First things first, the raffle results. For those of you who bought a ticket in the "What key player will mysteriously suffer an injury and withdraw from the team" fundraising lottery the winning number is #27 J.RIVERS. Please collect your prize from the club office during business hours.
Well it's been an interesting week. We've been whipped from pillar to post for the tactical 'experimentation' which seemingly cost us the Richmond game. At least Bailey, who can't please anyone at the moment, came out and said that he'd keep bringing the freaky deaky moves for the rest of the year - thus giving us some reason to keep turning up and watching this shit.
And the wild experimentation started at the selection table. Rohan Bail came in straight from the Casey 2's, and Tom McNamara was picked after a blockbusting 4 possession performance for their seniors the week before. No sign yet of Danny Hughes or, god forbid, Trent ZOMG but give it a couple of weeks. Injuries to Blease and Healey aside, this year has all the hallmarks of that season at Essendon where every single player on the list got a game except one - and he was due to debut in the last round before doing a hamstring at the last training session.
So, the least we could expect was some wacky positional manoevures. They owed the 15 Melbourne fans who actually showed up to the ground that at least. And what an atmosphere - it was as if every single person in the ground had been lobotomised. No wonder our fans were depressed, we lined up with a relatively normal structure and still played like shit. Luckily in the early going North weren't much better. Our players looked pretty flat, which is not so surprising in Round 19 of an often futile season, but I'll bet you it had everything to do with them wondering when they were going to be thrown into some ludicrous position that they had no experience playing.
First things first if you blinked you probably missed Rohan Bail's debut game. He got a kick in the first minute, did his thigh and was never seen again. To be honest I blinked and missed his kick. Poor guy - what a way to debut. At the other end of the spectrum McNamara spent most of the game on the ground and wasn't too bad. He didn't do anything spectacular but looked solid enough for a first gamer.
Of course one quarter is all you get with this side. We didn't manage a goal in the 2nd and barely even registered a score. It was painful viewing. To be entirely honest I tuned right out. All I remember is hugh swathes of play where both sides turned it over to each other about twenty times before North finally got a goal. Absolutely rubbish football.
The second half was like Argentina in the late 70's, people who had been prominent were just disappearing with no explanation and never being seen again. Jetta and Valenti had been good all day but vanished off the face of the earth while North ran riot. We fired up a bit and even Juice managed to take his tally to 2 goals without missing a sitter (not surprisingly he didn't make it to 3). It looked as if they were going to have a big crack in the last quarter, unencumbered, and at least go down with a respectable (nay honourable) loss. Wrong. Cue a ten goal loss to a team who hadn't won in a million years and were, frankly, ordinary.
Highlight of the day was undoubtedly Jake Spencer's first career shot on goal. For those of you who missed it think of Jamar in the goalsquare against Essendon last year, Robbo against Hawthorn this year and then double it. This time Spence took a beautiful (!) pass (?) by Newton (!?) 40m out on a slight angle. He went back to have a ping at the set-shot, started walking in... and dropped the ball cold on the ground. The poor bastard recovered to get a quick snap off but it didn't even score. Welcome to the blooper reel for the rest of your life. He's getting better - and certainly not contesting the ruck with an "air conductor" baton technique anymore but bad luck everyone's going to remember the ball drop and nothing else.
We did, however, get to see the worst free kick ever paid. Petterd jumped, the North guy jumped, nobody went anywhere near anyone's back and somehow the umpire paid a free to us. It was completely mystifying. Lucky there was absolutely nothing on the line at the time.
And now a message from the SAVE LYNDEN DUNN ACTION FACTION (SLDAF);
What the fuck was up with leaving Dunn on Goldstein for so long? He's not a key defender and, Frawley aside, wasn't surrounded by any key defenders. Not surprisingly he got slaughtered. I don't give a rats if Stef Martin had kicked two, he's a freaking defender and with Warnock, Garland and Rivers not available he needs to spend some time in defence. By the last quarter it wouldn't have hurt to throw him down there, but instead we left him in a misfiring forward line and got nothing out of it except the record showing that some slop kicked 5 goals against us. If I were Dunn I'd be asking for a trade at the end of the year. He's just disrespected at this club.
Eventually, and mercifully, it was over. The North fans celebrated - you might as well if you'd lost 9 in a row, even if it was the cheapest and nastiest ten goal victory in history - and we all just shrugged and walked out. All 8 of us that were left at the end. The cheersquad were still trying to get a bit of clap, clap, clap going in the last quarter but they're not exactly normal people so it doesn't count.
Civil War Corner
Speaking of the cheersquad, can anyone fill me in with the latest news on the split that they suffered last year? Has the ruckus died down? Was it really divided around the issue of the guy with the homemade Ricky Jackson jumper who did bizarre claps and had his wedding reception in Pizza Hut?
2009 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Bate
4 - Jones
3 - Valenti
2 - Sylvia
1 - Petterd
Apologies to Cheney, Dunn (pre-Goldstein fiasco), Jetta, McDonald, McNamara, Morton and Newton
Moloney doesn't like right and I doubt he'll play next week and Davey has been ordinary the last month - therefore with 15 votes maximum on offer over the next three weeks anyone from Morton and up could theoretically win (except for Green of course) but all the money is for Sylvia.
27 - Brent Moloney
23 - Aaron Davey
20 - Colin Sylvia
19 - Nathan Jones, Matthew Bate
16 - Brad Green
15 - Cameron Bruce
13 - Cale Morton
12 - Stefan Martin, Brock McLean, Mark Jamar (LEADER: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes (LEADER: 2009 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
11 - Ricky Petterd
10 - James Frawley (LEADER: 2009 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
9 - Jared Rivers
8 - Matthew Warnock
7 - James McDonald, Liam Jurrah, Brad Miller
5 - Kyle Cheney, Russell Robertson
4 - Jamie Bennell
3 - Matthew Whelan, Shane Valenti
2 - Paul Johnson, Clint Bartram
1 - Lynden Dunn
Went to the Brisbane/Essendon game. It's nice to be able to watch a match without your head in your hands for four quarters. First draw I've seen live since Sydney at the MCG in 1992. Instead of playing the theme songs the MCG blasted out "No Second Prize" instead - it was tops. I love a game where you go as a neutral and still manage to be the only person in the ground who goes home happy.
To be entirely frank I reckon Freo are going to smash us. Forget for a minute the travelling thing, if you're Mark Harvey what are you going to tell your players? You're going to tell them that they're playing a side who are so overconfident that they're going to beat you that they've effectively given up one win - and not exactly given themselves 100% chance of another - in preparation. They'll come out at a million miles an hour and we'll probably do something stupid like play Dunn on Pavlich and get slaughtered.
REMINDER - Under no circumstances will I be at this game - I'm taking the money for working that day and listening on the radio instead. If you want to write the report or do the votes email me (supermercado AT demonblog.com), otherwise I'll just be passing on second hand bollocks from the likes of Kevin Bartlett and nobody wants that.
This has been one of the worst fortnights in the last decade (R1/2 2008 just shades it for recent memories). Somebody this season's gonna be over.