Date: January 2, 2020
Throughout the centuries, Australian sport has been littered with epic rivalries: Carlton vs Collingwood, Essendon vs Elimination Finals, Port Adelaide vs South Australia, South Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs, Queensland vs New South Wales, New South Wales vs Everyone, and WA vs Irrelevancy.
Well, forget Australian rules, cricket and ‘rugbaleeg’, the fastest growing sport in the past decade is the leadership change, and It’s Time once again for that triennial meeting between two (Well, technically three) groups who routinely let the country down…
The Coalition vs Labor, in the 2022 POLITICAL PREMIERSHIP!
Bring your truck, bring your trailer, head down to your local primary school and buy yourself a democracy sausage, because this is on like Clive Palmer vs Mark McGowan!
So, let’s start with the Three-Time defending Political Premiers- THE GOLD STANDARD LIBERAL NATIONAL COALITION!
After blazing a trail across Eastern Australia since 2019, the LNP could be forgiven for being complacent after all their Political Premiership success, and during a recent pre-season camp in Hawaii, Captain/Coach Scott Morrison declared that the pursuit of a Political Premiership Fourpeat was “Not A Race”, a move that appeared to backfire spectacularly in 2021, when the LNP was repeatedly caught ball-watching in key games, with a low point coming when they kicked a mere 2 goals in the Western Australian Political Premiership, losing by 51 seats in the worst defeat in Political Football history…
Although, it was a better performance than anything the West Coast Eagles have dished up in 2022.
On the whole, the LNP have fielded a relatively unchanged line-up from the 2019 election, with a few exceptions:
Tony Abbott was medically retired by the people of Warringah after being concussed by a Zali Steggall elbow on Election Night 2019, which also meant the end for his guardian angel Captain GetUp, Kevin Andrews was unceremoniously dropped by the Liberal preselectors in 2021, a move akin to Mick Malthouse dumping West Coast captain John Worsfold into retirement before the 1998 Qualifying Final, Christopher Pyne retired after the 2019 success, as did John Alexander, while Mathias Cormann became a free agent and signed with the OECD, where he became the Secretary-General, and had the Liberals gone to the trade table, they could easily have picked up a 1st Rounder from the OECD.
So with that being said, here’s the analysis of the LNP lineup, with help from a fictional version of Antony Green:
The LNP have always been great as causing offence to everyone, especially women, Pacific Island nations, non-Christians and ethnic minorities, and they’re also great at going on the attack through slogans and short soundbytes, as seen in their effective deconstruction of Bill Shorten’s Labor teams in the 2016 and 2019 Political Premierships.
On the whole, the forward line is virtually unchanged from 3 years ago, save for Trade Minister Dan Tehan trading his way into the lineup in place of the retiring John Alexander, and I have been informed that Dan offered a fantastic package deal to Scott Morrison to get into the team in place of New South Wales Premier Dom ‘Opus Dei’ Perrottet…
A pack of Twisties, a box of BBQ Shapes, a lump of coal, and 2 cans of Coke.
That’s why he’s the Trade Minister.
Starting at the Full Forward line, Andrew Hastie remains in the left forward pocket, thanks to his SAS career and his ability to attack anyone with supposed Chinese links, vice-captain and team Treasurer Josh Frydenberg starts in the opposite pocket, having miraculously freed up $60,000,000,000 in the team’s salary cap a few years ago, and the main story this year is that Josh will have to pull something out of the fire to keep his spot for 2025, after the Independents in Kooyong simply pointed out that Josh is a Carlton supporter in a Hawthorn electorate, causing a massive swing against the Treasurer.
Although, I must note that was the exact same scenario for Robert ‘Ming’ Menzies, and he survived for 17 years, mostly because Hawthorn were mostly crap and had no supporter base when he was PM.
At full-forward, Morrison has gone for some Kiwi power, naming Nationals leader Big Bad Bustling Baaah-naby Joyce to charge out of the goalsquare and attack any form of climate change legislation, and as always Vicki Campion is directly in front of her partner, and apparently Barnaby and Vicki were quite upset when they found out they weren’t in their preferred position, which based on the last few years is the Mis-
Moving on to half forward, and Simon Birmingham retains his spot as the undersized Centre-Half Forward, and ‘Brummie’, who once appeared in the visual dictionary as ‘Stereotypical British-looking man’, has always been the LNP’s go-to man for a media appearance, as shown by his many appearances on the Free-To-Air networks and the ABC over the years, making him one of two Liberals who have willingly appeared on the national broadcaster in the last 9 years.
Completing the forward line, the aforementioned Dan Tehan goes into the spot once occupied by Davis Cup hero John Alexander, and Bridget McKenzie somehow retains her place, despite losing the Sport portfolio after the brazen business that was the Sports rorts scandal, with that portfolio now belonging to Richard Colbeck, who was shortlisted for selection based on his performances in the Aged Care position throughout 2020.
However, when questioned about why the preselectors didn’t pick Colbeck, Morrison replied, “It’s not my job to do that.”
As always, the Coalition engine room is powered by Australian coal, and 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, which they want nothing to do with.
So on that note, starting in the Centre-right is the retiring 2016 Best Minister in the World Greg Hunt, who was totally left out of the 2019 Premiership team, but was recalled for one last hurrah thanks to the retirement of Mathias Cormann, and the best news for Liberal supporters is that in the 2 years of the pandemic, Hunt has previously demonstrated what to do if the night goes down the toilet for the LNP:
On the wings, the trailblazer from Hasluck Ken Wyatt retains his place on the right wing, while Tony Abbott’s political career-ending injury in 2019 meant that Captain GetUp’s services were no longer required, so Morrison and the
donors preselectors promoted Wyatt’s fellow Sandgroper and Attorney-General Michaelia Cash off the bench, given her ability to run and carry political appointments onto to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal made her a logical choice to play on the wing.
Looking at the ruck & on-ballers, the appearance of Philippines travel enthusiast George Christensen in the team as the ruckman is subject to scrutiny, considering he announced his political retirement and left the LNP in April, before pulling a John Farnham and joining One Nation, although it is possible that Trade Minister Tehan will be able to send a Future 3rd Round draft pick to Pauline Hanson by Saturday evening, which Pauline can use in the next 2 years to pick up a disgruntled Liberal politician when they get disowned by the party.
As for the two on-ballers, former Attorney-General Christian Porter brings both confidence and a blind trust to the team, ahead of what will be his last appearance in political football before he retires from politics, and Christian is so confident that even if he loses and has to pay enormous fees he’ll still claim victory…
And finally, Captain-Coach ScoMo made a captain’s call to insert himself into the middle to resume battle with Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong as he did in 2019, and Morrison, the self-described bulldozer, will also consider himself lucky to play after a blatant off the ball shoulder to the head of a young boy during a soccer game in Tasmania, which should’ve attracted at least a 3-week suspension for forceful contact to the head, but a lack of a Federal ICAC saw Morrison get off the hook and blame the boy.
Still, it’s not the first time a Liberal Party member has forced themselves on top of someone against their will.
Captain-Coach Morrison and the Coalition preselectors stunned the world with their revolutionary Defensive gameplan in 2019, in which they surrounded the entire Defensive 50 arc in a formation known as “Sovereign Borders”, a tactic that was compared to Terry Wallace’s ‘Super-Flood’ of 2000, or Paul Roos’ Sydney Swans teams of the 2000s, and they’ve decided to stick with it once again.
When asked about the set-up, ScoMo paraphrased former captain-coach John Howard by stating “We will decide who kicks the goals, and the circumstances in which they are kicked,” and that the Liberals would also focus on “Stopping the votes.”
Starting at Centre-Half-Back, Defence Minister Peter ‘Boofhead’ Dutton once again takes the role, and it’s good to see Peter play himself back into defensive form in the recent weeks, having to defend himself in the Shane Bazzi defamation trial, followed by a scare-mongering performance when a Chinese navy ship came within 250 nautical miles of Australia’s defensive 50 metre line.
As for the rest of the sovereign defenders, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke was a walk-up start to the team after deporting Serbian tourist Novak Djokovic in January, making him the only person to defeat Djokovic in Australia since 2018, Matt Canavan will defend the LNP from Teal independents, Linda Reynolds’ three decades in the Army Reserve have taught her a thing or two about sitting around and defending, Foreign Minister Marise Payne will sit around ignoring the goings-on of the Pacific Islands…
And, in the greatest political disappearance since Harold Holt went for a swim in 1967, Education Minister Alan ‘Bill Clinton’ Tudge has barely been sighted for over a year, especially since his one-time mistress received a $500,000 payout + legal costs due to a highly publicised affair the two had 5 years ago, but despite Tudge attempting to step aside and being ‘cleared’ of wrongdoing, Morrison named the embattled minister in the team, even though he may not show up on Saturday night.
When asked why he’d kept Tudge in the team despite his repeated indignations, Morrison attempted to save the situation by pulling out his ukulele, after which he performed a song called ‘Tudge’, a parody of ‘Lump’ by Presidents of the USA.
“He’s Tudge, he’s Tudge, he’s in my head!”
“He’s Tudge, he’s Tudge, he’s Tudge, he might be dead!”
EMERGENCIES: PETER COSTELLO, KERRY STOKES, PAUL MURRAY.
Always a hit with Liberal voters during every Political Premiership ever since he was swallowed by the tidal wave of Kevin ’07 and belted into retirement by Maxine McKew, little Johnny Howard is back to make another guest appearance off the bench as the LNP talisman, beating out Jeff Kennett by a raised eyebrow, and when it gets down to a raised eyebrow, you can’t beat John Winston Howard.
Alongside Howard is Tony Abbott’s former Chief of Staff and Sky News host Peta Credlin, who remains one of the most vicious attacking players in political football, especially when she went after the South Sudanese community, followed by verbally belting Anthony Albanese and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews with a baseball bat during the 2020 Melbourne lockdowns, in a scene some described as being reminiscent of The Untouchables.
Completing the team, Morrison made two of his famous Captain’s Picks – His darling bride and occasional stage prop Jenny Morrison, and the Liberal candidate for Warringah and 2022 election headline act Katherine Deves, who was brought in due to her perceived ability to shut down transgender players.
When asked why he picked Jenny over his own team’s spokesperson Anne Ruston, or Stuart ‘Robodebt’ Robert, Morrison replied, “Jenny and I spoke last night, and she said to me, ‘You have to think about this as a father first, what would you want to happen if it were our girls?'”
“Jenny has a way of clarifying things, always has.”
Not understanding the reply, the journalists simply nodded their heads and moved on.
And now, the eternal challengers for the Political Premiership: LABOR.
Like the Coalition, there’s been a couple of changes to the Labor team since they were gazumped on election night in 2019, in what could be described as the 50th anniversary special of Don’s Party, resulting in Bill Shorten joining big Kim Beazley as a 2-time Political Premiership runner-up, and into his place as ALP Captain-Coach, with backing from the Faceless Men, the Communist Party and the Unions, is Anthony Albanese.
A South Sydney fan leading the ALP… It’s a match made in heaven.
As for the departures since 2019, Mike Kelly, the lost brother of Brian Taylor, retired from Parliament in 2020, leaving a spot open in the midfield:
Meanwhile, it’s been 3 years and nobody knows who the hell Senator for Victoria Raff Ciccone is, although he is the 22nd most well-known Italian Australian in Victoria, just behind clubhouse leader Franco Cozzo:
While the former member for Wakefield Nick Champion switched to South Australian political football ahead of the ALP’s successful tilt at the SA Political Premiership in March, and Champion now serves in the Cabinet of ‘The Greek Freak’ Peter Malinauskas.
Now, let’s return to Antony Green’s analysis:
The Forward Line
Starting in the forward line, Albanese and the Faceless Men have stuck fat with former Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, a diehard St Kilda fan who sharks the packs like the ‘Tiprat’ Stephen Milne, and another returnee is former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who will provide the team with some much-needed “Detailed programmatic specificity” and to “Rat***k” a few defenders, while charging out of the goalsquare is Albanese’s big burley candidate for seat of Hunter in place of the retiring Joel Fitzgibbon….
THE CESSNOCK SHOOTER, DAN ‘THE MAN’ REPACHOLI.
Of course, Dan is a 5-time Olympian and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist in shooting, but Albanese asked a host of Fairfax and News Corp journalists this rhetorical question – Do you want a 6 foot 8, 128 kilo beast with a beard like a bushranger charging at you at 100 miles an hour, let alone holding a pistol?
Across the half forward line, Terri Butler’s repeated attacking appearances on Q&A over several years against the likes of the UAP, the Coalition and One Nation have seen her retain a place on the flank….
While the question lingered about where Anthony Albanese would line-up in the team, but it appears that Albo will start at Centre Half Forward, just as he did in 2019, and we should note that Albo does love kicking a few goals for local footy clubs through millions in funding and sculling tinnies in the change rooms, and he did pull on the boots and take a mark in the Reclink Cup in 2014, which makes him a better forward option than 99% of North Melbourne’s current list.
And, just about the best performed Labor player since the last federal election is the Premier of the Western Australian cavepeople Mark McGowan, and so prolific is ‘State Daddy’ McGowan that the mere mention of his name has played havoc with the minds of Coalition players since 2020, as shown recently when he called Peter Dutton the “Biggest threat to the national security” over his rhetoric regarding a passing Chinese warship.
In fact, if we go to the advanced stats, McGowan has averaged 7 goals per press conference since the first lockdown in March of 2020, with his output peaking at 9 goals per press conference when Scott Morrison supported the Clive Palmer hard border challenge, and evened out to 8 goals per press conference throughout 2021, when he routinely attacked the Federal Government of New South Wales and their response to the pandemic, their criticism of his actions, and their whinging about WA’s GST share.
An added bonus for the ALP team is that McGowan can also drop back in defence and help put up a hard border along the Defensive 50, and if that goes up, any Coalition kicks Inside 50 will undergo 2 weeks quarantine.
In a rare display of consistency, the ALP have gone for the exact same centre line as 2019: Chris Bowen’s ability to transfer a defence of policy into an attack on the Coalition has seen him land on the wing, Senator Pat Dodson will be rocking the Akubra in his duel against Ken Wyatt, and Penny Wong is probably the best two-way player in the ALP, capable of shutting down and attacking many a Senator, and she’ll be used on election day to go after Liberals in marginal seats.
In the ruck, ‘The Godfather’ Don Farrell resumes battle with George Christensen, and it should be noted all the South Australian members of the ALP team only got their spots thanks to Don making the preselectors an offer they couldn’t refuse, and playing alongside The Godfather will be the team’s former vice-captain Tanya Plibersek, who holds the all-time record for the most appearances on Q&A, a fact verified by the ABC’s Fact Check, and a new addition to the team for 2022 is Ed Husic, the hero of Chifley, which includes cultural hotbeds Mount Druitt and the Rooty Hill RSL, and Ed also makes history as the first player from a Bosniak background to appear in a Political Premiership.
It was also noted by a bored journalist that Ed Husic’s name could be sung to the tune of “Antmusic” by Adam & the Ants, which led to several people thinking that Greens Leader Adam Bandt was the alter ego of lead singer Adam Ant, although unlike Adam Bandt, Adam Ant has been known to Stand And Deliver.
“So unnnnplug the jukebox, and do us all a favour, yeah, yeah, that music’s lost its taste, so try another flavour, Ed Husic, Ed Husic, Ed Husic, Ed Husic!“
This year’s ‘Faceless Backline’ has only one change from 2019, and it’s Raff Ciccone subbing out for ACT Senator Katy Gallagher, who received a glowing endorsement from former captain-coach Julia Gillard, although when picking Gallagher, the ALP selectors assumed they were actually picking the comedian Gallagher, due to the fact that he’d bring the Sledge-O-Matic to the team.
They were also disappointed when they realised they’d also missed out on both Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher.
On the other flank, frequent Liberal punching bag Kristina Keneally was the Labor Senate team’s Vice Captain until this year, when she notoriously obtained preselection in the seat of Fowler ahead of favoured candidate Tu Le, a move that raised eyebrows, because nothing says you understand the issues of a Western Sydney electorate with a significant Asian Australian population quite like living in Scotland Island and moving to Liverpool for 5 minutes.
In short, Keneally is willingly attemting to play herself out of position to attempt to impress people, but looking at this year’s ALP footy team, Albanese and the Faceless Men have welded her on to the half-back flank to try and carry supply to the forward line.
Moving on to the last line of ALP defence, the kingmaker in the back pocket is Tony Burke, who’s been tasked with dealing with Barnaby Joyce in the same manner that he dealt with the wheat monopoly and the EI outbreak in the 2000s, team treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers lines up at full-back, where he’ll spend most of the game defending Labor’s upcoming political salary cap
breaches costings, which are projected to be $7,400,000,000 over the next 4 years…
Which is only slightly short of the Melbourne Storm’s all-time record salary cap ‘costings’ from 2006 to 2010.
And, completing the backline for the ALP is the Western Suburbs battler Tim Watts, who will probably wear his Footscray jumper with a big number 4 for ‘The Bont’ on the back, despite openly admitting that he’s an expat Banana Bender who loved the Brisbane Bears & Lions before jumping on his local team.
EMERGENCIES: ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK, FRIENDLYJORDIES, REGGIE THE RABBIT
Former captain-coach Bill Shorten was consigned to the bench during the crushing defeat of 2019, primarily due to his inability to cement a position anywhere and on anything, and ‘Little Bill’ will be racing the clock to be fit after testing positive to the Spicy Cough on May 7, with the ALP preselectors prepared to bring back Kim Beazley to fill the team role of ‘Unsuccessful Former Leader’, just ahead of Simon Crean, if Shorten fails a last-minute fitness test, which will be as rigid as the leadership tests Mr Shorten faced for 6 years.
Making his way onto the bench after displaying noteworthy mental strength during a daily onslaught from the News Corp tabloids and the Victorian Liberals throughout Victoria’s millennia in COVID lockdown is ‘Chairman’ Daniel Andrews, complete with North Face jacket, and I should note that Andrews is an Essendon supporter, so if the ALP win the Political Premiership, it’ll be the closest Dan has come to experiencing a finals win since 2004, and I’d bet my bottom dollar that Andrews will be invited on stage to perform Get On The Beers:
As is tradition, the one and only Paul John Keating lines up on the bench, this time without longtime sparring partner Bob Hawke after his death 2 days before the 2019 decider, and PJK has made several appearances during the campaign, most notably this week when he came off the bench and decided to do Scott Morrison slowly on his superannuation policy, and despite being a Westie with a fondness for high culture, Keating knows a thing or two about political footy, such as when he declared that Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach had kicked a lot of tries for Balmain, and when he completely embraced the art of supporting Collingwood for the 1990 election, going as far as stealing Lou Richards’ jumper.
Collingwood may have won a drought-breaking premiership that year, but Louie The Lip lost his favourite guernsey.
And, with GetUp losing relevance since the demise of Tony Abbott, claiming the last spot on the bench is former PM Julia Gillard, who faded from relevance after moving to London a few years ago, and I understand it came down to a coin toss between former Prime Minister Gillard and Mike Carlton, but Gillard’s ability to go after the Liberal’s strong areas of misogyny and sexism saw her get the spot, leaving Mike free to do what he does best, and that’s have a go at everyone on Twitter that he hasn’t blocked already.
When asked about that coin toss moment, Captain-Coach Albanese replied, “I may be a tosser, but I’m not good with coins!”
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 either Josh Frydenberg or Penny Wong, although watch out for Mark McGowan, who could have the greatest impact by a State Premier on a Federal Political Premiership since Sir Joh-Bjelke Petersen torpedoed the Coalition in 1987 with the Joh For PM campaign.
Categories: AFL, Miscellaneous
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