Steve Butler, thewest.com.au's man in Melbourne, provides the AFL scuttlebutt being kicked around the national competition.
Catch Butler's Bouncedown on Today Tonight, 6.30pm tonight.
We here at WTBH were shattered yesterday when we randomly bumped into the father of Sydney speedster Lewis Jetta to be told that the star Swan would miss tomorrow’s grand final with a groin injury.
Then, just before we all started tearing our press passes up, Peter told us that in typically humourous fashion, young Lewie had only been pulling his dad’s leg when he’d made a phone-call home to Bunbury with the false news earlier this week.
The Jettas were spotted yesterday wandering through Melbourne’s famous Federation Square and even though it was day-time, the big-city lights were flashing in the country WA family’s eyes.
They were also hoping their son could produce plenty of dazzle at football’s famous home tomorrow. Jetta’s brothers Brandon and Peter Jr will play for Busselton against Bunbury tomorrow for a spot in the South West Football League grand final against the Collie Eagles.
There is always grand final heart-break, no matter which way you look in any given year.
Already we have seen the hamstring torment take Hawthorn’s Brent Guerra and Sydney’s Ben McGlynn out of this season’s premiership-decider. And Hawks defender Tom Murphy has also suffered a nervous week of selection wait before being dropped last night to make way for captain Luke Hodge.
But asked earlier in the week by The Age’s Martin Blake whether he would "take someone out at training", Murphy seemed to consider the idea a good one with a long pause.
He then sheepishly answered, "We’re all best mates". Life’s tough at football’s top.
The tale of teams and hues which have flowed through the football fortunes of WA’s Morton family makes for interesting, if not confusing, thinking.
Noel, the patriarch, was a premiership player for Claremont in 1981 when the Tigers beat South Fremantle. Happy to batter the red and whites that day, he will tomorrow barrack for the red and white of Sydney in the AFL grand final tomorrow as his son Mitch is a Swans forward.
Mitch had been at West Coast in 2005 and 2006 when the Eagles played the Swans in consecutive grand finals. His brother Jarryd was at Hawthorn when they won their last premiership in 2008 before returning to Claremont this season.
Now Mitch will play for the Swans against Hawthorn in tomorrow’s grand final. And of course, he also played for the Tigers, both Claremont and Richmond, during his career.
It’s a vicious circle which doesn’t even stop there."We won the premiership with Claremont in 1981, then we lost a couple to the Swans (Swan Districts) as well ... it’s funny how it all works," Morton Sr said.
It’s enough to give you mental demons, especially as Cale is still listed at Melbourne.
NO PAIN IN SPAIN
Gold Coast utiltity Campbell Brown has some telling tourism advice for overseas travellers, rating Spanish police a far more pleasant outfit than their Thai counterparts.
Brown, son of WA football wild-child Mal, lost a leadership group position last year after falling foul of Thailand police in an incident during a post-season trip. But this year in Spain was apparently far more palatable.
"Spanish police are a lot friendlier than they are in Thailand," a blunt Brown told WTBH this week.
Brown said the highlight of the trip was joining Suns teammates to watch Barcelona play Moscow in a Champions League match.
"Barcelona were down 2-1 and Lionel Messi scored a double in the last 10 or 15 minutes to get them across the line 3-2 in front of 72,000 at Nou Camp," he said.
"It was pretty special. That was greatness."
It might be a corny take on the old adage, but Essendon coach James Hird certainly gathered no Moss when talking about captain Jobe Watson’s Brownlow Medal win on Monday night.
Hird, a Brownlow medallist himself, was gushing about how his former teammate had joined Bomber greats such as Dick Reynolds, Jack Clarke, Bill Hutchison and Gavin Wanganeen in winning football’s most prestigious individual award.
Problem was that Clarke never won one and WA recruit Graham Moss certainly did in 1976.
When confronted by WTBH on the oversight after the press conference, Hird had already realised his error and asked us to make sure we put Moss in.
"Mossy, Mossy, Mossy," he exclaimed. So Hirdy, here we are, putting Mossy - and you - in.
And to the nuffies who came from nowhere to stand in front of Watson and bang on about some trash to do with what they were calling the "Beardlow Medal" as he was about to do his acceptance press conference, shame on you. A horrible lack of respect.
You would think a humble lad from country New South Wales would be a pretty humble type.
But Isaac Smith was a little miffed when he had to front a few reporters on Sunday at Hawthorn’s Waverley Park headquarters while defender Ryan Schoenmakers got the more plumb gig of being interviewed for the club’s website.
"Why aren't I getting interviewed by Hawks TV? Did they just pick Schoey because he's good looking?" Smith joked.
He then revealed his AFL dreams had been so distant that he was even becoming a sports journalist, which would have meant he would be asking the questions rather than answering them.
Smith also told of his social media temptations after the Hawks made their way into the grand final.
"There were a few texts and the old social media, Facebook and Twitter, got a fair flogging," he said.
"It's good we got the support and it's a pity everyone won't be able to be at the ground. For me, it's pretty important I don't get sucked into that social media and replying to every text, I think you do that in weeks to come.
"Just enjoy it and not get sucked in to all the talk beforehand and just take it as a game."
WTBH was particularly impressed to wake in Sydney last Saturday morning to see most of The Daily Telegraph’s front cover featuring Swans midfielder Jude Bolton and his teammates celabrating their preliminary final win over Collinwgood the previous night.
A pretty good result in a rugby-dominated city. But on closer inspection, the caption reading, "Ruckman Jude Bolton....." proved there is still a little way to go.
Thank goodness a tried and proven Melbourne paper, Inside Football, hit a better mark this week.Following the topless scandal which engulfed Kate Middleton recently, this week’s Inside Football cover screamed, "EXCLUSIVE! ROYAL TOPLESS PICTURE".
So WTBH diligently turned to page 39, for educational purposes only, to find an old shot of former Footscray champ Brian Royal, without guernsey, in a victory pose wiith Doug Hawkins.
We love humour.
The AFL’s annual goal of the year award, to be revealed again tomorrow in the lead-up to the grand final, has been a happy hunting ground for Sandgropers.
Since way back in 1981 when Peter Bosustow took the honour, there has been prize collections from WA players such as Ken Hunter (1983), Phil Krakouer (1986), Michael Mitchell (1990), Winston Abraham (1996), Jeff Farmer (1998), Ben Cousins (1999), Kingsley Hunter (2000), Mark Merenda (2001), Daniel Kerr (2003), Daniel Wells (2004), Chris Judd (2005 - and we’ll claim it because he was playing for West Coast at the time), Eddie Betts (2006), Leon Davis (2008), Lance Franklin (2010) and Hayden Ballantyne (2011).
Wow, what a list. And we reckon either Lewis Jetta or Chris Yarran would be worthy winners this year. Watch this space.