Saturday 29 May 2010

Wasted Weekends

Pop Quiz, what was the stupidest concept that you heard about this week?
a) 3D television
b) the iPad
c) Dropping Jordie McKenzie

The answer, of course, is d) all of the above. You'd think that against a team of guns like Geelong you'd value pressure highly. I know he only laid one tackle last week but bloody hell he's been on the prowl pretty much every week of the season and led the comp in tackles at one point. I'd be interested to see if he plays for Casey tomorrow but it appears at the moment like he was simply dropped and I can't for the life of me work out why. Especially if you're going to rest a guy like Scully who is young and fierce at the ball, why get rid of another guy who has about 25% of the raw talent but goes at every contest like his life depends on it? Seems stupid to me, but what do I know?

I'm not that concerned about them resting Scully and Trengove. Long gone are the days when a guy like Woewodin could play more than a hundred straight games from debut. What I don't understand is why they didn't rest one this week and one next week - and why we even need to rest them at all right now considering that we get a week off after the Queens Birthday game.

So, with all that done and dusted by Friday morning the main question for me today was "Why the hell am I here?" Forget every fairytale, Mighty Ducks movie and Specky Magee book that you've ever seen an improbably, amazing upset in. It just was not going to happen. Multiply that by the fact that there was every possible chance of a Hurricane Katrina style downpour throughout the day and I woke up this morning wondering if I should even bother going outside today. It's a wonderful life.

But, bad luck I'd already bought tickets so I had to go. Actually I did that especially so I couldn't chicken out of my mission to go to every match in Victoria this year. There was also the storyline of taking somebody who had never been to game anywhere other than the MCG and not telling her that not only did we have to stand up all day but that there was no shelter and that we'd almost certainly be surrounded by a bunch of grand slam muppets. Oh, you should have seen the look when we got to the top of the steps and I stopped. "Where are we sitting?" Any other questions I can help you with?

The only thing I necked myself on was showing up too late to get a decent carpark. Cue a mad scramble around the back streets of Geelong looking for somewhere to park. Didn't find anywhere that would cover me for the whole afternoon, and I assumed that the council would be smart enough to go around and pick off hundreds of cars every time there's a match in town so eventually we settled for a two hour spot and decided to hope for the best. So not only did was there a potential flogging and drenching but now I was sitting on the chance to hand over $60+ just to get flogged. Speaking of random trivia some guy came up and asked what number Gysberts was - I reeled #5 off without even thinking about it. Didn't turn out to be some kind of competition. Shame. At least he would have known who he was cheering for, unlike the people who sit there going "FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!" every time Bennell gets the ball.

You know the only thing that could have made my mood any darker? Copping the first two goals without ever getting the ball over our half of the field. And thanks heaps to the club for providing that scenario for me. Oh dear. Interesting move to start Gysberts on Ablett, but while it didn't last long and Jones ended up going onto him they way Gys ended up playing it didn't turn out to be such a ridiculous move. At least we put somebody on him this time. Remember when we played them at the MCG and he got a goal after 9 seconds due to being completely unmarked at the first bounce? We're learning. Slowly.

After kicking three goals they missed a chance for a fourth that might have opened up the floodgates before we finally got one through Bennell - who then proceeded to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. We were kicking into a two or three goal wind, but that factor is absolutely bollocks when you're completely overmatched like we were. Also doesn't help when most of your attacks involve the switching the ball from one side to the other five times and going via Rio De Janerio before kicking inside 50 to a one-on-three contest.

When Jetta got our second after busting Hogan for holding the ball we were almost in it. You could have made an argument that factoring in the wind and our putrid start that we would be exactly where we deserved to be, then Hawkins kicked his second and we were stuffed again.

And so it continued. It was well and truly a better first half than the one that caused me to lose the will to live last year, but there's no doubt we are still a long, long way away. I know that we couldn't win a game in Geelong even when we were good and they were pox, but the way that they spread out and got free almost every time they rebounded out of 50 was satanic. And the forward line - my god. Who knows what Mooney, Podsiadly, Hawkins, Stokes etc.. would be like without the same sort of silky delivery but bloody hell what we wouldn't do for one or two of them - yes, even the Tomahawk - inside 50 for us. Miller gave us the full Bradforth range by kicking a goal, a point and an OOF in three shots on goal, Watts had one shot touched on the line and did very little else and... that was it as far as our forwards went - other than Brad Green who we should build a statue of for the effort he's put in over the last couple of years.

At least after they got the first goal of the second term (that man Pods again) we held them off for a few minutes. Jamar was, as usual, doing a mighty job in the ruck (albeit with an increased amount of cameos from Miller) and more than once hit his psychic friend Moloney with the tap to set up a raid forward. But we just had nothing up front. Watts was unlucky not to get the goal - indeed some claim it went over, though it didn't look like it to me - but at least we stopped bleeding them at the other end. Other than Frawley who was a rebounding machine and nearly took Mark of the Year our backline was getting slaughtered. Sylvia was playing his best game in a month in the centre and for a few minutes, topped off by Davey's snapped goal, we looked alright against them. Didn't last. Never does.

Kardinia Park has come a long way in the last few years. Remember when they used to have a late 80's style analogue time clock sponsored by Target? At least they've got a proper timer and a video screen now. Shame there's only one screen though, and that means that when you're standing directly under it you end up with a thousand people turning around for every single little thing that happens during the match. Do you really need to see a replay of somebody taking a simple chest mark on the goalsquare? Apparently you do if you were the people standing in front of us. No idea why they don't put another one at the other end of the ground - unless it would cause that rickety as old stand to crumble like a Russian apartment block. Either way I'm glad we only have to go there once a year. Any danger that one of the 'big' clubs might go down there sometime though? It's a tad unfair that the likes of us, North and the interstate clubs are forced to go there every year because they can make more money out of playing games against Essendon in Melbourne. Absolute garbage, if you're going to benefit from a killer stadium deal then don't get greedy and try to make money elsewhere. We'll see what happens when they stop winning, the AFL drops them like a hot potato and there's 15,000 people at the matches.

Last quarter was pure and simple junk time. The crowd didn't care, and seemed the Cats didn't either. We got three of the first four goals of the quarter to make things look more respectable but it was obvious that Bomber Thompson had jammed the cue in the rack. Ablett was sitting up forward and causing havoc there (and oh didn't we hear such HILLARITY from the crowd every time he went near the ball. According to some wags at the footy he might be going to the Gold Coast. Heavens! See also Stokes, Matthew and "White Line Fever" calls) and his teammates were fumbling around trying desperately to get to the line and get into the sheds without needlessly injuring themselves. At this point my main interest in the matter, other than whether I'd had my car towed or not, was in the bet that one of the peanuts behind me had made that the Cats would win by more than 50. Was really, really hoping the goose would do his money. Then they kicked the last three. Fucksticks.

So I think for the first time ever I managed to stand on the steps at Kardinia Park and not say something involving the words "yeah, but you still live in Geelong". They were actually very civilised (more on that later). It became clear soon after leaving the ground that not only would I not get a fine but that you'd have to park your car sideways across the railway line in front of a V>Line train to have anything happen to it. My favourite was the forlorn guy with a 4WD parked on an angle up a hill surrounded by cars on all sides. Imagine if they all didn't come back? He might still be there now. I'm buggered if I can work out how he got in there in the first place though, unless he was being super charitable and wanted to leave the real park on the road for somebody in a smaller car. Baffling.

So the trifecta was eventually achieved. No hundred point loss, no drenching, no fine. Next year I might catch the train. Next year I might not even bother going at all.

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Jordan Gysberts
4 - James Frawley
3 - Aaron Davey
2 - Brad Green
1 - Colin Sylvia

Apologies to Moloney, Jamar, McDonald and Grimes. The Gys becomes only the second player ever behind Kyle Cheney to score BOG in his debut game. Let's hope he doesn't go missing for half of next season like KC seems to have.

20 - Brad Green
18 - James McDonald
17 - James Frawley (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
13 - Mark Jamar (WINNER: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
10 - Aaron Davey
9 - Jack Grimes
7 - Colin Sylvia, Jack Trengove (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Matthew Bate
6 - Brent Moloney
5 - Ricky Petterd, Tom Scully, Jamie Bennell, Jordan Gysberts
3 - Jordie McKenzie, Matthew Warnock, Brad Miller
2 - Neville Jetta
1 - Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald, Cameron Bruce

Crowd Watch
Quite impressed by the amount of Melbourne fans there were in the standing area. Relatively speaking of course. We were probably outnumbered 9/10 but compared to the farce last year when there were about 15 of us freezing our norgs off it was a vast improvement. Sadly due to the utter disinterest of the home crowd in the match (and let's be honest it must be hard to get excited about four quarter junk time matches against rubbish teams) it was left to our fans to yell out stupid things all day and generally humiliate us as fellow supporters.

Here's my simple request. If you want to whinge about the umpires learn who they are. Waste $5 on the Footy Record (and really that would have to be the only reason you'd waste a fiver on that rubbish), turn to the page where they give the umpires numbers, work out which one is which and abuse accordingly. Don't just continuously shout out garbage about the one umpire that you know because you've seen him on television. The peanut behind me spent the entire first quarter yelling things about McLaren even when the umpire paying the free kicks quite obviously had a full head of hair and was not the man in question. Same thing used to happen to Darren Goldspink, people knew him name because he'd been in the papers and wouldn't stfu about him all day. Shits me up the wall. Goes right up there with this ludicrous theories people have about how certain umpires hate us and how we're the victims of a gigantic conspiracy. Personally I thought the umpires had a nightmare today, but let's be entirely fair and rational - as strange as that might be on this site - and admit that they were getting it wrong both ways.

There's something about Kardinia Park that brings out the siege mentality in our fans. We either disgrace ourselves unloading torrents of abuse at opposition fans or ramp up the shit talking to try and compensate for being practically alone in a sea of locals. The first time I went there in 1999, nowt but an innocent 17 year old who should have been out cracking onto birds instead, I had to tell some lady who was going off her nut at Geelong fans in ultra-foul fashion to settle down before she got us all killed. And lest we forget my unbelievably over the top reaction to Matthew Egan missing THAT kick in 2005.

There were also celebrity lookalikes for Stefan Dennis and Mick Hucknall. Also a strange man pulled a balloon animal out of his bag and handed it to a child who was not his own. Sinister. Who said nothing interesting ever happens in Geelong? Not Victoria Police that's for sure.

Next Week
Carlton on Saturday. Presumably they beat West Coast at Docklands tomorrow afternoon (though god knows we've probably played the Eagles into form in Melbourne) fairly handily and go in warm favourites against us. I feel like we'll have to lose one of the tall defenders (and if Garland is injured then it makes the decision for us) and make room for Trengove and Scully at least. McKenzie also deserves to come back but who knows what they're doing with that guy.

You'd think they'd beat us but stranger things have happened. At least we're back on the 'G though, that's crucial.

Final Thoughts
Teams who we have ruined by playing so far this year. Hawthorn, Brisbane and Port Adelaide. Anyone willing to say that the same will happen after today? Didn't think so.

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