Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** ***k

I'm probably the most pragmatic person in the land when it comes to umpiring, but when we went into three quarter time of a game in Perth ahead in the free kick count I knew there was a massive correction on the cards. I don't believe in flat-out, cynical rorts (not outside AFL HQ anyway), but like gravity stopping us from floating into the atmosphere, mysterious natural forces always ensure West Coast emerge from home games unscathed.

If you watch enough footy you'll see games repeated, and this was the spiritual successor to Round 18, 2016. Both times we arrived as no chance, heroically held the Eagles at bay for three quarters, then lacked the poise to overcome kooky last quarter umpiring and finished with a score in the 60s.

The bad news for conspiracy theorists is that even with every decision after three quarter time between 50/50 to 99/1 going against us (until the last few minutes when a couple of cheap ones left us ahead on the total free count and allowed the locals to play victim), is the focus will instead be on the myriad ways we threw away what would have been an epic, backs-to-the-wall win for the ages in front of 40,000 secessionists making noises like constipated cattle.

Despite the result, and general suspicion of the idea of an 'honourable loss', the team performance between first bounce and the rot setting in with two minutes left in the third quarter should be appreciated. There were plenty of contributors when we were going well, but the man most responsible for us getting about 75 point closer than I'd expected was Max Gawn, who put in one of the finest four quarter performances of his career.

After the Eagles made a late change to bring in a second ruckman I thought we were walking into the same sort of ambush as the Preliminary Final/Round 1. Turns out it only works if Scott Lycett is involved. When news of the late, hilariously shameless change (replacing a player with 'general soreness') came through we either held our nerve and refused to be drawn into the game, or Preuss was already on the way back to Melbourne for the Casey game.

Either way, Maximum responded to the challenge by dissembling his opposition like a pair of IKEA wardrobes. He tapped everything that came near him, and when it didn't go to the advantage of our midfield he steamed back into the contest like an uncaged bloody animal and won the ball himself. Nine clearances is an outrageous total for a ruckman, equal second most for a ruckman since the stat was first tracked in 1998 behind 11 (!!) to Jamar in 2011 and level with Jeff White's nine in 2005. It's a midfielders' number, and even then the only players to have had as many in the last two years are Oliver (x7), Viney (x3), Jones and Melksham. And none of them had to contest the ruck first. Shame nobody will remember his game for anything other than being the stepladder for Mark of the Year.

Having the dominant ruckman in the contest was ace, but against a forward line featuring both talls and smalls capable of tearing us a new one I had zero faith in our B-Team backline keeping them to a low enough score to remain competitive. Under the circumstances they were far from flawless, but adjusting for status they did a fantastic job. Without Jetta, Hibberd, or Lewis I'd factored in conceding a minimum four to Josh Kennedy, but otherwise we restricted them to speculative long shots, goals from bastard bounces, and one immense goal-line cock up.

With respect to Lewis winning a bunch of premierships at an organisation that I give zero shits about, I'm not sure how we were lacking the leadership or organisation that people do a hammy trying to defend. You wouldn't let Marty Hore kick for your life (except on the run for 50 eh Gold Coast fans?) but he was intercepting everything that came near him (including three contested, my new gold standard stat), while Harrison Petty looked like light years ahead of his disastrous debut, Oscar did enough to hold his own, and Frost was having one of those days where 50% of the stuff he did was awesome and the other 50% was memorably chaotic.

It was another exciting outing for the AFL's answer to extreme sports, continuing to attack the ball like a ferret let loose up a pants leg, and doing hilarious things like tearing somebody's jumper to shreds after a high-speed chance, then kicking the free directly out on the full. I'm not upset, it's the price you pay for moments like that gather and turn against Hawthorn where time stood still. It might be better in the long term if we find somebody a touch more stable to play down there but for now - because there's not much else to live for this season - I'm feeding off the white-knuckle excitement.

Down the other end, Adam Simpson was so casual about our chances of kicking a big score that he trialled a first year forward who had more goals than anyone on our list against McSizzle. This was a spectacular failure, with our man playing his best quarter since the Semi Final. He marked everything that came near him, created opportunities for others, and generally looked like changing the course of the game. The only blot was a missed set shot that he'd have kicked with his eyes closed last year, and once West Coast got wise and switched George McGovern onto him he was back to being dragged to the square and ambushed in marking contests.

Smith was an ok support, but the difference in McDonald's success between playing on their #1 and #12 defender shows why we desperately need another convincing forward 50 target to stretch opposition defences. Whether that's Preuss (if the coach can be convinced to show an interest), Weideman (post-mystery injury), both of them or Hogan (via producing the receipt and demanding a refund on May and Kolodjashnij) it doesn't matter. It's hard to judge when we've had so many casualties, but niggling injuries or not I'm convinced he's not going to be a #1 forward unless we can a) find an equally or more dangerous marking target to play alongside him, or b) create acres of space inside 50 for him to work in. Would also help if he rediscovered his laser-like goalkicking instead of being 6.8 for the season.

With the tall forwards doing everything but kicking goals in the first quarter, it was left to the others to put ball between post. Jones obliged at the start - before playing a very ropey game that had me nervously adjusting my collar in spirit - before Petracca artfully disposed of his opponent in a marking contest and flubbed the set shot. Now there's a man who needs a sports psychologist. The good news is that unlike the days we were too tight to employ one so Viney had to hire his own, we now have a shrink on the payroll so there should be no excuse for not working on Truck's issues. If that doesn't work I see we also have a "head soft tissue therapist" on the books.

Like a lower velocity version of Frost, Petracca did some nice things amidst the bloopers, but nobody will remember them. And to be fair this wasn't the first time this year he's been in a perfect position to mark inside 50, taken his mind off the job at the last minute and come out looking like a bit of a poon. 33% of me wants them to drop him for a week just to send a message that nobody's expendable, the other two thirds are made up of 'why do we keep playing him so close to goal?' and 'if he was a #22 pick nobody would give a rat's so just keep playing him'. After 72 games it's all going a bit Jack Watts (without a false-alarm stint in defence), so you can either accept the rough with the smooth and hope for a breakthrough or just give up and ship him to Port Adelaide for pick 32.

Further along the experience scale, Garlett's three goals were appreciated (especially as it's the equal most of any player this season), but it was one of the least impressive multi-goal hauls I've ever seen. In 2016, Dean Kent had what was labelled "the worst four goal performance in history" but at least one of those was a clutch goal in the dying seconds that gave us a chance to win. I'm not against the two goals where he snuck out the back, because I've been waiting weeks to kick some cheap ones, and the miss of the easy snap in the first quarter is the sort of stuff he's been doing for years, but on the vibe it felt like a game where a small forward could have done so much more.

Back down the other end of the scale was Oskar Baker. It felt like he was being given a token game because nobody else was left, and he couldn't go four quarters on debut, but bloody Nora he hit some incisive passes early on. Bit disappointing that he's cut his previously zany hair, but there was not an ounce of hesitation in playing his part when we were madly moving the ball at any cost. Let's see it again before getting excited about his future, but it certainly left me wanting more. Along with Petty it was a big day out for fringe players - all of who are likely to be mysteriously dropped within two weeks.

After five minutes of throwing the kitchen sink at a clearly startled side but failing to kick a second goal, nobody was surprised when we conceded one and almost went for seconds immediately after. This was more like the expected wipeout, especially when Kennedy got his second. That we only let him get two more in the last 3.5 quarters is a credit to all involved.

We got back in front at the break (sucked in quarter quad punters) with one of the better running goals you'll see, capped off by Hunt having to avoid being shirtfronted by Petracca on the way to go. It was the highlight of a quarter of playing on at every opportunity, which didn't backfire much more than our usual methods, and instantly made us look far more likely to score. The premiership coach wasn't having any of that and clamped down after quarter time, but like the Elimination Final we kept ourselves afloat after the scoring dried up by keeping the other side out. Stiff shit Channel 7 executives fanging to play an ad, but if it takes grinding out narrow, low scoring victories then slap me on the arse and call me Ross Lyon.

The longer we got away without conceding, the more I went on high alert for a quick burst of goals that would put us away. And so it was, but even when we played into their hands by stopping the run and going back to hit 'n hope bombs we could still have won. Not sure if we should have, but like last week if other sides don't want to win I'm happy to run a premiership points amnesty program.

The Gawn Effect was demonstrated by our first four goals coming from clearances. Without much competition it might have been the best we've played all year, and when Garlett got the first goal of the second quarter suspicions grew that we were going to make a game of it. Not that you'd know from the commentators, who were insistent on pushing a bullshit stat about the Eagles always winning if they took 90 marks. Sure, that happened again, but it's as good an example as you'll get of statistics being misused.

The first indication that things would end badly was the Eagles losing a player for the rest of the game before half time. Nobody is worse at taking advantage of the other side losing a player (forget 90 marks, give me this stat), and in the time between his departure and half time West Coast kicked the only goal. Despite torching more opportunities, including what would have been a popular goal to Baker in the dying seconds, and playing significantly worse than the opening term we'd doubled our lead from two to four points. That's where the association between the MFC and four points ended.

Much of the third quarter felt like we were just holding on, and I even had to agree with BT for the first time since GEE. GOD. BOY. WOW. when he suggested we were prone to being blown off the park in 10 minutes of madness. My good mate Brian and I were correct, but it took another quarter for the ship to capsize. For now we had a disappointingly flubbed early chance to McDonald, before Garlett got his second. Despite conceding another to Kennedy we almost kept the heat on until three quarter time.

The much maligned Petracca and Garlett both got goals to open a 19 point lead and it was all getting a bit real. Until DemonTime arrived and we formed an orderly queue to allow the Eagles two chances. I'm used to conceding late in quarters, but when we gave them another set shot right on the siren I nearly stormed out of my own house. He missed, we were two goals in front, and I was mentally budgeting for defeat.

If you suspected a race to even up the free kick numbers in the last quarter, you wouldn't have been shocked to see Salem hit a ball-tearer tackle within seconds of the last quarter starting and be pinged for a push. I'd rather be whipped with barbed wire than watch a replay, so will assume any contact to the back came after the tackle was complete, and as such had no bearing on the player's ability to dispose of the ball.

As Tim Smith later had his head driven face first into the death valley 'turf' with his arms pinned and didn't get anything except a free kick against, we can only assume Salem said something about the umpire's mum halfway through the tackle because he obviously wasn't penalised for it being dangerous. In a competitive field, the paying frees for incidental contact to the head/neck that aren't disruptive or dangerous is amongst the AFL's worst ideas.

Naturally, the Eagles took advantage of this stroke of mismanagement by kicking an arsey goal from hard on the boundary line. The sort of plucked from elbow deep in the nether-regions finish we've sorely missed this year. Any goal will do, but it would be tremendous to grab a few unexpected ones instead of slaving away to find targets instead 50 then watching them miss from directly in front. Petty got his hand to it either just before or after the ball cleared the line, but instead of the time honoured tradition of vigorously slapping your hand in the goal umpire's face to signify that you'd touched it he just calmly accepted his fate and the AFL's ND (no definition) replay footage was nowhere near conclusive enough to overturn it.

Now, more than ever, I suspected we were sunk. After the insanity of last week it was too early to write us off, especially as we were still leading. Soon enough we weren't, with a cynical two-handed shovel out of a pack at the top of the square levelling the score. I could understand multiple umpires missing it if the play was goalside, or facing the boundary, but it happened in the most open part of the ground where you would have to be blind or standing in the wrong place not to see it.

Some would argue that as it directly set up the goal it should be subject to the video review, but as an anti-video replay advocate from way back it would be cynical to get involved just because we got ripped off here. Though I'd have supported it in this case just to annoy the locals. Elsewhere, an out of zone umpire used his X-Ray vision to see Oliver barely failing to connect fist to ball. Soon after the free kick count for the last quarter reached 6-0 and you went "ahh right, I see where this is going".

We were so spooked by bullshit frees that Tim Smith guaranteed himself a run on the end of season blooper reel by failing to realise that the umpiring was in an advanced state of disarray, assuming a teammate had been pinched holding the ball and standing still 30 metres from goal until finally tackled. It was such a ludicrous scenario that even the Eagles player was hesitant to tackle him because it was too good to be true. Then to cap off his night he was knocked loopy in a bullshit tackle that was deemed a free against him but still ended with Lewis Jetta being suspended for a week. How good would it have been for relations between the states if Smith had surrendered and still been given the free?

In a flashback to the original Perth Stadium game, when West Coast hit the lead we resisted the urge to immediately roll over and die. Which is a positive trait, even if we were left with bugger all at the end of the night. Hunt's second (putting him ahead of Melksham in the lamest leading goalkicker race since Dawes won with 20 in 2014) levelled the scores again, but that's where it ended.

Last year we got back in front via Melksham, before Kent sunk the set shot of a lifetime, and Milkshake added an exclamation mark. This time we wobbled around for a few more minutes, wasting inside 50 opportunities left, right and centre, before conceding from what will probably be the second successive Mark of the Year against us. And a fair old grab it was too, with the people who argued about Gawn's jugular being used for leverage having forgotten all the times they roared in delight at Jeremy Howe plunging his knee into the base of an opponent's skull.

What I really objected to were the afters. Not the Eagles players sarcastically mocking Gawn as if he hadn't nearly single-handedly beat them, but that the response from Maximum's teammates peaked with Oscar lightly pulling a player away by the jumper. Given that it was a guaranteed goal anyway I'm disappointed that nobody steamed in and exacted vengeance on behalf of the man who has done so much to keep his side afloat for the last few weeks. In lieu of a dust-up that would have exorcised all the ill-will on the spot, here's to Nathan Vardy accidentally sitting on the premiership medal he blundered into and needing to have it surgically pulled from his chocbox.

The last gasp came when Stretch missed a shot that would have left us with an outside chance of another preposterous victory, before Frost completed one of the most gloriously unhinged nights of football on record with a fiasco even more memorable than Smith giving up down the other end. As the ball took a wacky bounce and slowly wobbled towards the line he grasped at it like Rocky chasing the chicken (ironically, the last time I had cause for this reference was in relation to the same man in the same situation against Adelaide in 2016), only to over-run it and allow former sex romper Jack Darling the simplest tap-in he'll ever get.

There would be no astonishing comeback this time, and even when the umpires tried to make us feel better with a token administrative 50 that shot missed as well, leaving a margin that I would have grasped at like Frost trying to rush a behind before the game but now felt flat as a tack. Obviously I'd have preferred to be closer because that would have meant an outside chance at winning, but as it turned out the gap was just enough that I was able to walk away satisfied with the fight shown instead of cracking the shits. This is not to say I was happy about blowing a lead, it was more acceptance about where we're at. That we even gave ourselves a chance with half the Casey team is commendable. Commendability gets you zero premiership points, but this was the brave but unsustainable tilt at glory I expected from a much better credentialed side in the Prelim.

For my physical and mental well-being it's probably better that we got thrashed that day, or I'd have bled out over unpaid throws and bullshit goals from frees (e.g. Frost being nabbed for the lightest body contact in history) before making the flight home. If that day was like your handbrake suddenly applying at 100km/h, this was like all the fault lights going on at the same and the car gently coming to a complete halt. Either way you're rooted, but this was a little less sudden.

If we're fair, the season has come to a complete stop too. The last two weeks just dragged us back inside 'miracle required' territory, but now it's hard to make a case for a top eight comeback without winning two of the next three at an absolute minimum. Had we won here I'd have gone right over the top and torn open the Bradbury Plan 2019 envelope, but for now it remains sealed.

My latest ladder predictor has us winning the last two to finish 10-12 and miss the eight by a game/8%. Which is hardly an aspiration to get excited about, but considering our start and the 'attach extra pages' injury list it wouldn't be too bad. But if you've been watching Melbourne closely you know we're more likely to launch a blockbuster comeback, go into the last round with our fate in our own hands, then blow a 47 point three quarter time lead against 17th placed North Melbourne while kicking with a 10 goal wind.

On to the next debacle...

2019 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Max Gawn
4 - Jayden Hunt
3 - James Harmes
2 - Clayton Oliver
1 - Marty Hore

Apologies to T. McDonald and Baker's first quarters, Petracca and Frost for the bits where they weren't doing weird things, Garlett for the goals alone, Stretch, Brayshaw and Petty.

Leaderboard
The 2016 and 2018 runner up goes back into the outright lead, and as promised after he hit 20 without a challenger emerging (and how can you challenge if you can't get a game?) he becomes our first provisional winner of the year. I'm keen as mustard on Preuss, but based on the history of other ruckmen on our list he'll be lucky to get 23 votes for the rest of his career.

All the movement in the minors revolves around Marty Hore. He's extended his lead on Lockhart in the Hilton to five and clawed a point back from Salem in the Seecamp.

23 - Max Gawn (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
19 - Clayton Oliver
18 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year),
15 - James Harmes
14 - Jake Melksham
9 - Angus Brayshaw
7 - Jayden Hunt, Marty Hore (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
4 - Bayley Fritsch, Nathan Jones, Billy Stretch, Jack Viney
3 - Christian Petracca
2 - Jay Lockhart
1 - Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd, Corey Wagner

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
A set shot success rate of about 1/10 means plenty of running goals, which usually win the weekly nomination then lose the overall award to a game-winning set shot. In this case I'm going for the 'all hands' first quarter running extravaganza, a finish that the same commentators who usually slaughter us for over handballing (see Carey, Wayne) salivated over. It's almost like sometimes multiple handballs are more useful in setting up a goal than just shutting your eyes and roosting it goalward.

Forget Hunt's hospital handball, or the way Petracca nearly ran into him after he got it back, it was delightful and there should be more of it. I'd also like to pay tribute to a gather Hunt did in the last quarter, which was so effortless that I'm sad we didn't turn him into a forward earlier.

For their contributions, Oscar McSizzle, Brayshaw, Oliver, Harmes and Hunt jointly win the weekly nominations. I've run out of inspirational prizes so they can jointly share a succulent Chinese meal.



West Coast is the closest thing the AFL has to a company registered in the Cayman Islands for the purpose of tax avoidance. As such they consider themselves above crepe paper and insist on spewing players onto the arena through the mouth of an inflatable bird. It's vulgar and an affront to tradition, but they've won a flag and we haven't so who looks stupid now?

With a free hit at win number eight and 3400 kilometres to cart the crepe paper across our side could have been forgiven for phoning it in. Instead, they came with an appropriate contender which featured top shelf kerning, excellent leading, quality centred text, and a rhyme that scanned perfectly. It demonstrated all the love that the ruthlessly corporate opposition have turned their back on. Dees 8-1-0 for the season.



Forget BT suggesting Oliver was 8.0 in goalkicking this year before discovering he hadn't kicked any, or the pauses while he waited for somebody to feed him a player's name, he was nowhere the near the highlight of this presentation. From the same network who two years ago gave us Basil confusing Clayton Oliver with Lou Carpenter from Neighbours, came one of the great Auskicker of the Year interviews. I'm not as down on Hamish McLachlan as I used to be, but this segment brings the game into disrepute more regularly than his brother's administration.

As 'Hame' desperately tried to get a nervous child to fire up with cameras and lights shoved in his face, the kid first revealed that his goldfish named after Richmond players had died and been buried in the backyard (what's wrong with a flush?), then gave out his address on national television. If you're the one person left with a direct Foxtel connection you might avoid the ads on Channel 7 games (including the Samsung 8K one with the most unconvincing fake supporting since John Howard during the 2006 World Cup), but you're also missing jaw-droppingly awkward TV like this.

Next Week
Back to a ground we're not much chop at for a clash with the equally MCG-averse Giants. What could possibly go wrong? Any chance of a late switch to Fortress Shithole? Expect to hear plenty about GWS' putrid record at the ground, with one win early last year, one thumping of us when we kicked 3.16.34 against 19 fit players for the whole second half, and an otherwise lengthy cavalcade of failure. So they'll be coming with a mission, and if we don't drag it out until the last quarter I'll complain on the internet.

I'm assuming Smith will miss due to being buried head first into the turf in what was originally deemed a perfectly legal tackle, which is convenient because it opens the door for Preuss. With respect to Smith's whole-hearted performance last night, I can't understand why Preuss wasn't in to start with so this is his opportunity. I only watched the first quarter of the Casey game and Preuss was on the loose. Casey's score indicated they barely got a touch for the rest, but seeing him running riot in the forward line was enough for me.

Oteher AFL listed players on offer against Port Melbourne on Saturday were Keilty, Jordon, Lever, C. Wagner, Chandler, Bedford, Sparrow and Maynard. Because Preuss was recruited under false pretences, Lever is the only automatic first choice selection of that lot and he'll have to survive more than one game in the twos before we do anything silly. The Weid isn't playing VFL again this week (alleged hip complaint) so he's not an option unless they're involved in long-term, deep cover hoodwinking of the Giants.

So, assuming both ANB and Smith are going to be concussed (but sparing Salem because I can't imagine life without him), that Garlett's goals buy him another game and there's nobody to replace Fritsch after what may have been the worst game of his life I'll reluctantly reunite the Wagnii. Alternatively, you could bring Lewis back for Bayley, but let him rest his foot for another week and back this defence to collectively put in two decent performances in a row.

I'm not taking any notice of their poor record at the 'G, especially because the one against us provoked my only formal conduct warning (unwarranted, it must be noted) from a security guard, but am not completely writing off our chances either. It's unlikely, but then again I thought we were going to be humiliated last night and we went within 30 minutes of a blockbusting upset so [insert shrug emoji here].

IN: Preuss, C. Wagner
OUT: Neal-Bullen, Smith (inj)
LUCKY: Fritsch, Garlett. Petracca
UNLUCKY: Lewis

Many happy returns
The official line is that the MFC was formed in September 1858 when a team called 'Melbourne' played South Yarra. It's an unusual hill to die on, but I contend that even though the same people were involved, the club as we know it today didn't begin until 51 MCC members formed the Melbourne Football Club on the afternoon of Saturday 14 May, 1859. This means our 160th birthday was on Tuesday, which is a timely excuse to post this relevant NSFW video.


Love you MFC xoxo

Final thoughts
I know it's over but am trying very hard to take every game in isolation and either enjoy it or crack the sads like it means something. Otherwise it would be very hard to get through the rest of this season, and I'm very keen to make it to Round 23 without dropping my bundle. You're free to do as you please.

There will be no judgement if you want to pull out and focus on the Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 of the Northern Football League, but there's no way I'm getting roped into the idea of scuttling the season to trying to maximise our draft position. If players need a head-start on surgeries fine, but should we win a few more games and finish 9th by a mile then so be it. Stop hoping to succeed via failure and embrace success in whatever minor form it takes before Round 23. Then at the end of this year, go back to your homes and prepare for flag.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

We got the goldmine, they got the shaft

One day you're drowning your players, next thing they're drowning their sorrows at the pub, and it all ends in the season being (temporarily) resuscitated by one of the more bonkers finishes you're ever likely to see. It was the AFL's answer to The Usual Suspects, a generally average production that will always be fondly remembered for its iconic ending.

Having never kicked a goal after the siren to win (typically six teams have done it against us) this is technically the latest we've ever won a game off our own boot - or in this case shin - and the nearest run thing to the final since Leoncelli vs Adelaide in 2001. Which was awesome. How we got there not so much.

When you think about it, going from premiership contenders to the escape of the century against the popular pick for wooden spooners is a bit of a comedown, but I'm still willing to shoplift premiership points any time, from any place. Let Captain Obvious coffin kickers like Kane Cornes be sour about our prospects for the rest of the year, I'm all about winning games of football, and will revisit my stance on misery next week. And probably most weeks after that until the end of the season.

For now I'd like to concentrate more on winning via a behind in the last 1.5 seconds than a game that did more than anyone not called Ross Lyon to finish footy off. Given how 99% of the interesting action happened in the last two minutes there's going to be a heavier focus on that than the rest of the game, especially a second quarter that could be turned into a gas and used to execute condemned prisoners.

After wobbling over the line last week on the strength of about 15 minutes of good footy, Wingard's butter fingers and blind umpires missing a throw, I was still reasonably confident about winning here. There was nothing scientific about it, just that no matter how far Gold Coast exceed expectations this year they've still got a failure stench that makes the idea of losing to them seem unbearable, even in a gap year where we're playing like drunken uni students.

In the end I was right to be confident. In every aspect of the game other than putting oval ball through large goalposts we were vastly superior. Fortunately we mastered the key art of kicking goals in the dying seconds, courtesy of a defender who by his own admission hadn't kicked a goal in any grade for two years, storming down the wing like Robert Flower. The end result was welcome, but under those circumstances it felt appropriate that we were 95 points worse than the last meeting between the sides.

Aside from the bit where we nearly lost in shambolic fashion, holding the lead for most of the game while playing the better football but not being able to put them away was right on brand. This was helped by Gold Coast's commitment to gently trailing behind us for most of the game, before going rogue in the last five minutes. Apart from our occasionally suspect defence, who were usually pretty solid when the ball wasn't trampolining towards them at warp speed, watch out when we get five or six injured players back into the best 22 and learn how to play forward of centre.

For now it's send out whatever survivors are fit or sober enough and hope for the best. This may mean some experienced players being handed games that they don't deserve, but that's the price you pay for having a list that's been cut down like patrons at an MCG luncheon. It also means competition for places is next to nil, and unless you've just debuted or are in the Stretch/ANB category of players who are dropped automatically in a crisis you're effectively bulletproof.

Luckily we also had some warriors who were desperate to win, especially Clayton Oliver, whose disposal didn't have the same sixth sense tracking of teammates as usual but who played one of the great in and under games. His 15 tackles were second only to Jack Viney for the most ever recorded by a Melburnian, and he contested every loose ball like a man possessed. His animal-like desperation was even more important when finishing with Hibberd, Lewis and Melksham all injured. Between those three, Lever, May, mystery concussion victim Kolodjashnij and Preuss' shoulder we've almost got as many imports on the injury list as home grown players.

From the start we were all over them, but unable to turn it into bulk scores. Every forward entry was like an extended slapstick comedy routine. Whenever we did something good Jake Melksham was at the heart of it. He might have missed the first shot but otherwise played the best 15 minutes of the season at one end, while Salem was doing wonderful things down the other. Melk went on to injure his leg mid-kick, and knowing our luck it will probably turn gangrenous.

Naturally, after two good opportunities to kick the first goal the Suns went down the other end, put it in the hands of Peter Wright and watched him lob through a set shot. Typical. Also a lot like 2018, that was an early opportunity to impress the Kingsley selectors before disappearing. Then he had the excuse of injury, this time it was an unexpected plunge into the Bermuda Triangle that left him scoreless for the rest of the day. About time we stopped a tall forward, even one that hasn't fired a shot for two years.

In place of 2 Kingsley Peter came somebody called Darcy MacPherson, who sounds like he should be appearing in Jane Austen novels rather than AFL games. After four seasons and 24 games where's had 20 possessions once, he went off his nut for 27, eight tackles and a goal. Congratulations on joining Jarrad Grant (also inducted as a Bulldogs player) in the Gold Coast KingWing. We also did our best to force-feed an intercept mark specialist plucked from the VFL with a regular supply of panic kicks inside 50.

After getting sick of setting up everybody else only to see their good work wasted, Salem and Milkshake combined for the first. Melksham then continued his path of destruction by creating the first of two coast-to-coast running goals of such high quality that they should be digitally removed from this game and added to the master tapes of a more worthy contest. When McSizzle got on the end of the next one for a much needed confidence booster I thought we might have broken their spirit. This failed to foresee the following 30 minutes of aimless meandering that made me question my life choices.

Our superiority in the contest wasn't translated into a big lead, but only being seven points up was fair reward for our confusing, nonsensical attempts at scoring. We might have been the better side, but that wasn't much of a recommendation in a game where barely any bastard could land a simple pass or keep a chain of possession going for more than a couple of touches at a time.

Cue a second quarter for the ages, one that would have been called the worst you've ever seen if you hadn't watched about 250 Melbourne games since 2007. Highlights were few and far between, but there was enough to make you wonder if we could find a way to lose this (spoiler: nearly yes). Brayshaw has had a couple of ropey weeks, and continued to frustrated with a couple of crab-handed half-attempts at fingertip tackles that opponents wandered past. At his best he's a weapon but he's just going at the moment. Still had 10 contested possessions, but everyone likes to hang shit on Petracca and he had 11 so spin the numbers whichever way suits your argument.

Speaking of Petracca, he redeemed himself with a belting goal later, but added another to his catalogue of disastrous shots on goal here. You know things are going badly when a player marks, you think "well, here's a kick-in waiting to happen", then he misses the lot. He has a touch of the Travis Clokes, don't bother passing it 30 metres out in front, keep him 50 from goal and let him do hamstring stretching roosts. Also, I was pleased to see Truck in and around the stoppages more this week - and for those speculating about his fitness, having the second most gametime (93%) behind Mr. 100% Sam Frost.

What shit me about this quarter, half, game, and most of the season was how easily we were beaten to contested marks. At one stage it was 11-1 to the Suns and ended 15-5. Half their side had one vs only four of our players, with McDonald the only multiple grabber. Shame about dropping an uncontested chance at the end, but all's well that ends well. This stat is the domain of the tall player, but I'm gagging for a midfielder or mid-sized forward who can start hauling them down.

I'd be happy if they could just stop the other side taking them, because the number of times we have a player beaten all ends up in a dual between the arcs is offensive. I can't expect them to do it consistently (consider that even Mr. Screamers Jeremy Howe was way down the list last year with 1.48 per game, just ahead of Nat Fyfe, the first genuine midfielder on the list) but it would make a difference. As would finding a way to use McDonald to his strengths forward. He was usually good for an intercept mark in defence, so give him the ball to run at and mark in front of his eyes, not at full extension over the head surrounded by defenders. I'd be pleased to review a supercut of all his goals last year to prove that we're either not kicking effectively to him, or his leading isn't any good. Here's to further improvement next week.

Even a one goal quarter would struggle to make our top 10 most tedious periods of modern footy. If you missed it the first time have a look at 2014, where we scored less than 50 seven times and only got 93 in the last round because North was in a holding pattern before the finals. That's fine for fanatics, but I expect any neutrals who had dropped the remote control behind the couch and accidentally deadlocked themselves inside the house must have been ready to drink Toilet Duck.

If nothing else, the combined 6.8 between the sides at the break was better than the 3.12 we and early GWS put up in pissing rain at the Sydney Showgrounds in 2014. Or the 5.11 on Queen's Birthday the same year, a game that nearly got us permanently removed from blockbusters. It was still bad, and if not buried for enthusiasts only on Pay TV the AFL would have contemplated phoning through a rule change at the break.

All that got me through half time without seeking professional help was the idea that we might turn it on in the third quarter again. An early second to McDonald raised hopes of a runaway victory, before we lost the rest of the quarter. To add to the fun, we were doing all this without Michael Hibberd - who joined the Jack Viney club of players to come off on the wrong side of a hip and shoulder, and was never seen again due to a broken collarbone. Lewis also hobbled off injured, returning to play well in the second half, albeit even slower than before.

A lucky goal that fell over Gawn's hands and into Hunt's lap (reminiscent of a similar goal on Queen's Birthday 2016, but with Jack Trengove the recipient of the freebie) gave us some breathing space. But not much, the Suns then spent the last few minutes peppering away at their goal. I had a bad feeling, not helped by trying to watch on a computer that mysteriously put everything into slow motion every few seconds, before rushing to catch up again. If I'd watched the end of the game like that I'd have gone bonkers, and after sourcing a replacement during the three quarter time break got through to the end without any further technical drama. As you will discover, there was a distinct lack of gratitude for the backup laptop's service.

An avalanche of goals would have settled me down, and Petracca collecting a pass from Frost to goal from distance was an acceptable start. I don't know what the world is coming to when a man who plays like he's running from a natural disaster delivers our best kick to a lead all day but wasn't complaining. There were some rocky moments between the prelim and the Sydney game, but I would like to go back on record saying how much I enjoy his balls-and-all attitude to attacking the ball, and the way he doesn't seem to have any idea what he's doing when he gets it.

After that positive start we registered 2.4 to four straight for the rest of the term, with an ongoing series of ropey long bombs mopped up by Gold Coast defenders without the merest hint of a contest. If we were lucky enough to get the ball forward without flubbing it somewhere along the way. I don't even remember McDonald's third, probably because a'la QB2018 his kicking of it was immediately wiped out by an opposition goal that rendered his contribution worthless. It left us five points up, a one point loss waiting to happen. McDonald then picked a poor time to Petracca a set shot, not even registering the semi-handy point that would have left us a goal ahead.

Even if he had kicked it there was too much time left to get away with subtle rushes over the boundary and fraught with danger backwards kicks. First they hit the lead (no destruction of property yet), before Harmes belatedly added the handy point to level the scores when a goal would have been much bloody handier. After enduring last week I wasn't sure I could medically handle this, but at the same time couldn't have felt more alive. This must be how skydivers feel when they jump out of the plane and don't know if the chute is going to open.

For the second week in a row there was a questionable decision that went our way at a key moment, with Hunt given an eternity to be swung around in a tackle and dragged to ground before luckily getting a foot to it. There's no rule against being swung, but when he kicked it horizontally off the ground I thought "thank christ, we've gotten away with one here". This incident prompted god honest Gold Coast Suns fans to hit the internet and complain of umpiring bias against a team that is basically a protectorate of the league. I, for once, said thank god for a rulebook that leaves about 75% of the game open to grey areas and random interpretation. Next week we'll get hosed on a call (we are playing in Perth after all) and I'll suggest torching the responsible umpire's car.

It says it all about our futile attacking efforts that with 90 seconds to play we turned repeat attacks into a stoppage near the top of our square, had the ball in Frost's arms outside 50 with 84 seconds left, and 25 seconds later a Suns player was rolling his shot through an unguarded square. You can understand how it happened, with Frost botching a pass to Oscar, whose ill-advised attempt at a fend left both our talls up the ground just after Lewis had finally conceded defeat by hobbling off crocked.

They kicked an easy enough goal as it was, but had the ball not bobbled perfectly out of Sizzle Jr's hands when tackled and created enough of a break that the Suns couldn't play on they'd have walked it to the line unchallenged. One of them tried five seconds after the free, which would have been a spectacular pisstake if allowed after what happened with the 50 last week.

The delay gave our defence time to get back and set up, only for the Suns to gently navigate past like they were parallel parking into an aircraft hangar, with Jones first outmarked in a contest, then two more players standing in acres of space setting up a kick from outside 50 to slide through while Wagner and Salem theatrically approached the square from opposite angles from too far out to do anything about it.

One day the statute of limitations will expire and I'll be able to reveal the circumstances I watched this under (probably in the Great Deepression II: 2017-2021), but all I will say is a) during the second quarter Cops came on another TV and I didn't know which screen was showing a higher degree of criminality, and b) when that ball skidded through I reacted by yelling "FUCK!", and from a standing position delivering a lusty kick to the underside of the desk my laptop was resting on.

Somehow the desk resisted ripping apart like the San Andreas Fault, and despite bobbing up and down like a cork in the ocean the laptop kept broadcasting. Not that it would have bothered me at the time if it had thrown up a blue screen of death and caught fire. If I were the sort of person to walk out on a game, even when watching via the internet, I'd have stormed out the door and kept going until I ended up in Orbost.

With no video footage (I hope), the closest representation of what happened to the desk is this shot of Father Ted Crilly kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse:


My only concession to not wanting to know what happened next was ripping out my headphones and watching the last 49 seconds in what started as angry silence and ended in complete bemusement Now we were realistically playing for a draw that would probably be as fatal to our season as a loss, but also wanting to avoid the stigma of a soul-crushing defeat. I didn't care what happened next, or about our eventual 11th place finish, all that mattered was prolonging the life of our season for a another week when it would have been kinder to let it die.

After spending four quarters making scoring goals look harder than colonising Mars, I didn't have much confidence in halving the points, let alone creating seven points of scores in the available time to win. The most likely path to victory was to kick a point and for a Suns player to do something incredibly silly from the kick-in, so naturally we achieved glory via the most complicated, high degree of difficulty method available.

Stuart Dew must have been spitting chips about 666 at this point, unable to set up our version of a wall of kryptonite by just stacking his backline full of players. He'd have been a little calmer when Gawn was beaten to the tap and Gold Coast were first to the ball. From there everything that happens is on them. As the desk nearly got another thumping, Oliver and Viney created a stoppage
("Great result for the Suns" said David King, the man who once lectured Melbourne fans for being negative), which was the next best thing to a quick break for us.

Maximum hit Clayts perfectly with the next tap, got the ball back, and kept it moving forward, where Hunt continued his rebirth as a forward with a flawless gather. He put on turbo boost to get past two defenders, saw Marty Hore of all people scoring up next to him, and laid off a handball on a platter for a finish that I spent the 0.1 seconds until the ball hit his boot convinced would miss. But no, wherever Marty had come from he ripped it through like a training drill and celebrated this most unlikely of scenarios with by wildly flapping his arms. I'd like to say there were scenes of general commotion, but I'd started holding my breath when Hunt gathered and didn't release until the siren. In those few seconds I could have committed any crime and had a legitimate temporary insanity defence.

Because football has given me trust issues I expected that we'd lose the centre bounce, concede a point and still lose by the narrowest of margins. Against one of the only ruckmen in the league with a chance of comprehensively beating Gawn in the middle, the best I could bring myself to hope for was our first draw in eight years. Thankfully my lack of ambition was not shared by the players, who shambled through the winning point in the manner of a horror movie Steven Bradbury dragging his bloodied limbs down the ice after a double amputation.

For the second time in 30 seconds, Gawn was involved multiple times in extracting the ball. What a difference it makes to have a ruckman who can impose himself of contests like that. His kick forward was brought to ground by Hunt creating a genuine contest in the air against two opponents. The ball spilled for Harmes, and I may have let out a yelp like a small dog when he picked it up, only for the quick kick to swing away from goal and fall to McDonald in acres of space 15 metres out.

It would have taken Earl Spalding with his hamstrings surgically removed to miss a set shot from there, but like Ricky Petterd in Round 2, 2010 he put the overhead mark down. Unlike Ricky the angle of the contest kept the ball going towards our goal, and time didn't immediately expire after it hit the deck. This left McDonald time to comically grasp at air while attempting to gather, then shin it into the post for the win.

Sizzle has now delivered amazing wins quite literally from sea to shining sea, having toppled both the coasts on their home decks in the dying seconds. Realistically, while he had a major share in the goal at Subiaco, this time the real heroes were Hore, Gawn, and Hunt. Without them he never gets the chance, and though it would have been more rewarding if the ball had gone through (and thank CHRIST we didn't need a goal to win), the final farcical act of excitedly hitting the post from point blank range adds to the mystique for future generations.

There was obviously no time left to lose, and the siren went the moment it was kicked in, but even while the players were leaping on each other in celebration the score hadn't been acknowledged on-screen and I thought momentarily that something must have happened off the ball that meant it didn't count. Thankfully not, or we'd be humiliating ourselves by joining Essendon fans in a class action against the AFL to overturn the result.

Even after several seconds of celebrations I wasn't convinced that it was real until they cut to footage of Stone Cold Craig Jennings performing a manly embrace on one of his fellow assistants, who might not have given express consent to the grappling he was undergoing. I think in all the chaos the director forgot Goodwin was on the bench, went to the coaches' box, saw general scenes of middle-aged men celebrating and decided to stick with them. SCCJ still refused to break into a smile, and I'd like to go on record that whenever I talk about obliterating the ranks of assistants our AFLX premiership coach is not included.

Despite the rancid nature of the rest of the match I was happy for the players to celebrate. You'd be hard-hearted to suggest that after that they should have trudged off the ground in shame, shielding their faces from the crowd, before boiling themselves in oil. As long as the celebrations ended the moment they walked out of Carrara and focus turned to how we're going tackle West Coast away on Friday. I don't think we could win that game if we brought the Air Force in as a late replacement but it's still no excuse for dwelling on this result for long.

As for me, there was zero external celebration. Internally I felt the sort of euphoria that usually only comes after a spectacular dump, externally there was a lot of leaning on things, deep breathing and shame at being driven to attack an inanimate object over what will likely turn out to be a meaningless result.

An aching foot aside, there were no regrets (at least none since choosing a footy team 30 years ago), but my kingdom for the sort of bulk scoring that made our six weeks of freewheeling footy 12 months ago so memorable. Hopefully McDonald's treble and winning shin does him good and he doesn't think as much about the dropped mark or the set shot that scored bugger all. Now that Melksham is hurt and we can be sure that Garlett is pretty much rooted I'm concerned that we might score 0.0.0 next week, but for now I'm going to keep thinking about the last 45 seconds on a loop and the future can look after itself.

2019 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Clayton Oliver
4 - Christian Salem
3 - James Harmes
2 - Jake Melksham
1 - Max Gawn

Apologies to Jones, McDonald, Viney, Hunt, Lewis, Frost, Wagner, Hore, Lockhart and Hibberd until injured.

Leaderboard
Revenge of the defenders, as for the first time in his career Christian Salem ascends to the #1 ranking in Jakovich voting. Is also one of the rare defenders ever to hold the honour, and the first since Tom McDonald had a three vote lead with two to play in 2015 before losing to Viney. Salem has company from Maximum, with the Hamburglar hot on his tail, Milkshake looming if fit and Harmes revving up the engine in double figures as well. For once the overall award is the close one and the minors look like a whitewash.

18 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
17 - Clayton Oliver
14 - Jake Melksham
12 - James Harmes
9 - Angus Brayshaw
6 - Marty Hore (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
4 - Bayley Fritsch, Nathan Jones, Billy Stretch, Jack Viney
3 - Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca
2 - Jay Lockhart
1 - Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd, Corey Wagner

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
In the spirit of Lamprill and Preuss, welcome Marty Hore to the golden first goal club. As beautiful a hit on the run as you were likely to get, from almost the most unusual of all sources. Salem has done that before and I could imagine Frost thumping one at that velocity, but other than Oscar McSizzle (now 68 games without a goal) there's nobody I'd have thought less likely to kick a decisive goal in that fashion.

If it had been the winning goal it would be a lower stakes "what was he doing there?" version of Jimmy Glass scoring to keep Carlisle in the Football League, but even if had 'only' got us a draw (or god forbid we'd lost the game a second time) it would still have been a spectacular thump worthy of the weekly nomination. Because it ultimately allowed us to win the game it goes past Preuss in Sydney and takes clubhouse leadership of the main award.

While Marty waits to see if anyone goes one better by Round 23, his weekly prize is elevation to the MFC Memorable Individual Moments Hall of Fame. Even if he never kicks another goal in his life this one will live on a lot longer than the 118 odd minutes of SLURRY that preceded it.



With the run-throughs reduced to a corner of the screen while Fox Footy wrapped up tedious post-match interviews from the Carlton/Collingwood curtain raiser, the best I can do for a look at the Suns' banner is in this tweet. I know that the gigantic curtain offends me, and for all the well-meaning Mothers' Day sentiment in the world that font's not doing it for me either.

There is a fine line to walk between letters that look like a ransom note cut out of random newspapers, and something that looks so corporate you wouldn't be surprised if it was typed up on a computer and shot out the world's largest industrial printer without a human touching it. Where's the love?

Ours actually did have letters made out to look like newspapers, a unique touch, subtly hinting to how we're regularly dragged through the media by our ankles. Like the game, it wasn't our best performance but it just did enough to win. Dees 7-1-0 for the season.

Next Week
West Coast aren't at anywhere near their premiership form, but they will still do things to us so X-rated that there should be a live viewing site at the Crazy Horse cinema. Even if Lewis, Melksham and Hibberd were fit, and we'd had longer than six days between two interstate trips, I would write this off as a disaster in advance. Under these circumstances it would be absolutely bloody heroic if we can escape with a margin lower than the Preliminary Final.

Other than Preuss, who should have come in for Keilty anyway, there's not a lot in the Casey tank where we need it. They rumbled a previously undefeated Essendon yesterday, but with Weideman injured, and Spargo/ANB both travelling emergencies the entire collection of AFL listed players available for selection is Bedford, Preuss, Jordon, Sparrow, Baker, Petty, Chandler, T. Smith and C. Wagner.

If all the injured players go out we're going to struggle for like-for-like replacements. There are alternative methods available such as Keilty or McSizzle playing deep in defence, or Hunt going to half-back, but any changes are going to be a bit of a Hail Mary.

Tim Smith kicked four and Preuss dominated the ruck so they're straight back in. Keilty's second game was a bit of a bomb so he's rotated out. Not Tom Gillies or Isaac Weetra level second game, but not far off. Still worth another look later in the year though. ANB also gets a reprieve, and with Lever about two VFL games away from returning to the ones I'd like Petty to have a chance in defence.

That all probably leaves us with too many talls at either end, but we're really down to the bare bones of the list now. And we're going to lose anyway, so let's just keep things together and hope to come out ok the week after.

IN: Neal-Bullen, Petty, Preuss, T. Smith
OUT: Lewis, Melksham, Hibberd (inj), Keilty (omit)
LUCKY: Garlett
UNLUCKY: Sparrow, C. Wagner

If by some remarkable twist of fate we actually win, I propose going to the airport and absolutely mobbing the players. Like, real leg humping, likely to be used as humorous archival footage on Front Bar 2031 stuff.

Mid-Season Draft Watch
The list of players likely to be selected is in, and it's awful news for those of us fanging for a romantic Jimmy Toumpas revival. Neither he, nor the Spencil, Ben Kennedy or Mitch White are being given medical screenings, and as such are somewhere been 'fat' and 'no' chance of being an AFL lifeline. Who knows if they really even wanted it, or just nominated because they were eligible and thought they may as well have a go.

All the nominated players are being medical tested en masse and clubs aren't allowed to do their own thing (not openly anyway), but given how early our pick is going to come in this thing - via misfortune, and not draft rorting - we'd be unlucky not to get our first choice.

That article hints that we might have a bash at ex-Geelong, now Glenelg, player Cory Gregson. Which would be good because a) he has the sort of lovely hair we've been missing since Dom Tyson left, and b) the alternative spelling of 'Cory' evokes memories of 80s arcade game Mat Mania.

Other than recognising the name I know nothing about Gregson, and his Wikipedia profile doesn't tell me much other than he's a small forward, once kicked three in a game, and what primary school he attended [citation required].

Somehow he played for Geelong since 2015 and has a worse career win/loss record than Charlie Spargo, but sure, whatever he'll do. Cats fans tell me we'd be lucky to get five games out of him before his injuries flare up again, which is just enough time to make himself useful before being delisted a second time.

Comparison corner
To celebrate our 30th win by a goal or less since 1990, I've gone through all of them and compiled an ARIA Top 30 using a patented formula that ranks games in four categories. The lowest total qualifies as the most bonkers game since VFL became AFL.

Bonus insane finish ranking points for how late it came, whether we won it off our own boot, and under what circumstances. Extra context credit for games that had finals impact, kept our season alive, or came during periods where every win might have been our last. And the Vibe ratings are calculated from my own personal gut feeling and reaction to victory - which probably works against pre-2006 games but stiff shit.

Oddly, only one of the top five happened at the MCG and I wasn't present for four of them. Three were interstate games seen on TV, and Footscray '05 was 'enjoyed' via the radio - as stressful an AM/FM experience as you could have without hearing warning of an impending nuclear attack. Most people forget that after Jeff White's miracle goal was followed by Davey hitting the post, at which point I fell to my knees and howled like a wolf baying at the moon.

Your dissenting opinions are welcome in the comments, or via by any of the usual channels. I'll be on the Demonland Podcast on Tuesday night if you want to ring in and punch on about it live. And no, Jordan McMahon in 2009 does not deserve to be included. You're a horrid person for suggesting it.

Rank
Game
Margin
Insane finish
Context
The Vibe
1st
R14 2017
vs WCE
3
1
3
1
=2nd
R20 2005
vs Geelong
1
3
2
2
=2nd
R21 2005
vs Footscray
4
6
1
3
4th
R8 2019
Vs Gold Coast
1
2
5
9
5th
R9 2010
Vs Port
1
7
9
4
6th
R14 2013
Vs Footscray
3
8
6
7
7th
R2, 2001
vs Adelaide
3
3
12
10
=8th
R10 2012
Vs Essendon
6
17
4
6
=8th
R12 2017
Vs Collingwood
4
14
7
8
10th
R13 2014
Vs Essendon
1
5
17
12
11th
R4 2006
vs Sydney
5
10
10
11
=12th
R7 2008
Vs Freo
6
15
14
5
=12th
R4, 1998
vs Carlton
4
9
15
13
14th
R14 2008
Vs Brisbane
1
13
19
15
15th
R7 2014
Vs Adelaide
3
13
16
16
16th
R19 2016
Vs Gold Coast
2
16
13
18
17th
R4, 1999
vs Hawthorn
1
11
21
20
18th
R8, 1998
vs Collingwood
3
18
18
14
19th
R7 2019
vs Hawthorn
5
19
20
17
20th
R18 1991
vs St Kilda
1
21
11
29
21st
R1 2016
Vs GWS
2
22
22
19
22nd
R19 2002
vs WCE
6
29
8
27
23rd
R18, 2001
vs Geelong
3
12
30
28
24th
R6, 1994
vs Collingwood
5
20
28
21
=25th
R9, 2002
Vs North
4
23
25
25
=25th
R5 2006
Vs North
4
27
23
23
27th
R6 2006
Vs Geelong
6
26
24
22
=28th
R1 2003
vs Hawthorn
6
25
29
24
=28th
R7, 2002
vs St Kilda
3
30
26
26
30th
R11, 1990
vs Carlton
6
24
27
30

Final Thoughts
In the week where the Champions League provided two of the wildest comebacks in the history of professional sports, this result also demonstrated that the people who devised the post-1897 scoring system of Australian rules fell arse backwards into what should be celebrated as an unreal sport instead of constantly being talked down from all angles as broken.

It was a terrible game between two sides that have no hope of contending this year, and had we been on the other end of a finish like that I'd be under heavy sedation now, but football, bloody hell, what a way to end a match.