September 27, 2003


Latest Grand Final updates:

Mick Malthouse has never seen snow.

David Williamson is a traitor who wishes he wasn’t.

Nigel Lappin might be suffering worse injuries than previously thought:

I spoke to somebody who works in the AFL staff and they said they were down at ground level and Lappin was coughing blood when he came off the ground.

Mick Malthouse possesses a certain feline quality:

"He and Leigh are both as hard as cats’ heads but they’ve changed their methods, too, over the years. It appears Mick’s more statesmanlike these days. He won’t like me saying this, but he seems as much a father-figure to those boys as a coach."

And a bus from Queensland was invaded by a Collingwood boy:

Hardcore Collingwood fan Scott Ingram ran the gauntlet by joining 23 Lions followers on a 24-hour bus ride to the Grand Final at the MCG.

The 26-year-old began the journey by brazenly singing Good Old Collingwood Forever to a chorus of jeers.

"He should be put off the bus and made to walk," one Lions fan said.

This year's trip suffered a major setback when it was found that no one had brought videotapes of past Lions victories to watch on the bus TV.

The Magpie intruder offered to play what he claimed was a director's cut of last year's Grand Final with a "new ending". No one was amused.

That’s all from me until the Grand Final ends. Pray for my black and white soul.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 27, 2003 05:51 AM

Go 'Pies!

Posted by: Andrew at September 27, 2003 at 07:35 AM

Question: Do you guys have things like "salary caps" with your sports teams? And college drafts?

Over here in the States we have a salary cap in football and basketball. Teams are limited each year to "x" amount of salaries. It's about $70 million for football; basketball is, I think, about $45 million or so - although the NBA's cap is almost meaningless.

So, what happens in football is each year poor teams try to grab the better players from the good ones. Offer a high salary to a player so that the good team can't match it; if they do match it, then they'll have to cut other players to get under the cap. Teams actually have what are called "capologists" - guys whose job it is to monitor and finagle the cap.

Result is parity. No dominating team for more than 2 or 3 years. After they win it all, they then lose a bunch of their key players to other teams. Dynasties are a thing of the past.

And of course every April is the big college football draft. Used to be about 20 rounds but it's now down to 5. Teams pick in reverse order of previous year's record.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 27, 2003 at 09:05 AM


Yes, there is a salary cap in Australian football but there isn't the same "free agent" flexibility. A player must either be out of contract and then drafted by a new club or traded. Also, all AFL clubs must spend between 92% and 100% of the cap, not more or less. The AFL and the AFL Players Association have negotiated very liberal salary cap raises in recent seasons to keep labor peace and raise income levels for the players. Overall, AFL players get some of the highest percentages of overall league revenue of any sport.

Brisbane has kept it's side together thru shrewd management, top players taking salary cuts or deferred income, etc. Some sides, notably Essendon, have been forced to release or trade players in recent seasons due to salary cap problems.

There are also drafts, much like in US sport.

Posted by: Rob de Santos at September 27, 2003 at 09:49 AM

Boston Red Sox; headin for THE SERIES This is THE YEAR!!!!!!

Sorry, I know that was a bit off subject.

Posted by: Two in the Hat at September 27, 2003 at 11:07 AM

Carn the Lions!!!

Posted by: Random_Prose at September 27, 2003 at 11:07 AM
Pray for my black and white soul.

Burn in hell heathen :P

Brisbane will win, just so the public doesn't have to listen to eddie for the next year

Posted by: Swift at September 27, 2003 at 12:41 PM

It'll be a ripper

The rain might just be the devine intervention you've been praying for Tim. If had been dry I would have bet my daughters virginity on the Lions. Not so sure now.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at September 27, 2003 at 01:57 PM

It's 1 a.m. here in Maine, and thanks to Greedy Corporate Media, in particular The Evil Murdoch Empire, I'm watching the match on Fox Sportsworld.


I was initially confused when the referees seemed to be particpating in the game. Then I realized it was actually Collingwood players. The refs don't wear zebra stripes, they wear yellow shirts and a saucy hat and make really cool touchdown signals.

Initial confusion became utter bafflement as I tried to figure out what the hell was happening. So far it seems like you have to kick, punch, or bounce the ball every few steps (in keeping with the Australian propensity to kick and punch and bounce things off of other things.) Kicking through the uprights gets some number of points (or not), and kicking it other places seems to get some sort of result, though I'm not sure what.

Arbitrarily punching another player away from the play seems to be OK.

The Lions player with the Billy Idol 'do seems to be kicking major ass.

They don't seem to tackle, more of a tackle/check. Very physical, requirement #1 for a sport to be any good.

Verdict: this is one furrin game that an American can appreciate. Despite its supporters, soccer will never, ever make it here because soccer players are flaming pussies. This Aussie football is fast, furious, physical, and fun. It's like an amalgam of American football and hockey (yeah, OK, and soccer, too. Just not the pussy parts). It rocks. I'm going to look up the rules so I can appreciate it better next year.

Posted by: Dave S. at September 27, 2003 at 04:25 PM

Tim - 4th quarter starting and it looks like you'll have to remove all the white stripes, and just leave all the black.

Posted by: WIlmott Fribbish at September 27, 2003 at 05:44 PM

Tim, as a Buffalo Bills fan, I offer my condolences.

Posted by: Dave S. at September 27, 2003 at 06:14 PM

Good to see the black and white have lost again. 2 Grand Finals and a Pre-season Final loss in 12 months.

Dave: Once you do have a few of the basic rules understood, the enjoyment becomes even greater. Glad you like our national game :)

Posted by: Swift at September 27, 2003 at 06:23 PM

"Hard as cats' heads"? Why they barely make a sound when they go through the blender. What the hell is this phrase about?

Posted by: Hatcher at September 27, 2003 at 07:30 PM

Now how many times has Collingwood been runners-up since 1896?

My favourite Collingwood story? I was visiting Melbourne in 1981 and took my 13-yo son to the MCG to see the Boxing Day test against the West Indies. Kim Hughes scored a century for the Aussies and Lillee opened the bowling half-an-hour before stumps, and immediately hit gold (four wickets fell in that half-hour). I was in Bay 13, and there was a steady stream of people leaving the ground as the Windies started their innings. At that one of the crowd yellowed after the exiting stream "Why are youse leaving half-an-hour before stumps? - you must be all Collingwood supporters!"

Posted by: Ron Mead at September 28, 2003 at 10:16 PM