Monday 16 June 2014

Rope-a-dope fiend

Given that we usually only play them once a season there's an argument that Essendon has been our greatest rival since that farce of a 2000 Grand Final where we were thrashed on the scoreboard and battered in the punch-ups. Even before the dark ages began we had Lloyd taking a dive in '03, the '04 Elimination Final debacle, the Broadbridge game and the one where we made the finals at the last gasp. You know what how it goes from there - the heartbreaking finish Daniher's last game, three wins in a row and then some unfortunate business in Round 2 last year.

Our recent history against the Bombers is so comprehensively dominated by the night that sank the first of what would ultimately be several last nails into Mark Neeld's coaching coffin (not available at the Demon Store) that it's easy to forget what a string of great times we've had playing them in recent years.

With apologies to the night that Maximum Gawn missed from the square, Jack Watts took a hanger and the late Dean Bailey punched the roof of the dugout as the pressure was momentarily taken off him yet again the best of the bunch was Round 10, 2012. Essendon were flying (conspiracy theories on a postcard to the usual address) and we'd spiralled into such a hopeless position that Fox Sports News had been roped into reporting that Mark Neeld was going to be sacked from information they got off a Twitter account parodying Caroline Wilson. We were in such a state that anything seemed possible, but the fact that the account was called 'Carowhine' should probably have been a dead giveaway.

At what appeared to be rock bottom, with crisis meetings being held on a weekly basis you know full well what happened next. Happy days were (temporarily) here again, the pressure was momentarily lifted from the coach (again), the phrase "reality bus" was coined and we enjoyed the spectacle of Essendon committing such an amazing sequence of acts of football suicide that I've referenced it in every second post since. It was one of my all time great evenings at the footy, but it's not even in the same area code as last night.

There were certainly some similarities, they compacted the longest footballing suicide note in history into a half instead of spreading it over a full game, but the scope of the capitulation was so fantastic it was like they'd been rummaging around in a dumpster out the back of AAMI Park and had found one of our old playbooks. That they themselves rose from the dead and almost turned the tables on us in the dying seconds perhaps makes it even more cruel for them. In retrospect they may wish that Dean Kent had converted that set shot and put us 14 points up instead of punting it out on the full. But that would have left us without a classic finish, so congratulations to Kenty for his sense of occasion and faulty set shot.

Early in the third quarter it looked like we were listing badly, taking on water and preparing to abandon ship when the Bombers all of a sudden completely forget how to play football - and if any Bombers fans have wandered in and not gone straight to the comments after seeing the post title I can assure you thatwhen it comes to identifying a team who has totally lost the plot we've got everyone else covered.

It wasn't just Bellchambers summoning up the spirit of the debuting Max Gawn 2011 to botch the simplest of goals right in front (at the same end as Maximum too) and miss a golden chance to deflate us just when we were starting to build something. But that helped. It wasn't just that debacle in the backline where the fearsome forward pressure unit of Salem and Watts caused some poor fellow to go to pieces and gift them a goal. But that was nice too. It was the entire time between them going 33 points in front and us missing a chance to go 14 points in front where they left the door so far open that it would have been impolite not to take advantage.

Who would have thought that the 4.40 Sunday game would hit such heights. Certainly nobody who sat through the first quarter. The timeslot is bad enough anyway considering your weekend has already peaked and you're in the grim downward spiral towards Monday morning, but when your side opens the match without an inside 50 for 10 minutes and looks set to kick three goals in a game at the most for the second time in six days it seems almost stupid to be there witnessing it in person.

That we've avoided the timeslot for this long is a miracle considering the sort of ratings our games must attract, and that's probably why we have to do it all again next week. Even though it's only 80 minutes difference 3.20pm games are so much easier to get into, but obviously when the fixture was being assembled Channel 7 preferred the potential massacre of the Collingwood/Footscray game (oops) to semi-convicted match fixers against soon to be convicted doping violators. Luckily in the end everyone went home happy.

I thought I'd be open minded and try something new, so I cheated on the Ponsford and tried out the back row of the Southern instead (Row DD if you're keeping stadia records). It was extremely underwhelming.

For one because there's less rows than the Ponsford you're significantly closer to people than you want to be - and the ones you are near are either parents with kids who can't sit still for five seconds, courting teenagers or barely evolved humans of all persuasions shouting out unbelievably bad 'humour' that nobody else can hear, except the courting teenagers who don't care because they're too busy cracking on. The last time I sat in the top deck of the Southern was a Brisbane/Essendon draw in 2009 and I won't be going back any time soon. Half time was used productively to relocate back to safer territory, away from people so drunk on hate of everything non-Essendon that they may have crucified me at the final siren.

After the run they've had you can't fault Essendon fans for being a bit punchy, but their anti-authority "we hate everything" siege mentality is starting to wear a bit thin. If you're like me and don't actually give a rats about this scandal and whether Pentium 486 is a prohibited substance the most interesting thing is watching their club going from being at the heart of the establishment to thinking they're the French Resistance.

I don't know what it's like to be in their situation (and clink your champagne glasses Demons fans, thanks to the negotiated settlement of the Tankquiry we never will) but it hardly seems compatible that these people who tearfully protested the injustice of the Subiaco crowd booing Jobe Watson (especially when a Subiaco crowd would boo winning Tattslotto) spend four quarters of the game loudly wailing as if they've just had their family kidnapped. I feel horrible for fans who have seen one season ruined and are looking at another one spoiling rapidly, but given that they seem very happy to throw themselves off the cliff with the club who am I to get involved. Do whatever makes you feel good, but I reckon if we were in the same situation I'd looking for blood within the club, not building a compound and stocking up on plastic explosive.

For all the reasonable, sensible Bombers fans out there a lot of others have a moral compass which is wildly swinging in all directions. Being rorted by the umpires? "BOOOOOOO! CONSPIRACY!" Get one free kick against you after you've had five in a row "BOOOOOOO! IT'S AN OUTRAGE!" Player kicking for goal "BOOOOOOO! WE'LL PUT YOU OFF" Jack Watts gets the ball "BOOOOOOO! YOU WENT TO SCHOOL" etc.. Rinse and repeat for four quarters. It's tiresome. They're not the only set of fans who indulge in the absurd spectacle of booing a player kicking for goal when nothing controversial has happened, but there's an extra venom in it that you don't get from Eagles fans who just do it (unconvincingly most of the time) because they have since 1987 and it's part of the matchday experience.

At least for the first quarter it looked like we were going to come to their Waco theme party and play the willing victim to their great "Back our Boys/Don The Sash/various slogans" victory which would have seen front pages of papers everywhere tossed out so they could get a shot of Elliot Kavanagh (?) kissing the badge.

Tell you what I do like about Essendon, and that's Joe Daniher. Sure if he was Lance Franklin he'd have kicked 19 last night with the amount of times that it went down there, but I enjoyed him seeking out the King of Sizzle for a handshake before the match. Ironically as he was reaching his hand out Dunn and some Essendon guy were almost punching on about three foot away. If you play a game the sort of game that , Dunn did then you can start it however you like, but there's nothing I like more than a pre-match handshake instead of macho chest-bumping bullshit. He also promises to be a fantastic player so I wish him well.

Perhaps if they hadn't kicked so aimlessly going forward he might have had more of a chance. We can't take the moral high-ground on attacking play but of course they had a thousand inside 50's when they instantly threw ball on boot and hoofed it long every single time they got it. Our defence, like an elastic band pulled back to the point where it could have disintegrated at any time, rebounded it, we turned it over somewhere between half back and half forward and watched it hoofed back in again. Quite frankly we were complete shite and deserved to be blown out of the water in that first quarter.

Down the other end chances were at a premium thanks to our ball movement going at glacial speed, barely anybody finding space unless they were 40m out from the defensive goal and a flat out refusal to at least try what Essendon were doing too much of and just whack it in there to see what happened. As bad as it felt at the time it wasn't quite 2012/13 level, but it was certainly a throw-back to Round 1 when we went to the ends of the earth fruitlessly trying to kick a score against St Kilda. Who knows what would have happened if we'd started with Frawley up front that night, because his marks around the half-forward flank are crucial at the moment. Dawes runs himself into the ground, and his tackling is fantastic but Chip is a better bet to mark the ball. Which is fine, they can very easily co-exist and most weeks we'll go home (relatively) happy.

There were already some signs that the Bombers weren't firing on all cylinders, but we spent the entire first quarter playing into their hands so it was difficult for them to do anything but have inside 50's. Luckily they weren't doing anything with them, and by the time we decided to buy a ticket in the lottery and just bash it forward a few times we started kicking goals. Nathan Jones didn't bother trying to slice and dice, he just whacked the thing at goal as hard as possible and got the result. Watts got the handball/roost goal that Bernie Vince was robbed out of last Monday and somehow despite we were right back in it.

The old problems (i.e from the first quarter) soon came back and we kept gifting Essendon more shots on goal, but gloriously even as they were opening up a lead with two goals they were starting the decomposition process by missing a bunch of shots on either side. In all this our defence held up heroically. It wasn't just Dunn, but McDonald (save for one comedy howler), Garland (likewise), Jetta, Grimes, Howe etc.. etc.. who were rock solid. Roos is right, if the rest of the team had played like it did last year then we'd have been flogged. It's sad that even if we had lost by 80 points at this time last year we'd probably still be talking about how the defenders kept it from being worse, but this was a step above. In the foxhole with bombs dropping everywhere they did an amazing job of getting us out of jail. The shonky kicking for goal helped too.

Still, for all that we still went into half time three goals behind and not having kicked a goal for 15 minutes. Like three-quarter time of the Pies game we were still in it, but the idea of being able to overhaul an 18 point deficit was nothing more than a wonderful dream. Half-time provided an opportunity to loosen the screws and stop playing like we were trying to eke out a 0-0 draw in a non-league football game. It happened eventually, but ask me how I felt three minutes into the third quarter when we were suddenly 33 points down.

After they kicked the first two goals of the third quarter and the HMAS Melbourne seemed set for a 2013 era capsize I actually thought to myself that if I wasn't such a rusted on obsessive that I'd probably go home. At that point it felt pointless, and I had much better things to do sitting at home than watching this rubbish yet again. At least it demonstrates yet again that higher expectations lead to greater disappointment. In June 2013 I'd have sat there after those first two goals, sworn a bit (did this anyway) then adopted a stoic attitude and silently watched the disaster unfold. This year it felt like shit, because no matter how poorly we'd played in the first quarter I've suddenly got an expectation that we're going to be in games until the last quarter.

I'd have never followed through with leaving at that point. If you are the sort of person whose nerves shatter at the slightest provocation (and if so what are you doing getting involved in sports? Perhaps it's time to investigate a gentler hobby?) you'd have missed something magical and ended up having to self-report as a yellow streaked coward like this guy.

By three quarter time as we slowly clawed ourselves back out of the ditch, Essendon's confidence crumbled and Dean Kent came of age as a footballer I started to delude myself into thinking we were a chance even though the sensible part of my brain firmly believed that there was no way Essendon were going to let us do it. The bit I was most pleased with, and not just for the obvious reason, was Grimes finishing the shot on the run near the end - because he'd had one earlier in the quarter from a similar position that he'd made a total hash of.

I'm firmly convinced that had Bellchambers kicked that goal it was too far back for us, but the air went out of the place like a balloon when he missed it. Not much more than 10 minutes later we were in front. What a great 10 minutes it was too, Kent's big run, the Salem/Watts forward pressure experience and the sudden realisation that we were not only in front, but more than a goal in front - and there was plenty of time left to throw it away. The fact the game went back into stalemate for the next few minutes - other than Kent's miss which would probably have killed it off - made it even more dramatic when Zaharakis showed up and kicked two goals in a row to put them back in front.

When only a desperate punch by Dunn stopped them getting a third goal in three minutes my heart was in mouth, and a gigantic David Parkin style vom wasn't far behind. Then glory.

Looking back at that last goal (watch on repeat) there were more heroics than a disaster movie. First Pedo rode a tackle and dumped his opponent on the ground and we were off from there. Eventually via all sorts of other wonderful play that we'll get into later Viney, who had been kicking with a wooden leg all night got the handball to Cross who hadn't been much better by foot (but AMAZING at pressure, and while all this was being set up he was running from the defensive goalsquare to get involved) who made the perfect decision to chip to Salem when he also had Viney and Dawes in the open.

Also an assist to Dawes, who could easily have run around and taken the handball over the top, for immediately telling Salem to calm down and have a shot. Imagine the carnage if he'd played on and the siren had gone or if he'd botched the handball? There would have been actual self-harm in the stands. So good work to Dawes for calming him down and to Salem for a perfect conversion. 10/10 stuff all round, nothing to fault.

Here's to the unsung hero of this part of the game, the girl who delivers the water and was clearly having the time of her life:

As we all were, but unfortunately there was still 19 seconds left for us to involve ourselves in the most heartbreaking finish in living memory. Not entirely sure why half our forward line decided to stay where they were after the goal instead of heading straight for the defensive side of the square. Eventually somebody must have realised that the game was still on and they took off like they were running in the Stawell Gift. It was admirable gut running, but having several of the players who are supposed to keep you from conceding a late goal gasping air after covering half the game in record time is what you want in that situation.

After hammering Bellchambers in the ruck duals all night (while getting led to the ball in general play all night it must be said) Jamar lost one just when it counted, and wouldn't you know it dropped right into an Essendon player's hands. At this point Screwjob Detection Machines across the country were exploding, especially when it went to Zaharakis again and he got his kick inside 50. Howe practically spoils Dunn and the ball sits straight up in the air for two Essendon players to run on to.

Now, at this point I was legitimately close to going the vom. At half time there was a mix-up at the Kaiser, I ended up having to eat whatever the hell sauerkraut is and it was 95% of the way back up when Garland thankfully didn't manage to connect with his wild attempt at a clearance which would probably have flown off sideways and landed in the arms of a defender. By this point I was just expecting a draw, but even that would have hurt more than Collingwood 2010 (the Petterd game) considering the comeback. Obviously nothing will ever compare to the 1987 Preliminary Final for heartbreak, but this would have at least been a 25/100 on the Buckenara Late Drama Scale.

From this point my memory is clouded by incredible fear so I need to rely on the replay to tell me what happened. Five seconds to go, Zaharakis continues his one man show by shrugging Howe's tackle but botches his handball under pressure from Nathan Jones. At this point there's two seconds left, but obviously nobody at the game knows this. He can't gather it, Watts crashes in but it bounces into Heppell's hands and with time expiring he's tackled by Bernard Vince, and as the clock hits zero Howe manages to put some bloke off his kick long enough for the siren to mercifully go as the ball is coming down 40 metres out. The final twist would have been if it had pitched at right angles and bounced through for a goal. The weird and wonderful world continues to throw up surprises.

In a nice nod to history I had ended up sitting almost exactly where I was four years ago when poor Ricky Petterd dropped that mark (after playing the game of his life) and I punched the living bejesus out of a poor, defenceless, unoccupied seat in frustration. Last night a seat, possibly the same one, took a beating like a champ in celebration. Apologies to MCG patrons of the future, because as they wash the seats once a season so you may find the skin off one of my knuckles on it. I look forward to my hand going septic in the next couple of days having come into contact with a seat that's been pounded by bird shit and the sweat of porky football fans all year.

So, just over halfway and we've successfully managed to drag finals contenders like Adelaide, Sydney, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Gold Coast (!) and now Essendon down to our level this season. Which is magnificent, but at some point before the end of the year a side - take your pick out of North x2, Port when they play them again, Hawthorn, Geelong or Fremantle - is going to refuse to fall for this plan and just beat the living shit out of us. This team has come so far I can probably handle that happening once more, but I'm hungry to do the same to at least one of the other dud sides before the year is out.

There's no chance of spoiling the votes here, so a moment please for the all-new Lynden Dunn and one of the all-time great MFC defensive games. Between them the likes of Ingerson, Seecamp, Shanahan (yes), Garland, Rivers, Frawley, McDonald etc.. have played some belters in their time - and we'll all fondly remember the many times Chip tormented Jack Riewoldt - but none of them ever had 16 rebound 50's to go along with it. In fact nobody ever has since the stat was first record in 1998. Essendon's suicidal attacking style helped, but it wasn't just him mopping up poxy long bombs. There were also nine contested possessions, two contested marks, 12 intercept possessions (which at least implies there was an opponent within 50m) and god knows what else. Then, just when you thought you couldn't love him any more - and many of us got to the point last year where we couldn't for different reasons - this happens:

After the game Dunn ran over the other side of the ground when all the other players were hanging around the MCC area hi fiving the fans... He ran over to where we were, fist pumped the crowd with more agression I have seen from anyone, and let out the most brutal roar, one that a freakin spartan king would be proud of. Sent shivers down the spine, as if 5 years of frustration was released in one moment.

Now there's a guy that gets it. Like Nathan Jones and Chris Dawes he is ready to bleed for the cause and it's wonderful. I don't know or care who's on the All-Australian selection committee, but if he doesn't at least get nominated as part of the 40 man shortlist then all of them deserve to contract herpes. Looking at some of the dropkicks who were on the selection panel last year I'd say [CENSORED ON LEGAL ADVICE].

2014 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Lynden Dunn
4 - Nathan Jones
3 - Dean Kent
2 - Chris Dawes
1 - James Frawley

Apologies to almost everyone else, but especially (in no particular order) Cross, Howe, Watts, Grimes, McDonald, Jamar (for the taps), Jetta, Pedersen, McKenzie and Viney.

While Jones keeps a reasonable distance over Dunn in the major award it's practically all over in the Seecamp as your future All-Australian back pocket opens up a 22 vote lead on Jeremy Howe. If you'd told me they'd be the top two (reminder: Frawley has been DQed) at this time last year I'd have questioned your sanity. What a wonderful world.

36 - Nathan Jones
27 - Lynden Dunn (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
24 - Dom Tyson
16 - Daniel Cross
10 - Chris Dawes
9 - James Frawley, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Viney
7 - Bernie Vince
5 - Jeremy Howe, Jack Watts
4 - Neville Jetta
3 - Matt Jones, Dean Kent, Tom McDonald, Dean Terlich
2 - Rohan Bail, Jay Kennedy-Harris (Leader: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
1 - Jack Grimes, Mark Jamar (Co-Leader: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jake Spencer (Co-Leader: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)

Stat My Bitch Up
The last time we failed to kick a goal in the first quarter and still won was Round 15, 1994 against Fitzroy at the Western Oval. Allen Jakovich kicked five. It's been a while. Strangely enough we've done it plenty of times (relatively speaking) in the same period after one goal first quarters. It's also the first time a team has ever won a game despite having 30 less inside 50's. Which was nice. And as previously mentioned Dunn has snatched Adem Yze's record for the most rebound 50's in a game.

The good news is that we're only 17 points behind St Kilda as the lowest scoring team in the competition now. Not sure if that's actually good news, until you realise we've conceded 350 less than them. Oh to have Round 1 all over again. We're now up to 62.50ppg - up 1.41 on last week. Still 4.6ppg short of last year, but getting closer despite last week's sludgefest.

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
With apologies to Dean Kent and his snap which would have won most weeks I can't go past the brass balls finish of Christian Salem to win the game. But it's not just Salem who wins the round of mini-golf in Lakes Entrance with 1968 Best and Fairest winner and former Premier of Tasmania Ray Groom - Cameron Pedersen, Nathan Jones, James Frawley, Jordie McKenzie, Tom McDonald, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney and Daniel Cross are all invited as well. They're going to have to split into smaller groups on the course.

And it might be the fact that I'm still as high as a kite but I would like to award the men above (except Ray Groom) the lead in this competition. It's out Pedersen vs Carlton and in Pedersen and Friends vs the Bombers. Congratulations one and all.

Essendon missed a significant opportunity to topple the Demon Army juggernaut here. The news about ASADA might have come late in the week, but they could have worked throughout the night to come up with an offensive anti-authority banner that would have brought the house down.

The rules about the AFL having to tick all the banners off before they’re displayed would have been troublesome, but may I suggest showing the banner inspector a decoy banner before unveiling the real one? No doubt there’d be a fine but we've already learnt that the Bombers have deep pockets and that their fans are happy to spend money to defend the indefensible.

When it came to their actual banner I was happy with the fact that it included a player portrait, which is always a sign that some actual effort has gone into creating it, but then somebody tried to create a hashtag and it all went horribly wrong:

Thank god for Twitter or I'd never have seen this thanks to their refusal to adhere to the conventions of society and display both sides of the banner. From the Southern Stand (*spit*) all I could see was that somebody had a won a competition, which was not half as good as our one which promised a National Lampoon's Animal House style free keg at the pub if we won. Instead they just stood there with it up in front of the race for five minutes while nobody came out. Organisational disarray aside they did have a reasonable font and there was no punce curtain so it was a decent effort.

Just to prove I'm not completely biased it must be noted that the six on the banner in the address of the free keg pub on the MFC banner was ever so slightly sideways. This did not affect the grading as the address was 146, and you can imagine that when we're playing Essendon somebody's hands got a bit shaky after they'd cut out 1-4...

12-0 Demons.

Crowd Watch
It looked like a horrible crowd in the minutes before the bounce, but 10,000 people must have been Marching for Hird because by the time Essendon came out the atmosphere had reached a fever pitch similar to the Nuremberg Rallies. In the end 44,000 was extremely reasonable considering the timeslot is absolute garbage - only 7000 less than when they waffled us on a Saturday night last year. For all the pisstaking of the Bombers and their legal woes at least you can't fault their fans for still coming out to watch, even if it is to boo heartily for three hours.

Not that they would be coming for the pre-match entertainment. How do they choose who gets to crank the air raid siren at the start of the match? Is there a raffle to be part of the worst pre-match 'entertainment' since the trumpeteer got the sack? By the time the girl doing it last night finished it had broken and started making a wheezing noise instead - just like her football team.

It was slightly disappointing that nobody went to the trouble of putting on an anti-ASADA carnival of hate. It's one thing to show up at training with a sign that has had all the care go into the writing and none into the rhyming, but where was that at the game? [NB: I've just noticed that the same guy did have a banner at the game. So good luck to him for having a go]. Where's the organised filth and fury? The closest thing I saw was a kid with a handwritten sign that said "BOO BOO MELBOURNE" which he held up when we kicked goals in the second quarter. Good on him for at least having a go.

The Feedback Feedbag

We get mail, and sometimes it's not abusive. For instance reader Doug writes in on the topic of last week's lightning fast Nathan Jones goal to point out that at some point in around the late 1980's Steve O'Dwyer (former name sponsor of our ruckman award) received a free kick before the first bounce, got a 50, kicked the goal and then when the play went back to the centre the exact same thing happened. Which is the sort of thing you'd see on every highlights package until the end of time if it happened now.

Doug's email did remind me of a similar incident featuring Nathan Carroll - of all people - when he kicked his single career goal at Docklands in Round 2 2006. He definitely kicked it courtesy of a 50m penalty and the biggest helicopter of all time from about 40m out, and I felt like it happened at the first bounce but why would Nathan Carroll have been within 90m of goal at that point?

Unfortunately as most of the Stat My Bitch activity on this site is courtesy of the greatest site on the internet AFL Tables and they've never done an analysis on quick goals the question will have to go unanswered for now. If you're really keen they do now have scoring times for all games from 2010 onwards. They're not the greatest website in the world for nothing. A few weeks ago I suggested I had an spot on my internet Mt. Rushmore alongside YouTube, Wikipedia and Twitter - and I think AFL Tables deserves it.

Next Week
More graveyard, this time against North Melbourne.  I have to assume that they won't fall apart in spectacular fashion like the Bombers did and will beat us like they have every other time since 2006 BUT at least I feel like we've got a chance to push them and hopefully kick a decent score in the meantime. Shame there'll be about 15,000 people there to see it.

Not sure any changes are absolutely necessary, but I'd love to get Maximum Gawn back in the side somewhere so we don't run Jamar into the ground. The Pornographer wasn't terrible, and he did hit one tackle just before he got subbed which was breathtaking in its brutality...

...but he did only have three disposals in two and a half quarters. Considering the hurting McKenzie put on Stanton, Public Enemy #1 of Essendon fans before they decided to turn on the rest of the world instead, I'm more than happy to have him in the side. I'm a bit worried that picking Maximum makes our forward line too tall, so I'd be just as happy with no change but...

IN: Gawn
OUT: Riley (unlucky)

The rest of the year
When the Giants won on Saturday night we were suddenly pitched into a six team royal rumble to 'avoid' the wooden spoon. Thankfully for both us and Footscray our wins on Sunday have given us a slight break on the competition, but even if we'd lost you wouldn't have thought there'd be too many shenanigans later in the year given recent 'investigations', and the fact that we don't really have all that many 'kids' to play anyway. That doesn't mean we're not going to point the finger at every marginally controversial decision - and the more we can point it somebody else the better. At the risk of sounding like 2009 all over again I'd be quite happy to take the wins thanks - and this time there's no way I'm going to succumb to peer group pressure and go along with any bizarre moves like playing Frawley in the forward line.

Meanwhile there's six teams who can win the spoon, five with decent claims to the flag and everyone except the Shithouse Six can still realistically make the finals. There might still be a huge gulf in class between top and bottom but at least the sides from 1-6 and 7-18 can put on regularly competitive matches. Is it any wonder the famous "this game is shit, change the rules" crowd have been a bit quieter recently? Even when we delivered a stinker last week people weren't suggesting zones and bizarre alterations. And thank god for that.

Was it worth it?

This section is almost totally irrelevant for any victory (and we hope to retire it as 'no longer required' in the near future), but especially this week. That was one of the all-time greats. How would you feel to be the person who started a "100 greatest wins" feature a year ago, only ever got to #69 (not deliberately) and has had the rest on a "to do" list since September. If I ever finish it I'll have to stick to the original concept of 1965-2013 but have no doubt that the Adelaide game would have snuck in the list somewhere and this would have been hammering away at the top 10 with a bullet.

Final thoughts 

Sunday twilight games are good for one thing. If you win - which I'm not sure we ever have in Victoria but will stand corrected (UPDATE - I forgot the Kruezer Kup tankathon, which was a 5.10pm start but that's even worse). The buzz kept me awake all night, but when my alarm went off this morning there was none of the usual shouting of obscenities I was up and on my way - infused by the teachings of the Book of Roos. Paul said let there be light, and thine heavens did open up with a bright flash.


  1. Re: the Carroll goal, only match report I could find was which sadly makes no mention of it (damn you, Chloe Saltau). Destined to forever be a mystery perhaps.

  2. Great game, great review. I thought Wattsy's long bomb goal deserved consideration in the "Aaron Davey". Extra points for setting up the mark, and the nonchalant finish.

  3. Winning report + Fast Show clips = Gold. Good work finding that anecdote about Dunny's roar too. Top shelf. - Martin

  4. Great read. Good to see such a strong performance (or half of one) on the weekend.


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