What an afternoon it was. Memorable for all the wrong reasons. Over the last few years I've left Melbourne games depressed, upset, fearful and in a fugue state of nothingness that only people who have gone through our misery since Round 1 2007 would understand - but rarely if ever have I walked out of a stadium so angry. Proper red-faced, teeth gnashing angst. This might be because we've been so shit that we've rarely ever got ourselves into a position to capitulate like this - and the fact we did should probably (deep down) be a cause for optimism but for all the memorable wins this year we've now played like trash in losing to the other three teams in the bottom four.
I swing from joy to despair on a weekly basis with this team but it's becoming clear that while we may be going somewhere but we're not getting there particularly quickly. Trench warfare style defence is fine for luring a couple of mentally weak teams a year to their death, but without getting in some more decent players or striking gold and actually developing our draft picks to a reasonable level we'll still be in the same place again next year. Same with all the rubbish teams, but none of them have been through two fruitless rebuilds with another in progress, so neutral fans you can excuse some aspects of our nervous breakdown.
The anger is not even as a result of our foul kicking on goal costing us a drought busting win at that whore of a stadium, because god knows other teams have done it enough against us this year that we had to repay the favour at some point, but because of the way we slogged through some of the worst football ever played (and please tell me rule change aficionados all the ways you'd have made this game between two outrageously horrible teams who can't even handball to one another 'entertaining') and put ourselves in a winning position only to roll over and die in sickening fashion.
If you're the sort of person who has their entire week ruined by the shocking performance of 22 complete strangers then a) seek urgent psychological help and b) get behind me in the queue. I'm going to be shutting doors with force and refusing to answer my phone at work until about Wednesday if I don't calm down soon. If you've achieved a zen state that allows you to no longer care about things like this then I salute you and suggest you might be better suited to negotiating a ceasefire in Gaza than wasting your time on something as frivolous as Australian rules football.
The only positive to being intimately involved in this outright fiasco is that I got to watch it from the best seat in the house - dead on the halfway line in the Medallion Club. On the 'internet celebrity' scale which goes from Mia Freedman to people caught on video knackering themselves on a fence with Jim Ross commentary dubbed over the top, 'writing' an aimless, lightly read blog about a perennial disaster of a football club leaves me at the pond scum end of the conversation but it can occasionally pay off. Thanks to my mystery benefactor, and if anybody else has got a way to improve my shipwreck experience for the rest of the year then I'd be more than happy to take your pity/charity.
A lovely seat it was, with the only noticeable downside being that it was inside Etihad Stadium. At least they acknowledge the fact that it's an area for corporates and people who have enough money that they don't have to join the MCC waiting list by putting polite and helpful customer service people there instead of the usual surly teenagers and part-time nightclub thug security guards that you get in the cheap seats. They could stand to be a bit more ruthless on the dress code though, half the people in the Medallion Club were dressed like they were in the departure lounge for a Tiger Airways flight to Bali. The interpretation of "you must wear a collared shirt" to cover a footy jumper with a scarf around the neck - and not even one of our ever popular collared ones - was more baffling than the modern day holding the ball rule.
Speaking of seats I'm not sure which company's one I was sitting in but I hope it didn't have their name on the back, because during the last quarter my eternal hatred of that stadium and frustration with this footy team boiled over into a series of abusive anti-MFC outbursts. All justified, and the only profanity laced tirade I'll withdraw was the one at the umpire when I thought he wasn't going to give Pedo a 50 for getting his head punched in. Anything indecent or defamatory said about the Melbourne Football Club, its players or its football department stands.
What a great opportunity it was to finally get what monkey there is off the back at Etihad. Which is exactly what we thought in Round 1, before turning in a performance which was just as bad but was at least masked by the fact that we went in with lower expectations. That week I even loaned money to a Colombian hairdresser called Fanny to try and remove the curse, and the last report her repayment status is "delinquent" so that was an investment on a par with drafting Lucas Cook over the Sex Romper Darling.
Another reason I'm still filthy hours later - and will be through the week - is that we couldn't even take advantage of a all-time sweet ride from the umpires. My highlight was Frawley getting paid the mark despite preceding it with a two handed shove right in the numbers, but it wasn't alone. On the other hand most of Brisbane's free-kicks were paid on the half-back flank until a brief period of square-ups during the third quarter. The umpires must have seen the stats during half time and started to worry that they were going to cop it in the press conferences. What about Jamar getting done for some sort of weird centre bounce ruck infringement when he actually got the tap in a competitive battle? That was a brief lowlight in an otherwise great run.
That was half the platter and Brisbane's penchant for kicking potential goals out on the full was the other, but unfortunately when handed said platter we shit ourselves, dropped it on the floor and snuck out through the fire escape halfway through the final act. It was truly shameful because despite playing three quarters of god-awful football Brisbane had been just as bad so it was never going to be one to watch on replay but for us every win is savoured. The difference between the side was that we'd spent all day turning back inside 50's thanks to our loose marking around the ground, while they'd only let us have 27 - but we were reasonably efficient at scoring once we got it down there (even if it was mostly behinds) and were in a winning position so who cares? I'm not averse to winning ugly, and at this point I'm not even averse to cheating openly to win, right up to a supplements program administered by James Hird himself.
Two minutes into the first quarter you could tell, if you didn't know already just from the teams competing, that it wasn't going to be a pretty game but at least we kicked three goals in a first quarter for just the fifth time in 19 games. And we could have had more too - Kent was in everything but he missed one sitter, and another time was running free straight towards goal only for his teammate (possibly Tapscott but please I haven't seen any replays so don't sue if incorrect) to attempt a handball to a player standing perfectly still instead of giving it to him. Result - no goal. Riley also joined in the theme of the day by missing a sitter - and not once did he deck anybody with a vicious, mean-spirited, violent tackle. Which made it his most disappointing performance for us yet.
That we conceded the first within a minute and took eight minutes to get one back was no surprise, we do that most weeks, but by the end of the quarter we'd managed to fight the natural impulses of all involved to not only kick three (3! III! 20-17!) but take the lead. Not that we were playing well or anything, our ball movement out of defence was interesting at best, handballs were flying everywhere and good luck finding a marking target within 50 if you could ever actually get it down there to start with. But Frawley, with half the crowd making references to either $700,000 contracts or seven year deals every time he went near the ball, kicked one beautiful set shot and missed another from a strong mark to show that there's life in him as a forward yet and Kent got a second to raise hopes that we were actually going to see a rare 'bag' (relatively speaking) - but more on that in a special Stat My Bitch Up later.
How outrageous that we should look like a reasonably well oiled attacking machine. Lucky there was still time for the Lions to sweep from one end to the other in lightning fashion and find a forward on the easiest lead you will ever want to see 40m out. If we'd managed to hold them up for five more seconds we'd have got to quarter time in front, but where would the fun be in that?
I've got no idea who Michael Close is (though I'm sure Brisbane fans aren't exactly up on Dean Kent's life story) but it was a beautiful lead from a beautiful kick. He got rid of Dunn, turned around and took a perfect pass from Hanley - busy ignoring an attempted Jordie McKenzie tag - on his chest in an easy fashion that nearly made me weep with envy. The only time all day we attempted to kick to a proper lead inside 50 was when Riley's horrible kick towards Viney (?) ended up rebounding into a Lions goal. We can talk about our 'improvement' all day but at times we still just play ridiculously dumb, amateur standard football.
I foolishly assumed we were going to win, so the big storyline for me was how the Stefan Martin Experience was going to go. After a poxy first season in Brisbane where he was mostly used as a forward he'd been injured this year and it started to look as if his many detractors would be proven right - but when all Brisbane's other ruckmen died en masse he got his chance and has been fantastic ever since. It brings a tear to my eye, so I was hoping he'd flog us and get three Brownlow votes while we still won by 98. We got a bit of the first one, the second is unlikely due to good luck getting anything from umpires as a ruckman but sadly there was stuff all of the third. Still, while I bear little ill-will towards Moloney (though I'm not sure Neeld was the one 100% at fault for him going from penthouse to outhouse in record time) I'm glad I only had to watch the Experience beat up on us. It's the next best thing to Phil Read coming back and sinking us with 40 touches.
If you go back to 2005 and count all the things I've made outrageous claims, promises or statements about you'll find that my success rate is about 2%, but if there's ever anything I got right it's that we stuffed up trading him for pick 3000. Jamar gets more taps in the middle - few of which go to our players, but in every other aspect the SME is, was and will be the superior option. Fancy a ruckman who gets 24 touches and six marks but can also pinch hit forward or back if required.
Where he would have fit with Gawn and Pedersen I'm not sure - though to be fair Pedo probably wouldn't have been required and we've clearly got no interest in grooming Maximum for the top job anyway - but for everything else ruckmen do possessions create scores which win matches, and at the moment the number of +20 touch career games is currently 12-3 in Stef's favour. He also takes roughly twice as many marks a game on average but whatever. I'm not against Jamar, and I love that he signed a new contract with free agency looming but he peaked that day he got injured after teaming with Moloney to rip Adelaide apart in 2011, and has properly impacted a handful of games since.
The only thing I will say in favour of the trade is that we got Matt Jones and Terlich with the incoming picks, and two soldiers is probably reasonable payment for one versatile ruckman but I'll still stand by Stef's performances with us until I drop dead.
Speaking of unwavering loyalty to unpopular players I expect that there are 5000 forum threads about Tom McDonald's one shit kick of the day which completely ignore the chasing, tackling, spoiling, some precise kicks that hit the target and 15 of whatever the hell one percenters are (next best - 4). He has his moments of disaster but show me a Melbourne player who doesn't - go and start a picket line across Jack Viney's driveway if disposal efficiency is your single criteria for measuring the worth of a player.
So, we managed to ride out Brisbane's dominance in the first few minutes of the second quarter, the fact that half our team was missing in action and our inability to move the ball more than 50m at a time without a blatant unenforced error to get the lead back. Jones' set shot goal was fantastic and showed up some of the absolute shit being served up in front of goal by players from both sides. He joined in the clanger carnival in the last quarter, so that's probably all anybody will remember, but I'd prefer to concentrate on a beautiful kick in a sea of mediocrity - and what a large sea it was.
Once I got the red mists in the last quarter much of what happened before then was pushed out of my memory so I had to look back at the timeline of the game on the AFL website to remember half of what happened. Hey, I still had to drive home and if I'd taken time to ponder everything that we did wrong I'd have either crashed off a bridge or ended up starting a road rage incident. Anyway, there's a note 18 minutes into the second quarter suggesting Roos was getting frustrated in the box (so to speak) while we were still winning, so god knows what he was doing in the last 15 minutes of the game. Probably ringing his lawyer and seeing if there was a cooling off period on his contract extension.
It wasn't much of a quarter, with one goal each, but it was significantly better than the one would follow which also featured each team kicking one goal each as television ratings plummeted to levels even Channel 10 executives would get depressed over. You could have changed the rules to create 50 scoring shots for the quarter and these teams would still only have kicked 5.35 and 10 out on the full - it was just garbage football, but at least it was close so every awkwardly conceived forward thrust meant something. We were doing a decent job stopping them but let the record show that after our above average first quarter we got just one each in the next three - and that is not league standard.
McKenzie started the second half well by being in the right place at the right time to have the ball fall into his arms 20 metres out, but it's a mark of how well his kicking is going at the moment that I thought to myself "if there's anybody who can miss this it's him". And when he did I unloaded my first obscenity of the afternoon. Then Tyson, who was otherwise the best of a bad lot all day, missed one as well. When you're a team who gets stuff all attempts on goal you just have to kick the easy ones. This is a Brisbane team who were mocked for being wiped off the face of the earth by Gold Coast in the first quarter a week ago. They, like us every week, were prone to collapse if we got a couple of goals in front but we were too inept to take advantage.
Yet somehow due to Brisbane being equally as bad to this point we were still in front, and when Tyson made amends with a superb clutch goal at the end of the quarter we'd actually extended our lead from half time. How I'm not sure, and there was no way I was going to start getting excited just yet. Our defence had been holding them out all day (when they weren't doing a Melbourne and botching easy chances) so I was still on guard for it to finally snap. Besides, as I was accused of pessimism for pointing out (me? never) I remember Dawes kicking a similar clutch goal against Footscray a few weeks ago and that hardly spurred us on to a rampant last quarter. That's three one goal fourth quarters in four weeks - and we kicked two in the other one. What's going on there? Fitness or disinterest?
My blood pressure was starting to skyrocket at this point, because I was still convinced we were going to lose - just because it was Docklands - and even Bail's unreal finish a minute in to extend the gap to over two goals still didn't convince me that we were going to win. If I'd looked up that stat about our last quarters then I'd probably have had a cardiac arrest in my seat. Had Vince kicked his shot I may have started to believe, but any time somebody has to make a photographer move out of the way to get a run-up it's probably not going to end well. All it lacked was the great football cliche of the player having to throw a white garden chair out of the way while some sub-human miscreant yells abuse at them over the fence.
And then it all went horribly wrong. Other than Bail's kick, Pedo getting his face rearranged and coming back on and McDonald returning after hurting his ankle it truly was one of the great heart-free last quarters from that point. The stench of death that descended on the Docklands area around 4pm wasn't just the usual carnival atmosphere of the precinct, it was a football team giving up as one. Daniel Merrett will get suspended for whacking Pedersen about the chops but at least it sparked his side into steamrolling us. Getting rubbed out and starting your off-season holiday early is a great result for established players in shit teams with nothing to play for, so fair play to him for concocting a plan on the same level as the baseball player who flooded the ballpark to get an extra day off AND winning the game as well.
I'm almost tempted to go back and watch the last quarter just to catalogue every single one of our heinous errors and absurd decision making errors for the historical record - but I accidentally turned on the news earlier just in time to see McKenzie's miss, so if I had to sit through the bit of the game where we threw it all away again there would be so much swearing and smashing of crockery that the police would be called.
The worst thing wasn't all the errors, we're used to them, it's the way they all suddenly went into their shell and wanted to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible no matter whether or not their teammate was in a better position or not. Throughout the day we'd actually seen some neat close-in handballing to get us out of defence, then suddenly we started doing it around the rest of the ground as well - and what works in the chaotic scenes of a ball bobbling around in front of goal requires a greater level of skill to pull off in the wide open spaces of the middle of the ground, and that's not a game for us.
Perhaps if they hadn't given up running into space for each other it would have allowed better ball movement but even on the rare occasions where that happened nobody was up front anyway - leading to more than one ridiculous panic kick straight into the arms of a gleeful Lions defender pressed up the ground without an opponent within 50m. Yet when the ball came back the other way they seemed to have players free all over the shop. I just knew when Merrett got his goal that we were going to be run over. The only hope I had was that we could clog the game up enough to sit on a narrow lead for 20 minutes - but most of our lot had lost interest in the game by this point so that was never going to happen. Cue avalanche, cue open chair abuse and swearing.
The sad thing was that even after they took the lead we could still have recovered it, but in the traditional MFC manner we just rolled over and died. Sad. I refuse to accept the "they don't know how to win" theory, they were doing all the stupid stuff that caused them to lose in the first three quarters but the difference was up until that point Brisbane had been equally inept and unable to take advantage. Once they put the slightest pressure on us we cracked and the procession began. Pity the game didn't go on for a few more minutes because we'd have gone 30 points down and probably started playing proper football.
Update - 9am Monday
Despite the well over the top length of this post I forgot something due to coming out of the game with steam pouring from my ears like a Daffy Duck cartoon and concentrating on the last quarter fiasco so much. Something I noticed in the first half, which might happen all the time but is hard to make out from Row MM of the Ponsford Stand, is that our rotations were in total disarray.
Players were running to the bench and yelling at the guys on the other side of the line trying to work out who was supposed to be where. There was a general air of chaos shown by Jack Viney at one point ran off, then ran straight back on again because there was nobody to replace him. Does this happen at successful clubs?
It's too late to watch the press conference in full, so apologies if I'm taking this off a misquote or a paraphrase but I note that our version of "it was the last government's fault" got a run again today.
"I think there's clearly some (players) that might not be able to get over what's happened here in the past." - Paul Roos after today's lossPaul, you're a good man but you're on a million bucks a year so please retire this hokey line. Everyone knows that most of this group have been mentally battered for years but it's Round 19 not April and they've won four relatively close games during the season. It's not a psychological inability to get over the line in a close one, it's that half of them are either park players or don't have the grapefruits for the contest.
— Melbourne Footy (@MelbourneFooty) August 3, 2014
You can't fix a trainwreck 2-20 team overnight but it's bordering on parody to talk as if they're suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome five months into the season - especially when only just over half of the team playing today was there from 186 onwards. This excuse has got one more month's life in it - from next year he might have to start questioning his turd polishing ability instead. He is also said to have said that the team sometimes doesn't play to win - which is ironic coming from the acknowledged master of grim defence at the expense of attack.
The Rules Committee
I'm usually more of a "leave the game alone" type, the sort of person who'd have been writing into the Argus in 1897 complaining about behinds being added to scores, but the way team selections works has to be fixed. Clubs are absolutely taking the piss out of supporters with some of the potential changes they float, but they're given the framework to do it by the fact that they have to name some sort of side on Thursday night even if they're playing Sunday.
So when a team wishes to make no change they feel obliged to name a few players who everybody knows isn't going to get a game anyway as 'ins' and then when 5pm Friday comes around we get the same team that we'd have got the night before if they'd felt able to just tell the truth in the first place. The irony being that the players they're teasing picking are usually the ones that hold absolutely no fear for the opposition.
Then there's the absolute farce we were involved with this week. At some point between Thursday and Friday afternoon Grimes became 'injured' (or they were saving face in dropping him) so instead of just not picking him at 6pm that night we got Daniel Cross added to the squad of 25 at 11am. Then when the team came out Cross wasn't in it. Shame that the only way Brisbane would be disadvantaged by this ruse would be if they were flying in from London. Why not just wait until the main team and have Grimes out injured then? Is there some arcane AFL team selection rules I'm not aware of?
Situations like this would be eradicated if they announced full Friday and Saturday teams on Thursday night, Sunday teams on Friday night etc.. Just announce the damn team as it is intended to line up - if they have to do late team change rorts (like we should have with Cross if he was fit enough to be an emergency) then good luck to them, but let's end the farce of the selected "squad". Meanwhile why do we still have to wait until 6.25pm Thursday for the teams when Channel 7's news bulletin has been padded out with filler to extend to an hour and the sports news doesn't come on until 6.45pm? Forget the price of a hot dog Gil and sort this out.
Speaking of the rules how good was the bit where Dawes won the 'holding the ball' and the Brisbane guy gave himself up only for the umpire to call play on. Another red letter moment for the umpiring department.
2014 Allen Jakovich Medal
5 - Dom Tyson
4 - Tom McDonald
3 - Jeremy Howe
2 - Neville Jetta
1 - Nathan Jones
Apologies to Kent for his first quarter, Frawley for being able to take a mark even if nothing comes of it and Bail for having a 110% go all the time despite being miles below league standard.
With 20 points left to play for Cross, Dawes and Viney drop out of the running and we're down to three with Tyson suddenly looming as a huge chance to overrun Jones. Howe and McDonald remain an outside chance to run over the top of Dunn in the Seecamp and while the other two awards are a total farce/shambles I would remind you that as next week is the 4th last game of the season anybody making their league debut from now can both win the award this year and remain eligible for it next year. Which seems like as good as a reason as any to rush Hogan in whether he's ready or not, because god knows there's nobody else who's going to contend.
42 - Nathan Jones
34 - Dom Tyson
27 - Lynden Dunn (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
20 - Daniel Cross
16 - Chris Dawes, Jack Viney
14 - Bernie Vince
13 - Jeremy Howe
12 - James Frawley, Tom McDonald
10 - Neville Jetta
9 - Mark Jamar (Leader: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Cameron Pedersen
7 - Matt Jones
6 - Jack Watts
5 - Aidan Riley
4 - Dean Kent
3 - Dean Terlich
2 - Rohan Bail, Colin Garland, Jack Grimes, Jay Kennedy-Harris (Leader: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
1 - Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer
The Stereotype-O-Meter redlined in the second half as some guys on a freebie showed up for the first time all day and proceeded to spend the next quarter and a half (possibly more, but I was too furious to remember to eavesdrop) having conversations where Man A would ask a ridiculously simple question about our team and Man B would patiently answer it. Samples:
A: "What's that guy's name?"
A: "Oh, is that Danny Spud Frawley's boy?" (yes, he actually included the nickname)
A: "Is that the guy who used to play for Collingwood?"
A: "No, the big guy down there"
A: "He [Watts] is that guy who was the number one pick a few years ago wasn't he?" etc.. etc..
The third quarter was admittedly the worst of the lot, but at the end of it - with Tyson having just kicked that goal - Man A tried to engage us in conversation about how awful the game was and how terrible it is to watch this stuff. I said words to the effect of "mate, we're Melbourne fans and our team is in front at three-quarter time. This is like living in paradise" and the theatregoer stared back blankly. It was true, at the time it was. Defensive sludge looks so much better when you're in front.
Additionally Leigh Matthews was sitting a few rows in front, and in a huge change from his playing career he managed to restrain himself from king hitting any Melbourne players.
In other Docklands news what a farce it is playing with the roof open when the shade only covers half the ground. Either shut the roof or bulldoze the place.
Stat My Bitch Up
Failure to cover our already criminally low season average sees the infamous PPG figure reduced to 60.61 (-0.56). We should still cover 2012 GWS for the lowest scoring 22 game season ever, but 44.75ppg from here is not an absolute lock considering three of the next four teams should beat our brains out. What a wonderful era to live in.
Just in case you're not yet convinced that watching us this year has actually been - all things considered - incredibly boring (yes I am well aware that it's much better than last year and moderately better than 2012) then consider the fact that we're on track to play out the first Melbourne Football Club season since 1919 where not one single player has kicked at least four goals in a season. This being the season that we returned from three years out of the game with a motley collection of war veterans and players who last had a kick while Allied forces were still at Gallipoli. It also happened in 1903 and 1906, but other things to happen in those years include Thomas Edison electrocuting an elephant and the world's first feature film being released. It was a simpler time when nobody realised what a total farce it would be to go through a season where not one single played managed to put the ball between the big sticks four times in a single game.
It was a close run thing last year, with Fitzpatrick (remember him?) inexplicably running riot against Brisbane in Darwin, but this is it. At one point today I thought Dean Kent was going to put his hand up to take this 'fun fact' off the board, but the giant sucking sound caught up with him eventually and caused him to kick for goal like a muppet just when he was looking dangerous.
Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Obviously no contenders for the overall winner, but with apologies to Dean Kent's first and Tyson at three-quarter time I'm awarding the weekly prize of tickets to a performance of West Side Story where all the roles are played by ex-Melbourne ruckmen to Nathan Jones for his set shot goal. Look out for Brendan Van Schaik's touching portrayal of Maria.
You know you follow a shit team when it's round 19 and all your wins can be listed in crepe paper, but I enjoyed the idea of taking potshots at teams who weren't even involved in the match - at least one of who will end up playing finals while we're battling to avoid the wooden spoon. It was a touching reminder of how football sometimes gives you a reason to be arrogant, even if disaster is just around the corner.
Brisbane, on the other hand, paid tribute to Jonathan Brown with one of the most uninspiring fonts possible. Otherwise it was a reasonable effort, and usually I'd give an interstate team extra points for travel but there's no way it was transported from any further away than Bulleen so that's 19-0 Demons.
I'm not ritually sacrificing goats with a rolled up copy of the TAC Cup footy record just yet, because as we all know no matter what picks we get we'd get better value trading them for magic beans than actually selecting footballers, but if we don't get a priority pick of some sort this year then the whole concept needs to be euthanised once and for all.
We will end on four wins from here unless GWS furiously 'list manage' their game against us in front of our lowest MCG crowd since the war, and that will give us 10 wins in three seasons. It doesn't have to be pick 2/3/4 but if we don't get something at least at the end of the first round then the AFL can do one. Only the triple spoon Swans of 1992 to 1994 (8.5 wins, 1.5 of those against us), Fitzroy (8 wins then out of business) and GWS - who got the priorities in advance - can claim similarly garbage three season runs in recent times.
It shouldn't have anything to do with the compensation that we're going to get for Frawley - which might be mid-first round if we're extremely lucky - the two have nothing to do with each other. It doesn't matter how much of it is self inflicted, or how much better we are than last year (which is like being upgraded from dead to in a coma) I'll figuratively AND literally smash shit. Trade it for some some hack like $cully then never play him for all I care I don't even really want the draft pick I just want the acknowledgement that we are need one.
Hawthorn are going to do things to us that even the NSFW Aiden Riley would refuse to film. I hold out hopes of another 'brave loss' that makes us all go a bit gooey and dream of the good times to come, but if they kick the first three goals of the game watch out it's going to turn into a slasher movie. The only hope we've got of getting out of it unmolested is if the Hawks have a suspect amount of conveniently timed one week 'injuries' in the next few days.
Cross is an obvious in (was this week if you ask me), and while I'm hardly the biggest Matt Jones fan going around he's served his time in the VFL so I'll have him back. God knows what's wrong with Grimes but I'm no great hurry to rush him into the side.
Meanwhile two weeks after starting a social media campaign to bring Blease back then going to great lengths to justify why he was useful against Port I'm going to drop him again with apologies as long as it's to bring Gawn back. Not quite a straight swap, and I'm not sure how Gawn fits in the 'structure' but he's been slaughtering the VFL so I demand they get AFL games into him ASAP.
How about some courage to do what they should have done for the last month in 2013 (when Gawn was marooned in the VFL for the benefit of the Casey f'ing Scorpions) and play him as first ruck? It's like-for-like, we're not going to get a $500k invoice from the AFL for it. Alternatively they could give Pedo a rest, after going bananas in the first half of the season he's been a bit flat recently and just got his nose caved in so maybe he'd like some time off.
IN: Cross, M. Jones, Gawn
OUT: Blease, McKenzie (omit), Tapscott (inj)
Other selection scenarios include:
a) dropping JKH and playing Blease on the proviso that one of them will definitely be there next year and there's a question mark over the other one
b) giving Michie another game just because
c) refusing to pick Nicholson no matter what
Was it worth it?
For the hospitality yes, for the brief moments of joy absolutely, for the pea-hearted capitulation in the last quarter certainly not.
If I wasn't the sort of sick individual who will show up until the shutters come down there's no chance in hell I'd turn up at 4.40pm next Saturday night to watch this nightmare take place when it's live on TV. But I am, so I will, and I would love to be given some reason not to hate the experience.