Sunday, 23 July 2006

Slop On Tap

If you're the sort of nutbag who believes that sport can be accurately predicted using omens then you surely would have questioned whether or not it was entirely sensible to go into a game with a six week winning streak wearing a replica of a jumper originally seen in the late 70's/early 80's when we won precisely fuck all and were belted on a weekly basis by everyone other than St. Kilda. Mystical issues aside there are two ways you can look at today's game,

a) Optimistic

It's the loss we had to have after being up for so long and could be the modern day equivalent of the 98pt loss to Carlton in Round 13, 2000 that spurred us onto winning plenty in a row and making a Grand Final. All we have to do to get back on track is beat the rapidly falling apart Bulldogs and the rotten Carlton. Neitz will find his form again and we still have the return of the Next Big Thing to look forward to. Our defence is solid and the midfield hasn't gotten out of 1st gear for a month.

b) Pessimistic

We've been rumbled after putting in decidedly average performances against Essendon, Richmond and to a lesser extent Port in the last few weeks. It's the start of the traditional second half of the season collapse, and if we lose to the rapidly falling apart Bulldogs we'll face a Carlton side who have beaten us once this year already in the midst of a form slump and will be lucky to fall into the top 8. The Next Big Thing appears to be prone to getting injured every second week.

Me? I'm a mixture of the two. Which is a surprise because, as you know, I'm almost always on the negative side of things. The way we exposed Collingwood on Queen's Birthday was a thing of a beauty but Essendon - the worst side since Freo won two games in 2002 - pushed us much further than we should have been, we almost managed to botch it against Brisbane and couldn't put Richmond away despite being infinately better allaround the ground. The kicking for goal has been shithouse the last two weeks - after 18.12 against Port and 14.14 against Brisbane we've racked up just 18.29 in the past two weeks and Neitz hasn't kicked one in a fortnight. There are worrying signs. Pickett has dropped off in the last month - and the 50 he gave away for decking McManus was, though perversly entertaining in a theatrical fashion, the kind of petty bullshit that we can't afford if we're going to go anywhere near winning a flag.

Then there was Brad Green and his bloody headbutt. I'm probably not alone in having no idea who it was on because I'm completely ignorant about Freo but I'm fairly confident that it's somebody with a lot less experience than Green and he still managed to rope him into making a dick of himself and giving away a needless goal. It was reckless rather than intentional and I think his clean record will save him but it's a wakeup call not to get sucked in. Predictably enough it took about ten seconds for some clown in the commentary box to make a Zidane/Green wisecrack. It was almost as if they paid him off to do it just so they could use the line. How they could miss a mention of Colin Sylvia sporting a mullet in honor of Heritage Week is a mystery to me though.

Look - Freo played well. Just because we don't know who any of them other than Pavlich, Farmer and that giraffe ruckman are doesn't make them automatically useless. We matched up well against them in the first quarter - and with Dunn running riot up front it looked as if we might almost get away with it. Unfortunately the first quarter specialist again went missing and the moment the 2nd term started they were on another level. We were being butchered all over the ground and even when we did get it inside 50 the kicking for goal was balls. It was genuinely painful viewing and I was appalled that we were only four goals down at halftime. Freo were extremely wasteful - but compared to us they were a ruthless and efficient killing machine.

Sadly I missed the brawl at halftime because I'd gone outside to ponder the future of the Middle East the moment the siren had gone. It may have been the only highlight of the day. Davey kicked the first of the third quarter but the chances of pulling off the improbable rapidly faded as Chris Connelly had his side playing like us and we had ours going like when he played for us. Shattering. By the last change it was all over and they toyed with us for the first twenty minutes. Some goals in junktime made it look respectable but we were cleaned up. I'm not charging the Panic-O-Meter 1000 yet but Jebus H Christ if we play like that next week we'll get smashed. Take this as a lesson. AND FUCKING LEARN TO KICK STRAIGHT. Ahem.

Philthy Watch
Ran around being angry all day. Didn't punch anyone in the head. Will get the arse next week in recognition of the fact that Godfrey has strung together two moderately respectable games in a row (by his standards) and McLean should be back. Get down to Sandy and check out the great man in action if you can. Personally I'm boycotting the whole competition until Camberwell return. 15 years of attaching myself to lost causes and counting.
End Philthy Watch

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - James McDonald
4 - Brad Green
3 - Travis Johnstone
2 - Nathan Carroll
1 - Aaron Davey

Apologies to Godfrey (!!), Holland, Philthy, Robertson, Ward (!!), Yze, Whelan and anyone else who wasted a Sunday watching this rubbish.

Leaderboard

35 - Cameron Bruce
25 - Brock McLean
25 - James McDonald
20 - Brad Green
18 - David Neitz
17 - Aaron Davey
16 - Byron Pickett
15 - Travis Johnstone
14 - Jared Rivers (Leader: 2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal for defender of the year)
11 - Matthew Whelan
11 - Nathan Carroll
9 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Russell Robertson
4 - Chris Johnson
4 - Ben Holland
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Matthew Bate

P.S - I've decided that the Brent Heaver Medal for Rookie of the Year will be handed out on it's own merits rather than to the rookie who gets the most votes because personally I think Dunn would be winning it so far but hasn't managed to nick a vote yet. We do have some integrity you know. Not much though.

Next Week: Sunday vs Footscray at the MCG in the "for god's sake please don't let this happen to us again" edition of the Jakovich Cup. Demonblog will be there. If we lose I'll be the one trying to hang myself from the second deck of the Ponsford.

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