Saturday 6 August 2011

Bloodsport for all

Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them
Be savage again.

Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane.
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You'll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,

But you'll walk like a man

Were I any of Todd Viney, Chris Connolly, Garry Lyon or whoever the hell is running our football department these days I'd have written those words out on gigantic placards and stuck them on the wall in the changerooms before the match. It's not too cerebral for your average footballer and surely the point of it is easy to understand no matter how many concussions you've had.

In fact it's so sports bogan friendly that I, as a sports bogan, only heard it in an NFL Films production (track 27). Still, they should make kids read that in school (if it weren't that the command to "be savage" would probably lead to the little dears murdering each other) because everything said within is absolutely 100% correct even though it was written more than a hundred years ago.

After the week we've had, and the well justified kickings from the entire football community over what a complete shambles we've become, the least we could ask from our players was the touch of savagery that has sadly been lacking for many, many years. At least they delivered a sniff of it for the first 25 minutes, but if you were able to walk into the TAB and put a complicated multi on all the aspects that would make up a game of AFL football you'd have been able to put your house on what was going to happen today - albeit at $1.05 it was so obvious.

Your TAB ticket might have looked like this;

LEG 1: Team suffering a week from hell comes out breathing fire
LEG 2: but doesn't last the first quarter before running out of puff
LEG 3: leading to the opposition taking control in dominant fashion c/o superstars
LEG 4: and only missing out on delivering a triple figure beating because they start self-preservation two minutes into the last quarter.

Total payout for a $10 stake - $10.50

That's the only ticket more tragic than the one that was sitting on the steps next to me during the first quarter which read - FIRST GOALKICKER: MITCH ROBINSON. "Oh yes" I thought, "somebody has dropped their winning ticket, I'll do a casual move to pocket this while everyone's distracted and at least I'll get something out of today". Then just as I was about to completely shed my dignity in even worse fashion than the people who wear those oversized OPSM glasses another casual look revealed that the ticket was actually for last week. Even theft and fraud aren't working for me at the moment.

It was two years ago (not quite) to the day when a late season debacle against the Blues with the tank in top gear caused me to totally abandon any pretence of a 'match review' and instead just post a giant picture of Jamar and some votes. Feels a lot like that should be happening again tonight. Except two years ago if you'd told us we'd have only progressed a few tentative steps beyond that glorious day when the Russian booted five I'd have taken action to ensure I never watched footy again.

Two years ago we knew we were rock bottom last and horrible but some of us (guilty as charged) had a childlike belief that things could only get better - to the point where we'd undoubtedly be legitimate finals challengers by the end of 2011. Now here we are, shed of one coach, about to be shed of one top draft pick, owning just a handful of decent victories and with more players on our list going nowhere or backwards than forward. I was doing enthusiasm at the start of the year, and against all odds I was doing it before the Bulldogs game (via numerous ups and downs) but since then we've been served up a giantic, smelly slop bucket full of the Ebola virus. Never again I say, for the fourth time this season.

Ironically we only played one really bad quarter today, which is three better than last week, but it was almost equally as hard to find good players. Nobody was as bad, but there was hardly a standout amongst them. There was all the oomph you'd expect in the first few minutes, but when we had gilt edges chances we stuffed them up and at the other end Carlton were absolutely ruthless. At various times we were even making Brock McLean look good for the first time since the 2006 Elimination Final. In the tradition of making ridiculous comments on the internet may I be the first to say "mature aged recruit?" because you know somebody is doing exactly the same thing as you read this.

No need to watch the game if you missed it, just slap the DVD marked "GENERIC MFC GAME" on and enjoy the sporting magic unfolding before your very eyes. The only difference is that this time we almost broke even on the inside 50's today, for what that was worth.

I was comfortable with a MAXIMUM/EXPERIENCE tag-team combination in the ruck if Jamar really is injured, but sadly they were absolutely massacred. That's not always the be all and end of all it - after all how many times have we dominated the taps and been thrashed? - but when you can barely win a single centre clearance all day (and certainly none when the game is slipping away) you're going to be in a fair bit of trouble when the rucks aren't firing. Then there was Stef's negligent homicide on Tapscott later in the day. Not a red letter day for our young rucks.

For so long our defenders have been the only thing between us copping the sort of pasting that we got last week but it's almost like they're shellshocked now from having to defend so grimly for so many years. They all have their moments but they're not the steel trap combination that at least stopped us from getting belted against good teams every other week last year. Joel Mac and Garland were amongst the better players today (and at least J.Mac takes people on and plays-on WITHOUT there being an opposition player 1cm behind him - please take notes Nathan Jones) but that's based mainly on the fact that there weren't many of them. SPOILER ALERT - With a couple of major exceptions the midfielders and forwards are hardly going to feature prominently in the votes.

One forward who will feature deservedly is Jack Watts, and not only will he go bloody close to winning the Allen Jakovich Medal on here I'd like to have a sneaky bet on him at odds for the B&F as well, because he's put in some decent performances in abysmal sides this year. Unfortunately I missed his pisstake of a blind turn around nobody which left McLean standing there wondering what the hell was going on because I was too busy trying to work out who had injured themselves at the other end of the ground, but watching it online later it's retrospectively the only highlight of the day. This means that there were absolutely none in the two plus hours I was sitting there watching it. This season is really starting to grate on me.

Were I smart I'd go nowhere near Etihad Stadium next Sunday, and would even refuse to look out of my window from which I can see the ground (no, I do not live in the Remand Centre). I am not. See you there.

As for Strauss the less said about his injury the better. I saw it once and that's more than enough for me. I might not have wanted him in the team this week but the poor bastard has absolutely destroyed himself and that's shocking for any player. I wouldn't even wish that on J**d (though maybe Milne could do with a dose). The MCG were polite enough to only play it once, enough for everyone to realise just what a rude injury it was, but the same rules clearly don't apply to the rest of the media outlets. Just look at the vulture scum pretending they're horrified about seeing it, and wincing with fake angst and concern for the kid while they play it for the tenth time.

Funnily enough just a few minutes later he'd done the first thing that really impressed me since he came into the side, hitting Watts with a perfect 40m pass going inside 50, and now he's unlikely to be seen again until at least this time next year if not 2013. Imagine if it had happened to Scully? Kevin Sheedy would have topped himself. It's not to say he won't come back and play good footy but what a cruel thing to happen to somebody that young who is just establishing himself. Best wishes to him from everyone (all one of us) at Demonblog. It's times like this that you realise just how lucky we've been with really serious injuries - there's season enders like Grimes and his foot and then there's shockers like this and we've been pretty lucky to avoid them over the years.

The hat-trick of misses from Watts, Dunn and Green which started from that Strauss kick to the Million Dollar Manchild all but did us in, as if we weren't going to get turned over anyway. Get out the Big Book O'Footy Stereotypes, flick past BULLER, MT and all the humorous gags about us yelling PIP PIP off the ski-lift and go straight to K for "kicked themselves out of it", where commentators firmly believe that a side who are completely outmatched and who are clearly going to lose actually cost themselves the game by not taking their opportunities. It certainly wouldn't have hurt, but look at Essendon/Collingwood last week if you want to see what usually happens when a rubbish side bounds out to a shock lead against a substantially better team.

Fact was Carlton were always the better team by a million miles, and even if we had kicked those goals and taken a 20 point lead there was always going to be a time where they'd turn it on and bang us unmercifully like the low self esteem, confidence free, gang of emos that we are.

We were still hanging on, just there (even though we were winning for much of the quarter) when Strauss had his mishap and after Howe got his goal that was their cue to turn it up and treat us with contempt. From Tapscott bombing one into the square at the 32 minute mark we suddenly managed to concede another three goals - the worst of which saw them deliver the sort of kick-in that would cause grown men to weep if we did it and go down the other end in about 20 seconds flat to kick a goal.

All wasn't completely lost at quarter time, but it was pretty soon after. Enter C. J**d, the man who will only get his name back on this site when [$omeone else] does a runner to GWS for megabucks and loses theirs. He'd been good but not great in the first quarter but decided to turn on an absolute clinic in the second. He wasn't alone either, they barely had one player who didn't cut us to shreds. It was utterly ugly, but at least I'd seen worse in the previous seven days.

Eight goals to nil by the end of it and all of a sudden Watts is roving the backline and it seems like nothing has changed from if not last week (nothing could be worse) then a fortnight ago against Hawthorn. Funny to think that after that game we (i.e me) thought that we were still a red hot chance of playing the finals if things went our way in the last three games. Enough of that talk, we're rubbish and it's time to admit it instead of holding onto the

The one thing that was missed in the furious backtracking by the media who tried to get rid of him after Bailey's classy exit was that the fact we are (probably) going to win more games this year than in 2010 is an horrifically overrated stat. Winning games last year meant something because there were only one or two rubbish teams, and even they had their moments (Brisbane over Collingwood anyone? WCE beating us? Maybe the second one not so impressive) whereas this year you've got Gold Coast, Port and Brisbane who are absolute solid gold certainties for four points.

Despite the far more even competitive league last year (how many 120pt+ wins?) we went into the last weeks with an outside chance at playing finals then as well - and I'd argue that we were far better equipped to play in September then and have gone backwards this season. We stuffed up those three games but at least we were in the third last one against Hawthorn right until the last few minutes, this year they'd have pummelled us.

Injury hasn't helped but there's also obviously intensive mental issues both on and off the field. For instance how many times this year could we have rushed a point but hestitated before finally coughing up a goal. Somebody sit these kids down and say this is what you can do, this is what you can't do and if we get rorted by the umpires on a 50/50 one then so be it. Instead you get mass panic whenever the ball goes down there, almost inevitable disaster and the farce of the one time somebody did try and rush one through they handballed it straight to a Carlton player who would have waltzed in unchallenged if J**d hadn't already (amazingly) been pinged for a throw.

It pains me to admit that the Melbourne supporting junior and latterday turncoat is an amazing player. You don't need to come on here to find that out, but if that's what we're eventually going to miss out on with Scully then I hope the compensation picks we get deliver because what we desperately need now is a natural leader in the middle, with the grunt to get the job done week in, week out no matter whether or not the rest of the side are pulling their weight.

"Moloney's missing Jamar" said somebody around me, and if that's what we're relying on for success in the midfield then no wonder we're so necked. We all enjoyed the Psychic Friends Connection when it was at it's peak, but surely everyone knew that after they combined to thrash the pants off the Crows earlier in the year that opposition teams would twig on it and make sure that they couldn't combine at every single centre bounce. They did, we have no plan B, Jamar has been ordinary since he came back and Moloney just gets slaughtered against good sides - and it's not all his fault, if we could get somebody else in there to give him a hand it would help. Funny that considering we've spent years drafting midfielders, but welcome to the wonderful world of the MFC.

From the third quarter onwards it was procession football, and only their disinterest in hurting themselves before the important end of the year stopped us from another farce and Todd Viney from joining the Dean Bailey Horror Coaching Debuts coterie group. The only moments of note in the second quarter were Green giving away a free and subsequently a goal by jostling with some oaf at the other end of the ground.

It's all well and good that people are whinging about Green being no good as a captain, but please tell me who you're going to replace him with. My first instinct would be Moloney but he's hardly your man if you want somebody who is going to perform week in, week out. Second choice would be Trengove but having already buried McLean and to a lesser extent Grimes by annointing them as future captains I'm wary about doing it a third time.

Either way I wouldn't be surprised if the new coach has a full Gillard style leadership spill when he (or she, why not be innovative if you're going to be shit anyway?) takes over. Let Brad get back to doing what he does best and go for a long term option instead. If he cracks the sads and throws the toys out of the pram over getting dumped then the door is that way. I love Brad (in a mostly heterosexual manner) and defend him to the death most of the time but even I'm starting to think we could with somebody else in the job. Will we have a new captain by R1, 2012? Depends on who gets the coaching job I'd say - if it's a first timer he'll probably leave it the same, if it's a bit of a psycho like Williams/Laidley/Malthouse he'll probably slash and burn. Either way, leadership groups are still the biggest wank in football.

All in all another great day at the footy. Can't for the life of me understand why there were about 500 MFC fans there. Roll on 2012/13/14/whenever.

2011 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
In a slight improvement over last week the top two at least deserve their votes. The next three barely squeeze in but they deserve it more than the four in the apologies. Who would have thought that it would be actually be harder to give out votes in 2011 than it was for most of 08/09?

5 - Jack Watts
4 - Jack Trengove
3 - Lynden Dunn
2 - Colin Garland
1 - Joel Macdonald

Apologies to Gysberts, Jones, Moloney and Howe in no particular order.

Grandstand finish in prospect between five men who have never won the least coveted award in AFL footy, but does anybody deserve it right now? You know you're in trouble when the guy leading by three votes is getting dropped.

At least if there's any justice in the world the season will end with (at least) two straight wins and whoever does break free from that group to take the medal will have to do it by playing well in a win instead of scoring votes for being the least shit in a demoralising shambles.

27 - Colin Sylvia
24 - Stefan Martin (OMFG LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Watts
23 - Brent Moloney, Jordie McKenzie
16 - Mark Jamar
13 - Jack Trengove, James Frawley (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
11 - Ricky Petterd, Jared Rivers
10 - Jordan Gysberts, Joel Macdonald
9 - Colin Garland
8 - Jeremy Howe (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Brad Green
6 - Luke Tapscott, Lynden Dunn
5 - Rohan Bail
4 - Michael Evans, Tom Scully
3 - Jack Grimes, Liam Jurrah, Nathan Jones
2 - Clint Bartram, Neville Jetta
1 - Addam Maric, Matthew Bate

Crowd Watch
Did Carlton win the award for the worst banner ever today? Can somebody please explain what this means.
What I think it means is that they had a competition via Facebook to come up with a poor rhyme for their banner and that was the winner, but I'm not entirely sure because they're a cheersquad and anything can happen when you get people like that together.

If that is the case then their cheer squad are the biggest tightarses ever because then they turned it around so that the competition winner was facing the other way and the players instead ran through a banner advertising Telechoices. Very inspirational. Obviously they didn't need actual motivation to beat us. And further proof, as if you needed it, that Carlton will whore any aspect of their club out for cash. I reckon we'd be the same if anybody was interested in spending money on us. Can't see Outback Jacks having the sort of funding to do that sort of thing, and now that Hankook are walking away from being on the front of the jumper (because the logo isn't in the right place? Weirdos) all we've got is the promise of some mystery company turning up and being a lucrative new sponsor. Cue running through a "BP - WE CARE" banner next year with crepe paper sea creatures covered in West Texas crude oil.

Apart from that I was surrounded by exactly the sort of quality you'd expect at a Carlton game. A small child behind me who was so angry, bitter and twisted that he either had Tourette's or is a victim of abuse, a woman who amusingly had exactly the same voice and range of comedy comments as the abused child and a lone maniac who sat there screaming random comments all day and was still doing "we are getting robbed by the umpires" ironic boos for free kicks well into the last quarter when they were a million points in front.

Then there was the peanut directly in front of me who was delivering some of the worst attempts at comedy in history. At one point when Zach Tuohy (who appears to be better than half our list, hopefully only because he's surrounded by class) ran around somebody with ease he yelled out "THE IRISHMAN! SELLS HIM THE POTATO!" to the genuine amusement of the tossbags he was with. Forget that it made absolutely no sense and that it's practically a racist comment, apparently it was absolutely the funniest thing in history if you're the sort of cockhead who leaps on his friend and starts giving him a noogie at 3/4 time (and presumably a reacharound at the final siren).

Then, as if that wasn't bad enough he sits there and says "Geez, I didn't know whether that line was going to come off.. but it DELIVERED!" and high fived somebody. He didn't look like Dwayne Russell but he had all the characteristics. Odds on he's an ordinary human in his daily life, and double odds on he'll somehow end up reading this and will post some garbage comeback. As long as it's better than his 'classic' sledge of the umpires in the third quarter which consisted of "HEY UMPIRE! FUCK YOU!" we'll all be fine. A tip, if you are going to write in with foul abuse at least make it innovative because if it involves patches on leather jackets or ski resorts you will be doing more damage to yourself than me.

Next Week
I shudder to think what the crowd is going to be like against the Eagles. When they came out before the start of the year and spoke about how our draw was "a great football draw, but a bad business one" I don't think they expected that the two would come together in one apocalyptic battle of disinterest early one Sunday afternoon.

Is the crowd required for a break-even at Docklands 25k? Because we'll be lucky to get 25 full stop the way we're going considering the natural hatred for the place by our fans even when we were good. It's a shame they're shutting the top deck because I'd like to have an entire wing to myself.

Changes? Who cares. Jamar aside it's not like we've got scores of quality players banging the door down to get a game. Sylvia and Jurrah will no doubt come straight back now that they've had the smack on the wrist but other than those three there's not a great deal in reserve. Obviously Strauss is out, they've clearly got no interest in Bate (and for the second time this year he came on as sub and didn't do much) and Tapscott has already been knocked into next week so he might be in trouble too.

Any more injuries and our training sessions are going to start looking like this;

After that..
West Coast murder us, we're no certainty of beating Richmond the way we're playing at the moment, Gold Coast should (SHOULD) provide the platform for a "We Are The World" style win where we pretend that we're not shit and hopefully Port are still last going into the final game and prefer to have the first pick after GWS (Selection 54?) instead of the pride of not finishing last on the ladder.

What a sad, sad way this year is petering out. Having our last three games against garbage teams is starting to look a lot less appealing now than it did a few weeks ago.

Break out the phantom drafts and outrageous invented trade rumours because this year is absolutely finished no matter what sort of rorts you can invent via creative use of the (RIP Dean) Bailey Ladder's Ladder Predictor. God forbid the Eagles bus drives off the Tullamarine Freeway on the way to the ground and we somehow win next week then we'll revist this but at the moment there's as much chance of us beating them in that match as there is of me being asked to provide a motivational speech to the players before it.

Was it worth it?
Murray Wrensted. 1988 Elimination Final. Thanks for nothing you clown.

Final thoughts
If I were Mick Malthouse I'd rather mop the toilets at the Westpac Centre than go out of my way to get the job of coaching this lot next year. See also Clarkson, Al. The only hope we've got of landing a prominent coach is if Eade gets the arse at Footscray.


  1. If Garry Lyon is right about us having the skills but not the confidence then maybe if we had been three goals up at quarter time (as we could/should have been)it could have been different? Dare to dream...
    BTW I'll bet our new sponsor is Bank of Melbourne. You can't go 5 minutes without seeing their new logo on something...

  2. By the time I left the G the Storm had done their business. They had won. They had won fairly convincingly. And yet their supporters were processional. There was just a quiet reverence. The bus trip home lacked any euphoria of victory. This is not the first time that this has happened to me. But as an AFL supporter this is spooky. Seriously spooky. Don't they play the team song after a victory? Do the supporters sing it at the ground and then just go home: “Yes that was very nice and now let's go home.”
    The Carlton supporters would have been cock-a-hoop. Won by a huge margin. Juddy had polled another 3. Life was brilliant, let's celebrate. Meanwhile Melbourne clearly demonstrated that they have no idea. The classic was the goal by Scotland. There was an overturned free kick Melbourne surrendering the ball to Carlton. In the confusion Scotland went for a stroll into the empty Carlton forward line. He'd worked it out. By the time one and one only Melbourne player realised what was happening it was a fait accompli. The pass like a bullet to Scotland and another tap in goal for Carlton. Whoopee! There is this huge coaching panel and nobody teaches awareness? The opposition kick out: the longer the full back holds the ball the more the pressure. Give them no options; man on man stuff. The longer he holds the closer you get. No not Melbourne. The opposition has always got away from our forward line. No pressure. Options everywhere. The short to the player in the pocket. The tap and go. Draw one of ours and pass. Or go for the long over the back. Melbourne shows no awareness of what's about to happen; just lets it happen. The awareness was there in the first quarter, well at least until the last 5 minutes. Then after that it was over. No awareness no accountability. Perhaps the only saving grace of this season has been to watch the development of Jack Watts. And beware Garry Lyon the psychopathic brain that has corrupted the administration will not be enamoured by the white knight riding in to put everything to rights.

  3. I was the peanut infront of you, which means you were the overweight middle aged man behind me who groaned each and every time Carlton scored a goal against his team.

    You're also the guy that left with over 15 minutes in the last term, if you're going to write a 3000 word diatribe about their clubs situation, at least wait until the end of the match. You might not beat the traffic, but you'll certainly retain some level of respect.

  4. Fairly poor attempt at satire there, but points for taking the time out to try it.

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