Friday 11 May 2012

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

Welcome home everyone. As Gerard Healy rightfully pointed out in 1985 there's a feeling in the air that you can't get anywhere, except in Melbourne. And that feeling is, as it was then, that you've been cheated.

Yes, the Melbourne Football Club is well and truly back where it/we belong. In last place. A new, sick 18th placed variety of last place. Wherever they are now (heaven, hell, Hawthorn) the members of the 1905, 1906, 1919, 1923, 1951, 1969, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1997, 2008 and 2009 squads are shifting up a few seats and making room for the 2012 team at the Wooden Spoon Reunion - sadly shaking their heads in the knowledge that they only finished 8th, 9th, 12th and 16th when universally declared the worst team in the land. They'd better stop adding teams to the competition soon or we'll find ourselves in the 20's.

The reality is that as strange as it sounds at the moment we probably won't finish last, but unfortunately we've managed to find yet another loophole to exploit which would - if you're really keen on ruining an entire generation of supporters - support us retiring all the old players en masse and playing Kelvin Lawrence in the ruck later in the year. Here I was a few weeks ago proudly (hopefully) declaring that no matter how shit we got there was no point in rolling out the tank again, now suddenly everyone's abandoned all hope and realised that we can grab Jack Viney practically free on top of three Round 1 picks (including selection) if we suicide bomb the rest of the season.

Not exactly looking like we'll need to at the moment, but it's no wonder we've ended up here with the draw we've had. Ok so we got the Lions at the wrong time and blew it in spectacular fashion when they're almost as bad as we are, and we've only got ourselves to blame for losing to Footscray but the rest has hardly helped. By the time we get to the game against GWS, now cancelled as the first ever clash between two 0-11 sides, we'll have been so psychologically battered that anything could happen but surely, SURELY, we've got enough to beat them at least.

Ok they won yesterday but if they quickly return to type like Gold Coast did after their first win last season (ok, so they beat Brisbane two weeks later but let's conveniently ignore that) and we beat them comfortably or otherwise - and I'm firmly tipping otherwise - then surely we couldn't finish below them without seriously embarassing ourselves and ending up with a membership of 10,000 next year.

Personally I'm over playing the maths. I reluctantly went along with the tank last time because I was promised riches, but it didn't happen so this time you can all get stuffed. I don't care if we finish 0.1% out of last I've had enough of us acting like we're trying to get one of those world's dumbest criminals lists where the guy robs the bank then uses his own card on the ATM outside ten minutes later. We're not smart enough to pull off these Machiavellian schemes so unless we're absolutely garbage naturally let's take Viney with whatever we have to pay for him and enjoy two other first round picks with our heads held (relatively) high instead of acting like the AFL's equivalent of a street beggar. Believe it or not success can come from using the draft normally and not cheating endlessly in the hope it will eventually work.

Besides, tell me the AFL aren't absolutely gagging for any chance they can get to strip us of a high pick which can be given to one of their lovechild teams. Sporting teams on the Gold Coast have a worse survival rate than a passenger on an Indonesian airline so if that lot don't start winning soon and the crowds continue to be mediocre they're going to start losing some serious money - then it's going to get ugly for anyone who stands in the way of their masterplan.

Not having awarded the team in anything approaching a fair ``manner they will hardly admit defeat and start shopping the team around to Tasmania, they'll give them more and more concessions until they can guarantee success and crowds - and now that they've got special projects to look after they won't be so kind on teams who blatantly throw matches. If they do decide to go down this path, and for god's sake at least get a couple of wins on the board first, it will have to be done very carefully so that even if everybody knows what's going on they can't prove it.

Even better just play properly and let the cards fall where they may. Push a few broken down senior players out the door at the end of the year, wave two fingers at the cowards who walk out on us for 'success' elsewhere and use whatever picks we get as best we can. Sure the more picks you get the more chance there is of hitting gold, but let's try integrity and picking decent players for once. I don't care if they're sex rompers or they've got ugly girlfriends as long as they can run faster than an 80-year-old woman and kick a football to a target consistently then I'll have them.

In the wake of Friday night and the half-surprise of the GWS victory just how bad are we at the moment? Well, I'll leave that to you to decide but one thing I won't be providing is a statistical analysis of how many quarters we've won/lost/drawn since Round 2007.

There's nothing I enjoy more than framing the disaster movie that we've become with a classic #statmybitchup figure. So, left on my own at Demonblog Towers on Thursday night I decided to sit down and work out that quarter figure. In the same scenario most men would use the time to slap on the DVD of White Wife Black Gentleman's Sausage #9 and sit down to a cavalcade of obscenity. Not me sadly.

I should have opted for the other choice because sitting down to relive the last few years ago was a stupid idea and I'm not sure what benefit it was intended to provide. At least that list posted couple of weeks ago surprisingly showed that Richmond are about a year away from overtaking us as the worst side of the 2000's. This would have been purely grim reading from start to end. No thanks. The project was shelved somewhere around the five minute mark when I realised the foolish nature of it all. Does anyone need another horrible number to cry over? Let's just assume it was going to be horrific reading anyway, add three to the LOSS column and one win (no really) from this week and get on with concentrating on modern tragedies.

Still, I must admit that considering the state we find ourself in I'm strangely, serene and calm about it all. Admittedly on Friday night I was briefly in danger of kicking the seat in front of me to death with somebody in it, but generally it's got a detachment that feels like watching a bad movie over, and over again. It's certainly no 2007 when first we thought we were going to win the flag then lost everything including two absolute heartbreakers which led to embarassing tantrums on my behalf. This year the closest we got was from a quarter where we didn't even score, so ask me again how calm I'm feeling when we get dudded in a thriller.

In a sick and twisted Twin Peaks style fashion, I feel like the last few years have been my 'best' as a Melbourne fan. Results and regularly crushed hopes and dreams obviously not included, but I've never been more 'engaged and active' (whatever that means, I'm not volunteering to cut up crepe paper for banners or anything) in 20+ years. Maybe 'concerned' is more appropriate than either engaged or active, in the same way that the Taliban are 'concerned'.

There's a big difference between being properly emotionally invested in this stuff (football that is, not religious based enslavement) and just half interested. I could have cared less for most of 1997, semi-listening to games on the radio and not showing up once for the first 16 rounds. They were glory days, when all the stress in the world came from being an unattractive teenager instead of what some clowns did on a footy ground.

The current thinly veiled air of serenity aside I've been up the 'obsession' mountain and have only just started coming back down the other side and it's not healthy. When football consumes your every waking thought it's either time to see a psychologist, find another hobby or support a club which makes it a pleasant experience rather than a non-stop funeral procession.

At least I'm no longer inclined to feel like ralphing every five minutes during a match. Not that I'm ruling out buying a lift pass to the top of Mt. Spewmore again, it could come back at any time. Maybe we should get involved in a close meaningful game again and then we'll see if I don't end up projecting the wreckage of a Kaiser's Sausage Hot Krainer across the Ponsford Stand. I can confidently predict that the Kaiser will have grown from two MCG outlets to become the biggest fast food company in the world by the time that happens.

I suspect this is what it's like to be an avid follower of a major political party when they're down on their luck and out of office for decades at at time. At least one thing you can be sure of in politics is that at least you know your side will always try to win and nobody will be suggesting that you throw seats and decimate your standing in parliament on the half promise that it will magically one day fulfil a promise of victory and good times.

What we do have in common with your favourite failed parties is that we've frantically cycled through leaders looking for somebody to right the sinking ship. The result has been financial stability (hoorah) and turdburger footy (booo). Now Neeld is playing Kevin Rudd to Daniher's Kim Beazley and Bailey's Simon Crean (without Daniher returning to replace Bailey then get the arse again) and trying to break through before presumably being knifed by some hack when he becomes moderately unpopular.

At least we get the opportunity to be good every year, in politics they've only got one shot every three or four years to get it right. I can't think that would be pleasant for the hardcore, base membership of the parties who are tonked from pillar to post every few years. It's ok for us to turn up, number boxes as required and go home to shake our fist angrily at the screen if our chosen side gets rolled but the passionate, paid up members of these organisations must start to wonder if the cycle of farce after debacle after shambles will ever end. Sound familiar?

Take the Queensland Labor Party for instance, they might be suffering from a disaster of 'barely able to field a netball team' proportions at the moment but at least they can be sure that they're not going to spend another 42 years on the outer as they did from 1957 to 1989.

With the additional hurdle of a fantastically rigged electoral system they lost ten straight elections in that time before Sir Jo and Co necked themselves by being openly corrupt and shambled through two more leaders before finally being tossed out. By the time the ALp finally got back in they'd been through ten leaders - one of whom was later jailed as a sex offender. This was hardly an organisation operating at its peak, but still even in their last losing effort nearly 600,000 people rolled up to vote for them.

The majority of that 600k would have been casual voters, rolling in to do their duty with the expectation that they were going to lose again but there must have been a hardcore base who by the mid 80's wanted to leap off the Storey Bridge. Which puts them very much in common with our fans in the same period. So if the casual voter was over the moon when they finally won then imagine the piss-on that the people who'd been out there actively trying to win for the last 40 something years would have had?

And that, via the longest and most boring metaphor in the long history of Demonblog, is where you and I sit. There are a lot of casuals out there who don't really care and cheerfully take the jokes in the office but couldn't identify Daniel Nicholson in a police lineup, and there's a lot who will storm back onto the bandwagon the moment it looks like we're back in town but the only people who will be able to hold their head up with pride are the ones who stayed strong throughout the brown years.

You don't have to go to every game, you don't have to blog/tweet/post on forums/write threatening notes to the club with letters cut out from newspapers but as long as you're holding a membership, maintaining the rage in your own special way and doing what you can to rope innocent children and new arrivals from overseas into following us then you're doing more than most. I will see you all in football heaven, where each man and woman will be provided with 72 players who can hit a free target by foot at 100% accuracy.

So anyway, now that we've got heartfelt pleas out of the way we can concentrate on having lost again. Well bugger me there's a surprise. Nobody other than the criminally insane or naive thought we'd win anyway, and that the most we could hope for was another one of these rubbish honourable losses so if you offered me a lead at quarter time I'd have taken it gladly even if it did turn into an eleven goal loss. But it's the nature of the eleven goal loss that is cause for concern - we were only in front at quarter time because Hawthorn couldn't kick straight to save themselves and spent the rest of the night taking the piss a'la Geelong last week.

In true footy cliche tradition I'm willing to 'buy in' to the long term Neeld plan but what in the name of Dutch buggery was he doing with Mitch Clark? The inaugural leader of the MFC Power Rankings is a dead set animal and almost single handedly had us in front at quarter time and somehow wound up going nowhere near the forward line for most of the second half.

Ok, so he didn't get near it in the second quarter but that's mainly because we were too busy shambling around in the backline to go attack in any decent fashion and put him to his best use. Didn't help that in defence we were trying to set the Hawks up for a pinball style million point play by botching every kick-in. Not to mention Garland taking his chance to look like an absolute twat in front of the entire country with the worst kick-in since the day either Simon Buckley or Chris Johnson tried to play-on and fell flat on his face in the square.

At least for Garland the damage had been well and truly done by that point, and just like when somebody stuffed up the interchange paperwork and cost us a goal against Richmond it was the final insult of a rampage that had already finished the game off. Then just to add another brown flecked cherry on top Howe missed a sitter, opening the door for another Hawthorn goal. And just like that we'd self-destructed, throwing away any hope of earning some respect in front of a substantial TV audience - at the start anyway, it wouldn't have lasted.

With the game over at half time we could have given some sort of decent account of ourselves in the second half. We've come back from further behind but this wasn't flaky Freo with a 51 point lead, it was a team who had already flogged us to death once in the pre-season and who were racking up possessions at will while 3/4 of our players ran around like headless chickens without ever looking like they were going to get a kick.

It should be noted for the record that yes, Ricky Petterd did rack up absolutely no possessions in the first half. Didn't that improve the quality of the night for those amongst us who had spent the last few weeks crying about how unjust it was that he was being left out of the side? No regrets, we were right even if it probably means he'll never been seen in the senior squad again.

Obviously something needed to change after being trampled on in the second quarter but did it really need to involve removing Clark from the area he'd dominated in the first quarter? Jamar had hardly been world class in the middle but it wasn't his fault that our ball movement takes place at glacial speed and that his teammates are kicking to winning matchups like Roughead vs Bennell or Franklin vs Morton. Maybe somebody watched the video of him kicking five against Carlton during the week and fancied a repeat, but it's a pipedream if you think he's going to do that on a regular basis - he can't even kick a set shot anymore let alone bag five.

Mitch was good at what he did when he took over in the middle, and his fierce second efforts just enhanced his credentials as hero to the masses, but at what cost? We scored 23 points in the first quarter and 26 combined in the next three. He had 19 of the first 23 and just one more as we aimlessly booted it inside 50 or broke down across half-forward time after time, allowing the Hawks to walk the ball out of defence and down the ground under no pressure where they'd inevitably end up scoring. It's a sad indictment that Clark is not only our best goalkicker and best crumber that he's also our most accomplished practioner of forward pressure this season. He does it all because seemingly nobody can be bothered.

Ok so Putting On The Fitz wasn't having a particularly good night, but given that we weren't going to win anyway and his senior career had so far extended to one and a half games maybe it would be better to give him the full four quarters for experience and damn the result? By the time the first half ended we were always going to come out as the crisis club of the AFL so let the kid play. As much emotional investment as I put into Petterd's return over the last couple of weeks he was clearly giving NOTHING and could easily have been replaced instead of taking off the second ruckman.

Even then if Fitz had to go, and that could be the end of him for a while if the SME gets the recall, why not Jamar playing in the middle with random bursts of Mitch Magic? He's rucked four quarters solo enough times that playing 75% of the second half can't have done him much damage. Like I said Clark did a good job but was nobody watching him marking everything and booting goals from ludicrous angles for the whole first quarter? Did it not occur to one of our 250 coaches and assistants that we might like this to continue? Obviously not.

I was just waiting for him to do his knee or similar in a ruck contest, and I swear if that had happened my support for Neeld would have been over. I'm generally supportive so far, despite having some serious questions about what the hell is going on, but the Mitch is sacrosanct at the moment.

I've got my issues with some of the stuff they're doing but it's certainly not time yet to overreact in spectacular fashion yet. Even if god help us all we go this whole year and don't win a game then there's not much to be gained from putting the coach up against a wall. It will absolutely ensure an AGM with flying furniture though, so that's something to look forward to.

Much like last week we were only in it early because the vastly superior opposition were taking the piss. I walked into the ground pondering how much you'd get for Cyril Rioli as first goalkicker, then luckily forgot to go to the TAB because my night would have been ruined even more if I'd been robbed out of hard cash by him fumbling it on the line and stuffing up an absolute sitter. That was pretty much the entire first quarter, other than Clark running riot at the other end. Hawthorn racking up points that should have been goals while we clung on with our fingertips, waiting to be trampled when they decided to turn up. Which they did not long after.

To be fair we did pay back their failed shots of goal during the first quarter with the two rancid efforts by Trengove and Howe during the second, but by then the damage had already been done and the match was well and truly gone - it was just taking the piss that Howe was missing from directly in front and Trengove was failing to make the distance from 30m out.

Maybe if those two rank awful shots on goal weren't our only scores of the entire second quarter they'd have been easier to take. Just another one of those fantastic, exciting quarters that make you want to break out your credit card every November and renew as a member. This is the sort of era that they invented the auto-renew memberships to guard against.

It's not that they were kicking goals at will and that we were suffering from world class kick-in debacles it was that you could look away for two or three minutes at a time and not miss one decent possession by a Melbourne player. A couple of wild shanks or a handball to a teammate one foot away was about as good as it got for most of the term. One half of me was on the verge of unleashing a primal scream and storming out but the other has been so desensitised to this sort of thing that I could afford to sit there looking glum and only unleashing the odd wail when it all became too much.

It would help if we could get the ball out of the middle more than a handful of times every quarter. Moloney was robbed out of a spot in the leadership group, and possibly out of being captain, but he and his manager certainly picked a bad week to come out swinging their dicks about him ditching us for fat cash at another club under free agency. Other than a couple of classic Psychic Connection era taps from Jamar I don't think his market value was exactly enhanced.

Granted we don't want to lose experienced players, and granted that he's the reigning best and fairest and has played a couple of decent games this year but I'm not entirely comfortable with the free agency concept yet so it's hard to justify basically coming out and saying "I'll be off then" seven weeks into the season. I know he's said nothing of the sort personally, but I didn't see him charging to the media to issue a denial or - god forbid - sign a new contract. Which he might very well do in the end (see also Jamar) but it'd be nice to have some indication that we're not going to go the rest of the year with one of our most important players doing that bullshit "will he/won't he" game which always ends in "he did".

Maybe when we're the ones picking off a quality player from elsewhere I'll have a miracle conversion to the concept that loyalty is dead (and I suppose there is the small matter of the Clark/Freo thing) and come to terms with it but even though I sort of understand where they're coming from I can't accept players dicking us to go and look for 'success' elsewhere.

No move guarantees success - going to Collingwood, Carlton, Hawthorn or Geelong guarantees 100% you'll be in the finals this year but that's as close a free kick as you get to the premiership, you've still got to get picked in the side and win a Grand Final. Having said that I'm sure that Moloney and Jamar took Brad Green out and got him absolutely plastered he'd let slip that he wishes he had gone to Collingwood when he had the chance instead of lining up against Cameron Bruce at Box Hill City Oval and being shabbily treated by his own 'fans'.

I want Moloney to stay, just like I want Jamar to stay but if 'testing the waters' means trying to rip more money out of us than they're worth just because one guy has been paid over the odds then just go. In a few years we'll adjust to the heartless capitalism of free agency but not now, not when we're on our knees. Tell us you're in the for the long haul or piss off now and let us lose with people who are committed to our cause for the future instead of thinking about their retirement fund.

If these guys dick us I hope we treat the rookie draft with contempt and pick all players over 25-years-old who have played in SANFL or WAFL grand finals. If there's anybody who can wreck the concept of mature age rookies it's us but we've got enough kids floating around the margins, get some legitimate adults in there and if one or two work then good - and if they don't at least Brett Lovett and the Scorpions will be thrilled to get some experienced players in.

Speaking of midfielders Jones was ok, but nothing like he has been over the last couple of weeks so you can blame the Herald Sun for featuring him on the back page. It's taken out so many of our players before that it's getting to the point where the club should start saying "thanks, but no thanks" when the papers start calling. Especially given that every feature article about us at the moment is along the lines of "how I'm coping with my team being shit". Nobody needs a reminder of how shit we're are so stop turning it into a We Are The World style telethon. No wonder 'certain people' are talking about scabbing us for 'success' elsewhere.

I know who I did like last night and that was Clint Bartram. He's been in Morton/ Bennell territory for a long time but if that wasn't his best game for us in years then I'm not here. I note he didn't even make the top five according to the esteemed journalists of The Age so maybe I've just got no bloody idea but it was enjoyable. Your opinion may vary.

You have to feel sorry for Morton though, he sits down for a 60 Minutes style in-depth interview about what a hard time he's had over the last couple of years then after two decent games in a row he unleashes some absolute howlers and stuffs any chance of a tearful return to fan favourite status. In the overall scheme of things he wasn't awful, but he wasn't much good either and unfortunately what everyone will remember, especially after the TV plays it fifty times, is that his awful kick out on the full came when we were still winning a minute into the second quarter. We didn't stay in front much longer.

Tom McDonald can also look forward to appearing in disaster highlight packages for the rest of the year after that shocker off the side of his boot that cost us a goal in the last quarter. Told you I liked him but was uncomfortable when he kicked it. Still happy to stick with him for the moment but book him in for an appointment with the famous club psychologist to make sure it doesn't end up with him plummeting into a spiral of depression a'la Morton.

Do we have a psychologist? Would seem to be a good investment considering the run we've had over the last few years and the fact that it's our players dominating the list of worst win/loss records in the league. The top 20 alone features Morton, Jones, Bate, Martin, Garland, Petterd, Dunn, Frawley, Bennell and Bartram. At least four of these guys are absolutely crucial to us in the next couple of years, and most of the others can play some sort of role so can we intervene before they all play the 'success' card to walk out on us or become dysfunctionally depressed at the way their career is going. Incidentally #1 on the list is Matthew Warnock, so we're about 80% responsible for that too. No doubt we'll take the piss and recruit Jake King or Kepler Bradley to continue the trend.

I don't mind losing, even when it's seven straight and counting (this year anyway), but can we try to do it without looking like total gibbons? Everyone knows the media loves nothing more than to drop the knee on a pre-battered target, let's not provide the ammunition. Make their job of finding highlights to shame us difficult instead of handing it to them on a silver platter of disgrace. Dare I say Garland's moment of madness could have been avoided if he'd kicked it straight down the middle to Morton all on his own 30m away. Gameplan or lack of trust in teammate? Either way kicking it at him would have made more sense than trying to dance around Cyril Rioli a metre outside the square because you play on from the square and suddenly realise you haven't got any options.

I'm not surprised that defenders are having random moments of psychological distress, they've been under siege for so long it's no wonder they're starting to crack. It's costing us goals every week, even more than being rorted by the umpires. Forget Moloney and Jamar it wouldn't surprise me if eventually Frawley got tired of being the shining light in a weekly shambles and told us he was off somewhere else for a rest, and his case I almost wouldn't blame him because he deserves it.

It's become legitimately boring to watch us. People pay money to come and see their team attack, not to watch them treated like a Lada Riva towed onto an army missle test range. There is no joy in seeing your team use the ball 165 times less than the opposition and people will start jumping off.

It's lucky that the $cully factor will put a few thousand on the gate because otherwise the GWS game might have been relocated to Casey Fields. I'm prepared to blame him for all of this if it means another 500 paying customers through the door. Maybe he does deserve a bit more scrutiny in all of this? I know people are saying that the quagmire we find ourselves in now justifies his decision to go but that's bollocks. A big fat fuck-off cheque with a lot of zeroes was what got him there and nobody should forget it - but how much did the will he/won't he affect us behind the scenes last year? It's no surprise that the playing group, coaches and administration were all at sixes and sevens when all of us - including the fans - spent the whole year trying to justify to ourselves why we were allowing a clear and obvious rat in the ranks to continue as if nothing was happening. Don't get fooled again.

It's not his fault we're 0-7, and it's not like we'd be any better off right now if he was there (in fact if it meant no Clark then we'd be very much worse off) but at least when you're burning your effigy of choice (Bailey, Schwab and Green the best sellers at Ye Olde Effigy Shop) spare a thought for the guy who introduced on-field political shenanigans into the volatile mix just because Maximum Gawn spewed on him. Hope he invested everything he got from the Giants into the Greek economy and ends up living in a cardboard box.

2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Clint Bartram
4 - Mitch Clark
3 - James Magner
2 - James Frawley

Apologies to nobody.

22 - Nathan Jones
13 - Mitch Clark, James Magner (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
11 - Jeremy Howe
7 - Matthew Bate
6 - Jordie McKenzie
5 - Clint Bartram (CO-LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), James Frawley (CO-LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
4 - Jack Trengove
3 - Stefan Martin, Jack Watts, Jared Rivers, Mark Jamar (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
2 - Brent Moloney, Tom McDonald
1 - Jack Grimes

Laughing Stock League
#1 with a bullet. We're a disgrace and deserve the kicking of a lifetime. Just make sure if you're a journalist that when you're piling on to sink the slipper that you're at least realistic.

This week Robert Walls declared that we were hasty in sacking Dean Bailey after Round 17 last year, which would be a surprise to our ex-coach considering that week we beat Port Adelaide. And the less said about well know cheapshot king Leigh Matthews' farcical comments about Mitch Clark the better - if that wasn't a desperate attempt at providing a rev-up then he needs to go and have a lie down in the Hamish McLachlan/Dwayne Russell Commentary Failure Ward.

Let the crisis meetings begin. Which ex-player or random B-Grade celebrity is going to big note himself by announcing that they're 'considering' challenging for the presidency at the end of the year? My money's on Derryn Hinch. I'd rather have Dyson Hore-Lacey than him but people are going to be so depressed at the end of this year that they'll vote anybody in who thumps the podium and shout a bit.

Anyone from here keen on having a go? Probably not because it seems unless you're filling the traditional ex-player role you're no chance unless you're coming in absolutely loaded. Unless you're a complete nutbag I'll guarantee you my vote as long as you drop some key Demonblog phrases into your campaign material. You'll pay me back with a few corrupt invitations to the President's Lunch and we'll finish this joint off in style.

Rule Committee Corner
Only in the AFL would they take two injuries caused by sliding and introduce a new rule which then encourages players to fly in head-first and knock themselves out instead. If Gary Rohan's leg had snapped it would never have happened, but why not introduce another thing for the umpires to interpret and stuff up? The season's less than a third done, there's plenty more time for them to come up with more stupid ideas.

It wouldn't be because they want more players to suffer concussions and leave teams short on the bench they can justify switching to 2/2 interchanges would it? Everyone will roll over, give up and let them do whatever they like when their team suffers a loss after two players are KO'ed by flying into a contest head-first.

They'll tell you they've got the 'best interests of players' at heart. They're lying through their teeth, there's always something dodgy going on in the background.

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
(This is my favourite yet but I suspect means absolutely nothing to you if you weren't a 15-year-old boy in 1996. This may help but otherwise you're on your own.)

You know I love classic overreactions, so here's the best so far this year. Throw your memorabilia in the bin, that'll show them. Or not because I'll bet you didn't and are just big noting yourself online. Couldn't be bothered blanking his name out, if you list yourself with three names like somebody charged with a serious crime then you can't be that concerned.
Mind you, he was right about GWS.

First runner-up to the guy who said "Pettard" has only played one good game and "Trengrove" is no good. Second runner-up to the person who quite seriously said we could win all 11 after the bye.

Commentary Corner
AM Radio might be as outdated as fax machines but if I ever, EVER, suggest I'm going to a game without one ever again you have my legal permission to shoot me directly in the face with your choice of firearm. The only reason I'm ever listening to Triple M again is if they're the only lot covering our game - not only has it tilted from being midly amusing to an all-male circlejerk in the last couple of years but now they've got Luke fucking Darcy, the man who suggested nine points for a torpedo goal lest we forget, to show up and say Trengrove every time he goes near the ball.

Now I don't expect his colleagues to pull him up on air and make him look stupid but perhaps in the quarter time break somebody could have a quiet word and let him know that he's a cockhead? Obviously my abusive tweets didn't help him see the error of his ways. Thank god I was listening to all this through my phone and the battery died during half-time. As compelled as I feel to listen to the game I couldn't take much more of that. There didn't seem much need to hear about us sinking without a trace and the phone would have most likely ended up in the lower deck of the Ponsford Stand if I'd put up with any more of that rubbish.

None of the stations are perfect but before I go back to Triple M I'll even try the ABC with Depressed Drew and his cavalcade of senile idiots. At least they're not almost solely responsible for popularising phrases like "up and about" and "get around him".

My tolerance levels for the football media are at an all-time low, the only program worth listening to is Finey's Final Siren just to hear what sort of nutbag theories that people are going to float and to cheer when Chris From Camberwell rings up to demand that Leigh Williams is promoted to the senior squad at the exact same time that he's in a coma. The rest love to beat up on us, so at least on the appropriately named FFS the lunatics are given the keys to the asylum and provided five minutes in which to shame themselves and the club.

Crowd Watch
Apparently it was 'all happening' with the Hawthorn fans. Not where I was as the top deck of the Ponsford continues its reputation the unofficial happiest place on earth. The middle deck might go off but its not once been open for our fans at a home match yet this year so who knows.

In the absence of any proper action in my part of the stands a big 'sucked in' to the people next to me on the way home who were crying that they left early to try and get the empty train then had to wait until everyone else got there anyway. Serves you right for leaving early, I hope the train broke down a stop after I got off and you were forced to walk to Glen Waverley.

Next Week
Before the year Sydney was one of the 'maybes' out of our horror run. Last start loss against the Tigers aside and the subsequent loss of next big thing status, they're still well above us and even without Goodes you can be sure that it will become another fiasco. At least unless you live there or have made travel plans you can't get out of you won't have to leave the house to watch it.

Casey flogged Box Hill but it was hardly impressive stuff. Perfectly acceptable stuff if you're up against Tyler Durea (!?) and Amos Frank (!?!) but best of luck replicating it at the SCG.

Don't care that we might only get a handful of games out of Jurrah before he's otherwise occupied in legal matters (here's to the justice system being treated with contempt and the whole thing being adjourned until after the season's over) or that he didn't display any great athleticism for Casey, because we've got to get somebody else with a bit of flair about them into that forward line.

IN: Couch, Martin, Jurrah, Watts
OUT: Bail, Fitzpatrick, Bennell, Bate

Couch didn't play for Casey because he was sick but as long as he's not trapped in a toilet somewhere next Saturday he's worth a go.

Petterd only survives because I put so much effort into campaigning for his return (not that it had anything to do with the actual return) that I have to get at least two games in a row out of him before we ditch him again. No doubt if he does survive he'll be the sub and straight out of the team the next week anyway.

The two in a row theory does not apply to Bennell who I can do without ever seeing again and Fitzpatrick who tried hard but doesn't appear to be much good right now. Martin survived playing for Casey so I'll have him back ASAP. Not that he did anything when he was in the team this year, but I'd much rather see him rucking than Clark.

Poor Bate only goes because it's clear they have absolutely no respect for his position in the team anyway, so why bother picking him? Should have let him go to the Bulldogs instead of dicking him around as sub every second week. Shit rule, shit application of said rule. He's now a full three green vest wankfests in front of Bennell and Daniel Nicholson on the career leaderboard the poor bastard.

I reluctantly leave Morton in because you've got to give him a chance to get some continuity into his game. Despite what talkback callers would have us believe he was ok the last two weeks, and ok turned into a pox performance this week but there's absolutely nothing to be gained from dumping him again. If he's still booting it straight out of bounds on the full and giving away stupid 50's in a few weeks time then ok, exile him to Casey and arrange for the makeweight trade at the end of the year but if he's ever going to catch fire it's not going to come bouncing between the seniors and the VFL every week.

Final Thoughts
Somewhere Bailey is rolling around on the floor pissing himself laughing.


  1. Your weekly piece is the only thing getting me through these dark, dark days.

    You know what is worse than following the Dees? Following the Dees whilst having a brother and particularly lippy "best mate" following the Bombers *spew*


  2. I've stopped reading your pieces I'm so depressed. I'll keep buying a membership, but only out of contrariness.

  3. I have to agree with the previous comment.
    Your wit and humour is very much appreciated.
    Thank you for the many years where your weekly rant has been the only thing to look forward to.

  4. I'll third that.

    Following you on Twitter is a treat and reading these classic (yet very, very long) rants is a pleasure.

    Sometimes the sick freak inside of me hopes we just get worse because it'll mean your posts will get funnier.

    But I won't be a shit bloke and I'd really rather us just improve.

  5. Big fan of your work.

  6. Thanks for the kind words citizens. Go forth and strike your own individual blows in defence of the MFC name. Don't let the bastards grind you down, if provoked we will strike, don't tread on me and all that shit.

    P.S - If any serious crimes are committed I will not be held responsible.

  7. I'd just like to say I've done my bit to rope in unsuspecting/willing members. I got my missus and 1 year old child memberships the past two consecutive years. Poor kid is in for a lifetime of dissapointment.

  8. If they don't just once do something absurdly flexible like...come back in where the free guy is in the centre square area...even near the corner of centre square where often there is a bloke who could present there, or is already there alone but won't call for it, or won't be theory could mark it, turn around and bomb it in to a lead or a forward line boasting forwards and a crumber...instead of ONLY looking at the boundary chip contest game 'plan'...just once per game go 'hey look inboard bang bang bang'...then I'm afraid I can not put off this coma that is taking over my life...after 38 years the dees are finally putting me into a coma. Maybe when the cricket starts I can get out of bed again, and look the safeway ladies in the eye and say 'not bad thanks yeah, yourself? nah just the mini dim sims thanks'. But I can't. I'd rather line up at the self checkout and not exist.
    Under Northey we went wide a lot. We can also go centre bang bang. WHY NOT USE BOTH? (and thanks demonblog, your lengthy critiques are remedial to the average dees fan's weekly, habitual, worsening, lengthening convalescence[sic?] periods) So won't it be fun going wide at the SCG? Going wide in a circle! In fact it wouldn't matter if we changed direction and went the other way around! And with many of us having to go to the pub to watch it...well...stay healthy dees folk. Please.


Crack the sads here... (to keep out nuffies, comments will show after approval by the Demonblog ARC)