SUNDAY

The Power fans talk with their feet…well, those that went to the game in the first place!

Relax Demons fans, Jimmy Stynes has found your new CEO…comedian Hamish Blake!

We’d all like Fev to jump in the Lake…but Carlton fans are loving him this week!