Monday 15 June 2015

Defensive indifference

Post originally finished at 12.30am, proofread and updated the next night. No further insights were found.

The other night I had a dream that I'd been invited to a confidential AFL briefing which revealed they'd decided to merge Hawthorn with GWS and call them Hawks Greater Western (?). I left this meeting intending to leak the story to the press only to discover that of all people Neville Jetta had already done it. No idea how, he wasn't even in the meeting. How I wish that was the weirdest football related incident of my weekend.

It's not where you've come from, it's where you're going and we're headed straight for the electric chair if things carry on like this. For all the whopping off over our new batch of recruits after Round 1 we finish Round 11 with exactly the same number of wins as this time last year, with an inferior percentage and two absolute shellackings in our immediate future. This despite finding the beast-like goalkicker we were screaming out for last year while Frawley was valiantly trying to pretend he was a forward (at first) before switching to going through the motions later in the year.

Of the new recruits who starred in the first game of the season the three rookies (Hogan, Brayshaw and vandenBerg) have done fantastically. Today was Garlett's first shocker, and he's been head-and-shoulders the best of the recycled players, Newton hit the wall about three weeks in, Lumumba has started to trouble me greatly over the last fortnight and Sam Frost's toe has fallen off. And at the time how were we to know that Gold Coast would wind up completely putrid? My heart says we've improved enough to give hope for the future, my head says we're treading water.

All the action that anybody cares about in this game came during the last minute, but it would be rude not to at least make a token effort to discuss how we got to the point of suffering arguably the most heartbreaking loss since Daniher's farewell game - pushing Petterd's dropped mark in the goalsquare against Collingwood into third. Neutral fans have absolutely no idea what it's like to be a Melbourne fan when you're tantalising close to a win and it gets snatched away. Just a reminder for anybody who goes "Oh, but we have had bad times too" that since the day we lost to Geelong by 31 goals and the bottom fell out of the club our record is 14 wins and 68 defeats by a total combined score of not much to heaps.

When you're a Melbourne fan every win could be the last before we fold and our players are offered in a dispersal draft so you have to embrace each wholeheartedly. That bit a few weeks ago about finally stopping treating boring wins like we'd snatched the flag? Bollocks. After this defeat I will mount perfect strangers in celebration no matter how ugly the victories are until I'm absolutely convinced that we've properly turned the corner and not just patting ourselves on the back for being better than 2013.

In a vital relegation battle in the FMITL (the only tipping competition you need) I'd tipped us to win by 21 and honestly thought that we represented good value as the outsiders. It seemed to help when they twice lost players to late withdrawals over the weekend, but as you're well aware when first choice players drop out against Melbourne that represents the perfect time for the lesser lights and people you've never heard of (who in god's name is Darren Minchington and with a name like that has he been transported to us from a mid 90's AFL list?) to run riot and make a name for themselves.

When Jones carved through the middle in the first 90 seconds and found Hogan leading straight down the middle of the ground 30m out my eyebrows were raised - as far as beautiful kicks to a lead to it was hardly Jake Spencer to Pedersen against Footscray but from that range who cares how ugly it was getting there? When he got a second a few minutes later my blood pressure may have risen a bit in the hope that not only would we see the now infamous 18 month long streak without a four-goal kicker drop but that he might kick a real old fashioned bag.

Then as soon as it started we stopped. With Riewoldt kicking novelty goals off the ground and other players that you've never heard of being given acres of space to mark inside 50 we fell apart for 10 minutes and let them batter us. That we didn't concede more was a miracle, and it was with many thanks to the video review system which cost Riewoldt what would have been his third and any chance Tom Mac even had of making the All-Australian shortlist. We started to get on top again late, kicking nowt but points from some easy shots other than Brayshaw converting to prove that while he's still iffy in traffic that he's a dead-eye set shot and an all-around good bloke to have in the side.

We were certainly in it, though it was very much a game played by two also ran sides. At least St Kilda showed - as we did against the Bulldogs - that even when you're not very good you can compensate for lack of talent by putting on an insane level of pressure. Despite that 10 minute period of looking terrible, when we got to quarter time just a point behind it felt surprising that we'd managed to get that close but at the same time there was an argument that we had played pretty well.

The traditionally excellent players like Vince and Jones were doing plenty but it was also good to see the much maligned duo of Watts and Toumpas having confidence building games. We'd find ways to shatter all the good work eventually, but they started well and have plenty of good to look at on their tapes. Jimmy still loves a panic hospital handball and the winning goal can't have helped his fragile morale but I love that he had eight tackles in addition to the two goals, and if there's space for a maligned threesome I thought Grimes was very good as well for the whole day.

You'd have thought that getting to quarter time having absorbed St Kilda's superior intensity (with apologies to Jack Viney who was absolutely manly for us around the ball) would help us to refresh and come out positively but you probably haven't been paying enough attention to the way we like to fall apart at the start of a quarter. Like last week it took until the Saints were threatening a match-winning lead before we started playing with the sort of freedom that allowed us back into the game. Hogan's third (getting closer to the promised laned) and Viney's goals on the run got us right back into it before a Harry O Howler gifted the Saints the steadier. In equal parts I love the way he takes the game on and think he doesn't know what he's going to do when he gets the ball until he's already taken several steps - the kind of guy who in this side is going to have some great games when given space and some shockers when the heat is on. Tonight the heat was very much on. On a horses-for-courses basis he should have been our man as the only player in our side to have won more games at Etihad than he had lost (including Garlett), but that hardly helped in the end.

That goal led to another shortly after and it looked like last week all over again, slim resistance squashed and normal service resumed going into half time. All they had to do was navigate through a couple of minutes of hardly treacherous waters and they'd be going into the break with a handy lead. To our credit we played what might have been as close to five minutes of flawless football as you'll see for this side. First Hogan caused general commotion and ruined one of my better angles when he kicked a fourth, then Garlett used one of his handful of touches to kick a pearler from the boundary to cut the gap back to two goals. Given the way we usually hand goals back out of the middle I was absolutely terrified of doing it again and not-so-silently pleaded for them to just lock down the last couple of minutes and get to half time two goals behind. Then that line of thinking went totally out the window as we kicked another to shut the gap to one straight kick. Obviously the success of going for one more here rubbed off later in the day with disastrous consequences.

You'd like to think that if we'd had another few minutes we could have kicked more goals but who are you talking about here? Despite Gawn delivering some delightful taps we'd been beaten around the clearances and were always walking on a tightrope whenever the ball went inside our defensive 50 so it was perhaps better for all that we ended it there, took a six point deficit and enjoyed time reflecting about how we all love Jesse Hogan and how as one of the competitive beasts around he's going to piss off fairly soon if he continues to be surrounded by VFL standard play. He's good but he can't do it all himself.

Against all odds we started the third as we'd left off, with McDonald demonstrating why he's a Docklands specialists by sneaking forward for a goal. Then Hogan brought the house down with a near unprecedented fifth goal - ending the title reign of Sam Blease's bizarre five goal haul against the Saints in Round 20, 2012 - and Toumpas capped off what was shaping up as a great game with another to give us a 12 point lead.

The Saints looked physically shot, having put everything into beating us up in the first half and this was our opportunity to stick the knife in and finally win a proper game at that horrible wasteland. So then we concede two goals in a row on either side of Watts missing on the run when he had time to practically walk to the goalsquare, then Hogan plays on after a free kick directly in front and instead of kicking a sixth (god only knows who did that last - Robertson as part of his seven on Queen's Birthday 2007?) he slammed it into the post. Hard to fault his enthusiasm but had the Saints kicked the goal from their shot after the siren a couple of minutes later it would have been even more costly. Fortunately they missed but expanding the gap back to two goals at the last change instead of going in square would have obviously been handy.

Pedersen breaking his wrist midway through the quarter was terrible news for everybody other than Chris Dawes. It's not that he'd done an amazing amount to that point - and indeed he'd had zero kicks - but it removed one reasonably convincing tall attacking target and meant we had to carry several players who would have been best served coming off midway through the third quarter. I thought it was a risky move playing both Stretch and ANB from the first bounce, and with Pedersen gone we were forced to go with them all day in a pressure-cooker game. Neither did too badly but nor were they threatening to single handedly drag us over the line. It also didn't help that Michie came on, clanged his first two disposals, had one other touch and was basically useless throughout. Now I know why they bring him in and drop him every second week.

Sadly for those of us hoping Hogan would go on and kick 10 the last quarter produced 25 minutes of the most farcical football you'll ever see and he only played a bit part in it. In fact his key contribution to the quarter was two marking contests where he didn't get the ball but brutalised a Saints player in the process. Considering how the Saints had looked out on their feet late in the third they certainly rebounded to have us on the rack for most of the quarter. For some reason - possibly the absence of Pedersen, possibly because #fistedforever, we seemed to decide that flooding like our lives depended on it was the obvious route to success. That was all fine when our players were doing amazingly brave things during the trench warfare part of the quarter or when St Kilda were missing shots left, right and centre but not so much when we extracted the ball and a player would look up to see nothing but a wall of Saints in front of him and had to go sideways. There were a few times when multiple handballs eventually extracted us (only to still find nobody ahead) but plenty more where we sold ourselves into trouble for the lack of an option to kick to.

Somehow in all this time, under a roof and in the sort of perfect conditions that had allowed us of all teams to get to 75 points at three quarter time nobody managed a goal. Which wasn't entirely the fault of our forwards, it's not like we were getting chances. It started to look like a second week in a row that we'd be goalless in the final term. So far in 11 games this year we've had two goalless and four one goal last terms. There have been a couple of stormers as well, most noticeably Gold Coast and Footscray but that is a horrendous record for the first half of a season. Imagine in 10 weeks time when injuries have got a hold of us, the young players are worn out, the old players have lost interest and Mark Jamar is still playing for Casey steadfastly refusing to resign. What's going to happen then?

We could still have won it, Hogan found himself back inside 50 instead of outside trying to kick in to nobody but for the first time all day his set-shots failed him. At least it caused a shift in momentum and put the heat back on the Saints after they had battered us for 20 minutes and got nothing out of it. With the game clock showing 19 minutes it was revealed on the radio that there was only three minutes of playing time left. You'd think this was also clear from the television broadcast and that message might be relayed to the players but here we are. Nevertheless we manage to get it back in Howe's hands and after a series of faulty set shots over the last few weeks and with every single Melbourne fan either watching live or at home expecting him to miss it so we could make snide remarks about his contract status he slots it from an angle to put us in front with 45 seconds left. Well, I knew it was 45 seconds left. Presumably everyone knew except the 18 hapless fools in white.

As it went through I expected to see a wall of forwards legging it down the other end, and had fantasies of Howe saving the game with a screamer then grabbing the house mic and announcing he'd re-signed for a reasonable price but none of them moved. Sitting directly above our forward line after the goal went through and watching them all move back into their normal places like it was the eight minute mark of the second quarter was like watching a movie where you know somebody's about to die. I'd like to say my football life flashed before my eyes - from the 1989 Elimination Final onwards - instead it was just frantic but fruitless yelling of FOR GOD'S SAKE SOMEBODY GET BACK. There needs to be a Royal Commission to determine just how they either didn't know there was only 40 seconds left, or knew and thought everyone else would take the responsibility so they could be the first to run to the cheersquad at the final siren. I volunteer to testify, I saw it all.

We'd spent the last 20 minutes using everyone to defend so it would have been a reasonable time to continue that policy. I can understand how in a world without runners and messages being passed from the bench every two seconds they might have thought that there was only 25 minutes gone on the clock and it wasn't yet time to put up the wall, but surely somebody as Howe was lining up somebody was rushing out to pass messages. The explanation later given that the runner was doing other things is the most Melbourne thing I've ever heard. I'd have thought that there was some alternative way to get the message out that if he missed it then make sure you defend a man at the kick-out and if he kicks it then follow standard operating procedure in the event of a thriller.

Remember the Salem game against Essendon where the forwards didn't realise until late enough that they were supposed to get down the other end and we almost lost? This was similar, except they never realised and we did actually lose. Was too busy watching Howe to remember if any runners were scooting about passing messages or if players down the ground were calling for their teammates to come forward. In a complete 180 to the last two minutes to the Salem game where I wanted to see it 500 times I am putting this alongside the 2000 Grand Final and 186 as things I never want to see in their entirety again. The only time I'm interested is if it involves an analyst who is not David King picking apart everything we did wrong.

Even if you can't get to the forwards to tell them surely you tell the midfielders, the defenders or anybody else you can bloody well find to pass on the message but I'm not even sure anybody knew what was going on as they merrily lined up waiting for the centre bounce. Not even one of them pushed forward towards the centre square just in case. Then instead of just hammering it into the ground so one of our many industrial tackling machines could leap on it and waste time with another stoppage Gawn tries a fancy tap at just the wrong time (though given that nobody out there knew how much time was left analysing the direction of his tap is like debating if JFK should have been in a different seat), the ball is swept forward and Toumpas spikes probably his best ever game by being caught out  (admittedly courtesy of a bastard of a bounce) with his man kicking the winning goal and we manage to snatch defeat from victory in heartbreaking fashion. Or as it's referred to in these parts 'Melbourne fashion'.

It would seem that Bernie Vince has decided to neatly side-step around spin and just declare it a total balls-up. If true then somebody off-field (and not necessarily the coach) should be shot out of a cannon for not sending out the message that the match was almost over and that the game clock meant nothing.

It's seemingly necked us tonight but I've never seen a better advertisement for not having countdown clocks visible to players. As a fan I want one when watching on TV, and I want radio callers to tell me exactly how much time there is left (take note Andy Maher, when you say "there can't be much time left" shortly before the siren goes we're all well aware that you've got a monitor in front of you and are just trying to be clever) but I also want the players to be totally in the dark so they have to use their wits in close games - and this was the game for all the people who say "yeah but the players know how long there is to go anyway". Not tonight they fucking didn't and it probably cost us four points. As I've said before if you think a player can be told there's a minute of game time left and know exactly when that will expire while running around playing the game and through repeat stoppages then you're on drugs - and that uncertainty when I know exactly how long there is to go is one of the best things about watching close games. We botched it tonight but it's still not worth letting heathens try and turn Etihad Stadium into an NBA game at Madison Square Garden over.

To make matters even worse I'd taken possession of a rare-ish history of the club before the game and in all the commotion managed to leave it behind. I only realised it was gone after trudging out of the stadium and then had to beat back through the tides of people coming down the stairs to get back to level three and find it. Except that no bastard would yield to allow me to get up the stairs without barging through, and the way I was feeling it would have undoubtedly ended with somebody (probably me) flying down the stairs and manslaughter charges being laid. So I go around to the ramps, eventually make my way up, leg it back past joyous St Kilda fans (and in those circumstances fair enough even if it was only us) to Aisle 47 only to find that it had been pinched. You may have heard my cry of "Fuccccccccccccccccccccccccccccck" echo across the stadium or the sound of one lusty kick hitting a chair. It was a pointless gesture but it helped.

It was my own fault for leaving it there in the first place but you have to wonder if people even bother to look at what's in a bag before they lift it, or do they just wait until they get home and unwrap all the booty they've knocked off during the day. So, if you lifted a yellow Rebel Sport bag with a blue hardcover history of the Melbourne Football Club 1858-1958 in it then feel free to say your 'friend picked it up' and 'was going to hand it in but forgot' and get in touch. Buggered if I'm paying a reward but I'll be happy to unburden you of your psychological torment for being a thieving bastard. Not expecting to get it back so I hope it found its way into the hands of a Melbourne fan who will at least treat it properly instead of letting their kids tear it from cover to cover. Alternatively if you have said book and would like to dispose of it for a reasonable price I would be more than happy to help.

To top it all off, after shuffling back through the crowd to the station (and mark my words one day there will be a fatal stampede in that ridiculously designed path) and getting on a train we ended up sitting at Parliament Station for 10 minutes because some bloody child had to be reunited with his parents. And not even a real child, the kid was about 12. Give him a mobile phone and/or keep an eye on him you plonkers. If he'd been a Melbourne fan I've have worried that his parents were clambering on top of the train trying to make contact with overhead wires.

2015 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Bernie Vince
4 - Jack Watts
3 - Nathan Jones
2 - Jesse Hogan
1 - Jack Viney

Apologies to Toumpas, Cross, Grimes and Dunn.

The Sizzle recovered from an ordinary start - albeit in an understrength defence - to put in a reasonable game and kick an exciting goal but it's still another voteless week for him while Bernard hacks away at the gap. The good news for Tom is that I'm not far away from declaring him provisional winner of the Seecamp. Meanwhile Hogan retakes the lead in the fierce battle for the Hilton. Don't put your head in the oven just yet, we've got some thrillers brewing here.

29 - Tom McDonald (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
22 - Bernie Vince
19 - Nathan Jones
14 - Jesse Hogan (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
13 - Angus Brayshaw
11 - Cameron Pedersen
9 - Aaron vandenBerg
8 - Jack Watts
7 - Jeff Garlett, Jack Viney
6 - Christian Salem
4 - Daniel Cross
3 - Colin Garland, Viv Michie, Dom Tyson
2 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Heritier Lumumba
1 - Mark Jamar (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Ben Newton, Jake Spencer (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)

What an utter travesty their effort was. Probably the worst constructed excuse for a banner seen in the history of this segment. For one the font was horrendous, and the slogans were but more importantly it was totally see through which ruined any chance of either message being readable unless you were trying hard - which most people are not. For all the shit I hung on the Bulldogs banner and its poorly-scanning comedy couplets at least they've mastered the art of creating a white banner which doesn't look like it's been in a wet t-shirt contest.

On the other hand ours had a nice Dunn tribute but the opposition were so putrid it would have probably won if it had just said "HOW ARE YOU GOING TO STUFF THIS UP?" with a picture of an old school flush toilet alongside it. 12-1-0 for the season.

Crowd Watch
I was surprised at how many Melbourne fans turned up to take part in the graveyard shift, I suspect they were mostly sniffing a win and had come to see the famous streak broken. Our losing sequence at the place has become so iconic that even Dutchy Holland is being called to provide media comment on it. Given that our losing sequence against the Saints pre-dates it by a full season and they had won as many games as us I'm not sure why anybody thought this was a slam dunk victory but you believe whatever gets you up in the morning and I'll go on hoping for the best and expecting the worst.

Some old biddy and her daughter behind us were going right off their nut for the Saints, and at one point the granny yelled "That's why men shouldn't umpire, because they're not smart enough" which when it comes to field umpires is actually an unproven theory so fair enough. I'd have been concerned that she was going to keel over and cark it at the end but if you're that old, have followed a team that hasn't won anything since your 50th birthday and recently drew a grand final and still haven't died in your seat from a brain haemorrhage then you're likely to live to a hundred.

At least when you play the Saints you know it's a day where you won't hear any opposition fans resorting to the tired old "when did you last win a flag?" cliche. Once a Saints fan tried to convince me that they were in a better position than us because they'd won their last flag two years more recently than we'd lifted one. He was reminded in no uncertain terms that as he was far too young to have been alive in 1966 that both our teams are nothing more than flotsam and no tarting up the facts is going to change the fact that supporters of real clubs would walk past an argument like that and laugh until they lost control of bodily functions. Which brings us back to granny. Meanwhile the guy in front of me was wearing the sort of jaunty beret that even Gabriel Gate would reject as 'too French'.

There were strange scenes midway through the last quarter when after a number of missed attempts St Kilda took a mark and the guy a couple of rows in front packed up his kid - who had been happily waving his Demons flag and having a great time all day - and left without even bothering to watch the result. Which, as we now know was a miss and while the kid avoided heartbreaking defeat (managing to not have vulture-like TV directors focus on him crying) he also nearly missed an epic victory. There's no doubt it's a shithouse timeslot, and for all I know the guy might live in Omeo but surely if you commit to leaving the house and getting to the ground another 15 minutes during a thriller can't hurt all that much.

As it was the kid probably got back to the car, turned on the radio to hear them describing one of the great stuff-ups and will become a GWS fan tomorrow. Speaking of, for the second week in a row I saw a grown man hanging around with a child wearing the jumper of one of those accursed expansion teams. The Department of Human Services must get involved and start rounding these people up. At least one hadn't gone too early and picked Gold Coast.

P.S - Apologies to whoever sent me a text asking if I was at Etihad. I didn't have your number in my phone and have a lot of non-internet related people I am trying to avoid so was too cowardly to write back in case it was one of them. Yes, I am a terrible person.

Matchday Experience Watch
In a surprise twist I didn't mind Docklands this time, until the end of the game, and when I was waiting for people and needed something to do to keep me away from unhealthy food I appreciated the fact that you could walk laps of the place non-stop without being blocked by security guards. They've also gone crazy on the televisions around the concourses, which is probably great if you're ducking off to the can during the game but just seemed to be playing that horrible TAB ad where the guy ejects from his multi on and endless loop.

The entertainment provided by the Saints was real bottom-four stuff, starting from their inspirational How I Want To Be membership slogan being plastered everywhere and going on from there. That catchphrase probably makes perfect sense in the supporting videos that they flog to members but to neutrals begs the question "the reigning wooden spooner?" Second only to Carlton's "If you smell what the Blues are cooking" monstrosity which took things to a horrendous level by featuring a Magpie and a "Bomber" boiling in a giant premiership cup.

I'm sure My Heart Beats True doesn't exactly inspire opposition fans to drop everything and sign up with us either - and we all know how First and Forever turned out - but with all due respect to the marketing departments who have to find a way to inspire depressed fanbases I would love to see the though processes, Blue Sky Sessions and Powerpoint presentations that they went through to come up with that slogan. Fortunately for them escalating their rebuild to levels that put us to shame should be all they need to maximise membership sales before this year's cut-off.

They had also Jack Billings delivering a birthday cake to a kid, which is probably the first time I've seen any of these 'experience' segments actually work on the the key goal of building loyalty with kids. Given that the average age of our membership is the same as that lippy octogenarian sitting behind us we'd better get on to this sort of stuff before it's too late. I did like early in the year how they had players randomly call junior members, that was a quality touch. If they call in a few weeks time the kids will probably put them through to message bank.

Later on they had a mascot dancing competition and asked people to mime like they were a rockstar for no apparent benefit. Hard to take the moral high-ground when we flog sneakers by suggesting people run up and down on the spot but it was all quite pointless.

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Now, you would like to select Garlett's goal here but the fact that he did precisely stuff all for the rest of the game means I refuse to give him any plaudits. Congratulations instead to Tom McDonald who flirted with disaster by throwing a dummy on his way into goal then was no certainty running into the open goal. Equally thrilling and terrifying, but tremendously rewarding for Sizzle loyalists like me. Apologies to Howe for that clutch kick, but as it all came to nowt I can't consider it.

Despite my narkiness Garlett still leads for the casual set-shot in the last quarter against Footscray. I can't stay angry at him for long.

Stat My Bitch Up
I've never professed to be a maths expert and botched the figures last week. We were actually on 70.1ppg, so managed to beat our season average by 13 points and still lose in traditional Melbourne fashion. Now we're up to 71.2. Get out the chips and streamers, we're a juggernaut. It's better than the 61.09 after 11 games last year, but so is Typhoid.

Meanwhile as far as ultimately pointless individual efforts of note go Nathan Jones' 12 inside 50's were the equal 4th most of any Melbourne player since records have been kept. The last time anyone reached that mark was Brent Moloney in Round 18, 2005. We lost to the Saints that day too - by 88 for god's sake. It also happened the week before we went to Kardinia Park where as you'll remember we won, I went right off and it started the process of us tumbling into the finals only to be thrashed by the Cats in the rematch. It's a rich tapestry.

Next Week
We could really do with the bye after a loss like that rather than a trip back to our version of Ground Zero just as the Cats have played themselves back into form. Not entire sure how neither we nor Collingwood got the bye this week after playing on Monday but it obviously didn't do them any harm. Perhaps because they're a properly drilled football club with a (recent) track record of excellence rather than an Are You Being Served style farce.

With any luck Mitch Clark will opt for another week out so we can avoid being involved in undignified scenes. Also so we can avoid him doing the sort of job on us that he was about to on GWS before his foot fell off. Even if he plays you can bring your own personal Carnival of Hate, I will just stand there looking glum while a montage of all the great Mitch at Melbourne memories goes through my head.

These changes assume that neither Garland nor vandenBerg will be fit. If they are then just toss some magnets up in the air and hope for the best.

IN: Dawes, Newton
OUT: Pedersen (inj), Neal-Bullen (omit)
LUCKY: Riley (possibly busted down to sub, but I would also like to see him stuff Joel Selwood into the turf with criminal intent), Michie (rancid but I am a forgiving man)
UNLUCKY: Neal-Bullen (wasn't a Weetra of a debut by any means but I can't have both he and Stretch in the same side against Geelong)

Was it worth it?
4.40pm on a Sunday, at Docklands, against another shit club, stopping dead in the last quarter (again) then throwing away an improbable win, having my property thieved by some ill-bred arsehole then sitting in a tunnel for 10 minutes waiting for a family reunion. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Final Thoughts
Fortunately I'm stressed to the eyeballs and beyond in every other aspect of my life or I might gone a bit stupid over all this.


  1. I have a copy for you gratus !
    Not sure how to get it to you

  2. As a neutral I thought the game was great, lots of pressure, some pretty good goals, and for comedy value some really funny skill errors.
    Both teams seem to be on the improve, but Melbourne's problems are the same as last week, (month, year etc... ) 3 good players, a few potentially good players, and the rest are just not up to much.
    Another cleanout of the list coming up I suppose.
    They'll get there eventually though. Also this dishwasher could do with a clean.

  3. Ahead of our Port/Coll/STK stretch, i thought if we win one, its another season like all the rest. Win two, and we might be looking at the top end of the also-rans. I obviously didn't bother considering 3 wins. But the amazing and ridiculous part is that as a Dees fan, i didnt consider winning NONE. Why not?! It was staring me in the face!
    Thank god for Carlton.

  4. It's not too much to say that, after a loss like that, your writing provides a genuine sense of closure. We move on and forever down, down, down.

  5. This is the first piece of footy related media that I've been able to read since last night. Aside from a bit of narky with the geriatrics on Demonland about the merits of Max Gawn, I've been sat at home glumly for over 24 hours. No AFL website, no Age, no HS, no 360, no farking post match presser. I just can't stand it.

    1. Post match presser is worth a look if only for the IDIOT journo who asked Roos if "he ever thought Melbourne would win a game at Etihad?". Roos' face is priceless.

  6. Just bumped into the ever polite Sam Frost down the shops. He started running today, told me he is 6 weeks away, like he has been for the past 6.



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