Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown

After three weeks of interrupting the having of a good time to see us get flogged live on TV in hotel rooms on channels like GWN7 where all the ads are for sheds the Melbourne Football Club has ruined my holiday for the last time. Sadly that's because it's over and I'll be back in town tomorrow just in time for the bye.

Frankly I'm not all that concerned at having missed out on the last two MCG games. I'd have been there anyway if I was in town, self-loathing through every minute of it but to have an excuse for missing like being on the other side of the country is too good to miss out on after only missing one match in Victoria over the last three years (Kardinia Park 2012 when I was still too scarred by 186, but I am going back this year if it kills me).

Ironically enough while I was temporarily relocated to various parts of Western Australia, Twitter's @maesy5 was doing the reverse and visiting Melbourne. While there she took her turn on the Progressive Insurance Demonblog Counselling Couch and took out all the frustration of watching us nearly kick one goal in three quarters out on her keyboard. She appears to have made it home afterwards without hijacking the plane to Cuba so it must have worked at least a bit...

Firstly, a shout out to The Guardian newspaper who are apparently such avid readers of Demonblog that turns of phrase used here are regurgitated into the world's third most widely read English language newspaper online. At least they provided a link to their source, something that pretty much every other footy "journalist" fails to do (G'day Cazza & Damo). I look forward to all footy fans jumping on board with the "Carnival of Hate" in the future. 

Let's face it, with free agency, it's only a matter of time before every footy fan is betrayed by one of their pimply over-paid under-performing ugly-prick high draft picks. Am I allowed to say "prick"? It was the kindest word I could bring myself to use to describe T. Scully. Yep, still bitter. But sing along with me: "We got Jesse Hogan, we got Jesse Hogan, we got Jesse Hogan....." Anyway. One day soon I can see the day where each team's own "Carnival of Hate" is as big an attraction on the fixture as Anzac Day or Queen's Birthday (ha ha). GWS v Hawthorn in 2014 anyone? At least Buddy helped the Dawks steal a flag first.

So I'm looking forward to more "Demonblog-isms" starting to appear in our national newspapers. #FistedForever may be a bit too wild for the mainstream media, although it is the most accurate meme I have ever come across in my whole entire life. Nothing seems to go right for us. We haven't had any luck go our way since Schwarta did that lovely tap down to Chells who kicked a goal seconds before the siren to steal a win against Adelaide away back in about 2002. Oh the early 2000's. Remember back then when our biggest problem used to be that we were woeful every SECOND year? #FistedEverySecondYear just doesn't have the same ring to it. But nothing sums up our present (by "present" I mean "the last six years but it's too depressing to put it that way - SIX years!") situation as well as #FistedForever.

So if not #FistedForever, then perhaps #sizzle? Although this nickname is becoming a bit ironic as the season progresses. I won't get stuck into Tom though - he's got lots of potential and works his guts out every game so he is the least of our problems.

Ah, problems. The only thing the Melbourne Football Club has plenty of? No members, no money, no star players.... but oodles and oodles of problems. And as soon as we think one of our many problems are solved, #FistedForever appears right on cue. For example The Perfect Man (TM) is injured so we have no one to kick to in the 50. We have drafted Chris Dawes who promptly got injured - but now he's back. And he's starting to play really good footy and making lots of leads and providing a target up forward. Hey #FistedForever, we can't have that! So right on cue, when he's played a quarter of fantastic footy against his old team, ping goes his ankle and Dawes is subbed off leaving us with zero targets in the forward line. #FistedForever. 

By "zero" I mean Wattsy doing his usual running around like a headless chook that the opposition knows can be easily countered as he can't take a real contested mark to save himself. Nothing against Jack, he just isn't a CHF. He's going to make a good winger or flanker. Someone that can take a contested mark, first name Jeremy, was played in the midfield most of the game (because god knows we don't have any midfielders like Magner or Couch pottering around Casey collecting oodles of possessions that we could bring into the team, so we HAVE to play our best marking forward anywhere but where we need him to take marks and kick goals). Yes, I'm aware Couch is a rookie and can't be elevated without another LTI - but does anyone really believe that an 8 week Grimesy injury won't turn into 18 weeks on the sidelines? #FistedForever.

Does any reasonable Melbourne supporter think they will ever see the day when the much anticipated team sheet includes the names Clark, Dawes and Hogan in the forward 50? Surely the #FistedForever curse destroys that dream for us too. At least one of them will always be injured, or in jail or dead or something.

Before we get onto the game (can you tell I've been procrastinating as I actually don't really want to talk about it at all) - two confessions that I must admit before you read any further as both should make you wary of anything I have to say about the game. Or anything.

1. I left the game at 3/4 time. I am horrendously embarrassed by this and never left a game early in my whole life until Freo two weeks ago when I left 5 minutes early in disgust at the performance. I live in whoop-whoop, about 4 hours drive from Perth so it's a fairly long trip home from the G. I booked flights on the assumption that being only one game on Queens Birthday it would start around the traditional 2:20pm in the afternoon mark. No, the game started an hour later so the time I had allowed to get back to the airport became a negative number. I deliberated all game as to how close we'd have to be for me to stay for the last quarter and miss my flight. "Close", ha ha. So if I bag any players that suddenly came good in the last quarter or miss anything really exciting that happened in the last quarter you now know why.

2. I was drunk. I went to Walk To The G, found the only people I knew in the crowd at Beer Deluxe and stayed there so long we missed the walk. If we're still this bad next year, the Club should create the alternative "Drink To The G" for those of us over 18. Meet you at Young & Jackson's at 9am and we'll stumble pub to pub from there. Maybe might even make it to the G eventually.

The good
The first quarter. At least we are starting to mix up our "one good quarter", makes life a bit more interesting. Was getting a bit boring knowing that the third quarter was going to be the bad one every single week. Although it was kind of handy as you knew not to rush back to your seat from the bar after half time. In the first quarter we out-tackled the Pies, applied intense and constant pressure, and team mates ran hard to support each other and backed each other up. We had a target at half forward, and we even had the occasional #crumbalert from Davey or Blease. We actually looked like an AFL-standard footy team. Really. I watched the replay of the first quarter I had IQ'd on Fox just to make sure that I wasn't so drunk I hallucinated the entire first quarter in my mind.

Col Garland was fantastic on Cloke against all the odds (height, weight and sheer number of good passes sent in Cloke's direction usually after one of our turn overs). In related news, hopefully someone from Beyond Blue (hello Jeff) has Garlo on suicide watch as I have never seen a player look so down in the dumps. This was the first time I have seen Colin look anything other than stoned off his face (his facial expression only I assure you) so watching him crack it at his inept and lazy team mates  as well as throw Cloke face first into the grass in a fit of anger (happy to give away that 50, was totally worth it) was a big deal. I can't imagine how Frawley has lasted so many years playing at full back for us without going postal.

Aaron Davey selling several pieces of candy before slotting a vintage goal was another rare highlight. Also, all the people called Jones. And great to see Trenners regaining some of his form of a few years ago.

Harry O getting his hair pulled did make me giggle. Probably one of the best things Colin Sylvia has done for us his whole career. I do realise that both of these last two sentences make me a horrible person. Feel free to come and pull my hair to make Harry laugh Col. No Col, you don't need a passport to get into WA. Yes, Col, there is a time difference. Oh Col, your poor little brain just exploded. It's ok Col, you're still pretty and you'll still be able to pull the sheilas at Riva. No Col, I'm not bitter at all that you've promised so much and have ever so rarely delivered. (In Col's defence, he was actually ok on Monday in patches).

And Pederson finally showed that he may not have been the worst Moneyball copycat draft pick in the history of the universe.

The bad
The rest of the game. 

I'm no expert but I reckon we would have gone pretty close to setting a new world record for number of goals given away to the opposition by our own turnovers. I may be a stupid optimist (or still drunk) but I am starting to wonder what happens when our skills eventually get better and we don't give away all these easy goals from turn overs one day. Without the skill errors the game would have been a hell of a lot closer on Monday. With a few notable exceptions, I thought the effort from the players was ok (although they clearly tired in the second half, when does Misson's grand plan finally pay off for us?). It was our appalling skill level that yet again did us in. Here's another one for you The Guardian - #circusmusic. After the first quarter the MCG sound dude should have played #circusmusic every time we had possession as you could see it only a matter of time before we were going to muck things up so badly that a turnover occurred.

Once Dawes went off we just had no one to kick it to in the forward half.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Colin Garland
4 - Nathan Jones
3 - Matt Jones
2 - Jack Trengove
1 - Dean Terlich

Leaderboard

29 - Nathan Jones

19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
14 - Jeremy Howe
12 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), 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
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar 
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Luke Tapscott

Facebook Watch
I haven't had time to look at the MFC Facebook page since the game but can guess what 99% of the posts are - "SACK EVERYONE!" (with 99% of everyone's names spelled incorrectly). Am I close?

I'm not in the SACK EVERYONE camp as a common mistake made by SACK EVERYONE campaigns is that if you SACK EVERYONE you actually need to hire new people that are better at the jobs that you have just SACKED EVERYONE from. Where on earth are these people? Maybe an experienced coach becomes available at the end of the season - so let's consider the coach issue then. But I don't see any point at all in sacking (eg) the coach unless you have someone who is clearly better at that job to bring in to replace him. Happy to sack Neeld if you can find me someone better. Over to you.

As for SACK EVERYONE on the board, the right place to do that is at the AGM and if you think you are a better candidate then the current board members then by all means put your hand up, nominate yourself and let democracy take its course. Unless your name is Jeff Kennett. If your name is Jeff Kennett, unless you first publicly say that you lied about the stuff you said about us needing to merge with North or the Dogs or us needing to relocate somewhere with better weather than Melbourne (thanks for thinking of our vitamin D intake however) then you can just [redacted] off to the [redacted] hole you [redacted] crawled out of. Remember how you got caught lying about being shot at? Yeah, kind of like that. Oh, AFP, that's not a death threat, it's a history lesson. If anyone thinks they can do a better job than the current board, then publicly put your hand up for consideration and we'll let you know what think by voting for you (or not) at the AGM. Until then, a little bit of unity and one-big-happy-family-it is won't bloody kill us for a few months.

Next week
Bring on the bye next week. I have never been so excited about having a week off from watching my beloved club. If we have to lose by 80, 90 or 100 points most weeks, I don't understand why we just don't play our kids and get the E.X.P.E.R.I.E.N.C.E and N.U.M.B.E.R O.F G.A.M.E.S into them that our coach keeps crapping on about. How he can sit there and trot out the same old stats about how inexperienced we are, without playing the youngsters to give them E.X.P.E.R.I.E.N.C.E I just don't understand. Although I don't want to sack Neeld without a clearly better alternative to make the disruption worthwhile, this doesn't mean I understand what the hell he's trying to achieve most of the time.

Bring in (or keep in) the likes of Couch, Gawn, Tynan, Davis, Kent, Watts, Fitzy, Blease and Toumpas. I'd rather keep losing by 100 points while getting games into our kids than keep losing by 100 points while not getting games into our kids. Also, some consistency in the team might be useful. Stop the 3-4 unforced changes every single week. Yes we need to reward those playing well at Casey, but we also need this young group to play together as a team as often as possible this year. Eventually they might gain some confidence out of this (refer to Gold Coast for what a young inexperienced list playing with a bit of confidence can do, minus the Gazza factor of course as we haven't got one of him, although Jonesy does look a bit like him and carries then entire team a bit like Gazza does...).

Hopefully we have the return of the likes of Frawley, Viney, The Perfect Man (TM) and Grimesy to look forward to as soon as possible after the bye. Adding those four players to any AFL team list would make it a better team - so they can only do our team a world of wonder. And looking forward to 2014, add Hogan and a midfielder purchased with pick 2 (or pick 1, who knows how low we go), get a few more games into Viney, Misson's fitness plan starts to work after another pre-season, we finally learn to do some of the basics like kick and handball and tackle - and just maybe we stop losing by 100 points every single week. A girl can dream.

Thanks for having me. Back to normal transmission from Demonblog Towers for the Saints next game.

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