The following is drastically unedited as I have better things to do than think about the MFC right now such as go on holidays. Will sadly be back in time for next week's game so I might actually re-read this slop before then and correct the numerous errors below. Goodbye.
Sometimes, as first noted by Tammy Wynette and later Steven Kernahan, it's hard to be a woman. I've never been one myself but I'm assuming it's no harder than being a Melbourne fan. The way it's going if you're both a woman AND a Melbourne fan you have my deepest sympathies.
Yes, it appears that we are in fact still absolutely rubbish after all these years of false dawns and random hope. Call it what you want, the result of foul drafting, karma for outrageous tanking, whatever - it doesn't change the fact that even our own people are starting to referring to it as a 'rebuild' again. Another three years minimum of not being very good? That'll get the punters flocking through the gate.
Standing by your team is one thing, and I will do so until such time as either they fold or my heart does but as of three-quarter time today I'm joining the panicking masses. Things could get very, very rude for us this year. Losing to Brisbane was easily written off as an anomaly, and the West Coast debacle wouldn't have seemed half as bad if we'd stayed under the psychological barrier of 100 points but what I witnessed on Saturday afternoon was just plain wrong.
I'd love to become violently upset about it all and smash a few inanimate
objects, but really there's not that much left to give psychologically after the last five years. Of
course as previous history has shown it usually takes losing in a thriller to
cause proper sporting meltdowns, and if we're going to get beaten to a pulp every
single week then I guess I'll just sit there glumly resigned to our common fate
of following a club destined to win absolutely bugger all in our
Even my worst case scenario at the start of the year, one that had us 0-12 at the bye, involved us losing close games to the other rubbish teams. If we're going to suffer ten goal losses to Richmond then there might need to be a worser case scenario drawn up. If we manage the same against Footscray next week, a side who struggled to five or six goals against the Saints, the place will blow up (note to the Federal Police - this is not a threat, it's a metaphor).
Just remember, every loss is another 25% of abuse to be heaped upon Scumbag Scully if he dares show his face at the MCG in Round 13. It's just that nobody expected 300% extra abuse before the season started.
Not that there aren't things worth firing up about right now though, like
when in the midst of an apocalyptic firestorm while we're bleeding goals
somebody manages to give another one away courtesy of an interchange
infringement. Forget for a second that in an allegedly brutal clash of
professional athletes there is a rule that costs you a goal if an administrator
doesn't fill in his paperwork properly. That's a farce unto itself, even more
deserving of abuse than the much hated (in these parts at least) sub rule, but
consider the mental state of this place when a cavalcade of goals not only
spooks the players on the field into running around like headless chickens but freaks out the clipboardists as
well. Lucky none of them are air traffic controllers or there would be chaos in
They can spin it as desired this week (and I notice the person responsible for the Facebook account practically gave up and just gave the final score with a message saying "don't swear") but we were tremendous rubbish again. Not that I'm rushing to blame Neeld mind you - one thing I will not let you forget, no matter how bad it gets this year, is that he inherited a team which lost six of its last seven games by a total of 341 points (including two narrow losses against pox sides) and battled for two and a half quarters to shake a Gold Coast team sporting a bunch of 15-year-olds, a rugby league player and Nathan Ablett.
For all the 'signs' that we'd put together during 2010 and 2011 somebody had gone drastically wrong and it's still affecting us to this day. As much as some may wish it was this isn't Chris Scott, Nathan Buckley or to a much lesser extent Scott Watters picking up superstar laden finals sides. Neeld has been given a lukewarm, briefly microwaved turd sandwich and told to fix it. Good luck. There might be questions over the tactics but you could play any system you like and it's not going to work if nobody can properly dispose of the ball.
So you can expect another week of trial-by-media "where did it all go wrong" gnashing of teeth from journos now so firmly intent on assassinating us that they've become Colonel Willard in the final scene of Apocalypse Now. At least we're one week without substantial off-field scandals and none of the players caused celebrations at Air Crash Investigations head office by setting off a fire extinguisher halfway back to Melbourne. There was even, whisper it quietly, a good news story amongst it all and we can't cock that up unless the new sponsors have managed to insert a "shit third quarters" clause into the contract.
Still, in the wake of the fiasco in Perth (against, let's not forget a team that might very well win the flag at a ground we've been pox at for the best part of a decade) there was still a tremendous amount of self-loathing and ridiculous hand-wringing about how there's no future for us and that we'll be going out of business within five years. How appropriate then that our next match would find us matched up against Richmond, the club which has made self-loathing an art form to almost the same degree that North fans have mastered the art of holding onto a siege mentality David Koresh would be proud of.
Not that, for once, it was journos making the early predictions about our demise, this was our own fans. A tad over dramatic in the wake of an 18 goal loss I thought. It's just that when we went to Geelong and were 13 goals worse than that everyone had their piece of flesh by boiling Bailey to buggery so we were too distracted to consider that the whole place could be tipped into deep financial and footballing shit barely six months later.
Hooray then for Webjet turning up and slinging us an undisclosed amount of cash to be the front of jumper sponsor this year with an option for two more, that ought to hold the SOBs for a while, but it's not like we were going to go sponsorless until the end of time. Even if we'd spent the season outfarcing Gold Coast and GWS (still a possibility) somebody was eventually going to come along and get their slice of a nationally seen brand. Personally I was hoping that the league would cover us for the year and in return we'd feature a
cartoon depiction of the Demetriou/Anderson administration teabagging legitimate footy fans
across the back of our jumper.
Even Fitzroy managed to cut deals with Galaxy TV and Rositas Corn Chips, and while you'd want a slightly better brand of sponsor than that it's proof that you can't be in one of the biggest leagues in Australia with a blank jumper for long. The other member of the National Association of Friendless Clubs, the NRL's Cronulla Sharks, who really are about ten minutes away from folding, managed to convince Fisherman's Friend to sponsor them - and surely Webjet is paying more than a vaguely homoerotically named brand of throat lozenges.
Good blokes one and all at the Sharks too I see. At least we're on a good five year streak of having a violence against women free playing list, which is more than half the teams in the competition can say, and that's got to be good enough to earn us a back of the jumper sponsor in these tough economic times.
God knows how much we're getting out of it, but even if we're a mil down in the end that's the price of having principles, and I'd rather them than another 15 assistant coaches. Sounds like Energy Watch will be lucky to make it to the end of the season themselves the way they're going so at least we got to briefly occupy the AFL moral highground.
Millions of dollars are not to be taken lightly of course, but a club with national TV exposure every week for 30 odd weeks a year will eventually get somebody to come to the party whether it's KFC, (god forbid) China Southern, Club X or the highly apt for us Pick-A-Part. As long as you're in the AFL or NRL at least, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the big money sponsors to turn up if I somehow woke up tomorrow in the nightmare scenario of being the owner of an A-League or NBL team.
Allegedly we've got potential takers all over the place for the back of jumper so there's still hope for those of us who have been waiting for Coles to come on board and feature Cale Morton in an ad proudly proclaiming himself to have "no added hormones".
Still, you've got to be worried when even Eddie McGuire is coming out and acting like he's on the Good Friday Appeal telethon to try and get us a sponsor. We musn't have managed to steal that recruiter from the Pies, because it was only a month or so ago that he was vowing to hunt us to the ends of the earth and steal our sponsors. Well, the joke's on him - we haven't got any left to steal
There seems to be some suggestion that he had a hand in Webjet, but the club are denying it and claiming they had talks with them last year. Which is exactly what I'd say if I was in their position too, but I'm willing to accept as the truth. The last thing I want to do is be in debt to McGuire, waiting nervously for him to come and kneecap us when we can't pay him back.
I'd really like believe that he went on his 'fledgling' (i.e unwatched) talk show and announced he was going to find us a sponsor for purely noble aims, but like any politician it's hard not to suspect he's up to something that eventually involves blind self interest. I can just imagine him lining up Crown, Foxtel or similar, taking the plaudits on the Footy Show as the "best bloke in footy", then turning around at the end of the year and saying "Collingwood's done enough for you, we'll now be playing the Queen's Birthday game against Richmond", knowing that he could get a home game every other year and his cut of an 80,000+ plus crowd.
It's easy to boo and throw chairs when we get bullied by these clubs, but good on them. If you're in a position to advance your own interests at the expense of sides who have been pissweak on and off field for 50 years then why wouldn't you? For the metric truckloads of abuse we gleefully hurl at the Pies they've been doing us a favour for years in allowing us to have the Queen's Birthday game as a home match every year.
I'd love to tell them to jam it and play the Queen's Birthday game against Richmond every year instead. It's not like playing the Pies on QB is some grand tradition that's been going for a hundred years, we've been at it with three quarters of the league in the last 50 years.
It might mean splitting the receipts of a 60,000 crowd every year instead of pocketing the lot on 60-80k annually but at least we'd have our pride and not be shamefully pocketing pity money like a bankrupt housewife forced to secretly work a street corner. Dignity, always dignity. There were 50,000 odd there yesterday, no doubt inflated by it being the Melbourne home game replacement for Darwin, but surely we could still get 70 against them on the back of our huge constituency of once a year fans.
One thing you can be absolutely sure of is that finally there will be some biff at the AGM this year. The guy who got excited and rambled some incoherant complaint about what a mess we were might have been ahead of his time. Mind you the sting might have gone out of it a bit by then, if they'd held a meeting in the immediate wake of 186 they'd have had to bolt everything to the floor whereas by February the new broom had swept in, people had calmed down and it was only that lonely vigilante who saw fit to go off his tits about... something or other.
Not that anyone ever turns up to AGM's anyway but the prospect of a bit of chaos should make it standing room only at the very least. If everybody on a forum who put their fork and toaster down long enough last Sunday to type out rants calling for Cameron Schwab's instant dismissal show up then that should boost the tension level high enough to make it worth the rest of us going. Hopefully they market it as "Be there, throw a chair".
Enough off-field intrigue, back to the latest in an increasingly long list of disheartening, soul destroying performances? It's not got to the point of writing a written resignation a'la Bart Simpson to the Krusty the Klown Fan Club, but I can understand how people who have shelled out for memberships might start to exercise their democratic right to stay indoors and watch this rubbish play out on Fox Footy. At least then if it all gets too much you can always be sure there'll be an episode of Are You Being Served? or a How To Look Good Naked marathon on to switch over to.
The scoreboard show that we were very much in the game at half-time, but what an absolute lie that is. The answer to the great "next superpower" conundrum has been answered, and it will officially be neither of these teams. Sorry Richmond fans, you might be better off than us at the moment but that's like being second in command on the Titanic, you might not have driven the thing into the iceberg but you'll be floating face down in the ocean alongside us in the end.
We mastered being no good as an art-form in the first quarter. Especially out of the middle where the rot that would see us end up with even less inside 50's than last week's debacle started from pretty much the first bounce. Had we been playing any half decent side in the same circumstances there's no doubt it would have been a hundred point loss.
The dramatic love of handballing to a teammate in trouble is just the start of it. Just because somebody calls for it you don't have to give it to them. Nobody will think worse of you if just hoof it forward to a contest. Key word there is CONTEST. Which is not always the fault of the kicker. Sure, if the ball lands 30m away from any of our players you can blame the person who put it there but my god any danger of crumbers? I've almost given up. Crumb doesn't have to occur in the goalsquare, it can happen anywhere around the ground and is well effective in stopping opposition sides going from one of the ground to the other in 20 seconds flat and kicking goals on you.
The one, unexpected upside to the whole thing was the performance of Jeremy Howe. Deep in my heart I hate the way that he's not playing exclusively in the forward line and taking screamers in the goal square but no doubt he is actually quite good around the ground. At the moment he's out Jack Wattsing, Jack Watts in the Baileyball style half-back flank role. Not that Jack himself is doing too badly but the added ability of Howe to sit on people's heads every week helps immensely. Here's to him locking in on Number 38 and never changing. It's a number that needs love.
The positives run out not long after that. Jones tried hard in the middle, Watts recovered from injury to take a few good grabs around the ground and Clark was lively when the ball was going down there then almost unseen after half-time when it wasn't. Still, I'm backing Mitch as good value so far even if he did indulge in goalsquare shenanigans the likes of which haven't been seen since both Jamar and Robertson attempted to play on a centimetre out from the line a few years back and scored nothing.
It should be noted for the historical record that despite this we were winning during the second quarter and managed to kick four goals in a row. This despite being on the end of classic umpiring when a throw-in was called before the umpire realised the Richmond bloke had landed on the dinky artificial turf next to the boundary line and hit his head. Given that the interchange fiasco was still a good 50 minutes away I thought having a free against due to poor stadium design was the sign of a bad day.
Even when Richmond got back in front, with Miller once again having the time of his life sticking two fingers up at us, the situation wasn't terminal. If the Stef Martin Experience hadn't missed from 20m out and Clark hit the post we'd have been less than a goal down. But be as close as you like, this is the Melbourne Football Club - where third quarters go to die. I jokingly said that we'd probably turn around and stink the joint up in the third quarter but even I didn't think it could be as bad as it was.
In fact it was classic Melbourne, kick the first and then cop seven - including at least one straight out of the centre after a goal. Everyone just seemed to stop and forget what they were supposed to be doing. Is there a panic test for potential draftees? If not there should be and I want to pick whichever kid comes out showing the most ice-cold reaction to being left in a burning building full of venomous snakes and barrels of medical waste - because there is a distinct lack of fearlessness around the place at the moment.
The rest of the match was generally watched with head in hands and even the junk time comeback after the Tigers had given up wasn't enough to cheer me up. Even that didn't come before another classic kick-in farce cost us a goal and Grimes' streak of not injuring himself ended at 11 quarters when he was knocked out on the famous artificial turf.
Dunn was good once he came on, but that sort of cameo performance seems to be his role in life these days. See also Petterd. Sad that players who don't deserve three quarters get them and some that do are exiled to the shameful green vest because nobody's got any use for a 'fresh ruckman' off the bench. I'm generally supportive of Dunn, apart from his dinky moustache, but the way they treat Petterd is a crime. Hope he goes to Richmond and wins a flag alongside Miller and Emo Maric.
I had a second Kaiser's Sausage on the way out of the ground to make myself feel better (hint to the Kaiser, I'd feel better if you slung me a few freebies for all the free plugs). Must avoid Komfort Kaiser in the future or I'll be the biggest fat porky in town. Today a guy several rows in front stood up and his hairy crevice was clearly on show and that sort of lifestyle is to be avoided at all costs. NB: Obviously he was not an MFC fan.
So let the scumbag opposition fans and the media take their
shots. Eventually they'll punch themselves out on us and move on. We'll still be
here, even if it's as shambling wreck lurching from one disaster to
another. On the balance of things I'm still proud of be a fan of this club, its just not much fun most of the time.
2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Jeremy Howe
4 - Nathan Jones
3 - Jack Watts
2 - James Frawley
1 - Mitch Clark
Some apologies to Jamar, Bate, Garland, McDonald, McKenzie and Rivers. But not many given that even the last three vote getters were lucky to get one let alone anyone being stiff to miss.
Magner still leads despite hitting the wall, but Howe and Jones are right behind him. On the basis of the first three weeks the Experience doesn't qualify for the Ruckman of the Year because he's barely spent any time in there. At this rate Jamar might nab it if he can score a solitary vote.
10 - James Magner (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
9 - Jeremy Howe, Nathan Jones
4 - Mitch Clark, Jack Trengove
3 - Stefan Martin, Jack Watts
1 - Tom McDonald (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
Usually I cut and paste images of the classic comments, but this epic rant goes across too many pages to be successfully welded together without the use of Photoshop, and I'm far too lazy for that. So, enjoy the works of Nathaniel who randomly poured his heart with this post on the subject of the Webjet sponsorship. Not sure how the two are connected but go with him. The formatting has been left intact so enjoy the wackiest line break sequence ever seen in a non-Demonblog post.
Open Letter to the Melbourne Football Club, Mark Neeld and fellow coaches,
I have followed my football club through hard times and good, mostly
hard as we havent won a premiership in the time I have been alive, I
have seen good teams at times, bad teams at times but mostly just an
average team that has represented the greatest, oldest football club in
the land and even the world for that matter.
At the start of season
2007 I had real hopes that that was going to be our year and that all
the planning from the previous three years where we were close but not
close enough were going to pay off. A horror run with injuries at the
start of the season set the tone for the year with us getting belted
from pillar to post in the first 10 games of the season. We sacked the
coach (yes that is the real story) and then hired what I believe to be
the worst coach that we have had and by his fourth year I was calling
for his sacking as were thousands of other melbourne supporters. So that
makes 5 years of hell this club (not talking financial just playing on
game day) went through.
For the last 4 years under Dean Bailey we
were told that we were going to bottom right out and get rid of the
players that were "too old" to contribute and build on a foundation of
youth. Two years in a row we won the wooden spoon to get the best kid
coming through, one of which is so maligned because he isn't Nic Natanui
or Michael Hurley. The other....... well he took the money and ran.
We have gotten rid of so many good servants of the Melbourne Football
Club a year sometimes two years, early. We have brought these kids up to
not know what a winning culture feels like and that it was ok to get
beaten by big margins because we were getting games into the kids. Hell
we were even told by the coach that we just sacked that 100% they will
be a final 8 team next year.
In 2011, we had some really good times
(big winning margins) followed by some really horrible times (some
record losses) yet come this season with all the coaching staff changes I
felt like things were going to go well.
What i have seen dished up
so far from this team is absolutely nothing short of disgraceful. Its a
worse start than Dean Bailey had as a coach.
I guess i have a couple of questions for the you Mr. Neeld. The first being WTF?????
The second question is you inherited a highly skilled bunch of young
men, looking to take the next step, they have spent four years honing a
game plan and while it didnt always come off, you knew they weren't far
off, so why change the game plan so drastically that in season 2012 you
start off with a home loss to the brisbane lions by a considerable
margin and then get beaten by triple figures to West Coast? Why would
you not just come in and do something like Chris Scott of 2011 and
change little things here and there? build on what the boys already
They look like they have lost all of their flair that they
were starting to get and for what, so we can play like Collingwood????
We HATE Collingwood, they are the last team we want to play like. In my
experience of playing sport, while not at the highest level, most of
the time when you try and be like someone else you always lose, when you
try something different that no-one else does then you may lose but you
have a better chance of winning because they dont know how to stop you.
Why when other teams are bulking up and building muscle because so much
of football these days is about contested possession, did the Melbourne
coaching staff allow the fitness staff to make these players lose
weight and slim down???
The article in the Age today was very true in its assessment.
So here is my challenge to you Mr. Neeld, please come up with a game
plan that suits the players you have got and the kind of pre season
fitness training you put them through. For the sake of all the Melbourne
Supporters, fans and tragic's out there that want to see our club do
well. 6 Years in the bottom 3rd of the competition is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
You need to do better!!!! Finals football should be your only goal for
If anybody can beat that this year they'll probably have said something so outrageous the police end up becoming involved. Epic rant.
Have you ever seen a worse exhibition of goal-kicking than in the pre-match 'entertainment' hosted by celebrity turncoat Pete Lazar (the man of a thousand team polo shirts)? Even that one a few years back where they had recovering heroin addicts taking shots (insert Ben Cousins reference here) had a higher standard of accuracy than the numpties they plucked out today.
Just a day after I was bemoaning the lack of PA announcements directing people to whatever today's equivalent of the Ground Floor, Olympic Stand is there were two of them. You'd have thought everyone had a mobile by now, but apparently not. It's the most action the new administration office has had since Marjorie Wilson Appreciation Day in 2007. With any luck at least one of them was a Melbourne fan being informed they'd won the lottery so they can move to Tahiti and never watch this SLOP again.
No balding women amongst the Richmond faithful today, which is something new. They're aiming for a different market if the event on at Punt Road before the match was anything to go by. You could hear some peanut rapping about the Tiges from halfway up Swan Street, and as I walked towards the ground I expected that it was yet another busker trying to relieve you of your cash via gimmicks (see for instance the guy who dresses like Elmo. Shameless) but it turned out to be coming from Punt Road itself which was absolutely rammed full of kids and adults who should know better having a kick. That's what happens when your club has a home base right next door to the stadium they play in, not 35km away practically in the country.
Also apologies to the guy in front of me for accidentally half-gobbing on him when I went off abusing everybody involved with the MFC after the interchange infringement debacle. He didn't notice but it may very well have landed in the hair a bit. Oops.
Social Media strategy corner
Now, I will defend Twitter almost as violently as I'll defend the legacy of Phil Read and rank it alongside Wikipedia and YouTube as one of the features of the internet that has greatly enhanced my life but can anybody explain what footy players use it for?
Everyone mocks Harry O'Brien for being moderately interested in himself but at least you can see what he's on there for. At least express opinions on something, or make a statement. Otherwise if you're a celebrity you're really there just to tell people you've eaten a parma, brag about your prowess on FIFA, retweet stupidity from 15-year-olds and read hateful abuse from fuckwits delivered conveniently to your desktop or mobile phone.
Once upon a time footy players were all but immune from the views of nutbags like us. Sure you might have the chance to hurl a few insults at Des Tuddenham across a supermarket aisle or if he cut you off in traffic but that was it, otherwise you had to either pay your money to show up and scream at him on Saturday or sit down, write a letter, put a stamp on it, walk to the postbox and forget that you'd even sent it by the time it's thrown into the bin at the footy club.
Then the internet came along, and this may be hard for younger readers to believe, for a long time nobody cared. Even in 1998 commentators were still suggesting you "dial in" to www.afl.com.au when you were "surfing the web". There were websites (and this is a belter of a period piece) and forums but the websites were always positive and nobody had yet got searching the internet right yet (note that the previously linked site had a page that you could click to access search engines, yes kids we did used to live like this. There was no Facebook in my childhood, it was all about animated GIFs and being groomed by sex offenders).
Eventually Google turned up and it made it easy to anybody to find anything with their name on it. If only we'd known that when we were writing stupid things we now can't get rid of under our real names in the late 90's. What that meant, in conjunction with the growing powers of 'the forums' (My first registration under the Supermercado name was on BigFooty in December 2002) meant that any player who searched for his own name could instantly discover just what the fans - at least those with access to a keyboard - thought about him.
Not surprisingly it soon became common practice for players not to Google themselves lest they end up questioning everything they thought about their celebrity status. Especially fringe players, some of them would be in the mental ward with Emo Maric and Morton if they read what fat porkies like me were saying about them. No doubt some of them do give in and do a search, and there's always rumours about players posting under assumed names on forums, but generally they're not sitting there trying to find every piece of negative feedback written by a teenage scumbag or a mental defective.
Even Facebook tripped some players up. Tell me somebody saved those shots of Jack Watts and Juice Newton cavorting with older women in Bali that were on Juice's unlocked, unsecured Facebook page a couple of years ago. Comedy gold. They've sorted that out now, until the next scandal involving naked players or rubber chickens.
But Twitter, never before has there been a better opportunity to make yourself feel like you're part of the celebrity world by writing abuse to a highly paid professional. And you know they see it. It's not like when you don't Google yourself and don't find out that everybody hates your guts, they seem to be able to see all the messages that internet menace teenagers send them asking for RT's about people's birthdays and free plugs for their shitty homemade news services so they have to see the messages calling them filthy swine and total hacks as well. That can't be helpful. Maybe if you're Gary Ablett Jr (not sure Senior's account would be much chop) and can laugh it off because you've got millions in the bank or can wave premiership medallions at people and bag them for being bad supporters two days after a grand final like Dane Swan but imagine what that does for the confidence of a kid?
So why do it? You've got me buggered. Having followed, unfollowed and re-followed our players with their RT's blocked I'm still not sure why I bothered again. Seems to me like they're all just indulging in a bit of "fuck me I'm famous" work and trying to pretend they don't see the shit that nutters, including some who purport to be MFC fans, send to them. So really, they get what they deserve but imagine the kind of shit that is sent through.
Disclaimer: We all know Tom McDonald is the only Melbourne player who has got Twitter right because he follows @demonblog. This has nothing to do with him ever getting votes, honestly.
Footscray were utterly filth against St Kilda so it sounds like a good excuse to play ourselves back into form to me but this is Melbourne so congratulations to the Dogs on opening their account. If you're into emotion and that sort of stuff it IS the official Stynes tribute game so you might expect them to fire up a bit for him. Personally I expect them to fire up every week as highly trained sporting professionals, but if a bit of forced enthusiasm is what it takes to get us at least one win then so be it.
IN: Moloney, Green, Petterd
OUT: Bail, Sellar, Bartram
I know everyone wants to machine gun the older players, and neither Green or Davey are anything like what they used to be but find me the players who are smashing the door down to take their spot and then let's talk. Unless you want to play your Leigh Williams' and Kelvin Lawrence's instead and watch them get torn asunder then we might as well go with the senior players for the moment - teaching the kids is all well and good but what are they going to learn losing by 20 goals a game? Unless of course we start the shameful tanking again and suddenly there's Bennell vs Mumford ruck duels going on.
I'm completely over Bail. He's done nothing this season. Tapscott was pants as well but at least he's got an excuse based on his limited games over the past few weeks so he gets another chance.
Sellar wasn't bad but I don't know why we need him, Jamar AND Martin out there. The Experience was shite today but he's not being
used in the same way he did his best work last year. The
amount of times we're going inside 50 and the quality of the delivery
is going to make it hard for anybody spending most of their time up
there. Clark is trying hard and getting away with it but it's not
working for Stef. Let the Experience roam free.
And Bartram is Bartram. He tries hard but can we afford to carry players who, even under good circumstances, are ropey disposers of the ball? Especially in the backline. I call for his dumping with no personal malice, it's just that I can't justify having him in there when confidence around the place is already shot.
Also I'm willing to give Morton a final shot at showing something against rubbish opposition or he can join Bennell in the file of players who I've completely lost interest in and never want to see again. Bate gets another week as well just because.. well, just because really. He's not terrible but he's not doing anything damaging either. We could bite the bullet and dump him now (for Couch perhaps?) or go on for a few weeks and hope that whatever the system is he clicks into it perfectly when it gels. I'm willing to give him a couple more chances to play four quarters.
After that we play the Saints, who are not a patch on what they used to be but should still clean us up. Then it gets ugly with Geelong, Hawthorn, Sydney and Carlton on four consecutive weekends. I've decided that I can't possibly go to Kardinia Park this year and see 186 Part II. Maybe if it were free to get in (as my membership card erroneously claims) I'd take the chance of an honourable defeat with a few 'signs' (rapidly becoming the dirtiest word in the MFC supporters book) but be buggered if I'm catching a train, or driving an hour, to watch us get hammered and pay $25 for the privilege of watching it in the middle of a bunch of yokels on a frozen terrace. Maybe next year but brace for an unpredictable change of heart on the morning of the game and live updates from the Little River servo.
After the game I walked over the footbridge towards Hisense Arena to be greeted with the sight of an oval full of teenagers sitting in circles, throwing balls to each other, building human pyramids etc.. Very odd.
I'd have thought there was a One Direction concert on but there were too many males present for that. Eventually it dawned on me that they were 'young Christians', attending some Keen On Jesus Convention. Maybe it was hiding the fact that their parents didn't hug them enough or dumped them on the steps of a convent 20 minutes after birth but they did seem very happy. There's the difference between religion and sports right there. I suppose at least we get an off-season.