Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mince


Congratulations to everyone involved in today's abortion for ensuring that once and for all an entire generation of kids are totally lost to following the club. I'm not sure they were queuing up around the block to watch us in the first place, but this has totally stuffed it. Not to mention another crop of adults throwing their hands up in the air - with some justification - and saying "call us when you're no longer a shambles". We will, but don't bother waiting next to your phone for a call any time in the near future.

For those of us who are fighting the weekly battle to remain loyal we remain eternally disappointed.
Just when you think this club can't humiliate its fans any more they make a special effort to walk right up to you and spit in your face. Fools like me thought that forcing Mark Neeld into the wood-chipper had solved everything and at least bought us time to the end of the season where we could hit the reset button without adding another day of shame - our seventh since 2008 - to this list with time for one or two more before the season is done.

Removing the figurehead and taking the "will they/won't they" pressure off certainly worked in parts. We looked reasonable against St Kilda (who are naff) and Sydney (who are good but weren't playing at 100%) and actually good in parts against the Bulldogs before our 'elite conditioning' saw us die in the arse in the last quarter. Most of us were even willing to overlook the Kardinia Park fiasco due to the conditions and the quality of the opposition but today will be the final straw for some. It's one thing to be tonked by the best sides in the competition, it's another to lose by 20 goals to a resolutely mid-table and mentally fragile (though not even remotely as much as) team who spent the first half piss-farting around before deciding to crack in and really belt the bejesus out of us.

Good luck to them, so they should have molested us. If we weren't going to raise any resistance as they rampaged from one end of the field to the other playing like they were Hawthorn then we deserved everything we got - another trip to rock bottom. The only thing that is saving us from being a front page laughing stock is that Essendon are lurching from one shambles to another, but at least they're tail-spinning while (usually) playing good football. At least if they get bombed back to the stone age they'll go into decay with their heads held high. Even St Kilda can take some solace in their 100 point loss being a rare occurence and not a danger that lurks around every corner.

In a week which we announced a "football development academy" can somebody tell me who from this list of staff members is responsible for the mental wellbeing of our players? I've been banging on about this for two years, and was told by the late Mark Neeld himself last year that everything was cool because there was about a million coaches that players could talk to if they were feeling shithouse. Sure, that's wonderful but it's hardly anonymous. If I'm Player X and I have good reasons for hating Player Y and Assistant Coach Z I'm hardly going to go and tell one of their fellow assistants about it and expect that it's going to stay confidential or not be held against them at a later date. Wheel in the shrinks before it's too late, cop the "Dees on the Couch" headlines that will undoubtedly follow when some scumbag leaks it all to Caro and let's get on with our lives.

How about some counselling for fans as well? There should be an anonymous hotline that people can call to vent - sure I've got this blog to let rip on but there are several things I'd like to say which could be very easily considered to be defamatory and the ad revenue doesn't even cover the hosting costs for Demonwiki let alone an adverse finding and legal costs.

For that reason I waited until the next morning to write about what I saw yesterday. If I'd done it about 6pm Saturday night it would probably have tripped every internet swear filter and I'd have had cease and desist letters landing at Demonblog Towers my midnight. Or would it? On one hand I'm furious beyond words about what I saw in that horrible, soulless place yesterday but on the other there's a resignation to the fact that this sort of stuff is almost expected to happen now that we've become the worst non-expansion team since the triple wooden-spoon early 90's Swans if not worse.

What makes it painful - amongst the resignation that this is our fate forever more - is that I'd fooled myself into thinking we'd turned the corner though. So a 20 goal loss to an average team came out of nowhere like a sniper's bullet. Sure I expected to lose by 10 goals, and even 70 or 80 wouldn't have surprised me but this was rude. When I suggested everyone was looking towards the finish line looming on the horizon I expected that they'd all wait at least until the last four weeks of the season before totally collapsing and bringing yet another layer of shame on the club.

As a very sensible person tried to ask The Craig Report during the week maybe our players were rooted from having played in a slog one week and humidity the next? I know there's almost nobody left to pick in the 2's, and I'm sure given that we've got Mr. Whizz Bang Fitness Guru they wouldn't have put anybody out there who couldn't run any more but maybe a couple more rotations wouldn't have hurt. One that probably did was Terlich going out late - I still hold out hopes for Tapscott but why did they pick him as the replacement if he wasn't going to play down back? Clisby did alright when forced to play Margaret's role but let's flash back to the glory days of early 2011 when Tappy was down back heaving 50m kicks down the line. For the last year he's been forced to play as some sort of weird HFF who doesn't kick goals (apart from the first one yesterday) and it's wasting him.

Anyway, who gives a toss we're done for anyway so they may as well play Troy Davis in the ruck and make Rory Taggert the CFO for all the good it's going to do us at the moment. Playing a home game at Etihad Stadium will do this to you, but yesterday psychologically pushed me over the edge to the point where I'm starting to prepare myself for this club to die. I see no future. Yeah, let's go out and get a midfield from somewhere - it'll be just in time for our defenders to all leave or turn to pumpkins and Jesse Hogan to do a $cully and scuttle off to Fremantle for enormous money and success.

We're a joke of an outfit that nobody anywhere has even the slightest respect for, and the only reason the AFL are supporting us instead of cutting us loose and watching us die is that there's nowhere to relocate us and no obvious merger partners to force us on. Whatever comes out of the league's intervention/takeover had better work, because we're about to be on the last roll of the dice. They're not going to keep pouring money into what's going to quickly become a West Sydney style bottomless pit forever - and given the choice between paying to keep the Giants or Suns alive and switching off the life-support of a Victorian club in an already overcrowded market I think we all know what they're going to do.

We'll be ok in the short term, there'll be a few more seasons of shame and suffering before the curtains are drawn for good but if we're still going like this in two or three years time our turnout at the MCG is going to start looking like it did today at Docklands - and at that point when even the media sees through the lies of there being 16,000 people there, all the bullshit that we've been through in the last few years will come to nowt and it'll be over. Nobody really cares about the first club carking it or there being a team called 'Melbourne' if they're too broken to save.

I just hope if we're going to go tits up that they let us die with dignity instead of throwing us into a shotgun wedding with some other arsehole of a club (GWS Demons to create an 'instant' Melbourne fanbase for their real pet team? GTFO) and replace us with a totally new team in Tassie that I can half-heartedly follow from day one. There will be no more rearranging my life around watching footy from that point, I will see them play when I'm available and can be bothered and probably not even care a tenth as much when they lose compared to the slopfest we're currently following.

That's a few years off now though, and I'm starting to become enormously depressing about our future (though don't say I didn't told you so when it all goes down) so why not turn to being enormously depressing about our present instead? Did you hear the one about the team who kicked the first goal of the match and then failed to go inside 50 again for 25 minutes?

Ignoring the fact that there was definitely a third I50 where we got about two metres into the very edge at the boundary line you could tell that it was all set to go horrifically wrong at some point in the very near future. Tapscott's first goal aside we looked downright reasonable for the first few minutes, but eventually it became clear that we couldn't get the ball across the middle of the ground under any circumstances - and that's always a fair sign you're going to get flogged.

It didn't help that we were trying to play a man behind the ball, just removing one player up the field and making it even harder for our poor under siege defenders to clear the ball for more than a few seconds at a time. We all know North start games well (before it goes tits up against real sides) but it was like the night Dean Bailey set up to lose 30-10 against Carlton on a Friday night and we got banned from ever appearing in a decent timeslot again.

Poor old Cam Pedersen was the face of our inability to get the ball away from our own line. After a rocky start I thought he actually wasn't too bad, but not only were the crowd blaming him for absolutely everything that went wrong (even when he'd kick it and his teammate would fall over or be outmuscled with the slightest of ease) but by halfway through the first quarter even his own teammates were ignoring him when he was running free. He can find the ball, but not sure if he has any role when Frawley/Garland/McDonald are all fit. No point in putting him forward if we're not going to get the ball down there anyway - but at least we've got two more seasons to find some role for him.

I feel bad for him because it can't be easy playing in our backline. When midfielders or forwards stuff something up we shrug and go "oh well" because that's what we expect - but spoiled by Garland, Frawley and now McDonald saving our arse so many times we're instantly abusive to any talls who come near our forward line and look nervous. Sellar has copped it (despite playing some decent games - THE Essendon match anybody?) and now Pedo's getting the same, not helped by everybody knowing he's on a three year contract for reasons which are unknown to all humans bar Tim Harrington and Mark Neeld.

As usual there wouldn't be such a focus on our defence if everyone else could keep the ball away from there for more than 10 seconds at a time. For once we weren't totally horrendous from centre clearances - despite Gawn getting poleaxed in the hitouts - but then once we got that somewhat right we reverse course from the last few weeks and got flayed in the clearances around the ground instead. And there were plenty of those due to the umpires deciding not to pay more than a handful of free kicks all day - which is fine if your team is going to at least break even at stoppages.

More worrying than any of that was the amount of players we had running around nowhere near their opponents. I'm glad that Toumpas got a few touches after last week's debacle, and when he did some of his kicking was magnificent but any danger of picking up an opponent? See also Davey, Aaron who I'm ready to now confidently declare as absolutely finished. The only thing that saved us from the game being over at quarter time was North's ineptitude with the ball - but at least they were getting it, and if you get it enough you're going to eventually kick a decent score. We never get it, we never kick decent scores, we are Australia's favourite victims.

Obviously we were still in it, but everything started to go properly wrong from the moment where Davey and Fitz saw the ball bounce between them and fly back over their head into the hands of a North player who gleefully stuffed the goal home. How come we never get novelty goals like that? (answer: because we never get the ball near goal) Until then they had been horribly wasteful and were foolishly leaving the door open for us to reinvestigate what we were doing and do something very un-MFC like developing a Plan B.

The umpiring was.. interesting.. not that it cost us anything near the 20 goals we lost by - and we even got a few rorts of our own but is it possible that the AFL might sit down and decide on an actual standard for what they will and won't pay. I thought they did this annually with their famous DVD, but one week you can do XYZ, the next week you get flogged for it. At the very minimum can we agree that the hands in the back rule is a total farce and strip it back to only paying a free when there's actual force that impacts the marking contest? Should help the umpires in not having to adjudicate whether or not a fingernail has been run down somebody's spine - although clearly they've gone rogue and stopped calling it anyway. What about the bit where the North player lobbed a rugby pass out of the pack right in front of the umpire who didn't call it, leaving it for the other umpire who had clearly seen it on the big screen despite being on the wrong side of the pack to run in and ensure justice was done? Still, we could have had all the scams in the world in our favour yesterday and it wouldn't have helped.

Looking back the second quarter was the equivalent of 2010 - good times even though we didn't know it until later - apart from North botching a number of sitters at the start of the quarter and the flatlining Davey gifting them a goal with one of the worst kicks of his career at least we kicked two goals. If Jones had drilled one on the run like he would have nine times out of 10 we'd have been back to within 10 points after being five goals down and North would have at least had to wonder if they weren't going to completely bugger it up again. Instead they go straight back down the other end at a speed that would terrify Usain Bolt and get the first one back before Wells managed to kick a bullshit goal by sticking his boot out lying on the ground and all our hard work had gone up in a cloud of dust. So typically MFC it should be printed on a postcard.

When it became clear that we'd done our best work and North weren't going to roll over and die almost everyone went into self-preservation mode. We only conceded one more score after the Wells fluke (I see in the highlights that Dwayne declared it a potential goal of the year. Dwayne is a clown), and were given a second chance to regroup and come out with some credit in the second half. From that point onwards we were outscored by 15 goals - LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. The only time we looked even reasonable in the third quarter other than our one goal was when Blease got what was pretty much his first touch of the game and went on one of his lovely runs, setting up Tapscott for an absolute sitter... which he missed.

You could tell how badly Davey was going when he got the boot for Kent instead of Blease - especially considering that set-up to Tappy was apparently the only touch Doin' It With Blease got in the whole second half. Though again I'm sure the stats are bullshit in part because he also had one shambolic kick across defensive 50 that led to a goal in the last quarter avalanche. That's the second week in a row we've basically played one short - last week it was Toumpas/Kent, this week it was Blease and to a lesser extent Kent who absolutely does not float my boat in any fashion at the moment.

Our situation wasn't helped by the large number of our impotant [Note from later: the spelling error on the left is possibly the most Freudian moment in Demonblog history, even if I still didn't spell the word I was subconsciously thinking of properly) players and leaders who were almost totally missing. Trengove and Grimes (even though he was 'tagging') couldn't get near it. Watts was ok on the rare occasions he actually got it but I'm still not entirely sure whether he cares that we're being thrashed or not, Howe couldn't get within a mile of the ball again, Dawes needs kicks delivered to him on a platter which our midfield can't manage (but still had five contested marks and four inside 50's, so I'll back him) and Byrnes has become the master of flapping at the ball like he has crab hands. What about the time Trengove did one of the great third-man-up ruck hitouts straight to him and he completely botched it? No thanks. Should dominate next week against a rubbish club like he has several times, but I really don't see the need to keep playing him for the rest of the year after that much less 2014.

As for the last quarter it can go and get stuffed. Last year we delivered our first scoreless last quarter since 1992, but at least we kept our opposition to a few goals that day instead of rolling over and dying to the tune of 8.6 against squat. Even the King of Sizzle managed to blot his copybook in an otherwise excellent performance by doing a Garland in Darwin style panic kick off the 'turf' straight down the middle of the ground and into the arms of a North player.

We just gave up and allowed ordinary players and tremendous shit blokes like Harvey to run riot because we're mentally weak and have absolutely stuff all on-field leadership. Somebody had the opportunity to make a hero of himself to all footy fans by kicking Harvey in the face while he was on the ground, taking the six week ban and coming back to a heroes standing ovation in early 2014 but nobody was keen. I was hoping Dunn would do it as payback for that time that football's third shittest bloke faked that our Lynden had punched him to try and scab a free. Instead he was allowed to go around unmolested, doing as he pleased other than a minor tangle with Toumpas where the Toump gave him a couple of casual jumper punches that were about 30cm too low to make the sort of impact that we wanted.

Just to rub it all in somewhere in the middle of the last quarter apocalypse Frawley tweaked his hammy again (about two minutes after he stormed through the middle and I said "I bet he'll do his hammy again") - for the second time in a month - and went off as they passed the ton (having already stormed past our biggest loss at Docklands). Self respect was optional at this point - and that's coming from a team who had managed a royal two marks inside 50 all day.

Even the fans weren't getting upset. There were a few choice words directed at some turkey North fan who looked like the fat bloke out of Modern Family, and the cheersquad appeared to get into a fight with Robbie Tarrant but both him from the Big W ads and the shit Tarrant both had the last laugh.

Last year when we put in a downright reasonable performance in losing to Freo at the same ground fans some guy threw a great tantrum and kicked the stairs as he stormed out during the last quarter. This time those brave individuals who didn't try to 'beat the crowd' at three quarter time just shuffled out bit by bit after every last quarter goal while those of us who stayed to the (very) bitter end sat around playing with our phones and looking up every once in a while in the hope that a Melbourne player would have the ball only to catch another North goal. With the level of disinterest from our players - admittedly down to two on the bench by the end - I'm surprised they didn't kick even more goals.

Eventually the game reached the point that we'd all been waiting desperately for, the final siren. North fans, on the other hand, were probably hoping for another ten minutes so they could extend the margin to 150.

For those of you who are hanging on our quest to avoid our lowest scoring 22 game season in history (reminder: 207.325.1477 in 1997, and even then at least we won four games) we're now 162.142.1114. So, with five games left and 364 points to score we suddenly need an average of 72.8 a game. Suffice to say the activities at Kardinia Park and Docklands haven't helped - it was about seven goals a game before we turned in those two stinkers. We should cover that next week (not that we'll necessarily win) and could get around the mark against Gold Coast (while almost certainly losing) but with games against Freo and Adelaide at Football Park to come I'd say that absolution is on the cards for these '97 Dees.

Also Jeremy Howe should get the four more goals he needs to pass Brad Miller's 2008 total of 26 for our lowest leading goalkicker total of the modern era but don't hold the breath the way this year's going.

Are we having fun yet?

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
It feels almost criminal to give votes to three defenders considering what happened, but it's not like anybody other than Sylvia else did anything even remotely reasonable - at least they stopped some of the Inside 50s that everyone else was leaking with gay abandon.

5 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Tom McDonald
3 - James Frawley
2 - Nathan Jones
1 - Lynden Dunn

Apologies to Gawn (for general play rather than rucking) and M. Jones

Leaderboard
The good news for Tom McDonald is that if he picks up BOG in every game for the rest of the year and Jones scores stuff all he can still tie for first and take a second Demonblog trophy home in the one season. Realistically only Frawley and Sylvia can snatch this from here, and if Chip's going to be battling a dodgy hammy it's down to whether or not Col's attempts to win a blockbuster retirement plan contract at a decent club are going to spur a six week glory period like we've never seen before.

36 - Nathan Jones (PROVISIONAL WINNER: 2013 Allen Jakovich Medal)
22 - James Frawley (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
21 - Colin Sylvia
19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
18 - Colin Garland, Jeremy Howe
17 - Dean Terlich
16 - Jack Viney
11 - Tom McDonald
10 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Lynden Dunn, Jack Watts
6 - Michael Evans
5 - Aaron Davey, Chris Dawes, Jack Fitzpatrick (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Max Gawn (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Jack Trengove
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott

Crowd Watch
People pretend they don't know why our fans despise Docklands under any name, and have since it opened. Apart from the obvious reasons that we never win there and you can't take chips in from outside without having a security guard attack you like you've murdered somebody.

I accept that they scheduled us there against a team who would bring fans rather than an interstate side to ensure that the crowd cracked 10,000 (and be entirely honest with yourself, if that had been Freo and not North it would not have) but it was another kick to the teeth that they shut the top deck and forced anybody without an AFL or super premium membership into a tiny studio apartment sized area in the pocket where you can see fuck all of what's happening on the other side of the ground.


If it saves the club money to shut the top deck I'll just about accept it. If it's Etihad's decision then they can stick their shit ground up their arse. The handful of us left should have stormed L3 halfway through the last quarter and refused to move, possibly unfurling a banner reading #fistedforever (I would actually like to do this at one of our remaining home games). At the exact same time that our game was being played a bunch of protesters were occupying the intersection of Swanston and Bourke Street without having their craniums cracked by baton happy cops, so obviously this kind of stuff is ok.

Seeking to make the most of a bad situation the club was nice enough to set out of a section just for MFC members behind the goals (so we could watch the big screen when the ball was at the other end, wondering why we didn't just stay home and 'enjoy' it on TV) but obviously nobody bothered to tell the Etihad Stadium staff to enforce it by stopping North fans coming in and the 'attendant' posted at the top of the stairs proved about as useful as the US border for keeping Mexicans out.

Also due to the munters who designed the place allowing the wind to rip through from all points it was colder than a witch's tit but that's been an issue for years. Surprisingly not such an issue on Level 3 where there aren't wind tunnels running directly through the seats - good luck ever getting to sit up there again for one of our games though.

Had we won the stadium would have been fine.

Media Watch
Apparently BT was on 3AW declaring that all our fans were at the snow. BT is one of history's greatest fuckheads, now officially worse than Dwayne. Probably serves you right for listening to such a shit station in the first place but each to their own. Hope their transmitter falls off Mt. Dandenong and slides all the way to Docklands before wedging itself in the side of the stadium.

Koaching Korner
I've never taken anything said by Damien Barrett seriously since his breathless exclusive about Scott Burns becoming our coach in 2011 turned out to be total bollocks (though maybe we'd have been better off if it had happened), but his latest has me concerned. Not his latest 'hard hitting' AFL.com.au column (no link, it would encourage them to believe he was popular) but the claim I saw when 'accidentally' tuning into The Footy Show that Mark Williams (pictured above) is facing an uphill battle to get our job because the league aren't happy with the way he left GWS.

For those who missed the show (spoiler alert - apparently Sam is old) the other half of this is that we're going to have one more massive belt at Roos before giving up for good. Makes sense I suppose considering that the door has all but shut on him in both Brisbane and Perth - but can this be it? Either he's interested or he's waiting to swoop into Essendon when James Hird is banned for life. Not sure that you could go to him with a $cully sized offer and he'd be keen after having seen us play yesterday, but it's about time somebody took responsibility for dragging this club off its knees.

So, if we give old mate awkwardly clutching his trusty iPad the benefit of the doubt then another downside to getting a shitload of cash from the league (I knew there had to be one) is that the #chokeyourselfwithatie dream is seemingly about to wither and die again, just like it did in 2011. There's still time for a people's revolution to try and put him in the top job, but we're an army of people waving spatulas against the best resourced army in town - they'll tell us who we're getting, and if this is the case it won't be the great man.


What a tragedy it would be to miss out on the infectious lunacy of a premiership coach just because he snuck out the window without leaving a note after a one-season-stand with a floozy of a team - but that's what you get for being the club who swum half-way to the deep end then started flailing about as if we were about to drown.

Somebody should at least tell David Parkin that he's involved in a swizz and has been lured onto a puppet coaching selection panel with no more than power of recommendation to whichever one of the league's faceless men (we love you all, don't shut off the cash) is ticking off our final choice. Hopefully it ends with him doing a real life version of that League Teams ad and attacking people.

This final crack at Roos had better not just be offering him another $200,000 a year unless the AFL are paying it for the life of his contract. It's estimated to cost $500,000 to have your own VFL team - and I'd rather have that than going to our absolute financial limit in order to act like the footy equivalent of Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin to turn up.

Strangely enough since Collingwood have been exposed as 'not as good as they were under Mick' any frenzy that existed for Rodney Eade has started to ebb away but he's still in the mix, and out of nowhere Dean Laidley's name was tossed into the running during the week. If it were still 2007 I'd be thrilled to have him, but now with half the North fans I know telling me to run a mile and the other half saying that it would be a good idea I'm staying neutral on everything other than this photo - which is the greatest of all time. Surely it can't help that he was at Port when they were putrid and has gone to St Kilda who aren't much better?

Unless - and as I get older I start to see conspiracy theories everywhere - Roos has already agreed to come to us and is just playing coy, with Laidley's name tossed out to a friendly journo as a decoy to take the heat off 'Our Paul' for a few days. It's all pointing towards Kevin Sheedy being parachuted into the MCG at half time of Round 23 to sign a contract as Peter Spargo is clearly being held at gunpoint by Peter Jackson.

Personally I think before this week's fiasco we were being conditioned (via 'randomly appearing' stories like this) to accept Neil Craig instead of a 'big name' - which let's be fair nobody other than Roos really qualifies as anyway - and I'm still sort of fine with that despite what happened today. I like him enough to not want him to put himself through it, and I am also interested in the prospect of a Day 0 style slash and burn campaign which totally replaces the entire football department to a man, but I'm still willing to accept him over anybody but the great man.

Having said that his popularity has taken a huge hit this week, and if we lose to GWS and get thrashed again by Gold Coast then his probably plummet through the floor - but the good news is that we don't get to pick our coach now so you may as well just lie back and cop whoever we're given and hope for the best.

So on that note, my updated rankings are as follows:

1. Mark Williams
2. Paul Roos
DAYLIGHT
3. Neil Craig
4. Rodney Eade
5. Brett Ratten
6. Dean Laidley
7. A.N OTHER
8. Darren Crocker
9. Mark Harvey
78. Kevin Sheedy
276. Matthew Primus

Whoever it is, no pressure, just the four flags please. The way it's going both Nathan Buckley and James Hird might be eligible for the rankings by this time next week.

Next Week
People like to mock us with the suggestion that Queen's Birthday is 'our Grand Final', and when we do stupid things like organise the Scotch College Marching Band to show up and play on the ground beforehand they've got a point, but I say 'cobblers' to that theory because next week is every inch the Grand Final for us considering the state we're in.

If we lose to GWS after the season they've had, my god. It doesn't matter that they just played a belter of a first three quarters against Collingwood (seems familiar) they're 0-17. You do not lose to a team who is 0-17 without there being some carnage - though Hawthorn seemed to bounce back fairly well from giving Freo their first win at 0-17 in 2001 - either way we're going to have to work hard for it with a team who have been physically battered for two weeks and mentally battered for a third.

Watch $cully turn up and have the third good game of his career - and second against us - just to rub it in. If we do the right thing and win then it's hardly worth throwing a street parade for but at least we should (SHOULD) avoid total humilation for the rest of the season and go into 2014 with more misguided hope.

The natural inclination after our performance today is to murder EVERYONE and make an obscene amount of changes, but we're handicapped on that front by a) having nobody of much quality in the twos and b) the need for some sort of continuity before we lose to GWS. This is also the point of the year where we cock-tease Casey Scorpions fans, coaches, administrators and players into thinking that they're good before suddenly pulling the rug out from underneath them and packing all our players away for the finals while they go out in straight sets.

IN: Garland, McKenzie, Magner (come on now, let's get serious here), Terlich
OUT: Byrnes, Davey, Kent (omit), Frawley (inj)
LUCKY: Blease, Tapscott, Trengove
UNLUCKY: Taggert (give it a week until we're not playing to avoid humiliation)

Next Year
Today proved to me that it's time to burn everything down and start again. As much as I wouldn't burn an effigy if he got the top job Craig goes back upstairs, we scrap the leadership group and delist a couple of the contracted players now while we can afford to waste the AFL's money on doing it. If Shannon Byrnes wants to be an assistant coach of some variety then he's welcome, but there's little or no point to him being out there next year if he's going to play one good game every six weeks and one good quarter of all the others. Took a couple of good overhead marks for a man with crab hands.

As for the leaders I don't give a rats how much time we've invested over the last two years into spinning the genius of picking Trengove and Grimes, they drop down to joint vice-captains with N. Jones as captain. Dawes, Frawley and Garland stay in the leadership group (because football law dictates you've got to have one) with Clark an optional as long as it's not going to interfere with his important comeback.

My revised list of departures is as follows - 12 gone with two potential trades. I still think Watts will give it a go for another couple of years before deciding we're complete wank (and what's he doing to help stop that?) and racking off elsewhere. Sylvia, on the other hand, is g-o-r-n to the highest bidder, and being one of our few credible players on days like yesterday will save him from having to go to whichever mediocre side will take him a'la Moloney.

Free agent: Sylvia
Retirement: Davey, Rodan
Delisted: Byrnes, Couch, Davis, Gillies, Jetta, Macdonald (boo, save Joel Mac), Magner (not for this, just expect it to happen), Sellar, Taggert
Potential trades: Jamar, Tapscott

Getting rid of that many in one go obviously makes it difficult to replace them (if we use five national draft, two PSD and rookie draft picks and pick up one free agent we're still a couple short) so I suspect a couple of them can still do enough to survive. Byrnes is the obvious one even though he might not be a big contributor, but if Davis or Taggert were allowed to play seniors anytime soon we might be able to judge their worth as well.

As for what we're going to bring in your guess is as good as mine. Given that we (probably) don't want flavour of the month Tom Boyd it would almost be better for us to finish last and do our own version of GWS' unedifying auction of the pick to the whole league. No chance of them giving that up though (hello Tankquiry II), so can we flog pick #2 for pick 6, 7, 8 or 9 and worthwhile players or another pick in the mid 10's? Too cavalier a move for us I'm sure.

Let's assume that we finish second last and keep the pick, draft experts please tell me who you want at #2. I'm concerned one of the popular second choices has a weakness listed as "strength". The last thing we need is another wafer thin midfielder who doesn't have anybody to protect him. Sure we've got Viney but I want more bruisers - I'm sick of us being battered around the ball by all and sundry. Based solely on the reviews contained in this Phantom Draft I want Matt Crouch, Ben Lennon or Kade Kolodjashnij just because he has a cracking name (and will wear #47 so we can call him KK-47) but am happy to take the advice of seasoned draft watchers.

Either way whoever it is we'll ruin his career, so does it really matter?

Was it worth it?
No

Final Thoughts
I've now seen my lowest MFC score in person twice in a month. Who'd have thought Neil Craig would end up holding that record? It's as absurd as Mark Neeld holding the record for highest scoring quarter. Everything about this club is absurd.

7 comments:

  1. With all sincerity, it could be worse.

    My Saints, the Roys, Doggies, (and even yourselves) have all found themselves in similar sized rudderless baskets over recent decades.

    So be grateful you aren't going through it with the spectre and pressure of financial collapse and extinction to boot.

    At least the AFL now has more money than god (thanks to gits like T. Waterhouse and beer), and not much of an appetite for seeing sides disappear.

    So cold comfort, but relatively- it's not a bad time to be a basketcase.

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  2. I agree 100% with you Anonymous, it's a great time to be in the toilet (since they filled Gold Coast and West Sydney with no other obvious markets to shift a team) but they're not going to bankroll us forever.

    It's ok to be a horrific slopfest now with 30k odd members and not too bad a financial position, but my worry is that if we go on like this and people drop off then we'll end up with 20,000 members, losing 5m in a year and the AFL will eventually throw their hands up in the air and decide there's no more they can do.

    That's why I feel like rolling over and letting them run the place is almost a last throw of the dice.

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  3. I've jinxed us this year. I've gone to 3 matches - 148, 95 (with a sacked coach afterwards) and now 122.

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  4. Agreed. A dismal & tragic effort. On the other hand, no-one died and it should be as easy to go from a list with no potential whatsoever to premiership contenders as it was to go from having a list with great potential to a list with no hope. All in the space of three seasons. And I agree, bring back Mr Crazy into the defence. A least he'll hit someone. Is that wrong?

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  5. Another top post A1. It's the only plus to garbage results - knowing there's some top shelf vitriol via DB en route. Best lol was your freudian slip blaming the "large number of our impotant players and leaders" which is spot on.

    I was also sucked in to gleefully waving goodbye to rock bottom before this week. Now I've rightly returned to pessimism HQ and am again sickly embracing the #fold idea if the slopfest continues (and if it means never seeing the forced relocation/merger that must come when the MFC slopfest continues under AFL subsidies).

    Will spend the week sourcing a banner to fit: "#fold and let me get on with my life again" if we fail to break our 4th quarter record and lose our first Carnival of Hate.

    - Martin

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  6. The rankings for #9 onwards on the 100 point losses table are all off by one.
    http://demonwiki.org/100+point+losses

    Can I assume that I'm the only one looking forward to this weekend? Kinda like the doggies at least this is a team that are in our (post relegation) league. Granted post-relegation they'll probably be ladder leaders within 2 yrs and we'll still be down the bottom...

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  7. Haha classic Final Thoughts. It's true, it's true, everything about this club is absurd right down to the knowledge that we once were the dominant team and won 5 flags in 6 years. Can't imagine that having ever happened.

    I'd be going after Sheed in the draft (WA U18 captain) but knowing us we'll let him slip to WCE and he'll make us regret it from day 1 a'la Jack Darling. He is a tough mid who can kick goals. Otherwise I'd be going after Dunstan (SA capt). All the other highly touted mids (Aish, Scharenberg etc) don't fill the need we're looking for. We need kids who can come in and match it with men from day 1 like Viney and Wines not another classy mid who will take 3-5 years to come on.

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