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.

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