I'd like to preface my remarks by saying that from a spectating point of view the intra-club game is the biggest fraud known to man. It's nice that the club is playing the match on a Saturday instead of 2pm on Friday this year, but when it comes down to it what have we learnt? Not a lot. There were plenty of good signs out there today, and a few worrying ones - but in reality the match was nothing more than a glorified training run conducted in front of a crowd just to get some buzz up around the season.
To skip forward for those who are really keen on the result, the Red team beat the Whites by 9 points. Magnificent news for those who you who were backing the reds. I'm sure nobody cares about the match itself, but just to keep things interesting I decided to go for the white side purely because they had the Stefan Martin Experience on their side. It looked like a criminally poor decision when they were five goals down in the first quarter, but they charged back to hit the lead in the last quarter before the reds hit back to win. I suspect that the last quarter was shut down well before time as it only ran 17 minutes. Still, nobody got hurt - even the Casey bloke who went head first into the goal post managed to get up and assist in a goal not long afterwards - and we got a first look at The Legend of Scullgove.
At half-time Connolly was holding court on the grandstand balcony like Fidel Castro but I cbf walking over there to find out what was going on. If you have a run down then feel free to post in the comments.
Jurrah 4, Green 3, Spencer 2, Moloney, Miller, Petterd + 2 from Casey fill-ins
Maric 2, Newton 2, Dunn, Morton, Hughes, Jones, Sylvia, Scully
1: Warnock - Solid as usual. Didn't do anything spectacular but will be important this year.
2: Jones - Has gone the sleeve tatt and looks as if he'd be better fitted to be punching on in the front row of the AC/DC concert. Had a pretty good game but turned it over a few times, most notably straight to Trengove for JT's first kick.
3: Bartram - Every time I watch him at Casey I think he's done nothing then he turns out to have had 30 kicks. If he did anything today it must have been on the grandstand side of the ground.
4: Watts - Didn't play. See below for a dissection section.
5: Gysberts - Appeared in the second quarter, botched a few kicks but looked very clean with his hands in tight situations. I'm bullish about his prospects.
6: Bate - Didn't play, and despite the fact that both Casey guys wearing #6 (one on each team) couldn't have looked any less like him if they were in the Jamaican bobsled team, there were still people standing there going "oh yes, that's Bate". Farcical.
7: Miller - Did some nice work at FF. Hold for next week to confirm, but I think he might play there permanently this year. A typical Miller game, he had some nice patches but never grabbed it by the scruff of the neck.
8: Frawley - I'm super impressed by him. Not only did he play a great game down back, but he is oozing with leadership qualities. When the defenders were doing their pre-match drills he was yelling at people, telling them where to move to and what to do. It was magnificent. He's got the weapons to be a superstar this season.
9: Trengove - Hyper impressive debut. Didn't get into much until the second term, but when he did he was something special. Tried his luck on beating opponents a couple of times, but even when they caught him he effortlessly flipped the ball out to a teammate. At one point he recieved a handball in traffic, stepped out of trouble, took a second and hit a pinpoint pass into the centre of the ground. A solid gold certainly for Round 1 if he stays fit.
10: Morton - Nothing special, but he was pretty solid. Plays with an effortless aura that could go either way and will either develop into sheer superstardom or leave him mired in the midcard.
11: Johnson - Didn't play.
12: Sylvia - Started slowly, but killed it in the middle two quarters. I've got no doubt that Brock will be a hit at Carlton, but if you'd suggested at the end of '06 that CS would be the more attractive proposition by the start of '10 most of our fans would have decked you.
13: McKenzie - Couple of nice things, should play a bit this season but I'm not pencilling him in as a regular just yet. Is definately improving rapidly though, second half of the year might be his time to shine.
14: Dunn - Once again shuffled all over the ground - but mainly on a HFF. I like this guy but he's going to get butchered by not having a particular job. He's better than being a tagger, but I'm starting to run out of options for him to do much else.
15: Petterd - Mostly played forward but wasn't great. Did some decent work up front last year, but like Dunn his role is up in the air. Will probably start the year forward but I'm not calling him a cert for R1 yet. Hold pending performances in the NAB Cup/Challenge.
16: Grimes - Not bad, but what he did was so good you know he's going to be a terminator when they gets some more experience into him.
18: Green - Excellent performance. Floated effortlessly around the ground and was in everything, but still managed to pop up as an effective forward target when required.
19: Maric - Very impressed with him. As blasphemous as this might be I'd say he's shot light years in front of Aussie for the small forward slot. Kicked two and could have had another, worked hard around the ground and added some good defensive pressure. This year is definately time for him to step up, and with Wona looking fairly proppy when having a ginger kick around (no offence to red heads) at half time I'd say the spot is his to lose. Has anyone ever seen him smile though? He looks permanently miserable.
20: Garland - Not playing. The red #20 looked about 1% like Watts, so of course muppets thought it was him. I suspect some actually went home wondering if JW had changed number.
21: Bell - God knows what he was doing. Again, if the action took place on the grandstand side I stand corrected.
22: Moloney - Good game, nothing spectacular but he was hard at it and generally used the thing well. Could be a big season for him if his body holds up.
23: James McDonald - Played most of the game and wasn't disgraced but there's no way he's going on after this year.
24: Jurrah - Much like Green he was in everything but still managed to get forward and kick goals. He's the kind of guy who will take a saving mark in defence and then twenty seconds later be up the other end taking a shot. Attempted the early MOTY candidate in the first term and almost kicked goal of the year in the last. Got the last two goals to lift his team over the line. The first one was special in its own way. Somebody took a wild snap at goal which floated across the face and looked like it was going to drop through for a point, The Jurrahcane rolled back to the line, read it perfectly and just stuck his arms up at full extension to take the grab. The sheer casual nature of it was beautiful. It's like he can do these amazing things without even thinking about it - he kicked the goal from a ridiculous angle to top things off. See also his rove off the pack and goal in the second quarter. WARNING - May NOT fall victim to "second year syndrome".
25: Cheney - Not sure he played the whole game. Was there or thereabouts in the first term but dropped out of the play after that. I like the guy.
26: Meesen - Has returned to not existing.
27: Rivers - Much like Warnock he did what he needed to do well but wasn't called upon to pull off too many remarkable manoevures. Dictionary definition of solid.
28: Joel McDonald - Gifted Spencer the first goal with a clumsy free-kick but had a pretty good game after that. Was entrusted with the kick-in duties at one point, which for us is the closest thing you can get to being handed a bottle of toxic waste and a note reading DRINK THIS.
29: Newton - Did a few nice things but just lacks that X factor to turn it on even semi reguarly at AFL level. Will be very familiar with Casey by the end of the season, and there's a big question if he'll play seniors again. Having said that the knobs who were heckling him every time he goes near it need slapping - it's a freaking intra club game. At least wait until the VFL season starts.
30: McNamara - He was playing but I can't remember anything he did. Sorry Tom.
31: Scully - Looked good. Kicked a nice goal near the end to put the whites in front. Didn't get an obscene amount of ball, and made a couple of errors but for a first game in the company of AFL footballers it was perfectly good. Dying to see him in a real game.
32: Bruce - Not playing
33: Wonaeamirri - Not playing. Was there and had a kick with family (?) at half-time but didn't look to be too mobile. Based on Maric's performance today Aussie might spend a bit of time at Casey before making it back to the 1's. The guy who did play in #33 will at least be able to say that once upon a time he stole the ball from Tom Scully and delivered a perfect pass for Brad Green.
34: Martin - Was taking a heap of goalkicking practice pre-match but played most of the game in the ruck for the whites against Spencer/Jamar. Did pretty well against both of them, but didn't get much of it around the ground. His position this year probably depends on how the forwards/ruck pull up. If Johnson isn't right he'll definately contend with Spencer for 2nd ruck, and if we get exposed for height up front early on he'll probably go there. One way or the other I'd say he's done as a defender for now.
35: Tapscott - Didn't play
36: Davey - Barely played a half, didn't do anything out of the ordinary but was solid.
37: Gawn - Not playing.
38: Hughes - Reminds me a little bit of Newton, he shows glimpses of being a really good player but seems to lack that little bit extra to make him a regular AFL player. In the event that one of them has to get a senior game this year I'd rather give Hughes a go, but I'm nowhere near convinced either is a long term option.
39: Jetta - Noticed him a couple of times playing up the ground but
40: Jamar - Played a half, and in that time had a decent battle with the SME in the ruck. But it was around the ground that he impressed. Showed so much more in his handful of appearances last season than he ever has before and looks ready to be a big contributor this year.
42: Spencer - Lined up at full-forward for the reds and kicked the first two goals from set shots. Those who remember his air-swing fiasco against North last year will be amazed to hear that they were two well kicked goals from about 40m out. Blotted his copybook with a shocker later, but did some nice work around the ground. Disposal is still an issue but will be one to watch in the NAB Cup.
43: Bennell - A potential gun. Another player who has the ability to effortlessly walk out of trouble and get rid of the ball. This year you will hear everybody say that he has a "touch of the Andrew McLeod's" about him. I'm jumping right on that bandwagon. More please.
44: Bail - The thirty second man had a really good second quarter, gave me hope that he might come on this year.
46: Blease - Didn't play
47: Strauss - Handful of nice touches. Should improve as the season goes on, but nowhere near a R1 proposition.
48: Fitzpatrick - Played mostly as a forward and didn't go near it much. Decent first up run for a late draft pick.
50: Healey - Had a couple of positive touches, and seemed to do some nice work in the clinches. Torched a couple of kicks though and while he moves well I'm not sold on him getting a game this season.
Paul Prymke Plate for Pre-Season Performance Votes
5 - Green
4 - Jurrah
3 - Trengove
2 - Bennell
1 - Frawley
Overall our skill level wasn't fantastic, but I'm not going to start yelling SELL on the basis of one timid hitout. Set the panic alarm for 8.40 next Sunday night and then let's talk.
[Insert Watts Pun Headline Here]
Please tell me we're not going to have another year of Watts vs Natanui bullshit. I have no doubts that the one with the experimental haircut is going to be a star but beating the shit out of an Essendon ruck division without any ruckmen of ANY note doth not an immediate superstar make. And for the 4000th time nor does it mean that we "made the wrong decision", "picked the wrong guy" or any of that hysterical bollocks. Talk to me again on this day in two years and I'll give you my honest opinion, but right now stfu about Jack, enjoy the fact that you've got a truckload of other high draft picks to ogle and let the kid do his thing.
Our ridiculous behaviour as a club before his debut helped create this monster but you'd have to be a freaking drug addict to expect anything from him at the moment. When he kicked that fluke goal out of his arse in the VFA last year we all suspended disbelief for a second and pretended he was going to be the instant superstar of the millenium, but guess what - these things take time. There's no need to become one of the increasing numbers of retarded fans we have who almost want the kid to fail just so they can say "I was right". It's embarassing - I expect supporters of other clubs to be morons about this sort of stuff, but for gods sake when our own people are doing it then it's time to open an upstairs window and leap out.
The Casey Fields carpark is an absolute nightmare to get out of. I sat there for 15 minutes not even moving, and then spent the next five dodging the biggest potholes in history at 5kmh. Reminded me of Waverley.
Fremantle at 2040hrs EST. Live on Fox Sports. In a wildcard move I'll be watching it in Newcastle after going to UFC 110 in Sydney. If Demonblog had more than one person involved and we were in an intra-club writing scenario the poor excuse for a report above would see me immediately dropped for the NAB Cup game. Not even a chance to sit on the bench and wear the orange bib. However, as this is the perfect example of a one person operation the bad news is that I'll be back with more next Sunday night.
Buy your goddamn membership now.