Thursday, 15 June 2006

Brock Show

Apologies for the extreme lateness of this report. I've been moving since Friday, everything is going wrong and I have officially lost the will to live. I did, however, drag myself away from having to be physically restrained from putting a fork in the toaster long enough to drop in at the MCG for Super Sunday.

As mentioned on here in the past I used to have a personal crusade against St. Kilda. It all stemmed from sitting next to their cheersquad in the '98 finals and then having a near death experience with some bogans at Waverley Park in Round Two the next year. These days I try to pretend I don't hate them anymore but deep down I clearly still do because not only does the prospect of losing to them pains me greatly but the concept of helping to screw up yet another season for them and continue their 110 years of misery appeals. I nearly walked out the door when not only was Godfrey announced as a late replacement but Ben Holland was seen to go straight to fullback and play on Fraser Gehrig (who, lest we forget, may look like a remand prisoner but has kicked a shitload of goals in the last three seasons).

For the record I have given up my pointless crusade to pick the first goalkicker on TAB Sportsbet, but on Sunday I was going to have David Neitz (usually around the $7 mark) in honor of his breaking of Robbie Flower's club games record. This would have been yet another spectacular failure given that we didn't even kick the first goal this week, but would have been even more painful given that Neitz then decided to run riot and kick the next three to contribute to a handy quarter time lead. Down the other end Gehrig was held goalless, mainly due to dropping an absolute sitter 20m out directly in front - against all odds Holland was holding him. In the middle Brock "The Next Big Thing" McLean was running riot and cutting St. Kilda to shreds - definate Brownlow material in '07. For the third trend defying year in a row I wasn't sitting next to any nutcase St. Kilda fans. After a fine run of nutbaggery in the late 90's/early 00's I've ended up seeing nothing but sane Saints fans since. Clearly I'm going to the wrong place (i.e away from their cheer squad) because statistics show that every team has at least 5% of supporters who are complete fucking morons who embarass the human race every time they go to a game.

The first quarter was notable for Melbourne suddenly introducing the dinky "chip it around like twats in the backline" thing that makes even hardened supporters boo their own team (even if most of them don't even know why they're booing...) into it's gameplan. Naturally it came back to bite us in the arse when a 40 second passage of play ended with the ball being dropped right into an opposition player's arms for the inevitable goal. The second quarter, however, was when things started to get really interesting. Backline Dink was the still the word of the day but when we finally took the ball outside of the defensive 50 - sometimes even in less time than it took to win the Second World War - we were on fire everywhere. The highlight of the quarter/game/season/century was Neitz's fifth when he ended up with the ball deep on the boundary line 55m out and after taking a couple of steps decided to have a crack. It was hardly Aaron Davey's as yet uncrowned Goal of the Year against Geelong but Neitz is hardly Aaron Davey. He's a big bastard who is more adept at lobbing full backs out of the way or marking on the lead - this was almost criminally wrong for him to be doing and it brought the house down. At the 16 minute mark he kicked his 6th and I was talking 10 like a complete moron. A side note - I wasn't there when Gary Lyon kicked 10 in the '94 finals so am still waiting for the first double figures result by one of our players since the great A. Jakovich lost the plot against North in '91 and booted 11. Everyone else seemed to be chipping in as well and by half-time we were 6 goals up and looking comfortable. Please note that this quarter featured one of the most comical goals in history as the Saints kicked out straight into one their own player's heads and the rebound dropped to Bruce to slot him. The kind of the thing that you'd expect us to do and a lock to be replayed on every footy bloopers show ever recorded from this point on.

Knowing full-well that we have a nasty habit of botching our third quarters nearly as often as we cock up kick-ins there was no use being comfortable at the long break, and as I went down the other end of the ground to sit with a different faction of my fan club I was forced to publically admit that I was still shitting it that we were going to lose. And lo and behold we were once again slop in the Premiership Quarter. No wonder we never win fucking Premierships. All of a sudden the Saints found their legs and we lost ours. Other than Neitz kicking his 7th (!) we looked lost for most of it and the margin was suddenly under 10 points before Lynden Dunn continued his "Rising Star World Tour" by booting his first to give us a 14pt lead at 3/4 time. Still looked dodgy. As any Geelong fan will tell you "settler" goals at the end of the 3rd after the opposition has just had a huge run on aren't exactly a world renowned indication of future success. If anything it's more likely to fire them up even more and lead to an almighty apocalypse in the final term. Didn't happen this time though as we held on relatively comfortably. There were some nervous moments when the Saints were botching easily kickable shots at goal but it never really got close enough to cause wild scenes. In fact the wildest scenes were reserved for the time clock on the scoreboard which didn't start for three minutes, then went straight to 2.00, then reset again, went back to 2.00, started counting down, changed to 99.00 and then shut down for the rest of the game. I'd looked at the clock as the siren went so I knew it started @ 4.11pm but elsewhere there was widespread panic as people couldn't work out what time it was on their own. Thankfully the day was rescued for the clueless masses when the time was put on the scoreboard at the twenty minute mark.

And, erm, yes. We won. Good. Season back on track and all that shit. Suddenly people are talking of us as the second best chance of a Victorian side winning a flag this year. I still can't see it happen. Carroll has been a revelation down back this year, and Rivers is a machine but our defensive stocks are still light on. One or two injuries and you're Carlton. They got away with it on the day but there's no reason why Holland should even be in the mix to play at full-back. I'm also not crazy about being consistently able to kick a big score - Neitz isn't going to lose the plot and kick a bag every week these days and Robertson isn't anywhere near the form he was in last year. Lucky we have goalkickers coming from our midfield.

And the votes,

For once having had the benefit of the newspaper reviewsbefore writing this I'm confused/proven completely incompetant at judging a game by the Herald-Sun decision that Yze was better than McLean. 27 touches is one thing but I don't particuarly see how they won us the game - compare it on the other hand to the Next Big Thing who had 90% quality possessions that set up goals and rebounded from defence consistently. Throw in 8 tackles and a goal and I stand by my decision. The Age on the other hand sent a competant reporter who didn't find a place for him in the top five.

5 - Brock McLean
4 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Jared Rivers
1 - Ben Holland (!!! I know. But he did a decent job on a top player in an unfamiliar role.)

Apologies to White, Bruce, Chris Johnson, Yze, Carroll, Pickett and Bartram.

No apologies at all to Godfrey who is completely shit (WHERE'S PHILTHY PHIL YOU BASTARDS?)

Davey was shite for the second week in a row (10 kicks, 4 clangers. KING OF KLANG!) but I'm willing to forgive him given that he's played 50 top games before having a bad patch. He's obviously too busy preparing his goal of the year acceptance speech at the moment but there's no doubting he'll bounce back. Just by having him running around it's scaring rebounding defenders shitless.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard

25 - Cameron Bruce
20 - Brock McLean
16 - Byron Pickett
13 - Aaron Davey
12 - Travis Johnstone
12 - James McDonald
11 - David Neitz
10 - Jared Rivers (2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal leader)
7 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Chris Johnson
3 - Russell Robertson
3 - Brad Green
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Ben Holland

Next week: The closest thing we're likely to see to a Grand Final anytime soon, against Collingwood at the MCG on Monday. I predict that both teams will include about 10 players on Thursday night just to be gimmicky and that at least 30k of the 80,000 crowd will be clowns who either haven't been to a game previously this year or didn't bother to show up the last two years when the Pies were rubbish. I hope we belt the crunts. Please note though that they have been magical in the third quarters this year, while we have been ultimate mince so don't get excited and start giving it to some idiot if we're butchering them halfway through.

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