Monday 11 June 2007

From the Rubble to the Ritz

It's obvious to anyone that Collingwood have become our customers over the last few years, but even if you account for actually winning a game last week did you really think we'd knock them over today? I tipped us but my performance in that field is so awful this year that you had to go for upsets in a round like this. But we did, so there you go. A neat win for sure, but not without it's nervous moments and certainly not without having the benefit of some truly shit umpiring going our way for the first time this season.

A moment please, before we begin, for my mate who bet on Matthew Bate to kick the first goal at 17-1. We know he's not great off a set shot but 40m out directly in front you would have expected him to kick it and set off wild scenes. Takes the mark, botches the kick and tears almost rolled inside the top deck of the Southern Stand. Could have set the tone for the whole day but instead provided the launching pad for a riotous first quarter where we played the Pies off the park and looked more and more like the Melbourne of old. When Simon Godfrey sidestepped half the Pies team and kicked a goal in the early minutes of the 2nd quarter we were 5+ goals up and looking comfortable. Naturally we all knew it'd go backwards, and it did, but as long as you get a result in the end who gives a toss?

From the "it's funny when it doesn't happen to us" file was the reaction of the Pies fans to the serious of farcical umpiring decisions across the first half which completely rorted them. Of course the problem becomes that once people are convinced there's a conspiracy against them (and fuck me if there's corruption in favor of us it's not exactly helping this year, I'd hate to see what it would be like if they were 'against' us) then they become even more irrational about things to the point where they're insufferably annoying and refuse to accept even the most blatant free-kick in history. The only thing worse is the insistence of claiming 'deliberate' on anything that goes even near the boundary line after their side has been pinged.

The sad fact about deliberate decisions is that they're so randomly dragged out that nobody has confidence in them - this does not mean that it's funny to shout "DELIBERATE" two quarters later, and after your side has been on the lucky end of one. Then there's the disgraceful human beings who were yelling it every time the ball even went NEAR the fucking boundary line. Gas the lot of them. Naturally the moment the third quarter began and they got a series of shocking decisions it was all applause and good tidings - the dirty hypocrites.

Congratulations to the umpires for rewarding this hypocrisy by turning around and rorting them again in the final term. The biggest winner of the day was Ben Holland who should have given away at least three free kicks to Anthony Rocca and somebody got away with all of them. At one point he had him in an armbar that would get you a start in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Somewhere Rickson Gracie was on his feet applauding the pure submission power of the man, but the umpire in charge had absolutely no interest in it. An absolute scandal but who cares eh fellow fans? *wink* *wink* Though had it been on the other hand we'd have been throwing molotov cocktails at Andrew Demetriou's car.

We really should have put the game away in the second quarter. Robertson had already added three before he hit the post and missed a couple of difficult ones, and both Paul Johnson (x2), Brock, Jones and Bizzell missed extremely kickable shots during the half. The trend continued in the third and by the time we turned for the last break we'd added 3.8 to 7.8 after the first quarter. They were within three points and you would have expected them to run right over the top - obviously nobody told Russell Robertson and in his finest performance since the greatest game ever he added another two in the opening minutes of the last term to give us breathing space. Davey kicked another and we were seemingly home.

Had "hey, it worked once in the NAB Cup" set-play where you handball it to Wheatley outside 50 and he belts one worked after a mark to James McDonald it could have been signed, sealed and delivered. As it was the Pies were still in it. Ben Johnson kicked one to make it interesting, after Brock copped a 50 for assaulting a row of seats with a football (we still love you son...) and Leon Davis did something for the first time all day to make it a 7pt game and it started to get a bit close for my liking. Brad Green then stood up with two massive marks inside 50 to repel the Pies and despite Nathan Jones briefly forgetting how to play and launching two farcical kicks out of defensive 50, we held on to win with Robbo booting his seventh after the siren and after some mutant had lobbed a can at him.

Cue the 20,000 legitimate fans we have going bananas, the 10,000 once a year bandwagon scum clapping politely and trying not to drop their prawn sandwiches and 40,000 other idiots going AWOL about the umpiring. Sadly there's only so much you can blame the officials for - was it their fault that Toovey fell on his arse twice in the last quarter and gifted Robbo goals? Is it part of the great AFL conspiracy that Travis Cloke can snag one from 50m out but miss from 15? What about when Simon Godfrey sells a dummy on your backline and kicks a goal? Idiots.

Random notable highlights of the day were quality spin-moves executed by Jones and McLean. It was like some terrible 80's video game where you pressed a button and your player darted around the opposition. Jones' in particular was quality - he needs to calm down a bit towards the end of the game but fark the New Next Big Thing is a top talent. Sylvia was also selling dummies left, right and centre - he is starting to wind up and if he can avoid getting injured for more than ten minutes at a time should feature prominently next year.

God Save The Queen? Well I don't support either of the institutions they represent but as it means a cheap four points every year then I'll be front row centre for it.


5 - Robertson
4 - McLean
3 - Wheatley
2 - Holland (!?)
1 - Bate

Apologies to Bell, Bizzell, Bruce, Green, Johnson, Jones, McDonald, Sylvia and Ward. I thought Davey was fairly rotten on the day but you can never fault him for putting in the effort, and it's impossible to gauge defensive pressure by reading a stats sheet. So he's still tops in my book.


19 - Bruce
15 - McDonald
15 - Green
10 - Rivers (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
9 - Johnstone
9 - Jones
8 - Miller
8 - Davey
7 - Sylvia
7 - Bate
6 - Neitz
5 - Yze
5 - Robertson
5 - Bell
5 - Petterd (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
5 - Wheatley
4 - Bizzell
4 - McLean
3 - Godfrey
2 - Moloney
2 - Holland
2 - Dunn
2 - Brown
2 - White
2 - Carroll
1 - Pickett

Crowd Watch
Mutants to a man. The Ugly Dave Gray award for worst sledge of the week goes to the clown who thought "Cameron BOOOOOOOOOOS" was quality comedy. The day I crack a million dollars in the lottery (which will be hard seeing as I never enter it..) is the day I buy a superbox and get away from 'the people' forever.

Next Week
Nothing - just when we start winning as well. The split round means a break until Friday week when we will SURELY rumble Richmond at the G. However now that you expect a victory they'll probably get rolled. At least those of you who like to get amongst it with opposition supporters can finally invite somebody to "look at the ladder".

Miller kicked six for Sandringham but is as unlikely to repeat that in the 1's as I am of being elected Secretary General of the UN so he can stay there.

Next Year
Whether or not we end up with a new coach or not (and the way we're going ND will pull off the biggest comeback since Lazarus and survive) there is everything to look forward to next year. Barring another black death injury plague McLean, Sylvia, Bate, Jones, Dunn, Petterd, Dunn and Moloney are going to run riot over the next couple of years - all we need is another FF option for when Neitz's body inevitably falls apart, a CHF (although... Bate?) and another key defender to play the Holland role when he is inevitably given the big A at the end of the year.

Anything else to add? Err, we're 14 games away from winning the flag if you want to look at it that way...

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