Melbourne Football Club you magnificent bastards. How could you have known that this was a milestone game? For all the psychological trauma that we've been through since Round 1 2005 it's appropriate that on the day we joined together to celebrate the 500th Demonblog post that 22 men good and true (+ some coaches and the runner who stopped and called for ball at one point) would slay the dragon that has caused us so much grief and physical trauma (episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) in that time.
The 13 years and 27 days of MFC futility in the state of South Australia is over, and while you'd think it would be tinged with some sadness that we didn't manage to end it at Football Park before the shutters went up, but stuff that - the Adelaide Oval will do very nicely thanks. I'd have played a game for premiership points in Snowtown if it meant finally achieving four points in the Serial Killer State.
A recap of our previous victory in Adelaide isn't necessary considering that the Leoncelli wondergoal finish has probably been referenced in every single one of the 13 posts above and during the NAB Cup when we played there and won (doesn't count) but let's look at the goal anyway:
All I'll about that night that players in that team include Ben Beams, Steven Pitt and Luke Williams. That's how long ago it was. In the meantime the following players have played at least one game at either Football Park or the Adelaide Oval since during their MFC caerer without ever playing in a win (deep breath please):
Steven Armstrong, Clint Bartram, Matthew Bate, Daniel Bell, Jamie Bennell, Clint Bizzell, Troy Broadbridge, Simon Buckley, Nathan Carroll, Kyle Cheney, Aaron Davey, Craig Ellis, Ryan Ferguson, Simon Godfrey, Chris Heffernan, Ben Holland, Chris Johnson, Paul Johnson, Travis Johnstone, Liam Jurrah, Chris Lamb, The Stefan Martin Experience, Brock McLean, John Meesen, Brad Miller, Brent Moloney, Shannon Motlop, Cale Morton, Michael Newton, Ricky Petterd, Phil Read, Jared Rivers, David Rodan, *** ******, Colin Sylvia, Scott Thompson (though he's done quite well since going there permanently) Peter Vardy (who did a reverse Thompson), Shane Valenti, Matthew Warnock and Austin Wonaeamirri.
That's not even counting players like Brad Green who appeared in the win then spent the rest of their career being humiliated at Football Park. It's an impressively lengthy list, but at least it's one that's about 18 players shorter than it was yesterday afternoon when the scenes at Demonblog Towers could only be described as wild. There was so much shouting and running around that my neighbours must have thought the Towers were being invaded by terrorists a'la Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard.
It was another case of celebrating a routine win like winning a flag, but noticeably the amount of incoming messages from neutrals was reduced to one text and one phone call so while I still feel like we're a tremendous charity case maybe people are already starting to get sick of us winning. We have just levelled the 22 weeks of 2013 in the space of two months while only suffering one tremendous beating, that's a thing of beauty considering how many injuries we've had.
What a nine years and seven rounds it's been since the good people at BigFooty got in contact and asked me to write their MFC blog. To put it conservatively there have been more downs than ups. If you'd told me then that it would take this long to win in South Australia and that I'd be treating a 2-5 record as if we'd climbed Mt Everest I'd probably have sworn at you - but those of you too young to remember 2005 would be surprised to know it was actually (comparatively) a magnificent time to be alive. I remember it like it was yesterday...
To quote the late Whitney Houston "Didn't we almost have it all?" Well not really - our brief flirtation with being top of the ladder in 2004 came too early for the blog era (spoiler: we stuffed it up anyway), and we might have made the finals in both 2005 and 2006 but looking back were never any better than 'making up the numbers' slop like Carlton or Richmond last year. Which is not such a bad way to be, I'd trade vital parts of my anatomy just to get back to the level of finals lightweights.
I started out full of fire, with frivolous and bizarre posts like this on a near daily basis before reverting to the current all-match review (never a report, because even I can't work out what's going on in most of the old posts), all the time format. Looking back at the first of these reviews it's frighteningly primitive but I was only in the early stages of addiction at this point.
By 2007 Deepression about us falling off the face of earth set in and there were a career low 38 posts for the whole year, but sometime in the following years we moved out of BigFooty's house and onto Blogger where the design has barely changed since but the posts started to expand in length to the point where you deserve a medal if you can get to the bottom of one without giving up.
There have been unfortunate moments which can never be removed from the internet thanks to archive.org saving it all (e.g saying admittedly horrid things about the other Nathan Brown's leg for 'comic' effect) but everybody who has been slandered, abused or mocked since 2005 can comfort themselves in the fact that any karmic debt which was incurred then has been well and truly paid back via a series of painful (mostly metaphorical) anal intrusions.
So thanks to everyone who has contributed to the first 500 posts by reading, commenting or writing one. Your continued support is valuable no matter which point you got on board at, if you're getting something out of it we're obviously operating somewhere on the same deranged frequency. I was going to do a commemorative jumper featuring the name of everybody who has ever commented on a post but 97% of the names on it would be 'anonymous'.
But enough misty eyed reminiscing about the grim nightmares of the past, let's concentrate instead on the temporary outbreak of sunshine and rainbows. Opposition fans who come here just to wipe their brow and go "thank god that's not me" don't go too far away, later on we'll look towards a grim dystopian future. Play the end of dream sequence music.
I'm pleased to confirm that the Carlton experience wasn't a one off, the world is definitely a better place after the Dees win. Obviously. How could it not be? Not that I was any great help to the cause, setting some sort of record by calling for a seven change massacre and getting absolutely none. Sure last week's post was written before Casey delivered an MFC style turdburger five goal performance, but that's still no excuse for missing the mark by such a record distance.
Then to prove why Paul Roos and selection committee are highly paid football professionals and I'm a poon with a keyboard and nothing but 500 blog posts to show for it six of the projected victims played good games and two arguably had their career best. Yeah, well maybe my Slamming Sam Blease and Maximum Gawn led stable of inclusions would have delivered a four point win? Perhaps not.
It should have been a good sign when frayed nerves caused by Dangerfield kicking the first goal within 15 seconds were calmed by Rohan Bail of all people yelling "fuck you Demonblog" towards the heavens and levelling the game by wobbling through a relatively difficult set shot. He was good for the rest of the game too, but at the time having just seen Hawthorn take to St Kilda with a pickaxe the goal settled me down after initially assuming old eggshell head was going to have 50 more kicks and five goals in a 140 point win.
From then something remarkable happened, and for a quarter and a half we actually bullied a team. A real life, AFL team in a properly constituted home and away match played for premiership points. It was wonderful, even if it will probably end in Jack Viney getting suspended for lifting his foot one centimetre off the ground (also known as 'running' and 'movement') then participating in the triple-banger head clash which broke the Adelaide guy's jaw.
Tribunal madness aside he's going to provide us for good times for years come. His kicking was better, he delivers clearances, he tackles but he also appears to have a head made from the same material as the Bolte Bridge. Clack-clack-clack went the heads like one of those office ball things, and as the other two lay on the turf gazing at the clouds he bounced back to his feet and got on with the job as if nothing had ever happened. Later on he was crunched in the head again, took 15 seconds to ensure his bonce was still attached to his shoulders and again kept going with no obvious side effects. Then having been belted from pillar to post all day he unloads a family friendly tweet like this which would have caused the marketing department to break into a round of applause. What a man for all seasons.
Adelaide contributed to our early success by kicking towards their forward 50 with the same sort of insane "if we go inside 50 somebody will surely mark it" optimism that worked so badly for us in the first fortnight of the season. They had similar results, but backed it up with abysmal kicking all over the ground for a grand total of 31% efficiency in the first quarter - a figure that even we can't have ever managed in a first quarter. If they were playing a top side they'd have been 50 points down at quarter time playing like that, but the nature of being a struggler is that even though we were moving the ball well and finding targets inside 50 we never totally killed them off.
Lack of a fatal blow aside there were so many good times in the first half that no doubt I've forgotten some of them because I was sitting there jaw agape wondering if the bus team bus had been redirected to Football Park while another side (admittedly in highly convincing disguises) replaced them.
Even Salem, temporarily freed of the council worker vest while Georgiou was off being assessed for concussion, joined in the party with his second quality snap in two weeks. He didn't do all that much after or when he came on permanently in the third quarter (in fact it appears he had all of one more kick) but looking at what Kennedy-Harris did playing a full game this week (after I tried to drop him) I'm just assuming that Salem will start as sub again next week but be racking up his first votes by Queen's Birthday before winning the Brownlow in September.
Speaking of JFK he was involved too, finishing off a goal set up by a clever tap by Watts before the much maligned Jack kicked one of his own to put us three goals in front. Which was unusual, but not as unusual as the umpiring. When he ran into goal and the whistle went I thought that he'd been pinched for running too far - and fair enough too he'd been going forever - but it turns out the umpire was actually paying a free against a Crows player who put his hands so lightly into the back that would later cause so much consternation that Jack didn't even trip or break stride.
Considering everything they neglected to pay on the day it was an odd decision, but that's the nature of umpiring when you're expecting two school teachers and a chartered account from Ringwood to perform multiple split second interpretations of a rule book more complicated than the user manual of an Airbus. When they get orders from 'the top' to crack down on certain rules do you think they collectively groan and think "here we go"? For instance, somebody must have had a word today suggesting that they clamp down on the 15m rule. And how exactly do you do that when it involves making an educated guess at the best of times? Nothing was gained from it except for us being forced to play on more often after kicks which might have gone anywhere from 11m to 20m as far as the umpire could work out.
There's some talk of expanding the 15m to 20m to try and stamp out 'congestion' (which apparently also needed stamping out in 1987) and I feel like I might have written the exact same thing a couple of weeks ago but how does making more balls 'live' reduce the amount of packs? Players might start kicking long, but it will be to a contest where the ball hits the ground and everyone lies on them for the same result. Everyone loves kicking to a contest, but if you think you're going to get one-on-ones all over the ground without totally stuffing it up you're on drugs or are Kevin Bartlett. Is it any coincidence that suddenly when you can watch every game that people have realised that there are a lot of shit games being played?
Anyway, no matter what the rules are there's nothing in them about Melbourne actually playing properly and when Dawes was gifted his first goal by another shithouse Crows kick it was starting to get ridiculous. The natives were beginning to show symptoms of Oh Shit A Bad Side Is Beating Us Syndrome by bleating like dickheads at every available opportunity. How they booed fiercely when Viney kicked the goal that he'd set up in the first place by (legally) pushing his opponent off his kick, and how they continued to jeer heartily when Dawes took the perfect contested mark against his opponent without a hint of malice (though he had just put one of their players out the game via the Touch of Death, so maybe that contributed to their inner turmoil) to open up a patently ridiculous 35 point lead.
Meanwhile I've still got no idea what constitutes a "one percenter", but the King of Sizzle Tom McDonald should have got one for his FURIOUS demands for a video referee call on the touched ball at the start of the second quarter. For a second I had grave fears that he was about to do a John Bourke on umpires both field and goal if they didn't review it. It was fantastic fury befitting his new skinhead look. Apart from one goal where he was outmarked in the square he was good again this week.
It didn't hurt our cause that they were basically a man and the sub down by half-time, but given that at various times we had Jetta and Frawley off the ground and the commentators were practically consigning Watts to the Jesse Hogan Ward of St Prymkes Home for Terminal Back Injuries it wasn't smooth sailing in our direction either. Thankfully for Watts the diagnosis by the medical experts at Fox Footy that he'd slipped a disc proved to be, unsurprisingly, total bollocks and after a few rounds of Downward Dog on the sidelines he came back and played the game out.
I await the midweek diagnosis where it turns out he really is crocked and that's why he hasn't been keen on jumping for anything over the last month. Unfortunately you don't have to wait a month for Frawley who is apparently getting around in a moonboot that will cost him a substantial wedge of his $800k asking price next year. My medical advice - sign a new contract with us, relax for the rest of the year if you have to and come back as the best full-back in the game in 2015.
The most outrageous thing about being a Melbourne is that you know if your side ever gets a few goals in front (which admittedly doesn't happen very often) your first thought is "how are we going to throw this away?", whereas in any other game you see a side open up a lead like that and think "how far?" While some teams launch dramatic comebacks from that sort of position (for instance Essendon falling in a hole on Aznzac Day) I'm sure that statistically when you're six goals in front in the second quarter the odds say that you almost always win. We did eventually, but good god we tried very hard to give it back once the Crows realised what they were doing and started to play properly.
I feel like I know all our wins of the last few years intimately, so the best comparison I've got is the 2010 game against Port Adelaide in Darwin where we just held on to win in the face of a furious last quarter comeback and Jamar conducted what stood as the greatest MFC post match interview ever (until he bettered his effort by walking off on Andy Maher a few weeks later) while sitting on the turf with Leigh Colbert. The difference yesterday was that the comeback was stretched out across two and a bit quarters instead of being compressed into 25 minutes of hellfire and vengeance, but the major similarity (apart from us holding on) was that on both occasions I spent the entire last quarter standing up, pacing/running around the room whenever something crucial happened before ending up on the floor behind my couch for 15 minutes after the final siren.
It's easy to forget when we've suffered a world record string of heavy losses in the last few seasons but there really is no better way to find out you're alive than to watch your team play a game like that. By the end I wouldn't be surprised if the people who live below us in the Towers thought there was some sort of domestic dispute taking place there was so much noise. As it was there was nothing but domestic harmony - Mrs. Demonblog even wandered in for the second half and declared that Chris Dawes was her favourite player. Which as far as my family goes is a step up from when Dawes' dad was on the phones for an early 2013 membership telethon, rang my mum in a last ditch attempt to renew her membership and discovered that she had no idea who the Collingwood premiership player was.
Speaking of Dawes after a week off against the Swans may I again please profess my undying love for him. There was the crucial, well taken goals and there was the 17 other touches but let's talk about one of his two tackles. I've got no idea what the other one looked like, but one was so fantastic I could watch it on a loop for the rest of the day. He flew out of nowhere like The Predator, and for once I had to agree with the shrill disagreeable scream of "TACKLE OF THE YEAR!!!" from Dwayne. If the world of Australian Rules has ever needed an animated GIF it was for this, and thanks to Twitterist @daveywarhol we have one:
So much heart, and by the standard set for several other holding the ball decisions he could have got a free kick for it - he might have had it for one second, but we copped one holding the ball when our player didn't even have it and one where he'd taken possession three seconds before so hand it over umpire. Coming at a time when Adelaide were battering us it was criminal that we didn't end up getting anything out of it, which was as much our fault as the umpire's who was actually right for once in not paying it - but it certainly looked spectacular.
Going back at the highlights, as you do for a win, I see we were still 45-18 up with 13 minutes to go in the third quarter but the Crows always looked a better side in the second half. They had rescued right from themselves from the 31% nightmare and closed right up on forwards so they didn't have acres of space to work in. They'd got the last goal of the second and had started to kick the ball forward properly instead of just aimlessly throwing it on the boot to be picked off by Howe, Grimes.
We were still holding out relatively well in defence, but with even with two wins we're only up to 56.42ppg and you're not going to win more than a handful scoring like this. But we've reached the same point as last year already, so blessed be the defenders. Even Neville Jetta was joining in the fun and waving two fingers in my direction after trying to delist him last week by playing possibly his finest ever match as he flogged Eddie Betts (salary difference approximately $500k p/a) and Podsiadly was generally being smacked around by McDonald but we'd still stopped scoring, and while Adelaide weren't playing particularly well it wasn't going to be hard to beat a team which took a 35 point lead then scored 45 for the match.
You knew that we were in trouble in more ways than one when the Crows kicked a goal, Dwayne declared it to be a potential 'firestarter' and my entire loungeroom momentarily stopped swearing at the Crows and instead turned on him as if we needed any prompting. Throwing away a big lead is bad enough without having his type trying to hype it up even more to keep neutral viewers from turning over to Are You Being Served on Fox Classics. He later attempted to shoehorn the phrase "chaos ball" into conversation at least three times, one of which was a very simple low kick inside 50 with absolutely no chaotic properties whatsoever. Sitting next to him was Mark Ricciuito who spent the great comeback nearly blowing a whole in his pants.
After we got nothing out of Dawes' big tackle and Frawley missed his shot on the run the Crows went straight down the other end and kicked a goal courtesy of a novelty bounce - admittedly aided by a clever flick-on from Podisadly when he could have easily let the ball go out of bounds. By the last minute it was only six points the difference and as much as the commentators tried to talk up some cyclonic breeze that we'd have the use of in the last quarter I did start to think we were going to totally throw it away and ended up getting thrashed. Would that have been better or worse than losing it by under a goal right at the end? Who cares, because enter Dawes again as he was finally rewarded with a free kick on behalf of our entire forward line after they'd spent the quarter being violated. "That's monstrous!" screamed Dwayne for some reason but his kick took the margin back to 12.
Time to breathe again briefly before going back to frantically pacing up and down, leaping atop the back of my couch and screaming at the television as if the umpires could hear me calling them a filthy pack of swine. In the spirit of Umpire Appreciation Round (and gee isn't that a token effort by the AFL?) I know they're given a second to make crucial decisions where they're often unsighted etc.. etc.. but in a close game they could have Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King and Jesus Christ out there and I would still temporarily lose my mind and question every decision except the Dunn deliberate out of bounds which was there every day of the week.
Much more leaping and dancing was had in the last quarter due to the fact that I was too nervous to sit down, and god knows what I'd have done if Rory Sloane - who still appears to be in auditioning to join One Direction - hadn't hit the post with a kick that would have levelled the scores. With a fresh sub, an extra player on the bench and Cyclone Ida allegedly blowing in our favour we should have run away with but it seemed that somehow they'd run out of gas.
With Nathan Jones well held for once and possibly injured the fear was that they were going to run over the top of us. But then enter the captain, winning a free kick which may or may not have been there (LIKE ALL THE ONES AGAINST US RIGHT CROWS FANS?) and converting the dictionary definition of a captains goal to give us some room again. I ended up running into the kitchen in exhilaration as it went through, but the glee only lasted about 90 seconds before Dangerfield emerged from having done stuff all for 30 minutes to kick a quality goal to get them back to within four again. At this point a chair was tipped over and Mrs Demonblog began to openly wonder about my chances of having a heart attack before the end of the match.
Like a basketball match you might as well have skipped the first 95% and come in at the end for the exiting finish, especially with your friend and mine Dwayne reminding us of what had already happened "if you're just joining us" every two minutes when he wasn't randomly opening pages in the Big Book O' Footy Anecdotes and telling us about what hospital Matt Jones' second cousin was born in.
Even if we suddenly looked to be playing under the influence of sheer terror there were some magical moments. What about Grimes' spoil on Dangerfield? Melbourne fans know what a great fist looks like (though not usually from the front), and that was crucial. The way he was playing after deciding to return to the game he'd have kicked the goal from 45m on not much angle, but it got us out of jail long enough to get the ball down the other end where less than a minute later Watts and his totally destroyed back with fused spinal column and possible paraplegia took a shot on goal which fell short but into the XL sized mitts of Jamar who capped his best game in ages by kicking a goal to extend the margin back to 10 with six minutes to go.
Kicks falling short due to crippling injury and an aversion in leaping for contested marks aside he didn't play too badly either Jack, he was hardly running around with the manic intent of a Daniel Cross or a Jack Viney but he was a lot better than last week but I need to see it happen multiple times before I believe it's here to stay.
On the topic of contested marks what about Jetta's? In a fitting tribute to the first game my beloved ever watched with me the couch almost went over the balcony in celebration when he held onto that. At least she knew what she was getting into straight off the bat and has sensibly avoided being in the same place as me during a close game ever since. Which is not difficult considering we've only had about three.
After Jamar's goal it would have been so cruel to lose. I'm not going to suggest the Crows didn't deserve it because they were clearly the best team in the second half, but as previously discussed there's a fine line between getting close enough to be happy (Gold Coast/Sydney) and getting so close that you're heartbroken (hasn't happened for a while), and it would have been tears before bedtime plus a hole kicked in the nearest inanimate object if we'd blown this one.
The Tyson goal seemingly made it safe, but also increased the potential psychological blow if we managed to cock it all up. On cue we managed to do our bit for keeping the game close by gifting the Crows a goal about 15 seconds later to cancel out Tyson's, poor Grimes stuffing up a simple chest mark from a quick clearance and allowing them to cut the margin again.
We managed to hold out for the next five minutes, and just when it looked like we were going to be safe Frawley went down back and hoofed one of the most ill-advised out of bounds on the fulls of recent times with 30 seconds left. I understand heading for the boundary, but that was criminal. The resulting kick and a ball which bounced off several pairs of hands led to Pods bringing the margin back to under a goal with 30 seconds left and in the Towers the air turned blue. Language which should not be uttered in front of a lady came flowing freely as the possibility of losing via two goals in the last 30 seconds became very real. Now that's fear.
Thank god then for Bernie Vince getting the ball from the centre and dinking it out to the boundary line for a throw-in to cap off what was by some margin his best game for us (the old play well against your old side trick) then Bail winning the ball from the throw-in to make it safe. The siren went, I lay on the floor for 15 minutes. It was magnificent.
Surely instead of talking down everything about Australian rules football we should be celebrating the fact that it allows games like this. How many other sports except perhaps basketball would you be realistically a potential victim of a two-score comeback within 30 seconds? Even then you'd end up with deliberate fouls and multiple timeouts before finally getting to the exciting conclusion. When the last centre bounce went down - and did I hear right that it was Pedersen in it instead of Jamar because we'd somehow ended up with the Russian marooned on the bench? - it was a true 50/50 where if it went left we'd win and if it went right there was every possible chance we'd lose in heart shattering fashion. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. If we'd lost I'd be demanding zones and a reduction to 16 players per side.
2014 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Chris Dawes
4 - Bernie Vince
3 - Dom Tyson
2 - Jay Kennedy-Harris
1 - Neville Jetta
Super apologies to Dean Terlich. Varying sized apologies to Bail, Grimes, Howe, Jamar, Pedersen and Viney.
24 - Nathan Jones
13 - Lynden Dunn (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
9 - Dom Tyson
8 - Daniel Cross, Chris Dawes, James Frawley
6 - Jack Viney
5 - Bernie Vince
4 - Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts
3 - Matt Jones, Tom McDonald, Dean Terlich
2 - Jeremy Howe, Jay Kennedy-Harris
1 - Jack Grimes, Neville Jetta, Jake Spencer (Leader: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Pedo retains his lead for the screamer against Carlton, but congratulations to weekly winner Jay Kennedy-Harris who wins a Saturday night out at The Meadows greyhounds (with complimentary car parking) with Cameron Hunter for his first quarter goal. Jack Watts gets a free $20 bet for his clever backhander which started it all. Even a certain commentator describing the finish as "the shake... and the bake!" couldn't bring the mood down on this one.
Apologies to Dawes' goal at the end of the third quarter which was as clutch as all buggery but lacked the spectacular finish which you need to get ahead in this highly subjective award.
Fox Footy didn't even bother to show the Adelaide effort today, so I'm going to have to declare the Demons winners of a seventh straight via walkover. Take it up with Port Adelaide's own Dwayne Russell and friends Crows fans. This segment is rapidly losing steam and needs something filthy like this to reinvigorate it.
Look, nobody likes losing to a rubbish team but what a shameful scene it was to see Crows fans pouring out the door when they went all of 10 points down in the last quarter with plenty of time left on the clock. Even when Adelaide kicked a goal to bring it under four points against a side prone to being battered by multiple goals in double quick time they were still evacuating as if the fire alarm had gone off. Watch out if a war breaks out and you end up on the same battlefield as these poltroons.
One thing I'll give them credit for, before they scurried for the door like a bunch of cowards was that when Vince got his first touch the majority of them actually cheered for him rather than adopting a Collingwood style "you are now filth" reception. I bet they weren't as happy at the end when he was dancing around celebrating the win with a broad smile, but most of them were probably halfway home by that point. It was one in the eye for the "you have to boo ex-players" crowd. If you ever need an example of how it can work either way just go back to Carnival of Hate 1 and compare the reaction to $cully and Junior McDonald.
In other crowd news what in god's name is going on with that cringeworthy "19th Man" shit the Crows are trying to introduce? I know they've ripped it off lock, stock and barrel from other sports to highlight the fact that they've got 95% of the crowd in any given home game, but for one your 19th man is on the bench and secondly.. well there is no secondly, it's just shithouse. There's even a giant 19 flag wafting around in the breeze. Of course Dwayne was in love with the concept because it gave him a chance to waffle on about them 'getting involved' as if a crowd of 44,000 people is going to otherwise sit there and eat cucumber sandwiches during a thriller. Coincidentally about 19% of the crowd had left by the time the final siren went.
As happy as I was (eventually) with the wild scenes in the loungeroom of Demonblog Towers I'm a bit sad that I could have actually been there. When @foureyepig yelled across the office shortly before the start of the season that he'd just got an email with cheap flights and he could get us to Adelaide yesterday for $29 each way I didn't even bother to consult my calendar for any other important events which might be taking place on the same day. Sadly by the time we got through the booking form and to the payment page all the cheap flights had been snaffled and I was too tight to pay another $40 either way to get there at 6.30am and leave at 9.30pm. Had the expected result occurred I'd be thrilled that I didn't spend the money, now I'm a bit gloomy that I missed the chance to be there for something historic. But in the end I didn't have to spend a day in Adelaide and we won anyway, so I think I'm just in front.
I would suggest that we can very much beat Footscray, but I thought that after our last victory and the next thing we're losing to Gold Coast. At least it gives us another genuine 50/50 game rather than taking us from the top of the world to an almost certainly brutal mauling against Hawthorn or Geelong.
I've already hung my head in shame at last week's disastrous predictions so let's have another go without waiting for Casey to deliver another rancid performance.
IN: Garland, Blease, Gawn
OUT: Georgiou, Byrnes (omit), Frawley (inj)
The above is highly contingent on Blease actually doing something for the Scorpions, but even though I know two wrongs don't make a right, if we're going to have a player up front who goes missing for 75% of the match then I'll take the one who can run really quickly and kick goals from outside 50 even if he has to start as the sub.
No offence to Georgiou, but surely we can't hold Garland back any longer if he gets through the VFL game unscathed. I thought he could do with a rest last week before he got belted around today, and by the end of the game he was sitting on the bench looking like somebody who'd gone to war and seen his best friend's head blown clean off next to him in a foxhole, so I respectfully submit that he could do with a weekend lying around in a deckchair sipping cocktails and reminiscing about the time he became a national celebrity for slapping Lance Franklin in the chops.
In other changes as one of the few players to come out of last week's VFL game with any credit maybe Gawn comes in to give Jamar support against Will Minson, but who's to argue with Pedersen's performances at the moment? Perhaps he comes in and plays up front to replace the presumably injured Frawley.
Clisby is unlucky as he'd been amongst the best players in the seconds for the last couple of weeks but Terlich was mighty today so I can't try to force him out this time.
If Jack Viney gets suspended then a) we riot and b) either Jordie McKenzie or The Pornographer Aiden Riley can raffle the spot based on today's performance. As much as I love Jordie for his wholehearted performances I'm keen to see Riley at some point in the near future. Given that the Bulldogs have a decent midfield above all else maybe we could pick both? After last week what the hell do I know. No change is imminent.
Stat My Bitch Up
Now to break the following losing streaks (at places where it's possible, I am aware that we haven't won at Arden Street since 1976):
Sydney Showgrounds - Since life on earth began
Carrara - 8773 days (I admit we have an excuse for this one)
Stadium Australia - 3663 days (no chance we're ever getting another game here)
Subiaco - 3620 days
Kardinia Park - 3187 days
SCG - 2934 days
Geelong - 2922 days
Hawthorn - 2902 days
North Melbourne - 2815 days
St Kilda - 2796 days
Collingwood - 2520 days
Docklands - 2459 days
Have at it new look Demons.
Free advice for the incoming CEO of the AFL
like your predecessor in his declining years, write us fulsome checks
and sweep any mischievous behaviour by our club under the rug while handing out
harsh punishments to others.
Ding dong, the witch is dead and we're comfortably within the top 17. It remains, as always, a weird and wonderful world.