Well that's that. With six games left we're three wins and a shitload of percentage 'clear' of 15th place. It's our equal worst finish in history, and we're officially the worst 'real' side in the competition. What a wonderful, character building environment sports provide us.
And what better venue to confirm that we're officialy disaster than at the one where Coles owned most of the boundary line advertising? Cue another round of "where did it all go wrong?" handwringing and Status Quo being invited to re-record our theme song.
I'm not trying to throw myself onto the martyr's bonfire here, but if there's any 'sports blogger' (CLICHE) who has had to come up with more new and inventive ways to describe harrowing losses since the start of 2007 I'd like to meet them and shake their hand through the straight jacket. Chances are there isn't one, because any sensible person who'd been through what we have over nearly six years would have given up by now and either stopped watching entirely or resolved not to let their emotional commitment go past the final siren. I have no idea how children work but there are probably kids who weren't born that night we beat the Saints in the finals and are now going to school. I don't care if you went through the same thing in 1974, this is a first for me and I'm starting to cope badly with it.
Good (?) thing then that I've got an urgent need to write something/anything about what I've seen in order to a) unload the mental burden into text format and b) preserve the full horror of what we are seeing for the benefit of future generations. It's either this or long, rambling forum posts that disappear into a zillion threads about why we should sign Daniel Connors, Fev and Pol Pot.
It gets harder every week, but no matter what happens I'm in this season until the bitter end. The extremely bitter end. Next year I'm likely to miss at least four games due to weddings, much needed overseas holidays and the like so the one thing this year's got going for it is that I can see the horror unfold in front of my eyes instead of sneakily trying to listen to it halfway down a church a'la the 2002 Grand Final.
Teams have had a worse 365 days than us before (e.g Fitzroy '96 - at least we get to come back for a few more goes at it) but if I can fiddle the calendar a bit and include the Round 18 match where Hawthorn tonked us on July 24 last year has there ever been so much on and off-field disaster crammed into 366 days? We got Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe probably won Mark of the Year and we fluked beating Essendon. Pretty much everything else that's happened since then has been an unmitigated diaster.
Last night was the final chance to rescue season 2012 from being my most hated of all time. Avoiding the spoon (we presume) means nothing in a competition with experimental teams - who might still go right past us if we don't fire up soon - so in my book that already makes it worse than '08 or '09. Given that I tipped us to finish 13th it seems rude to say, but it's now become even more of a disappointment than 2007. Even last year, which lest we forget ended in us losing to Port, had eight wins (some even stirring) for every 186. It's just the last few weeks that made an SEN talkback caller openly cry on air while his dog barked in the background. Every time he comes up I speculate that he's probably dead now, but after last night there is no chance that man is still alive. For god's sake somebody go around to his house and rescue the dog.
One thing that can be said for this season is that at least we've managed to keep all our margins under 20 goals - though I'm not sure if this is an achievement to be celebrated. Unfortunastely we've very much made up for the lack of 30 goal losses over the rest of the year. If you're the person who wrote in on Twitter to demand 'more positive' stats you might want to look away now. Once we find some we'll let you know, but at the moment most it makes for heinous reading.
At this point last year we were a game out of the eight with a percentage of 100.6% (thanks Adelaide and Freo) before managing to lose the best part of 15% over the rest of the season despite winning one game and losing two by a total margin of 15 points. This year, so far, we're on 64.24% - a gain of 0.12% this week by virtue of losing by less than usual. I firmly believe we should take an extra penalty this week for losing to Port, just like Richmond should have had their entire percentage wiped for losing to Gold Coast.
Distressing reading I'm sure you'll agree, but secretly you must be a masochist or you wouldn't still be following the Dees so it's my duty to inform you that statistically this side could end up as the worst MFC outfit of the last 30 years. If you're subjective and use total score as the be all and end all measurement like I'm about to anyway.
So far this season we're averaging roughly 10.10 every week (THE EXCITEMENT MACHINES!), and if we keep that up until the end of the year we'll narrowly beat our lowest total since the 22 game season was introduced in 1970. Set in - drumroll please - everyone's favourite year of 1997. That year's squad managed 1477 points between them, based almost entirely on Farmer and Neitz booting 30 each, and we're currently on 158.164.1112 so there's some catching up to do but as long as kick half decent scores against Gold Coast and GWS, their record should be safe.
After that we're no chance of doing any 'better' than second worse - and that's only because the league has created two clubs with the deliberate intention of them being uncompetitive in their first few years before they win ten flags in a row between them. What's our excuse? That's why pound for pound, including the off-field piss taking, this year is my most hated ever and every possible chance of finishing as officially our worst in 42 seasons.
1 - 207.235.1477 (1997 - spoon)
2 - 234.225.1629 (2008 - spoon)
3 - 238.277.1705 (1970 - third last)
4 - 253.225.1743 (1996 - third last)
5 - 268.216.1824 (1981 - spoon)
If you've sat through this year as well as at least three of the others on the list above then take your head out of the oven and hold it high, for you shall eventually inherit the earth. Admittedly I paid scant interest to '96/'97 due to what I thought was being an emo teenager, but on these figures it might have just been because we were playing boring as batshit football. I hope that after this year I'm stuck on two forever and we never have to talk about this list again.
It's notable that in two of the five above we finished third last, and that's exactly where we're going to end up this time as well. With 1981 a near certainty to be bumped out of the list, that give third last finishes the majority amongst the all time most boring years. Which is odd. With nothing else to play for, the Jakovich all but won and the MFC Facebook page being too depressing to read without throwing my keyboard out of an upstairs window, the race to beat '97 will be the most notable feature on here over the next few weeks so if you're sensitive about us being a stream of bat's urine then I suggest giving up now.
Shit kicking for goal isn't helping either - the last time we finished the season with sub-50% goalkicking was also '97. No doubt that was a rancid season, but in reality we were lucky just to have a club so who could really complain? Also everyone got to take out their frustrations via the traditional MFC mid-season coach sacking. Mind you '98 was good.
People are always slagging off the early 80's, but other than the frustration of being out of the finals for 15 years and counting (we're getting there) it's clear from this list that fans then were having far more fun than we are now. Oh for a Robbie Flower, Jacko or Gerard Healy (pre-$cully style scumbag move) these days.
That said, if you're an incredible dumbass like I am you still turn up to/watch every game with an open mind, thinking that even if we don't win you'll at least see some good signs for the future. Then you get four quarters made up of one token good one, one full of disappointment, one that is a shambles and best described as a complete farce and claim you'll never be roped in again. Until five minutes before the bounce a week later.
As each week goes on it becomes even more difficult to understand how Essendon managed to lose to us, or more importantly how we managed to take advantage of their inability to win without falling over two metres from the finish line ourselves. Even though he didn't do a spectacular amount that night (other than milk a free and kick a crucial goal) it's all about Mitch Clark. Bless that man. For a good look at how he single handedly lifts otherwise mediocre things to a higher level you just have to watch his Ultratune ad where his baffled look makes him the best actor in it by a mile.
But it's no point talking about Mitch in the context of this season, because he's gone and he's not coming back. Still, it won't stop me from doing just that every single week in which we kick an embarrassingly measly score due to having nothing to fill his place. Not to mention missing a key ruckman (still convinced the SME is better though) and a midfield running on fumes where too much is left to too few and the opposition can plan for them in five minutes then go to the pub.
At least playing against Port Adelaide evened up the ledger somewhat. After all they might inexplicably be better than us all of a sudden, but it's not like playing finals contenders like Richmond ('good') or Freo ('good'). At least against those teams we managed to show something briefly - so if you're stupid like me you thought that instantly translated to a win, ignoring the fact that we showed next to nothing against Brisbane who are still 'not good' (but better than us). You just never know what you're going to get with this side, but you can be almost certain it will end up making you swear, kick something or both.
God help us all we actually looked good in the first quarter. Even the forward line looked decent with Green providing a decent target for the first time since Clark busted his foot, and the Stefan Martin Experience kicking the sort of ruckman's goal that would cause the commentators to have an eruption in the pants region if Nic Nat did it. Shame he didn't do much else for the rest of the night because they preferred to play The Spencil at the centre bounce, but at least his Morrissey inspired hairdo stayed aloft all night despite the sweaty conditions - our only four quarter contributor.
Oh the Spencil. He does have a massive bash, and when he does the Inspector Gadget arm flying tackles you want to believe that he's going to sell his soul to the devil a'la Jamar but he just can't kick to save himself, and his handballing is in question too after that debacle where every single person in the country knew what he was going to and the Port bloke duly smothered it. It should be noted that Jamar never reached five kicks in a game until his 49th match (!?) - and only cracked 10 for the first time in his 117th - so it's not all about possessions but I still don't get a good feeling about the Spencil Experiment. I'm starting to think he'll survive into next year just because we're short on 'experienced' options, but he's not exactly threatening to do anything other than be a trier. Mind you he's also 0-11 in his career now, so nobody's going to look very good when they've played in 11 straight losses. Feel free to refer to this post when he's winning All-Australian honours. If I haven't deleted it.
The problem with the Jamar/Martin combination being torn apart by injury is that with what we've seen of The Spencil and Fitzpatrick, they might be able to take centre bounces but they can't seemingly do anything else. As much as I'd love to have played the SME as the leading ruckman last night, it's been proven 11 times straight that Spence is not going to do anything as a forward. Apart from his snap out of the arse neither did Stef, but at least he's got form in the past. You could play Sellar for 25% of the bounces, but he's only marginally better as a forward target so I suppose for now we'll just have to cop it and give the fringe players their opportunity while we can afford to be shite.
Tell you who I did like in the first quarter, and that was Neville Jetta. Some of his kicking was shithouse, but if you shot everyone in our side who couldn't kick then there'd be nobody left. I'll admit thinking it was a bizarre decision to pick him off the back of just a couple of VFL games but he was great. Good pressure, good movement around the ground and apart from one traditional MFC shank out on the full while trying to play the boundary he hit targets more often than not. I had him as a definite out at the end of the year, but he'll have every possible chance to save himself in the next six weeks if he keeps playing like that. Most noticeably unlike so many of is teammates he didn't play with terror in his eyes like he was scared to death. We need more of that, so hopefully he doesn't get sucked into the cocoon of horror by the second quarter of next Saturday.
Green impressed in the first quarter too, and it made me think there might be life left in him as well. Everyone (myself included) was trying to ship him out the door a few weeks back, and he might not make it to the end of 2013 even if he goes on but if Cook doesn't look like a R1 starter and we never see Jurrah again then we've got to keep Bradley. Surely they've learnt their lesson and won't push him out the door, but it's getting to the point where they actively need to try and keep him if he says he's retiring. Why not steal a move from GWS and have him on the list as a playing assistant coach? He plays when required, coaches off the bench when not needed and starts as sub occasionally if appropriate. Then when he's done playing he moves straight into a proper off-field role and we keep one of our great players in the family. Or maybe he hates the new administration's guts for dumping him as captain and will be straight out the door at the first available opportunity, who knows.
Despite the likes of Howe and Trengove not going near it for most of the first quarter and Petterd having the sort of nightmare that causes those of us who whinged when he didn't get picked to start shredding documents at Free Ricky HQ we really did look good for most of it. We did this in Darwin the first time before disappearing from the face of the earth and falling over the line, but this time they were talking up all the preparation that they'd done over the last month to ensure we'd be able to run the game out so if you're an idiot like me you fell for the idea that we'd walk all over Port in the last quarter.
Unfortunately to acheive this it required us to not only be within striking distance at the last change (achieved), but to also be able to kick a decent score given the opportunity (no) and not fall apart like mental cases when the heat (implied, not actual) was on (most certainly not). All things I'd deliberately neglected to consider when getting my hopes up yet again.
It all turned out badly in the end, but when Sylvia kicked the goal at the end of the first quarter I wanted to believe. Being a hopeless romantic, I was willing to go along with the fantasy that the next three quarters would continue as the first had. After all why shouldn't it? Other teams seem to be able to string quarters together, so why can't we? Don't ask me, I'm as confused as you are. In the end we scored 30 in the first quarter and 29 in the next three combined. That should be illegal.
Romantic notions aside if there's one thing we've learnt over the last few years it's that when any combination of players in red and blue deliver one cracking quarter it's almost certain that they'll be lucky to score in the next. I think this this image by 'Jeebs' from the BigFooty MS Paint Thread (still the best thread ever) explains our plight better than any words.
And as the siren went to start the second quarter straight into the ditch we went. From five goals in one quarter to lucky to score a single point after the siren in the next. The internet started to melt down, and the only thing that stopped me from throwing the paperweight that I was nervously tossing from hand to hand through my living room window was the gallows humour being displayed by the people on my Twitter list. Social media might not have done much for sports or Brock McLean's bank balance, but at least it lets you know you're not alone when everything goes tits up.
Thank god for the support of the close-knit internet community when you follow a team that plays like an overcrowded third-world ferry. Far too many passengers, but most journeys start pleasantly enough before the whole thing capsizes the moment waters get a bit rough. Many casualties.
Good luck to Port though, they were defensively abysmal in the first quarter and deserved to be behind but if you follow them you'd be thrilled with the way they started playing properly not long after - even one player down after Pittard continued the trend for people with 'P' and 'ttard' to have an absolute shocker of night when he got his ribs shattered and had to be subbed out. Another potentially great result for any team who had just spent a month in the Dave Misson Swedish Sauna. He must have been pumping his fist in the sky when Pittard was being carried off with his ribcage sticking through his kidneys. Unfortunately you can do fitness training until you've got athleticism seeping out the wazoo, but it's no use if they're shithouse at the core business of playing football and your team has the depth of a garden pond.
God knows who half the Port team actually were, but I suppose that levelled the score for the 25 Power fans sitting at home going "who the fuck is Tom Couch?" Such is life for games between bottom four teams near the end of the year. Neutrals may have no idea what they're watching, but the chances are they're probably not watching anyway so the only real interest is in which group of success starved fans will have a nervous breakdown at losing the mental eight pointer that they'd foolishly worked themselves into believing they were a chance in.
Without even going to a forum, a Facebook page or a crisis meeting I can confidently predict that after this fiasco there will be a hailstorm of "stop selling games" panic, as if playing the match in Darwin was what cost us victory. We may very well have tonked Port if the match was being played at the MCG, but it's not a solid gold certainty. It wasn't the ground or the 'greasy conditions' that caused our forward line to cease to exist after quarter time or made somebody persecute Joel Macdonald with another farcical, floating kick to him in the middle of the ground. It's like belting the umpires for everything. Sure Joel Mac really was persecuted when his opponent fell over and got a free for a push/trip/god knows what but good teams rise above that. The umpires gifted Port a goal there, but we still only kicked eight for the game. Whose fault is that?
Sure it was (probably) as hot/humid as it gets at an AFL venue at this time of year, and sure we're having enough trouble getting our players to dispose of it properly in normal conditions let alone those resembling Bangkok but we had won there twice in two years, this is not Richmond in Cairns style stuff. This time it didn't even appear that the players were being forced to spend their time off the ground in a meat locker, so if we're lucky it won't affect us too much next week (although how will we tell the difference?) AND we banked another shitload of cash for it despite only 6000 people being there so at least we got something out of it to go along with disappointment and loathing.
That's what this whole experiment comes down to, cold hard wads of cash. Nobody wants to play these interstate games, but unless you can come up with a better way of paying the bills then we're stuck with it. It's not like the Northern Territory government is getting much for their money either with crowds like that, we'll be lucky if they don't ban us for being boring like the ACT after nobody turned up to see us play Sydney in '09.
Fox Footy might have done the shot of the sunset that they were contractually obligated to, but other than that there was nothing shown which made me think I wanted to visit Darwin any more than I did on Saturday morning. Instead of paying half a million dollars for 500 people to come from interstate to watch the game why don't they pay a thousand each to 250 people to tell everyone they know what a terrific place it is and save the other $250,000. The way our player values are going they could get a Brent Moloney and two Petterds for that price.
To be entirely honest I hope they don't. Please continue to keep wasting your money on us, because as much as I don't want us to play there we need the cash. It's unfortunate, but it's the reality of being a club with a small, ageing fanbase. The administration have a duty to insulate us against not becoming fantastically successful, because if we go badly into debt again in ten years time and have lost a bunch of members and financial contributors who aren't replaced it could end in tragedy.
What I'm most bitter about is that other than North Melbourne's ill-advised attempt at becoming the second Sydney team we practically invented this selling games lark with our Brisbane deal, and yet somehow both Hawthorn and North have sewn up belter deals in proper footy locations while we've been mucking around going from Brisbane, to Canberra and now Darwin. Now that GWS have got the ACT sewn up for good (especially when they move there in five years) and North have gotten it right at last by doing the deal to play in Hobart there's nowhere sensible left to go. Cairns is just as bad as Darwin, and that's your options exhausted.
St Kilda are going to New Zealand, and whether or not that works for them or they get the same amount of money we are is anybody's guess, but at least the players won't have to spend a month in a Turkish Bath to prepare. I'm all for taking the money while it's required but I am a tad bitter and twisted that we ended up with the worst venue despite being early adopters of the concept.
Having said that, once again the venue doesn't matter if the team is up to it - which they were in 2010 and 2011. That they weren't in 2012 is about far more than what happened on the night alone. TIO Stadium wasn't responsible scoring a point in the second quarter, and it certainly can't take the blame for us conceding a goal 50 seconds into the third because that seems to happen every single week. They've played like the town drunk at almost every venue in Australia in the last couple of years, it's only fair that this one should get to see them in their natural environment too.
That we were even in it at half time, and still even after copping that early goal in the third, said more about the company that we were keeping than anything good we were doing. Their nobodies were doing a better job than ours, but it was nothing more than two teams marking time with squads full of players who won't be there the next time they're any good. At the very minimum I can't see Bail, Couch, Magner or Spencer getting a game in any of the 15 teams above us - and now that Petterd is playing like a man who has seen a ghost he might be going down the same path. Throw in Dunn, who I thought played his best game in ages but is clearly on the way out the door, and unknown quantities like Strauss and Blease who can't string together quarters and there are just too many holes to fill at the moment. That's why you have to give Neeld time (and he'll get it whether you like it or not), he's seen the list now and can help mould it into what he wants. If we're still doing this in two years time see you at the riots, but for now relax and accept that we're going to finish in the bottom three this year and there's nothing anybody can do about it.
I won't judge Couch's full career based on his first two games, but I think we're starting to see why the internet's BFF hasn't had clubs banging his door down for the last five years. If he or Magner turn out to be anything more than a bit-part trier then I'll be shocked. They'll both get another year to prove that they're worth retaining, but neither of them is going to look anything more than average unless they get the right support around them to make them look good - and that support is sadly lacking at the moment.
Nevertheless, wafer thin midfield aside, when Rivers kicked his second goal we were still very much in it despite having done nothing for a quarter and half other than kick it out on the full or turn it over. We were having plenty of inside 50's, but the problem was most of them were either going straight down the throat of Port defenders or only counting because they rolled half a metre inside the 50 before going out of bounds. It would have helped having a long target to kick to, but it's not like they gave the makeshift ones we did have any help with the delivery. Even when we got away and were streaming down the ground and into attack you could tell nobody wanted to go long because they knew if Rivers/Green didn't get it there was nobody to stop it coming straight back out again. So they tried dinky short kicks in the pockets and onto the flanks which usually failed miserably and we kicked three goals in three quarters.
We certainly had enough chances to get it right. Jones and Sylvia started to find some room after doing nothing in the first half, but we just couldn't score. Not just couldn't kick goals, but couldn't score full stop. Other than the Rivers goal and Sam Blease booting the ball straight into the post from 20m out and then copping the most awkward 50 since Brock McLean threw the ball into some plastic chairs one Queen's Birthday we didn't score again until Howe took his weekly screamer and followed up with his weekly crap set shot 20 minutes in.
That's 1.3 in the 50 odd minutes from quarter time. Hooray then for Blease adding to the parade of players doing their special moves by kicking his weekly arsey goal only to act like he was Allen Jakovich himself, going for a run along the boundary line throwing high fives to the crowd. I know he's young, I know he's excitable, and I know when people have their hands out you probably feel obliged - but just like footy players on Twitter having the right to ignore people begging for retweets nobody will think less of you if you leave a kid hanging. Or at least save it for when the game is won a'la James Hird at Docklands. Needless to say he didn't do a similar lap of honour when he failed to make the distance from a 35m out set shot in the last quarter. In the immortal words of Foghorn Leghorn, that boy ain't right.
Either way, forget the running high fives with the people of the Territory, we'll put that down to youthful exuberance and the fact that he's clearly an eccentric character - what excuse did McDonald and Garland have for the DEBACLE which cost us the last goal of the quarter? When the Blease goal went in we were back within a kick, and while on one hand winning it from there would have been daylight robbery we did deserve some reward for effort at getting the ball down there so much.
Then after being two of our best all night the defenders stand there dumbfounded with the ball at their feet, each waiting for the other to do something, before Garland takes 2012's revival of the kick off the ground way to its horrifiyng conclusion and in panic hoofs a perfect pass off the ground straight onto the chest of the only Port Adelaide forward who isn't a complete numptie. Result - goal, and 11 point deficit at the last change.
Never fear though, because it was time for the Misson led Bikram Yoga sessions to pay-off. Unfortunately his job is to train players for fitness, not to make judgements on their mental state, and with looks of terror plastered over their faces again our brave lads went out again from the three-quarter time huddle within a couple of kicks of the lead and again delivered two thirds of fuck-all.
At least we got a goal in the last quarter this time, mind you it was only thanks to a free kick and did take until the last couple of minutes. Other than that it was all Port, doing exactly what we can't and manufacturing goals out of nothing.
Another game that nobody will ever see again after the coaching reviews are finished. Name A Game should do the world a favour and burn the master tapes.
2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Daniel Nicholson (Excellent stuff. Still not the world's greatest kick but at least he can run AND gets it more than five times a game)
4 - Neville Jetta (Presence, presence, presence. More please)
3 - Jack Grimes (Cheap stats across half-back aside he was solid)
2 - Colin Garland (Very solid other than the two goals he cost us)
1 - Joel Macdonald (Safer than you'd think, but please stop kicking shithouse passes at him in the middle of the ground)
Apologies to McDonald, Sylvia, Green, Dunn, Rivers and nobody else.
The master of NQR scenarios Blease was involved in another one when I had him on the leaderboard twice. This has now been corrected and his real score is displayed.
The correction doesn't make any difference to the awards though, Grimes moves into a tie for the Seecamp and Jones has got to the point where he could seal the Jakovich next week if he outscores Watts by two but other than that we're steady. Time is also running out for Jamar in the Stynes - the next time the SME scores votes he could very well be declared provisional winner. Unless the Spencil tears out four BOGs in a row, but if that happens I'll join the Hare Krishnas.
The good news for potential 2013 Rookie of the Year winners like Cook and Davis (even though Jack Viney will no doubt win it) is that they just need to hold on two weeks and debut in Round 20 or later to qualify next year on the 'last month of the season' rule, one that is clearly working for Tom McDonald who is tied with Magner for now but odds-on to pull in front before the season finishes.
43 - Nathan Jones (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
20 - Jack Watts
17 - Mitch Clark
16 - Stefan Martin (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
15 - Jordie McKenzie
14 - Jeremy Howe
13 - Jack Grimes (CO-LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), James Magner (CO-LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Tom McDonald (CO-LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year and Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
10 - Jared Rivers
9 - Daniel Nicholson
8 - Matthew Bate, James Frawley
7 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Sam Blease
5 - Clint Bartram
4 - Neville Jetta, Brent Moloney, Jack Trengove
3 - Brad Green, Mark Jamar
2 - Colin Garland
1 - Rohan Bail, Joel Macdonald, James Sellar
MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
(This week presented by our new major sponsor)
This feature was on the verge of being cancelled again due to refusal to trawl the rubbish that is the MFC Facebook page, so lucky then that reader James sent in the following, showing the breaking of new ground in the noble art of misspelling player names.
I'd love to hear a 'Jedah' cover of this, otherwise I'll just assume that everything else that has been said is absolutely correct without looking at it. Let the nutbags reign.
Good to see that to get to the 6000 crowd not only did they have to rely on MFC fans flying in, but also on a bunch of US Marines taking leave from killing people to watch something far more brutal. I'll bet you they were thrilled to have been roped in to waving MFC flags around like a bunch of deadly 11-year-olds instead of doing what all military types are legally bound to do, humping as many locals as possible. No doubt many of them acheived this later on by virtue of their military status despite being the least fearsome looking group of soldiers since Dad's Army.
In a world where Dwayne Russell has been significantly less annoying than usual in the last few weeks, how unlucky were we to be treated to Tony Shaw and Matt Campbell? Even Dermott Brereton and Leigh Colbert, who I'm usually into, seemed to be heat affected - just like the coverage itself, which spent the first quarter dropping out as if it was being broadcast from the moon.
"We apologise for the quality of the incoming footage" said Fox Footy, as if to pretend that it's not they themselves providing the incoming footage. Luckily the audio stayed on or we'd never have heard about what an injustice it was that Martin and Jetta weren't in the team earlier in the year, how we had somebody called Crouch playing for us and that Pfeiffer had been subbed into the game despite being dropped on Thursday.
I think they put so much effort into not calling either Trengove 'Trengrove' that their brains shut down on all when it came to all the other players, which would explain why later on Robin Bail had a run. Then just to completely take the piss Campbell did a couple of Trengroves late in the game when nobody other than the Port fan and the most stupid MFC supporters were still watching. They also suggested that even though we're a shit football side that Jeremy Howe taking screamers would make people buy memberships. Bullshit, save that stuff for your promos and station ID's, the best thing Howe could do for memberships is to learn to kick a set shot.
To be entirely honest if I wasn't a Melbourne fan I wouldn't be watching either, so you can understand why they do bugger all research on our players. I thought last time we played there Channel 10 had just given up because they knew they'd lost the right, but now it looks like it was just a protest at having to call a game that only about 50k people nationwide care about. I haven't seen the ratings yet but I can imagine they're in Iron Chef territory, so just imagine what they'll be like when we play Gold Coast and GWS? You might as well send Phil Cleary and Peter Donegan to cover it.
Surprise, surprise the VFL had another bye this week so it's another match where we've got to guess (even more than usual) as to what they might do at the selection table based on nothing.
The VFL like to blame the Foxtel Cup for all the byes, the rest of us say we don't give a flying about games played between Morningside and Glenelg in front of a hundred people at 10am so know your role and do your fixture like the glorified reserves competition you are. And if that means 2500 viewers don't get to watch Ainslie vs West Adelaide then bad luck.
The good news is that next year while they might stuff us all around for their precious cup, they won't have the excuse of an uneven amount of teams. The bad news is that Richmond have told Coburg to piss off, and in the unlikely event that they survive into 2014 we'll be back to byes every 20 minutes. They could at least have the seconds playing when the seniors aren't, I'm sure a guy like Michael Evans who is battling to save his career would appreciate a run in any match, even if it is glorified park football. The whole set-up is shithouse.
So based on the fact that Casey didn't play changes are hard to decide on. I'd love to see Gysberts out there soon, but I'd rather he do it coming off a match than a weekend sitting on the couch playing FIFA. There's something to be said for playing a bunch of children and debutants based on our current plight, but amusingly it's not like we've got a heap to bring in. Cook and Davis have to get a game before the end of the year, but like the Gys they've got to do it off the back of four quarters of footy. So I'm opting for a better the devil you know approach with additional Puttin' On The Fitz just to see what he can do against good ruckman for four quarters. Though the way we're going North will probably take the piss and hand Majak Daw his long awaited debut because they know he's going to get an easy ride against us.
IN: Moloney, McKenzie, Watts, Fitzpatrick
OUT: Couch, Petterd, Spencer, Bail (omit)
Given that we barely avoided disaster a fortnight ago when our members could get in for free, I shudder to think how badly outnumbered the handful of us will be at Docklands next week. Hopefully they keep the top level open so we're not forced to mingle with North fans.