Wow, it’s all happening in the footy world right now, isn’t it?

We’re three days away from the supposed start of the season, no player has tested positive for anything except Willie Rioli, and despite the world panicking, and toilet paper being in short supply, it seems as though we may have some version of an AFL season set to start this Thursday.

I have my fingers crossed.

But while I am the hopeful sort, I am also a bit of a sleuth. Did you know that about me? Of course  you didn’t – you’re not sleuths like I am. Sherlock Holmes, the character Leslie Nielsen played in Spy Hard, Maxwell Smart, Austin Powers… we’re all highly trained to pick up on clues, follow them until they lead us to an answer, and then, we act.

My efforts in tracking down the culprit responsible for this outbreak, affecting the entire world, have led me to Australia… which is really handy as I really don’t want to travel. They’ve also led me to a group of individuals with a common connection – AFL Football.

Laugh if you will, scoff if you must, and you can even sneeze if it makes you feel better, but make no mistake, the fact that this illness has a name derived from both beer, and a classic 1970s Toyota car model should leave no doubt as to the fact those responsible for the pandemic are right in our midst. And I intend to uncover their heinous plans.

As I type this, I have whittled down the list of suspects and at the moment, I am piecing together their possible motives for derailing the season. Some may shock you. Some may appal you. Some might make you excited and have to excuse yourself (Joe Ganino… your bathroom awaits), but one thing remains clear – once this information comes out, the AFL, its players and us, the fans may never… eeeeever be the same again.

 

SUSPECT ONE – ‘LETHAL’ LEIGH MATTHEWS

 

MOTIVE – TO REMAIN THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL-TIME

If you needed any proof that Leigh Matthews has no conscience, look back over his career at the array of bodies, strewn over AFL fields due to his callous and violent actions. Older, and a little pudgier around the middle, Matthews can no longer destroy men with a flick of his wrist and has to be a little more… subtle with the way he brings men to their knees.

He has become the cerebral assassin as opposed to a bloke with a machine gun.

Enter Dustin Martin.

Matthews was all praise after Martin’s 2017 season, calling it the best individual season of all time, but he said it through clenched teeth. I am an expert in detecting insincerity. I knew Bill Cosby wasn’t a real doctor on The Cosby Show. I knew Nicole Kidman wasn’t really a brain surgeon in Days of Thunder, I knew Dayne Beams didn’t mean it when he talked about how much he loved Brisbane, and I knew that Eddie McGuire was telling a porky when he said he wasn’t interested in the doughnut I offered him when we met last week to confidentially discuss the purchase of The Mongrel Pu… err, nothing.

Anyway, Matthews is regarded as the greatest player of all time. An attack on the current player whose finals record may end up challenging Lethal’s claim would be too direct, too clumsy, and would have the finger pointed directly at Matthews.

He is too smart to be so direct.

But if the competition as a whole is cancelled for 12 months, with Martin in his prime, thereby robbing him of a chance to cement his status in the game, Matthews could claim innocence. Why would he deliberately hurt the game he loves, and has given so much to him?

Because he is a petty man who will stop at nothing to protect his legacy, that’s why!

He will praise Martin more in the coming months, and do it with a smile, content in the fact that he has derailed Dusty’s chance to add another Norm Smith Medal to his trophy case. Another year older and a little bit slower, Dusty’s prime will pass as the virus makes its way through the population. 2020 will be lost and the Lethal Leigh Matthews legacy will remain safe.

But what will Lethal do next year?

COVID-20?

 

SUSPECT TWO – BRENDON BOLTON

 

MOTIVE – HE’S PRETTY PISSED OFF

Put yourself in Brendon Bolton’s shoes. He’s still wearing kid’s sizes, so it’s gonna be a tight squeeze. Just try your best.

He cultivates the green shoots, waters them, nurtures them, prunes them when required, and just as they are about to blossom, he is replaced by a new gardener.

Bolton limped back to Hawthorn like a kicked puppy to the feet of Alastair Clarkson, but as we all know, the eyes of a man are the windows to his soul, and Brendon Bolton’s soul is full of rage.

Rage toward Carlton.

Do you think he is going to sit idly by as the Blues progress up the ladder? Do you think he will allow another to reap the rewards from all his hard work and… whatever else he was doing at Carlton? No, no, no…

Bolton may seem as though he has put his sacking behind him, but he carries it on his shoulders much in the same way Patrick Cripps carries the Blues’ midfield. He needs to let it go, but he can’t. The Blues sacked him. The Blues must pay.

Bolton is a maniac. He is the worst of the worst. He is the sort of bloke that would intentionally invite Hannibal Lecter over for dinner and not wear a hat just to tempt him. He knew what he was getting into at Carlton, but he got into it anyway, and now he wants to cut the legs out from underneath them just as they’re learning to walk again.

And if he brings down the entire system, so be it.

The greatest villains believe that they’re right. What do you think Brendon Bolton believes?

 

Episode 9 of The Mongrel Punt #AFL podcast is up
🎧  Apple https://t.co/hQ6vyQL7UD

🎧 Google https://t.co/txkLa73RQT

🎧 Spotify https://t.co/ZDGrCFmLfM

 

SUSPECT THREE – BEN BROWN

 

MOTIVE – NO COLEMAN AND NO ALL-AUSTRALIAN MAKE BEN GO… SOMETHING, SOMETHING…

Ah, you think the resemblance to Sideshow Bob is just a coincidence, do you? You think that he DOESN’T go around in his spare time singing the score from the HMS Pinafore and attempting to blow up dams?

You don’t know Ben Brown very well, do you?

Of course you don’t  – you’re not a sleuth like I am.

My finely-honed abilities to detect insincerity found that Ben is off the charts, or not even on the charts. He smiles, avoids meat, does all the things that are wholesome and is seemingly an important part of the fabric of the North Melbourne Football Club.

But is that the case?

If he was such a great guy, and so important to the team, why would they undercut him on the deal he is asking for? What do they know?

After several interviews with key North Melbourne staff, I’ve uncovered a deep, troubling aspect of the Ben Brown persona, and it is channelled through his inability to a) win the Coleman Medal, and b) make the All-Australian team.

My source, who shall remain unnamed (Nick Larkey) claims that he has Brown muttering under his breath as he paces around the site of the old gasometer at Arden Street. “If I can’t have it, no one will have it,” said Larkey… err, I mean nobody, as he related the story to me in the strictest confidence. “Don’t tell Ben it came from me, okay? He gets that look in his eye, and I swear he will kill me. He also thinks I am trying to take his spot on the team and that I once fed his dog real meat.”

Your secrets are safe with me, Nick. I’m like a vault!

Ben Brown is obviously a maniac!

 

SUSPECT FOUR – WARWICK CAPPER

 

MOTIVE – HIS OMISSION FROM THE SYDNEY SWANS TEAM OF THE CENTURY

Tiring of making porn, being a lollipop man, and making terrible ultra-tune ads, Capper may be disgruntled with his lot in life.

By his own admission, he turned over a table when he was left out of the Sydney Swans team of the century and has only recently mended bridges with the club after being made a life member, but is that enough for Warwick?

One could speculate that this may not be the first infection Capper has spread throughout New South Wales, and given the larger concentration of COVID-19 cases in New South Wales, it appears as though Capper may be targeting the very people that left him out of the Swans’ team of the century.

Reports from several shaken middle-aged women report that Capper made several remarks during “intimate moments” over the years relating to “spreading” but as they couldn’t understand anything else he said either side of the word, it may be being taken out of context.

Is Capper really a criminal mastermind? Has he used his connections in low places – Charlie Sheen and Pamela Anderson – to infiltrate the bottom tier of the Illuminati to procure this deadly virus to get back at the Sydney Swans?

And does he realise it is not a sexually transmitted infection? Does he even care?

 

SUSPECT FIVE – ALEX RANCE

 

MOTIVE – THE STORY YOU DON’T KNOW

So, Alex Rance “retired” after the 2019 season, did he? Amidst a number of rumours, some callous and baseless, and others I completely made up, Rance hung up his boots and rode off into the sunset.

All was well, right?

Wrong!

Reports I have received state that Damien Hardwick stumbled on some material in Rance’s locker whilst he was looking for nudie pics (they were in there as well) and what he saw left him with no choice but to expel Rance from the club. Was it pics of Rance naked? Well, yes, they were there, but this was something even more troubling.

Hardwick found material, written in Chinese, that he guessed was pretty underhanded (Hardwick doesn’t read Chinese, but he harbours a grudge since he got food poisoning in a Richmond restaurant).

It turns out that Hardwick’s knee-jerk reaction (an AFL staple, usually) was spot on (not an AFL staple, usually).

Alex Rance is actually an international operative, working for the Chinese. He has currently been detained whilst preparing to flee the country under the guise of running a trip to Nepal. Yes Alex… we’re onto you.

Locked down in the Chinese Embassy in Melbourne, Rance refuses to take my calls, much like most of the women I’ve known throughout my life, but a couple of wire taps have revealed that the Chinese Government was particularly angry that Port Adelaide was only playing shitty teams in their Shanghai matches over the years and shipped vials of the virus to Rance to unleash upon the unsuspecting AFL population so as to take their revenge. As payment, Rance was allowed free passage through China, Tibet and into Nepal.

Sadly, Rance was riding a skateboard whilst carrying the vials, as he did as he made his entrance to AFLX, had a bit of a Sydney Stack, and now look what’s happened.

To Rance and the Chinese government, you’re collateral damage.

 

SUSPECT SIX – SAM NEWMAN

 

MOTIVE – HE’S JUST VERY GRUMPY

Sam is tired of the way the footy world operates, and figures we should start over again from scratch. If that means he has to kill off the majority of people in charge of the game, so be it.

Self-quarantined in his ivory tower in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct, Newman originally was thinking of using the virus on some kids skateboarding outside his residence, but opted for throwing their boards in the Yarra River instead.

He had bigger fish to fry.

Newman, like many old timers, has seen the game change and morph from a high-marking spectacle into what we have now… a high-marking spectacle, but those who made these drastic changes to the game he loves will pay, and they’ll pay dearly.

In an unedited version of his podcast with Don Scott and Mike Sheahan, Newman has added subliminal messages that, when played backwards, implore the listener to stop washing your hands and other bodily parts.

I’m already throwing my soap away.

 

 

SUSPECT SEVEN – RICKY NIXON

 

MOTIVE – ESTABLISHMENT OF THE “KICKING FOR CORONAVIRUS” GAME

Firstly, some well-deserved credit – Nixon has successfully established several charitable causes recently, including Vital Health Checks for men, and the Kicking for Cancer fundraising game in Shepparton, conducted this past weekend and involving players such as Greg Williams, Anthony Koutoufides, and co-accused Warwick Capper. This article is not to take the piss out of either of them by any means – they are noble causes and he should be commended.

Right, back to the suspect…

What a way to fly under the radar, huh Nixon? Out there, doing good in the community, helping people… the perfect cover for your nefarious ways! I’m onto you!

Now on the periphery of the AFL world, Nixon holds a grudge like Joe Ganino holds the backside of heavy, drunk women at 3am on over 45s night at the Port Macquarie pub.

Tightly!

And that grudge, against those who WERE his friends, WERE his clients, and WERE his colleagues has festered over the years like that growth on Joe Ganino’s groin. Two shots at Ganino in a row… I’m enjoying this.

A shady character, often overheard discussing his plans for revenge in the Bakehouse Café in Port Melbourne, Nixon’s lust for revenge on the industry he was once so prominent in has not gone unnoticed by this sleuth.

What better way to ingratiate yourself back into the fold than by providing the charitable arm of the fight against the very virus you disseminated amongst the population? A very shrewd operator, is Ricky Nixon…

 

SUSPECTS EIGHT AND NINE – GIL MCLACHLAN AND STEVE HOCKING

 

MOTIVES – REDEMPTION

Ah yes, you know firemen who are always first on the scene after a rather suspicious fire? They put it out and are hailed as heroes for preventing a disaster. They’re great guys, aren’t they? There’s nothing wrong with a fireman who is able to get out there and douse a fire, saving everyone, right?

Unless they’re the ones who started it!

Look at the facts – these guys desperately need a win. They’re the villains in every scenario involving the league.

Rules changes are shitty – blame Gil and Steve

Umpires are shitty – Gil and Steve

No home finals for Geelong – Gil and Steve

AFLX – Gil and Steve.

Now, as the rest of the sporting world shuts down, Gil and Steve are looking to be heroes. They’re pushing on with the AFL season in the face of adversity, showing the fans they’re here for them, no matter what! Yep, fans like BetEasy, Foxtel and Channel Seven – “we’re here for you guys!”

Gil and Steve could save the AFL season, and in doing so, could win the hearts of the footy public…

… or those of us that are left, anyway.

 

So, you’ve heard the facts, and we are all quite sure all I’ve done is lay out the facts, right?

Right?!?!

Which AFL personality is responsible for this heinous outbreak? My investigations continue…