(image courtesy @thisdangerous)
Modern technology is magnificent. Think back to the last time we were any good (some of you now turning 18 were in primary school), the iPad hadn't been invented and mobile internet was about as useful as using a 14.4k modem to access a BBS in 1994. Now when you're in a hotel which has every Fox Sports channel except the one you actually want you can break out your own personal tiny screen and use mobile internet to almost seamlessly watch the whole thing without buffering or random drop-outs.
What a shame then that the best use I could find for such amazing modern technology was to watch us roll over and stick our legs up in the air like a dead cat, live and in colour. While it's a great advance it's still hardly seamless. When they go to a long shot you're suddenly enter the world of a radio commentator where it's hard to tell between similar looking players so you just guess who it is - for instance at a distance it's so choppy you can't tell between Nathan Jones and James Magner or Rohan Bail and some blades of grass.
Still, it more than did the job, which is certainly better than having to find a local pub to watch it in alongside a bunch of scumbags who couldn't care less and midway through the third quarter start singing along to Cold Chisel's greatest hits, but with a device in hand which not only gives you access to a world of knowledge and all the greatest works of literature ever written for free - as well as more easily accessible pornography than would seem necessary there's really no excuse to have spent two hours watching Melbourne play, even if most of what we put out is similar to the world of internet porn in that it should be classified and banned under the Obscene Broadcasting Act.
Given my circumstances, being away from home, I could have probably saved time and written this in advance - I even knew exactly how many scoring shots we were going to have on Wednesday night. It would have been cheating, but it was easy enough to guess that the time honoured-tradition of club goes west, club scores bugger all, club loses, club returns home in disgrace was going to be followed to the letter. Fulfilling non-existent expectations, it's what we do.
If there was any doubt it was going to turn out badly we should have known that death was imminent when Fox Footy spent the pre-game analysis trying to stop people from either turning over to the Adelaide/North game or going out for dinner by making a case that if A, B and C happened we'd be a chance. Unfortunately the options weren't A) Freo being struck down by a black death style plague of injuries, B) the match being cancelled due to a spot fixing scandal or C) poison gas wafting across the oval, killing all in its path, so no doubt TV sets everywhere were soon flicked over to Adelaide's comeback or remained firmly planted in the OFF position.
Just 124,000 bothered to tune in, and that figure must have been recorded at the first bounce because there's no chance it was in six figures come full-time. It was under all the NRL games this week, and confirms that if you don't have Foxtel you'd better get it by next year if you ever want to see us on TV again - BUT at least it was significantly higher than the laughable 58k for West Coast vs GWS, which is 5000 less than the total of VFL, SANFL and WAFL viewers on Saturday and is almost funny enough to make me forget how unpopular we are - until you realise it was shown live on Channel 7 in WA.
I'd like to think the viewing figures for our game were also not helped by the presence of patronising arseholes like Dwayne Russell on commentary, a man who by half time had decided that the umpires were going out of their way to rort decisions in our favour because they felt sorry for us. Which sounds a lot to me like a man suggesting to 124,000 people that three senior AFL officials are engaging in corrupt practices, so feel free to send all legal threats and subpoenas to Dwayne c/o Fox Footy in Dorcas Street, South Melbourne and let's see if we can't arrange some kind of settlement where he's forced to call games properly.
Knowing that we were going to get done over in a very uncomfortable place no matter what David King thought softened the blow, but even when you know we're going to get done then just a sad aura around the club. Look at Colin Garland in that 'feature' they ran before the game, one of the few players we've got who can hold his head high across the last two seasons was talking like a broken man. "I hope I'm here when we turn it around" etc.. I'd like to say he was visibly distressed but his expression didn't change once. You could tell he was hurting though. Do you think he's thrilled about having signed a relatively long-term deal last year? I expect he'll be joining the long queue to get out soon as we come to terms with the fact that 'one club players' are a dead thing to us. Except the ones we delist after a couple of years and can't get a game anywhere else.
So, another week and another fiasco but I can't even derive joy from getting angry about it any more. At least in days of old (e.g most of these) you could scream, kick inanimate objects and swear openly (possibly in front of children) and get on with your life - now you just sit there laughing at the absurdity of it all. When we were 70 points down at half-time I was even perversely hoping for it to hit three figures. Looking back now obviously I didn't want us to have lost by 120, but at the time it became so ridiculous that it was almost an out of body sporting experience - when I watch a neutral game and a side is 10 goals up at half-time I generally want to see if they can win by 140 points, and it was like in my mind Melbourne had been reduced to the role of 'generic team'.
They even wore white like a leftover default team in a bad videogame. Along with the coach, half the players, the CEO (done) and the logo can we please put the white jumper in the bin forever? Bring back the red one with the Demon on the front, or at least something like it. I think I've said it before but even the electric blue 70's/80's jumper would be preferable, and surely nobody can claim it's interfering with Freo's purple or Essendon's red?
Here's an exercise for you - take our list and put them into the following categories. You don't need any sort of analysis to know we're shit, but it shows how we've got such a top heavy bottom end that the very slight 'top' end (also known as the B-grade if we were a real club) can't hold it up:
Walk into a top four team
Walk into a top eight team
Clark, Garland, Grimes, Howe, N. Jones, Sylvia
Walk into a non-finals team
Dawes, Trengove, Watts
Depth player at a good side
Blease, Gawn, M. Jones, McDonald
Depth player elsewhere
Simon Buckley/Chris Johnson style fill-in or rookie list at best.
Davey, Dunn, Evans, Jamar, Magner, Spencer, Tapscott, Terlich, Tynan
Too early to tell
Barry, Clisby, Kent, Stark, Toumpas, Viney
No chance of getting a game elsewhere
Bail, Byrnes, Couch, Davis, Fitzpatrick, Gillies, Jetta, Macdonald, Nicholson, Pedersen, Rodan, Sellar, Taggert
At least if we got wound up Fitzroy style whoever swallowed us would have a hard time deciding which eight players they took. Assuming the takeover team is fairly balanced and doesn't have any serious, gaping holes and also assuming that Sylvia and Watts can go for free due to contract expiry if I were coach X I'd be taking Clark, Frawley, Garland, Grimes, Howe, N. Jones, Trengove and Viney as my big eight - and plugging that lot into a club hasn't been burnt to the ground would probably get the best out of them.
Speaking of Fitzroy, if it's any consolation when I went back to this round in 1996 to see how we stacked up against their famous last-season at this point they were actually on top of us, and our 2013 percentage is 'only' 1.2% better than the '96 equivalent. That year we managed to turn 1-8 into 7-15, but that's probably because half the list started playing out of their skins thinking we were about to merge and put most of them out of a job - now the half of our list that we could do with firing up don't have to bother because they're all under contract for next year. You're right, this is no consolation.
This is why tossing off over the 'effort' shown last week was such a shambles on the same level as the standing applause for only being 10 points behind West Coast. I was sucked in too, and of course it was nice to see them do what they're paid to do and have a go for once but patting them on the head and cheering that we tried hard was always going to end in tragedy. The major problem was that any positive benefits from that performance were always going to be completely destroyed by one bad showing - and by playing three very good teams in a row after we had to get through the Freo game without being humiliated to stand any chance of not being rooted to the bottom of the Laughing Stock League. Shame they didn't do that against Gold Coast or Carlton AND Richmond to get a few credits in the bank before this beating.
Hooray we laid a few tackles and started a fight against a mid-table team, let the good times roll. Was that all we needed to see to look past lack of actual talent, structure or ability to get a kick? Obviously it was, and obviously our players were happy with everyone tickling their tummy and telling them how well they'd done that they decided to drop dead again when faced with a good club intent on strangling them. Unfortunately as hard as it is to understand when you're in the position we are there are quite a lot of good clubs in the competition, and a few more average ones. It takes a while to get down to our level, and you can't play the average ones every week.
Even Chris Dawes, who interrupted Neeld in last week's press conference to cut an impassioned promo about how coaches shouldn't have to teach effort gave up chasing in the last quarter. At least he's in for the long haul and showed signs of being able to contribute on the odd occasion where we did get a kick - however, he's no Mitch Clark for hoisting a side full of hacks onto his shoulders and carrying them to within 100 miles of respectability. Now we're getting bagged for not going out and getting a midfielder with our alleged shitloads of money at the end of 2012 (remember the 'warchest'? Another great MFC farce!) Easier said than done - and while I agree that Watts could have done a similar job you can only try and attract players who want to come to you. We did try and get midfielders, not guns but decent players, and they all told us to piss off. Fact of the matter is that everybody in the league saw what happened to Clark when he foolishly chose us over Freo, and now that Dawes has also fallen into the MFC black hole good luck getting any other decent high-priced recruits to turn up unless there's something undisclosed that's wrong with them.
Why would you want to play for us? A side that never even raises a yelp, a team that every week makes us pine for the Dean Bailey era a bit more even though we know deep down in our hearts that it was never going to work out. Nobody expects us to beat good sides (Essendon 2012 becoming more and more of an unexplained mystery every week), but to get close one day would be nice. When we lost to Collingwood by a point in 2010 I punched a seat so hard my hand was bleeding for hours, now I'd roll around on the floor in glee.
North Melbourne fans are about to throw themselves in front of a bus because they've lost four games by under a goal and choked in spectacular fashion on the weekend - we'd be in heaven if we could get that close four times in a season. How come every other side in the competition who has finished in the bottom two or three (except Gold Coast and GWS in their first years) has managed to come close to a win once or twice (or even pulled one off) but not been able to get it done due to being shit? We just get chopped up every week by almost club under the sun, and nothing ever changes. It has to stop at the door of the coach eventually - there are a lot of dud players on our list, but it doesn't stop other clubs from having a go every once in a while.
But why stop at getting close? We finally managed to get the heat taken off us for one week thanks to our 'improved effort' (piss off) against Richmond while Footscray lose to Gold Coast. At last somebody notices that they've been almost as rubbish as us over the last year (without as many 148 point losses), they got flogged by the media all week and respond by coming out and winning. Sure St Kilda are plummeting towards our end of the ladder at a million miles an hour, but do you think we'd have done that? Would we have even got close? Of course not, because unlike us Footscray are still holding their heads high and not crying about their lot in life.
It's also a plus side for the Bulldogs that they can usually avoid letting teams have the most kicks in the recorded history of AFL/VFL football against them, which probably helps in not being an absolute disgrace. Whether they'll drop further as their experienced players give up or not is yet to be seen but at least they didn't push them all out the door in some misguided belief that replacing them all with a bunch of 18-year-old kids would somehow help the situation. Either way they showed how a shit team should play in a backs against the wall situation, leaving us to once again look like a wreck that should be scuttled - and good luck to them for it. They deserve to be a game and percentage in front of us, and we deserve to be almost certain of finishing in the bottom two.
I accept the fact that Freo are a million times better than any of Footscray, Richmond or St Kilda - and could possibly win the flag while we're being relegated to the EDFL but it's still no excuse for going back into a gaping hole the moment the pressure's on. Why, yet again, can we run through the banner, go into a huddle where presumably everybody shouts "YEAH!" a lot, play five competitive minutes at the start of a game and then go into quarter time a million points behind? How has this escaped the attention of the media so far? Here's our first quarters broken down into five minute blocks...
0.00 - 4.59
2.0 to 4.6 (including 0.0 in the first four games of the year)
5.00 - 9.59
4.5 to 8.3
10.00 - 14.59
4.3 to 8.7
15.00 - 19.59
3.5 to 7.3
20.00 - 24.59
3.3 to 6.8
2.4 to 11.4
And there you have it - I knew we'd conceded less goals than average in the first five minutes across the season but I had no idea before compiling these stats that we'd been so bad in the last five minutes.
It happened again on Sunday, once more we looked like a proper AFL team in those first few minutes before exploding into shards all over Subiaco Oval. Ok Watts' goal came from a hurried MFC style hoof out of the pack which landed in his arms but at least the ball was down there, which is more than you can say for most of the first half. A half in which we had less inside 50's than 186 if that's possible. I'm sure we were all happy to see Watts go down there and kick that goal, but no surprises when we started to get dry humped he was straight back into defence - where he didn't do too bad a job, and can at least hit a target by foot more often than not but doesn't do much to hold back the tide of opposition sides going forward every 20 seconds. Whether or not he owes us anything after our own fans have treated him like shit for the last couple of years (and at times it has been mutual) is debatable but I have no doubt he's not going to sign up for a lifetime of this. Hopefully he goes to West Coast and unites with Nic Nat, Jack Darling, Cale Morton and Jamie Bennell in an alliance of people we should have drafted or totally wrecked.
Once the first five minutes of contractually obligated effort time ran out the training drill commenced. To have four players hit quarter time without having one single possession is absolutely criminal and all four of them should be dropped. Freo could afford to play like the Harlem Globetrotters all they wanted, because they had the ball protected like it was inside an Armaguard van. The avalanche that blew us away was savage and actually entertaining to watch - the only thing that ruined it was the few times our players got their hands on the ball. Then there were the kick-ins. My god the kick-ins. One day your grandchildren may see a day where an MFC player can return the ball into play without automatically involving themselves into a gigantic cock-up. If you already have grandchildren there's a chance that their kids might be the ones. Either way I'll be old and grey before that happens.
You'd like to think that after being humiliated in the first quarter that they might come out in the second and have something approaching a bash, but considering they all went into the huddle at quarter-time looking like their pet dog had just been run over (possibly by the Reality Bus) confidence wasn't high. This is not a group or a coach capable of turning bad times into average times.
Back to five minute blocks of quarters. It's been shown above that we're not all that bad in the first five minutes of a game before being shit gets too much for us - but what about second quarters? Can we hold the tide back for a few minutes before crumbling in the second term as well? No, of course we can't. It's not so bad (3.2 to 7.8) but usually any chance of a comeback is snuffed out pretty soon after the quarter starts, and at that point you might as well turn around and go home.
We're just a busted team. Where was the aggression this week? Where's Tapscott doing the big, mental eyes thing while jostling with somebody? He did apparently lay another one of his trademark big, legal bumps to the side but I obviously missed it because I'm not sure I saw him do anything all day. I don't expect him to be a martyr and go out to get fined for being in melees every week - and I'm also aware that nobody believes us when we try to pull the tough guy act, and that goes for you Lynden Dunn - but it'd be nice for somebody to show a bit of toughness. At least we won the tackle count - by six, despite having 165 less disposals. Somebody might get a positive out of that.
Also looking at the stats I know we never had the ball, but our entire team had three bounces between them. Luke McPharlin had four on his own. I suppose why bother running if you know nobody's going to be at the other end, but where's the adventure? Sometimes it looks like they're so intent on sticking to 'a plan' that it completely fails because they don't have licence to lash out and do something crazy. Who's fault is this, player or coach? Nobody runs or takes the game on, and we still have to endure players like Nicholson and Bail just because they're 'quick'. Then you take the 'quick' players like Nicholson, who was at his best last year when running and use him as a totally outmatched, fish out of water defender then wonder why he's not playing well. Why's he playing at all when James Strauss could have done exactly the same job but with decent kicking skills?
I suppose at some point we'll blame our putrid performance on the phone lines between coaches box and bench breaking down, forcing Neeld, Craig etc.. to 'coach' from the boundary line while some bloke relayed stats from above via a mobile phone. Save your mobile bill pal, the only stats that were even being counted during the second quarter were for Freo players - we went about four minutes into it without one of our players having a single possession. We are so shit it hurts, and no dodgy phone connection in the world can explain Freo players running around inside 50 with no man in sight to challenge them time, after time, after time. I don't know what the league average is but they had 24 marks inside 50 to our three. West Coast had 25 to four against GWS if there's any remaining doubt that we should be considered in the same bracket as that team full of kids, cast-offs and turncoats. They can't help getting better, we will finish last this year and next at this rate.
We won the third quarter but I refuse to take anything out of that other than the fact that Jeremy Howe is the only player we've got who is actually worth watching. Apologies to Nathan Jones who is industrious and hard-working but boring and traditional with the weight of the entire midfield on his back, while Howe does it all at either end of the ground. It seems such a waste to play him loose at the back rather than in the middle or up front where he can be damaging, but when there's no other damaging players around how's he supposed to do it all on his own?
Another encouraging sign was that Trengove was playing a little bit less like an 80-year-old man for once, but let's see if he can do it two weeks in a row. I still love the guy, and I have confidence that he can and will turn it around to 2010/11 standard but if there's something wrong with him then get it fixed - especially if we spend the rest of the year under a caretaker coach with nothing to lose.
There was arguably no benefit to winning the quarter other than the chance of Dwayne to throw in a few more patronising comments about us. Freo were practically doing training drills for the whole term so it's nothing more than a stat to throw in the 'quarters won' file to be used against us when we reach something stupid like 5-83 by Round 23.
'Winning' one quarter might have meant something if they'd backed it up, but just like we can't put in two 'good' weeks of effort in a row we can't do it with quarters either. Commence another trouncing, interrupted only by my new mortal enemy Bail missing a goal on the run and the continually impressive Matt Jones throwing a piece of token resistance in midway through the term. Other than that it was all Freo, all the time. No point looking at our last quarter scores in the five minute blocks because the GWS game totally stuffs it up, but here's what we've conceded:
0.00 - 4.59
5.00 - 9.59
10.00 - 14.59
15.00 - 19.59
20.00 - 24.59
What does that all mean? God knows, I'm just getting autistic on stats to help me cope with bottling up my distress. Watch out Saturday June 22 when I'm back in town, I could let rip with the most volcanic eruption of my life.
Speaking of Matt Jones he has been so impressive for a guy who played semi-pro until his mid 20's. I was down on him when he first came to us for completely unfair reasons and now feel I have to apologise. In a club email where all the newly drafted players had a quote about being picked up everyone else was all "It's my dream, this is great, I can't wait" and his was basically "Thank god, I'm sick of crawling around under people's homes". I later realised (about the same time that he turned out to be a pretty good player) that he probably got stitched up by the person putting the email together, and that he did say all the obvious things as well as expressing a desire to never have to work as an electrician again.
Now he's one of our shining lights, and would win our Best First Year Player award by a million miles if we hadn't thrown 80 years of tradition out the window and changed it to Best Young Player last year. With respect to Jack Viney who is the only other chance of winning that award it would be nice if they went back to the original idea of rewarding the best new player no matter how old he is. I'd be happy to lend them the Hilton Medal rules which allow players who debuted in the final month of the season before to remain eligible and for them to name it the Rising Star award or something similarly original. Alternatively if that was a Neeld change I'd also be happy for them to revert it back, retrospectively award Magner the Best First Year trophy he was cheated out of last season and to go back to excluding anybody who played one game in the year before.
As for other highlights I'd be reaching. The other Jones, Garland, Howe and that's it. Others have shone bright briefly, see for instance Shannon Byrnes' two weeks of glory before losing the plot and Sylvia's occasional cameos when not hitting people or weighing up which club he'll be playing for next year, but those four are the only ones who have been good for a majority of the year.
There really is no end in sight to this situation. I can understand that they're peaky about sacking a coach and having to pay him out when we're already going to lose so much money this year, but the way it's going they could do a whole Foundation Heroes dinner asking for contributions to help pay him out. Even in the death throes of the Bailey era people weren't this vitriolic about a coach (possibly because the death throes lasted one afternoon instead of a year). The only thing I can liken it to is Richmond under Danny Frawley in his last season - and at least he took them to finals and won 40% of his matches before people started spitting at him and having fisticuffs with his family in the stands.
In comparison to Spud's positively luxurious record Neeld (5-26) is currently sitting at 16%, leaving him 9% short of Carl Ditterich as the worst MFC record of a coach who lasted into a second season - and only six men in VFL/AFL history who have ever coached an equal or more amount of games than him hold worse win/loss records, the last being Royce Hart who finished at Footscray in 1982 with an 8-45 record for 15.09%. If he lasts three more weeks and loses all three Neeld will drop below him as well, so he probably should try to get sacked by the bye just to stay above Royce.
He can talk about process and rebuilds all he likes, but that's the kind of record that will sink somebody no matter how good their intentions are. Luckily for him Kevin Murray went 0-34 at Fitzroy once, so at least there's one record he can't take. If he survives to the end of the year and wins at least one more game at least he'll be able to avoid 2nd last place as well. Something to look forward to! Except that at the moment there's no indication that we will win another game with him in charge - no matter who's ultimately to blame.
It's telling that Don McLardy hasn't been seen anywhere in the last couple of weeks, because the entire board are still secured in a bunker underneath the Southern Stand, doing the maths and seeing if there's a way to axe him without having to get Ken Judge to do the job for minimum wages (but he does bring 'gags') next year. They're not going to back him now, if they were going to resolve to stay the course until the end of the year and hope for a miracle they'd have come out after the Gold Coast game instead of going into hiding. Now it's a case of Peter Jackson being on the phone to Demetriou trying to convince him to waive the 500k fine so that we can afford to swing the axe and not have to rely on a bargain basement replacement or sell the Bentleigh Club off.
Either way I'm absolutely in favour of them hitting the reset button at the end of the year, and am not at all concerned if they do it now as long as it's not another big financial drain. It won't solve any more issues than sacking the CEO did but at least it'll hopefully give us a honeymoon period for a few weeks after the bye when we can try and right the ship a bit. Not sure who's going to convince Sylvia and Watts to stay without knowing what freak we're going to turn to next, but if the board aren't interested in publicly supporting him there only seems to be one option.
See you at We Want Choco (can we still call him that?) campaign headquarters. Corner of YOU WERE WRONG Street and Choke Yourself With A Tie Boulevard.
2013 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
The top vote is a lock, second probably deserves one or two in normal circumstances, third is only in because there has to be five - and the other two should probably send a telegram respectfully declining, citing not being deserving of any recognition.
5 - Jeremy Howe
4 - Matt Jones
3 - Jack Trengove
2 - Nathan Jones
1 - Dean Terlich
Apologies to Davey, Frawley, Magner, McKenzie and Watts only because they could have all undeservedly snuck in for one or two votes.
At least unlike most everything about the Melbourne Football Club the main award is competitive. By this point last year Jones was 10 points in front, and while he'll more than likely still win at least there are two legitimate contenders.
Gawn should be on probation for the Stynes on account of playing too much in the forward-line, but when his main opposition has one kick in a game then I'm happy to let him be for another couple of weeks.
21 - Nathan Jones
16 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
14 - Jeremy Howe
12 - Colin Sylvia
11 - Jack Viney
9 - Shannon Byrnes
6 - Michael Evans, Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
5 - Aaron Davey, Lynden Dunn, Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Dean Terlich
3 - Jack Trengove
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, James Frawley, Jordie McKenzie, Luke Tapscott
1x miracle required to avoid a tremendous savaging next Sunday afternoon. Hawthorn's average performance against Gold Coast has made absolutely certain of that, imagine the wall destroying mood Clarko will be in after going into half-time two goals behind them? Forget waffle about how they're improved etc etc, only bottom of the barrel clubs like us are allowed to comfort ourselves with rubbish like that. Not to mention the public dispute he's having with us denying that we ever offered him a contract to coach.
Also, think Franklin's not going to want to come out and stick two fingers up at fans who are so comfortable with being good that they can happily bronx cheer one of the modern icons of their club? Oh yes he will, any while we're more likely to cop six goals from four different players than 24 from one any loss under 80 would still be a win, and that's absolutely tragic.
Considering how few of ours turned up for the almost certain away loss to Richmond there's no telling if we'll even have a full four figures of the crowd against Hawthorn for a certain mauling. Were I in Victoria at the time I'd still turn up and sit there with my head in hands for the full quarter, but in my absence somebody else will have to take my spot manning the Bioceuticals Nutrition Suicide Booth for the next couple of weeks.
At least when there's 99% Hawthorn fans in attendance and we lose by 120 we can wait patiently for another busybody to write about how we should go about saving our club despite being a group of horrible individuals who deserve shooting (see also the subsequent apology, which at least shows that the fans aren't all rolling over and dying when pelted with rubbish). We open ourselves up to kickings by being a soft as butter team, and when the newspapers print front pages like this and it's confirmed we use it as part of our pre-match motivation only to still get thumped then we probably deserved every piss take around, just keep it to the team and don't touch the fans and I won't get offended. At the moment I would kill (metaphorically speaking anyway) to defend the people who are still sticking by us while we slowly die. Attack the players, the coach, whoever else you like - just lay off the people who are still stumping up hundreds of dollars a year and faithfully turning up to watch this crap.
For once I've got the luxury of the Casey report before deciding on my proposed changes for next week, and not for the first time this season I've got more people I want to get rid of than are worth bringing it. Makes it hard to convincingly swing the axe when there's nobody worthwhile bringing in but it's a pointless exercise anyway considering we never have the balls to do anything more than a half-swing.
IN: Fitzpatrick (reward for effort, even if he'll get no kicks because the ball will never get near him) , McDonald (another option down back so we can hopefully free Watts and Howe to go elsewhere) Macdonald (straight replacement for Dunn, about as likely to get a kick-in right), Rodan (if it doesn't work out this time then it would be nice if he put his hand up, admitted he's done and feigned a long term injury so Couch could have another go), Spencer (if he's contracted for next year we may as well get some games into him - can play second fiddle to Gawn while Fitz is a permanent forward and Jamar is getting a kick at Casey Fields), Strauss (why was he dropped in the first place?)
OUT: Bail (no thanks), Byrnes (has disappeared, give some time off and come back for another go), Dunn (not helping in defence, not much use elsewhere) Jamar (stop acting like it's 2007 again and get a kick), Jetta (I've jumped off, is never going to break through now), Nicholson (headless chicken mode activated), Tapscott (if not hitting people is not required then neither is he at the moment)
Lucky to survive the proposed massacre are Evans (has hit the wall), Gawn (can't get near it as a forward, but I want him playing first ruck), McKenzie (possessions are dandy, but impact relatively minimal) and Sellar (hasn't been all that bad, but with other defenders coming in the clock is ticking on his MFC career).
So, six in and seven out. In the event that we do go insane and make that many changes - which we won't because we never do - the other options are limited:
- Blease looks like he was injured playing for Casey, but even if he wasn't Neeld hates his guts anyway so what's the point? Thanks for signing an extended contract last year, enjoy the VFL.
- Couch showed nowt at senior level last year, but like Magner I wish I could reward him for being consistently good in the 2's if we had a spot with which to elevate him.
- It'd be nice if they could give Davis a game at some point to confirm whether or not he's any chance of going on next year, but like Gillies it would almost be cruel to bring him in next week for almost certain slaughter by Franklin/Gunston/Hale/Roughead etc..
- The Pedersen as a forward experiment has seemingly been shelved in the VFL, so I don't expect we pick him as anything but a defender - and unless Tom Mc isn't right I'd rather Sellar for at least one more week. Having said that there's no doubt that Pedo will be there next year (three year deal!) and Sellar probably won't, so if there's any interest in building for the future he might sneak in off the back of a BOG performance at Casey.
- Taggert must be getting close too, and like Davis we've got to give him a game eventually. What is there to lose except the coach's job, and throwing a couple of kids to the wolves isn't going to cause any more damage to him than has already been inflicted.
- Toumpas could get back in via fitness test, but no need to rush him if he's not entirely right.
Bring in anybody you like, if this happens again we'll be bleeding from all orifices like victim of the dreaded Ebola virus on Sunday. I'll be watching it on a small screen in a hotel room again, so please support our mystery guest reporter in his post-match grief while I attempt to not piff a television out of the upstairs window like a member of The Who.
MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
Thanks to everyone who submitted a special comment while I was out of action. Here are some of the belters - my best on ground goes to the guy with the amazingly bad parody theme song, with two uses of the word 'poo', neither of which work.
We are not alone
Read this, list all the ways that it could be relevant to us, give up on sports and get into ramming Japanese whaling ships aboard the Sea Shepherd instead.
Was it worth it?
At least none of our fans got done for racial abuse. Yet
See you on June 22. Stay tuned for our fabulous mystery guest reporters over the next two weeks, but bear in mind that there might be some delay with posting their work as I'll have to find a computer to upload it all. Which shouldn't be all that difficult considering I'll be in WA not St Kitts & Nevis, but you never know when I might finally decide that having a good time is preferable to paying attention to footy.
Having said that I'm too far gone in my Twitter addiction to stay off for long whilst still connected to an Australian mobile network, so should you wish we may continue the discussion of our shared abject sporting poverty on there until next month.
Note: Demonblog Towers will still be attended to in my absence (sadly not by the guest reporters), so don't even think about trying to nick in and steal my signed Phil Read card with no glass because I knocked it off a table at DB Towers IV.
P.S - If the plane crashes rest assured I will die cursing the name of $cully.
P.P.S - If it really does (and I think at some point I'm flying something with rubber band propellers so it's a good chance) I bequeath the archives of Demonblog to the National Museum of Sporting Depression, and all of Demonwiki to the Melbourne Football Club.