Sunday, January 14, 2007

Final Pre-Final Soothsaying (with indulgent trimmings)

I'm feeling a bit inadequate as a blogger as apart from a 'Yee-har' with no content and a couple of speculation round-ups I haven't really said much in between the tipping posts. Not even so much as a review since the one on Jimmy Greaves' first book, which - let's face it - was a little odd.

So before I get to the tipping I'm going to reward my loyal readers with some self-indulgent prattle, because that's all I've really got.

One reason for the lack of reviews is because I've allowed my reading to diverge from football for a bit. I just finished Vanero Armanno's Firehead, which left me gasping for something cool and clear. It's way outside any genre I've ever explored really, being a sort of twisted romantic mystery set in the Brisbane of my lifetime, from about 1975 to 1995. Eeerie, like a parallel biography. I knew every street and public event referred to. Hard corruption and violence, sensitive (but a little twisted and self-conscious) eroticism, and a mystery with an unexpected and disturbing conclusion which I'm still not sure was happy or not. There was one reference to football about half way through but I can't remember the detail or context.

Before that I read the Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes I to III). The first one by Terry Brooks is absolute rubbish, worse than the movie if that is even possible for a book, the second by RA Salvatore was readable, the third by Matthew Stover was actually quite interesting. There were no references to football whatsoever, but as I read I had recurrent flashes of speculation about what FIFA would do if we met humanoid creatures from another planet. I mean the challenge would be on to create a universal confederation and standardise the rules, again. If a sci-fi author hasn't tried to deal with this issue it's about bloody time they did.

Before that I read SE Hinton's Outsiders to Jacob (in two marathon sessions), which I haven't read since I was not much older than him. I wept all the way through, not always appropriately as I knew what was going to happen to the characters in advance. It has no soccer references at all, but it is even sadder than the Knights were in mid-season.

You will no doubt all be pleased to know that I am now half way through two football books, both of which I'm enjoying immensely, Simon Kuper's Football Against the Enemy and Alex Bellos's Futebol - The Brazilian Way of Life. So more reviews will be coming soon.

Back to the important matter of this post...

The score after Round 20:

Jacob: 34
John: 34
Hamish: 30
Drsimmo: 30
Tony: 29
Dave: 28

My Tips:
Newcastle Jets FC vs Melbourne Victory FC
Newcastle 3:2

Queensland Roar FC vs Sydney FC
Queensland 2:0

New Zealand Knights FC vs Perth Glory FC
Draw 1:1

Central Coast Mariners FC vs Adelaide United FC
Adelaide 1:2

Jacob's Tips:
Newcastle Jets FC vs Melbourne Victory FC
Newcastle 1:0

Queensland Roar FC vs Sydney FC
Sydney 0:1

New Zealand Knights FC vs Perth Glory FC
New Zealand 1:0

Central Coast Mariners FC vs Adelaide United FC
Adelaide 0:1

And to the ineffable infinite, which will here not only never be graven in stone or wood, but will never be named, described, personified or elaborated upon, as any such attempt would make a mockery of infinity, which has no other practical attribute than ineffability, I offer the following prayer:
May we see entertaining A-League games this weekend, may there be good sportsmanship on and off the field, may the best teams win and may there be no serious injuries.



Blogger drsimmo said...

Well, it looks like Jacob and John will be battling it out for the tipping glory this week, unless someone else can get a couple of scores right.

Here we go for the final round, and what a fascinating one it should be.

Newcastle v Melbourne: Melbourne 1-2
Tough game this one, but Melbourne have a knack of winning on the road, and they need to build up some momentum for the finals. A big crowd expected up at EnergyAustralia Stadium, but I think (and hope) Melbourne can grab this one.

Queensland v Sydney: Sydney 0-2
A big call this one, especially considering Sydney's lack of goal scoring in recent weeks, and their injury woes. Queensland are on a role, but I have a feeling their inconsistency will bite them in this one. If Newcastle don't win - as I hope/predict - then the Roar will sneak in regardless. I'm hoping Sydney can sneak in to 2nd.

Central Coast v Adelaide: Draw 1-1
Adelaide will know if they need to win this to pinch 2nd spot, but I think CCM will be determined to go out on a high. A tight finish.

January 17, 2007 9:38 am  
Anonymous Wayne said...

Jacob's gone from being a pragmatist to the devil's advocate - see what a little bit of success will do!

January 17, 2007 12:59 pm  
Anonymous Dave said...

And so it comes to this...

Jets 1 Victory 3
Sorry Novacastrians, your season ends here. Although the Jets have everything to play for, I expect Ernie Merrick will be demanding the kind of utterly ruthless display from Melbourne that took them to the premiership. The Jets will be in this for long streches, but the Victory will canter home.

Roar 2 Bling 0
Assuming Melbourne win, the bulk of the pressure will be off these two teams, allowing for a more free-flowing game. Still a lot to play for, with second place potentially on the line. The key difference is that the Roar have re-discovered how to win, while SFC seem to have forgotten. And we get to do it all again next week because...

Mariners 1 Reds 1
Adelaide go into this one knowing that no matter what happens in Brisbane, they only need to draw to hang onto second place. While the Coast boys will be going all out for new contracts next season, I can't see Kossie letting this one get away. Another "grinder" from the Reds sees them take a point.

Knights 2 Glory 0
My first instinct is to ask who cares; but these teams actually have a lot to play for this week. Despite already being handed the wooden spoon, the Knights will be out to show their recent form is no accident; while Perth need to produce something on the park to snare new deals for next year. Both teams are under FFA administration, and both are courting new owners (and possibly new identities) for next season. Based on performances over the past few weeks, the Knights look the goods.

January 18, 2007 9:52 am  
Blogger john said...

Newcastle Jets FC vs Melbourne Victory FC
Melbourne 0:4

Queensland Roar FC vs Sydney FC
Queensland 6:0

New Zealand Knights FC vs Perth Glory FC
Glory 0:1

Central Coast Mariners FC vs Adelaide United FC
CCM 2:0

January 18, 2007 9:51 pm  
Blogger drsimmo said...

John, you are a blind optimist! :-)

January 19, 2007 8:50 am  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

To all those with teams still in the the race, all the best. To all those going out to the games, enjoy. Here's hoping the games are exciting and high on quality;

NJ 2 v MV 2
QR 1 v SFC 1
NZK 2 v PG 1
CCM 1 v AU 0

January 19, 2007 12:31 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

Hey Drsimmo, New Zealand and Perth are playing too!

Indeed, John is a die-hard optimist, but the curious thing is that Jacob, a supporter of the same team yet a great pessimist, equals John at top place in the comp. It's the moderates who are losing out.

January 19, 2007 6:46 pm  

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