By reasonable community standards it was hardly a win for the ages, but by ours it was fantastic. It's best only to peer under the lid for now, after all we've got to get past the ultimate banana skin next week before our 11th straight year of trying to beat North Melbourne. There's at least cause for excitement beyond the relief we felt at winning in Round 1 last year. In a genuine 50/50 game against a side either in or just above our division we came back from the dead to get the points.
Pre-season form should be treated with suspicion and I usually spit at the suggestion that rubbish teams need to "learn how to win" but there's probably something to be said for three wins in a month giving us the confidence to both launch and maintain the fourth quarter comeback. There's also a lot to be said about the Giants torching endless chances during the game, but when you poison your young side with a blinkered individualist like Steve Johnson it's hard to take the moral high-ground on goals you should have kicked.
Paul Roos might have been premature in trying to build this as the next great rivalry, I'm still waiting for us to get around to playing a final against Richmond for the first time in 75 years, but it's true you never get a boring game against the Giants at the MCG. In their brief, maligned history we've already had the original and best Carnival of Hate, Mark Neeld of all people coaching the greatest last quarter in our history and less pleasingly the day they played two short for the entire second half and still restricted us to three goals. After a year's break playing in front of friends and family at Docklands what we hope will officially become football's most spiteful rivalry returned home for another exciting chapter.
Interest in the game is boosted by the rate of players swapped between the clubs fast approaching the Melbourne-Fremantle free trade agreement of the 1990s. Despite the best efforts of the club shifters in the GWS cheersquad to get a round of boos going for poor old Tomas Bugg who at least gave their shithouse club one season for every paid up member there was only one man who the people really wanted to accuse of high treason, and we were given plenty of opportunity in the first quarter while he was kicking our brains in.
The $2 Million Turd's first 15 minutes pointed to an afternoon of disappointment, even though he never comes to the party by letting on how much he hates us there must be a potent cocktail of self-righteousness and hatred fuelling him under that dead eyed expression because the turncoat played the sort of grand quarter that he seems to deliver against us and nobody else.
If you'd put your money where your MFC self-loathing was you'd have been betting your house with any gaming operator who'd take it on him kicking the first goal, and there he was enjoying being the last chain in an end-to-end Baileyball style swashbucking counter attack. He marked on the goal line, and even though a one metre kick is about his range for accuracy he almost stuffed it up by hastily playing on to avoid kicking to a cacophony of obscenity. Bugg almost got a hand to it, and if he had that would have been good enough reason to declare the season a success right there and then.
Fortunately the spirit of Melbourne still flows through him, because one cracking quarter was followed by three ordinary ones. We don't play them again this year so he's got 21 games left to play well against somebody else or I'll be inducting him into the 'people most often associated with genitalia' wing of the Kent Kingsley Klub next to Brad Dick. He's now 0-3 against us on the MCG, and I have absolutely no doubt that his first win will come in a Grand Final.
For the first of several times yesterday NAB Challenge form was cursed as a false idol after the Giants kicked the first two goals. It's not that we were playing badly, Gawn started his All-Australian campaign with a bang by jumping all over Shane Mumford, Jack Viney was running riot in the midfield and the ball was constantly going inside 50 for no reward. Most of the first three quarters was spent kicking the ball in the hope that Hogan would go smash through opponents like a Sherman Tank driven through the Tour De France but the delivery was so woeful that nobody had a chance, and it gave Phil Davis the chance to be on world record pace for intercept marks like he was Stephen Silvagni.
With our attack handicapped by not being able to mark balls kicked three foot over their outstretched fingerips the best moment of the first quarter didn't even end in a score, but not for want of trying from Jack Watts who continued his mid-career revival with this piece of glorious footwork.
It was like the time he did a blind turn around nobody against Carlton in 2011 only without a crippled James Strauss lying in the background with a shattered leg. That year looked like his time before he was ruined by a variety of sources both internal and external, and I've been stitched up by false dawns before but he took marks, he kicked goals and he spent minimal time filling gaps in defence so this must finally be it. Just in time for him to take us for an enormous pay day and a long term contract, and it might be victory talking but I'd be happy to sign that deal now instead of waiting a few weeks to see if his form continues against better sides.
Of course it's mandatory for any Melbourne player who looks like they're about to enjoy good times to go through an injury scare (see Jack Grimes' career or Matt Jones being concussed against St Kilda just as he was playing his best game for years) but luck was running so heavily in his direction that he limped off, then ran back on and played what would probably have been a best on ground performance if it wasn't for the dominance of Viney. Remember when I convinced myself he was going to ask for a trade at the end of last year?
If he'd been on the other side carving us up instead of Steve Johnson kicking goals from the square and refusing to handball to players in better positions I would have thrown myself down the stairs of the Ponsford, bouncing past that picture of Matthew Elliott winning the 2003/04 Sheffield Shield that I have stormed past in anger so many times over the last few years and once despairingly attacked with a double open handed slap.
The goals the Giants got on the rebound were painful, but it was hardly terminal now that we'd seemingly reached the stage where we'd kick more than six goals in three quarters. The only complication was connecting with a forward, which we neatly sidestepped by importing players from other areas to do the job while Watts was up the ground spinning towards glory and Phil Davis was riding Hogan like a horse.
Vince got the party started with a free kick at 11 minute mark - well ahead of when we were used to kicking the first goal - before Ben Kennedy's proved that while looks like Emo Maric from certain angles the similarities stop there by kicking a ripper the boundary line then bouncing about with a broad smile. There was a brief intermission while somebody called Lobb dominated us in the air, before James Harmes delivered the first CRUMB of the year, vandenBerg kicked a set shot and Garlett enjoyed being on the end of a chain of handballs where I wish somebody had just kicked the thing 10 seconds earlier to bring up five for the quarter and a handy enough lead.
For anybody who has been living on a desert island for the last year and doesn't understand the importance of Gawn to this side it should be noted that the only time we conceded a goal straight out of the centre in the first half was one of the rare occasions when he was on the bench and Frost was in the middle. Difficult task for a backup ruckman to take on Mumford at the best of times but there's a cavalcade of killer ruckmen over the horizon that Maximum is going to have to battle single-handedly to keep us alive this year.
It was another great day where he looked like he was going to keel over and die in the first quarter but like a marathon runner he pushed through to the finish line like a champ. All this and he once spewed on $cully, so I will move the motion to fast track his life membership.
With the run of goals and our dominance in the middle if you'd only been introduced to Melbourne a few weeks ago this probably looked like the start of something big, but experienced Demon watchers know that one of our special moves is teasing greatness with a run of goals in one quarter then kicking one over the next two quarters. After watching four straight games without a loss I thought I'd try positivity and shut up about it, but I knew deep down that we were set for at best a one goal second quarter. Which was one more than we actually got.
The quarter almost started nicely, with Nathan Jones tough as nail as always trying out his new neck by smashing through a cohort of Giants defenders before kicking a point but for the rest of it we provided very little up front. That didn't hurt us as much as it could have because we weren't playing badly elsewhere, and while we lacked in breathtaking attacking play we had the greatest combination of hard-headed lunatics at a centre bounce in years courtesy of Viney, Jones and Oliver.
The Hamburglar belied any suspicions that his pre-season form had been a fluke with arguably the best AFL debut by a Melbourne player since Brent Heaver in 1990 despite spending 40% of the game on the bench. The only difference from his first three unofficial games was that he wasn't given two hours to get his kicks away in traffic, but his ability to get the ball in traffic then hit a teammate with a handball under pressure was eye-watering. There were so many times he looked to be wrapped up then managed to get it to a teammate in space to keep the ball moving, and he was dominating contested possessions and clearances. Viney has gone supernova in the last year, but having this guy in the trenches with him and Jones is a winner. Then there's Brayshaw to come back and do I still queue for finals tickets at Bass?
With Petracca and Weideman (remember him?) still to come flogging our first pick to Gold Coast this year will look like genius if we finish any higher than 13th. The injuries haven't hit yet, despite a few false alarms yesterday, but there appears to genuine depth for the first time in years. We're still not going to make the eight but this is the year to set up for future glory. It's not just the win, that has little bearing on the long-term future it's the overall construction which this time does not seem to have been done by shonky, unlicensed builders.
Given that the Umpiring Wheel of Fortune had a mind of its own it was amazing that they managed to avoid paying one deliberate under the vicious new interpretation which had played havoc with us through the pre-season. It wasn't for lack of intent, there were a number of times where the ball rolled towards the line and you could see them getting ready to swing the arm in theatrical fashion and pinch us before it stopped or too many players ended up in the area to allow them to nick us.
At one point the GWS player was so sure it was going to tumble over the line in his favour that he stopped trying to chase it, and it allowed Dean Kent (or possibly Matt Jones) to nip in and steal it from him. Once the umpires calm down and stop hoping to impress the rules committee by pinching absolutely everything with scant discretion it might turn out to be a good change. Like the rushed behind rule which is barely ever paid now but creates just enough doubt in the minds of players that every once in a while they'll suffer a defensive calamity because they don't know what they can and can't do.
There was one umpire he thought quite a lot of himself and would greet boundary throw-ins of any variety with a swinging arm into the 'throw in' gesture just to provoke the audience into shitting themselves. Is it any wonder people hate them? Even those of us who understand they're trying to deal with all sorts of ridiculous interpretations are bamboozled when they pay a simple holding the ball by tooting long and hard (not in the same fashion as a Collingwood player) and take five seconds to deliver the gesture instead of just blowing the whistle, giving a cursory signal so everyone knows what's going on and awarding the free.
That's when they're paying holding the ball, if you were a neutral surely you stood up, walked out and vowed never to return again when Sam Frost's classic chase down and tackle was done for a fictional push in the back during the third quarter? There were no excuses available because it was in open play with plenty of time to observe that there was nothing like a push involved. We did get our first goal after Bernie Vince's attempt to defraud the umpire into thinking he'd been tackled high roped the bloke into paying a secondary free so it was probably karmic payback, but roll on Round 6 when umpires have settled down and stopped trying to pay everything.
There were several baffling decisions, but given that later in the Gold Coast/Essendon game I saw a player go through an opponent's legs like he was intentionally trying to maim him and the umpire standing two metres away showed no interest who knows what they're ever going to do. In a final comment on the umpiring I would like to risk a defamation lawsuit by suggesting there were a few times where the a player narrowly carried the ball over the line and they let it go as part of the league wide crack-down on boundary throw-ins.
The Giants were on top on the scoreboard in the second quarter, but we were kept in it by a combination of their wastefulness, our defence holding strong and the fact that we were actually playing better than them in all aspects of the sport of Australian rules football other than the ability to convert a score. How good were Sizzle Sr's kicks out of defence? The towering, pack crashing marks over people with silly names like Lobb are expected but the kicking that improved so much last season but regressed during the pre-season was spot on yesterday. I still get heart in mouth whenever he tries to pinpoint a kick 40 metres away but he was hitting the mark every time and it helped set up a lot of quick attacks.
Eventually most inside 50 entries failed due to going in at post height, but other than a few high profile moments of farceshambles our ball movement across the ground was better than league standard.
It wasn't all good news, Dom Tyson is still well off his 2014 form and vandenBerg was well held but nobody's going to argue with him when he kicked two goals. Picking both forward/ruckmen didn't really work either, but we were still playing pretty well by the standard of goalless MFC quarters. We might have had one at the end, with Pedersen clearly juggling the ball over the line but being given a second life by the video review only to miss everything and leave us without even the point we'd have had in the first place.
If nothing else at least the unnecessary focus on Jesse Hogan's set-shot kicking was off the agenda, because he couldn't get close to having one. His body language was terrible when it wasn't going his way in the first three quarters, but I would have been frustrated standing there on the end of that sort of haphazard service as well. That's two games in a row he's played 'badly' and kicked five goals, so let's get back to worrying about who's paying the bills for his calls to WA rather than treating him like the new James Manson when he's having shots and the new Charles Manson when he's not. I am more than willing to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to him, and if he has to curse his hands and yell abuse at people to keep himself going then swear away young man.
The debate about his run-up was classic pre-season media fodder given that it was based entirely on one set shot where he did an Irish Jig on the way in and botched it horribly. Was anyone really surprised after seeing him being generally accurate last year that when he finally got the ball in hand today it mattered little if he introduced the Moonwalk into his routine? He's being done the soft shoe shuffle since day 1 and all last year the shots were more than likely to go through, so much the better he was drilling them with the game on the line without a care in the world.
At the time though Hogan's comeback was still a quarter away, and other than Dean Kent's snap which swung violently to sneak through at the last minute so were all our goals. It was the quarter where we delivered the none-more-Melbourne tactic of actually losing ground by kicking a goal, working our arse off to finally get the first for 45 minutes then not only conceding it straight back out of the centre but before we could process what had happened they got another. If we hadn't kicked the first goal we'd probably have been six points better off.
This was the point where Melbourne supporters everywhere started dropping their bundle. It wasn't like fans were going to storm the race and take a swing at the players, but there was the general level of discord you can only get from a side who kick one goal in two quarters. Personally I was frustrated, and starting to have acid flashbacks to that Queen's Birthday where we kicked three goals yet went home feeling we could have won, but given that I didn't expect anything to start with I was comfortable to label it "the loss we had to have" and treat it as a trial for what would hopefully be a morale boosting thwacking of Essendon B the next week.
Didn't mean I had to be happy, the idea of losing to $cully makes me want to take an axe to a goalpost but it need not have unleashed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. We weren't playing badly it was just that there was no taking advantage of all the times we were getting it down there. How ironic that we used to have five inside 50's a game for three goals and thought as long as we fed them more there'd be no stopping us, now we were heaving the ball down there non-stop only to see the Giants pick our attacks off with the greatest of ease.
When Gawn missed the set-shot at the end of the third quarter it was a lot like the infamous 12 goal quarter game, only without half the crowd wanting us to lose so we could sack the coach before the press conference. Having said that I was bracing myself for a week of media/panic driven "Roos is finished, promote Goodwin now" frenzy, so maybe it had more in common than I'd thought. When we started kicking goals rapidly again at the start of the last quarter it seemed to have even more in common, shame we had to stop instead of completely stomping them but all's well that ends in four points.
With coverage of the game on all radio stations I opted for SEN, who despite having a sponsor for every aspect of the call other than KB getting a player's name wrong are usually a sensible alternative to the unnecessary screaming of Triple M or the funeral atmosphere of the other AM stations. When we kicked the first goal of the last quarter and the guy who wasn't KB yelled "That could be the firestarter!" I might have thrown my radio at the ground if I wasn't so excited by the goal. It's bad enough that Dwayne's managed to bludgeon "chaos ball" into commentator vernacular but if they're all going to rip this off as well I might take my chances with the Tobin Brothers.
At least unlike 87% of the times Dwayne has said it over the years he was right, and the Watts mark/goal (*swoon*) did prompt a wonderful comeback. In a surprise outbreak of tactical flexibility that proved for the first time in recent memory there was something in the Plan B envelope we'd banished Cameron Pedersen to defence and cleared up more space for the Paul Prymke Plate winner and Hogan to work in. It came off a treat, more of that in the future thanks coach(es).
Four goals in the first seven minutes put us in front with far too much time left to get comfortable. Frost could have given us breathing space but missed from the sort of set shot that would have put Hogan on the front page if he missed, before Hogan converted the sort of set shot that nobody will talk about because it went through. We eventually got the break that put it beyond one kick courtesy of vandenBerg's second, rolling it under two Giants and with the heavy suspicion that Hogan's block to help it get through crossed the line of legality.
There was still long enough for us to make a hash of it, and we spent the last few minutes riding the wave of the Giants missing set shots from all angles to keep us alive. Luckily I hadn't piffed the radio in frustration at the outbreak of Dwayne because at least that way I knew when their last goal went in there was only nine seconds left and I felt a strange calm, thinking there was absolutely no way we could disgrace ourselves again like that St Kilda match.
We do have form even in almost stuffing up games that looked won. It took a Watts mark in the dying seconds to beat Footscray after we'd been a million points up with 10 minutes to go in 2013, and on that great night Christian Salem beat Essendon we had to turn back an attack in the last 20 seconds. Last year our disgraceful command of time and one bastard of a bounce for the late Jimmy Toumpas cost us and bloody hell it almost happened again.
At least unlike that fateful evening at Etihad Stadium everyone got back into defence this time, and we almost proved that even stacking the backline wouldn't have saved us that night by allowing one of their rare centre clearances to get the ball forward with time rapidly expiring.
I tried to count down nine seconds from the bounce, but was obviously too tense to do the traditional "one banana, two banana..." method and was well ahead of actual time, expecting the siren to go as the ball was flying inside 50. When it still hadn't gone by the time the ball hit the pack I expected to see it bounce into the arms of an opposition play and through the goal, but from the other end of the ground I didn't know the last man who got a boot to the ball just as the siren went was Australia's least popular millionaire since that bloke from Energy Watch, Tom $ of Western Sydney.
That would have been the ultimate fuck you, like him buying my house, evicting me then turning it into a Koi Carp pond for his own amusement. If he'd kicked it it's likely he'd have done a lap of honour in joy, at which point I'd have leant over the fence and earned myself a 10 year ban from the MCG.
The siren was blessed relief, because as much as I'd gone in thinking we wouldn't win if we'd lost from two goals in 10 seconds it would have been the greatest deflation since the Hindenberg. It probably wouldn't have been fatal, after all we did back up the St Kilda fiasco by trampling on Geelong at Kardinia Park last year but it would have meant a week of nerves about the psychological damage (on fans and players alike), enough replays to keep you away from any footy shows and open season for every bastard in the world to do gags about us even though they know full well like we do that GWS should be bricked up behind a wall and left to die.
Who knows why Tomas Bugg decided to don a jacket that looked like he was a student at Riverdale High while being splashed with Gatorade during the singing of the song, but by then it didn't matter a jot because we'd won, and even though it's happened two years in a row I'm not used to that happening at all let alone in Round 1.
2016 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
It's absolute carnage for anybody who had 'no eligible player' in the minors, as for the first time in history all three categories receive a leader in the first round. Congratulations to Clayton Oliver for drawing level with James Harmes and Emo Maric on the all-time leaderboard after just one game, may he soon mow down Mitch Clisby (5 career votes), Daniel Nicholson (11) and Shane Valenti (18) before setting his sights on Nathan Jones' imperious career tally of 282.
5 - Jack Viney
4 - Jack Watts
3 - Clayton Oliver (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
2 - Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
1 - Tom McDonald (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
Apologies to N. Jones, Kennedy, Vince, M. Jones, Salem, Kent and Hogan (last quarter)
Matchday Experience Watch
The nation held its breath waiting to see what would replace Howie's Hangers, and while I'd still have preferred Gawn's Grabs we were introduced to the new and improved Hogan's Heroes. It was probably because the sponsor, who would have been thrilled to see the segment promoted from pre-game to the quarter time break so somebody saw it, has a name starting with 'H'. Which is important when you're paying money to sponsor a segment featuring rank amateurs threatening to do their Fasolo impersonation and land head first.
It could have been Hogan's Hulks if the other HH hadn't been involved in so much unsavoury activity recently, but at least this way they got to play the classic TV theme song much to the bemusement of anyone in the ground under 30.
Elsewhere there was little to offend in our presentation, other than the announcement over the loudspeaker deep in the last quarter of who'd won an Instagram competition. With the game hanging by a thread some bastard reading out the username of a random that the rest of us couldn't care less about was not welcomed. They don't read out the winning raffle tickets (all of which were oddly enough in the 500,000's), this didn't need it either. The old 'run like a Demon' competition was back, which is a significantly less terrifying experience when you're sitting in the open and not undercover where the sound of hundreds of people stomping makes it sound like the stadium is about to collapse.
As for league enforced gimmicks I saw at least two of our players glance up at the countdown clock before missing set-shots. Given that the lowest I saw it go today was nine seconds it's hardly going to be the next big thing for kids to count along to as was suggested when it was hastily introduced a few weeks ago. It's practically impossible for any player who isn't trying to waste time not to at least start his run-up by that point so the less of this foolish idea the better. The fact that they can't even introduce it at the Gabba for some reason (do they not have a working clock in Queensland?) should have meant the whole idea was shelved for now. It's one thing not to have it working in Alice Springs where they probably don't even have a screen but if you can't put it or a video review system in at a proper league ground don't bother anywhere else.
Even more hastily introduced was the countdown clock as part of the fence advertising. It sounded like a terrible idea until I realised it carried more terms and conditions than a home loan so was actually quite useless. It only supposed to show intermittently between 10 and two minutes in certain quarters, but I didn't see it at all. To my own disappointment I was desperately searching for it 17 minutes into the last quarter when we were in front, the yellow coats were starting to roam the boundary and no bastard on the radio would give a time update.
Beating GWS in a banner making contest is like beating Melbourne 2012/13 in a football match, it is almost impossible not to. Given their natural handicaps at having to put something together on foreign soil (because surely they don't carry crepe paper to all ends of the country like our side) it was a reasonable effort which would have at least beaten one of those classic St Kilda 'efforts' which are so transparent you can't read either side properly.
At least unlike anybody we played in the pre-season the Giants presumably bothered to fill both sides. Two of our three previous opponents didn't bother and the Dogs could only be roused into doing a one-sided effort when they found out our cheersquad were bringing one. Not that you'd know because they never rotated it, but I could see that they had the sort of curtain that will cause me to cancel this segment if we ever follow suit.
There were limited rotations at Demonland as well, a dangerous trend which might come back to haunt us against big budget outfits later in the year, but on the side I could see the kerning was perfect as always and the addition of a gigantic version of the new logo welcomed. Dees win and it's 4-0 to start the year.
P.S - As this is the place to discuss all-things cheersquad related I enjoyed the hypnotic circles they were waving about whenever opposition players were trying to kick straight. It worked such a treat on GWS that they kicked like arseholes at both ends and brainwashed Steve Johnson into blindness when teammates were in a better position.
For all the shit we hang on the AFL and their rigged fixture, it was the second year in a row they did us a favour by using Round 1 excitement to boost what would have otherwise been a rubbish home attendance against a franchise later in the year. There were a surprising number of grown adults who had chosen to dump real footy teams and follow the Giants, but even they only provided a sliver of the 28,505 crowd. Looks like the difference between Round 23 at Etihad Stadium and Round 1 at the MCG is about 20,000 people.
In an attempt to get some flavour of the newly confident (but not yet arrogant) Melbourne fans I sat amongst the people, but they proved disappointingly abusive to the obvious target and only started going right off their tits in celebration when we launched the comeback in the last quarter. Overall we still bat well above our average on crowd noise, going utterly spaz as players ran to the bench and sounding like 80,000 at the siren. A few more abusive lunatics would have been nice though.
Meanwhile who knows why those dickheads were dressed as umpires in the Southern Stand forward pocket. Either they knew somebody umpiring, were being ironic or its the new version of that troupe of paid actors posing as GWS supporters dressed as monks.
Stat My Bitch Up
First time we've played two home and away games in a row against the same opposition since Richmond in 1986/1987. The difference was this time we won both, and you know what happened in 1987 so start preparing yourself for tears when we cock up a Preliminary Final in amazing fashion.
Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
With the pre-season nominees wiped from the ledger that's bad news for Aaron vandenBerg who lost his clubhouse lead, but let's be fair Ben Kennedy in the first quarter would have beaten him anyway. It wasn't just the angle he kicked it from, it was the surgical way it dropped into the far corner as two defenders desperately lunged while it floated over their fingertips. We all love a thumping goal that flies three levels high and almost kills somebody in a corporate box but never discount the pleasing aesthetic of a failed desperate lunge.
To celebrate his victory Ben wins a session of Iyengar Yoga with fellow Collingwood to MFC tradee Dannie Seow. The pre-season winner will have to console himself with the runners-up prize of absolutely nothing for that rolling goal in the last quarter that eluded everyone and was aided by one of the great shepherds of our time.
Essendon were total wank against Gold Coast, but no doubt on the back of the Waco style siege mentality atmosphere of their march to the ground and 20 minutes of applause for James Hird before the first bounce they will come out flying. If we withstand that without shitting the bed and getting nervy it feels unnatural to say it but we should win. Don't forget to bring your Farce Alarm just in case, and you might want to pack some mace too because the Essendon fans are going to be in a foul mood once the propaganda party wears off.
As for changes, Sizzle Junior might be the future but I was suspect about them picking him in front of Dunn this early. Like his pre-season form he showed a few nice touches that bode well for the future but still looked a bit of a way off and seems like his ankle has answered the question anyway.
As for Pedersen it seemed odd picking both him and Frost, and neither of them did much even when they weren't taking on the impossible of job replacing Gawn. In a Thursday night choice between the two I'd have had the former but he was uninspiring I'll narrowly stick with Frost next week. There might be some argument for stretching Essendon's weakened defence with another tall, but between Hogan/Watts and Frost/Gawn that should be plenty of stretch without over-complicating things.
In comes Brayshaw to join the wrecking ball unit in the centre, with the new interchange cap meaning a better spread of players spending time off the ground I can't see why he can't tag team with the Hamburglar and get about causing mischief around the ground.
IN: Brayshaw, Dunn
OUT: O. McDonald (inj), Pedersen (omit)
Get well soon...
... from all of us at Demonblog to the original Jesse Hogan from The Age who has had a recent major health scare. His support of this page over the years has been much appreciated, and best wishes for getting back in action and watching the Dees again before long.
Like a typical match review Demonwiki is now 7274 pages long, but after six and a half years of mining through every source known to man for information I've at least temporarily hit the wall. Part of that is because there's a major project a decade in the making, but given that since 2005 projects related to this page are currently running at a 7% completion rate if you don't see more details by Queen's Birthday you may assume I've wasted my time.
Was it worth it?
By christ yes, even if we'd fallen short in the last quarter it was a good trial for the future. If the forward line and delivery to it can be tinkered with successfully I don't think it's completely outrageous for us to be in the finals race until the last month. Don't hold your breath for a do or die clash with the Cats at Kardinia Park in Round 23 just yet but at least you've been given permission to dream. I think we'll finish 9-13, but a good 9-13.
Vital lessons learnt and four points in the bank. Shit wins are great wins.