At least we won, and you can never say no to that but who'd have thought that the Gold Coast game's title as the worst win in history would only last a fortnight. We didn't even get one properly decent quarter this time, but at least the sparkling, youthful ineptitude of the opposition meant that it didn't matter. They had their version of Harley Bennell in Toby Greene (fake name?) but no Ablett to provide him with any help - and certainly nothing even remotely looking like a forward line after the first quarter. It like watching us play against Port again, and nobody wanted to do that.
We were always going to win of course. With figures like Sheedy (hates Melbourne) and $cully (hates Melbourne, loves gigantic wads of cash) involved you had to be a bit wary of them going rogue and helping to stuff up an absolutely certain #1 pick just to stick it up us, but realistically you could have had your house and your first born on us at $1.19 and the bookies may as well have paid out before the first bounce.
Even if there wasn't the top pick in a draft at stake how could an allegedly fully functioning league side not beat a team who packed away their two future superstar forwards and replaced them with a clearly confused (but well paid) NRL player who had kicked 1.7 in 11 games? No doubt the players were going at it 100% but fruity team selections were the order of the day (nothing suss mind) and even we couldn't fall over before crossing the line in this one. Not that I wasn't still sweating nervously until at least halfway through the second quarter.
It was hardly convincing. In a way there was something to be said for the performance because we had a billion shots on goal and kept them to a point in the third quarter, but on the other hand is there any moderate danger that we might take the hint and smash one of these teams eventually? It's magnificent kicking eight of the junkiest junktime goals in history against St Kilda when the game is buggered but that's three times now that we've gone into the last quarter against one of the teams below us with a handy lead and broken even (Carnival of Hate) or gone backwards (GC and this).
That's not healthy, and nor is the fact that we've won only three final quarters all season, which is two behind Port and Footscray and one behind each of the franchises. Is it lacking the fitness to run games out, spectacular mental illness on behalf of our players or a healthy combination of the two? I know they're young and all that wank but three from 20 is satanic. We've got two weeks to get one more and avoid sharing the worst record of the last 25 years with Carlton '07 and Richmond '93. Even your friend and mine the 1997 fiasco side powered by Robert Pyman and Craig Nettelbeck managed four.
Mind you that stat might not mean anything considering we only won six last year (worst in the league), which according to premiership coach and media pest Robert Walls was a dead set glory era only moderately affected by an unfortunate, gutsy defeat at Kardinia Park in Round 19. Also in 2008 we were 9-13 at it while simultaneously being rancid the rest of the year - and only one of those nine came in a win. Work that out.
So that's our wins for 2012 (presumably) wrapped up, and somehow pending the result of Sunday's Footscray game we've ended up only one game worse off and with a superior percentage. That's just so you know that we're not entirely alone when it comes to Victorian sides being down amongst the dead men. At least now the papers will be happy that we won't want to win again, because somehow fluking victory over Adelaide or Freo and the Dogs losing would see us jump then and throw another potential Jack Viney troublemaker into the mix. I think we can handle losing the next two games without trying to, but just in case keep this guy's phone number handy.
The problem in 2013 will be if we're not getting any better, and neither are the Bulldogs or Port then are we all going to be swallowed by the rampaging corporate beast as GWS and Gold Coast start to make use of their draft picks, extra concessions, mini drafts, unsigned players and zone selections? How much longer can you go into these games almost certain (but guarded, always guarded) of victory? I'd say these two will start to pose a regularly decent and credible challenge to 10-18 placed sides very soon and unless something remarkable happens next year we've had our fun and can justifiably go into matches against them contemplating defeat with an open mind.
For all our other disasters since the start of last year at least we've managed to get through two seasons without disgracing ourselves against either of them. We're 3-0 against Gold Coast and 2-0 against GWS and it won't last, but at least we didn't give them a humiliating bonus leg up to the future like Port Adelaide and Richmond did.
That's not such a bad thing in the end, I've enjoyed the free wins over kids era but it's got to come to an end eventually so let them rack up a few more wins against other clubs to take the curse off us then we can take our medicine like everyone else. There were terrible teams before 2011 (usually us) and there will be terrible teams after (hopefully not us), but THE FEAR of going into games against teams who have been tonked by the whole league and knowing that a loss will heap even more humiliation on what has already been a poverty stricken few years is no good for your mental health.
It's all well and good for the teams that are in the ascendacy at the moment and can guarantee huge wins to the degree where bookies won't even let you back them at $1.01, but you'll be waiting a couple more years before either of the new sides are beating a Hawthorn or Collingwood. They've done Richmond and they've done Port, that just leaves us and the Bulldogs watching to see which of the other will crack first and look like dickheads.
With any luck neither of them will ever win anything. There's no doubt that with the leg up they've had they'll play finals somewhere in the next five years, but fingers crossed they'll both stall sort of Grand Finals. Usually I would wish for any interstate team to win a premiership so that no Victorian team does and I don't have to hear about it, but that doesn't count for these two. Not for at least a decade after they've been back on the level playing field with no draft rorts, no extended lists, no rugby league players paid by the league etc.. then I'll be back on their side. Especially if it marks $cully never having won anything in his career.
So, with our perfect record against the new clubs teetering on the brink from here on in the prospect of a free win against GWS at Manuka Oval should have been a cause for celebration, but like every other match against one of these clubs (and other clubs must feel like this when they play us) we had nothing to gain unless we ran away with a belting win. After all we beat them by 78 last time didn't we? Should have been 108 if we'd played out the last quarter but who's getting snippy about an 80-point win? Certainly not in comparison to this win.
Sadly this week offered the MFC model seven weeks on from that great, loathing fuelled afternoon sans Clark, Jamar, Moloney, Watts for the majority and even Bate who took the piss en route to 28 touches last time around - then we took the slightly more battered, plenty more jaded variety and put them in a soulless environment with a bugger of a wind. And despite all that we still had 29 scoring shots, so I'll take that even if we were generally bemused by the breeze and kicked for goal accordingly.
Truth be told the match was so incredibly awful that it's difficult to write much about it, so I won't bother. Apart from the goals and a few highlights here and there the whole thing blends into one long sequence of stoppages. One after the other, after the other and another until the siren mercifully ended it all.
As far as advertisements for our 'great sport' (in theory) it was about as useful a promotional tool to interstate types as a Queanbeyan vs Sydney University NEAFL game. Everything you needed to know about the way the game was played was revealed when they cut to the GWS coaches box late in the match and found Sheeds gone and everyone sitting around looking bored to death, including comic genius Choco Williams who was absent mindedly playing with a hand fan despite the fact that it was about 5 degrees. That's a real dead rubber match.
At the risk of being cut off by the legal department I'm not saying that GWS had collectively said "I'll get me coat", checked out of season 2012 and ordered the maid to make up Lachie Whitfield's bed at Breakfast Point but the last time they played a 'home' game Choco was grabbing players by their collars and screaming in their face to fire up, now he was reduced to piss farting around with some cut price electrical equipment he'd bought from a $2 shop at Tuggeranong Hyperdome. Meanwhile Sheeds was presumably down on the boundary talking into his headset still unaware that nobody has been listening on the other end all year.
Ineptitude was the order of the day in the first quarter, yet it was still the best one of the game. Highlights included Sellar being the first goalkicker for the second time this year (see you at the TAB next Sunday afternoon) and The Spencil unleashing two of the worst kicks in history - one of which cost us a goal. It's one thing to have Joel Mac and Dunn being first quarter specialists, but that's because much of the time they can get the ball to at least go within 2km of the target.
Spencer had six kicks for the day and may I be one of the many to ask that he doesn't do that again until he can hit a target without looking down at the ball coming off his boot? There's a good reason Jamar didn't have six kicks in a game until his 72nd match - because he knew he couldn't kick for shit and handballed all the time. Take notes Jake. Also take note teammates who might want to stand right next to him whenever he takes a mark or gets a free. He's grown on me due to size, speed and effort but in an ideal world he's fourth in the ruck pecking order and he'll stay there if he can't either kick properly or find something else to do with it. A+ for effort, D for execution. Even if he survives into next year, which I suspect he will, I wouldn't expect to see him outside of Casey Fields unless there's another injury plague or Max Gawn turns into a pumpkin.
When Spencer's fiasco cost us a goal the game was beginning to look decidedly ropey, with them sensibly kicking goals from ten metres out while we finally started kicking to leads five months too late and thus ended up having shots that were in perfect positions for a still day but were being completely stuffed by the wind.
What we really needed was for some Giants nuffy to turn a half chance into an absolute certainty - so step forth $cully who betrayed his 'legendary' professionalism by yelling "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" at the umpire after a free and giving away 50 so that Howe could kick a goal from the line. Anyone who did have legendary professionalism would know that Howe is a dodgy set shot kick from anywhere more than 20m out and would shut their mouth. Hopefully he's upset because he found out Phil invested his money in the Pyramid Building Society.
That was the settler we needed, though he did his best to miss it, and via twenty million more stoppages that was it for the first quarter. I enjoyed Dunn playing his best game since he kicked five against Richmond (coincidence that it happened when he removed the mo? No, more likely the opposition) by tormenting some children. He really is an angry, hate filled individual. Could do with a bit of work on his attempted cheating to win free kicks but amusingly it worked once. I dare say if we're good he's not playing in our backline but I'm re-warming to him just because he's a decent kick and provides our only real opportunity to develop a pantomime style villain for opposition fans and media scumbags to concentrate on and take the heat off all the easy targets.
Joel Mac was good again too, which made up for Frawley and Garland doing nothing and McDonald blotting an otherwise decent performance with a couple of his customary howlers. Still, when the opposing key forward is Folau then what does it matter if half the defence clock off and other key parts of it are either up front or wearing a silly green vest? Yes, apparently Watts is a now an integral part of this backline. I was hoping he's be ressurected as a forward again but sadly not. They're obviously putting a LOT of faith in Mitch Clark's foot and the Jurrahcane's defence team.
After his rank performance last week I was pleased with Sylvia's game. Still more than willing to let him go if we get a good deal though, we can't go in every week wondering which Colin is going to show up anymore. He'd star elsewhere so rort picks and/or players out of a top eight contender and let them enjoy his 'unique' take on life instead. I won't be upset if he stays because he's always good for a few good games every year, and breaking his back in pre-season certainly didn't help him this season, but he's just going to tease us forever and not even deliver that one killer season that Travis Johnstone did. Set him free, it's all part of the 20-year-plan.
Speaking of people born on another planet it was unfortunate to see Blease become the latest to fall victim to the MFC Media Curse. Didn't get anywhere near it in play but at least he managed to get involved in a wrestling match where he dedicated his performance to all his fans by doing it with a weird, vague look on his face. Other than that, one wild snap which missed and getting done for holding the ball by the other half of Miami Vice he did nothing. No drama, last week showed us what he can do but he probably should have rolled in and signed a contract on Monday morning to get the optimal price because we'll be lucky to kick five goals total for the rest of the season let alone via one player.
GWS were basically stuffed from quarter time on. $cully managed to put another one of his shithouse kicks through for a goal in the first couple of minutes of the second, then they got another to make us all a bit nervy about a disaster but from there it was wall-to-wall MFC set shot disasters. No wonder too considering they were all coming from 40m out and getting caught by the wind. The willingness to lead and kick to it will serve us well in the future but it was no day to be debuting it. Just watch, next week they'll be back to kicking to Tom Couch with two defenders on him 50m out on his wrong side.
With all these kicks going just left, just right or just straight into the bloody post thanks then to old mate from the Giants who made the kicking of Spencer and McDonald look brilliant by turning around in the forward pocket and delivering a pinpoint pass to Jeremy Howe at the top of the goalsquare - on an angle that even he couldn't miss. Including that we went on a 5.7 to 0.1 run from halfway through the second quarter to late in the third and anybody who had put their house on us winning to make some pitiful amount could finally relax.
You'd like to say that it's disappointing we only got three goals for our domination in the third quarter but really they weren't all that bad around the ground it's just that they had an even more outrageously bad forward structure than some of the ones we've put out this season. Sadly we rushed one behind for them and destroyed the potential for a rare - if not unprecedented - double of keeping the same side scoreless in the same quarter twice in the same season. Either way at least we can say they've ever scored a point off their own boot against us in the third. Until they kick 12.1 in our first clash next year.
With Watts coming on for Couch halfway through the third, in what constitutes an early sub this season, and mopping up everything that GWS tried en route to nine touches for the quarter it seemed possible that we might run away with it and restrict them to a criminally low score. Apparently Neeld demanded that they do just that in the three quarter time huddle and not play like superstars, then they proceeded to go out and show precious little interest and let the Giants make it respectable (although to be fair losing by 90 is respectable the way they've gone this year) by playing like superstars. Know your role, you're not superstars.
I thought when Sellar got that first goal that yes, we were going to live the dream and run away to an easy victory but then the golden dumpster rolled onto the Manuka turf and we lost interest. Three goals in the last five minutes got them back to under 30 points as our lot blatantly started looking for the finish line and going into self preservation mode. The Junior McDonald goal I'll cop because he is now and forever will be a great man, the others were rubbish and symptomatic of a team dying to get to the end of the season.
All well and good if this was Round 23, but they've got to get through two more matches without suffering mentally distressing beatings. Then they can do what footy players do after the season ends (e.g get drunk and punch Ben Holland in the head) and get on with the business of preparing for 2013 or playing for Aberfeldie. For now you've got at least a quarter of the membership who still care about not getting tonked, so keep going for another fortnight then you can all go to Club Tropicana and we'll try to forget this year ever happened.
To his credit Neeld cracked the shits at them after the final siren and dragged them into a team meeting before letting them do a surprisingly non-pedestrian rendition of the song. Shouldn't have really bothered, but I suppose they had to be kind to Tom Couch and give him the now customary starring role inside the circle. You can't afford to deny the guy, god knows when the next win is going to come around.
Bonus upside - no Dwayne Russell OR Tony Shaw on the commentary. Maybe I'm missing him after all these weeks, or maybe I need something else to get me through to the end of the season, but I could almost have done with a bit of #shootdwayne magic trying to ridiculously hype the 200th consecutive bounce or boundary throw in. May you be forced to listen to him next week if you don't turn up as punishment for not coming out to honour the great man.
Stat My Bitch Up
The good news is that we're up to 208.211.1459 and only need 19 more points to pass the dreaded '97 mark of futility and avoid our lowest scoring 22 game season ever. Mind you it's not looking positive for going any higher than that.
We have pushed clear of the ten worst seasons on percentage at the moment (to the lofty heights of 11th) - but don't hold your breath waiting for them to defend the 0.67% gap on tenth against a wounded Adelaide playing for top spot and Freo looking for a spot in the eight.
1 - 207.235.1477 ('97)
2 - 234.225.1629 ('08)
3 - 238.277.1705 ('70)
4 - 253.225.1743 ('96)
5 - 268.216.1824 ('81)
Hopefully somebody rushes on the ground in celebration
I've done a conservative ladder predictor and if Carlton beat Gold Coast by 'only' 60 and Freo don't beat North next week it will require them to pick up 4.5% in the last round to qualify.
Fat chance surely, but at least our game is on second so we'll know if St Kilda have won Freo will just need to win by anything and they'll pull out MFC style once the margin is comfortable. Otherwise if Carlton win by 12 and Freo by 100 they're in by 0.3. So yeah, don't celebrate being outside the 10 worst seasons for percentage for too long - we could be number 7 or 8 with a bullet soon.
2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Lynden Dunn (spiteful individual)
4 - Jeremy Howe (even regulation marks are now being talked up like Mark of the Year contenders. He has achieved Nic Nat status)
3 - Joel Macdonald (FETISH)
2 - Jack Grimes (Continues to be a solid contributor every week)
1 - Colin Sylvia (He's fooling us all)
Apologies to Jones, McKenzie, McDonald, Rivers and Sellar in order.
Congratulations to the SME who wins one of the worst battles for an award in MFC history by taking the Jakovich care of three good games despite not even playing. The only thing that can possibly match it is when Magner wins the official Best First Year Player against Couch (three games, no impact) and Tynan (one game).
Back to our awards, Grimes will wrap up at least a share of the Seecamp next week unless Tom McDonald can outscores him by three, and will win it outright if outscored by two or less. Then it's just down to whether McDonald or Magner can break free of the tie for the Hilton or whether we'll have our first tie since Carroll and Ferguson couldn't be split in the 2005 Seecamp. No countbacks here, everyone gets a medal whether they deserve it or not.
52 - Nathan Jones (RAMPANT WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
25 - Jeremy Howe
20 - Jack Watts
19 - Jack Grimes (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
17 - Mitch Clark
16 - Stefan Martin (WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
15 - Jordie McKenzie
13 - James Magner (CO-LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Tom McDonald (CO-LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
12 - Jared Rivers
11 - James Frawley
10 - Sam Blease
9 - Brent Moloney, Daniel Nicholson
8 - Matthew Bate, Joel Macdonald, Colin Sylvia
6 - Lynden Dunn
5 - Clint Bartram, Brad Green
4 - Neville Jetta, Jack Trengove
3 - Mark Jamar, Luke Tapscott
2 - Colin Garland
1 - Rohan Bail, James Sellar
There seemed to be plenty of orange clad splitters in attendance (proportionally anyway), but they must have been educated at the Luke Darcy School of Being Depressed because there was barely a peep heard from them all day. In fact the loudest reaction any of their players had all day was when Junior McDonald kicked a junk time goal and our fans applauded warmly (come home Junior, we've killed the guy who sacked you). The only thing that came close was the bronx cheer when Folau got a kick, but I think that was a joint effort by the whole crowd and everyone watching at home.
Other than that it was just our lot doing [team name] *clap* *clap* *clap* and hearty boos for the $2m Turd whenever he touched it, which was enough to make any MFC fan who hasn't necked themselves by now swell with pride.
Doubt we'll be invited back again to be honest. Considering the crowd GWS probably shouldn't be either despite writing CANBERRA on the back of their jumper and adopting a strange variety of it with a sort of Catholic cross on the front when they play games there. Weird club. Probably run by the Illuminati and/or the CIA. Let's hope old mate holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy decides to do something useful with his upcoming decade of virtual house arrest by cracking into the AFL's emails and exposing all of GWS' secrets.
Another week of trial-by-media shenanigans, culminating in the Herald Sun trying to hang us based on our last match in Canberra. You remember the one, it was such an awful game in front of such a rubbish crowd that the Chief Minister of the ACT himself (power roughly equivalent to the Mayor of Stonnington) practically ran us out of town single handedly.
Highlights from that game seem to include me declaring that the "tanking shutters" were up and that Dwayne Russell was in the "bottom 5% of humans", which means I was well ahead of public opinion on that one. Other than that it was just quite obviously one of the worst matches ever put on. Also Cale Morton got five votes, so if we could use some of the investigation budget to work out what the hell happened to him since that would be great too.
Hold on, I've just been handed an envelope with the news that the attendance today was only 250 higher for a team that is allegedly half based in Canberra. What's the ACT Government got to say about that? Maybe they're getting this for free now instead of having to fork out a fortune for the rights to show the give the rest of the nation an opportunity to gaze upon the Jack Fingleton Scoreboard. At one point today Joel Mac was incensed by a decision and turned around to look at the real scoreboard before he realised there wasn't one. We may as well play games at Optus Oval at this rate. At least you could do your washing there at the same time.
So the Herald have 'sources' who claim they 'heard' a conversation where 'somebody' said we wouldn't win because we'd made eight 'changes'. Which is like when New Weekly says that they have 'sources' who 'heard' Angelina Jolie say 'somebody' was going to steal Brad Pitt unless she makes significant 'changes' to the size of her 'cans'. Bollocks that either somebody made up or that can't be substantiated. You'd never say something like that now because every muppet has a mobile phone and might be recording it, so let's hope everyone involved with the club was still using the Nokia 3310 at that point and if it did happen there's no evidence.
Other than that all they've got on us is that we made a shitload of team changes and didn't use the interchange much. Well really, if you had put out a team like this would you let half of them on the field? It would have saved everyone the time if we'd just forfeited and handed the ACT their money back.
But fair enough the league should investigate everything that comes up. Every piece of testimony from every sacked hack and ex-dickhead is very important. What's telling is that Junior McDonald told them to get stuffed (maybe not in those words), so at least he'll still be welcome back any time he's ready. BUT if the league are keen to go in-depth on anything that may have affected integrity may I suggest they start with the following list and then get back to us later.
1999 - Round 22, Fremantle quite happily lose at Kardinia Park and pocket Paul Haselby
2004 - Round 22, Richmond lead at quarter time before losing and therefore securing last place
2004 - Round 22, Western Bulldogs win in Round 21 then drop five goal hero Matthew Croft, lose the last game and get a priority pick
2005 - Round 22, Carlton lead at quarter time and lose to finish last.
2005 - Collingwood get to five wins in Round 14, then lose the rest of their matches and get a priority pick
2007 - Richmond have the chance to win and jump over Carlton into second last - then blow a three quarter time lead, lose and finish last
2007 - Carlton get their fourth win in Round 11, pack away Fev and lose the next 11 including R22 when they didn't both to tag anyone.
2008 - Paul Roos tells Jarrad McVeigh "go forward, just don't kick a goal" in a NAB Cup thriller and gets away with it because he said it was a joke.
2010 - Fremantle rest 11 players and lose to Hawthorn by 116 points
2012 - GWS openly rest players before they play Gold Coast, going on to lose and take bottom place on the ladder.
Go in depth on all of those too. If not get stuffed. Touch our picks and there will be what passes for murder amongst Melbourne fans - i.e we'll complain about you on the internet.
Looks like another day at Casey when the actual Scorpions players did the heavy lifting. Everyone knows 'best' lists are utter tosh (for example, see votes above) but it's still telling that the only one of ours to make it in a win was Bate who is absolutely gorn in a fortnight's time.
I was going to say bring back Moloney for one last game at the MCG before he 'tests the market' all the way to another club, but rumour has it he won't even be in the country so that's him done with. No issues with him trundling off, will show him the appropriate level of respect in the future. Not happy with the way he all but announced he'd be off when we were on our knees but that's free agency for you - it's a far cry from certain other scabs who legitimately dogged on us. We had a good few years (when he wasn't injured), and we'll always remember the Psychic Friends Connection for the two weeks (non consecutive) when they were the best combination in the history of football, time to go for that elusive flag. Hopefully of the AFL variety.
Apparently the Stefan Martin Experience is suffering from the same strain of death that Watts was after his 'minor' injury so I won't hold my breath waiting for him to come back even though he was listed as a test this week. With him excluded due to flesh eating virus I'll settle for:
IN: Gysberts, Tynan, Fitzpatrick
OUT: Bail, Couch (omit), Frawley (unfit - lock him away for the year. Fat chance though considering he's on 99 games)
Here's to picking two players just so they'll play more than one game in a season. At least Tynan kicked two goals, and Fitz can form a double duo of shambles and shame with The Spencil while Sellar goes forward permanently and tries to take the heat off Green so he can get a few goals in what will probably be his last game.
Wouldn't surprise me if they pre-machine gun a few more this week, but it's easier to be frivolous in sacking everyone when you've got players banging the door down to come in. We haven't. Remember when Lucas Cook and Troy Davis were on the verge a few weeks back? All of a sudden Cook is achieving a Luke Molan-esque mythology (without the shattered leg) and Davis might be playing for Kerang again.
Would be nice to give Bate one last game for us at the MCG (even though I'm obviously the only person who likes him), and I'm not sure what Daniel Nicholson's status is considering he doesn't appear on the injury list but there's not much else going. Magner? What's the point at this stage, he'll be there next year - I'd much rather see somebody like Jetta who is playing for their life even if he's now 1-3 for good games against bad this year.
Either way it's going to be shit and if there's even the slightest hint of rain nobody will be there. You'd like to think a few would turn up just for Green but don't bet your life on it, it'll be strictly for fanatics only. I'm going to eat Kaiser's Sausage until it comes out of my ears safe in the knowledge that I won't be going to the finals or any variety of cricket and will therefore be unable to have one again until April.
I'm starting to feel that Dunn and Macdonald might duck and survive the execution squad just for being angry, hateful individuals on the footy field (and perhaps off it). I could live without Dunn, but I'll be almost as glum when Joel Mac goes as I was when another great 28 got the boot (clue: not Weetra).
Jetta, on the other hand, must be in trouble now. One good game and three ordinary ones is no way to end a season when there's a massacre brewing. Suspension probably didn't help him either. Michael Evans must also be in enormous trouble despite his random Robert Campbell-esque promotion to the senior list last week, if they haven't played him yet time is very much running out.
By my estimation that leaves us with four senior players and two rookies who are either gone or would be a shock survivor (Bate, Green, Moloney, Petterd + Lawrence, Evans) but I suspect there will be at least two more senior list players on the way out - one to cover for Nicholson being promoted from the rookies. Personally I'd delist the Spencil and re-draft him as a rookie, and wouldn't be in a hurry to re-sign Bail either but it's pretty clear to me that neither of those things is going to happen so I won't even bother considering them.
I'd say as of this week the VERY UNSAFE category consists of Bennell, Davis, Jetta, and Morton. Also not ruling out the possibility of a shock Sylvia trade, though I'm more confident that Blease will stay now.
As for the ins you can be fairly sure that unless Sheeds hijacks the phone during the father/son bidding that GWS won't be risking the #1 pick for Viney, so that just leaves Gold Coast to come from the clouds and roll us into paying pick 3 for him. Which they probably will, but bad luck that's their prerogative - god knows we've benefited from enough poorly written AFL rules in the last few years that we might as well pay the price for once.
Trade-wise I doubt we'll rope anybody half decent in this time, I'm sure I know what Mitch Clark would have agreed to if he'd known we were going to be solid gold garbage. The only hope of a big name turning up (unless we draft Rochford Devenish-Meares) is that somebody with mercenary qualities decides that enormous piles of cash are more important than success or a happy life. So, it's Travis Cloke or nothing. I'd like to say I prefer nothing based on his recent form but hell, why not. Let's just pay him the same amount that it would cost to buy Trinidad & Tobago and hope for the best.
One day you'll look back upon this season and laugh. Hopefully not because it was as good as it got for the decade.