RIGHT, well, been some sort of seven days.

The highs of celebrating one of the most exciting players in our generation giving up the game suddenly midseason, through to an awful piece of radio causing nothing but further grief in its wake 

The footy is pretty good as well, or is it, because we’re changing the whole game so much it will resemble bat tennis come the end of the year are we not? 

Lots to get into, all this redundant intro is just holding back the inevitable..

1.       Let us start with the infamous Barry Hall joke last week. This will be of no surprise to most of you. Firstly, Barry’s comments, yeah not funny, came from nowhere. Yes, Liz Ellis, from nowhere, but we’ll get to you soon Liz let me assure you!

The background I want to touch on first is that Erinn’s pregnancy has often been discussed on Triple M when Leigh has been on air. On numerous occasions the radio has got Erinn on the air for a quick chat, and last Friday again was no exception. Leigh has shared some of his biggest moments on air with the listeners, from the calamity of their wedding plans on the breakfast show through to updates with the Erinn and the baby’s progress as he joined the football team this year.

2.       Next is that, and we don’t need to address Barry, he had a shocker, we know this, but Leigh was asked by Mark Howard first for the latest ‘milestone’ if you like in the lead up to the big day, to which the sweep indeed had happened just that day, and for those who care to realise, it was then Nathan Brown who then took it up to the cliff’s edge. Mark Howard opened the bowling by asking Leigh “have you had the old stretch”, Leigh at one point then said, “I can’t really explain it…” either unsure or uncomfortable, and then old Browny really got the wheels in motion by “explain it, talk about your wife’s sweep, go on…” and so he did, apologised on the run for being so honest about it, Barry then went with his zinger, and here we now are.

3.       Barry doesn’t make the joke nothing is even mentioned. That’s the truth. Leigh has copped it since for his explanation, his description. Two things, not only was the way Leigh described it honest if somewhat off the cuff, but to be real it is what that procedure is – it need not be taboo. Sure, others may have found it uncomfortable (Leigh’s comments, not Barry, we aren’t touching on Barry today), but to suggest Leigh is at fault for what brought this all to a head in the first place, which is Hall’s joke, if you can even call it a joke, is farcical.

4.       And before we take aim at some individuals to end this topic, can I just say, some perspective please, for all those who enjoy being offended, and seek offense out so they can proclaim they are offended – little Noah arrived Sunday, he is a gem, he is a little star and maybe one day he’ll pull on his dad’s red, white and black and may he never know about a stupid fallout to some dumb radio only a couple days before his arrival.

5.       Ok, so, who’s first up for a lashing. Liz. Right. So she went national on her Sunday morning TV spot, and she’s accruing some poor form in this area, by having a whack at Leigh for talking about his wife. Yes, Triple M, its culture, its style, up for conjecture, no doubt. But as I’ve touched on, Erinn was on the radio herself, and then for Howard and Brown  spurring the conversation on, if you’re going to whack Leigh for a moronic link between his comments warranting Hall’s brainfade, then you have to go back a further step – if Leigh wasn’t asked, he wouldn’t have said a thing, and I’d be probably talking about Ross Lyon at this point or something. If we’re going to talk about sanctioning people for being silly on a national broadcast, I’m sure there’s a candidate in the mirror at home, Liz.

6.       Now onto my new mate Darren Levin. I don’t know him, he mustn’t be that important. Nor am I, granted, but still nor is he. But I like two of his tweets from last Friday. I’ll give you the second one first, which is “I’ve listened to the Triple M audio and *everyone* should be sacked. Why were they even talking about it in the first place?”. Wow, ok, settle down. But only minutes earlier he tweeted, “CAN SOMEONE PLS TELL ME WHAT HE SAID? IT’S KILLLLLLING ME”. Now Darren. No. We aren’t sacking everyone, don’t be so alarmist. But if you’re going to be so curious and dirty for something that your desperation for the audio is killlllllllllling you, then you’ve got larger issues mate. I do hope you can find a way out of this sadness. Best wishes.

7.       And lastly, Grant Thomas. Now mate, Grant, old wobblearse Thommo. Let’s go the the audio:

“I am a big fan of Leigh’s but I think Joey should resign. I wouldn’t sack them, that’s the easy way out. Because one man’s been sacked I would think hang on I was actually culpable in this and if it hadn’t have been for my stupidity poor old Barry wouldn’t have said what he said. It’s at least his responsibility to suspend himself for a period of time to make a statement.”

Facts are important here, and clearly the failed Saints ex-coach has gone large on his former player not knowing or caring for the facts. Thommo has form on Twitter and his podcast, deliberately being controversial to spike an interest from the public he otherwise wouldn’t have. Perhaps he suffered a bad head knock from one of his chins when one day he was far too vigorous when nodding. Who knows.

8.       I’m happy to move on.

9.       State of the game, this one continues to infuriate. Kinda feel like this year’s premiership race is just getting in the way, the sooner the season ends the sooner we can all preach at the church of reform and the summit to work out the gazillion rule changes to save the sport from certain doom can take place. Um. Do we need to send Guide Dogs Australia down to Town Hall? With the return of a nine-game round after the byes period, last week we had, and let’s be balanced here, Thursday night, cracker, Friday night, belter, all four Saturday games meandered between just fine to really engaging tight games, Sunday gave us one lopsided upset but a high scoring spectacle and a two-point thriller. Steve Hocking, yes you man, baby, bathwater, don’t do it mate, step back from the ledge.

10.   Whilst we’re on mistakes, Susan Alberti. Not her, she’s lovely no doubt, even if she does make a right mess of security doing their jobs, especially when they wouldn’t know her from any other AFLW spectator, but she’s been awarded Victorian of the Year. And well done to her for all the work she does. But how has Neale Daniher, in all the years since he started his crusade, miss out on being awarded Victorian of the Year? Mike Brady got it last year. Yes, the ‘Up There Cazaly’ guy. Yet Neale is overlooked. Who’s in charge? Sir James Gobbo I hear is the chair or something of the Victoria Day council. Now Gobbo. Fix it. Neale’s a legend. Don’t go past Go, don’t collect $200, Gobbo, just fix it.

11.   Who else? Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield. Yep, not good enough. I think they’ve been getting tips off Zali Stegall. Downhill skiers the lot of them. Numerous passages of play against the Dogs where they’d get into a strong sprint when they had possession, but, turnover, the Bulldogs player that was chasing them, turns and burns, ends up being part of the scoring chain uncontested whilst the Brownlow medallists are sauntering miles back assuming one of the non-Brownlow medallists will do their dirty work for them. Lazy? Selfish? Dunno, you chose your own adjective. Chose all of them if you like, don’t let me pressure you Nathan Brown style.

12.   Melbourne footy club. Hmm. Let’s not worry about which parcel of Yarra Park land you want to train on, how about just screw your heads on and don’t let St Kilda embarrass you on your home ground. The Saints had no right to escape from a loss to the Gold Coast, yet made you all look like fruits, stewed fruits. I have no idea of the analogy here, other than to say I’m reasonably confident stewed fruits don’t make the finals, and you did it last year Demons, go on, lose the unlosable finals spot again, it would be as the kids say ‘so lit’.

13.   We mentioned the Suns, which players have the Gold Coast improved? Jack Martin was supposed to be a gun, he isn’t, Ainsworth’s played 27 games but so what, Touk Miller is at 74 games but wouldn’t get a gig for North Ballarat, David Swallow’s had injuries, so we’ll give him that, Aaron Hall has played 100 games but we’d forgotten about him, then there’s Day, Lonergan, Sexton, even Peter Wright doesn’t scare anyone at 44 games. Jarryd Lyons may be the only improved player on their list. Don’t give them concessions, you can give them an all-star team, the issue is that talent dissipates once it lands at Coolangatta airport. The Logies were ok in Melbourne, goes up to the Gold Coast, looks like a Channel 31 production. The Gold Logie winner doesn’t even have a show. Staggering.

14.   Quick change of sports but I’ve got my back up and I’m running downhill with the wind – so Aaron Finch is in form is he? An 84, 68* and 172 in his last three matches, all in twenty 20s. The Aussies more broadly, two big wins from two in the Zimbabwe T20 tri-series. Hang on. No. Who the hell cares about some T20 games in Zimbabwe in July when there’s a 50-over World Cup 12 months from now and in the most recent series of that format, in England, five minutes ago, we got sodomised five nil. Don’t want to hear about how Finchy or the rest of the team looks great in a hit and giggle in Harare, it’s like if old mate brought a high-pressure hose to Hiroshima in August 1945 saying a quick rinse is all this place needs. Don’t wanna hear about it Finchy, get some runs in a longer format and I’ll reconsider.

15.   Oh, do we want to mention the nation of the Philippines before we get onto some other stuff? How Chris Goulding walks away with only some bruises from a dozen men punching, kicking, stomping, hitting him with chairs, is so fortunate. But, obviously the Philippine basketballers can fight as well as they can play basketball. Right mugs the lot of them. But if you’re stuck in an alleyway between confronting an angry Filipino basketballer or a sleepy field mouse, I’d be running away from the field mouse, their teeth are surprisingly sharp.

16.   Cyril. How’d you get this far down the list champion? So his Dad had heart issues I believe last year (I’ll stand corrected in case I get a call from Liz Ellis), and basically, unlike Dayne Beams who could get a trade to a new club based in the city where his ailing Dad resides, Cyril’s old man lives in Darwin, and if Tassie can’t get a team yet, then Darwin is way behind them. So, for a player who has always said he wouldn’t be a league footballer too long after turning 30 (he is a couple weeks shy of turning 29), ‘Junior Boy’ has called it a day a year or two early to be around his family. He was this close to doing this last offseason, Shaun Burgoyne essentially twisted his arm to go one more year, a knee injury and then officially putting a line through it now brings us to here.

17.   We’ve all seen the record the last couple of days, but four premierships, one of six in that famous dynasty to be a part of all of them (Burgoyne has four, but one was at Port). Three All-Australians, don’t forget the Norm Smith in 2015, but that he was also so influential in turning the game in the ’08 granny as a teenager. For freakish, athletic ability, be it leaping, tackling, borking, sprinting, unparalleled in our time.

18.   Want to give a shout out to the Tiwi Islands. A series of many islands, two larger ones though, Melville and Bathurst Islands, about 1000 people each. Melville Island though, tiny, tiny place, yet it has produced 3 Norm Smith medallists out of the 37 to receive the award: Cyril in 2015, Michael Long in 1993, and Cyril’s uncle Maurice in 1982. Not only from the same island, but the same family to boot.

19.   On that family, Maurice Rioli, South Fremantle and Richmond superstar of the 1980s, uncle to Cyril, great uncle to Daniel, his son, Maurice Jr, he would be the 2020 draft but already playing cracking senior footy for St Mary’s in the NT as a teenager. Will be a gun first round father son pick to Richmond or Fremantle and the lineage will continue. His cousin Willie also, looking fairly good for the Eagles too, who is Ronnie Burns cousin on his mother’s side as well. What a family!

20.   Lastly, World Cup, I’m as confident that Vladimir Putin had a hand in ‘organising’ the five-nil result for the hosts against Saudi Arabia as I am Liz Ellis having another shocker this Sunday morning on the telly. So all this talk of “its coming home” from those with bad teeth and confused by the concept of the shower, the fact that it’s merely Sweden and then Croatia in the way to a first World Cup final since 1966, don’t underestimate the nerve, or is that nerve agent, of the Russian leader. Golden Boot nominees to this point:

Kane, Mbappe, Putin.


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