Welcome to the end of another 'exciting', scandal tinged week of your life supporting the Melbourne Football Club. For once it ended with a win, and thank god for that too because I can't imagine the wild scenes that would have taken place if we'd contrived to lose to Gold Coast in the same week where our dirty 'secrets' were the talk of the town.
It wasn't much of a win, and I'm fairly confident in saying despite the margin it pushes ahead of our previous victory over the Suns as the worst in recent memory, but this isn't the Uneven Parallel Bars (OBLIGATORY OLYMPIC REFERENCE #3) and you don't get marked down for precision, degree of difficulty or execution. In our case there would have been a lot of people literally been marked down for execution had they lost this, but thankfully the firing squad were not required at AAMI Park and were free to head to a much higher profile engagement at Alberton Oval instead.
You'd never turn back a win (well, you might if it was 2009 and SNIP - legal department) but a victory of this variety was a bit like on-screen nudity before the internet came along. Back in say 1992 you didn't know when you were going to see norgs again so anything looked good.
For instance causing the upset of the season in beating the 9-1 Essendon in a thriller was today's equivalent of Erika Eleniak bursting out of a cake in Under Siege, while struggling for three quarters to beat a team now proudly sporting a record of 4-36 based solely was the modern equivalent of watching a whole episode of Silk Stalkings just in case they alluded to hot action. In both cases if you squinted closely enough and used your imagination you might find something exciting, but generally it was a disappointing experience.
But enough of football as early 90's softcore metaphors for now, the brief flash of silhouetted sideboob we were provided in the first quarter and the three quarters of tripe following it were just the culmination of a bizarre week, kicked off in spectacular fashion on Monday night by our old friend, and 2006 Allen Jakovich Medallist, Brock McLean. Just when you thought it was safe to write off season 2012 as a bad dream and assumed that all the focus would turn to the wide open premiership race the MFC Wheel of Farce was spun again, and this time it landed firmly on TANKING ALLEGATIONS.
Did I step into a time machine and wind up going back three years? Did we not deal with this then, or at the very least when Dean Bailey got the heave-ho and alluded strongly to it in his farewell press conference only for the AFL to provide the all-clear with a straight face and flaming trousers? You'd have thought so wouldn't you, but our very good friend gets invited On The Couch as part of his victory lap after kicking the winning goal last Saturday night, blabs that he left because he thought we were on the dodge in late '09 and suddenly MFC Farce Bingo card holders all over the country rush off to Officeworks to buy A2 sheets of paper to fit all the new squares on.
It's easy to laugh at the league for pretending - Iraqi Information Minister style - that absolutely nothing dubious has ever happened when half the league has had a go at 'experimenting' at some point in recent history, but their refusal to admit that they implemented a system that was incredibly easy to manipulate might be our saving grace. It's not like they have to punish anybody else if they don't want to so don't think if we go down we're necessarily taking anyone else with us so let's hope the whole thing is packed away and never spoken about again. Don't be fooled into thinking that if they do us in for the McMahon game that they're bound by any rules of justice to include Carlton for letting Jace Bode kick two goals in Round 22, 2007.
Besides, who needs a draft lottery anyway - they solved the problem for a few years by introducing two teams with a combined fanbase less than the population of Nauru, giving them every pick under the sun. Great result if you're the owner of GWS (i.e the AFL), not much chop for the rest of us but at least it encourages teams to play properly. Look at Port last year, dodging the spoon (naturally by beating us) because instead of being the difference between picks 1 and 2 it was the difference between 4 and 6. It might not have ended well for them this season (though having said that they've already won two games more than they did in 2011 so I'm not entirely sure what Matthew Primus was expected to do other than beat GWS) but it shows that clubs will put winning before picks if there's not a huge amount to be gained by finishing one or two spots higher.
I have almost zero interest in the NBA other than occasionally making sure the Atlanta Hawks are still no good so I don't have to pretend I'm a real fan but I'm right on board their lottery system. Throw 8-18 in the hat, with it progressively weighted so that 8th has almost no chance, and 18th have about one in four and just draw it. Clubs will always play kids before they're ready at the end of the season, and NBA teams still try and rort their way into having a better chance of 'winning' the number one pick but at least it will stop the perception of teams being automatically better off by losing.
However, we're talking about the people who brought you the Video Review System ten minutes before the start of the season so don't hold your breath for any sort of lottery to be implemented in a way that isn't a complete shambles. Also not that it should matter this year, but in future could the draw be conducted under Oz Lotto style government supervision to ensure that GWS and Gold Coast don't always get the top pick care of bendy envelopes a'la Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks.
So, flash back to late 2009 and our vigorous embracing of 'experimentation' which conveniently landed us on exactly four wins and a priority selection. I'm on record as having hated every minute of it, but I see where they were coming from. It was sordid, it was sadly the right thing for them to do and we've been duly rewarded by having three wins in a season - only one of them against a real club - three years later. Karmic punishment enough for whatever happened during the Tom McNamara era I'd have thought, but no we've been through enough off-field drama this year so why not throw a league 'investigation' into the mix as well.
So Brock's comments weren't particularly helpful to our cause, but what do you expect coming from the guy who delivered a put-down to a Twitter oaf which also insinuated he himself had AIDS then had to pay $5000 for the privilege. There's clearly no filter between brain and mouth. I'm sure he wasn't really trying to dump us in it, especially because he'd no doubt be implicated for taking part in other alleged fixes that season, but he said what he felt, it reflected badly on us and three years later we get to be run through the media blender for it.
He could have danced around the issue a bit, but he's never been known for remarkable agility has he? You'd like to think that when the AFL's investigator sits down with him he'll say it was all a misunderstanding, that he has no real allegations to make and that there is no evidence anything dodgy took place and that will be that but the air of farce hangs heavy over us at the moment so who knows what left-field decision they'll come up with.
Of course having said all that he did have a point. By all account there were some outrageously experimental positional moves in the second half of that Richmond game, but other than that all I saw was us losing a bunch of games we'd have lost anyway even if we had played everyone where it is presumed by the media that they should have been playing.
At this point I'd like to reiterate, before the AFL try to subpoena me to testify at the Tankquiry that I didn't then, nor have ever seen any footage of the second half of the great Richmond match other than the final kick which is worth watching over and over again just for Jordan McMahon's "I am severely constipated" facial expressions after he kicks it.
Let's assume for a second that the loss to Richmond, which once again I have never seen in its entirety (first half was good though), was pre-planned. What a remarkable stroke of luck to end up with them finding a target inside 50 with seconds to go and having a non-notable goalkicker slot the clutch kick (his 45th in 144 games). No matter what wacky shenanigans took place before then that's the fact of the matter, they won the game off their own boot and it didn't involve one of our defenders turning around and kicking the ball straight to him (which happens every week anyway) so stick that in your M1 Abrams Battle Tank and smoke it.
I have no doubt what they were up to at the end of that season, but without concrete proof of a conspiracy how can anybody tell between a 'carefully' crafted ploy to manipulate the draft, and just plain shit football/tremendously awful luck. We can speculate on motive and intention until the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is not only did Richmond win that game off their own boot but also that winning it would not have affected our chances of getting a priority pick - it would have left us on four wins and we'd still have gotten Trengove and some other prick. Whether or not we'd have forfeited the extra pick by beating Freo comfortably a fortnight later is another matter, but it's irrelevant because thanks to McMahon the match was never played under those circumstances.
Obviously no player turning out for us in any game that season deliberately played to lose, so case closed. If Matthew Warnock goes to full forward then misses five shots in a row from the goalsquare then let's talk about conspiracies and sanctions (maybe at the time, not three years later), but does that mean The Spencil then gets investigated for dropping the ball on his run in against North or we have to produce a doctor's report proving Rohan Bail really did blow his hammy 30 seconds into his debut? No, because shit happens, and if all they've got on Bailey is that he coached a game badly then I've got a big fat dossier of other games I'd like to discuss with them. Where does playing a clearly unwell Moloney in 186 fit in? In fact we could do about three weeks of investigations into that if they're keen.
Why did they play Whelan and Wheatley in Round 22 when they could hardly move? Was it because we were always going to lose to St Kilda no matter what? Of course it was. Why did Dunn go to Riewoldt and get slaughtered? No idea, why did he do the same against Goldstein two weeks earlier? Is wacky experimentation only evil in the last month of the season or is Neeld under investigation for the Watts vs J. Brown matchup against Brisbane? Why did Brock McLean himself have 27 touches when we beat Fremantle in foul conditions three weeks from the end of the year but only 16 and 17 the next two - is he going to put his hand up and say he chucked it as well, or do we put that down to being well held by far superior teams? I'd say the latter, much like every other game apart from Richmond which we could easily have won anyway despite the coco bananas coaching.
It's all a bit of a non-story (so much so that I've just spent half the post talking about it) but it was as good an excuse as any for a media frenzy, and an open invitation was put out to anybody who had anything to do with the club that year to make their way down to the Double Cross Ranch and pretend to unburden themselves of a deep dark secret which they've been holding deep inside all these years. One which they didn't think to report to anybody until a journalist asked them about it.
First cab off the rank was, bizarrely, Paul Gardner who had been run out of town on a rail a year before Warnock did his Tony Lockett impersonation. So with nothing constructive to say about the events actually in question, presumably because he was busy climbing a mountain for charity while they were occurring, he instead helpfully joined in just for the sake of it and claimed that we'd been at it for years. And indeed we had - just witness the second half fadeout in Round 22, 2003 which ultimately led to us drafting *drumroll please* Brock McLean.
Gardner was claiming that he walked out of a match in 2008 because we "weren't trying to win", but considering he resigned as President in June I'm not sure what more credibility he has about our performances at the end of that year than any of us who sat in the stands and simply watched them play a dog vomit season. His opinion is invalid, and when he says that introducing relegation would cut out tanking he proves himself to be not even worth talking to. Congratulations on achieving relevancy for five minutes, maybe next time try helping the club you allegedly support by keeping your mouth shut.
Next off the bench for his free hit was Shane Valenti, which should be no surprise to anybody considering what happened to him at the end of that year, before John Meesen of all people hobbled his way to the witness stand to testify that there was definitely something suspicious going on because "Forwards were down back, the backs were in the midfield and the midfielders were up forward." As opposed to say, Colin Garland going forward against Essendon and kicking the winning goal or Jack Watts racking up 30 possessions in the backline. If I'd known our woes this year were due to simple match fixing I'd have been much more comfortable about it and not on the verge of a heart attack for most of the first 10 weeks.
Wisely most people must have stopped returning calls because the last word from ex-players went to Paul Johnson who stopped short of raising any allegations lest somebody ask him what he thought his one game for Hawthorn against Gold Coast in the final home and away game of 2011 was equally as 'experimental' as anything he did that fateful day at the MCG. Then the papers joined in the carnival atmosphere by verballing him with a headline which made it look like he was making direct accusations.
So far nobody has had the balls to come out and say "I was told to chuck it", because nobody was - and until it can be conclusively proven otherwise then everyone can stick it and we'll get back to performing bizarre satantic rituals in the hope that at least one of the Scumbag $cully compo picks and/or Jack Viney will be the star this club so desperately needs to drag it of the floor.
Hopefully no insane bastard ever committed Operation Priority to paper and the league don't end up finding it in a Swiss Bank vault, because then we really would be in trouble - but until they do it's in exactly the same league as so many other 'dodgy' decisions before it. Carlton rocketing to four wins then packing away Fev and dropping the entire second half of a season, Freo losing by 110 points because they've rested 15 players before the finals, Collingwood having four 'injuries' before they play GWS and then all four players coming back fit and firing the next week etc.. etc.. etc.. Not to mention chief On The Couch inquisitor Paul Roos being caught on camera telling a player not to kick a goal during a NAB Cup game. When do we get to press play on footage of that? He claimed it was all an innocent joke and it was all ok. We should claim the comedy defence as well.
So, in summary everyone can get stuffed because they've all done exactly what we did and no matter how odious it may seem nothing can be proven. It would surprise nobody if the AFL were selective in their investigations and reverse course on their previous claims that nothing dodgy has ever happened (EVER) just for the sake of stealing our early picks and giving them to Gold Coast and GWS but I think we'll be fine. If I'm called at the enquiry I'll be removed from the courtroom screaming obscenities at everyone.
At least none of our players have ever been accused of changing lanes without indicating in a group sex scenario gone wrong. That's one thing we've got going for us. Hopefully the Jurrah case goes tits up and we can keep taking the moral high ground on off-field matters to make up for what went on that year.
After another 'week from hell' (CLICHE) I'm not sure how the people would have survived dropping his game. We started favourites but there were plenty of people willing to tip against, and not without some justification, especially once the Stefan Martin Experience was revealed as this week's mystery injury sufferer and we were left with the prospect of a Spencil/Sellar rucking extravaganza. At least we still had Jordie McKenzie to curtail Ablett's domination and.. well, he was out too, but at least he was replaced with Magner who can play as a tagger and.. oh he was the sub. Neutral fans probably can't see why this was so nerve wracking, unless they follow Richmond and then they've probably got some idea.
When the McKenzie news came through I can only imagine the 'humorous wags' (aka crunts), future talkback callers and 'quality journalists' like Greg Denham all frantically started pre-preparing gags and 'comic' lines to 'spontaneously' do about us. That CHICKEN STOCK/BEEF STOCK/LAUGHING STOCK picture which has had almost every club logo attached to it over the years must have been sitting in a few outboxes waiting to be sent if we cocked this up.
There was something to be said for McKenzie not being around to harass Ablett, it seems that when he runs riot they usually lose by plenty but when he's well held or doesn't play they often look like winning. It's an inexplicable phenomenon, but you wonder if that's exactly what Neeld and Co had in mind when they left late replacement Magner on the bench and gave Morton the job of following him around instead?
And follow him around he did, on a long leash. I suspect they were trying to teach him how a champion plays in the vain hope that some of the magic may rub off, but it didn't do much for his future prospects. Neither did blowing his shoulder out in season ending fashion during the second quarter, allowing Magner his long awaited crack at the job. Like neck tatts equaling a shit bloke the theory held up again, he was hardly blanketed but Ablett certainly quietened down after Morton went off - only for the rest of his team to pull their finger out and make a game of it.
We should have started with Magner on him from the first bounce but *gasp* they tried something different and it didn't work - get the integrity officer down there quickly before somebody destroys the evidence. Or maybe the Morton plan was a fiendish plan designed to take the rest of the Suns players out of the game? We'll never know now.
Maybe it helps when the entire team isn't looking for him with every possession? The worrying thing is that the by the time he retires to his large pile of money in three or four years time they won't need one man amongst 22 doing all the hard work because they'll have an enviable selection of midfield options to share the load amongst. See, for instance, Harley Bennell playing a jaw droppingly good game where he was best on ground by a million miles. This is the sort of kid who other clubs draft with high picks, while we're going around being permanently cursed because somebody shagged a witch in the home changerooms before the 1965 season.
Ablett and Bennell aside the rest of them were utter balls in the first quarter. Having seen a lot of quarters like that in the last few years I think I know an absolute stinker when I see one - and that was ripe. At 14-1 ten minutes in it didn't look too bad, but then they just fell to pieces in classic MFC fashion and the game was all but over. No doubt your highlight was the same as mine, The Spencil managing to hold the ball on his run up and kick truly.
The successes of the quarter had to balanced out against the horrible performance of the opposition, but there were still pleasing signs of quick ball movement and getting the ball inside 50 where we all hope at some point a forward line will be located. Even Sellar briefly looked like he was Mitch Clark, not to mention Blease running around as if he were Jeff Farmer snapping goals out of his arse again. All that and our backline dominating their even more makeshift forwards. Were you, as I was, praying that they'd recognise we had nobody other than Green and suddenly play Warnock in the forward line as a Party Like It's 2009 tribute? Boo to Guy McKenna for not indulging that whim.
What a great quarter it was, and with Sylvia scammed some child into giving away a 50 for first goal of the second within a minute of the bounce we were on the Chris Sullivan Line almost two quarters too soon and I was briefly roped into the idea of it turning out to be a four quarter, pisstaking rampage. Ok so us having a big win over Gold Coast would be like a deaf man mugging a blind man but it doesn't make the idea any less desirable.
Sadly then even as Gold Coast suffered such a spectacular run of injuries that they were down to no fully fit players on the bench by half time and had a 'full forward' who couldn't leave the goal square the survivors decided to start playing properly and they all but beat us for the rest of the game.
Usually I scream abuse at my television/radio/family when somebody starts waffling on about the 'brave' efforts of the Franchises when they're getting thrashed but for once in this case it was actually valid. Other than showing no interest for most of the first quarter and kicking for goal like the Earl Spalding All-Stars they actually outplayed us for the majority of the day. Note with bitterness than it was the first time they had won either the Inside 50 or Contested Possession count all season.
So take the win and flog it off to Cash Converters for whatever you can get because there wasn't a great deal else that it told us about the future. No doubt there were some good signs - Howe playing his second good game in a row since I suggested he'd lost it (oops) and Tapscott easily his best since early in his debut year - but considering who it was against I'm not going to start declaring the rebirth is in full effect just yet. Show me similar against St Kilda and then let's talk.
What you can take out of Sunday was that Howe and Jones have re-signed, and on top of Garland, McDonald and McKenzie a few weeks ago that gives us all the chance to face "everyone will leave" Gerard Healy and tell him to whack it up his chocbox.
There's still work to do on a handful of others but the mooted abandonment of ship has been reduced to Moloney trying to win a flag and GWS using $cully to 'persuade' Blease to defect north.
At the other end of the career spectrum it was good to see Green getting amongst the goals again. His over the top celebrations were a bit much, but good on him for trying to inject some life and excitement into the usually drab MFC match day experience. The first one made sense, but by the time he was kicking his 5th and dancing around like Michael Flatley I thought something dubious was afoot and that he was going to announce his retirement after the match. My conspiracy sense was tingling even more when somebody ignored a perfectly good option to try and find him inside 50 in the last quarter when he was already on five. Then the match ended and he's not going anywhere, so what do I know? He needs to play on.
I'll admit that I was getting nervous in the second quarter when they kicked three in a row, and was starting to wonder if we were being set up for the screwjob of the century. The umpires were certainly keen on giving the Suns every possible opportunity (in a completely fair and balanced way OF COURSE) so it was important that we didn't let them back into the game by half time. Thank god for getting the last two goals and providing some breathing space.
The balance had well and truly tipped in the third term, and they spent most of it battering our defence but being too inept to convert. Brandon Matera was the chief offender, missing three easy set shots in a row - but for once the luck was going our way as rare inside 50's were leading to goals, including two for Dancin' Brad Green who celebrated by doing his impression of Michigan J Frog after kicking a 4th. Meanwhile down the other end Rischitelli was forced to try and kick what would have been the greatest aerial goal since Jakovich against North Melbourne because he couldn't move more than about two metres.
As our midfield started to be overwhelmed and the defenders began their tradition fumbling and bumbling we could be thankful that Gold Coast haven't yet discovered any decent forward targets. So far so much like us, but at least we've got Clark and (hopefully) Jurrah to come back - they are a team in drastic need of any type of decent full forward. Here's hoping they either never get one or steal both from GWS and force the Giants to go into liquidation.
The last quarter was just mince. We started it one point above the CS Line so I knew we were safe, and taking the margin out over 50 points in the first minute helped calm the nerves before self doubt and loathing started to creep in when they booted three in a row and our lot stopped to a crawl. Our lot who had lost one player, while a side who were a mobile casualty ward ran around like it was the first quarter.
Shufflin' Brad Green steadied it, and Howe got another one after the siren to 'win' the last three quarters but it was hardly inspiring stuff. If it wasn't for Howe taking hangers and Tapscott flattening somebody with an almighty bump there would have been absolutely nothing to recommend it for future viewing. Take the points, burn the tapes, and let's move on.
Just when you thought this match had tortured you enough, wait until Brownlow night where one of our handful of wins for the year comes up and we don't even get the top two votes for the match. That's got to be a rarity for a team winning by seven goals, but it's hard to argue against the Bennell/Ablett show. Good thing the rest of them are good enough to get the job done yet, but don't be fooled by their abysmal win/loss record they're not going to be this easy to walk over for long.
Stat My Bitch Up
It's head in the oven time for poor old Mal Owens who was within striking distance of handing the most unwanted record in MFC history over to Jake Spencer before this victory. The Spencil rockets to a career win/loss record of 1-12, and Mal is left to wear the record setting 0-16 mark for another few years.
The latest news on percentage watch is that we're up to 67.20, and bracing for some massive debacles in the next few weeks, we're pushing away from the bottom 10 seasons of all time. Well that's something. Total score for the year is now 185.183.1293, so we should (SHOULD) avoid the record low of 207.235.1477 by the time we get to Round 24. Keep watching the stars.
2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Jeremy Howe
4 - Nathan Jones
3 - Luke Tapscott
2 - Brad Green
1 - Brent Moloney
Apologies to Bail, Blease, Dunn, Frawley, Grimes, Macdonald, Magner, McDonald, The Spencil (!!!!!), Strauss, Sylvia and Trengove - many of whom could have snuck in for the last vote. I wasn't as keen on Sylvia's game as most, he was good but he should be slicing and dicing sides like this for fun.
Jones continues to take the piss. Status of all other awards unchanged. Anybody who debuts from next week onwards is eligible for the 2013 Hilton.
52 - Nathan Jones (WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
21 - Jeremy Howe
20 - Jack Watts
17 - Mitch Clark
16 - Stefan Martin (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
15 - Jordie McKenzie
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)
11 - James Frawley
10 - Jared Rivers
9 - Brent Moloney, Daniel Nicholson
8 - Matthew Bate
7 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Sam Blease
5 - Clint Bartram, Brad Green
4 - Neville Jetta, Jack Trengove
3 - Mark Jamar, Luke Tapscott
2 - Colin Garland, Joel Macdonald
1 - Rohan Bail, James Sellar
Posted figure of 18,097 seemed highly dubious, but who am I to question the integrity of 'official' crowd numbers? Certainly more than I expected, but tellingly 3500 less than for the same fixture last year - probably because there was still some sort of feelgood factor around the place then despite 186 whereas now people are having to be physically restrained from self harming.
So how then, in a near empty stadium, do I end up sitting directly behind a guy who was up for a chat on every topic under the sun, even though I was clearly not interested in conversation? You can't blame somebody for being chatty, after all not everyone is an anti-social monster like I am, BUT what part of having two headphones in and a jacket pulled up to the point where it was covering my mouth indicated that I was keen to get into a discussion.
It's alright if somebody turns around for one comment, realises you're only being polite by responding and then gives up but he kept doing it for the whole quarter. We're rumbling our way to our largest first quarter lead since Round 2, 1994 and old mate is showing more interest in banal conversation than the gore taking place in front of it. He even turned around to say something during one of our set shots. As a Melbourne fan I would argue that goals are so precious that you should be paying full attention to every single shot in case you don't see another one ever again.
I was already plotting my escape to one of the other 90,000 empty seats in the stadium when the quarter time siren went and he clambered over the seats to sit down right next to me. Again, there's no harm in being civil but take the hint that somebody isn't keen already. I'm alone, you're alone, we're all bloody alone but it's no excuse for chumming up with other lone nutters.
So with Level 2 of the Ponsford now permanently off limits, and having been driven from the reserved seat area by Chatty McChatterton I decided to experiment with the Southern Stand. My knowledge of said stand is an absolute disgrace, having watched about two MFC matches anywhere higher than level 2 since the mid 90's. What confuses me about it is that some of the ramps go to L3 and some don't, so if you're a hapless amateur like me good luck ever finding your way back to the same place twice.
I somehow found myself on Level 3 in the second quarter, which was perfectly fine but absolutely freezing thanks to the wind, and made the terrible mistake of going to buy some $8 food at half time without dropping a trail of crumbs so I could find my way back. After become disoriented after standing in line for five minutes to buy some floppy chicken thing I try to take another ramp to get back to L3 and find that it's an express one which goes all the way to to the top.
By this time I'm completely confused and in need of a YOU ARE HERE map, but the quest to find my spot again was far more interesting than anything going on at half time (did they do AFL 9's again in honour of a franchise club?) so I pressed on.
Eventually after going back downstairs and trying a different ramp I came to a level where there was nothing but a set of unattended glass doors which, much to my surprise, were unlocked. By this point the third quarter was about to start and I was clutching a rapidly cooling toxic chicken product so I was ready to sit anywhere. I walk up the first set of stairs on offer, turn left and realise that I've wound up in the AFL Members, which nobody is policing because frankly at this game nobody working at the ground could care less and they were all enjoying getting paid for marshalling nobody.
Turned out that I'd become hopelessly lost and ended up at almost the other end of the Southern Stand from where I was trying to go. Not surprisingly it was as lightly patronised as the rest of the ground, so with the prospect of nobody talking to me and the rare opportunity to watch an MFC game from somewhere new I decided to stay there with just two other lone nutters for company. One was creepily taking pictures of the crowd when the ball wasn't anywhere nearby, and one was a lone Suns fan who despite being an adult male took it up on himself to get up and wave a flag whenever they kicked a goal. It was sad, individual male central and I was right at home.
The second half may have been crap but at least I had a cracking view. Not that I'll be rushing out to sign up to become an AFL Member just for the facilities. To me joining them would be like signing up to a political party I hate just because they throw nice functions.
MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
No chance, not getting roped into the nutter factory just because we've had a win.
For now I've given up on almost every online channel other to see Casey match reports and re-read all 30 pages of the Big Footy MS Paint Thread from start to finish every week.
If I stray outside of any thread that is not a VFL report or a comic goldmine it's just page after page of tormented souls digitally kicking the shit out of each other and trying to nut out solutions to all our problems - most of which involve sacking somebody. I'm aware that after all these years - and the length of this post - that it's incredible hypocrisy for me to suggest anybody else needs an intervention before they have a heart attack, but my god some people take it to an incredible new level on forums.
Especially when it comes to posting about the administration. It's not that people don't have a right to dislike Schwab, McLardy, the tea lady etc.. for whatever reason but the fact remains that off-field is one of the few places where you, the random otherwise powerless member can have a go at them and make whatever sort of difference you like. And nobody ever does. You don't have to sleep under a cardboard cutout of the board, but the clock's ticking for anyone who wants to have a serious go at them so if somebody wants to have a crack then let's do it and let the first expensive, divisive public brawl since Gutnick vs Szondy 'sort it out'.
I'll give the "sack everybody" faction the benefit of the doubt for the next couple of months, but if AGM season rolls around with the board unchallenged and nothing more than a couple of furious people clutching microphones at the meeting then they've squibbed it en masse and can fuck right off.
As for the great Cameron Schwab debate it's about to be irrelevant, so whatever it is that he's supposed to have done to make various people hate him so much can remain the stuff of internet legend.
Casey were thrashed by the 12th placed Carlton Jr, so based solely on the bests in the match report where only Bate and Williams featured I'll suggest nobody is absolutely screaming to get a game. After our recent record with late withdrawals and minor injuries I wouldn't be surprised if none of Martin, McKenzie or Watts are still alive so let's not get too overly excited about getting them back just yet.
There's one certain out, possibly for good, but unless one or more of the mystery injury crowd are good to go then I'll forgive Nifty Nev Jetta's pox game against North and give him credit for not being tainted by Casey's flogging.
IN: McKenzie (if fit) or Jetta
OUT: Morton (inj)
Have we blown our rookie quota yet or is there some chance Williams might get a game before the end of the year? Looks like he's taken up on Cook's now ended hot streak, so if available he'd be worth having a look at in a completely legitimate, non-tank fashion. I suspect, though, if they've got the chance to play another rookie they'll give Michael Evans a chance to save his career instead, safe in the knowledge that Williams has another year on the rookie list to impress.
Other than the injured players plus Jetta and Williams we're down to Bate, Cook, Davis, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Petterd, Sheahan and Tynan. Bate/Petterd are gorn, Cook and Davis aren't in form, Evans is a rookie, Sheahan is barely in the Casey 1's and Fitzpatrick/Tynan have played three games between them. The last two might get a run in the next few weeks, but other than that there's not a great deal to look forward to on Thursday nights.
On the off chance that all three of the mystery injury crowd turn out to be fit it'll make it a bit harder, but there's fat chance that'll happen so why waste time thinking about it?
Just keep the Wheel Of Farce from landing on this spot for a few more weeks and we should get through to Round 24 without anyone having to enter the Witness Protection Program.