Monday 8 July 2013

Signs of Life

Note, I've had no time to edit this so I apologise for any crimes against the English language which are contained within of paragraphs which suddenly cut off in the

In a week where a couple of good quarters and a battling win over a team firmly attached next to us at the bottom of football's ocean somehow led people to think we had turned the corner and entered a new era the concern was that the reigning premiers would then mow us down like a protestor trying to stop a tank.

Given that possibility is it wrong that under the circumstances a five goal loss to them actually leaves me delirious with joy? It's a sign of just how high we've hoisted the white flag this season that any sort of loss can be described as positive, but unlike the decoy corner turn against Richmond I don't even feel guilty about having walked from the ground feeling like I had a good time.

It's not the first time in the last couple of years we've put in a respectable losing performance against a legitimate top four contender, but it's rare. Thwarting Geelong's bid for 186 II at Kardinia Park early last year, Queen's Birthday 2012 after quarter time and the first half of the Empty Stadium Match against Freo at Docklands are about it. Otherwise it's two years of having our dignity stripped on a near weekly basis, so take this in your arms and run for your life.

For the purposes of keeping the Neil Craig Feelgood Factor (good name for a band) alive I'm willing to overlook the fact that Sydney botched about 10 easy chances on goal and treated the second half like a glorified training drill. That doesn't matter, I'm sure many other teams intended to have an easy day out against us then when confronted with a team playing like they were under heavy sedation decided to get serious and smash us like a guitar.

This time we recovered from a rubbish start and stayed alive long enough to actually put some realistic pressure on - even if it was at the rate of 1.25 centre clearances a quarter. On the other hand we were more than reasonable in getting clearances around the ground, and our players now actually get possessions and string more than a couple of them together without panicking and booting it towards the boundary line in the admittedly correct but tactically dubious belief that by not having the ball we're less likely to do something stupid with it.

There was even less backwards and sideways kicking this week compared to our last loss. More thrillingly there was also a willingness to take a chance and go back into the middle of the ground if required rather than slavishly going around the boundary every single time. Suddenly MFC footy is half interesting and I'm taking back everything I said around the Gold Coast fiasco about there being no benefit to kicking the coach out during the season - there has been a tremendous benefit to everything other than our crowds.

Strangely enough it was our first loss against the Swans at the MCG since August 2006, but that's got more to do with avoiding playing them for most of that time other a win and a draw which took place firmly in the middle of the Dean Bailey Glory Era (also a good name for a band).

Even with this relatively good recent record against them (ignoring some sort of fiasco that took place at the SCG last year where I believe some sort of award winning mark was taken), and a much improved performance last week before falling face first into a landfill in the last quarter this way still a danger game. For most clubs a 'danger game' is one they might lose, for us it's one we might lose by 20 goals.

At first it looked far more likely that we'd end up being thrashed. Somehow the Neeld trend of holding the stitches in for five minutes before our entrails burst across the field has totally reversed under Craig and now we cop a goal in the first minute every week. Admittedly that's about the only thing that's gone wrong under him so far, but it is concerning. Possibly something to do with being flogged in the centre at every single bounce?

It got better eventually, and if we hadn't completed the circle by conceding a goal right at the end it would have almost been worthy of a West Coast style premature standing ovation. Especially considering that for the first few minutes we were conceding goals via a series of comedy capers.

Not only was the first goal the product of Frawley (otherwise almost flawless pre-injury) handballing to a flat-footed Margaret Terlich, who fair enough got put in a headlock and should have had a free, for a holding the ball free and goal after what AFL Tables tells me was 53 seconds.

Sure we got the 'equaliser' not long after on our first of a precious handful of trips inside 50, but then it turned into a Marx Brothers style 'A Day At The Footy' slapstick extravaganza. First Nicholson with one of his trademark turnovers, then Sylvia forgetting how to bounce and another one indirectly via Trengove packing it and blindly hoofing the ball as far away from the defensive 50 as possible - for about three seconds before it came back over his head for a goal.

From there we probably should have caved in and compliantly taken our thrashing, and quite possibly would have if the Swans hadn't missed two chances in a row. The door was left slightly ajar for Watts - after 20 minutes of the most effort for no reward I've seen in his career - and then Fitzpatrick - about to launch the sort of meteoric rise to cult stardom that may see Kevin Rudd ask him to appear on the ALP Senate ticket - to kick goals and improbably drag the margin back to just eight points. And this was all happening while the Swans were playing properly - from their first 100 handballs they hit the target with 96 of them - and we hadn't won a single clearance out of the middle.

Against all odds we now seem to be able to kick goals when we can get the ball inside 50, it's just that we can't get it there. Dean Bailey must be smashing plates watching this after having had the exact opposite during 2010/11 where our midfield was doing quite nicely but had nobody to kick it to. Dawes certainly helps - old mate Collingwood fan with me was almost about to start a riot seeing him taking strong overhead marks again and again.

Howe and Watts also help, as against all odds, does the born again Puttin' On The Fitz who has now vaulted past both The Spencil and Jamar as a realistic 'resting' forward option. In an ideal world I'd prefer a Gawn/Clark combo with Mitch forward most of the time but for a team who can't get the ball out of the middle we've suddenly got an even more realistic looking collection of ruck options than we had two weeks ago when Spence was creating havoc.

I'm sure it's not as easy as this, but is anyone else now convinced that if we could get the ball down there more than five times a quarter we'd actually be a reasonable chance of kicking winning scores. So much has changed in the last three weeks, the idea that you're going to turn up and see us kick 5.9.39 almost seems silly.

You wonder if Neeld's been game to turn the TV back on yet and what he thinks about it all. I'm sure that for all the disasters which he presided over that he still wants the side and 'his' players to do well (if only to say "I started this!" in future job interviews) but I'd love to get his take on what's different. Is he sitting there thinking "why couldn't they play like this for me?" "oh god, I stuffed it all up" or "Neil Craig, you're doing it all wrong".

Nobody's seen him since my offer via Twitter to host a tell-all interview where he tips the bucket on everyone went sadly unanswered, but I'd like to extend it further into a full-scale co-commentating role where we sit down and watch one of these games live while he provides a 'directors cut' view while also tipping the bucket. I'm assuming he didn't see it on Twitter because he's either a) burnt the password in a fire or b) never wrote it himself to start with so if anyone's in contact (and I know some of you probably are) then feel free to pass the message on.

I'd like to think that the suggestion he was going to Thailand to 'get away from it all' were a classic Edward Snowden to Havana style red herring and that he's actually holed up in a log cabin somewhere in the Adelaide Hills while Dean Bailey runs out the last few weeks of his suspension putting him through therapy sessions that look like this:

It seems highly unlikely given that Neeld spent 18 months publicly and privately potting Bailey's Camp Granada attitude to training before turning the place into the Bangkok Hilton, but in a week where Jack Watts outed Neil Craig as a zen master anything is possible.

In all fairness the expected poleaxing probably should have started in the second quarter, which featured the Swans doing absolutely everything right all around the ground except for kicking straight. 4.10 was a fair result in total scoring shots for their dominance, and the margin did get out to 35 points thanks to - shock horror - a goal in the last couple of minutes but despite this it did feel like we weren't playing all that badly. In patches we were even playing well, and when we went inside 50 we were scoring but it was just that we couldn't string enough of having the ball together without stuffing it up.

Looking back at the score progression now I'm surprised at how far we got ourselves behind and am starting to question why I'm so comfortable with this result. Talk about being sucked in by a few last minute junk-time goals. To be entirely honest without having seen a second of the replay or watched any highlights (just the kind of in-depth analytical service you can only get from Demonblog) I'm not even sure why I thought we were playing well - it really all came down to the defence standing strong under constant attack without going to pieces.

I do remember becoming distinctly aware halfway through the second quarter that we appeared to be back to playing a classic Baileyball 'golden era' style where nobody other than Kent or Dawes were outside the defensive 50 and Watts was back to being a defender. Given the new willingness to accept the coach's tactical moves as genius rather than stupidity I'm willing to believe that Craig deliberately sent Jack down there to prove to him that he was good enough to play either end at the drop of a hat. Either that or it was a panic move to try and stop us from being flogged to death with a run of goals in true MFC fashion - and it could very well have been if Sydney could kick straight.

Thankfully after half-time Sydney had enough of playing like the reigning premiers and decided to play like a team more suited to our level instead. After their 96% handball success rate in the first half it dropped off noticeably when they started to play like the Harlem Globetrotters instead. It didn't hurt their scoring though and by the time

Wacky umpiring didn't hurt either. We got a handful of bizarre decisions in our favour to 'even' up the ledger, and Fitzpatrick was gifted a goal courtesy of the worst free kick in the history of football at the end but the interpretation of the holding the ball rule throughout the second half was insane at best.

It all started with Mike Pyke dropping a drop kick while being tackled and it being ok (but at the same time why hadn't he been thrown across the line by our defenders anyway) and travelled through Fitzpatrick mowing his opponent down with a perfect tackle in a 30 metre chase only for the crackpot in baby blue to wave play on into a variety of disasters during the second half. Sure Fitz probably didn't need to take out his frustrations by openly grabbing the Sydney player by the ankle and pulling him to the ground - and that free was certainly there - but how they didn't pay holding the ball was comical.

Then, just when you think that the laws of the game had been changed at a secret midnight session of the AFL Rules Committee and that you can do whatever you like for however long you like and not cop it out comes Jeremy Howe to take possession of the ball for about four milliseconds at the start of the third quarter and cop a free after being tackled. Then there was Tippett being swung around in circles like he was on a carnival ride only to eventually get ball to boot three hours later and find a spare player right in front. No wonder he was spare when every single human being on the face of the planet was expecting that the umpire was about to pay HTB - except the umpire himself.

The real winner, though, was the Mitch Clisby 'incident' where poor Mitch shat himself at his first kick-in and stuffed it up in remarkable fashion a'la whichever one of S. Buckley or C. Johnson who tried to kick it to himself and fell flat on his face. Problem was that unless I've missed another secret meeting in a carpark at midnight that if you don't bring the ball in properly then it's a bounce in the square - it was an undignified spectacle to see him diving for the line, and in any circumstances I'd have said fair enough on paying it as 'deliberate' but if the umpire hadn't shit himself even more he'd have realised that he couldn't pay it as deliberate in the first place. It's not like he even had a 'moment' and paid advantage on somebody booting it through the goals, he actually stopped, thought through it for a second and then paid a free straight in front. Thanks for that.

At least the putrid decisions weren't all confined to our game, witness some of the baffling calls in the Port/Essendon match. Not that you'd be able to tell what's right and what isn't based on the Bombers crowd bleating every time the other team went near the ball. I can accept some mistakes, and I can accept umpires being caught out of position or with somebody in front of them - but I can't accept them plucking the most random frees out of their arse (the last Fitzpatrick one) while failing to pay blatantly obvious ones that occur right in front of their eyes. You'll never solve the problem entirely but professional umpires would be a good start - at least then they could be held to some reasonable job standards rather than doing whatever they like and then going back to working as a truck driver on Monday morning.

Despite a procession of 'unusual' decisions, and George Michael Bluth getting off the leash a bit once Frawley went off injured (lucky he can't kick straight) we managed to restrict the damage to under 50 points at the last change. Still not sure why I thought we weren't playing all that badly, but maybe it was because they were at least trying to 'take the game on' (CLICHE) instead of trudging around like they'd just been told their favourite pet had died.

The last quarter was like our mini-version of last week. We got goals at the start to make it interesting, they kicked three in a row to kill it, we kicked some more at the end to make it reasonable again. The result was perfectly acceptable football, even though the more I think about it I'm not sure why. Maybe I was blinded by the remarkable scenes of Fitz becoming the biggest fan favourite since Hulk Hogan in front of my eyes. Maybe it was just relief at not being tonked against a good team for once. Either way it's all straight down the toilet if we get turned over in epic fashion next Saturday at Kardinia Park.

As usual there were some good signs. Toumpas continues to work his way into the game, and while I can see why some people are upset that we picked him over the straight ahead battering ram option of O. Wines I'm reasonably confident he'll be the cherry on top when we start to drag ourselves out of the sewer. Compare his 14 possessions to Nicholson's. Wines might very well end being a better player, but it doesn't matter squat who wins out of two players if they're both good. As usual reference Frawley vs J. Riewoldt, or the way it's going J. Watts vs N. Nat (*ducks*) - if you pay pick 1 and get a player worth pick 2 you've still had a win. Patience.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Dean Terlich
4 - Jack Fitzpatrick
3 - James Frawley
2 - Jeremy Howe
1 - Colin Garland

Apologies to Dawes, Gawn, McDonald and Watts.

Another week of no votes for Jones (N) or Jones (M) sees challengers to the top two positions sneak closer. Surely nobody's overturning Nathan from here, but it's worth pointing out that the votes are done legitimately every week and there's no AFL Rules Committee style rigging the contest to engineer a thrilling result.

The contenders now end at sixth placed Sylvia (and even he's finished if he doesn't pick up votes on the leader next week). With a maximum of 40 votes on offer from here somebody else could win it but they'd have to put in a last two months of the season worthy of '91 vintage Jakovich himself.

All the immediate action surrounds the Hilton and Seecamp where Terlich is making a bold bid for an unprecedented double with his no-nonsense 80's style back-pocket stylings. In my heart I'd feel it was robbery if Garland didn't win the defenders award, but that's not how it works. If it's any consolation if there was a people's choice award he'd win it.

In the Stynes I'm torn as to whether Fitz should even be eligible considering how much of his time has been spent up forward - but if you DQ'ed the 'second' ruckman for not spending enough time in the middle the award would be even more of a farce than it is now.

30 - Nathan Jones
19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
18 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jeremy Howe
17 - Dean Terlich
14 - Colin Sylvia
11 - Jack Viney
10 - James Frawley
9 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Jack Watts
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 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Tom McDonald
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott
Crowd Watch
In a week where footy fans across Melbourne covered themselves in glory by engaging in well-hushed up all-in brawls (North/Richmond) and either stealing a man's wheelchair or engaging in well-hushed up all-in brawls (Geelong/Hawthorn) I nearly joined in the carnival atmosphere by throwing some children down the stairs of the Ponsford Stand.

There were no issues during the first half as I welcomed a guest Collingwood supporter to the anti-social Row LL alliance and opened his eyes up to the glory of not having to sit near footy fans (especially Collingwood ones). At one point when I was sitting there on my own some nuffy started clambering up the stairs, but thankfully turned right and wandered off at about row BB.

Then after respecting the legend at half-time I get back up there find that 20 kids have decided that they'd Occupy LL and run amok. Given that there were about 5000 vacant seats around us we could have moved, but I took the position that they'd tire themselves out eventually and that there was no way I was going to vacate my seat for a bunch of kids who were foetuses the last time we played a final.

Part of the joy of not sitting within 30 rows of anyone is the ability to be able to swear openly, and I saw no reason to modify my behaviour just because some 'responsible adult' had got sick of marshalling the kids who were too stupid to get picked for Auskick and had let them run riot instead.

Sadly being the bunch of juvenile delinquents that they were colourful descriptions of the umpire who paid that holding the ball against Howe at the start of the third quarter only seemed to encourage them. Next thing you knew they were piffing a 600m Coke back and forth in the stairwell as a security guard stood at the bottom looking at us as if we were the responsible adults who were in charge of them.

In a surprise turn when the security guard came up to look as if he was doing something the kids chose not to fight the power and caved in to authority, scrambling over seats everywhere to make it look like they weren't the sort of hooligans who are all going to spend their 16th birthday in a youth detention centre - and for the rest of the game were reasonably well behaved. No responsible adult was ever sighted.

Despite all this I was secretly that finally some sort of Crowd Watch material was taking place at Row LL. Note - this is not an invitation to direct your insane mates or random drunkards from the audience up there next time.

Elsewhere it was good to see a win bringing out more bootleg Reject Shop scarves than usual as rats pour back onto the not now sinking quite as quickly ship. From here on I declare a (non-fatal) jihad on $2 Shop knockoff scarves. If this sounds like you then there's still time to redeem yourself - take your 'scarf' with MELBOURNE written in really narrow letters, throw it in the bin, click this and buy a proper one from the club for $20.

Koaching Korner
Fighting wins over pox clubs, 'let the boys play' factor and rapid tumble back to reality aside Craig has risen in my estimation recently since being sworn in just hours after a mystery assassination. Based on nothing in particular, and ignoring the fact that he was supposed to the one keeping Neeld in line for the last 18 months, the feelgood factor of a single victory and general enjoyment of his casual press conference style has seen him rocket to third on my ARIA Top MFC Coaches chart.

1. Mark Williams
2. Paul Roos
3. Neil Craig
4. Rodney Eade

That'll do, if we're not going to get one of those four we may as well pick from one of the Deep Heat coach, Gary Ayres, this guy, Matthew Knights, Neale Daniher, Mark Harvey, Robert Shaw, Dean Bailey, Paul Feltham, Bob Hammond, Jim Mora, Mark Neeld, Damien Drum, Matthew Primus, Ken Judge or this guy.

Assuming we don't completely toss dignity out the window and offer to pay Paul Roos $2 million a year as well as parading him around the MCG on the back of an elephant before the last game of the season I'd enjoy a bizarre South Australian alliance between Choco and Craig. There was some media suggestion that they wouldn't work together, but while I've got no idea what they think of each other personally the idea of taking a former Adelaide and a former Port coach and putting them together in a bizarre odd couple relationship appeals to me. It would be like the Montagues and the Capulets opening a small business together.

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week
Feature temporarily CANCELLED. Not enough nutbag behaviour due to everyone being like me and getting sucked in by avoiding a thrashing.

Next Week
Let's be honest here, we have no chance of winning. Doesn't mean it has to be a complete waste of time though - at least we can go in confident that we probably won't be on the end of another 186. Imagine feeling that way a few weeks ago? If we'd just scored 6.4.40 and lost by 97 points then next Saturday would look like we were going into the Battle of Stalingrad armed with a pair of kitchen tongs.

This is no time to be lulled into a false sense of security though, Geelong can and will violently dismember us given half the chance. Chris Scott, much like Brad, appears to be the sort who would enjoy that sort of thing.

If we can get through this without the fragile spirit of our players being crushed flat there are actually winnable games on the horizon. There's even one the week after considering Brisbane are all over the shop on any given week - as long as we're not going into the match with confidence re-shattered courtesy of a 134 point defeat.

Even more importantly than a handful of cheap wins to finish the season on a high and win back a few fans, it's important that we keep putting in good performances to sell a reasonable future to prospective trades and free agents.

There's not all that much on offer under free agency (feel free to try and sell me on somebody I've never heard of like Tom Logan), but at least we should - if the Craig trend of not being completely hapless continues - be able to demonstrate to any prospective targets that they're not signing up to be sworn at over the race every second week. If that doesn't work a metric truckload of cash should get the job done.

We've not got all that much to offer via trade (assuming flogging pick 2 or 3 to the highest bidder is totally off the agenda) but I still wouldn't object to using our second pick (around 20 depending on a potential draft penalty for Essendon, free agent compo etc.. etc..) in a trade for an experienced player in the prime of their career.

You're not going to get them to come to us if we turn back into pumpkin soup over the next few weeks though, so it's important we don't completely drop our bundle and start playing Rory Taggert at full-forward just because we can.

The first step is to avoid being carried out of Geelong on a stretcher, and assuming Frawley's ok to go, Blease isn't and they follow the plan for Viney to come back via the VFL I'll go for a simple one-in, one-out:

IN: McKenzie
OUT: Nicholson
LUCKY: Byrnes, Davey, Kent

Jordie's hardly floated my boat this year, but I've not written him off yet. It would have been good for him to play a VFL game before coming back but Casey had the bye, and as the only person on our list other than Tom McDonald (who missed Casey's 120 point losing effort and 186 as a standby for the seniors) to come out of that day at Kardinia Park with any credit I'm picking him under an Australian cricket team style horses-for-courses selection policy. Look how well that worked for them.

Under the same plan I'm happy for Byrnes to play, but time has to be running out on that experiment. How we got roped into giving him a two year contract will forever be a mystery to me (we'll ask Neeld during the Director's Cut if he agrees to it) but if you've missed the whole season don't be fooled by his surprisingly high ranking in the Jakovich because other than a BOG against GWS and second best against Brisbane he's barely touched it.

Davey's dropped off the face of the planet in the last few weeks, and after swinging back to thinking he might go on one more year I'm not so sure now. Hopefully if he doesn't then it's his decision - I'm not all that thrilled by his season but if he's going to work reasonably cheap next year then he deserves to go on if he wants to just for leadership and experience. For whatever sins got him exiled from the leadership group under Neeld I saw at that training session before the St Kilda game that he was still acting like a leader with the younger players, instructing them, giving them encouragement etc.. If he lasts to 2014 I expect that he's got Matthew Bate's record for most times started as sub firmly in his sights.

As the patron saint of MFC lost causes I'd also like to push the Magner case one last time before he's confined to the scrapheap. Once we give up on the fantasy of Clark playing again this year and put him on the LTI list surely a man who can get the ball in the middle of the ground would be an asset? Rodan has been reasonable in the last fortnight but I still think we need a Magner brute force type more. Jack Viney's a fine option, but in the midst of fapping furiously over him it can't be forgotten that he's only a kid and can't be expected to carry the load in the middle like Jones does.

I know Geelong has absolutely no interest in winning centre clearances, but the chances are they're going to get a few by default next week if we're not careful. Maybe allowing them to win the ball out of the middle by default will actually stuff up all their carefully planned tactics and leave it open for us to deliver a win which will see Craig carried back to Melbourne on the shoulders of the fans. Perhaps for that exact reason we should avoid playing into their hands and keep our centre clearance free midfield intact for another week until Viney's right to come back. There's no way at all that can backfire on us.

If Frawley's not ok then I'm struggling to find a replacement who doesn't scare me. Your options are Pedersen, Sellar, Davis, Macdonald or Gillies. Personally I'd have Joel Mac in a last ditch attempt at saving him for 2014.

There's plenty of time for Pedersen to get confidence in the VFL (two and a half years in fact) and with all respect unless Craig gets the job and demands him as part of the salary package Sellar is absolutely gone at the end of the year no matter what so I'm not all that keen on either of them if it can be avoided.

Davis has been playing forward at Casey so surely you can't take a guy and debuted him at Kardinia Park with a week off after not having been in defence for a month. I'm all for him getting a game at some point but let's not completely bury him. The other option is for Tom Gillies and his fantastic villainous moustache to try and win redemption in a surprise hometown comeback.

Next Year
Right now if you offered me the chance to re-sign all of Gawn, Watts and (from out of nowhere) Fitzpatrick I'd be more than happy to wish Colin Sylvia well in his future endeavours. Don't care that he had 21 touches plus six marks yesterday he hardly had an impact. If he stays good for him, if he doesn't then all the best going to a contender and playing finals again, I'm not willing to bend over backwards and send my life savings to him in the mail to try and convince him to stay.

Speaking of setting somebody free to pursue their dreams of playing in a win more than twice a year it's time to start working out where we can shift Jamar to. Again it's all done in the best possible taste, and we thank him for his service, but between Gawn, Clark, Fitz and the Spencil we're 'ok' - and I'd rather make the move to Maximum as the #1 right now rather than wasting him as a backup throughout 2014 - if we can convince him to stay. We've got cap room out the yin yang, so there's not much to be gained from trading him out for that reason but for the purpose of getting the next generation going there's no reason other than as a ruck coach of sorts to play him in front of Gawn (at a minimum) next season. We swap him to Collingwood for whatever, he replaces Ben Hudson, we get to unleash some combination of Maximum OR Clark/Fitz OR Spencil and everyone wins.

So based as usual on this list my current list of departures is Davis, Gillies, Jetta, Sellar, Taggert (omit), Rodan (retired), Sylvia (free agency), Jamar (trade) and Magner/Couch from the rookie list. Eight off the senior list, two off the rookies - not quite the ruthless cull that everyone called for last year until we realised that it would be impossible to replace them all with decent quality players but enough that we can roll a few more kids and senior players in without going overboard in one direction or the other.

Apart from Clisby (will definitely be retained) and Stark (assume he will be retained), Tynan is the only one out of contract who's a toss up - I suspect they'll give him another year.

As for the survivors Davey to go for one more and Joel Mac to survive purely on my support. Surely we can't pay out any more contracts without the AFL asking for their money back so I can't see Bail or Byrnes getting the chop despite having another year to run - we're just going to have to wear both of those and use them for depth.

Was it worth it?
My word yes, if only to see us put in a relatively good performance in which actual real-life lessons may have been learnt at the same time.

Sadly just when we put in a performance that might actually lure people who have openly given up on the season to come back we now don't play another game at the MCG until August 18 - and that's against Fremantle so nobody will turn up anyway.

Final Thoughts
The future is hardly bright, but it's a lot less bleak than it was a few weeks ago.


  1. Things have definitely improved when the major complaints are:

    1/- The Umpires
    2/- Nicholson's skills (?)

    Almost like supporting a real footy club.

  2. God I hope we don't dump Jamar.

    I agree that Gawn should be the #1 ruckman, but if we move Jamar on it seems far too likely to end up just as well as when Bailey took the same perspective about our midfield when we said our farewells to Junior. That went real well for us.

    Better to keep him at least another year as #2 for when Gawn fractures his femur trying to handpass or something.


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