Last week I was ready to come on here and say that the moment we won our fourth game and the tanking shutters really went up that I was going to stop doing reviews. How I wish I'd said "at three quarter time of the Geelong game", because today was one of the most horrifically shit matches of all time. To think there were probably people who went to the trouble of spending their hard earned to travel interstate and watch it. Though not that many if the crowd was any sort of indication.
Ended watching the game in relative peace and quiet at the Cricket Club Hotel on Clarendon Street. Was told to head for the Limerick as its a "footy pub". Walk in at 12.59 to see Fox Sports News on the big screen with no volume but Bonnie Tyler's "It's A Heartache" blaring out on the speakers. Mmm classy. So I ask old mate behind the bar if they're putting the game on and he goes "oh yes of course" and nods at the smallest TV in history. With sound? "No, I don't think so". Well sir, you can stick your Bonnie Tyler Greatest Hits CD in your back passage (be careful, Total Eclipse of the Heart is very long) and spin it like a 45. The CCH, on the other hand, had six screens showing the footy and one with Fashion TV (!?). With audio too thank christ.
The game? Oh shit must we? It was so awful I can barely bother to recount it. Not only did I have to sit through it once but then I came on here and lost a massive chunk of what I'd written about it when my browser crashed. Next time Blogger claims they automatically save your work every minute I suggest spitting in their face. What I will say is that it was the sort of game that internationals would watch and wonder what was wrong with us for following it. In fact some of it was so bad that it was almost worse than watching Rugby Union. The Swans weren't particuarly good in the first quarter, but we were abysmal. There were a handful of people trying hard but when all that saves you from a fourth goalless first quarter of the year (when did we become Fitzroy?) is a scrappy kick from a last minute goalmouth scramble then you know you're in trouble.
Meanwhile if we're going to go down like an Iranian airliner over the next few weeks can we at least throw Aaron Davey back into the forward line? We all swooned over his super efficient delivery and general backline shenanigans at the start of the year but it's not adding anything at the moment. At least give us some excitement in the last few weeks. His first quarter today was one of the worst I've ever seen him play - put him where the action generally isn't and see if you can spark some life into that forward line. It's an absolute joke that he managed to get declared BOG in this article. I hate match reporters with a passion. Including myself.
The second term opened far more positively. Newton and Miller were the best duo since Hall and Oates when they didn't have the ball, but the moment they got it they turned into Cheech and Chong. Their chase, tackle, marking and general presence was great but the shots they missed were awful. It's not the first time either. Both of them played fiercly but unfortunately a key attribute of being a forward is the ability to put oval shaped ball between the two sticks in the middle. Neither of them has quite grasped it yet. Do we even have a goalkicking coach? What do they talk about? Juice has been doing the same thing for three years and has gotten no better or worse - surely somebody has to sit him down and try to work out what's wrong with his action. Knowing us we've probably got Earl Spalding giving him tutorials.
Eventually the Jurrahcane - who spent the first quarter going near and trying to lay the ball off - marked and goaled to get us back into it. He then proceeded to go down in a tackle and momentarily look like he'd necked himself before coming back to life. Spent most of the third quarter on the bench and was pretty much out of the game from then on. Luckily he's not seriously injured though because it was just the sort of tackle that usually ends in somebody's shin bone sticking out of their leg. Great work by the commentary team to spend two minutes wondering aloud why he wasn't picked up in the National Draft and was allowed to slide to the rookie draft. Nobody bothered to mention that he wasn't even nominated for the National. Given that one of the commentators - Pickering - is a player manager I'm going to have to guess that he doesn't have any interest in the Melbourne forward line.
Speaking of commentators it was right up there in B-Grade teams today. Leigh Colbert on the boundary was the only one who spoke any sense. Russell wasn't as bad as usual, but that still puts him in the bottom 5% of humans, Pickering was full of shit and Danny Frawley works best on the radio where he can be the Brownless-esque butt of jokes for four quarters.
So despite some positive signs in that quarter by the end of the second we were still 2.6 and staring down yet another putrid score. The options were just abysmal. They'd mark, play on and then realise that nobody was there. They'd mark and miss a target from 20m away. Poor Matthew Bate couldn't get a ball above his ankles if his life depended on it. Forget the tank, this was just pure slop. On a more positive note, at the other end of the ground Morton was doing a number on Adam Goodes. Bartram was also having a good one. I did like McKenzie in his limited opportunties, and I think Valenti is worth persisting with until the end of the year.
Third quarter saw Miller miss another sitter before finally getting one. Davey managed to redeem himself with one as well to make it at least officially interesting. The commentators were treating it like they were calling a sprint finish in the Tour De France - "THE CROWD ARE ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS" screamed Russell as the camera clearly showed that what crowd there was were most certainly not. The kid in the Essendon beanie behind the goals said it all.
Foolishly I started playing the pub golf arcade game at 3/4 time and spent the first few minutes of the last looking back over my shoulder between chipping out of the rough. Every time I looked over we were copping another score. Wunderbar. Finally Newton got one at the 14 minute mark and we were some sort of chance. Then he got another one and botched it. Is it wrong that I really didn't care?
Ironically Whelan floated forward and got the last with a set shot that put most of the forwards in our team to shame. That cut the margin to 12 but the Swans were never going to let this one go - suffice to say they didn't. F'ing whatever. I was more concerned with trying to sell the concept that somehow Whelan will avoid the senior player massacre at the end of the year. I love Robbo (in a rugged "often disappointed by" sense) but I'm willing to boot him out the door at the end of the year if it means keeping Wheels.
I'm sure some other shit happened. Does anyone care anymore?
If you were the ACT opposition leader (yes, they have a parliament!) would you not walk straight in tomorrow morning and demand to know how much that cost the taxpayer? Let's assume all the remaining Sydney fans in Sydney travelled - that's 2000 people, and I'll give 150 travelling Melbourne fans tops. And we got paid an absolute fortune for it. Works for me, but I'd certainly be putting my hand up and asking questions if I was a taxpayer. It's no wonder they want a chunk of the new West Sydney team if this is all they're getting. I doubt more than a handful of people were watching on TV either, so any claims of 'exposure' for Canberra are a farce.
Did you know the Canberra ABC channel is 666AM? That's my favourite capital fact. You might also have noticed that the ads around the boundary were the worst since Anker Concreting and Lurline Liquor took out contracts to advertise at Casey Fields. My favourite was Batemans Bay Caravans.
And didn't the AFL do a great job scheduling this in "Rivalry Round"? Notwithstanding the fact that it's the biggest farce of a round ever because they don't have enough rivalries to go around, who decided to play it at a neutral venue? If Kevin Dyson and Wayne "Moose" Henwood aren't going to appear and present a trophy to somebody then you can just shut the door on the way out as far as I'm concerned.
Whatever happened to that once a year ANZAC Day night clash we were going to have with the Swans at Homebush? Lasted one year, we actually won and it got put in the bin. Another great fixturing moment in AFL history.
2009 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Cale Morton
4 - Brent Moloney
3 - Matthew Warnock
2 - Clint Bartram
1 - Ricky Petterd
Apologies to Bate, Cheney, Jurrah, Martin, McDonald, McKenzie, Miller, Newton and Rivers
27 - Brent Moloney
23 - Aaron Davey
18 - Colin Sylvia
16 - Brad Green
15 - Cameron Bruce
13 - Matthew Bate, Nathan Jones, Cale Morton
12 - Stefan Martin, Brock McLean, Mark Jamar (LEADER: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
10 - James Frawley (LEADER: 2009 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
9 - Jared Rivers
8 - Matthew Warnock,Jack Grimes (LEADER: 2009 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
7 - Liam Jurrah, Brad Miller, Ricky Petterd
5 - Kyle Cheney, Russell Robertson
4 - Jamie Bennell
3 - Matthew Whelan
2 - James McDonald, Paul Johnson, Clint Bartram
1 - Lynden Dunn
Richmond @ the MCG. A reminder that I'm only going to be there for the first three quarters so if you want to throw your hat into the ring to do a guest report (and as you can see it's oh so much fun) then let me know ASAP via supermercado AT demonblog.com
My heart says "WTF WAS THAT? JUST WIN YOU SWINE!" Head says "Well lost guys". Great system we've got going here.
It could be worse. We could be Freo. Wait, what do you mean they won? Shit.