Sunday, 23 June 2013

Return of the Human Centipede


You've only got yourself to blame if you're upset and irate about losing that game. It's your own fault for getting excited in the first place. St Kilda might have only won a single game more than us (though they haven't lost many by 90 either) and there may have been a minor realignment of the stars during the week as our +5% new coach bounce met their -5% week of scandal modifier but it should have been obvious that there was still a huge gap between us at the first bounce.

For an oppressed people the idea that we might win a game (any game) must have appealed, but the torture porn saga that is the Melbourne Football Club doesn't let up for a minute. As soon as one hapless victim was wheeled out on a stretcher after a period of savage torture and unnecessary mutilation a new victim was wheeled in to start going through a condensed 11 week version of the same thing.

Before I start on this week's half-hearted investigation of our ongoing scene-by-scene recreation of Salo, if you've got a full three hours to devote to your Demonblog reading and haven't yet seen it you might want to start with the mid-season review to get all the reaction to Neeld's axing as well as a variety of different bemoanings about how terrible we've got it. Warning - includes a surprising level of support for the AFL doing the footy equivalent of the US invading Grenada.

Secretly I was a little bit excited about what could happen in this game. COULD being the operative word, because the chances are we were still going to get beaten - but at least you could be fairly sure that it wasn't going to be by our rolling three week average of 89.33 points by virtue of St Kilda being not all that good anymore. Still better than us though, so no need to go over the top and start doing strange things like getting my hopes up or having a positive view of footy again.

So I suppose if my aim was just to see us avoid getting thrashed then the night should be described as a roaring success, but there's still an emotional black hole about it all. I love going to games and will probably do so until carted out in a pine box but the dark cloud that hovers over us makes getting through the rest of this season a bit of a chore. Even kicking goals doesn't bring me that much joy at the moment, because by the time we do start kicking them we're usually 30 points down or are going to cop one straight away down the other end. I've reached the same confidence rock bottom as our players, but at least I can hide in the stands quaffing hot dogs and am not expected to do anything to help the club get back on its feet.

Rusted on mentalists like me aren't the ones the club needs to worry about, but it's no wonder casuals have steadily cleared out over the last couple of years. They've still got a long way to go to beat the bandwagoners who piled off at an astounding rate in early 2007, but I'd hate to the person who has to come up with the membership slogan next year. May I suggest "WE'RE NOT DEAD YET MOTHERFUCKERS"? Not sure how it would go as a hashtag though. Whatever it is I'll miss #firstandforever just because it'll also mean the retirement of my beloved #fistedforever.

The night started off well enough, with what I assume to be a hastily re-recorded crowd behaviour plea by Ahmed Saad after St Kilda's original spokesman became 'unavailable' during the week and went downhill from there.

Shame it wasn't played at Docklands so we could at least have an excuse for turning up and getting stuffed in the first quarter. For while under the late Mark Neeld, surely watching via some dodgy pirated live stream in an internet cafe on Koh Samui and hurling abuse at the screen to the astonishment of confused Swedish backpackers, we would tease being a proper side at the start of matches only to quickly roll over like a diseased animal. In the first showing under Neil Craig we did the almost exact opposite, getting stuffed early before recovering to be respectable across the next three quarters. End result still the same as it has been 10 times this year.

Incidentally congratulations to Craig on avoiding the dreaded 0/1 goal quarter with only our second multiple goal opening term in the last six weeks, but now that Neeld's gone we can make a comparison between he and Bailey and see exactly who this brand of futile quarter really deserves to be named after. In 83 games Mean Dean saw it happen to his side 24 times (28.91%), while in an ill-fated 33 matches at the helm Neeld's sides did it 14 times (42.42%). I can't decide who has more right to the name, the man with the raw numbers or the guy with the average. My heart says stick with Bailey, we'll have enough other bad memories of 2012/13 and while John Coleman's got a better goalkicking average than Tony Lockett it doesn't stop him being ranked below Fraser Gehrig and Stephen Milne on the all-time table.

Either way it probably won't end up being labelled as a Craig Quarter unless he can somehow manage to do it at least five times out of the remaining 10 games, and even then I wouldn't expect anything else from a caretaker handed one of the most unpalatable shit sandwiches in recent memories - one that makes the oozing bread allegedly handed to Neeld look fragrant and edible in comparison. Looking back now it probably was - if we'd had the right man to balance getting tough with keeping the prima donnas happy and not having a Gillard-esque habit of making publicity blunders.

What Craig's inherited (and let's be fair he's had a fair hand in it so let's not cut him too much slack) is a side who can't string together five minutes of convincing play at a time, features a number of players who are either physically or mentally shot and has suffered a brutal run of injuries to the exact players that it didn't need to be getting injured. Lucky him. Did he end up as coach because he was the only assistant not young and spritely enough to out run Peter Jackson down the halls of AAMI Park?

That he's been coerced into taking control of a shipwreck doesn't make the first quarter any less frustrating. I haven't been bothered to watch the press conference but did anybody ask what he did to try and stem St Kilda's total dominance of the middle in the first quarter? I know that with McKenzie injured and Magner unavailable through nobody at the club having any interest in him our defensive midfielder stocks were paper thin, but his first big mistake was playing the defensively disinterested Rodan on Jack Steven to start with and then not making the change until quarter time, but which point Steven had single handedly molested us for 30 minutes.

Another one for the press conference (can somebody please get me a press accreditation - even if it's for Horse & Hound magazine - so I can go in and ask these questions?), and I'll go on about this until the Fijian embassy sends a cease and desist letter, but could somebody please explain the wisdom of playing Rodan instead of Magner? Again, and I can't say it enough, I respect whatever benefits Rodan's having behind the scenes but he's not going to be there next year unless the rest of our list are lost at sea so the on-field benefits have to outweight the alternative.

On the balance of it he'll have a far superior career overall, and if he's interested in coaching do what the Dogs are doing with Gia and use him as a bench coach who plays a quarter a game, but Magner's possibly got five years in him and can get plenty of possessions but crucially can also defend and tag if required. It's a bit cynical to use stats to make a point given that Rodan's been sub a couple of times and Magner's only played two games but guess which one of them has averaged 20.5 touches this year and which has averaged 13.6. Before tonight Magner had more clearances in his two games than Rodan had in five. How is he not at least a more realistic long term option if not a flat out better one at the moment?

Is it because Grimes' time on the LTI list is ticking away and he won't be able to play at the end of the season? Let's be fair we're about three days away from Mitch Clark officially being put out to pasture for the year so he'll have his chances later in the year, there's no need to worry about Round 23 now. I'd rather look forward to 2014 if it's all the same, and I can't for the life of me understand how this isn't clear to the coaches. Maybe they dislike him for posting pictures of food on Instagram and owning shares in a hipster bicycle company but it's no reason to maroon him at Casey while we're crying out for midfielders who are play with desperation.

As the game went on Rodan got better, and in the end had more contested possessions than anyone else on our side for what that's worth, but the damage was already done in the first quarter when he couldn't get near Steven. Not his fault the coaches left him there but to say Matt Jones did a better job from the second quarter onwards would be an understatement like saying Geelong are a better footy side than us.

We might have been flogged in the midfield but I steadfastly refuse to blame Jake Spencer for it. The only thing I've got against his performance tonight is that he ruined what would have been one of the great zero kick games late by getting one. The Spencil is hardly a good luck charm, 'improving' his career record to 2-17 tonight, and isn't threatening to become Dean Cox anytime soon but if you could put his enthusiasm into the rest of our side we'd be better off. He chases with surprising speed, he shepherds, he marks, he cares. Unfortunately in the midst of all this boundless enthusiasm he accidentally took Ben McEvoy's head off and will be lucky to get off with a reprimand. If he challenges it at the tribunal I'll organise a FREE SPENCIL protest outside on his behalf.

But other than his accidental decapitation it was the definition of a whole-hearted performance and while I'm not sure how long Jamar is out for right now (he wasn't even on the Tuesday injury list) I would very much like for Spencer and Gawn to play as our ruck duo for a few weeks at least. At this moment the only thing Jamar's got over Spence is that he can play relatively convincingly up forward (not really required in this team) and that when he gets the ball there's at least some mystery about whether he'll kick it or handball but otherwise it's Spencil all the way at the moment.

As for Gawn I stand by cracking the sads that Spence was picked over him on Thursday night only for the fact that he should be playing when fit, if for nothing else to convince him to hang around next year and not go somewhere that he might be better appreciated. With respect to Fitzpatrick who tries hard and is more likely to kick goals than Spencer that's the duo I want to see for the rest of the year - and if Jamar has to play he can go forward and stay there. Stay tuned right to the end Spencil family and friends, I've got a surprise for you.

The issue we have with ruckmen is that if you consider kicks to be a valuable commodity then we're always effectively a player down. Gawn averages 3.5 a game, Spencer 2.9, Jamar 2.6. These are the current hitout leaders from all the other clubs in the competition and their career averages: Dean Cox 8.9, Jonathan Giles 8.6, Sam Jacobs 6.0, Matthew Leuenberger 5.8, Will Minson 5.8, Matthew Kreuzer 5.7, Todd Goldstein 5.5, Zac Smith 5.4, Tom Bellchambers 5.3, Darren Jolly 5.2, Jonathon Griffin 5.1, Ben McEvoy 4.8, Matthew Lobbe 4.7, Trent West 4.6, Ivan Maric 4.5, Max Bailey 4.3 and Myke Pyke 3.2.

So across their entire careers the only guy our three are beating is the international import from another sport, and I know that one or two kicks more a game by a ruckman isn't going to solve any of our issues but at least it's one or two more times that we might hit a running target - and another one or two times that, presumably, the ruckman has made himself a target for one of his teammates. Based on limited appearances so far I'm convinced Gawn can do this effectively, and god help me I'm starting to think Spencer wants to do it enough that if eventually he can kick with confidence and work on being useful when resting forward he's got a place in this side. If not let's aim to get a ruckman who can at least get kicks as well as doing the traditional ruckmanly things- we're not scared of a mature aged recruit these days, there's got to be another Jonathan Giles out there somewhere.

Our inability to get a kick didn't help the Neil Craig Feelgood Factor from coming to an abrupt halt, by the time St Kilda had two goals we hadn't had one yet, but nor was his cause helped by ever so much calamitous defending. From Toumpas totally misjudging a high ball for the first goal (though he did bounce back for easily his best game yet, with enough good signs to make you think it's a near certainty that he'll do his knee at training during the week) to somebody else gifting them a second goal a minute later there was plenty more to come.

Down the other end they were doing their best to reinforce the stereotypes about 2-9 sides by gifting Angry Dean Kent a goal, but anything they could do we could do better. In an ideal world Kent's theft and goal might have steadied us, calming the nerves and resetting for the chance to chip away at their two goal lead. Good luck with that. Even Trent Dennis-Lane was kicking goals, surely only to acknowledge the fact that he has the most Melbourne FC name since long time Demonblog favourite Rochford Devenish-Meares.

For the second time we were given a life when Blease proved exactly why you play him inside 50 by kicking a cracker of a goal on the run (he would spend the rest of the game further proving this by delivering a cavalcade of clangers in other parts of the ground) but then one of footy's all-time marquee matchups sprung into life. Pedersen had already let Kosi kick one goal, and looked absolutely terrified every time he got the ball before giving away (an admittedly shithouse) free on the St Kilda 'star' as he tried everything he possibly could to stuff up running into an open goal.

If I may recycle something from during the week I found myself at a loose end on Wednesday and foolishly decided to go to training for the first time in my life. There I not only saw Neil Craig in lovely long socks yell "Don't just fuckin' waddle into it" to Jack Fitzpatrick after a contest drill, but also Pedersen dropping one of the easiest marks you'll ever see in your life right in front of goal during match simulation only for the ever helpful Jade Rawlings to offer him the sage advice to "use your eyes". Three days later this is the guy we're entrusting to do a job in an important match? Dicks. I know it was 'only Kosi', which is the same attitude that most coaches have to 95% of our list, but he looks woefully out of touch at the moment.

Obviously I'd prefer Frawley over either of them, but if that's not possible right now I'd rather Sellar. This is flying in the face of everything I said about two seconds ago in regards to playing the guy who might be there next year over the one who'll almost certainly be delisted, but Sellar's performances down back this year have all shat on Pedo's - and right now I know if he have to have one of them for another 2.5 seasons I know which one I'd rather.

Despite these fiascos when Watts got our only cheap free kick inside 50 all night and goaled we had been given yet another life. So what do we do but give up on a ball rolling out bounds only for it to stay in and be turned into a goal with seconds left in the quarter. So typically Melbourne it could almost make you spew.

Admittedly the second quarter was quite good for us in every aspect other than the scoreboard. It was no good for football itself, but who cares about that right now. We might have conceded the first goal thanks to another assist by the umpires with a cheap 50 on Dawes, but we dominated the next 10 minutes. Sadly that all came to nowt because nobody had watched that NAB ad with Joel Selwood, the annoying children and a taxi driver to learn that you get six points for putting it between the big sticks and if you miss it you're only gonna score one and they kept kicking points.

It also came to nowt because the moment the ball went down the other end Riewoldt threw his arms up in the air, asked for a free kick and was paid one. Three goals from cheap frees/50s, and before St Kilda fans helpfully point out that we actually won the free kick count that's because by the time they started giving us pissweak ones to square it up they were generally on the half-back flank not the edge of the goalsquare. It was a shame considering McDonald had absolutely smashed Riewoldt to that point - sure he was getting kicks a million miles out but wasn't doing anything inside 50. Nick could become to him what Jack is to Frawley - a guaranteed victim every single time.

We did get a goal from a free kick not long afterwards, but considering Watts had already marked it when the free was paid you'd be insane to claim that it was a gift from the umpires. Unlike the other three that went against us. It seems rude to complain about umpiring when we set out to neck ourselves in about 5000 different ways every week, but while bullshit decisions around the ground usually balance themselves out over the game or don't have a massive affect there's not much you can do when they're costing you goals. Not that it would have helped us in the end, but still.. At least the sense of injustice should give us a leg-up next week, where once again both sets of fans will swear black and blue that their team was rorted and that umpires/commentators/the media are out to get them.

We only lost the quarter by three points, which for us is like a win, but considering how badly we'd stuffed ourselves up in the first quarter and how we'd outplayed them for great periods of the term it wasn't exactly a heartening result. Still, we weren't doing too badly considering that players who would be considered on our top line like Davey, Dawes, Howe and Trengove were doing nothing. I couldn't blame Dawes considering he was getting shit service, but apparently he was 'ill' last night and certainly looked out of sorts. Still did a few nice things though, and I suspect he's the sort of guy who would refuse to be a late change (probably because there's nobody to replace him) for something as frivolous as having the squirts but we sure didn't make it easy for him. It also didn't help when some cockhead punched him in the head on half time. Were any umpires watching? No, of course they weren't - because it happened right in front of our goal.

No such excuses for Howe (as far as I know) who has hit the wall big time in the last couple of games. After being such a valuable player around the ground in the first part of this season - as recently as being BOG against Freo - he was only really useful against Hawthorn up front and could barely get near it against Collingwood or this week until he went forward. Time to leave him down there with Watts (and Blease too if they're taking requests) to get some touch back before using him around the ground again. What a luxury to have a player who is perfectly good at a second role when his first one isn't working out - good times have a bunch of players like that, we have one.

Despite all that it was near enough at half time if we were good enough. Which we weren't, but it didn't help that they got gifted a fourth goal at the start of the third quarter for something or other. It involved Lynden Dunn so I'll assume he was guilty of whatever the umpire was accusing him of, but that was 4.0.24 to 1.0.6 in the rorts scoring count.

One of the things everyone's getting excited about is that we weren't flogged in the possession count for once. Which is all well and good, but surely that's because we spent so much time kicking it back and forth 20m to each other because there were no good options up the field. Can Champion Data remove backwards and sideways kicks from that and see how we fared? As much as (spoiler alert) Colin Garland was our best he must have had seven or eight touches from plays which went forward/back/forward/back/forward/back before somebody (not Garland) finally kicked it straight to a St Kilda player. This is not progress, this is plugging a gigantic gushing hole with a bathroom sink plug.

We did win the inside 50's, which was more surprising, but other than Watts playing his best four quarters for the season (he did some silly things, but who didn't? Call it a confidence builder. Now sign this piece of paper and let's get on with planning for the future) we didn't have anything down there to trouble the Saints. They could tell we were going to hoof it long, all their defenders got back, no dramas. It looked different once Howe got down there, so let's hope they stick with that next week, and if Dawes hasn't been damaging the Doulton all night next week he should be back to providing a target across half-forward but we've got to find more options. You can't just blindly whack the ball from the midfield to the forward line in the hope that somebody's going to be there without giving it away most of the time.

I don't even know if half-forward flank exists as a position any more but it seems to be the place where a lot of our attacks break down - because the ball goes straight over the top of it. Other sides seem to go ok with launching their attacks from there. Hoofing the ball inside 50 is far more dangerous when you're doing it from 52 instead of the wing, and when there's players in or around the square for marks, crumb or rorting the umpires into paying them a free you're (obviously) more chance of scoring. Not sure what we've got in the 2's to help us with this, but strangely enough like our defenders I feel like we could almost put forth a reasonable case with the players we've got if used correctly - Kent could be the Krumber if his steal in the first quarter is anything to go by. Just need to get it to them with some more system instead of wild thumping of ball onto boot and hoping for the best.

We made the scoreline relatively reasonable in the last few minutes (second only to the Richmond game that was supposed to herald a new era of Neeldness) but despite that the last 15 minutes was a chore. How I wished to be the sort of person who could leave a game early. I've got a high tolerance for landfill football (you'd have to be to still turn up after all these years) but that was something else. With apologies to the Bleaseathon last year we're forever cursed by that 2006 Elimination Final to never play another interesting game against the Saints ever again.

Mitch Clisby was another positive on debut - in the first quarter he was easily our best player, and when St Kilda realised it he slowed down but definitely worthy of a game over the next few weeks. In reverse Sylvia was good after quarter time but all over the shop when the game was slipping away early on.

Also against all odds Nicholson was good when he came on, looked like he did in 2012 again - which is a good thing - and Dunn wasn't awful. Surely neither of them would get a game in a half decent side though.

On the other hand Trengove went back to not getting anywhere near it (possibly in protest at the ground announcer, like every other living being, calling him Trengrove), Shannon Byrnes is in almost exactly the same situation as Rodan except he was no good for the entire game instead of just parts of it, Davey couldn't get near it and apart from his goal and a nice short pass Blease's kicking was almost criminal.

According to afl.com.au's stats section Blease has the 592nd 'best' disposal efficiency in the competition - which is admittedly in front of Matthew Pavlich and Majak Daw - but another way of looking at that is that he's got the 17th worst. The good news is Tom Gillies is even lower, but if you take out all the 1 and 2 game players only five players have worse than his 52.1%. He's an incredible player waiting to happen, and we all loved when he took on an opponent and ran down the wing before surely you knew as well as I did that he was going to kick it out on the full.

Terlich goes into the middle of the two, most of what he does is great but like McDonald (and indeed Macdonald) he's got a propensity to undo it all with an error which costs us a goal.

The fact that we kept it under 40 points is a minor win, but realistically we've played better matches against significantly better Saints sides over the last few years so I don't know what to take from it. Not being poleaxed makes for a change, but to still be struggling grimly just to get to 10 goals is disheartening. At least it provides some sort of platform to build on, and just in time to play against the only Victorian side we're any chance of beating. I'm not even expecting a win next week, but watch out for my proposed changes if we don't get within three goals going into matches against Sydney and Geelong - every available seconds player will be getting a game.

Don't forget, every week of this gets you one closer to the a new coach, more draft picks, major delistings and the 2014 season.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Colin Garland
4 - Tom McDonald
3 - Jack Watts
2 - Colin Sylvia
1 - Jake Spencer (AT LAST!)

Apologies to Clisby, M. Jones, N. Jones, Terlich (high profile blunders not withstanding) and Toumpas.

Leaderboard
Despite not polling tonight Matt Jones has made a mockery of his 50-1 starting price in the Rookie of the Year battle to hold an eight vote lead over favourite Jack Viney, and 11 over Margaret Terlich. I'm not ruling Viney out just yet, but if the former electrician can get votes in the next couple of weeks before Jack returns from injury he could find his name etched on the Demonblog honour board.

In defence Terlich My Plums is also close but so far away in second, but with Garland now seven in front and the second half of the season underway his chances are ebbing away. I'm not willing to call it yet considering that with the ball down there every ten seconds either Frawley or the King of Sizzle could put in a late run - not to mention Grimes - but if his lead hits 10 in the next couple of weeks serious thought will have to be given to pulling down the shutters and asking the man who once got suspended for biffing his best mate then went on a fishing trip with him to name him the interim winner. And if I'm wrong? Well, it wouldn't be the first time.

N. Jones is also almost home, with only Howe and Sylvia even moderately realistic chances of catching him from outside of the top three now. As you'll see to the right (well, if you scroll up anyway - I expect to the right of this there's either white space or an ad for DATE THAI WOMEN) you can now click an easy link under the reference section to see all the previous award winners - and that will show you that after his unprecedented second Jakovich last year he's about to go one better and open up a huge lead with a third. He also needs just four more votes to pass Brad Green as the all-time #1 vote getter. This is after scoring all of one (1!) vote in the glory era 2010 season. Prepare to all hail, but the trophy remains under lock and key in the garage of Demonblog Towers until at least after the Sydney game.

29 - Nathan Jones
19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
17 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
14 - Jeremy Howe, Colin Sylvia
11 - Jack Viney
9 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Dean Terlich
6 - Michael Evans
5 - Aaron Davey, Chris Dawes, Lynden Dunn, Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Jack Trengove
4 - James Frawley, Tom McDonald
3 - Jack Watts
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott

Stat My Bitch Up
The only older man to ever coach the Demons before today was Checker Hughes when he was wheeled out of a lengthy retirement on short notice to coach at 71-years-old after Norm Smith was sacked in 1965 (additional 'fun' fact - it was the only VFL game we ever played at Coburg Oval).

Hopefully in 15 years he breaks the record once and for all, called upon to take the reigns as eight time Premiership coach Choco Williams is sidelined with burst blood vessels in the forehead.

Fashion Week

It feels like I write this every time we're forced to play in the homebrand white away jumper, but can we get serious about campaigning to bring back the 70's/80's disco jumper as a clash kit? What's electric blue going to clash with? Not that it really matters considering tonight we wore all white against a team who also wear white.

I know it's hard to find any sort of away strip that people will be happy with when you play in one dark colour and apparently red's not 'neutral' enough to the clowns misunderstood geniuses who run the league (adjusted to represent their position as our new owners) so why not at least pay tribute to a small part of our past? Even if we were no bloody good while wearing it.

If other clubs can get away with just reversing their colours and not fooling anybody I don't see why this would be against the rules. Also even though a surprising amount of people wear the white jumpers I'm sure it would sell more. I'd buy one.

The shiny nature of modern jumpers makes it even bluer, for anybody who's worried about that, so let's not get hung up on the fact that we blew a six game winning streak and that it was the first of 19 straight defeats outside of Victoria or that Brad Green got suspended for headbutting - here's a shot of us wearing it against Fremantle in Heritage Round 2006 and quite frankly it looks as magnificent as the sight of Matthew Whelan jostling with some oaf.



Let us drink to the many MFC identities who read this page leading the Disco Blue in 2014 campaign so that I don't have to.



Crowd Watch
After a month away from footy fans the last thing I wanted was to have to hear some lunatic babbling in my ear, so in a desperate attempt to relive the good times of that day Blease kicked five (all effective) I relocated to my new favourite spot at the very back of the Ponsford Stand. Going all that way back was a bit pointless considering there was nobody for 25 rows in front of me, but I was insistent that in no way should anybody be able to choose the seat behind me from the 5000 empty ones around them.

It does nothing for this feature, but the calm, zen like atmosphere that having nobody within a mile can't be beaten. Also you can see everything that's going on all around the ground, which is more than can be said for sitting on level 1 and having to rely on the scoreboard when the ball's more than 50m away.

The only issue is that all sorts of weird people who aren't really that interested in the game treat it like climbing Mt Everest and walk up there while the match is on. The solution for the committed anti-social weirdo is to sit right in the middle of the row instead of on the ends, but it still didn't help me from having to put up with five minutes of some pissheads coming up and sitting right in front of me (possibly deliberately) during the second quarter.

Also late in the game I noticed that a middle aged couple had appeared in the next section over, conveniently located behind one of the poles that hold the roof on. This piqued my interest as I was hoping for a repeat of that famous footage of the couple having one of these ones in the top tiers of the Sydney Football Stadium. Sadly the only thing perverse about them was their choice of seating and nothing was going on. But I kept looking over just in case.

Finally, to the guy who greeted me pre-match like an old friend and suggested we sing the song after the game "just like last time" I apologise but I had absolutely no idea who you were, and by the time I realised that I'd over-committed to the conversation and couldn't pull out.

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week

Which faction will win out, the "better performance" crowd, the "it's a new coach, give him time" group or the "KILL EVERYONE WITH FIRE, I EXPECTED A 99 POINT VICTORY" alliance? Well, it's Facebook so obviously the third one.



Amongst a surprising amount of people slaughtering Jack Watts - because when times are tough kick the shit out of him, then start a personal Carnival of Hate when he leaves - here are some highlights. Sadly it's another week without a contribution by John Fidge.

- a welcome return from this segment's version of Tony Lockett
- two people confusing the number four with three
- a creepy comment about Chris Dawes from somebody I hope knows him
- a woman threatening to scab on us if #chokeyourselfwithatie gets up - which I naturally hope she does.

Remember, when you're posting on the MFC page after a game, if your comments haven't appeared in this feature yet you're not trying to hard enough. Also, don't waste your best work on any mid-week posts because I wouldn't read the comments on those if you paid me to.

Next Week
If Brisbane can lose to Geelong by enough to go below the Bulldogs (every possible chance) we'll get 16th vs 17th for the second week in a row, and for the Gas Chamber Challenge to get even half the interest this did amongst neutrals the AFL would have to find a way to get Michael Jordan to play for us and tag Footscray's Don Bradman.

It won't help that the Wallabies test is happening down the road at the same time (if you're into that sort of thing), but if tonight struggled to a deeply suspicious 28,700 then we'll be lucky to get 25k against that as fans of both teams suddenly discover a deep love of rucking and mauling to give them an excuse to not be there.

That's bad enough, but at least a few fans of both sides might make an effort to turn up in the belief that their side is going to win. Whatever the worst TV audience for a match between two Victorian sides is I'd say it was in trouble considering not only will the Wallabies game be on but for people who don't give a toss about Israel Folau any more than they did for the last two seasons the other AFL match will be the extremely palatable Geelong vs Fremantle clash. I know which one I'd be watching if I were a neutral.

We might as use whatever means necessary to win this one. Biff, outright cheating, getting sick kids in to address the players etc.. because if we don't you'll be starved for entertainment over the next fortnight as we're ripped apart wild horses style by both Sydney and Geelong. Then we don't play a winnable game in Victoria until we meet the Dogs again in the last round, that should really bring the punters through the gate. Apparently when we play North in a 'home' game at Etihad they're shutting the top deck, so to make having to play games there even worse now you have to 'enjoy' an enforced crap view from level 1 with opposition fans right up your clacker no matter which way you turn. Can't for the life of me see why our fans hate that putrid venue.

Footscray put in a respectable performance - as far as 10 goal losses go - against Richmond, but then again we did that too and look where it's gotten us? I refuse to believe that we're a chance, but will be happy to be proven wrong. More likely we're back here next week with pick 1 or 2 firmly locked away and more shame heaped upon the club.

IN: Frawley, Gawn, Magner
OUT: Fitzpatrick, Pedersen, Rodan
LUCKY: Byrnes

If the Match Review Panel wheel of fortune puts The Spencil out and Jamar's not fit then Fitz can survive to have another go.

Surely if Frawley's not right then either Troy Davis or Tom Gillies are worth a go to replace Pedersen and see if either of them are worthy of persisting with next year. Pedo's got another 2.5 years to cement his spot (for the love of all that is holy...) a few weeks at Casey will be better for his confidence than being thumped all over the park by the only sides even remotely in our universe. Besides, Gillies' dashing new moustache is worthy of a public airing.

Others who are a chance are McKenzie (I only want him if he's tagging) and Macdonald (Can't really find a spot for him but yes please, stuff public opinion). Nobody else seems to be doing great things in the 2nd's (none who are eligible anyway). Also you never know what novelty untried player they might wheel in next, who saw Mitch Clisby coming?

Coaches Corner
I'm not just saying this because a Mark Williams led MFC is second only to the return of Allen Jakovich to the club in any capacity amongst my off-field footy fantasies, but is it really all that wise to cajole Paul Roos into doing the job if he's not 100% into it? I'm not saying he'd do a Malcolm Blight and rack off halfway through the year with a trail of destruction behind him (like a cyclone blowing West Sydney how would we be able to tell the difference?) but this is not a job for somebody who isn't going to be around for a few years. Choco will die with a set of headphones on, Roos looks very comfortable sitting on couches next to Gerard Healy. I just hope if he does it he does it because he has a plan not because Demetriou won't stop calling him.

On the other hand look at the great man going wild on the sidelines for Richmond. Look at the mischievious look in eyes and evil chewing gum grin when some Channel 7 goose bailed him up in the Punt Road carpark and asked if he was keen. From now on I'm not even going to pretend that I only want him if Roos pulls out. This isn't a very sane and rational way to look at things, but I'm not a sane and rational individual if you haven't noticed.

Apparently one of the worst things he did at Port was appoint his sister as the club psychologist. Not the most sensible move ever, but at least he appointed a psychologist to ensure his players weren't all turning into mental cases.

I'm in 100% behind whoever we get, but having had my #chokeyourselfwithatie campaign shamefully marginalised the last time we were looking for a new coach I'm too emotionally invested in getting him up this time.

In other news apparently two clubs have already expressed an interest in Neeld as an assistant. Best of luck to him wherever he goes, but my god I hope it's Brisbane just to annoy Moloney.

Next Season
In trying to give the new coach a leg up I was trying to find a clause in the AFL Player Rules to answer my question of whether you could rort the minimum salary cap figure by delisting players who are in contract and including their salary in the next year's Total Player Payments. At some point I'll read the full 200 pages (because I'm a TREMENDOUS LOSER and this sort of thing interests me), but in the meantime if you can be bothered feel free to see if you can find that information.

UPDATE - One copy of Hotter Than Hell '98 signed by Craig Smoker to @lcrowth15 who spotted clause 10.21

Which means if you don't like the players we've got contracted for next year then it's not a total loss, because if there's any room we could knife them before close of play in 2013 and use our available cap room.

Now that I've gone through and read the whole thing (so closely that I initially missed the exact clause that I was looking for) I feel like ringing up SEN every ten minutes and pretending I know how everything works.

Was it worth it?
As long as you didn't expect us to be good and didn't pay for your ticket it was. Also worthwhile if you're OCD about being at every possible match like I am.

Final Thoughts
There's certainly something to work with here (especially if you add Clark, Frawley, Grimes and Viney) but whoever's in charge next year is going to have to work out how to inject confidence again. Like a kid growing up there's a lot of things we're going to have to try and fail at in the next couple of years before we start to get it right - we'll blow leads and we'll lose close games but at the moment I'd take it just to have leads and be involved in close games.

9 comments:

  1. The free at the start of the 3rd, according to ABC commentary, was for Dunn shepherding Clint Jones 50 metres off the ball.
    They didn't spot the throat punch on Dawes, but they spotted that. I reckon the umpires were under instruction to get Riewoldt a win in his 250th.

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  2. While the Spencil struggled to tap to our advantage I thought we did comparatively well in the centre and we held our own in defence mostly. Without Clark and with Dawes operating at only 50% we lacked any structure up forward although Watts toiled manfully at times. Again our younger players looked the goods moreso than the more experienced guys which I think is a great signal for our inevitable future world domination that must be only around the corner...

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    1. "our inevitable future world domination that must be only around the corner..."

      Similar words have been spoken for the past decade. I too share your delusions, Jonno. Ignorance is a lovely place to call home.

      Delete
  3. It's a real tragedy that we now walk away from a 6 goal loss to a team with 2 wins from 11 matches thinking it wasn;t a terrible result. Also, not really on topic but every time I hear the name Marcus Seecamp I remember the sheer delight when I saw him snot Pearce at that game at Princes Park. I swear Pearce hit him in the aggots not the stomach as claimed in the article.

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  4. I'm pissed off Spencil gets 3 weeks, 4 if he explains.
    What about Kosinski only got one week for a classic running raised elbow to the head about 6 weeks ago. Spencil gets 3 or 4 for just bumbling around? Turn it up. He was just starting to think about his own potential too...that running attack with the flight of the ball in front of Bay 13 was a moment of transformation. Now he is out for a month. FFS! Where is the consistancy from one month to the next? By the way I like Dawes' determination but runnign around on one leg doesnt help us this year and I dont want it to cost us next year. So maybe just take a break. We get it that you are frustrated Dawesy, don't worry. Get the knee right.
    TC

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    1. Spencer gets 3 weeks for a (admittedly dangerous) bump in play, on the ball.
      Simpkin gets 2 weeks (adjusted for his bad record, mind you) for jogging up to a guy who doesn't see it coming and punching him in the face.

      I must have missed the explanation on how deliberately attacking somebody is worse than accidently endangering them?

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  5. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Good luck with the rest of the season!

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  6. What a farce the Spencil verdict was. I know you can't compare two different incidents in different matches but if that's worth the same as Colin Sylvia's cold blooded murder of the Gold Coast bloke (with priors) then I'm not here.

    Six weeks is fair enough between them, except it should have been Sylvia 5 and Spencer 1.

    System needs an overhaul. I don't mind the idea of a Match Review Panel but some of the stuff they come up with is rude.

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  7. You are a legend

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