Tuesday, 14 April 2009

In The Event of a Major Disaster The Season Management Plan Will Swing Into Immediate Action

In order to avoid Demonblog being added to the Federal Government blacklist of tasteless and offensive websites I choose to focus mainly on the first quarter and a half of today's game. For the first few paragraphs anyway, then it's on for young and old.

To be honest I spent most of the second half with my head in my hands anyway, so expect even less than usual. I'd watch the replay to relive the fun but in a moment of rare quality control my television committed suicide rather than show it.

Any mention of today's first half must be prefaced by saying that Collingwood were sloppy and allowed us to do pretty much whatever we wanted - but my god it looked good when we did. Despite getting rumbled out of the centre from the first bounce we looked great running with the ball and were cutting the Pies midfield to shreds on route to *gasp* half decent delivery into the forward line. We comprehensively dominated the first ten minutes and there's was nothing they could do to stop it. Goals to Miller (on the second go) and Green put us 13 points in front and by quarter time we had not only kicked five goals in a first quarter at the MCG for just the second time in a year and a half but were looking like we were up to it as well. Traditional MFC style cock-teasing, or a beautiful glimpse into the future? You decide.

The Stefan Martin Experience (featuring Matthew Warnock) consistently rebounded the ball out of the defensive 50m cooly and calmly. Having seen the way they (and poor Col Garland) have played over the last couple of seasons depresses me that one of them wasn't around when we were good and relying on the likes of Nicholson for defensive 50 possessions. I'm dying to get Whelan back in there as well. Said it last week, will hopefully say it for the next five months but our backline is our best asset at the moment. It could all come crashing down, but a few fairly cut price selections have come off which is just the sort of luck we could do with elsewhere.

There was even a brief flash of centre bounce dominance where Spencer and Johnson started getting taps and winning the thing. In fact for the first fifteen minutes of the second quarter it looked as if there was some danger it was going to continue. Somewhere deep inside I was even warming up for a bit of GOF at the final siren. Even Collingwood's goals came mainly from our errors - if we'd been cleaner we'd have restricted them even further.

The best statistic was the one that had damned us so much the week before. 6 contested marks in the first quarter alone represented an increase of 5 on the entire four quarters of last week. Those marks, as much as anything else, contributed to the strong position that we found ourselves in early. SME fans rejoice, he top scored with two.

Unfortunately when you're in our position while you expect to give up a few goals from bad play, you've got to take your own chances sometimes to even it up. Nathan Jones ran to 50 just before the end of the quarter, after the Pies had gotten a big error-assisted run on, and sprayed it. Petterd had one in the forward line where he did everything he could despite being criminally outnumbered but didn't have any support whatsoever.

And that's where the joy ends. Summary - we spent a great deal of time playing a top 8 side off the park. Stop reading here, because after this it all goes horribly wrong.

Repeat - If you are of the persuasion who prefers to think that every sign is a good sign then you might want to look away now.

6 contested marks in the first quarter, 4 more in the next three quarters. Suddenly after we'd botched a couple of chances to get a mini-break in the 2nd quarter, and Cheney had sliced a kick straight onto Didak's chest to level the scores it all started going horribly, horribly wrong. Or more to the point it started going very right for the Pies.

Everyone knows they're a much better side than us and suddenly they decided to play like it. The first 45 minutes reminded me of the 2007 Queen's Birthday game when they sat back on our notoriously dodgy kick-ins all day and let us do whatever we wanted - resulting in a bag of 7 from Robbo (remember him?) and a shock victory. They weren't going to make that mistake again. Suddenly the pressure was turned up and we couldn't handle it. Possessions were flying everywhere and the backline was under siege. Ten minutes into the third quarter we were officially stuffed and looked out on our feet.

Once again it was the backline that saved us from a fearful massacre. The usual suspects were doing their best to keep the inevitable at bay, and Davey added another layer of calm to the defensive effort but like every other week of the last couple of years there's only so many times you can keep a superior team out before they make you pay. It's ok if you've got some sort of decent forward line, or can get the ball down there (think how badly Carlton and their toilet backline would have been in the last few years without Fev?) quickly and accurately. When the Pies started manning up and we lost the motivation to go quickly inside 50 we were stuffed.

None of Bate, Miller or Petterd can claim to have had a great day at the office but I refuse to actually blame any of them (except maybe Sylvia who was shite) because they were trying to deal with wonky delivery, being outnumbered and rarely - if ever - having somebody there to mop up the crumbs. As much as I liked Davey's game in the backline and midfield this is exactly the role he needs to be playing in the absence of Robertson and THE CELEBRATOR. It's all well and good to play well defensively but unless we kick a decent score that's not going to count for much. And, as in today's case, eventually the pressure on the midfield and defence will be too much and the other team will smash you.

The last quarter was an absolute disgrace, but what is there to write about that? We barely got hands on it enough times to do anything worth talking about. You knew that the world had turned on it's axis when Travis Cloke - a player so shit that I'm surprised we didn't swap the #1 pick for him - started kicking goals. Did that man seriously win a Best and Fairest? I can take the likes of Anthony and Didak cutting us to shreds, but when the bloke who has an accurate goalkicking record only because they don't count the 30% of OOF's and shots that didn't make the distance, starts strutting around like he's single handedly won the thing then it's time to pass the bucket around for a spew session.

I've almost hit the wall after the last two and a half years. Just two weeks in and footy has already becoming exceedingly depressing. Now I know what it's like to be a Richmond fan. I'm fully aware that we've got the likes of Grimes, Strauss, Blease and Watts to look forward to - as well as a couple of super high draft picks next year - but when you watch the likes of McLean and Sylvia go around does it give you any faith that we're going to find a genuinely game changing superstar anytime soon? Today was one of Brock's few bad games - and last week was another - but can we finally admit that Sylvia is never going to be anything special?

Heartbreaking to think that even if you traded some of these people for picks that we'd probably draft somebody even worse.

Speaking of Richmond I hope that somebody takes notice of their performance at Skilled Stadium today. Much like last year when we went down there in even worse circumstances and put up a credible fight, they played Geelong as a laughing stock today and came out with some credit.

In conclusion... at least we kicked accurately?

Rookie O Rama - Week Two

The (sometimes) Fantastic Four had their second starts for the following results;

Cheney - Not so great. Obviously had signficantly more respect paid to him by the Pies and struggled to get clean touches. Retains his place for now but could be in trouble when Whelan and Wheatley are back in the frame. Definate future though.

Jetta - Rotten day, highlighted by his failed attempt at a fingertip mark right in front of the oncoming Miller. Needs to go back to the 2's and work on things. Is a certainty to be dropped for next week if Wonaeamirri is right.

Bennell - Surely out for Whelan. Didn't do.. much? Hard to judge so far due to almost complete anonymity.

Spencer - Better than last week, but still got monstered in the centre. Sure he's lively around the ground but after a couple of botched kicks last week he has seemingly given up and taken to handballing it all over the shop instead. It won't happen but I still want to see if Meesen does any better. Needs time in the reserves to hone his craft and we're not exactly going anywhere that means we shouldn't at least try somebody else.

Johnson wasn't up to much either. I'd say a ruckman is going to be top of the shopping list at the end of the year.

2009 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

Difficult again due to there being a big fat cluster of 'decent' performances and no standouts. Davey comes out of it on top due to the fact that he kicks the bloody thing rather than constantly indulging in handball circle work like everyone else.

5 - Aaron Davey (24 kicks, 4 handballs. Will be instantly dropped for this serious breach of discipline.)
4 - The Stefan Martin Experience (I heart old octopus arms. Had novelty and junk time goals kicked on him but there should have been plenty more)
3 - Brad Green (Potentially the only player on the list good enough to waltz into any other team in the comp)
2 - Nathan Jones (Gets a heap of it, actually used it well occasionally. Needs to stop getting done for holding the ball every five seconds)
1 - Matthew Warnock (Reliability plus)

Apologies to Morton and Bruce who got a bit of it, and didn't butcher it too shockingly BUT hardly created any excitement.


5 - Kyle Cheney (LEADER: 2009 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year and LEADER: 2009 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Aaron Davey
4 - Matthew Warnock, Brent Moloney, Stefan Martin
3 - Brad Green
2 - James McDonald, Nathan Jones
1 - Ricky Petterd

Crowd Watch
I can, under oath, state that there were officially a significant amount more Collingwood fans there today - and not just in the spaz heavy top deck of the Ponsford either. We did seem to have the run of the bad decisions today, and didn't we hear about it? Chief critic was the guy two rows behind me who never actually managed a complete sentence and communicated in grunts and random words. When we got given the most obvious deliberate OOF in history you could hear the veins nearly burst out of his forehead.

Psychology Central
What we've seen from opposition fans in the last couple of weeks has been fairly typical of the position we're in. You can dredge up as many stereotypes about them as you like, but the fact of the matter is that we've got as many nutbags as anyone - the difference is that people really lose their mind when they play the percieved (actual in our case) worst team in the competition because they're scared to death of losing. Don't deny it, in the odd times when we've been good we've had the same feelings. I remember playing the Sean Charles led St. Kilda when they were at their lowest ebb and feeling like I was going to hurl for three quarters because they were beating us. There is a terror of being beaten by the bottom side that causes otherwise odd people to turn into raving monsters.

Sponsor Watch
Now that the Russians are on board how about a bit of this? Or a taste of this for opponents. Embrace the Russian lifestyle comrades.

Next Week
Port Adelaide at Football Park. And my, what a magnificent record we have there! Your correspondant will be live in Adelaide to see the horror unfold first hand. Never once in the history of this website have we won a game there - we haven't even got within 50 points since 2003 for gods sake.

UPDATE - A few hours later and with more time to think about the game I think that I've reached the "brace for slop" level already and will comfortably ride out the season in a wave of depression.

Of course everyone else knew that this would be the case before the start of the year but for some stupid reason I tried to convince myself that we were going to pull off a miracle and not finish in the bottom four. Now it's clear that we will and I'm just... shattered.

But sometimes what happens on the field pales into comparison with what happens off it.

THREE Collingwood fans were arrested for allegedly bashing a Demon player's father outside the MCG after the game yesterday.

Witnesses said they were sickened by what they described as an unprovoked attack on Brad Jones, the father of Demon Nathan Jones, as he was leaving the ground with son Zac, 14, after the Magpies' 53 point win.

Witnesses said the Collingwood supporters were abusing Melbourne fans outside the ground before allegedly punching Mr Jones in the face and upper body as Zac watched on in shock.

During the brawl one of the attackers lost his shirt as Mr Jones tried to defend himself.

Police arrested three men at the scene about 5pm.

A crowd gathered to watch the arrest and Pies and Demons fans swore at the men in disgust, witnesses said.

The sad thing is you're only reading that because of the connection to a player. That sort of shit shouldn't happen to anybody but it does. The sooner that spastics of all variety are cleansed from the football community the better. They certainly need to have a look at the way they serve alcohol to all comers.

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