Monday, 22 August 2005

Son, I'm afraid we're going to have put your puppy down

No recap? Not true, there's a special guest one coming soon.

And Jesus H. Christ what a finish. Like a complete clown I wasn't at the game because I'd already ditched work to go to Geelong and couldn't afford a repeat performance the next week, so I walk in the door at the start of the fourth quarter and start listening to it on the radio. We're getting done over, I'm preparing my obituaries and just how I'm going to top myself when odd things begin to happen. The comeback is on AGAIN. Suddenly we're within a goal and I'm jumping around my bedroom like an absolute knob. The pacing around takes me into my bathroom just as Jeff White gets the free kick and I end up on the floor curled up in a foetal position as the kick is taken. When it goes in I just yelled a huge "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH" that caused my flatmate to enquire as to whether I was alright or not.

Thus followed wild singing of the song on my own. Sad but true.

And heresssssssssssssss a match report - thanks to Peter of Glutbusters,

After a match like this one, the importance of what actually happened
pales into insignificance when placed beside the emotional journey us
fans were taken on. By now, you've read match reviews, you know what
happened. If you don't, you're not going to get it here. Try
RealFooty or the club's site. Because I don't have the strength.

Let me instead take you through the last quarter.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Me
My Dad - longer-suffering than I. He held my hand while I stood in
the mud as the Dees beat Footscray at the Western Oval in Round 22 of
1987 to make their first finals series in 23 years. Bought me
"Robbie", by Robert Flower (with Ron Reed). The first time I saw him
cry was when Gary Buckenara crushed our hearts three weeks later. I
barrack for Melbourne because he threatened me with familial
excommunication if I didn't. Tough love.
The Redhead - doesn't know a lot about football, but is learning. Is
appropriately loyal to her team (Brisbane) for appropriate reasons
(she was born there and lived in Fitzroy). Understands my irrational
emotional involvement.
My Mum - Doesn't really "get" football. Used to barrack for Carlton.
Now tolerates Melbourne for our sake. Talks loudly throughout game
because of headphones. She does, however, bring tea and cake.

So we're a couple of goals down at three-quarter time and, frankly,
that's flattering cause, apart from a few brief periods here and
there, they're playing all over us. I think they snagged the first of
the last. Not looking good. Dark glances exchanged with my father.
Mother thinks Aaron Davey having a shocker. Peter's response: "he's
playing a blinder, Mum". Subtext: Please, shut up.

Brad Johnson, who I will reluctantly concede can play, then curls one
back for the Dogs to go, I don't know, 21 points up? Thereabouts,
anyway. We're looking at four goals. Cooney flies out of the centre
and misses. Darker glances exchanged with Dad. This could get ugly.
Maybe Giansiracusa missed one now? Maybe that was later... Who knows?
Who cares? It's time-on. We need four goals. Suicide Sunday comes a
week early, and the Redhead's looking at a beating.

The next twenty minutes is a blur. I'll probably get the order wrong.
Who cares? The Mot (sadly having given up the short-lived number 53
and back to the more traditional number 44 - you can buy the 53 on
eBay) finds Jeff White. Three goals. Yze miraculously sharks a kick-
in. Two goals. TJ hits Philthy Phil on the tit sixty out from a
kickout, Philthy hits Nathan Brown (best game for the year), Dog
pumps it long and HMAS Holland takes, believe it or not, a pack mark.
Any pleasure I was deriving from this game had long since ceased.
Now, the knot in my stomach threatens to erupt. Is there anyone you
would less like lining up? Simon Godfrey? Jamie Duursma? Christopher
Reeve? Somehow he kicks it. It's three points or something. 29
minutes gone.

Me and Dad are head in hands. Can't watch. Redhead is discreetly
silent. Mother heard to comment: "isn't this exciting?" Supreme
effort of will required to avoid ugly scene. I have no idea how it
got down there. Travis, probably. Or Moloney. Someone missed. Or it
was rushed. Cooney marked the kickout. Neitz ran away. Cooney looked
more alone than I've ever seen anyone on a footy field. Had no idea.
Davey teleported to beside him as he went to kick. Smother. Throw in.
Free kick to Jeff White that was IN NO WAY DUBIOUS. Rode it through
from directly behind him. Wild scenes followed by two more minutes of
near-vomitous tension. Siren.

Now the interesting bit: tears. Last week at Geelong, I sang loudly,
hugged complete strangers, made remarks pertaining to inbreeding to
Geelong locals, perhaps even mentioned Alicia Horan (admittedly a
lowpoint). Saturday, the relief of it all just got the better of me
and I wept, not uncontrollably, but with less decorum than I expected
of myself. Kids in front of me were nudging their mates and saying
"dude, check out that guy crying". My mother gave me a clean
handkerchief and all was forgiven. The Redhead gave me a hug. Dad and
I just shared a look in which was contained my deepest thanks for
putting me through the pain that leads to moments like this. The song
was sung, but I couldn't make the words. My hands shook for an hour.

If our season ends there, it was worth it. Top 5 ever. Equal with
Geelong last week. Almost better than Carlton in the Qualifying Final
2000, rivalling Footscray '87.

Votes? What the hell do I know? I couldn't even watch it. These are
cribbed shamelessly from newspaper reports:

5 - Travis Johnstone - he hits tit, he hit it all night, he hit it
when it counted. Untouchable.
4 - Russell Robertson - you kick 6, you get votes.
3 - Jeff White - rucked all night, kicked a couple. Bless.
2 - Nathan Brown - apparently got a lot of kicks. Ran very, very hard.
1 - Daniel Bell - a little controversial, but he stepped up an
blanketed Robert Murphy in the last when it counted. The kid can play.

Honourable mentions:
Adem Yze - running off the back flank, it was the Yze of old. And
snagged a couple in the last. Welcome back.
Guy Rigoni - you never left.
Aaron Davey - if we're not there, we have the GF sprint stitched up.
Nathan Carroll - getting handier every week, and poleaxed Nathan
Eagleton with a ripper bump.
Neale Daniher - for a post match display of fist-pumping glee that
rivals Malcolm Blight's run onto the ground.

And the rest. You're all winners.

----

Adam here again. For the votes I've stuck Peter's together with MadDemon and Marns in the comments to come up with the following,

5 - Jeff White
4 - Russell Robertson
3 - Nathan Brown
2 - Travis Johnstone
1 - Guy Rigoni

Leaderboard is as follows - remember that if we make the finals votes in those games COUNT. Is this a democratic award? Not in the slightest.

33 - Travis Johnstone
33 - Russell Robertson
23 - Brad Green
21 - Brent Moloney
18 - Adem Yze
17 - Cameron Bruce
12 - Jeff White
10 - Colin Sylvia
9 - Brock McLean, Aaron Davey, Ryan Ferguson
6 - Clint Bizzell, Nathan Brown
5 - Jared Rivers, David Neitz, Daniel Bell
4 - Alistair Nicholson, Daniel Ward, Phil Read
3 - James McDonald, Brad Miller, Nathan Carroll, Shannon Motlop
2 - Paul Wheatley, Matthew Whelan, Guy Rigoni
1 - Ben Holland

We have a thrilling tie going into the (potential) last round as I realise that I had Robertson in the mix twice and had to merge the two. Who will take the most prestigious prize in sports? Your guess is as good as mine.

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