Here endeth the footballing week from hell. How many sides have ridden the sort of ridiculous rollercoaster that we've had over the last few weeks? From the debacle in Perth to unbridled joy last week and then back to the gigantic turd that was served up in the last three quarters of today's game we're proving to be even bigger bi-polar freaks than Port Adelaide.
Of course even when we got dicked by the Eagles in embarassing fashion and the internet exploded in a shower of sparks we could console ourselves with the fact that we had players to come back into the side. Even when Rivers went out injured before the Crows match you could laugh and say that we probably deserved one or two injuries after the good run we'd had from Round 1 onwards. Then Grimes busts his foot, the Trengove Debacle robs us of Jack for two (later three) weeks, Jamar hurts his knee and The Spencil totally destroys his in the 2's. It never rains it pours etc..
Still, despite our putrid record against North (lost eight in a row) and at Docklands (one win from 14) there were still plenty of people willing to throw their hard earned on us beating North at Docklands. It wasn't an idea entirely without merit, the 19 survivors from the Crows game had been bloody good and North's sole win for the year had come against Port. Even without Jamar in the centre if everything went right we could have gotten away with it - and for a while we did.
So, just another shite afternoon at Corporate Stadium then? Well, it looked good for the first twenty minutes. We expected The Experience to be competent in the ruck, but for the first quarter he absolutely dominated. North were running with absolutely no idea what they were doing and even Juice, born under the zodiac sign of SPUD, was running around inside 50 like he was Jonathan Brown. By the time he'd won the free kick that allowed Watts to kick the second goal it looked like last week had never ended. Next thing he's dropping to the ground theatrically in honour of the birthday of the league's #2 Shit Bloke Boomer Harvey (and we all hope that he'll be promoted to #1 soon when Stephen Milne is finally locked up) and winning a 50 for his second goal and everything's coming up Melbourne. Forget the fact that he went down like a housewife - deliberately for once - and consider that he had two goals and a hand in another, we were four goals in front and it was looking like the former delistee was about to have the greatest day of his life. Somewhere John Meesen must have been sitting on a couch yelling obscenities at his foot for robbing him of the chance of being out there as well.
After three more goals and with Lachie Hansen missing sitters that even Ben Holland would have got with his eyes closed you could almost believe it was going to continue. Alas the Demons are great at lulling you into a false sense of security - witness the second quarter of the Hawks game for the perfect example - and there was something false about the way we were running all over them. Still, at least if we got out to a big enough lead we might have been able to withstand the inevitable correction in the umpiring and North working us out in the middle.
Naturally we were ahead of schedule and nearly managed to stuff it up by the end of the quarter. Suddenly Newton was in the ruck and while he was having a fair bash at the bounces - and getting a hand from Sylvia and Gysberts elevating the third man up tactic to an art form - he was everything to the right of your dial that he wasn't to the left of it. Absolute shite, and never really recovered even though he tried hard for the rest of the day. That's what you get with Juice, effort and at least no dropped marks today but he's not getting any better. God forbid one of Gawn or Campbell can get through enough games with Casey without suffering crippling injuries I'd much rather one of them and Bate into the team - who was unlucky to be dumped after one ordinary performance in an otherwise brilliant side - and Newton back doing what he does best and killing VFL defenders. Possibly for Port Melbourne.
When North kicked two in a row, the second from a free kick delivered on a platter after a ruck infringment from the flaming spud, I thought the balance was about to tip in their favour. Should have gone with my first instinct, but the Bartram goal in the last few seconds sucked me into believing we were going to steady and run away with it in the second term. After all, not only was Bartram absolutely destroying the Shit Bloke but if he of all people (four goals in three years, how many of them set shots?) was booting them off an angle late in the quarter then we could do anything.
Indeed we could anything, as long as that meant playing like muppets for the next three quarters. There was an element of terrible luck in it at times - we were getting rubbish bounces all over the place, the majority of the pox umpiring decisions started to go against us (and make no mistake there were plenty in either direction throughout the day), Garland went off with a sore ankle, came back and then succumbed to it, and Bail did his knee. As if that wasn't bad enough we were butchering the ball going forward or bombing it in aimlessly only to see it come back the other way at a million miles an hour. When Goldstein - who must love playing us after we gifted him five goals at the end of '09 when The Tank was in full gear - realised what he was playing against and started to dominate the balance tipped noticeably in their favour.
Didn't help that Moloney couldn't get near it. Just when those of us prone to insane hyperbole started to declare him a contender for the Brownlow he spent the first three quarters barely able to get near it. Having the bloke who near single handedly tore the Crows to shreds last week being dominated by Hamburgers Ziebell (he of the leg that is even more fragile than Patrick Dangerfield's head) said it all about our performance today.
Without looking at a replay, and if you think I'm going to subject myself to that then you're on crack, it's hard to piece together what happened over the next quarter and a half. I remember Aaron Edwards taking the Flaming Spud of the Century title belt from Juice and running with it while the former champion tried to roll through a snap from a tight angle like he was Lance Franklin and instead punted it straight through for a point. That was about it for Juice, but Edwards took it upon himself to run riot despite putting in the worst shot on goal since The Spencil dropped the ball on the ground on his run-up on the same day we tanked against Goldstein by playing Dunn on him all day.
From there we were just purely putrid, with very little to recommend us. Other than Jurrah's big mark in the goalsquare and his retrospectively unwise sledging of Firrito they just smashed us. With the centre absolutely locked up in their favour North seemed to have loose men everywhere - and what would an MFC game be without the opposition being able to spot up leads within 50 and without one of our players anywhere near them? - and picked us apart with ease. Normal service resumed, Melbourne Football Club apologises for any inconvenience.
Somehow we were still in front at half time but the tide had well and truly turned. We could have come out of the sheds and made a stand, but Wona (no celebrations, shit game due to playing a shit game) missed one and then Harvey the dog did his weekly cheating to milk a free kick from the gulliable twat of an umpire and kicked the goal. He'd done two thirds of bugger all until then but his success in cheating inspired him and North were off to the races. Undeservedly we got back to within two points when Petterd goalled at the second opportunity but it was just delaying the inevitable and by three quarter time we were stuffed.
How many times in one game can a team be just about to launch an attack when they cop a free kick or make a stupid turnover? Never mind we'd probably have stuffed it up anyway the way we were going today but Jones cost us two goals with the sort of cockups I'd started to forget that he specialised in and Davey another with a putrid kick across the ground. Is there any minor danger that we can get two good games in a row from some of these guys? Moloney only managed to get any sort of freedom once Ziebell went off at 3/4 time, Sylvia was good for most of the day but rapidly lost interest as the game went on and Green was missing again.
There's something wrong with Green, and it's not just that they're not using him the same was as they did when he was so good last year. Now that the swashbuckling Baileyball has been put to one side and we seem to be playing with a forward line again it would be a good move to give him a run up there just to get his hands on it. Especially if, and you may as well shut the doors if true, Jurrah is also hurt.
I did like Watts' game, even though like everyone bar Maric and Jurrah he couldn't get near it up forward in the second half, he looked good down back (!?) and through the middle. Still, I don't want him down back and through the middle - I want him leading to the ball inside 50. Maybe one day we will actually kick to leads on a regular basis and give him the chance.
The game petered out into a junktime slopfest in the last quarter, going on just long enough for every remaining MFC in the stadium - all seven of us - to completely lose the will to live. Maric racked up three after the bins had been dragged out and looked good in doing it, but there was precious little else to be said for us as North ran away to an easy win. The backline was ok, and Frawley was easily the best of them, but we got exposed doing stupid things so many times they were always going to crack under the pressure eventually. Still, when you let Edwards kick six you're either not going to win the match or are a VFL side. We had a hint of both about us today.
It's not to say North Melbourne aren't a half decent side this year, after all I can just picture one of their high proportion of paranoid schizophrenic fans stumbling upon this post and foaming at the mouth that they're not getting acknowledgment. Before I'm subjected to a cavalcade of Excel spreadsheet and flowcharts proving how they're the next big thing and a going financial concern for the future I'll admit that they were absolutely the better side on the day and their ladder position says more about the pox run of games they've had to start the year than it does their playing list.
But they are no better than half decent, and if we can't beat half decent on a regular basis then what's the chances of finishing anywhere near the eight? Last week might have seduced us back into thinking we were half decent but it's back in your/our box for at least one more week now. With the run of games we've got coming up over the next few weeks it's not inconceivable that we could lose the lot and end up back above only Port/Brisbane/Gold Coast. At least now Bails can blame injuries and suspensions for it, unfortunately for him that doesn't bode well for his future and there's no doubt that until we start playing well on a consistent basis that every week is going to be "I know a bloke, who knows a bloke, who cleans the toilets of the MCG who..." conspiracy theories which somehow end with him being replaced by Roos, Malthouse or Checker Hughes.
Frawley was right in the post-match interviews, we just gave up during the match and that's not right. He was one of the few who you couldn't fault for going at it hard for four quarters but there was definitely a sense of "well, that was fun while it lasted" when things started going wrong. There was never any doubt that they were going to come out like a house on fire at the first bounce. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole group joined in a circle for a group slash onto a picture of Demetriou before running out but the challenge was to keep up the same intensity for four quarters - or at least until the game was won - and we failed miserably.
Can we recover from here? Well the West Coast/Adelaide results show that anything is possible, but with the injury plague suddenly becoming even more black death-eque, and with Dunn almost certainly to be suspended for his flying knee drop in the first quarter (no loss considering the way he played) we're running very short on potential ins. Attention Cale Morton - this is your opportunity, if you're not going to come in and show some desparation now then don't turn up on Monday at all.
2011 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
Almost impossible to give these today. Even when we're absolutely putrid - even more so - there's usually two or three standouts and it's impossible to fill the bottom two spots without reaching. Today the Stef Martin Experience's first quarter gets him over the line and then there's a writhing mass of about nine players who could go into the other spots in any order.
5 - Stefan Martin
4 - James Frawley
3 - Colin Sylvia
2 - Jack Watts
1 - Clint Bartram
Apologies to Newton (first quarter only), Davey, Jurrah, Petterd, Gysberts, Warnock and Maric (for junktime CRUMB).
19 - Brent Moloney
17 - Colin Sylvia
16 - Mark Jamar (WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
7 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
6 - Luke Tapscott (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Stefan Martin
5 - Rohan Bail, Jack Watts
4 - Jack Trengove, James Frawley
3 - Jack Grimes, Liam Jurrah, Nathan Jones
2 - Jared Rivers, Ricky Petterd, Clint Bartram
1 - Brad Green
Demon Wiki can now be found at the far easier to remember URL of... Demonwiki.org. No need to change bookmarks or links, the old address will still work as well. And while we're at it, nice try to the person who tried to add Garry Lyon's nickname as "Cock Breath" during the week. Unfortunately that page is guarded like my own child and I'm on top of these sort of shenanigans.
On that note I apologise for being a massive scab for the first time in seven years but the advertising revenue from this site goes directly towards paying for Demonwiki - not straight into my pocket for cigs - so feel free to click a link to the right whenever you visit. Open it up a new tab and don't even look at it if you're really not interested. And I promise never to scab you again, until the next time when we start to get close to the payment threshold and need that little push over the edge.
Back to Death Valley to play St Kilda. It's just our luck that they'll find some form against the Hawks tomorrow and then bore us into submission next week. Given that half their backline kick like Al Nicholson after an amputation it would be nice if somebody could put even the slightest bit of pressure on them before we're out of the match.
Can't be bothered playing fantasy selection committee, not particuarly excited by anybody we've got to come in except for McKenzie if fit. We've got a prick of a run after next week so get ready to hear the words "season defining" carted out by every broken down media hack alive - but for once they've got a point. After next week we play Friday night games twice in three weeks, and personally I'd rather us not like complete tools both times and once again be banned from appearing in marquee matches.
Was it worth it?
If you're into Maric self-harm then yes, very much so. And you'd have to be to watch this club regularly.
Speaking of Maric I think the most disappointing part of my week was discovering that he's not a complete emo afterall. Maybe it was Beamer Moloney's sparkling interview techniques that brought a smile to his face, and introduced us to the newest catchphrase in footy - "yeah, it's good" - but I think this image needs to be posted here for posterity just in case we never see anything like it again.
He'll always be the AFL's #1 My Chemical Romance fan to to me.