Saturday, 8 April 2006

Death of a Salesman

As I entered the stadium this afternoon there was a distinct smell of vomit hanging over the place. Was this the result of staggering faults in the plumbing, a natural reaction to the return of James Sherry as crowd "warmup" man (a concept so bad it almost makes you nostalgic for Voice of The G) or a sign of things to come on the field. Stay tuned if you don't already know. If you do shut up and let the poor bastards find out for themselves. Did I spoil it? It might be all three.

This week's recipient of the David Schwarz/Gamblers Helpline "first goalkicker" bet was Aaron Davey @ 12-1, thus almost certainly ensuring that he didn't do it. Before we could even find out we were treated to some bank sponsored corporate wankfest preview which assured us that Brad Green "tried his hardest last week". Laugh? I almost walked out before the game had even started. Needless to say the first goal wasn't kicked by Davey, but rather by Nathan Carroll in one of the most inconcievable twists in sports betting that we've ever seen. I was actually going to go for Colin Sylvia but when he wasn't on the list I chose somebody else - who is supposed to be able to work out who is in and out when you bet on "Any Player Not Listed". Carroll certainly wouldn't have been listed, and it showed when his goal was the result of the softest 50m penalty in history and a kick so awful that it shouldn't have counted even though it went in.

Despite honors being, at best, even on-field - and with Neitz missing two goals he would have kicked with his eyes closed two years ago - we managed to take a three goal lead into the first change. Inaccurate kicking by the Dogs helped, as did some laughable umpiring decisions going our way. Even I could see they were being robbed. It didn't take the idiot in front of me on the Phil Gilbert Wing (I was, naturally, in Row X) who went off like a parrot, yelling "YOU WHITE MAGGOT!" every time he heard a whistle. Despite this signs were looking good. Sylvia and McLean were killing it, Johnstone and Bruce looked a hundred times more tuned in than last week and in a shock plot twist even Yze and Green appeared to be interested. Ferguson, however, went off injured with what looked like a broken hand or wrist and that means that if Jared Rivers isn't fit next week then lock up your grandmother because IT'S NICHO TIME. Given that we're not playing Richmond this doesn't please me at all.

Bargearse Byron played his best patch of the season so far during the second quarter but too often he'd get it and turn it straight over to the opposition. The highlight for me was when he slipped on the "perfectly stable" Dome surface without being tackled and 10,000 mutants all jumped to their feet to yell BAAAAAAAAAAALL as one. This is why I'd be happy to sell out everything I believe in and buy my own corporate box to sit in if I was loaded - I can't put up an "atmosphere" that thrives on people having IQ's lower than their shoe sizes.

We were still leading, and doing a much better job than last week, but defensively it was absolutely shithouse. All down the field Footscray players were running riot with nobody anywhere near them. I haven't seen so many loose runners in one place since the 2005 Amsterdam Hooker Olympics. Luckily for us they couldn't take advantage and we fell over the line into halftime five points worse off than the first change but still very much in the mix. Green even laid half a tackle. Get Champion Data on the line it's a record. Again we consistently fell apart across CHF. That is when they deemed it necessary to have one. Miller did very little - either he's lost the plot or the opposition have figured him out. One way or the other if he's our captain next year then I'm General Douglas MacArthur and I shall return in about five years when things have really bottomed out.

Special entertainment points for the guy sitting three rows in front of me who was making a valiant effort to be a real footy fan bless his heart. He'd read the standard texts and watched The Club a few times because he was making all sorts of rookie mistakes. Politely clapping our goals for one. He did, however, fit in nicely by shouting "Kick it to.. err.. him" as a Bulldog made another cheap pressure free run through the middle. And his one man booing of the umpires at half-time was classy. He even marked out for shots at goal that were going nowhere near the big stix. He was every inch a Melbourne fan other than his Bulldogs scarf. Was obviously trying to slum it with the Westies. Any money he's got an Essendon and Brisbane scarf in his closet as well.

So, what happened next? Did,

a) We ram home the advantage, smash them light guitars and have a big confidence boosting win?
b) Fall over the line in a thriller?
c) Go down in honor to a better team?
d) Roll over and die like the bottom four dogs that we are?

If you think the answer is anything but (D) then you're in the wrong place. Suddenly, almost as soon as the second quarter started, we were treated to Miller and Neitz roaming aimlessly in the backline, a midfield almost completely shut down and a forward line that had been decimated to the point where it was pretty much Russell Robertson and the ghosts of Melbourne past. The kings of sexy football turned it on, and in the face of pissy resistance, they had nine goals for the quarter and were four in front at the last change. Despite Green scoring a goal off the ground that you know caused every rubbish commentator on earth to go "he played for Manchester United you know" and David "You're still here?" Neitz goaling after the siren we were finished. I'm no scholar of the game but anyone could see that our gameplan was awful. Apparently everyone could see that except our coaching staff. The Dogs certainly didn't have any trouble exploiting it.

In another interesting tactic we seemed to play with a CHB in the first few minutes of the last quarter. I could have sworn we still had 18 players on the field, but you'd have been forgiven for wondering where most of them were. Especially when Matthew Robbins walked through the biggest gap since September 11 to kick the sealer four minutes in. It was certainly an interesting tactic, but I'm not sure it was the time to unleash it on an unsuspecting football public. And thus the procession began. Having put in his contractually obligated 1 hard quarter a month Yze gave up, and couldn't even bother to stick a foot out later in the quarter when he was tackled and the ball spilt. This was always going to happen, it was written in the stars the moment two tossers in the crowd started baiting the Dogs fans about it being "Deja Vu" from Rd21 last year when we were holding on to a tenuous lead in the 2nd quarter. Personally I think you should be more embarassed to admit we took their place than to mock them for it. There's no doubt they would have done a better job than we did.

And, erm, that was it. I walked out at the 25m mark.
The only upside to the whole disgraceful interlude was that I walked in my front door exactly 7 minutes after I had left my seat. Upon walking in the door I was so frustrated that I screamed "SLOP" at the top of my voice. Lucky nobody else was home.

Demonblog.com 2005 Allen Jakovich Medal VOTES (Do we have to?)

5 - Cameron Bruce (Very much by default. At least he got touches that were somewhat contested. Six tackles didn't hurt either.)
4 - Colin Sylvia (Gave away a million free kicks but put his body on the line)
3 - Travis Johnstone (Struggling...)
2 - Byron Pickett (Surprisingly good in a slopfest. Tried hard even though he's over the hill)
1 - Daniel Ward (No idea what to do with it, but he was there)

Apologies to Robertson, McLean and Bartram who had a go.

No apologies to Yze, who can piss off as far as I'm concerned and Neitz who is so past it it's not funny. And big minuses to Daniher and his experimental (read: shithouse) game plan.

LEADERBOARD (Not one of them deserving of an award so far)

7 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Cameron Bruce
5 - Aaron Davey
4 - Nathan Carroll
3 - Travis Johnstone
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Byron Pickett
1 - Daniel Ward

Thank god for Richmond, we're currently in the top 15. The good news is that by tomorrow we're concievably going to be two games behind Hawthorn. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH fuck it.

P.S - If you're going to pay to take your kiddies to the game, and are going to fork out well over the odds to buy them a mini replica jersey then for the love of god can you please make SOME attempt to control them? The first half was highlighted by some woman yelling at two of her kids to come back to her, and the second by more little bastards running around behind me. If they don't care then give up. Maybe they'll grow up to prefer art and modern dance instead? And what are you going to do then? Complain about how much you spent trying to force them to take up your club? Pff.

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