The league loves rubbing out Pies in September. They got Fabulous Phil, Nuts Coventry, Pebbles Rocca, Daisy Thomas and an obligatory Cloke. But with Bruz they took on an unstoppable force of nature, Terry Brown discovers.
The AFL can’t even do a stitch up right. That’s how bad they’re going.
On Tuesday, Brayden Maynard was paddling with the Werribee ducks.
He had been chosen by Laura “the Lawyer” Kane to be the new face of footy thuggery! He was going to be the head on the pike outside AFL house.
An incontinence of Dees Members fluffed by Neil Mitchell was howling for blood, waving cheese knifes angrily. The Brayshaws, per Caro, did not appreciate the flowers.
Bruz just couldn’t win, surely?
It was grim. This is the stage when the wheels are supposed to come off the Pies wagon, with a bit of nut loosening from the league.
The tribunal room would have been booked a month ago. There’d be a slot there under Collingwood for Tuesday-week, betcha.
Rubbing out Magpies is in the league’s somewhat manky DNA. Phil Carman should have a statue outside the ‘G instead of a landscaping business. The Wobbles should have ended in ‘77! I’d be normal.
Although the fresh AFL footy boss personally intervened, overriding the experts, making a stand, the tribunal guys would be independent, at whatever terrible personal cost, ideally to Maynard.
They had two clear jobs – work out why they were even there, and get Bruz if at all possible.
They would not be swayed by emotional media like their own AFL site which swoons in its player profiles that Bruz “is arguably the hardest hitter in the competition”.
Ms Kane left the case with them, like a smell in a lift, but she is clearly a person of integrity, if not nous. She has 10 years in the Kangas brains trust on her cv, when most would have fudged that or lied they were in jail.Embed from Getty Images
Dragging Maynard into the dock by executive whim is about what Pies fans expect this time of the year, but the rest was uncertain. A new broom makes a great truncheon.
The problem for Maynard was that the head is sacrosanct in footy, except in marking contests where you can crack skulls with your knee, no worries.
There is a duty of care, despite the league getting rid of medical subs this year.
But concussion looks as bad as it feels, and worse in slo-mo. It is hard to claim the high ground over a prone lump of possibly dead player.
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the tribunal …
Bruz went about it as usual – eating bricks, kissing babies, saving grannies, scaring boulders.
Angus Brayshaw drove to work, went for a jog and was no longer expected to give evidence through a ouija board.
And the Pies got a biomechanist. Try saying that toothless. Or legless.
When Galileo was nutting out parabolic motion in 1608, he was under finals-type pressure from cheese-eating Jesuits but thankfully split the sticks.
He would be thrilled, you’d imagine, to now have Magpies Legend as an epitaph.
League inquisitor Andrew “Carna” Woods – not his real nickname – will hope instead that history forgets him and the boss wasn’t watching.
Biomechanist, neuroscientist and Now Magpie Legend Associate Prof Michael Cole took him apart. No one expected the meat frisbee defence.
As the accused squeezed a stress ball unhappily, Woods gave him the greasy eye.
He said Bruz should have stopped moving forward and shot straight up like Astro Boy, or thrown out his arms like Superman catching Lois.
These are all fine suggestions if you assume footballers have superpowers, as the AFL mouthpiece briefly did.
The tribunal might well be confused too. Every bit of film they ever get is blurred. Everybody looks like The Flash!
But Pope Urban VIII didn’t get Galileo “The G Wagon” Galilei, and “Kinetic” Mike Cole had Woods lined up nicely.
“Once he’s airborne, he’s essentially a projectile,” he explained patiently.
“He’s like a frisbee with arms and legs.”
So Maynard could have just as easily wound up on a roof or in a tree. It was Brayshaw’s bad luck.
Except it wasn’t.
Kinetic Mike then explained physics to the tribunal, using the example of little cars like you would talking to toddlers.
He showed Brayshaw swerved to clean up Maynard and not the other way around. The boss fingered the wrong guy. Oh dear.
Turns out Bambi shot himself.
That should have been it, but appearances matter a lot at the league.
The tribunal deliberations took a couple hours. It shouldn’t take that long to update your cv, surely.
Then they cleared Bruz and cleared out their desks, you’d suspect?
Pies fans screamed themselves raucous. Well I did, anyway. We don’t have to barrack for Carlton this week!
And some good might come of Ms Kane’s clueless tilt against the laws of nature?
Collingwood kids are pestering their parents for lab coats now. It’s set science forward 10 years.
TERRY BROWN worked for many years as a general reporter, columnist and colour writer at The Sun and Herald Sun. He is now an academic lecturing in journalism and is an unpublished novelist.