Thursday, 30 March 2006

Round 110: FIGHT!*

(* I'm just assuming it's been 110 seasons. You do the math, I can't be bothered)

Whisper it quietly but the new season starts in three days. For us anyway, there are six other games on involving teams that we don't give a monkey's about. Whisper it even more quietly but our entire season weighs on this very match. An extraordinary dramatic statement from somebody prone to extreme pessimism you may think but as far as I'm concerned it's valid.

There's no doubt teams can rebound from surprise round one losses to storm the season. Remember, if you dare, when we stitched up North in the first game of '97 and then proceeded to do fuck all for the rest of the year while they went to a Preliminary Final. This time, though, we are dealing with an entirely different beast altogether. We're talking about a club that has made a name for itself in the for it's spectacular Hindenberg style disasters in the last two seasons. We're talking about a team that only made the finals last year on the back of a lucky but deserved 1pt win in Geelong, a 3pt victory over Footscray which was wholly undeserved and a lacklustre 10pt win over the worst Essendon side in years. The rematch with Geelong was a whitewash, and even with apologies for the black death injury plague we suffered during the game there was no doubt they were the better team. It pains me to say it but despite having one of our best lists in the last decade we're not worthy of respect coming into this season.

And don't be delusional and think that Carlton can't beat us. Fevola and Whitnall might one of the handful of half decent players they have but remember that our defence has been absolutely shithouse at times in the last few years AND Jared Rivers is out injured. This leaves Nicholson, Carroll and Ferguson as our tall backs. I've no faith in Nicho unless he's playing against Matthew Richardson and even though I like his work Ferguson is no strength match for either of them. Carroll's performance against Matthew Lloyd in Round 22 would hint that he's maturing into a better player than I gave him credit for in the past but I remember him slaughtering Barry Hall in the last round of '03 and not doing anything for the next two years. A R22 specialist perhaps? Should have traded him to Richmond.

Also injured - McLean, Bizzell and Holland. Add that to the criminally underdone Bruce and Moloney and if I were the sort of corrupt bastard who bet against his own team I'd be getting right on the Blues under 20 points @ 6-1. Neitz showed nothing in the pre-season until the last game and I fail to see where it will get us to have a high scoring shootout of a match. If the midfield leaks and the defence collapses we are, quite simply, bollocksed.

Or maybe we'll win by 200? What do I know.

My 2006 Ladder, as dissected by the Demonblog Super Computer.

1. St. Kilda
2. West Coast
3. Geelong
4. Adelaide
5. Sydney
6. North Melbourne
7. Melbourne
8. Brisbane
---
9. Fremantle
10. Richmond
11. Port Adelaide
12. Essendon
13. Collingwood
14. Bulldogs (don't be fooled by their late season form. They're flops)
15. Hawthorn
16. Carlton

Premiers: West Coast
Brownlow: Not one of our players
Coleman: Neither
First player named for being a junkie: [DELETED FOR LEGAL REASONS]

UPDATE

Melbourne's Squad
N.Brown, N.Carroll, M.Whelan, A.Yze, R.Ferguson, D.Ward, B.Green, C.Bruce, B.Moloney, B.Pickett, B.Miller, A.Davey, P.Johnson, D.Neitz, R.Roberston, J.White, C.Sylvia, T.Johnstone, S.Motlop, A.Nicholson, C.Bartram, M.Jamar, J.McDonald, M.Bate, N.Jones

Make of that what you will. I'm not even getting into preferred lineups. Cross your fingers, hope for good luck and NEVER LISTEN TO WHAT AN OFFICIAL WEBSITE SAYS. EVER.

And buy a membership cheapskate.

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