Sunday 7 April 2013

Minus five stars

It's either 5.24am or 6.24am and I am under no circumstances going to proof read this for now. If there are any glaring errors or randomly ending paragraphs let me know. Otherwise introduce fork to toaster to bathtub.

Update - 2.46pm (actual time). Some errors now corrected and additional information added. We're still shit.

Attempting to block out the result of a game in this day and age is foolhardy to the point of being almost stupid. Once upon a time if you were scheduled to be at 'an event' when a game was on (weddings and funerals only, everyone else can work around my schedule) you only had to worry about somebody ducking out to their car for scores before running through the room singing the theme song or somebody else being an even more terrible guest than you are and doing updates from a barely concealed radio under the table.

Now you've got to shut your own phone off, inform complete strangers that you would very much like not to know what is happening during a match AND still have to watch out for idle chit chat/somebody publicly announcing the result. This was the rocky path I set upon last night, as the one and only conflict between real life and footy for the year (so far) meant that I would miss the game. Any sane individual would concede defeat and just follow scores via the wonders of mobile internet, which has come a long way since the night I was similarly indisposed as we played a NAB Cup semi final against Adelaide and enjoyed the 2006 version of the AFL website on a mobile phone showing us rapidly racking up the points and storming away to a big win only to get home and find out that we'd actually lost by 85 points.

These days we're in a glory era where every single piece of digital technology except the AFL website itself has come a million miles and you can get all sorts of scores, stats, Supercoach points etc.. etc.. without having to worry that you're being stooged by somebody getting the teams the wrong way around. But stuff that, I don't care about watching numbers tick over when it's Collingwood vs Footscray but when it comes to my 'beloved' Dees I want to see everything happen in front of my eyes as if live, and actually live where possible.

Of course if I knew in advance that said Dees were about to put in their third worst performance in history I'd probably have opted to stay home and watch in horror through my fingers. I was there for #2, and quite frankly in the end I'm absolutely stoked that I wasn't there for #3 - so, straight into the Demonblog Hall of Fame go Cindy and Brendan for innocently scheduling their wedding reception at the exact same time as this match took place. If I walked home in despair after last week there's no telling what I'd have done tonight if I hadn't watched from the relative safety of Demonblog Towers VIII (which is on the third floor mind you) instead of the Ponsford Stand.

In the end there was only the slightest drama in blocking it all out and concentrating on enjoying myself instead. If my life were a sitcom (and with the Dees being garbage as well as AFC Wimbledon about to get themselves relegated wouldn't that show be an absolute LAUGH RIOT when it came to the topic of sports?) I'd have made it through the whole night only to have the whole thing collapse when randomly selected for drug testing at a booze bus only for the cop to fill in the awkward few moments while waiting to see if I'm off my nut by introducing small talk footy topics like "Hey, how shit are Melbourne, wouldn't you hate to support them?

But alas no, I could have driven home from the Mornington Peninsula three sheets to the wind with cocaine dripping from my nostils and I've have been fine as there wasn't a booze bus to be seen. Even if we drove past cars with scarves flapping from the windows I reasoned with myself that in the dark it would be nearly impossible to tell a Melbourne one from an Essendon one. I also managed to remember to press record on the IQ beforehand, which at least made me watch us being humped like a small, helpless dog instead of just going straight to the final score and yelling "WHAT!" as I flung my phone/computer/self across the room and at a wall to shatter into a thousand pieces.

The slight drama came from the seating plan, as I was conveniently placed next to somebody I was assured I'd get along well with because he was into sports. And indeed I did, but an early request not to provide any sort of score update or tell me what was happening in the game was met with the news that he was an Essendon supporter who would very gladly have put on a TV to watch if it was socially acceptable to do so and that he would most certainly be looking up the scores for his own benefit throughout the evening.

Fair enough too, and he was very kind in not letting on except for the bit where the beans were almost spilt via the reflection of his phone onto a window behind him. Even knowing what I do now I'm happy not to have seen the score then (probably sometime mid-Q3 when it would have ruined my night but not my quality of life) or I've have probably given up the charade, followed the rest of it via Twitter and ruined two people's wedding night by climbing into the bathtub full of ice reserved for drinks and insisting that somebody remove my kidneys for sale on the black market.

At one point not long after somebody on the table behind us said "Melbourne" in a conversation and I successfully did a runner to avoid hearing more of what he was saying. Presumably the words "aren't" and "an embarassment to the competition?" were on either side of it.

This was all fine, but suddenly I found myself engaged in the sick sport of trying to read the body language of the guy sitting next to me to see if he was thrilled and keeping a lid on it to honour our agreement or about to lob his phone in disgust but trying to be casual about it. This was, even before I knew what happened, one of the stupidest ideas I've ever had. Why was I bothering with any of these secrecy and subterfuge when I knew we were going to lose, you knew we were going to lose and every human being on the face of the planet knew we were going to lose?

Ok, we have (well, had) some sort of bizarre record against Essendon where despite being wank against most every other team in the competition we can't possible lose to them, but last night there were never going to be any miracles and I think most reasonable people would have settled for an honest loss. Make it ten goals if it's because Essendon were good, and not us being filthy. In fact at the moment I'd take 100 flat, but that's no longer on offer because being the good, willing victims that we are we let them inflict our largest ever loss at the MCG instead. A fond goodbye to the day John Longmire kicked 14 (second game I ever went to, should have given up then) and hello to the day 22 men tore the limbs off another 22 as if it were the long awaited zombie apocalypse.

Beating Essendon in 2010 and 2011 was not such a surprise, and it left with some great memories (sadly now tainted by association) such as the Bombers giving away about nine 50's in 2010 and Dean Bailey (last seen rolling on the floor laughing, trying to keep his sides from completely splitting apart) punching buggery out of the roof of the dugout and seemingly saving his job the year after (also Max Gawn's comic relief, missing from the square when the game was already over).

Oh we had some good times back then. If Bailey really was operating some sort of Camp Granada style holiday resort club as claimed by Jim Stynes, the new regime (although they tend to allude to it rather than directly criticise, which is probably a good thing considering what they've served up so far) and even the players themselves then at least we all shared in the warm sunshine once in a while before tropical cyclones tore the place to shreds.

Beating them last year was magnificent, but it doesn't count for anything. Their performance was the longest suicide note in history, and the chances of them putting together another game like that against any club in the next decade are very slim. It doesn't matter how you win it, and we all loved it at the time, but the rest of that season showed just how deep a ditch we'd got ourselves into. We fool ourselves into thinking that the second half of the year was better than the first because we won a few games and didn't lose by over a hundred but I defy you to go back to the tapes of the last two weeks against Adelaide and Fremantle and tell me that was a side in any way on the up. Wow we beat Gold Coast (via one good quarter) and GWS (despite ourselves) to pad the ledger a bit. Swell, but wipe those two matches out and the way we're playing now looks a lot like the last two weeks of the season but with the sort of adrift at sea shattered confidence that can only come from knowing that they've hit rock bottom a long, long way out from the finish line.

So back to the wedding, when I was blissfully unaware that any of this criminal activity was even taking place. In fact as the night went on I'd devised a theory. Unfortunately it turned out to be about as useful a theory as the one we drag out every season about how "this is Colin Sylvia's breakout year", and I'm moderately ashamed to recount it here but as this page is a permanent record of my life as a Demons fan I present it for future educational purposes and study.

Every once in a while my tablemate would go for a look at the scores, politely informing me that it was time to look away lest I see a reflection or a telltale facial expression, he'd deliver a Port/GWS update and we'd get back to the actual event at hand. At first it was all very nonchalant, no emotions regarding our game betrayed at all but as the night went on and the action started to move away from the tables he disappeared, score updates became less frequent and he started to look like he was having a shit night.

"Hold on a minute" I foolishly thought to myself, "This could be footy related". Knowing that the idea of losing to us again would drive any man to an early grave I formulated this crazy theory in my head that we had conceded some sort of decent lead (let's say five goals) only to storm home in the last quarter to pull off another remarkable farcebusting victory for the ages. Now I've started to realise that he was actually probably quite embarassed at the scale of it all (but let's be fair simultaneously no doubt LOVING IT as anybody would and should if their team is the one handing out the kicking) and felt sorry for me not knowing what was happening.

Also bless the great Mrs. Demonblog who knew what the 3/4 time margin was and not only didn't tell me but also indulged my nutbag theory about him being glum because the Dees had scored a shock victory all the way home for an hour AND for the entire first quarter before clearly realising it was about to get a bit brown and wisely retreating to bed before the stuffing commenced and I wised up to the fact that I'd failed Body Language 101 with a score of 0%.

Fancy that, thinking we'd won a game. I might as well have announced that I was off to try and find the Loch Ness Monster because to say we are no good at the moment would be one of history's greatest understatements. At this very point in time, despite a new 'regime', unprecedented investment into the football department and more top draft picks than we knew what to do with we are fairly and squarely in Fitzroy 1995/1996 territory - and even they, crippled to the point of certain extinction and probably being paid out of brown paper bags out the back of Whitten Oval, saved their lone 150 point of that last season for late in the year. We're one week and one inevitable disaster away from their photo being removed from the dictionary definition of 'hapless' and replaced with the MFC logo.

At least the similarities are confined to on field for the moment. We've got a few years like this left in us before we totally implode financially and wind up merging with North, relocating to Tasmania or both (option 1 is the get out where you can give up on footy easy, option 2 probably harder if it's the exact same club in a different location but each to their own, option 3 cram it in your arse). How many kids of an impressionable age do you reckon are either telling their MFC supporting parents to get stuffed or openly switching teams before the end of the school holidays? Up until today I used to fall about on the floor laughing every time a Demonland thread collapsed into "this club will die", "we're all fucked" style face-in-blender depression session. Now my confidence is shattered and I am starting to wonder if we're on the waterslide towards oblivion.

I was in such a hurry to get to the game itself and watch my glorious theory be proven right that I didn't even notice the bit about McKenzie being out of the side. What, the only person we've got capable of tagging even remotely effectively out against a side with a killer midfield? That would have confirmed right there and then that there was about as much chance of us winning this as you or I winning the lottery. Or at least it should have, I was so in denial courtesy of my theory that I'd have probably seen it as an omen - another reason to make it a heroic victory as Tom Gillies rises out of the Weetra Premier League to do the improbable stopper job of the millenium on Jobe Watson, who is held to three kicks all of which go out on the full.

McKenzie's absence allowed Davey to escape the dreaded green vest on the first leg of his 2013 farewell tour, and while the old Flash was back in parts tonight and he was actually not all that bad considering what else happened it was hardly a like for like change. Mind you when you've only got one person who can do something (maybe Magner, but he's melting away on the Rookie List) it's not all that easy to find a replacement. Witness, for instance, any soccer match before the sub goalkeepers on the bench era when a clearly terrified outfield player was called upon to don the gloves and put in a surprisingly limp wristed performance between the sticks. Sometimes the rest of the team held together and they ended up with a glorious victory or a heroic draw but usually they lost 8-0. Tonight we lost about 12-0 with more people doing jobs that they're not suited to than could possibly fill one Centrelink office on Monday morning.

Again, not knowing that any of this was going to happen I let my childlike sense of football innocence out of the locked basement one last time and imagined that the Neeld pre-match speech Channel 7 showed was going to be the catalyst for the remarkable victory which was sure to follow. At the time I was willing to ignore the fact that more than a handful of the players seemed to be staring back at him blankly, not taking not a word in and probably thinking about playing FIFA, smashing parmas or wondering when they'll be able to get back on Twitter to tell us about playing FIFA or smashing parmas. Childlike innocence bought in to all the rhetoric during the week about how we were going to come out higher, faster, stronger and at least make a game of it. Childlike innocence is now back under the trapdoor in a darkened room, being fed cold rat like a North Korean soldier. The fact that he had to point out that the coaches trust the players as if they didn't already know it worries me now, but I doubt either side will bother with each other anymore now that trust has been repaid by 20kg of turd and they're all on the verge of being sacked.

It was the first time I'd watched one of our matches live on Channel 7's Saturday Night and gee wasn't that a treat. We've all had the replay of the last quarter of 'that' Essendon game (now discredited forever) ruined by "BT" prattling on about James Magner building Eastlink and Darce reading out tweets from cockheads but at least you knew what was going to happen then. It's alright if you're going to win, what if you're going to your death?

Even Dwayne Russell starts to seem like a thinking man's option when you've enjoyed a few rounds of "WOW WEE!" and Luke Darcy - the man who says no to smiling - deriding us for starting Blease as sub last week because he's had "a real good pre-season". 15 minutes in a NAB Cup game, injured and nothing afterwards, he's absolutely flying "Darce" you poon. Whether or not he should have even been playing at all last week is highly questionable and this supposed expert wants him out there for four quarters after not playing a game for a month. It's live, it's interactive, it's shithouse.

Mind you I will say that in the last quarter when it was starting to get almost perversely ugly I did find a shameful amusement in Taylor calling the margin as a darts score. That's because darts is a good, honest sport which reminds you that it's ok to have fun again and that won't end up with you following teams who will only lead you into humiliation over and over again, leaving you watching matches with your head in hands hoping that the club will just get it over with and cark it already so we can stop embarassing ourselves as supporters.

To their brief credit everyone on field at the start had a bash for the first few minutes. We managed to keep the scores at 0-0 for quite a while, which was as good as it got in terms of a) nearly winning and b) stopping Essendon going through us like a knife into hot butter. In the end we conceded too many goals to even remember the point where it started going horribly wrong, and didn't kick enough of our own to provide any sort of decent reference point so let's just say it's no bloody doubt that we were violated so badly because if you've ever seen a worse centre clearance performance by a side EVER please list it. Maybe 186, but I've pushed most of what actually happened on field out of my mind.

Is it even remotely possible that we could have conceded any more straight down the throat on a platter clearances if we'd just removed our midfield and had Jamar and/or Sellar aimlessly jumping on their own? Once or twice a game we might get one of those magic clearances where the ruckman puts it down the throat of the midfielder who hoofs a long, dangerous kick into the forward line or (sometimes even better) hits a centre-half forward, or whatever excuse for one we're fielding, on the chest 50m out but usually it's some scraggy, panic kick out of the pack which either dribbles to the 50m line and stops or goes straight into the arms of an opposition player. No wonder the crowd rose as one when Nathan Jones - so often the savior when all else is wrong - got a clean clearance at one point.

The Bombers, on the other hand, were living out their own version of that glorious day when Jamar and Moloney set the all time gold standard for a ruck/midfielder combination by beating the living suitcase out of Adelaide. Except this time it wasn't just a two man team, they were all doing it - and unlike Adelaide that day (hello Neil Craig) we were trying to stop it to absolutely no avail.

There was not much we could manage to stop tonight, except for scoring after half time. Overwhelmed due to the constant midfield domination they may very well have been, but other than Frawley and to a lesser extent McDonald our backline was tremendously putrid. It's hard to tell with Garland because he only has one expression, but I swear he's playing like he's haunted and I've actually got some sympathy for poor Tom Gillies (who I'm sure is a lovely guy, insert disclaimers here etc.. etc.. etc..) but tonight he has stormed past Weetra and into a very uncomfortable place amongst MFC two game players. Without the dream run of having Geelong around him he's totally lost, and even though it makes me uncomfortable singing players out (though as if it matters when nobody is reading) due to my specialist role as a fat porky with a keyboard who breaks bones whenever he tries to play footy he has been rancid the last two weeks. If he's out there next week I will join the sack everybody faction.

Terlich didn't completely disgrace himself on debut, and he'll be happy to know than 10 men have lost by more in the first game of VFL/AFL football, but he wasn't all that good either. Hardly the night for it so I'll take a few more looks before writing him off for good (a'la Gillies) but nothing to call home about either.

At 6-6 after Davey brought back memories of 04/05 by snapping one from the carpark we looked ok, but the moment that everyone left Goddard alone to run around the back, take a handball and bomb a goal we were goners. At least Davey tried to liven things up by charging him, but it was so very MFC that not only did the bump not affect the goal but that Goddard leapt to his feet happy as larry, completely unscathed. We really to go out and get some psychos who can lay a murderous bump and cop weeks for the glory of making a stand. Now watch Davey somehow get suspended due to having his feet two centimetres off the ground when he delivered the 'bump'.

Cue total structural failure, Essendon players running around unattended everywhere and the 'opposition' not being able to get their hands on the ball. It started to become fairly clear that the insane theory I'd floated 55km away was just that, and that the guy was either trolling me masterfully by acting as if he was upset or had eaten a dodgy prawn and was trying not to put the dampeners on the night by ralphing everywhere. Grimes got that last goal of the first quarter care of a 50, and it at least took the margin back under five goals, but confidence was heading rapidly towards rock bottom both on field, in my living room and presumably in the stands.

Still, you wouldn't have predicted what actually happened in the end. You might have said a hundred was a possibility, but 148? These sort of things simply do not happen, to clubs who aren't mental anyway. I saw none of Footscray vs Freo today, but score checks seemed to indicate that Freo were going to win by about 20 goals only to come out post-actual wedding ceremony and find out the dogs held the margin to five. You tell me whether they fought or Freo gave up, but either way it shows the difference between a bottom of the barrel team with heart and one who look like they'd rather be anywhere else.

I can't help but feel sorry for Jack Watts, last week he apparently had a death in the family and this week he's allegedly ill and being hooted off the field by all and sundry. When you're having a run like that it might be time to take a week or two off and not think about football. Players probably play ill all the time and we only hear about it when it goes wrong (i.e Moloney in 186) but really, considering how much he'd been belted by fans and media after last week's game was it wise to send him out there ill tonight? Withdrawing him late might have caused a few raised eyebrows and snide comments but now he's got the mystery illness, a further diminished reputation and probably stuff all interest in playing footy for us again. Something interesting to consider is that it hasn't just been the last two weeks that he's been playing like this, he was quite good in the NAB Cup but think back to that rubbish last game of the season against Freo where he crashed back to earth with a thud and looked like he absolutely CBF playing. Now that Morton is no longer with us Jack will be the first man to go onto my Progessive Insurance MFC Psychologist's Couch for intense analysis to try and get him back on track before he totally falls apart and gives it away to hang out in nightclubs and grow hipster beards forever.

I've talked on here before about my night randomly (?) drawn out of the hat (?) to go to one of those supporter crisis meetings when we hadn't won a game last year (watch your inbox, there's got to be another round on the cards) and how my question to the floor - Neeld, Craig, Schwab, McLardy, any board members present was what sort of mental support services were available to players who had played in a million losses and were clearly exhibiting their own kind of footballing shellshock (I was polite enough not to mention C. Morton by name, but he wasn't alone) and the response was that there was a huge footy department full of people that players could talk to as well as some other support staff.

It was also at this point that it came to light that we had a "mental skills coach" (not that this was mentioned in response to my question), and it seems that he's not surprisingly no longer with us as of the end of last season. Whose decision that was, and whether they've replaced him or not is anybody's guess (nobody of that job description appears on the latest staff list) but it is 100% time to uncouple this from the football department and wheel in the psychologists. Sure it'll probably get leaked to the media, everyone will hang shit on us and both daily papers will try to out 'comedy' each other with some mocking cartoon but there is a serious, SERIOUS mental issue in this group. I'm not saying anybody's got clinical depression or we need to lock the AAMI Park fork drawer but the effect of having the season destroyed two weeks in and the accumulated pressure of years of losing every week mustn't be healthy. Also time to put strategies in place to stop Viney and Toumpas going mental before they do.

Being able to unload your worries on an assistant coach is good, but what about if a player wants to tell somebody that he thinks one of his coaches is a dickhead, that he hates playing footy and that his girlfriend is threatening to dump him for a Melbourne Victory player if he doesn't stop losing all the time. I want fleets of buses rolling down Swan Street with counsellors and sports psychologists ready to unlock the secrets of why we play terrified most of the time. After this post was originally written I've been told that the only sports psych that we use is based in Queensland, which is about as useful as when Dean Laidley was an assistant coach at Port via Skype. If this is incorrect I'd be happy for somebody from the club to contact me (anonymously if you like) to correct the record.

Back to the garbage tip, and if you were hoping that kicking the last goal of the first quarter was going to propel us to better things you're an even bigger optimist than I, but luckily the MFC has something for people like you and that's the ability to strangle your hopes and dreams by conceding goals within the first 20 seconds of a quarter. Goodbye game, hello massacre. You know what happens next, Davey briefly interrupts us copping a hiding to kick another old school, heritage round Flash goal and then it's back to regular service as the margin blows out over 50 at half time and I realise that the up-side to my night avoiding the scores is that I can fast forward through every break and not having to be subjected to 'analysis' about why we're so pox.

If you thought half-time would provide welcome respite and/or signal at least a moderate comeback then you were absolutely wrong and need to lower your expectations of this group significantly. Even with Jamar banished from the ruck (still don't regret giving him votes in a poor field last week, but he's lucky there's no mechanism for removing them based on this week) they still got the simple clearance and went straight inside 50 where - guess who - Gillies gave away a free, nobody bothered to man up the guy standing five metres over his shoulder and a simple pass led to a simple goal. Cue the avalanche. In scenes reminiscent of 186, and I'm so glad that all those of you who would never go to Geelong got the opportunity to have some taste of what that day felt like, the next thing you know we're a hundred points down at 3/4 time and nooses everywhere are being fastened while fans of 16 other clubs tune in with the same sort of glee that you do when you hear a cricket team is 7/13 and you change the channel hoping they'll be all out for 14.

No doubt sacking the coach(es) is going to be the flavour of the week, and while he's not exactly doing himself any favours by being at the helm of the HMAS Faeces, every piece of vitriol that you deliver at Neeld should go towards the playing group too. The captain might go down with his ship, but the people who contributed to sinking it will all survive for at least 21 more weeks and that's kind of unfair. Sadly this isn't a soccer team where if you don't like your players early in the season you can go out and buy a whole bunch more. We're stuck with this seemingly christ awful team and their tragic mental derangements for another five months, and some of them for another year after that. I've got no idea how we're going to dig ourselves out of this hole.

I just don't understand how they could put in workmanlike performances, at times shit but honest, in NAB Cup games and then go into a deadly plummet like this in the space of two weeks. Was last week our reverse of that day we mysteriously flogged Sydney for no good reason whatsoever, but with the key difference of it sending everybody loopy. Did the antics at the player's race and subsequent media frenzy cause a terminal loss of confidence that wouldn't have happened if we'd been beaten by 15 points?

If it's being blamed on something that's happening behind the scenes (I hear Mrs. Dunn put in an epic call to the SEN overnight talkback team, suggesting that our hierachy 'should be shot') how did it only burst out last Sunday? If the players "aren't playing for the coach" it's about time somebody called them out for being a shit excuse for professionals. If it's something else mental they need to get it sorted out before permanent damage is done.

What I know is that just like how I've never trusted players "training the house down" meaning anything since John Meesen did and wasn't seen for another two years I will never, ever, ever, EVER, as long as I live fall for any sort of propaganda about how a club are doing it and how they've had the greatest pre-season ever, because if they're Melbourne players they'll probably crack like a leftover easter egg the moment actual pressure is applied.

The only thing I liked about the last quarter, as we meekly trudged to our gruesome death, was when Mitch Clark went into the centre bounces as a midfielder and actually won two clearances with more ease than any of our other midfielders did all night. How he must kick the cat whenever he sees the way Freo are going now, knowing that for all the rockstar style adulation we shower him with that he could be getting paid good money to play for a non-farcical club.

Considering Jamar's woes we may as well swap them and play Mitch as the starting ruckman next week. Whoever plays at full forward isn't going to get a kick anyway when nobody is capable of getting the ball down there, so we may as well get something out of the fact that he's one of a handful of players we've got who always tries his hardest instead of wasting the rest of his career starving to death inside 50.

The margin got so rude at the end that I even lost score, even with BT's helpful darting score checks. By the time it reached the last few minutes and even Essendon had tired of the simplicity of it all (though they still managed to kick goals) the commentators had given up too. Sometime around the point where Gillies needlessly piffed his opponent into the fence to concede another goal from a free kick we were told that we apparently lost to Port Melbourne last week (which is at least realistic) and play GWS next week. I can understand them making the second mistake, because this performance has just given the media has just been given the green light to try and get Neeld sacked and the sooner we get to being rumbled by the Giants to the absolute delight of Kevin Sheedy the sooner the press can write his obituary and send Amy Parks down to AAMI Park again. Then in a couple of years when we're still no good they can act as if it was a hasty decision and we were stupid to do it, even though they cheered as one at the time.

My prediction for the week is that somebody will finally either float the idea of or start trying to gather support for an EGM/board challenge. It's a great opportunity to get your name in the papers even if you never follow through with it. Maybe I should send out a press release just to see if the Herald Sun will print it?

At least we'll get the points back when Essendon get banned.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
This is almost 186esque in its difficulty, but at least when only one player deserved a vote that day (Jordie) and I had to fill the other four with a combination of guessing, deep statistical interpretation and Matthew Bate because at least he only played a half of it, I can come up with three almost deserving candidates for this one. The other two represent tremendous filler.

5 - Nathan Jones
4 - Jeremy Howe
3 - Matt Jones
2 - Aaron Davey
1 - James Frawley

Note: Grimes is on probation for the Seecamp. Every possible chance of a DQ for over-midfielding in the next couple of weeks. Also, congratulations to Matt Jones for doing a Magner circa 2012 and taking a Jakovich lead into Round 3. Here's hoping they stick with him instead of trying to turn him into a woefully unprepared defensive forward like they did with Magner.

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

Stats corner
Our percentage is 28.4. That is all. 

Next Week 
I would love to absolutely unload on 11 players, but who have you got to replace them?
IN: McKenzie and christ only knows.
OUT: Gillies (no comment), Nicholson (needs to go and find form elsewhere), Sellar (confidence shot to pieces), Sylvia (may as well be for good if he's going for good anyway), Toumpas (go and have some fun playing in a side that isn't complete gash), Watts (send him to a health farm)
LUCKY: Blease, Byrnes, Garland, Jamar, Terlich

I don't know what we're going to do next week. Thank god West Coast have some injuries, but they will still murder us. It might make the Essendon game look like a church picnic, and the joy of playing so many games at the MCG to open the season will most likely turn sour again when the 25 people who turn up in red and blue go insane.

We're shot, we're finishing last and every MFC player who has gone elsewhere - forcibly or otherwise - is pissing himself laughing about escaping this asylum. For the first (and hopefully last) time let me say this to you Tom Scully, you were right. Financial considerations aside you clearly made the right choice and to mark this revelation I've temporarily removed the dollar sign from your name.

Crowd Watch
Not a great deal of action on the dancefloor, but the Photo Booth gimmick went down a treat with perverts and non-perverts alike. You'll have to tell me what happened at the MCG, I'm guessing that it was mostly "OMG U R SHIT AND U TANK!" vs "OMG U R DRUG ADDICTS!!1!!" for the first quarter and a half until all Melbourne fans shut up or left. I wouldn't be bagging anyone else for being drug cheats, because we may as well get on it ourselves before we end up being relegated to the Ovens & Murray League.
Meanwhile I'm not sure the reporter was looking at the Melbourne race as the players came off, but his chums who added the photo below right under the bit where he claimed there was "no animosity" are probably closer to the mark. The Channel 7 camera work was shaky on the way down the race, probably because the cameraman was worried about copping coins to the head, but clearly there was a shitload of oomph from the fans and it was just as 'bad' as last week.

To top it off I'm sure, and I shant be watching the replay to prove it, that some dickhead dangled an Essendon scarf onto either a trainer or a player and whoever it was that it hit tried to grab it off him. Not surprisingly they missed.

While this sort of thing isn't pleasant, I'm not entirely against it (more work for my friends the shrinks) when deserved, but I think it's been done now. If we get powerbombed by the Eagles next week I don't think there's much to be gained from hanging over the edge and going mental unless you're just desperate to get your face on TV and have your friends, family and colleagues identify you as an absolute nutter. 

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
I honestly cannot bring myself to read it, the level of hatred would depress me too much and I want to pretend that I'm ever so slightly more rational in my horror than them. But hey, I made a video earlier in the week and it fits into the theme of players escaping with their lives before it's too late so play it anyway. 

I'm more than happy to add some suggestions by readers, so send screenshots to me via Twitter or Email and I'll update this post. Chances are even the nutbags are right this week.

Was it worth it?
For me it was, I could have just followed the scores and saved myself from watching the match at all but at least I didn't ruin my night moping about footy instead of being a decent guest. I'd do it all again but this time I wouldn't bother formulating dodgy theories, I'd just assume we were going to get pulverised.

Not being there for the third biggest beating in club history was also as close to a win as it got for me having been to #2 and what is now equal #5 as well as plenty of other great days out. Watching it on TV was horrific, but knowing that it was all over in real life and not being surrounded by villanous opposition fans gave me a sort of disconnection that lessened the brutality of it all. If you were there I'm sure you feel like you've been run over by a truck.

Final thoughts
Do you think that if we did go through this year with one or two wins that the AFL would be ballsy enough to give us a priority pick? If we are legitimately awful enough to win four games or less (four games? HAH!) and don't get given one we should get our $500k back as a trade off for the one we supposedly rorted and both Chris Connolly and Bailey should get an official pardon from Demetriou.

Finally, I forsee another rough week for whoever it is that's tasked with answering the phones at the MFC when the regular receptionist rings in sick on Monday.I know you're angry, I know you want blood at every level and if you have to ring talkback radio and make stupid comments (like the guy who thought we had too many girls delivering water) do it. If you have to stage a dramatic self-immolation protest on the steps of the Demon Megastore then do it, just don't be that person who brings shame on everyone who considers themselves a 'hardcore' fan by ringing the club and abusing somebody who has nothing to do with what happened on Saturday night.

If you want to demand to be put through to the Football Department or to be given Cameron Schwab's mobile number then that's your business, but if you think unloading all your grief about sports on somebody who answers phones and does photocopying for a living is the best course of action then you're a fuckwit who deserves to follow a shit team for the rest of your life. Get a blog, it takes longer than yelling at the receptionist but you will have exactly the same sized audience.


  1. Cracking read Mr Demonblog.

    I actually saw more Dons supporters leaving during the third quarter than Dees. They left knowing they had it in the bag; we stuck around for the self-flagellation. I think I said to you last week on Tooter that I thought the Port game was worse than 186, rightly or wrongly. This week was like the two of them multiplied together.

    West Coast. Boy-oh-boy.

  2. Well another one down and another massive downer. Mr Neeld has been put on notice by the backing of the board which is a bit sad because he actually showed a spark in the game. Probably not enough but he obviously changed the plan and seemed to have some player buy in. However Mr Neeld is still strategically inept with absolutely no feeling for what his opposition is doing and as for inspiring his players as shown in his pre-game address, he's is so wrong. Take his dot points. “Trust yourself”: no Mark we're playing a team game. You trust your team mates. “Hunt and attack with speed”: no Mark hunt with stealth. Watch and track your quarry and discover how he moves. Then when the time comes, make the quick and clean kill. Don't let him know what's hit him. “Mistakes do not matter”: no, and this is he worst one of the lot, mistakes do matter. Do you mean calculated risks do not matter? Take your chances, you just might be winner. And it's that trust thing that's probably bringing him undone. The players have lost trust. When the team is losing the buck stops with the coach. Mr Neeld always shifts the blame down the line. The players can't be happy when they were only following his instructions.

  3. What we need is Francis Urquhart to "put a bit of stick about"

  4. I Think we are really missing Chris Connolly right about now!


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