Sunday, 14 April 2013

#fistedforever

Before we begin, Demonblog Films presents the second instalment in our series tracing Mark Neeld's harrowing journey through 2013. This was supposed to stretch out across the season and culminate in a spectacular conclusion in Round 23 but I'm getting antsy that sadly we won't make it that far together, so best rush produce the last three episodes in case they all need to be played at once next Sunday.



*Normal programming resumes here*

This football thing is all getting a bit much isn't it? (spoiler alert: YES IT BLOODY WELL IS). Even when something tasty is briefly dangled above our head it's soon snatched away and replaced by strips of rancid meat. Dark clouds are everywhere and karmic payback for ruining Addam Maric's career by stereotyping him as an emo is that we shall all be turned into emos for the rest of our supporting lives. Sorry about that.

Thank god for Essendon I suppose, though it would have been nice if they could have been thrown into turmoil last week before obliterating us. Not that it would have mattered much considering the performance we put in, James Hird could have been fronting the International Criminal Court in The Hague and he'd have still managed to get back in time to rack up a 20 goal plus win by taking advantage of grand slam defending like this (picture courtesy @lachie66, who seems to have a chandelier in his house).

I assume that everyone goes through different stages of footballing grief, but I've got mine down to such a fine art that you can manage your calendar by it. Assuming we've lost (and the odds of that are pretty good) I'll trudge home gloomily, kick a few inanimate objects, eat my feelings and mangle the keyboard until some minor level of catharsis has been achieved. Then on "Day 2" I'll look at some forums, read the newspaper reports and listen to us being unmercifully pilloried on the radio, which will cause my blood pressure to head north again.

If it's a Sunday game there's generally less time for cleansing of the soul and we get a jump start on Day 3 (Monday) where deepression has well and truly set in and I start to wonder if there's any reason to go on. This is exacerbated by having to talk about the result to every man and their dog. Yes, I know we were no good. No I don't know what's wrong with them. Repeat five times. It's ok with MFC fans, but please Hawthorn and Collingwood fans queue up and tell me what's wrong with our club because that's something we really appreciate.

By Day 4 (Tuesday) I've had everybody in the world who considers themselves a "bit of a comedian" doing jokes at our expense (there was one belter this week about the waterboy being sacked for poisoning the players that somebody tried to get over about ten times, all of which were totally ignored until he gave up and moved onto our other local MFC fans), have foolishly clicked more SACK EVERYONE threads and will have read/seen enough SACK EVERYONE, WAIT DON'T SACK THEM THEY'RE ALRIGHT media reports to cause maximum deespair to set in.

It's more of the same on Wednesday before everything starts to turn around on Day 6 (Thursday). By 5pm I'm gagging to see team changes, and am actually starting to look forward to the game even though I know exactly what the pattern of the next week is going to be. It should be pointed out for the record, and for evidence in future Fair Work Australia cases, that somewhere in the midst of all of this deestress actual work is occasionally done. Friday is more of the same, the excitement of "this could be the week somebody good happens", topped off by watching good teams play at night and trying to remember back to what it was like when we were young and full of hope. Then the match rolls around, we got tonked and the vicious cycle begins again.

In those grim days mid-week where THE FEAR has well and truly taken over I wind up like Homer Simpson seeing Moe's face everywhere in the wake of the Flaming Moe/Homer incident. Everything I read, and everything I hear features some sort of wisdom that either seems to explain the predicament of the Melbourne Football Club or seems highly apt about the state we've got ourselves into.

This week I was looking for something else when totally by accident I stumbled upon a cheery piece called To Those Born Later by our East German correspondent Bertholt Brecht (who has Demonblog form, having previously been turned to in times of crisis). Join me in putting aside full footy bogan mode for a paragraph and entering full literary wanker mode instead - and tell me if this doesn't ring true as a Melbourne loyalist.

Truly, I live in dark times!
Frank speech is naive

A smooth forehead suggests insensitivity. 
The man who laughs has simply not yet had the terrible news.

He goes on to basically suggest life is shit which, with respect to people in the world who have real problems, it actually is if you're a Dees fan.

There is no ducking the fact that we're constantly finding new ways of hitting rock bottom, because unless you're a kid who isn't old enough to know better (and the ones that do have until Monday to switch teams and avoid becoming a playground comedy figure) the fun has been completely sucked out of the experience (not The Experience, whose name just conjures up memories of good times and great haircuts in the recent past) of being a 'fan'.

The rush some of us still get before and during a game - at least for a while - is one thing, but other than Essendon killing themselves and the inaugural Carnival of Hate, which had a completely different storyline, the last time I had actual proper fun at the footy was 659 days ago on Saturday 25 June, 2011 when we beat Richmond, the late Jack Watts was best on ground and Melbourne (yes, that Melbourne) moved half a game inside the eight. Good times indeed. Just over a month later we got clocked by the 186 meteorite and it's been one horror after another since to the point where Jack has been driven mental, we've won six games at about one every 110 days (including the off-season) and Richmond are apparently actually quite good. And more power to the Tigers, somebody has to take their opportunities instead of imploding at the slightest provocation.

Admittedly not every single week ends with friends and family holding me back from introducing fork into toaster. For instance summer is quite restful, but even during the season sometimes you just sit there for four quarters watching the inevitable then go home and think "well, I've done my bit". Sometimes you might even get a few minutes or a quarter to bag up and take home as a happy memory in lieu of actual solid gold wins. Occasionally you get a mixture of all the emotions - take for instance last year against St Kilda when the first half was so boring you'd have been forgiven for falling asleep, then they thumped us in the third quarter before we got the cut-out-and-keep, possibly never to be repeated NQR Blease rampage in the final term.

What I really want is the right to be at least a little bit arrogant again. Obviously until you're at least a finals team you should generally shut your mouth and get on with your life, but I was re-reading an old post during the week and this bit from the day we flogged Sydney (the absolute undoubted highpoint of the Dark Ages) says it all in regards to some panicking fool who would go on to see his team win a flag two years later:

My highlight was in the middle of the third quarter massacre when Sydney were trying, albeit comically, to get it out of their backline and he screamed "KENNEDY! KENNEDY! KICK IT TO KENNEDY!" and somebody yelled out "Kick it to whoever you like, it's not going to fucking help you". Brought the house down. Hearing our fans ripping out arrogant lines again is almost enough to bring a tear to the eye.

Can you imagine that happening today? Too much ammunition has been handed out to the opposition for anybody but the bravest individual to start dropping bombs on other supporters until at least 2015. We've gone from 'on the rise' (allegedly), to a scandal tainted, farcically run outfit who are permanently mired in the bottom four (at best) and have been officially designated as the punching bag for every poon in the media who wants to rack up a few more hits on their articles or get the switchboards to light up by saying something provocative about us. Step forward Barrett, Darcy, Smith, Wilson et al and take your shots, you're kicking a lifeless corpse you weak pricks.

Anyway, as if you needed to go through all that for me to tell you we're no good. I'm sure you were well aware of the situation, but here's the stat that'll make you wish for a nuclear war - our winless start and percentage across the first three games of the season (35%) represent a worse first three games of the season than any side since St Kilda - 1985 (34.7%).

Think about that for a while and see if you're still interested in getting out of bed on Monday morning. If I'm going to be pitched into a state of terminal self-loathing I'm taking the 300 or so readers of this page with me. If that's not bad enough if it's officially the 8th worst start in history and third shittest since 1910.

1 - St Kilda - 1898 (21.3%)
2 - St Kilda - 1899 (22.7%)
3 - Carlton - 1901 (24.8%)
4 - St Kilda - 1897 (26.5%)
5 - Hawthorn - 1950 (29.3%)
6 - St Kilda - 1910 (34.7%)

Given how easy if was to have dramatic rises and falls in percentage in the years when teams scored about 15 points a match (the 1898 record was set with a largest loss of 76 points) I'm not even counting those in the final tally - let's skip straight to 1950 and honestly call it the third worst start ever. CALL 1300 DEMONS AND BUY A MEMBERSHIP IMMEDIATELY! At least we're not St Kilda right?

So that's the sort of hole we're in, and god knows how we're going to get out. There really were some good signs today, and I'd almost have taken any loss under 100 before the first bounce if you'd offered it, so it's hard to get too down on what happened (other than the usual level of background disappointment that has hovered over us since Round 1, 2007) but the fact remains that in the end we were lucky to avoid our 25th entry to this list. Does the fact that the disaster was almost entirely confined to one quarter wipe out all the gains from the first two?

I think there's still a lot to be taken from the first half even knowing what came after it. Without a recognised tagger, and with two of our key defenders (Frawley and Thousand Yard Stare Garland) playing like they'd finally cracked under the pressure of holding us together for years we played proper, league standard football for large periods of time and twice kicked four goals in a row - which without consulting the record books probably happened twice all of last season.

First things first let's get it out of our system and boo the all too often inept umpires for rorting us out of our deserved 10 goal loss. Do you feel better now? It can at least be said that our players had an actual, proper bash for the first half this week. Not the first five minutes before the CBF's kick in like Essendon, two entire quarters. They were running with their opponents, they were running for their teammates, we were even winning honest to goodness clearances against a proper midfield. I even saw somebody shepherd. Good god who are these players and what have you done with the real MFC?

Of course we had to go through a period where it looked a bit Round 2, a bit exactly like the real MFC, where we spent the first five minutes breaking even and thinking we were in it before getting (presumably) belted. Even worse this time we conceded the first two goals (don't forget last week at one point it was 6-6), causing red lights and alarms to start going off everywhere.

Then something magical temporarily happened and we started to look like an AFL side again against a team who were not Gold Coast or GWS. It wasn't just Nathan Jones and Mitch Clark carrying the team on their shoulders as usual, Trengove was playing his best game for a long time and even Jamar had remembered how to tap (although in general play he bombed out to levels approaching his almost criminal 2003-2008 output) and Sylvia was clearly responding to me trying to get rid of him (more likely responding to his agent reminding him that it's not good enough to just be a free agent, you have to score a decent contract too) with one of those cameos he throws in every once in a while which make you think he'd be a deadly permanent forward. Not getting fooled yet, but I'll still enjoy it when it happens.

By the 20 minute mark we were in front and the small but tightly wound up crowd were going well over the top (myself included). Jack Viney even got a rousing ovation just for getting a kick. Suddenly the presence of fringe players like Bail, Evans and to a lesser extent Jetta was having the sort of positive influence I'm sure they were convinced the Byrnes, Pedersen, Rodan trio were going to provide before they collectively failed to fire a shot other than a couple of cheap Byrnes goals.

Given that we weren't doing too badly in the middle despite the likes of Priddis and Kerr being able to run around doing whatever they liked, it would have been just reward for bouncing back from a bad start to hold the lead until quarter time - but that was that for the first term and the Eagles got the last three. Gate slammed shut again. Typical MFC.

Still, apart from Bail going off with what was suspected to be a concussion at the time and which could have finished him off forever, the second quarter had moments to recommend it for future viewing as well. Ok, so the Eagles got the first goal within the first minute and it looked like we were about to be wiped off the face of the planet (save that for later), but once we realised that Mitch Clark was a god amongst men and decided to just boot it at him and let him do the rest we managed to not only put the brakes on but actually kick some goals as well. He got another one on either side of some crumb - the one thing we seem to be better at this year - and god help us all we were not only in front but in front by double figures. Jaw dropping stuff. If you thought alarms were going off earlier in the game imagine what was happening at this point, apparently even UVB-76 briefly went off air due to the shock. Then we got thrashed.

Yes, the four goals in a row and the brief moment of joy across the MCG which greeted them was pretty much the end of it for us, but at least we got to see something memorable - and it wasn't just two crumbed goals from a side who almost completely rejected the concept last year - it was in fact another highlight reel screamer courtesy of Jeremy Howe. It's doubtful that anything else memorable will come out of the match (unless you're a West Coast fan), but we'll always have his Mark of the Year - and at least this time when it's shown endlessly the score in the corner of the screen will reflect a point in the game where we were actually doing well. My highlight from that picture is the woman who has shown up to sit in the stands and casually read the paper. Also good to see celebrity Dees fan Anthony Michael Hall reprising his role in The Breakfast Club in the bottom right of shot.

As far as highlights went our collection sort of grinds to a halt at about the time he landed on earth and flubbed the kick, because once again just as soon as we got ourselves in a decent position we fell apart. Terlich went from a hero in the first quarter to booting the ball down the throat of an Eagles player, eventually leading to a Josh Kennedy goal. He of the fruitiest run-up in history had botched two easy chances in the first term, one possibly due to the crowd breaking out in laughter just before he dropped the ball, but give him enough chances to get it right and he will eventually. By half time he'd very much solved the issues, seemingly by removing one shuffle out of his motion, and we were very keen to give him as many chances as required to practice.

Then there was Darling who [INSERT COMMENT ABOUT LUCAS COOK HERE]. We got the last goal of the half through Trengove but it was no good getting involved in a shootout because that's something we're woefully underprepared for. It's fine to get a few goals out of the midfield, but unless we were kicking it at Clark or Sylvia there was barely any point going forward. Compare and contrast to the other end where they were threatening to kick them from all over the place, and both Frawley and Garland looked like they wanted to be anywhere else. Tom McDonald, the official King of Sizzle, was having his issues with Darling but at least he appeared to care.

You could just tell that it was going to go wrong at some point, though even I didn't think we'd manage to find a way to almost lose by the ton, even though the Eagles were 0-2 and facing the possibility of landing at Perth Airport to be attacked by an angry mob if they somehow contrived to lose to. Big deal, you could tell that Worsfold wasn't all that concerned by the prospect - even if it's hard to tell because he only has one more facial expression than Garland - he knew as well as anybody that we were playing out of our skin when we took the lead and that after everything settled down his side had too many stars for us to handle. It looks to me like they're also got a few duds (and as a Melbourne fan I think I can spot them) but who cares when they're not the ones required to do the heavy lifting?

When we got the margin to season high double figures in the second quarter courtesy of Howe's arsey snap Worsfold might have broken into a very light sweat but he needn't have worried. Even with the underdone Kerr and Le Cras (complete with dodgy arm cast a'la Cowboy Bob Orton) they had too much power for us on all lines - but especially up front, and even more especially when Cox went down there to give us three talls to have no idea about/no interest in stopping.

So, the chances of us winning were somewhere between slim and none anyway but surely after the most popular 10 point half time deficit in the history of footy (they even got clapped off, which I wasn't entirely against considering everything which has happened recently) we'd get a bit more of the same, even if the returns rapidly diminished as the afternoon went on. That'd be ok, we could handle that.

Surely the team building benefits of the Sorrento Scrabble tournament (sample scores include FARCE - 10pts and SHAMBLES - 15pts) and the prospect of spending another week being beaten from pillar to post in the media would encourage them to not go out and get totally molested. "We might even run over the top of them in the last quarter and win!" said nobody, but plenty of us were willing to believe that we could go into next week's Battle for 17th with a credible 30/40 point defeat behind us. That really is as good as it gets against finals contenders at the moment.

We were horribly wrong, and it was two of the great storylines of the Neeld era which came together to sink us and possibly him. Despite losing the first two games by a combined total of a million points we'd kept the damage in the first five minutes of third quarters down to just 1.1 - and had even scored a goal ourselves. Considering we lost that count by 20 goals last year it was one of the very few positives to come out of Fiasco Fortnight, but when the first goal went in within seconds and another one followed soon after it was obvious that yet again whatever had been said or done at half time had not had the desired effect.

Last week the Bombers got their 28 goals via a consistent spread of 6, 8, 7, 7 - so to go out and cop 11 in one quarter today was a heartbreaker. For the third week in a row we looked half decent going forward in the first half before totally falling in a hole during the third - with our worst quarter since the 2nd of 186 where we conceded 12 goals to one. Why does this happen once every week? We have had runs of four or five goals against us in every single full length match we've played this year, and almost every match last season as well. Are they all mental, is it the coaching (internet says yes) or a combination of the two?

As usual when the landslide started we just stood there and got poleaxed by it. It doesn't matter which players they bring in, the same thing happens. Now that I'm starting to look back on the last two years of the Dean Bailey era as a golden age (relatively speaking and pre-186 anyway) it's become clear to me that while this sort of stuff used to happen every few weeks when he was coach that it happens every single week since he hasn't been. This is the kind of thing that will sink Neeld in the end.

Ok, so both the first five minutes curse (which really needs a catchy name that people can get into like Bailey Quarter. Neeld Time?) and the 11 goal massacre were started by some classic cheating tactical mastery by Ashton Hams, but it serves them right for trying to tackle him around the shoulders in the first place. One day he'll duck straight into some sort of Byron Pickett-esque shirtfront and leave the game with a broken jaw. The aggressor will get six weeks and he'll need it to read through all the letters of congratulations from around the country. I don't know why we keep recruiting people who try to play within the rules (since Pickett at least) because obviously it gets you nowhere. There's no time for snobbery any more, give me the neck tatted psychos from Broadmeadows Tech.

So a manageable, and in fact almost heroic, 10 point deficit had become a "more of the same old shit" 73 in about half an hour. At least at the other end we'd kicked ten, which is actually only the 6th time we've done this under Neeld. If we can get the ball down there consistently we can kick half decent scores, it's just a matter of getting it down there instead of having it go the other way.

All of a sudden 100 was back on the cards, which was good news for West Coast fans or peanuts trying to get their head on TV yelling stupid shit over the race at the end. It was natural and understandable after round 1, but last week it was just tossers grandstanding and Essendon fans trying to be smart - and I can only imagine what it'll be like if we get done next week (possibly back to natural and understandable). Either way I'm not sure these players need to be told they're shit anymore, I think if they weren't aware of it after the Port game they've certainly worked it out of the last fortnight.

In the end we just managed to avoid the dreaded triple figures thanks to Sellar making his one and only contribution of the day to kick a goal which seemingly made it safe (until they got one back straight after) and we were forced to endure a nervy wait to see if the psychological barrier between serious disappointment and murderous rage was going to be passed. We just held on, and even though it's not fooling anyone that we were any good at least it's not a big, juicy three digit margin for everyone to wave around.

It's a good thing we got poleaxed in the third and were just normally bad in the last (even though the Eagles had all but given up and we still lost the last quarter easily) because the last thing they need is to go into next week on the back of conceding 11 goals in a quarter. Last year when there was still a bit of life in them, and when GWS were still losing by 150 every second week, we could stand to concede the first three goals and come back to win easily - I fear if that happens again next week it could be curtains and that the 200 people present will resort to violence.

Good luck being a coach trying to review this game with the players. Striking a balance between concentrating on what they did right at the start and so badly in the third quarter would be difficult. There's a lot of material for them to work with, but is there a special setting in the software which shows where everyone was when we went missing in the third quarter? Following us is like investing in the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange, for every minor gain there's a gigantic crash waiting just around the corner.

As long as they don't shy from showing footage of players stopping in traffic because they had no idea what to do or Grimes (who is excused due to signing a new contract) being so surprised that Toumpas was shepherding for him that he decided to handball into the Teen Idol's guts. It didn't end well. As a group they still don't know what to do under pressure, and neither Byrnes or Pedersen was helping with that today. I'm starting to come around to the folly of getting these guys, and if the SME isn't a better option then Pedo I'm not here, but we still need players to replace them with.

Some of the inclusions did well today (especially Evans) but how much more is there in the tank? Realistic options not in the side today were Blease, Dawes, Gawn, Gillies, Kent, Macdonald, McKenzie, Nicholson, Rodan, Spencil, Strauss, Tynan and Watts. McKenzie is straight in, Dawes will be, Blease could replace Byrnes, Strauss will get a go at the back at some point and maybe Gawn/Spencer into the starting ruck and Jamar forward with Sellar/Pedersen out?

There are options, but are there enough to make a difference? Evans and Bail did well today, McKenzie certainly would just for the tagging, Dawes is an unknown quantity and it's anybody's guess which Watts or Blease will turn up on any given day.
 
Mark Neeld doesn't seem to be the kind of guy to shit himself under pressure, but if I were him I'd spend at least one day next week laying explosive booby traps around the edges of my office and investing in bullet proof armour because rightly or wrongly if we lose against the Giants he will have to run the biggest, most brutal siege since Waco to be in Brisbane on the afternoon of Sunday 28 April.

Every week there's more and more people turning on him, and I can't blame them considering the results but I really don't think that no matter what happens next week there's any point dumping him right there and then. We're hardly going to make the finals (this is not The Club and Jimmy Toumpas is not Geoff Hayward) and secondly he's just going to get replaced by somebody who has been involved almost as intimately in the process over the last couple of years. It would be nothing more than a sacrifice to the media and fans, and if you think a new coach is going to save us from getting shithouse crowds every week for the rest of this year you're mad.

Unless there's some ridiculous power struggle behind the scenes between Craig and Neeld (and I'm sure there isn't) where they're pulling in different directions you're not going to get anything more than the token 'new coach' bounce for a half like we did today before the Memorial Reality Bus arrives and we get thrashed anyway. That is if Craig becomes coach. People seem to be whacking off over the idea of Todd Viney doing it again, which I'd cop if it got to that but has anyone made sure he's actually interested?

Talk to me again in Round 11 when I might be in the absolute minority if I'm not already, but throwing him in the volcano now seems almost completely pointless unless you're going to wheel the permanent new coach in to fill the gap straight away and they can get on with preparing for 2014. Unless Paul Roos loses his mind in the next eight days or we're going to exhume the corpse of Checker Hughes and prop it on the sidelines there is nobody who is in a position to do that so what's it going to do for us? Is it going to have the same big boost that we got from sacking the CEO, because that was totally awesome for about three minutes.

Yes, mistakes have been made and yes at the moment there is absolutely no doubt that we're heading down the path of our fourth mid-season sacking in a row at the moment. If it happens, and next time I'm just going to be anti-whoever the coach is because every time I get sucked into optimism and it ends badly, it's time for the players to put their hand up and admit that they're just as responsible as anybody else - and it's time for the assistants to start preparing their CV's and checking seek.com.au in preparation for the end of the season. Though apparently not before one of them coaches out the rest of the season if the Sack Neeld faction get their way.

I just want to know for my own sanity what has gone on over the last few years. Can we hold some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where we invite back every single person who has played or worked for us in any capacity between 2007 and today (including Bailey, Schwab, $cully, Isaac Weetra and Trent Zomer) to iron out exactly who ordered who to do what, who sacked who, who should have sacked who, who couldn't be stuffed doing the extra training sessions they were set and who cheated at Scrabble in Sorrento. Get it all out in the open, it'll have more of a positive effect than filming Harlem Shake videos.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Nathan Jones
4 - Colin Sylvia
3 - Matt Jones
2 - Jack Viney
1 - Mitch Clark

Apologies to Bail, Evans, Grimes, Howe and McDonald.

Leaderboard
Normal service resumed at the top, with additional Jones in second.

10 - Nathan Jones
9 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
7 - Jack Viney
4 - Jack Grimes (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jeremy Howe, Colin Sylvia
2 - Aaron Davey, Mark Jamar (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
1 - Mitch Clark, James Frawley, Jordie McKenzie


Crowd Watch
Not quite the empty arena match I expected, but that's probably due to a combination of a) us having a hardcore base of 12/13,000 who will show up no matter what, b) West Coast being relatively well supported in Victoria, c) people from Perth booking their annual holiday to be for a guaranteed win and d) the fact that it didn't absolutely piss down beforehand.

I got there at 2.09pm and missed all the exciting pre-match entertainment but I'm reliably informed that the bugler was not present, which could be the second best thing to come out of this season after this but we'll have to wait for next week to confirm that he was given his marching orders in a two-for-one package deal with Cameron Schwab. Maybe he just called in sick because he had to play in an acid jazz festival somewhere?

Stupid question but have the Eagles remixed their theme song to make it even worse? It's always had some horribly 80's slap bass style shit going on in the background and a woman wailing away on backing vocals but I'm sure today she was even more prominent with her fake orgasm style singing techniques. Please note visiting fans, this is not me being bitter and twisted as I would adopt Call Me Maybe as our theme if it meant winning.

Facebook Comment of the Week



At the risk of losing faith in humanity I'm delving back into the slop. There's such a wide variety of bizarre comments that it's hard to narrow them down to a handful - sadly nothing too over the top, but I'm surprised at the amount of insanely optimistic people still left on there.

It's one thing to say "hooray for the first half, the rest was poo" but people who are going "great performance!" and "We're only two games out of the eight!" are living in a world of innocence which I can only admire. Luckily for them this feature is designed solely to celebrate the ZOMG SACK EVERYONE crowd, who are actually about to win. Now I know how hardened ALP fans feel knowing Tony Abbott is a cert.

Highlights include a topical North Korea reference, Bailey as saviour, a bizarre demand for hidden camera footage, some attempted humour and a person who doesn't seem to understand that our worst start to the season in history has taken place solely at the MCG.



Next Week
To say I'm worried about next week would be an understatement. It's not even about $cully anymore (dollar sign restored, I can't stay non-angry at him for long even if we did clean up on the compo), he's just a sideshow to the whole thing who we might (MIGHT) get the chance to take out a bit of our anger on if we've got the game wrapped up in the last quarter.

No, it's basically become a referendum on Neeld now. If we win then nobody cares because GWS aren't supposed to win at the MCG yet, and if we lose then the "Kick on the G" promotion is going to be marred by people tearing down goalposts and burning obscene messages into the grass at the Punt Road end.

It was disheartening to see them totally stuff up the Watts omission. I swear they dropped him to give him a rest, and that's the reason he didn't play in the VFL, so why bring him to the MCG instead of just sending him away and telling him to totally forget about football for a while? Why create an unnecessary controversy when they could have packed him away for a week and admitted that it was a mental health day (or even 'send him to Casey' where he suffers a mystery injury at home on the morning of the game and can't play).

Otherwise why not just play him in the 2's? If you're going to go through all that you might as well just give him a game and hope he can get some confidence back. Instead we look stupid when it's revealed that not only is he the emergency at the MCG but that Rodan and Spencer are there as well. Craig was on the radio saying the reason he was there is because they didn't want to have to put Spencer in if there was an injury - but in that case who are you expecting Spencer to replace? Late breaking injuries in the warm-up are common enough, but the odds of it happening to Jamar are low enough but when you consider we already had ruckmen of varying degrees in Sellar, Pedersen and Clark playing the odds of the Spencil being required must have been pretty remote unless there was something they knew that we didn't. He certainly played like somebody who couldn't run, but if you're ok to drop a fit Watts then surely you wouldn't hesitate to rest/drop an injured/ill Jamar after last week?

Elsewhere it's time to send Toumpas back to Casey to get some form. The guy came in smiling broadly, shaking hands warmly with his opponents (Gentlemania) and looked good in the NAB Cup but he's a year behind Viney and isn't there to be making difference in a shite team yet. He's not even smiling any more. All of a sudden "We cocked up not drafting Wines" is going around, and while history may very well prove that to be right (if our drafting history is anything to go by) let's remember than Wines has played two games against soft targets in Melbourne and GWS, whereas Toumpas has played two and a bit games in which his side has been absolutely porked sideways.

Your expectations may be higher than mine, but I don't expect a kid to lift a crap team on his shoulders and the fact that Viney seems to be having some success at it should be celebrated as a miracle rather than being set as the standard for other draftees. The Toump will be back, we just need to accept the fact that you don't need to play every high draftee from Round 1.

Good to see Magner amongst the best at the Scorpions again. He'll be thrilled to have to get a job in the KFC Drive-through to supplement his wages because we stuffed up and marooned him on the rookie list. Strauss was amongst the top players too, and I'm sure he'll get a run before long too - at least we can pick him.

IN: Gawn (though no doubt they'll try The Spencil first just to really try everyone's patience), McKenzie, Watts (because if they're not going to properly rest him he may as well play 1's).
OUT: Pedersen, Sellar, Toumpas

LUCKY: Byrnes, Garland, Jamar

Holy Shirt
I meant to include this last week, but forgot it amongst all the angst in the wake of the Essendon debacle. Thanks to everyone who contributed to our fundraiser towards paying a small chunk of the $500k Not Guilty of Tanking Tax. All 55 shirts sold, and after production costs and GST we raised $440 which has been donated to the club.

It was a bit risky for me as I had to order a quantity of shirts up front not knowing if anybody would be interested, but based on the killer design put together by @somtum and some early pre-orders by people who knew about it before it went public it seemed like a good bet.

I was overwhelmed by the response, and wish I'd had about 30 more to sell in the end but the good news is that those of you who scored one got something very limited edition. Thanks for handing over money to me sight unseen, not knowing if I was going to nick it (not that I'd have got very far).

Many thanks also to Barney's Print Management for their support in giving us a great deal on production which allowed us to maximise the donation. I suggest gettng @somtum to design something (not just t-shirts, enquire within) and then getting Barney's to print it. Then go on BigFooty and write about it (for Demonblog would not have been born without them), after clicking taking a legitimate interest in our ads to help pay for the hosting costs of Demonwiki.

Was it worth it?
Approximately 40% yes, 20% was neither here nor there and the rest was total gash.

I walked home again. At the point where I was the furthest away from public transport of any kind (or indeed a road on which a taxi might have come past) it threatened for a minute or two to absolutely piss down and put the icing on the cake of what had already been another thrilling up and down (then down again) day following the Dees.

Final Thoughts
Back to Brecht, because it's my blog and if I want to infuse it with pseudo-intellectual bullshit then I will. He was obviously talking about communism (and didn't that turn out well) but the finale of To Those Born Later also has something for you as an MFC fan - or more likely your yet unborn children.

You who will emerge from the flood.
In which we have gone under
Bring to mind
When you speak of our failings
Bring to mind also the dark times
That you have escaped.

Put that on a t-shirt.

7 comments:

  1. "Every week there's more and more people turning on him, and I can't blame them considering the results but I really don't think that no matter what happens next week there's any point dumping him right there and then."

    If (when?) we go down by 10+ goals to GWS next week, expect that quote to be coming back.

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  2. According the the post-match interview Jamar was under an injury cloud.

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  3. Grovel - even if they beat us by a 100 (at which point he will go whether I like it or not) it'll be the equivalent of the death penalty - killing him to make the victims happy for no overall benefit.

    Luke - I wish we'd stop playing everyone who is under an injury cloud every week (except for Mitch who can barely walk and still kicks goals).

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  4. Should we take any consolation from the fact that Robbo rubbished $cully today for not being up to scratch as a #1 pick?

    Perhaps the indirect $cully / Clark trade is the one WIN for the recruiting dept in the last decade albeit a bit of a fluke (if I'm wrong in thinking the compo pick got used in the Clark trade his departure at least left room in the cap for Clark).

    Dylan Shiel has surely added to the hate by saying the Giants are going to use this game to raise their percentage.

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  5. re: $cully V Clark.
    We played the system to get $cully, then cashed in our compo (in true Aussie style) when he jumped ship. Wins all 'round on that front. I'd pay $500k outside of the salary cap to upgrade from $cully to Clark without hesitation, every time.

    As for Dylan Shiel, the guy ruined any chance GWS had of beating St. Kilda by firing up a failing team... I kinda hope he turns into Akermanis 2.0 because the foot in mouth nonsense is a lot more entertaining than the coached garbage 90% of players vomit out in interviews.

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  6. Prediction: We will win this week followed by a close victory at the Gabba then a honourable loss to Carlton. Then we smash the Suns at home making it 3 out of the next four. All will be forgiven.

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    Replies
    1. I like your confidence in the boys, Jonno.
      You must be new to supporting the Demons.

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