Saturday, 6 May 2006

Don't turn around, Der Koroner's in town

Or... It's cold! It's dark! We fucked them on the park!

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this blog wasn't coming back. As sagely noted by one commentor during the week I can't even be bothered writing pre-match previews anymore. Alas I'm suffering a wave of serious apathy. Something about this season is not quite right. We've had a month of games decided by a goal or under and despite almost heaving my guts up several times during the last quarter of each I've walked out of all three victories calm and collected, and didn't feel too badly shattered about the loss despite the fact that we were quite clearly ROBBED. Contrast this to other years when for minutes - if not hours - after a close game I'd be ill and shake like a leaf. Is it growing maturity, the realisation that sports really mean fuck all in the grand scheme of things, resignation to a life of being let down by Melbourne or the result of a slow degeneration of my central nervous system. Could be all four.

Last night's game was no different. Perhaps a week free of meaningful sleep and the prospect of a 5am wakeup call tipped me towards the edge of what I could take but if I wasn't the sort of person to revel in wet and freezing conditions like a dodgy racehorse I'd have thrown my hands up in frustration - yelled "fuck you all" and stayed at home instead. Luckily I'm not a complete sellout (only a bit..) and I dragged myself along. Convinced, as were most, that our wins of the last fortnight were the result of luck not skill and that a full strength Geelong side would turn us over to the tune of ten goals.

The critics who would claim I have lost passion (I don't think there any, but it helps me make a point) would do well to get the CCTV footage of when Aaron Davey kicked goal of the year from 8 cars deep in the carpark in the last quarter. Standing at the back of the bottom deck of the Ponsford in the "drunks and social rejects" section I was jumping around like a knob. It was a thing of beauty. The finish was one thing but we've seen that done before - it was the gather and the dainty steps around everyone before banging in that made it a classic.

The first half wasn't too bad given the conditions. There were skill errors here and there but what else do you expect when it's pissing down raining and the ground is more like the Olympic 50m pool in Athens than a football ground? Idiots who darkly mutter when somebody doesn't manage to pull out a fingertip mark while sprinting at full speed across the sporting equivalent of a giant waterslide should be taken outside and shot along with the people who mug for the cameras and wave to their mothers when their side is 1pt down 25 minutes into the last quarter of a Grand Final.

The game opened with Mark Jamar taking a top contested mark in the goalsquare that made you think we were about to witness Jamania. He then proceeded to have one more touch all night. Far more exciting was the debut of Lynden Dunn, whose smothered snap first kick resulted in a Brock McLean goal before he added two off his own boot. Ten minutes into his first game he was already a better kick for goal than Ben Holland. I expect big things from him, which probably means he's now destined to be an Andrew Lamprill/Brent Heaver one hit wonder who'll never have another good game again. Matthew Bate was impressive again - if you bet your life on him kicking straight you may as well neck yourself and die with dignity because it might go anywhere but he knows how to get it and hold onto it. With experience comes calm (we hope) and another player to get excited about. He got twenty touches and only a handful of them were botched so I'd call it a success.

I really thought that it was just the rain keeping us in it and dragging Geelong down to our level. Obviously when it dried up they were going to smash us to pieces. This point was being hammered home in the first quarter when, after taking the early lead, Geelong stormed back to put their nose in front at quarter time - with only sterling defensive work by Jared Rivers and Nathan Carroll (Nicho? Who?) stopping it getting out of hand. The midfield - specifically Bruce and McLean - were doing some spectacular work but it just kept going down there. Doesn't hurt to be against forwards the "quality" of Kent "Wave of the Future" Kingsley who contributed a big five kicks and 0.1 to the cause. I'm all for backing obscure players but some people just go too far.

The third quarter opened up a lot last last week, with the opposition beating us to a bloodied pulp. Not surprisingly this was when the rain had stopped. The prophecy was coming true. Or was it? Obviously not because we won, but not before Cameron "Psych Ward" Mooney milked the worst free kick of all time and then proceeded to try and bump Ben Holland and actually headbutt him. A complete fucking lunatic for sure - and I'm not sure I can dislike him for this reason. The fact that he decked the man that I have a skitzophrenic love/hate relationship with had nothing to do with it. I would like to apologise to Holland for accusing him of completely faking it when it became clear from the TV screens that there was at least some contact and that he was only half faking it. A word on Holland, if I may, I thought he did very well in defence. I'm not just saying this because I've previously called for him to play there, he was quite good last night and I almost forgot that dropped mark in the square against North last week. Good enough for a vote? Keep reading on.

We managed to stem the tide towards the end of the 3rd quarter though. Geelong were butchering chances left, right and centre and our defence started to hold up again. The expected ten goal defecit at 3/4 time hadn't eventuated and I wasn't allowed to go home and get some much needed sleep. Another thriller, just what the doctor ordered.

So anyway, we won. No drama here - you know what happens. Davey kicks the aforementioned goal of the year, Paul Chapman horrifically botches a kick from inside 50 when we were seven points up, they miss another shot and we hold onto it long enough to seal victory. The Chapman miss was especially lucky given that he'd destroyed us all night. Siren and I was OUT OF THERE. Hooray for 3 in a row and everything but I was already looking towards 5am. This is not 3AW football and we don't do post-match interviews.

ByronWatch
Didn't do much with the ball (other than one perfectly measured pass with no time to look) but was a tank off it. Even contrived to flatten somebody with a trademark belting in the last quarter. Can't fit him in for a vote but another top game nonetheless.
End ByronWatch

There's very little to report on crowd action wise. The two "leaders" of the Geelong cheer squad have the most limp-wristed clapping action since that guy in our squad who does the "MEL" (right hand up) "BOURNE" (left hand up) *clap* *clap* *clap* thing. Being a cheer squad official is already like being head spaz - there's no need to make things worse by drawing attention to yourself. And while I'm on the cheersquad high horse doesn't it distress you at least moderately that suddenly ours are waving big REDHEADS banners around. Suddenly we're in the Geelong/Ford, West Coast/Hungry Jacks faction of fans who consentually wave 100% advertising around above their heads for four quarters. If the money goes to the football club I'll withdraw. If it goes to making more banners about how much we love John So then stick it I'm OUT.

Err, let's do the votes before various squad bogans charge in and beat me to death with a giant pom-pom.

5 - Cameron Bruce (What more can I say?)
4 - Brock McLean (The master's apprentice. Smooth as silk and a mad bastard to boot)
3 - Jared Rivers (a defensive colossus)
2 - Brad Green (his best game for ages. Obviously responded to being handed the captaincy. MORE OF THIS PLEASE)
1 - Jeff White (Killed it in the centre. Kicked a goal, thanks for playing)

Apologies to Yze, Moloney (hot second half after I thought he wasn't playing for the first), Bate, Holland (!), Davey (probably the most important player we've got at the moment), Pickett and Carroll. Yet again I think it's a crime that these people didn't get votes for playing well in a win, but that Colin Sylvia has effectively done nothing in any win we've had this season but has racked up seven votes because by being the best of a bad bunch in losses. We need a better way of voting for next season. Your suggestions on the back of an envelope to the usual address.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal leaderboard

25 - Cameron Bruce
12 - Byron Pickett
8 - Aaron Davey
7 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Jared Rivers (2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal leader)
6 - Brock McLean
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Travis Johnstone
3 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
2 - Brad Green
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White

I fail to see any way other than serious injury or a voodoo curse that Cameron Bruce cannot win the medal this year. Defending champion Travis Johnstone would need to come on with the run of the century from now on to defend his title. Rivers has wrested back control of the defensive player of the year award, and despite none of the rookies having votes yet Matthew Bate now leads the Craig Smoker Cup for best first year player. Apologies to Clint Bartram who is still showing a lot, and watch out for Lynden Dunn on the back of a top debut. Nathan Jones hasn't been unleashed yet - that competition could go down to the wire.

Next week: Fremantle at the MCG - 2.10pm Saturday. I'll be a birthday party of all places so if you want to write the report email me via SUPERMERCADO AT DEMONBLOG.COM. Otherwise it'll be cut and pasting all around, the votes as given by BigFooty readers and a 1000 word essay about how I stabbed somebody in the face with a cake fork because they tried to take the radio off me.

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