Saturday, 16 August 2008

Welcome To The Blunderdome

I have stared horror in the face and survived. If today's match wasn't one of the top ten worst games that I've ever seen in my life then I don't want to have to go back and review the ones that did make it because today those of us who bothered to show up saw nothing more than FOUR QUARTERS OF SLOP.

First things first it was remarkable just how many West Coast fans were there. I thought we were almost outdrawn by Freo fans when we played them this year, but today was easily the closest I've ever seen to it actually happening. The best I'll give you is a 60/40 split - they were everywhere. Imagine if they were actually winning? Imagine if we were winning? No, that's too hard to consider don't waste your time thinking about it. I was sure that at least 5,000 teenyboppers and bandwagon swine would have sniffed a win in the air and come out to bask in the glory of a late season shitfight.

Wild scenes before the first bounce when the traditional flashing of player's faces on the big screen showed, for some unknown bloody reason, John Meesen. Given that it had come a few seconds after it had been announced that there were no late changes to the team and it was obvious that both Jamar and Johnson were on the ground it was a complete mystery what had happened. Was he sitting in the stands chowing down on a hot dog when somebody necked themselves in the warmup? Apparently not. Somebody had just pressed the wrong button and the Meese was actually at Sandringham vs Coburg presumably being mediocre at usual.

Having slapped a fiver on Maric to kick the first goal @ $41 it was an exciting first 15 minutes waiting for somebody, ANYBODY to kick one. You could already tell that it was going to be a putrid match. Eventually after sixteen long, VERY long minutes McKinley got one for West Coast and the fun was well and truly over, along with any other reason to be interested if you were a neutral. Fortunately I'm not a neutral so I was hoping we'd pork them. Unfortunately we were a tad average early on and their forwards were looking dangerous. Four minutes into the second quarter they were 4 goals to 1 in front. Looked pretty grim. Then they only kicked one more for the day. Sucked in, though I'm sure it will be turned around into some great "we meant it" conspiracy theory by peanut fans.

God knows what else there was to write about today. We overused the ball seriously early on, and continued to botch it a bit but thankfully the Eagles were even worse. Cale Morton was a lot better using the ball than he has been recently and looked more like a star than ever today. He must have taken 10 of his 17 marks on the Southern Stand wing, and often under pressure as well. His workrate is sensational and promises to explode over the next couple of years once he bulks up a bit.

Newton wasn't bad either. It must be hard to be a forward for us given that nobody can kick a ball inside 50 without having chipped it around the centre square for three hours or waited for their target to draw three defenders, but he did a good job today. Kicked a couple of goals, took a few marks but more importantly fired up for the chase and tackle side of things. Given that we're almost odds on to draft the best forward in the country at the end of the year it'll be interesting to see how he gets on in the next couple of seasons competing with the returning Robertson (and 2009 will surely be his last season before he ends up hosting a reality show), the reborn Miller and Sylvia. Watch this space.

So, two quarters of football so bad that you know "Name A Game" are already throwing the master tapes of it into an incinerator, we turned for home 20 points in front. It wasn't completely beyond belief that we'll fall apart and lose from there, but after the Eagles kicking 1.5 in the third who would have backed them to kick straight enough to do it.

The game was delayed for a couple of minutes after Beau Wilkes (who? Sounds like a sitcom character) pinballed off Maric (where pinball = was shoved by) into Jamar and was knocked into next week. Special J did absolutely nothing wrong but will probably get pinged for it anyway knowing the corrupt nature of the tribunal. After they'd dragged the lifeless carcass of Wilkes off (well, he was moving his hand..), we did our best to let the Eagles back into the game by allowing them to pepper the goals for the first fifteen minutes of the quarter. Thankfully they were unbelievably inept at putting the ball through the goal and despite some first class ineptitude of our own we managed to hold on long enough for PJ to boot one and seal it before Morton and Green added well deserved ones to finish a near six goal win. There's something to be said for actually being able to sit back and be comfortable for a few minutes at the end of a game.

And that was it. There was really no need to sing the song. A polite round of applause and relief that it had stopped pissing down so I could walk home in some comfort was all that was required. Game, set and match. If I were a player I'd definately be rested for reporting next week, I'm fatigued with this season.

Tank Talk
I've said it before and I'll say it again, even if coaches in shithouse teams want their side to lose you can't convince me that the players are going to be in on it. If you're one of the 10 players who is likely to get the arse at the end of the season in favor of high draft picks and priority selections are you going to go out there under instruction to cock things up and willingly help put yourself out of a job. Farcical concept. They were just shit, deal with it.

Fashion Corner
Matt Priddis has the worst hair since Nathan Carroll. Discuss. Also, his handball to Lynch in the last quarter from a free kick inside was the worst piece of play since.. oh, let's be honest it wasn't even the worst piece of play that quarter.

Next week on Fashion Corner. Was Tony Notte the thinnest man you've ever seen on an AFL field? He made Cale Morton look like a fat porky. I expect to see him sauntering down a catwalk on Australia's Next Top Supermodel any week now.

Koaches Korner
Don't you think that if Bailey was coaching in the 1970's he's the kind of guy who'd be interviewed while he wearing a sheepskin jacket and smoking a giant cigar before blowing the smoke in the face of the reporter when asked a question he didn't like. Legend.

Crowd Watch
Almost 18k. Seems a bit fanciful to me but they must have been tucked away somewhere. I'd love to see what the financial difference is between getting 18k at the MCG against 10k at Optus Oval. People will whinge if we move a game there but if it means saving money who cares?

2008 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Cale Morton
4 - Cameron Bruce
3 - James McDonald
2 - Brad Green
1 - Nathan Jones

Apologies to Bartram, Bate, Buckley, Frawley, Maric, Martin, Miller, Newton, Warnock, Wheatley (probably the unluckiest) and Whelan. Pretty much everyone really.

Leaderboard

25 - Cameron Bruce, Brad Green
24 - Nathan Jones
21 - Brock McLean
20 - James McDonald
18 - Matthew Bate
17 - Brad Miller
14 - Lynden Dunn
14 - Cale Morton (Leader: 2008 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
13 - Paul Johnson
12 - Colin Garland (Joint Leader: 2008 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Chris Johnson (Joint Leader: 2008 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Shane Valenti
11 - Aaron Davey
10 - Austin Wonaeamirri
9 - Matthew Whelan
6 - Jared Rivers
5 - Brent Moloney, Simon Buckley
4 - Clint Bartram, Stefan Martin
3 - Nathan Carroll, Matthew Warnock, Jeff White, Paul Wheatley
2 - Russell Robertson, Addam Maric
1 - Mark Jamar, Adem Yze
1 - Colin Sylvia

Next Week
Port @ Football Park. They've got nothing to play for, and we're the worst team ever when we're not playing on Eastern Standard Time so unless you can convince the South Australian government to put their clocks forward 30 minutes before next Sunday I'd say we're rooted.

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