Saturday, 14 May 2011

Shit Sandwich

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).

Leaderboard
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

Encyclopdia Titanica
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.

Next Week
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.

Photobucket
He'll always be the AFL's #1 My Chemical Romance fan to to me.

10 comments:

  1. Loved it as usual - I knew Maric wasn't an emo - he's just misunderstood!!!!

    I would type more, I hade something insightful to say but I just spilled cider on my keyboard... fuucckkkkk

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  2. after the 20 minute mark of the first quarter they only passed to Melbourne players when they couldn't find a couple of north players in the clear, I really hope there's no betting scandal, inexplicable difference to the first 20 minutes and the garradine swine of the last three quarters.

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  3. Fark that was a hard watch. Except for the first 20 mins, North made us look small, slow and soft (apart from Wona who actually IS small, slow and soft). I'm afraid that might have been our "season-defining" game...

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  4. I found myself nodding throughout your assessment. I wouldn't be surprised if Green is injured and pushing himself through each week just to be there as the skipper. It was certainly the most over-umpired game I've seen for a while, not that it affected the result. I recall several instances when both teams heard the whistle blow, assume the free kick was against them, then pleasantly discover that some ridiculous decision had been made in their favour. KK.

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  5. Someone near me, around Bay 8 or 9 were yelling out 'Emo' when Maric was owning the footy in that junk time last quarter. Either it was you or its catching on (and yes all my mates yell it out now too but it wasnt from them)..

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  6. Lyall St Kilda16 May 2011 at 15:14

    Great to know there are others out there. Saturday night I was angry. Where else can I send this? Would it get any attention at the official AFL site?

    Dear Mr Bailey,

    On Saturday night I was composing this letter asking that you resign. However in the cold light of day as the emotions have settled and I have re-examined the situation I recognise that this request was a bit extreme and not very constructive. Be warned though that it still is the ultimate sanction if improvements are not forthcoming.

    What made me so wild on game day was that you were out coached. The team has a brilliant first quarter as one would expect after the previous week's demolition job. Then the opposition coach, Brad Scott, is smart enough to comprehend the situation, make moves, change his team's game play and win the next three quarters and the game. Could you do this? Did you do this? Scoreboard! Yes, it hurts.

    The players are not to blame. The list is great with good depth. As a spectator I had to sit through some humiliating losses where everybody knew the result because of the draft picks in the offing. That should be all behind us with most of those picks now having at least a season of experience. They have shown in the winning games this season that they can play.

    Like a first world war general, you have a game plan and you stick to it. Just send the lambs to the slaughter. Over the top, they continually go for no result. No change to the strategy. Sure sometimes your plans work. Win a battle but not the war: you fail. The losses are absolute routs. Up to this point the fixture has been kind.

    It's wise to have a game plan. It's even wiser to have a 'Plan B'. These are professional footballers who should be smart enough good enough to be able to play more than one style of game. They should be smart enough, good enough to be able to change style in the middle of a game. (An American gridiron offence can memorise 200 plays). They should be coached to do this: play more than one style and to be able to change on command. Are they? From what I have witnessed, no!

    Of course this is useless if the match day coaching box cannot do what North Melbourne did on Saturday. See what is going on and make changes. Is there a game strategist on the panel? Get one!

    I am too old for roller coaster rides. I like nice consistent performances. Sure 'if ain't broke don't fix it' but when it is broke don't ignore it!

    Lyall St Kilda.

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  7. Any chance of opening up the 'Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year' since SME is only 10 points away now and Jamar could be out for a while? Considering that there was scarcely anybody to take points of him this week, this trend could continue.

    I did like SME's pretend to be in the ruck and just try and rove. It's pretty effective. I'm pretty surprised that we didn't get as smashed in the ruck as I was expecting considering how good Jamar is. It did kinda prove how much Moloney relies on him though.

    I'm really gutted for Bail who has been one of the best things to come out of this year, along with Maric and SME.

    I really liked Watts' game, he showed good versatility. I thought that Juice was meant to be a utility though, so was meant to hand around the backline.

    As my St Kilda friend informed me, this week's game could be two teams playing one quarter of footy each.

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  8. Dave, it certainly wasn't me because I was sitting in Bay 38 but it's good to hear that emo fever has exploded onto the scene in spectacular fashion. Here's hoping nobody watched his Frost/Nixon-esque interview with Beamer and gets the wrong idea and thinks he's happy.

    Lyall, it's amazing how you could have written that in the dying days of the Daniher era (or, let's be frank, the middle of it) and it would have been equally apt. One day we're going to end up with a coach who has gameplans coming out the wazoo and we won't know what to do with ourselves.

    And Luke you're quite right on the Ruckman award. So far Stef hasn't done enough forward or back work to see him DQ'ed so he could make it interesting - I'll add insult to injury for Jamar and tear the award from his hands (temporarily I'm sure) next week no matter what happens with Stef.

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  9. I'm All Right Jack is a 1959 British comedy film directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney, based on the novel Private Life by Hackney. The film is a sequel to the Boulting's 1956 film Private's Progress, and Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas, and Miles Malleson all reprise their characters from the earlier film. Peter Sellers played one of his best-known roles, as the trade union shop steward Fred Kite, and won a Best Actor Award from the British Academy. The rest of the cast included many well-known British comedy actors of the time.

    I am going to watch this on GEM in one hour's time hoping that Sellers uses the phrase "Garradine Swine", otherwise the last thirty years have affected my memory a little.

    I predict we will demolish St.Kilda as the odds are against us and there is a lot of cash to win for a reasonable investment.

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  10. Mr Crossland, a german man, was dining with the Queen Mother when she stated "I always find beans so nourishing, do you grow beans in your native Germany, Mr Crossland" to which Mr. Crossland replied "shut up, don't you know I am a highly intelligent man?"

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