Today had all the ingredients of a shit day out at the football, and by christ it nearly delivered everything you could have hoped (!?) for. Had the feeling we might go alright today - this was based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever other than a pure white hot hatred of the Carlton Football Club, their shithouse song and the grand slam cockhead who does their pre-match 'entertainment'. Today's 'entertainment' featured kids kicking footys into a bin as part of the day long effort to convince us that Visy are a legitimate sponsor of the club and not just there to pay players outside of the salary cap.
Speaking of the Visy Cap I thought it was a nice touch for the Blues to run through the banner with an ad featuring J**d instead of the one with the traditional (allegedly) inspirational message on it. Scum club, scum business and I wish nothing but bad luck on everyone involved including the estate of Richard Pratt - hopefully the bird that he was (allegedly) knocking off and (allegedly) promised $500k a year to gets everything she's suing it for and more. And while we're at it, fuck recycling - I'm not going to the trouble of separating plastic and paper just so they can use the proceeds to pay players.
About the only thing I do like about them is their coach. Our midfield has never purred like it did when Ratten was in charge, and in retrospect I'm slightly aggrevied that we didn't find a way to piss Daniher off and replace him before he went back to the Blues. The other thing I like is how they gave us pick 11 for Brock McLean, but more on that deal later.
And there's no doubt that Ratten joined the seemingly endless list of coaches who have tactically stitched up Bailey this year. It didn't help that our players got sucked into the physical stuff that the Blues dished out before the opening bounce - luckily for Warnock the free kick he gave away to The Irish Juice Newton was pretty much the only kicked Setanta O'Spud got all day. Then there was Davey's running battle with Carazzo - surely the rest of the league have worked out that Flash gets sucked in easily and plays badly when he's involved in a stoush with someone? It's no coincidence that when the game calmed down in the second half he became more useful.
So, by quarter time the match was pretty much over. In fact had we not fired up at the last ten minutes it could have gotten very, very ugly. We might have kicked two goals and avoided the chance for me to update the famous "shit starts" stat, but by copping six goals at the other end we may as well have not even bothered. Surely I'm not the only one who is starting to worry about our backline - for the last three years it has stood up under the pressure of our forwards giving nothing and the midfield getting smashed from pillar to post but the last couple of weeks it has been shaking like a leaf. Not sure why they dropped Warnock instead of Garland in the first place, but I'm really starting to worry about Col and Rivers. Frawley and Grimes the only ones that I've got any confidence in anymore. Morton did alright mopping up around the back in the second half but eventually he's going to have to start becoming a match winner.
One thing that has been constant for years is the utter shambles that is our forward line structure. I'll just say this every week in case it hasn't got through to some people - thank fark for Brad Green. If that man is not our next captain then just walk away because the club don't deserve to have you as a fan. He's seen Jurrah and Petterd drop around him, he's had to contend with flaky types like Dunn and Miller, and he's got Watts down there frantically trying to learn the game under live conditions and through it all he just does his thing with a minimum of fuss. Absolute heart and soul of this club.
Now, even if we bear in mind that Petterd and Jurrah both went down on the verge of being very good players who are we to blame for the fact that our forward structure is always a shambles. Bailey? Mahoney? The players themselves? Given that he's the most expendable of the three I'm going to suggest that whether or not he has got anything to do with it, and as forward coach you'd think he might, that Bails might very well toss Josh overboard at the end of the year. He's going to be in more trouble than the early settlers if we're playing like this at this time next year, so there's no doubt in my mind that he's going to have to try something different at the end of this year. I doubt anybody is going to be parting with a decent key position forward at the end of this year, so unless we can pluck somebody from nowhere to kick goals then it's going to be down to the likes of Watts, Petterd, Jurrah, Green and Bate to play as targets in the future - and what's the point if they're all over the bloody shop every single week. If somehow Scott West gets the boot at the end of this year I'll start to think that Bails is running scared.
What I can't wrap my head around is whether Bailey gets it consistently wrong in the first half of games, whether he's just trying to implement a plan that his side can't get right or whether the players are just utterly shit. The latter might be true for some, but you can't help but notice that we give teams leads and suddenly play a lot better when caution is thrown to the wind and there's nothing left to lose. Is the Brisbane game going to end up going down as our Buster Douglas style one-off shock moment of glory? Are we the new Richmond? Is it right to become this emo over sports? And frankly, is anybody still reading this self indulgent shite?
Speaking of the forwards - as we were about twenty paragraphs ago - what are we supposed to draw from Watts' four games so far this season? Much like last year he's come into the side just when we've hit the wall. Did well against Port, but the other three games have been pretty ordinary stuff. Doesn't ever seem to lead, but is alright when the ball is on the deck and takes a decent shot for goal but there's no way right now that we can rely on him as a key forward at the moment. In a better team you'd park him next to a couple of guns and he'd probably win the Rising Star - where we're at right now he's got to get somebody else down there that means he can play long instead of having to go up the ground to get his kicks. Cue another week of idiots flooding the internet with stupid posts about how we should have picked the other guy. I'll handle the knee jerk reactions around here thanks very much.
The midfield is also doing my head in. Gysberts has been great in his first two games but surely opposition sides will start taking some notice of him soon and clamp down. Didn't seem to do a great deal of damage with his touches either, but he's got ball magnet written all over him and unless Brock fires up for the Blues sooner or later this might turn out to be Grimes vs Johnstone Pt. 2. Both Moloney and Jones were fairly good but Scully and Trengove didn't get much of it (should have rested one this week, one last week) and Sylvia seems to be torching it by foot more often than not these days. The biggest positive in the middle of the ground is Jamar - obscenely predictable as it is that he will try to tap it to Moloney every time, we would be getting sliced and diced by every team in the comp if he wasn't in the centre at the moment. The only problem is that they're going to have to come up with some sort of Plan B for the job because right now if he goes down with an injury - and let's face it he has form - we're royally screwed.
Two goals in the first quarter (wow, we're really going places in the world) were followed by one in the second (normal service resumed) and realistically the game was over. Looked even more likely that we'd get tonked when the heavy rain started, especially given that our kicking efficiency had been woeful up to that point - but what it did do was force us to play direct, and dragged the Blues down to our level in the blundering stakes. All of a sudden we had a run on and got the margin back to just over three goals at the last break. Personal highlight was Jones' 60m bomb after realising that there was no chance that anybody he kicked it at inside 50 was going to take a mark in the conditions.
So, we were in it at three-quarter time and even though it was still a longshot - and in fact would have been absolutely criminal if we'd got up - I still thought we had some kind of shot. Then we failed to score for twenty minutes. Welcome to the wonderful world of supporting Melbourne. After doing absolutely nothing for three quarters, roundly smacked by McDonald, J**d got off the lead in the last quarter and basically won them the game. Watch him somehow still end up with Brownlow votes despite doing bugger all for most of the game.
Don't know why I bothered staying to the end. Must have wanted to hear the Blues funeral march song to convince me that even though 2010 has been a completely rubbish year in music, there was worse being written in 1898. And lest we forget the song it's based on is as racist as it gets. Once a club of arseholes, always a club of arseholes.
Nobody cared. Football season is rubbish. If only there was a decent sport to play in the summer I'd be dying for the year to finish.
2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - James McDonald
4 - Brad Green
3 - Jordan Gysberts
2 - Matthew Bate
1 - Nathan Jones
Varying degrees of apology - in no particular order - to Jamar (despite the 7 frees against!), Bruce, Moloney, Davey (2nd half only), Rivers, Morton (2nd half), Nifty Nev and Grimes.
Thanks to the vagaries of the voting system Gysberts has launched into the Rookie of the Year lead after just two games. Morally Trengove leads, but here at Demonblog morals don't come into it.
23 - James McDonald
24 - Brad Green
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, Matthew Bate
8 - Jordan Gysberts (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
7 - Colin Sylvia, Jack Trengove
6 - Brent Moloney
5 - Ricky Petterd, Tom Scully, Jamie Bennell
3 - Jordie McKenzie, Matthew Warnock, Brad Miller
2 - Neville Jetta
1 - Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald, Cameron Bruce, Nathan Jones
The Pies will spank us something chronic. Forget about payback for the R2 fiasco, we are nearly going backwards from that point at the moment. Garland and Miller have to go. If Frawley is feet he's an absolute moral to come in, and given that Dunn kicked eight for Casey (!?) he's probably earned himself another crack - as long as we play him up front and not hung out to dry on a wing somewhere. We need to persist with Watts, but one more week like this and he'll need to go back the 2's for a spell as well.
P.S - If Jordie McKenzie is fit and doesn't play next week then I'm going to officially lose the plot with Bailey and his coaching panel.
It might not surprise you know that I was in a foul mood today. You know what's going to make me feel better? Wasting a public holiday next week to watch us get tonked again. Shit.