Sunday, 6 August 2006

What the fuck was that?

[Warning: If you can't take offensive language, are a small child or have a heart complaint you may want to skip this report]

Now this will sound like complete bullshit considering what happened and the fact that I didn't mention it first but I had a bad feeling about playing Carlton. Not just the usual week-long anxiety I get whenever we're doing well and play somebody at the arse end of the ladder, but a real "we're every possible chance of getting done over" fear. Afterall Essendon and Richmond almost managed to beat us by dragging us down to their level and performing the biggest flood since New Orleans. The difference was that neither of those sides bothered to back up their tactics with any intensity and Melbourne (previously referred to as "we") eventually managed to put them away.

Yesterday, with Travis Johnstone a late withdrawal due to "general soreness" (and I call shenanigans on that..) and Daniel Bell roped in as his replacement you'd have to think that Dennis Pagan - for want of anything of any tactical significance to add to his team talk - was highlighting the change as a sign that Melbourne were treating Carlton with no respect. And his troops reacted accordingly. After we dominated them for the first three minutes and Bate (at the start of a very impressive performance) kicked the opening goal it looked as if it was business as usual, but then Fevola kicked two in a row - including a corker from the boundary line - and the Blues were suddenly full of confidence. With all our stars (Yze, Bruce, Neitz etc..) missing, the NBT struggling and nobody actually playing at Centre Half Forward by the looks of it things started to go horribly wrong early on. Other than McDonald, who you can be sure will go in 150% every time, too much was left to Bate and Jones in his second game. Fine performances for sure but where were the cool, experienced heads to back it up? Usually rebounding the ball out of the 50 and straight back into the hands of the opposition. Or kicking it out on the full. Your choice.

I'm not entirely sure why, if Johnstone had to go out, that they couldn't have brought Miller in instead. I haven't been his biggest fan this year but if Bate wasn't going to play CHF, and Dunn wasn't an option then what are you left with? Holland? Surely you jest. If there's no defensive matchup for Dutchy he shouldn't be anywhere near the field. I know he had a cracker of a game against St. Kilda a couple of years ago at CHF when Miller was out but he is - frankly - shit and his only saving grace is that he's done quite a few good defensive jobs this year. Therefore, and I'll say it again, if there's nothing for him to do in the backline then he should be sitting on his ass in the stands.

Crowd Watch
Like a complete moron I took a free ticket to sit in level one of the Dome. Everyone knows that I don't play well with others and need to sit away from the crowds for the sake of my own sanity. It's painful enough hearing wags in the crowd ripping out zingers that only they and their equally pissed mates find amusing but when some 5ft midget crunt spends four quarters hanging over the fence slaughtering every player who runs past for being shit. Credit then to the idiot who was pulling that move off yesterday without actually knowing who he was yelling at. By the third quarter the physio and the guy who carries pieces of paper around were copping it as well. Why? And why are football crowds such pissheads?

Credit to the people who joined in the concerted campaign against the guy and spent four quarters giving it to him every time he opened his mouth and tried to distribute another cracking gag. Credit also for Daniel Ward who gave it back to him. This is where I'd get fined every week. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We played 0 games. We had 0 kicks. They get paid 100's of dollars a year. THEY WIN. If a player does something shit you have every right to do your nut but if you just try and slaughter anyone in an opposition jumper the joke's most certainly on you fool. Especially given that we all know if Player A suddenly showed up at your club you'll suddenly cheer him as a legend. I learnt my lesson with Byron Pickett and I'm not even a drunken piece of shit.

5 crowd votes to the woman who just lost it at the angry midget and started yelling "I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU". It was great. I was proud to be a part of it. Shame about the result.
End Crowd Watch

By the third quarter Bruce and Yze had started to get into the game and Carlton's lead started to rapidly evapourate. We never managed to take the lead but with the margin hovering around 10pts it looked as if we'd run over the top in the last quarter and pull out an undeserved wake-up-call win. Except, erm, we didn't. Credit to Carlton they did well, and have some potentially ace young players, but we were complete bollocks. Green and Sylvia were AWFUL and the Blues defenders were marking everything that came near them. Thus we couldn't get any love inside 50, and despite Carroll eventually holding Fevola to four goals after a start that looked as if he was going to kick 30, we couldn't kick enough goals to beat them. Painful.

Roll on season 2007 because what happened yesterday screams out to me that we can't win the flag. It also proves just how important Davey is to the team. Note that it was when he necked himself against the Bulldogs in '04 that the rot set in and we were shit for the rest of the year. He's a great man.

Votes

5 - Bate (his finest game yet. Though I'm sure he won't be dragging the video out too often.)
4 - McDonald (consistent as always)
3 - Jones (a good game in a role he should never have been thrown into)
2 - Bartram (I'm struggling now)
1 - White (Pretty much for show only... He was alright but this is worth about 1/50th of last week's 1 vote)

I could almost have wedged Brown in for the 1 vote but other than that who knows what was going on? It was almost bad enough to start taking votes off.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard

35 - Cameron Bruce
30 - Brock McLean
29 - 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)
13 - Nathan Carroll
12 - Matthew Whelan
9 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Russell Robertson
6 - Adem Yze
6 - Matthew Bate
4 - Chris Johnson
4 - Daniel Ward
4 - Ben Holland
3 - Nathan Jones
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Brad Miller
2 - Clint Bartram
2 - Jeff White
1 - Nathan Brown

Next week: Sydney @ the MCG. Either we're going to bounce back and give them a world class porking (no please - come back) or the rot will be made official. Instant blockbuster? Nearly. Depending on what happens at Sandringham today I would expect a couple of changes. Sylvia out? Dunn in? AND WHERE'S PHILTHY?

[Note: There was actually less obscenity in this report than usual. I think I'm in shock]

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