Sunday, 18 June 2006

FUCK OFF SHEEDS

Sorry, that headline had nothing to do with the game - it's just something that had to be said. And what better time to do it than when his team is at it's lowest ebb yet? Kick a man while he's down? I'm in!

But a brief pause before we begin the match report (or what passes for it on this site anyway..) to honor the greatest pre-game gimmick ever invented. In the interests of charity - and why does it take that for this to happen - eight corporate mascots were lined up for a race. For those of you who missed it the St. George Bank Dragon beat the Nando's chicken by two lengths with a giant slice of bread third. Pure genius I thought. Of course if you want to really see corporate stooges wobbling about not being able to see and with no idea where they're going you could just go and sit in the Medallion Club and watch drunken businessmen make arses of themselves and watch golf on small televisions but I preferred this way.

I can't remember the last time we played Essendon at the Dome (mainly due to years of substance abuse) but I had no idea that you couldn't just walk in the door with your membership and instead had to queue up to get a reserved seat at the ticket window instead. Makes sense I suppose, given that Essendon have a shitload of fans but measures that may be necessary when they're on the fire, the bandwagon is full up and they could guarantee huge crowds against Fremantle, Fitzroy and Forest Hill but it seems slightly unnecessary when they're 1-10 and all the half-hearted clowns have jumped off. That said it was hard not to be impressed by how many Essendon fans still showed up despite their plight. If we were 1 from 11 there'd be 13 people left and I'd be on suicide watch in the forward pocket. By the time I actually got to the front of the queue - and I thought I bought a membership to avoid that shit - I ended up taking a "free upgrade" to Level One in some specific Melbourne section. Now, given that for one I can't stand sitting on the bottom level at Docklands, and two I can't take sitting in the midst of too many of our own fans I'm still wondering why I accepted this. Wasn't too bad though, I actually stayed behind the goals at the Hayden Lamaro End for the full 3/4. Mainly because I couldn't be arsed standing up and climbing the stairs to my traditional seat on the Jeff Hilton Wing.

I'm not entirely sure what to write about the game. It was almost certainly one of the worst first two and a half quarters we've been involved with in over one hundred years. Not that we played badly, or Essendon played particuarly well but their reliance of ugly football to drag us down to their level made it one of those games that you wouldn't show to an international visitor unless you wanted them to lose the plot and start watching some shit sport like Rugby Union instead. I've got no problem with teams uglying up when they're clearly outmatched - if that's what delivers the four points or at least keeps the margin respectable then that's what you should do. Can anyone really expect teams to go out and try and play sexy football and lose by 90 points every week? Reminds me of the last round in 1999 when we had absolutely no idea against the Bombers and somehow took them on for three quarters (with a corker of a goal by D. Kowal) before succumbing. See also Sydney in the last round of '03, but you'll never convince me that we didn't throw that game for the draft picks.

You always knew class, like love, was going to win out in the end but I won't deny that I was moderately shitting it in the first quarter when Essendon were continually going inside 50 every twenty seconds and having shots from all over the place. Good thing then that the inept Bombers couldn't kick to save their own lives and managed to rack up 2.9 early on. We were never more than a couple of goals behind, and the gulf in class was fairly obvious but it looked like they had the measure of our forward line early on, and up front they were one M. Lloyd away from smacking the fuck out of us. And the game was slow. Very slow. If there had been 10,000 neutrals there somebody would have gotten a Mexican Wave going - at which point I wouldhave walked out and vowed never to return. Eventually via hard running work from McDonald, Green, Davey, Whelan etc and yet more gun defensive work from Rivers, Carroll (!) and Holland (!!!!!???²) we started to get on top and turn the vice on the young and increasingly frazzled Bombers who all of a sudden started playing up to the Brisbane Bears 1989 reputation that they've worked hard to earn in the last eleven weeks. Further proof of just how much Carroll has improved over the last season is the fact that they're increasingly confident in using him as a playmaker out of defence. If you, like me, cringed when Nicholson had his one kick a game and had to be constantly rescued by Whelan or Bruce this will be a momentous moment for you. And he hits targets! Almost all the time! I even heard somebody suggesting that he might be in the mix for the All-Australian team. Surely it won't happen but it's nice to think that he's at least in the mix for something other than the Vin Cattogio Award for "Most 70's Footballer". And what else is there to be said about Jared Rivers that hasn't been said before? If he ever threatens to go back to Adelaide I suggest an abduction, drugging and cult-like reprogramming to ensure he stays.

Incidentally was I the only one who'd forgotten that Chris Heffernan went back there? How would you feel having being sacked by a team who retained Simon Godfrey? And has Scott Camporeale got the worst win/loss record of a player in the league? Reminds me of when somebody (Daniel Harford?) left Hawthorn after they'd lost a million in a row and went to Carlton to lose another 90% of his games there. And what about former MFC superstar Nick Carter who played in 1 win in a season at Fitzroy, went to Brisbane and extended his record to something like 4-25, came to us for three games and won two of them before being delisted and joining the Bendigo Diggers who lost 32 in a row. We should have kept his registration and traded him to the Bombers for their #1 pick.

Random Football Question Corner
Why do people still snicker when somebody calls out "Chewy On Your Boot", as if people don't do it EVERY FUCKING WEEK trying to be ironic. Same almost goes for cries of "You Yellow Maggot" (because, like, you know they wear yellow instead of white now!. AHAHAHAHAAH! *sides explode*) except that I estimate at least 40% of people who say that are actually being serious.

And on the topic of bizarre crowd behaviour did anyone else notice the guy who was consistently screaming his head off about the Essendon runners being on the field. No apologies if you're a Demonblog reader but that is probably one of the worst tactics I've ever seen in my life. For one the only reason ANYONE is giving it to them is because they're notable ex-players (Barnes and Dimmatina), and secondly it's a big sheep job from people who have absolutely no idea what the rules about runners are - which, let's face it is any sane person - but have seen the controversies involving Essendon on the news and now think they know everything. I demand that this is the beginning and end of the fan backlash against runners - there really are more important things to concentrate on you know.
End of Random Corner

I still liked us to win at half-time but I'd be a lying bastard if I said I wasn't still scared to death that we were going to get done. For the first five minutes of the third term the Bomber tactic of hitting us with the ugly stick looked as though it might actually come off, but then the new third quarter specialists (as of last week) turned the pressure up and blew them off the field. Seven goals to three and an apparently match winning lead at the last term. Not surprisingly there was talk in the stands about that day in '91 when we cocked up the seven goal 3/4 time lead against Essendon and lost by a point. I stand by my claims of that game ruining my childhood. Fortunately Team Sheedy circa 1991 was a lot more advanced than the '06 model and this one instead responded by running around aimlessly and ensuring that the entire last term was nothing more than a festival of junk football.

There was an odd promotion by Essendon being constantly flogged on the scoreboard. A dinner where you can meet everyone who has worn #10. Imagine if we had the same thing? Think of the big names that would be there. SEECAMP! WARD! HUGHES! PIKE! and erm, Matthew Mahoney. I'd go just for Homage Seecamp. How about a #26 party instead? Greg Doyle, Jay Viney, Wayne "Moose" Henwood plus Williamses Grant AND Luke. How much would you pay for that? About $7.50 I'd assume.

PHILTHY WATCH
Sorry Byron but the biggest cult hero since Darren Kowal has returned and he now gets his own watch. Didn't do much - and I predict at least one person to call for his axing - but a goal in the third quarter led to WILD SCENES where I was sitting. All from me sadly. It's official - I'm buying my #28 jumper this week and putting plans into action for the giant PHACTION sign behind the goals one day.
End PHILTHY WATCH

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Brad Green (Not just the touches but the hard running and, whisper it quietly, the hard stuff. I was starting to lose hope you know..)
4 - James McDonald (30 touches. Lovely stuff)
3 - Nathan Carroll
2 - Jared Rivers (The new Twin Towers)
1 - Cameron Bruce (Consistently classy)

Apologies to Bartram, Davey, Dunn, Holland, Johnson, Johnstone (who's game everyone else seems to getting a semi-lob on about but I didn't fancy that highly), Robertson, Ward (well it's not always a conspiracy against him. Look at the leaderboard - I even gave him votes once and even though he was never anywhere near his opponent again today he was much better than last week), Whelan (I had him in for the last vote originally), White and Yze.

Leaderboard

31 - Cameron Bruce
20 - Brock McLean
16 - Aaron Davey
16 - Byron Pickett
16 - James McDonald
12 - Travis Johnstone
12 - Brad Green
12 - Jared Rivers (Leader: 2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal for defender of the year)
11 - David Neitz
7 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Chris Johnson
3 - Russell Robertson
3 - Ben Holland
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Matthew Bate (Leader: 2006 Darren Cuthbertson Medal for Rookie Of The Year)

Next week: Nothing. Zero. Nowt. See your families. Hug your children. Go into a bunker and wait for the inevitable second half of the season fiasco that will begin after the mid-season break.

P.S - For the worst game in history that's certainly a long report. And I still barely managed to even mention what happened in the game itself. Is this a record?

P.P.S - No, a record is a small black disc with a hole in it that plays music

P.P.P.S - Who said vaudeville was dead?

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