Date: September 20, 1997
Throughout the centuries, Australian sport has been littered with epic rivalries: Carlton vs Collingwood, Port Adelaide vs South Australia, South Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs, Queensland vs New South Wales, and WA vs Irrelevancy.
Well, forget Australian rules, cricket and rugby league, the fastest growing sport in the past decade is the leadership change, and It’s Time once again for that triennial meeting between two groups who routinely let the country down…
The Coalition vs Labor, in the 2019 POLITICAL PREMIERSHIP!
Head down to your local primary school, buy yourself a democracy sausage, because this is on like an AFP raid on the AWU!
Let’s start with the Two-Time defending Political Premiers- THE LIBERAL NATIONAL COALITION!
For so long I thought Carlton were the worst Blue team in Australia, but looking at that team on paper, I see nothing but tragedy, misery and rhetoric about Labor.
The Coalition has been beset with turmoil, with at least seven players suddenly retiring in the recent months, many of whom were responsible for the sacking of previous captain coach Malcolm Turnbull.
If having seven team members retire was bad enough, a bug has gone through the Coalition camp recently, bringing down two candidates with separate cases of Islamophobia and Homophobia.
And throw in Jim Molan’s campaign to get himself into the line-up, akin to Max Walker trying to get his job back on the Channel Nine Commentary Team in 1992 by streaking naked across the SCG and later locking himself in the commentary box.
A trade with United Australia to get Clive Palmer into the team on a preference deal fell through on Sunday, when Mr Palmer asked for two packets of Tim Tams instead of one, further highlighting his unpredictable nature.
That being said, here’s the analysis of the Libs from ‘Antony Green’.
Ever since that massive defeat in the 2007 decider, The Coalition have thrived on attacking in waves, mainly through slogans and soundbites, which is a big part of why they’re going into this Election searching for the Three-Peat.
Up forward, Scott Morrison has gone with what I’d call versatility.
Andrew Hastie’s damaging attacks on the Chinese and his SAS background have earned him a spot in the pocket, vice-captain Josh Frydenberg starts in the other pocket after he apparently snapped a goal at the SCG last month, which would make him the Swans’ leading goalkicker this season.
Morrison has gone for some Kiwi power at full-forward, naming Big Bad Bustling Baaah-rnaby Joyce, and for some reason, crouched down in front of him, Vicki Campion.
ScoMo revealed in his press conference that Joyce and Campion put in a request to be named in the rever-
Although the request was denied.
Moving on to half forward, and Simon Birmingham has been a surprise pick for Centre-Half Forward, despite being relatively undersized, but ‘Brummie’ has been the go-to man for a Liberal media appearance this election season, as we’ve seen with his recent appearance on Q&A, where he took a beating from Greens skipper Richard ‘Tricky Dick’ Di Natale and Tanya Plibersek, and just kept kicking on, which is a good sign from a CHF.
It only seems natural that Bridget McKenzie would find herself in the team, for the simple reason that she’s the Minister For Sport, and John Alexander’s tennis career has been forgotten as he finds himself starting in attack, and he is capable of causing great offence, mainly to women and the people of Fiji.
The Coalition engine room, proudly powered by Australian coal.
In keeping with Liberal Party traditions, the team does not have a left wing, and they start a player in the centre-right instead of the centre.
If there is an advantage for the Coaltion, it’s the Shane Mumford-esque presence of Big George Christensen, ready to throw his weight around against the “Greenie punks” and palm it down to ScoMo, who has made a captain’s call and thrown himself into the middle in a tagging role on Tanya Plibersek, and Christian Porter will secretly give a position on the team to an ex-staffer, which could draw the attention of GetUp and put his position on the team in the hands of the voters.
Mathias Cormann will start from the ‘Queensland’ position instead of his usual position of ‘WA’, and on the right wing, Ken Wyatt adds some valuable experience in his duel against fellow Sandgroper Pat Dodson, and for some reason, Captain GetUp, who debuted just last month, has been smuggled into the team by Advance Australia, in the hope that the ALP die of laughter by looking at his face.
And I thought Port Adelaide’s mascot ‘Thunda’ was hilarious.
Morrison and the Coalition selectors have gone for a tactic I’ve never seen before; Surrounding the entire Defensive 50 arc in a formation known as “Sovereign Borders”, a completely revolutionary tactic compared to the ‘Superflood’ of 2000.
When asked about this revolutionary plan, ScoMo stated in his press conference, “We will decide who kicks the goals and the circumstances in which they are kicked”, without realising that Labor could just bomb kicks Inside 50 and easily kick Joe the Goose goals.
Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton both volunteered to play at Centre Half-Back, being so defensive-minded and focused on “Stopping the Votes”, with Abbott’s years of experience defending George Pell, and his mythical shirtfront on Vladimir Putin showing us that he’s not somebody you want to cross on half-back.
As for the rest of the sovereign defenders, Matt Canavan has overcome that bad dual-citizenship injury to cement his spot in the team, at the expense of Melissa Price, who has really fallen out of favour, being the Environment Minister in a Coalition Government.
Price never really stood a chance.
Despite being retired for a month, Christopher Pyne has been recalled to ‘fix’ the backline, in what will be his last Political Grand Final, and then there’s Foreign Minister Marie Payne, who will add some half back dash in an attempt to fill the Julie Bishop void.
And last but not least, the Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds will provide some discipline and experience, with her three decades in the Army Reserve teaching her a thing or two about sitting around and defending.
John Howard’s legend with political fans has grown throughout the years, not because he won 5 consecutive Political Premierships, but because he’s the last leader to go through a term without being knifed- Expect ScoMo to throw him on and pinch a few cheap votes around New South Wales.
Kevin Andrews has struggled for form since the end of WorkChoices, but like Darius Boyd he’s still getting a game on reputation, while Michalea Cash has serious evasive skills, as shown when she dodged questions about that media leak for 14 months, and talkback fuhrer Alan Jones has been named to swing the crowd the Coalition’s way.
Bronwyn Bishop was listed on the emergencies, and will be flown-in via helicopter if needed, although Jeff Kennett was unavailable, as he’s too busy complaining to ScoMo about Hawthorn getting stuck playing GWS at 3:20 on Mother’s Day.
I was really surprised that Deputy PM Michael McCormack didn’t get a run in the team, a subject ScoMo was asked about during the team announcement, to which he replied, “Who?”.
And now, the challengers for the Political Premiership: LABOR.
As per usual, here’s the thoughts of ‘Antony Green’.
Unlike the Coalition, Labor has been able to maintain a relatively settled lineup under Bill Shorten, only losing Melbourne candidate Luke Creasy to a severe case of ‘Facebook Rape Joke’, a condition commonly caused by ‘Stupidity’.
I recently found out that Bill wanted to name the entire Collingwood team in place of his ALP colleagues, but if he wanted someone with a history of repeatedly losing deciders on the team, surely Kim Beazley would be a better option?
It’s a brave move by Shorten to stick Julia Gillard at full-forward, after what happened in the past, but she’s long been one of Labor’s best attacking options, especially with phrases like “Moving forward”, “I look forward to moving forward”, and “Moving forward means moving forward”.
I think that’s what Ron Barassi said to the Carlton players at half-time of the 1970 Grand Final, and look how they turned things around.
Kevin Rudd finds himself in close range to Julia in the forward pocket to provide the team with “Detailed programmatic specificity” and to “Rat***k” a few defenders, and then there’s Mark Dreyfus, a diehard St Kilda fan, who will be sharking the packs like the ‘Tiprat’ Stephen Milne.
Probably not the best choice of player, given his off-field history.
Shorten has also made an interesting move at Centre Half-Forward, naming the ever popular Graylander Galloper, Anthony Albanese, to add some physical and soundbite pressure on Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.
Albo does love kicking a few goals for local footy clubs through millions in funding and sculling tinnies in the change rooms, and key forwards do have a long history of standing up in the Big Dance.
Terri Butler’s repeated attacking appearances on Q&A against the likes of PUP, the Coalition and One Nation have seen her earn a place on the flank, alongside the member for Wakefield, Nick Champion, who Bill Shorten mistook for Brisbane Bears/Lions hero Richard Champion when naming the team.
Little Bill has thrown the big guns in the engine room, including most of his front bench- Chris Bowen’s ability to transfer a defence of policy into an attack on the Coalition has seen him land on the wing, and Senator Pat Dodson will be rocking the Akubra in his duel against Ken Wyatt.
I’m thinking Dodson has a big effort in him, like Peter Matera in the 1992 Grand Final.
If Peter Garrett hadn’t left as a free agent back to Midnight Oil in 2013, he’d have started in the ruck, but as a result, ‘The Godfather’ Don Farrell takes on George Christensen, Penny Wong is probably the best two-way player in the ALP, capable of shutting down and attacking many a Senator, vice-captain Tanya Plibersek is a natural fit as a ruck-rover, with her Q&A appearance gathering abilities on par with the best, and the moustachioed Mike Kelly is the other rover, but in all honesty, with a look like that, he could get a gig in the Channel Seven commentary team under the name ‘Brian Taylor’.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Bill asked Mike about his 1986 Coleman Medal, and how he kicked the ton against the Saints in Round 22.
I’d be prepared to call this lot the Faceless Backline, on account of the fact that I barely recognise any of them.
Richard ‘The Mail Man’ Marles is the Shadow Minister for Defence, and as a result lines up at Centre Half-Back, and being from Geelong, he probably fancies himself as the Harry Taylor of the team, so expect Richard to stick a slice of ham into his sock on Election Night.
Kristina Keneally won’t be short of motivation in taking on the Coalition, having lost to John Alexander in the 2017 by-election, now known as the ‘Bennelong Bloodbath’, and then throw in her years of being a prisoner of Sky News, and the 2011 New South Wales Election, which was the ‘119’ of recent state elections.
I only just discovered about the existence of Senator Raff Ciccone 5 minutes before I wrote this line, but as I’ve discovered he’s Italian, and lives in Hawthorn.
For all I know, he could be Robert DiPierdomenico reincarnate.
Down on the last line of Labor defence, and the kingmaker down back is Tony Burke, who’s been tasked with dealing with Barnaby like he did the wheat monopoly and the EI outbreak, Dr Jim Chalmers is apparently providing some “Real change”, and I also see that the Watts name returns to a footy field for the first time since Jack Watts broke his ankle against Carlton back in Round 2, with the inclusion of the Western Suburbs battler Tim Watts, probably wearing his Footscray jumper with the 38 of Dale Morris.
Captain/Coach Shorten’s inability to cement a position anywhere and on anything has seen him start on the pine, and coming out of retirement after refusing to play together for 28 years, are the dynamic duo of Bob Hawke & Paul Keating, unbeaten in their 4 trips to the Big Dance between 1983-90, and Paul would know a thing or two about political footy, as he completely embraced the art of supporting Collingwood in 1990 and stole Lou Richards’ jumper.
And in a selection SHOCK, GetUp have displaced Zali Steggal on the bench, with the sole focus of causing harm to Tony Abbott in Warringah.
Very disappointing that the Beazleys were completely ignored by Bill, and even Brian Burke couldn’t get a run, apparently because Labor members are still banned from talking to him.
In all, the Red Army will be hoping that this can be the team that can bring in Labor’s first Political Premiership since the replayed decider of 2010, won with big help from the men in Green.
The key for either team is to score a couple of quick seats and put some early scoreboard pressure on the other, and as always, whoever scores 76 seats first is a huge chance of forming a majority government.
And if were to give a tip on who could win the Menzies Medal as the best player on the day, I’d suggest Captain GetUp or Albo could be a huge chance.