Saturday 30 April 2005


What? WHAT? In a season where 90% of the teams in the competition have adopted extreme defensive tactics and scores have dropped to 1929 levels we've just scored 129 points and lost. Let's be entirely honest and admit that it's probably a good thing that I was at work today, and not at the MCG. I think I would developed a complex that would have taken a lifetime of therapy to expel.

Without the luxury of one of those jobs that allows you to sit there listening to the radio for 8hrs a day I was forced to rely on pissy mobile phone score updates and occasional calls to the ground for goalkickers and vibe. Didn't look bad at first, then it started to slide, then by half-time we were falling apart faster than Michael Jackson's face. Then during the third quarter, as I scrambled to find a computer or god forbid a radio to follow what was happening on the scores started to balance up again. Then every time I looked (which was, let's face it, every two minutes) we were closer, and closer until in completely unforseen circumstances we hit the front. Then after all that we copped three goals in a row in god knows how long and we were losing again. Suffice to say I was feeling quite confused about what was going on.

Finally, FINALLY I reached a radio just as the whole operation went down the god damn toilet. The first thing I heard was Jeff Farmer kicking his sixth, followed closely behind by his 7th. I cracked the shits - not only with the game but with the 'relaxed' (read: comatose) commentary style of the ABC - and went back to the AFL website when we were 5 goals down with seven or eight minutes left. Then somehow we got the margin back to 8 again. I was lost. If we'd won from there I might have broken down and cried despite not having any indication of what was going on for the preceding four quarters.

High spots appear to have included the performances of Jeff White and Brent Moloney and the goalkicking feats of Neitz, Robertson, and the man who has achieved the rare feat of being "much maligned" across two different clubs, Ben Holland.

The low point is obviously the fact that we conceded 22.11. If this leads to Nicholson returning I'll crack up.

To be honest I had a feeling it was going to happen. I picked Freo. Evidence follows,

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Product Footy Tips
Round Number(s) 506 - 506
Round Date(s) 01-MAY-2005 17:10 - 01-MAY-2005 17:10

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And what of the Jeffrey Farmer question? I haven't seen any of the messageboards yet but I'm willing to guess that they're full of people whinging, moaning and declaring their undying hatred towards him. I disagree. Yes, he left us. And? Yes, he kicked the goal that sunk us against the Dockers in Perth a few years back. And? And yes he gave it to the crowd when he kicked a goal the last time they beat us at the MCG. Your problem? In a manly, butch and completely heterosexual fashion I still love the guy. Good luck to him, I'm not bearing any grudges.

So... next week. The "resurgent" Adelaide. They're doing a lot better than anyone, including me, expected them to and I'm still not yet convinced that we're the next big thing. I won't be there for that either - for gods sake somebody offer to write a match report or Big Footy will sack me and hire some 15-year-old called I_LUV_ROBBO_24 who writes posts that start with "OMG! I LUV ROBBO! ROFL!" and contain match analysis that involves the terms "wicked", "fully sick" and "LOL".

* Is that the biggest 'match report' ever built out of not having seen a second of the game? Could be a record.

Thursday 28 April 2005

Official changes

Speculation over. It's official.

IN: Holland, Moloney
OUT: Jamar (calf), Sylvia (ripening)

Now, in a wild turn of events I'm actually accepting this. I'm not sure where Jamar's dubious calf came from, and Jeff White is going to doing some serious rucking in his abscence but I understand that a different forward line setup is required for the MCG, as opposed to the SCG which is the size of a public park. You want more tall players, and let's face it Sylvia hasn't exactly set the world on fire yet - let him kill it in the 2nds for a week or two and then reissue, repackage and re-evaluate.

BUT if Holland is going to end up as the backup ruckman then god help us all. Surely we learnt our lesson about people who can't play the position with Nicholson's shithouse performance against Footscray? SURELY. Lucky that the Dockers don't have their usual ruckman who is about three stories tall.

What's going to happen? Absolutely no idea. Melbourne by 412 points with a 32 goal final quarter. Daniel Bell to kick 17. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. Unless you're a Dockers fan and then you can cram it.

Meanwhile, in news from across the cultural divide...

The big selection news for the Magpies ahead of Sunday's clash with St Kilda is the axing of Shane Woewodin.

The 2000 Brownlow Medallist was dismal against Essendon on Anzac Day and can't even win a place in the 25-man squad.

Poor Woey has jumped the shark. Maybe the Pies will trade him to a team where it's not socially unacceptable to wish him well. Something tells me he won't be back at Melbourne anytime soon.

The horror

I'll be at work during the Fremantle game on Saturday. Undoubtedly a bad thing, but given the horrific memories that surround this fixture it might be beneficial to my mental health to stay well away.

The scene: Friday June 4th, 1999. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jolimont.

For some reason I was there two hours before the game. Due to my declared abstinence from drinking intoxicating substances before or during AFL matches (for obvious reasons. Have you ever sat next to me? And how bad do you think I'd be if I was off my face?) and a lack of funding precluding me from hanging out in the Ponsford Stand TAB facilities, so along with a couple of other Friday night football fans I was sitting near the fence watching the Dockers warm up. Two young girls are standing there perving on Tony Modra and Clive Waterhouse (probably just Tony actually..) and call him over for a photo. Suddenly a camera is thrust into my hand and I'm commanded by these random women to take a picture of them posing with Modra. The coversation went a little bit like this,

Adam: "Ok now.. You two smile, and you [pointing finger] don't kick ten goals"
Plenty of laughter all around. Hillarity ensues etc..

The game begins.. Modra runs riot and drills his tenth right in front of where I was sitting. Absolutely shattering. We lost by 54 points, but I took consolation in the fact that surely he'd go into the post-match press conference and give me a massive mention. Something along the lines of "I'd like to thank the dumbass kid who told me not to kick ten for inspiring this huge bag", but he didn't even mention it. What a piece of trash.

It was bad enough that we'd been beaten by the 1999 Fremantle Dockers, a side that featured Mark Gale and Andrew Shipp just because they had nautical names, and all sorts of duds like Ashley Prescott. But to cop that sort of beating and not even get a mention for my prophetic comments to the matchwinner? Shattering.

Almost as bad as the time I told Shane Woewodin that he was going to win the Brownlow after Round 9, he issued a frantic denial and then failed to mention me in his acceptance speech. Let's be frank that was the reason I didn't go wild when we traded him to Collingwood - I was still bitter.

Tuesday 26 April 2005


I have a vision...

IN: Moloney
OUT: Godfrey

Not that I entirely trust the match committee, and instead expect to see...

IN: Nicholson, Williams, Holland
OUT: Ferguson, Armstrong, Motlop

Given that Holland has kicked 11 goals in the last two weeks in the seconds I feel they're going to do something stupid and include him. If, god forbid, Neitz or Miller is unavailable then I'm all for it but he's rubbish unless he plays at CHF. You may say he's still rubbish then, but that would be extremely harsh.

I'm scared of playing Fremantle in Melbourne. No really. Even their theme song can't save it.

Sunday 24 April 2005

Stranger in a strange land

This report is coming to you courtesy of some dubious internet cafe in a suburb of Sydney that could be right next door to Dubbo for all I know. No idea where I am but there's a lot of pissed people wandering about.

Anyway the story of today, and if we're lucky the headline of tomorrow was: We came, we saw, we FUCKED THEM RIGHT UP. What a night in Sydney. So much drama, so many moments of rage and frustration.

There's not much to post about in the lead up - I woke at 4.30am, caught a flight that made my ear explode in the sort of pain I understand you'd suffer if you got stabbed repeatedly in the ear with a red hot screwdriver and piss-farted around the city for hours. Momentary chance meetings with Melbourne fans aside there was nothing wild enough to deserve posting.

I arrived at the SCG, watched the first half of the Wests/Parramatta NRL debacle in the TAB and then took up my rightful place under the scoreboard - where you can always see people going wild where a goal is kicked in the last quarter - and waited. As previously stated on here I've never travelled and seen one of my teams win. The count was two South Melbourne soccer loses and one each for Melbourne and Wests Tigers before tonight. Despite my piece of shit manouevre in tipping the Swans JUST in case I had confidence. When I looked up and saw Brad Miller lining up on Barry Hall my eyebrow may have lifted a little, but in the end it turned out to be a nice matchup.

We kicked the first three goals and it soon became apparent that I was sitting in the mother of all crowd spit-roasts. In front of me were the three teenage boys who didn't know who any of the players were and had the irriating habit of yelling "INTENTIONAL" every time the ball went out of bounds. Behind me were the stereotypical "clueless family" who not only didn't know who our players are, which is understandable even if they called Adem Yze "Adem Yoozie", but didn't know their own either. Now I'm not insinuating that the Swans fans aren't knowledgeable about the game, indeed it appeared that large chunks of the stadium were yelling and going ape at the appropriate moments, but I apparently had the misfortune of being sandwiched between about 15 people who didn't know what they were doing. The father figure of the Shambles Family behind me would constantly talk to himself and say things like "It's a goal! Oh no it's not" and then laugh in a manner absolutely 100% identical to that of Doctor Hibbert in the Simpsons. His wife and daughter effectively wrote the side off five minutes in the first quarter and just sat there questioning what was going on for the rest of it. "Why is that a free kick?" "WHAT A GOAL.. oh it's a point", "Is that a goal?" as the backmen are kicking out etc..

At this point I should mention that I have a love/hate relationship with people like the Shambles Family. I don't expect anybody to be an expert on the game - we all had to start somewhere after all. I don't expect them to know who our players are - if you put the Sydney Swans and the Montmorency Reserves in a line and ask me to arrange them into their correct sides I'd probably be an utter disgrace too. If they're jumping on the Swans bandwagon I suppose you can't even expect them to know who their players are either, but four quarters of "who's number 30?" directly into your right ear is enough to turn anyone into a homicidal maniac. The most infuriating thing about these people is that they don't take the game seriously enough for you to really rub it in when you knock them over. Same goes for the little shits in front, deep down they didn't care. It's like a night out at the opera to these people. How are you supposed to really hammer them? You can't, and maybe that's where the feud comes from. These people always leave you with unfinished business at the end of the night. They annoy the shit out of you for four quarters but were you to turn around and give them the mother of all sprays at the final whistle and direct a special version of the theme song with 10x more swearing directly into their faces they wouldn't even flinch.

More wonderful crowd behaviour from the knob sitting behind me who kept yelling out "Neitz! You're a bald wanker!", and was almost certainly the dumbfuck who yelled "Who's the coon playing on Barry?" The sad thing? There were actually sniggers for the racist slur. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK ADAM GOODES AND MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN ARE THEN YOU CUNTS? I would have liked to go crazy about but I was on my own in the middle of a baying pack and the Irish woman sitting next to me was sinking bourbon and cokes at a rate so rapid I feared she'd die of alcohol poisoning in front of our eyes. Eventually, as the Swans started to hit back late in the third quarter I snapped and let rip. Sadly I messed it up. When you abuse somebody at a football match it's very important to choose your words correctly. I failed, but at the same time I succeeded.


Silence. But I could tell my accidental slip into an insult that is best suited to the school playground had wounded me. Had I gone with fuckwit, cockhead, motherfucker or just the plain old fashioned IDIOT I might have got some support. Alas it was not to be. But Neitz was never taunted for his bald bonce again. And as somebody, possibly the same wank, yelled out "YOU SHOULD HAVE MERGED WITH HAWTHORN" I almost died. I don't expect any of them to have been there before 1996 but I'd at least expect that they understand that their club relocated once in 1982, almost went out of business in '87 and then were only saved from extinction by the AFL tipping a fortune in after the '92 season. But no, 29000 turn up to the SCG and suddenly they're league powerhouses. I could never have gotten the point of that argument over in a finger pointing and yelling scenario so I just bit my tongue. Sadly Mr. Shambles didn't and he just "HYUK HYUK"ed it up for the rest of the game.

So Russell Robertson took the mark of the year, Sydney sprayed shots left right and centre, Aaron Davey's pinpoint snap sealed the game and at the final siren I just leapt over seats and ran down towards the Melbourne massive in front of me. Sadly for some old Sydney man the song started just at the wrong time and he got a rousing "IT'S A GRAND OLD FLAG" in the ear. Another unbridled passion hall of fame moment.

More intimate details when I'm back in Melbourne. For now I have to find something to do until my 6.15am flight. Bizarrely enough as I walked past somebody earlier in the night they said "Is that Nick Daffy?" Now I look nothing like Nick Daffy but I'm flattered to be confused with celebrity, no matter how minor.

UPDATE - This place is starting to get tedious. What did I expect to do for seven hours after the game when I've lost the will to drink heavily? If I'd known at the time of booking my flights that Sydney Airport doesn't actually open until a certain time of the morning I think it's fair to say that I wouldn't have made the same plans.

From the mystery suburb I ended up at Star City where I said goodbye to my money in rapid fashion and then just randomly started walking. Somehow I ended up in the Compton section of Darling Harbour where I saw a woman violently puking, two guys smoking a cigarette that was NOT from the Benson and/or Hedges Family and a man performing what was possibly an indecent and offensive act on a woman in some bushes. I'd have given him a round of applause but I fear reprisals.

On that note I've been hanging out for one of these drive by shootings that's supposed to be all the rage here but so far there's been nothing. Disappointing. I think I'll just wait here for another couple of hours, the view is quite nice and I simply cannot walk any further.

UPDATE 2 - I did the votes, but they got wiped somehow.

5 - McLean
4 - Rivers
3 - Miller
2 - Johnstone
1 - Yze

-10 for the Shambles family.

Friday 22 April 2005


Melbourne vs Sydney
7.20pm, Saturday, Sydney Cricket Ground

In: Motlop (debut), Armstrong (remembered), Ferguson (back in rightful place)
Out: Bruce (shoulder), Heffernan (apathy), Nicholson (past expiry debate)

Every Day Is Like Sunday will be in attendance, but sadly due to increased world fears about terrorism in the airline industry the Premiership Liberation Front will be forced to remain at home. We hope this will not detract from festivities. A full report will follow, possibly written in an internet cafe in some dubious suburb of Sydney at 3am while I wait for my 6.15am flight home.

Tuesday 19 April 2005

Hail to the chief!

Did I ever post about how much I loved and respected Peter Schwab in his time as Hawthorn coach? No, of course I didn't. But I should have,

I heart Schwabby...

After its first loss of the season on Sunday, Melbourne received some good news last night when a report against Brad Miller was dropped and Aaron Davey escaped without a suspension.

I officially kissed the ground when I saw that. But this doesn't make much sense,

Melbourne's livewire Davey was reprimanded for striking St Kilda veteran Justin Peckett, but with his good record, the incident activated less than the 100 points needed for a suspension.

It was also a relief for Miller that his report for rough conduct against Andew Thompson was dismissed.

The forward received a reprimand last week for a similar incident and would have faced a suspension had he been found guilty.

Injured Demon midfielder Cameron Bruce said his teammate would need to be more careful. "He probably has to watch himself a little bit. He's come under scrutiny a bit, but they've all been cleared and he's been given the green light," Bruce said.

"He's a really important player in terms of his ability to impact physically and that's his strength, so hopefully he can continue to do that and not get on the wrong side of the tribunal."

Miller's one looked worse to my uncultured eyes. Seemed much more dangerous, but what do I know? Might be a square up after the farcical Moloney decision last week.

More news on Saturday night's game as the week presses on. Now that we've scored a rival on the network I'm sure we'll able to present the Wayne "Moose" Henwood Memorial Cup to the winning side.

Monday 18 April 2005

I know it's over..

Those of you who come here for the normally high standard of reporting (!?) will be shocked and appalled to know that I set a new record today but walking in at half time due to work, and walking out five minutes into the last quarter. Therefore the report that follows will be flawed like never before.

I walked into Telstra Dome quitely confident of keeping our wild winning streak going. All I'd seen so far was the scores on mobile phone updates, and despite the fact that I thought a high scoring game wouldn't suit us we led at half time and it was looking attractive. By the time I reached the top deck of the Dome the third quarter was just about to kick off, and suddenly things started to go downhill. The first twenty minutes were fairly even on the scoreboard, but you could tell the way it was going to go. As has become a trend this season we were getting slaughtered down the wings and the ball was entering the St. Kilda forward line again, and again , and again. We were still leading at the 20 minute mark and then it fell apart faster than Michael Jackson's face.

I must say at this point I didn't even realise that Cameron Bruce was injured. It only dawned on me as I stormed down Spencer Street 45 minutes later that I hadn't seen him once and that something very, very wrong must have gone down. Alas it has, and we're all dead.

It was all about gimmick football. This is when people start doing stupid things either out of panic or a genuine desire to end up on the "that was the season that was" highlight tape. Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't. See - for instance - a high ball bombed into our backline only to find a 3 on 0 situation. Russell Robertson backs back, back, back, shits himself and does a two handed slap of the ball into the ground. I think we got away with it but there was so much more. Daniel Bell trying an Allen Jakovich-esque horizontal bicycle kick out of the ruck IN THE BACKLINE, short kicks flying to the wrong people and shambolic attempts to rush a behind leading to us copping goals.

And then there's the USS Clueless, Alistair Nicholson. Despite my off tap whinging about his selection I somewhat understood what they were looking for when they picked him. Fat bastard to play on fat bastard. Unfortunately Fraser Gehrig is actually quite good, and not as slow as you'd expect him to be and ripped him to pieces. Apologies to our resident Nicholson superfan reader but he's clearly for the tip. JUST GET OUT. I'd rather they pick Nathan Carroll than him. When David Neitz suddenly 'appeared' in the backline hovering around Gehrig it was roughly equivalent to Neale Daniher draping a banner out of his coaching box with the words "We're sorry, we've got nothing else" written on it.

I don't know what the fuck was going on to be honest. It all just started falling apart so quickly. We were only a few points down at 3/4 time and then within five minutes of the last quarter starting we were being beaten like a red headed stepchild. WHY? It's all going horribly wrong. Bruce is gone for god knows how long and Miller and Davey did their best to get suspended. Miller is gone, and you can expect Ben Holland at CHF next week. Not as bad an idea as it sounds, because his one excellent game for us so far was in that position last year but frightening nonetheless. I want to see the names ARMSTRONG and MOTLOP in our side next week as well. If we're going to burn we may as well go down in style.

I walked out five minutes into the last quarter. I'd been up since 6am and had better things to do with that half an hour than watch slop football served up. I think the last time I walked out was when we got poleaxed by Carlton in 2000.

Votes? FUCK THE VOTES. This is the beauty of the Demonblog player of the year - we don't hand them out lightly. I was going to give them for the half a game but I've decided that nobody deserves them for the 35 minutes of football that I saw. BAD LUCK. Cameron Bruce still leads - for now but don't be surprised

I've never turned on my team's chances when we're 3-1 before but with the plague of injury and suspension we've just seen the end of the road. Taking my airline ticket to Sydney and roasting it on an open fire is a tempting thought but I may as well go - if they can't beat the Adelaide Crows there even our 2nd's side is a chance - I'm looking for a blockbusting come from behind, against the odds victory a'la when we beat West Coast in Perth in 1998. All set to the music from the Karate Kid as I'm pounded into unconciousness by the old people who stand behind the goals at the SCG.

Revised "Most Negative Man Alive" season prediction: 9th

Next week: Sydney vs Melbourne. SCG. Followed by a suicide leap from the bridge.

Saturday 16 April 2005

For the tip

I'm not sure I've ever turned on the team when we'd just won 3 in a row before but this time I'm OUT. This is the biggest shambles ever,

In: Heffernan (!), Godfrey (!!), Nicholson (!!?!?!?)
Out: Whelan (Inj), Moloney (Susp), Ferguson (!@#q2ewR930=58TR34-856-95!1!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK?)

Change your tip. Back St. Kilda. This is an outrage. The Jeff Hilton section with be calling for the sacking of the board throughout the match. What did Ferguson do wrong? For gods sake.

Friday 15 April 2005

End of the Road?

You'll notice, as the years go on, that this page will do a very nice line in negative thinking. You think that's bad? Try sitting next to me at a game.

On that note when I saw the following,

IN: Nicholson, Armstrong, Heffernan, Godfrey, S.Motlop
OUT: Whelan (hamstring), Moloney (susp)

I almost collapsed. Which of those 5 could possibly replace Whelan? We're all going to die etc.. My uncultured reading of the situation would have Bizzell playing the Whelan role, Rigoni playing the Bizzell role, Armstrong playing Rigoni and one of Heffernan or Godfrey sitting on the bench all day doing squat.

Await further instruction.

UPDATE - Congratulations Nathan Brown and Guy Rigoni on 100 games.

It is one of the hoariest cliches in football - grab your opportunities while they're there because they may not come around again.

For Guy Rigoni and Nathan Brown - two self-confessed battlers who will each play his 100th game for Melbourne this week against St Kilda - football life has echoed the cliche.

Rigoni is 30, Brown will be 29 in August. Each was taken well into the 1997 draft - Rigoni at pick 77 after being delisted by Hawthorn, Brown at 66 as a mature-age player from West Adelaide.

And congrats to Daniel Bell on game six...

Wednesday 13 April 2005

I concur

Who's comparing? Shoot them.

Melbourne coach Neale Daniher says it is far too early to compare his 2005 ladder leading team with the Demons' 2000 grand final team.

The Demons are one of just three unbeaten teams after the first three rounds of this season but such has been their early dominance they have already opened up a 30 percent gap at the top of the ladder.

And after thrashing one of last year's preliminary finalists in Geelong last week, the Demons get their chance to take on another of last year's big four this week in St Kilda.

What a farcical suggestion. Clearly this year's side shits ALL over the one that lined up, and was porked by, Essendon on that fateful day.

The survivors
Brad Green, Russell Robertson, Jeff White <-- older, wiser and significantly better.
Travis Johnstone <-- peaked in 2002, still threatening to run wild
David Neitz, Adem Yze <-- still killing it after all these years
Guy Rigoni <-- coming towards the end but has somehow managed to end up back in the side playing well.

The changes
Ben Beams OUT, Cameron Bruce IN
Matthew Collins OUT, Jared Rivers IN
Jeff Farmer OUT, Aaron Davey IN
Steve Febey OUT, Matthew Whelan IN
Brent Grgic OUT, Colin Sylvia IN
Anthony Ingerson OUT, Ryan Ferguson IN
Andrew Leoncelli OUT, Brock McLean IN
Anthony McDonald OUT, James McDonald IN
Stephen Powell OUT, Brent Moloney IN
David Schwarz OUT, Brad Miller IN
Troy Simmonds OUT, Mark Jamar IN
Peter Walsh OUT, Clint Bizzell IN
Alistair Nicholson OUT, Daniel Bell IN
Daniel Ward OUT, Nathan Brown IN
Shane Woewodin OUT, whoever I've left off this list IN

Infinitely better. INFINITE. Some of those are obviously more important than others, and I'd kill to have Anthony Ingerson and Anthony McDonald back (and Matthew Collins was a hero) but you can't tell me you'd rather have Beams than Bruce.


I guess it's karma for all the shit we hung on Byron Pickett for copping six weeks earlier in the year but we've just been bent over and shafted by the AFL tribunal,

Melbourne is considering an appeal against the decision by the AFL Tribunal last night to suspend onballer Brent Moloney for two matches for rough conduct against former Geelong teammate Jimmy Bartel in last Friday night's game at the MCG.

Moloney was found guilty by the three-man panel of Wayne Schimmelbusch, Richard Loveridge and Barry Stoneham despite video evidence that appeared to show no significant contact with Bartel and expert evidence from sports medicine doctor Peter Larkins that Bartel was knocked out when his forehead made heavy contact with the playing surface and not by any action of Moloney's.

"We're disappointed with the result and we'll give it some consideration over the next 12 hours," Melbourne football manager Chris Fagan said. He left the hearing without making any further comment.

How can you get two weeks for that? What a farce. If this leads to Luke Williams being promoted to the MFC senior side I'll burn the tribunal down.

Not only this but Matt Whelan is out for three weeks as well. He's not allowed to get injured unless it's finals time. It's all unravelling.

Monday 11 April 2005

Neitz: "Calm the f*ck down"

But I simply can't help getting excited...

Memories of Melbourne's poor finish to 2004 have ensured the Demons will not be getting carried away with their unbeaten start to the season, skipper David Neitz said on Monday morning.

The Demons were on top of the ladder after round 18 last season but lost their last five matches of the season - including the elimination final defeat to Essendon.

A buoyant Neitz, who became just the fifth Demon to reach the 250-game milestone on Friday night, said there was no need for coach Neale Daniher to tell them to keep a lid on things because the players were aware of their disappointing finish to 2004.

"I don't think he needs to say much. I think after round 18 last year, we know that you can reach the top and then fall away pretty quickly," Neitz said after training at the Junction Oval.

"So I think we're pretty well grounded and got that experience behind us to be able to just take it on board and sort of see it for what it is at the moment, three games in, and just get on with it."

The 30-year-old said the Demons' quick ball movement and aggression at the contest were both factors to their good start to the season.

"I think our aggression at winning the footy has been really good and our aggression towards running and really running hard has been fantastic as well," Neitz said.

"I think probably it's an area where so far we've improved but as we know last year, we got to round 18 and things were going well and we fell away. I suppose that's our challenge just to keep things moving along and keep playing that style of footy."

Saturday 9 April 2005

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

Or.. the night unbridled passion conquered all.

Three wins in a row. Unprecedented. Well, unprecedented in the last decade anyway. In 1994 we won the first six and made a Preliminary Final. In 2005 the sky is the limit. I don't want to get too excited early because we'll probably end up finishing with a 3-19 record if I do that. Cram the priority picks, I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Halfway through the third quarter I actually let my mind wander for a second and thought "this is a Premiership side". These are exciting times.

Tonight's game? Well it followed a familiar pattern when in scenes reminiscent of last week's game against Footscray we flattened Geelong in the first quarter and ended resistance early in the second. They showed flashes throughout the next couple of quarters but a farcical standard of goalkicking ensured there would be no outrageous comeback and heart-stopping finish this time. From the first few seconds when a 50m penalty out of the centre gave Matthew Whelan (later injured..) the opening goal and screwed up everyone who'd had a first goalkicker bet at the TAB we always looked the better side.

With Brad Ottens unable to get anywhere near a ball and Kent "Wave of the Future" Kingsley looking lost not having Nathan Carroll line up on him for once they were never close. The number of set shots the Cats missed would have caused me to slash my wrists in the middle of the Ponsford Stand if it happened to us. Wave of the Future somehow managed to snag three goals before cocking up set shots left right and centre. The Jeff Hilton section erupted into a massive "YOU'RE SHIT AND YOU KNOW YOU ARE" after the last one, but received absolutely no support from the spectators surrounding us. Disappointing. Various other Geelong stooges missed piss easy shots. Thanks!

Embarrassing moment when Neitz kicked his third and the entire place went ape. Like a bandwagon supporter who had just come on board and was wondering what the rules were I sat there and asked "why is everyone going wild?" Oops. He's done fuck all in the first two weeks so it was good to see the captain running riot tonight against one of the best fullbacks in the competition. Here's to plenty more where that came from.

And thus we went into the final change almost eight goals to the good. When Colin Sylvia kicked what 'the kids' would refer to as an absolute ripper from 50 metres out the result was sealed. And it was then that the gimmick was born. You may remember this post. We promised further communications, and tonight they came live and in person. In a cursory tip of the hat to the tradition of the gold jacket pioneered by some Collingwood bogans the black balaclava was produced at the start of the quarter, with the announcement that it would go on the moment the match was sealed and stay on until security/police/ASIO forced me to remove it.

Neitz kicked his fifth, the crowd went wild and on it went. The official timer started. Suddenly I had been transformed. I was Mr. Unbridled Passion. Going wild at everything, mocking Wave of the Future as his career went down the toilet and celebrating Brad Ottens getting a kick. Suddenly there were no boundaries, and as people started to turn around and point I felt superhuman. This, my friends, is the beginning of a new culture. As the game slipped from mere "sizeable victory" to "colossal porking" the crowd started to ebb out. High fives were exchanged with Demon fans who were leaving for some reason but a few of the Geelong types felt they should say something despite the fact that their side was being touched up. The most creative was a "I'd cover my face if I was a Melbourne supporter too". Absolute hilarity. Traditional responses about looking at the scoreboard were uttered, even though you couldn't see a scoreboard from where we were. The best thing about playing Geelong is that they, like Footscray and Sydney fans, can't even mock you about not winning Premierships. They've got nothing.

The plan was formulated for the ultimate in throat shedding theme song renditions. When the siren went (or, given that you can't hear it in the Jeff Hilton section when the game was clearly over) I was to charge down the stairwell and go ballistic at the top of the steps. And it was done. Game over and I was out of my seat and charging down the steps. Big Ultimate Warrior style "shake" (it didn't move, the effect was there though) of the railings and just launch into the song. I turn around and nobody.. NOBODY.. is celebrating it. In fact there was shock and disgust. Beautiful. Halfway through the song, somewhere around THE TEAM OF THE RED AND THE BLUE some moderately old man walked directly into the wild dance zone and copped a minor inadvertent hip and shoulder. He let rip with some "watch where you're going" and when I ignored him I got the tap on the shoulder instead. Whilst simultaneously yelling "WHAT THE FUCK DO WE SING?" into his face I received the minor lecture about being in the way. Absolutely no reaction, just continued singing the song. Then it was over. No applause.. Nobody joining in the wild scenes. The Ponsford Stand is clearly a taste-free zone. The long walk back up to my seat was interspersed with more UBP moments. I thought that I'd gone that far and I had better make it worthwhile. Eyewitness reports state that the general mood of fans of both clubs was anti-balaclava. Fuck them, it was quality.

The controversial, Carlos the Jackal inspired, head-wear remained on as we left the ground. Straight past the cops with not even a tap on the shoulder and a check for outstanding warrants. Disappointing. Then it was into the car for out of window yelling along Swan Street. A particular highlight, in my opinion, was the yelling out of one word from the theme song to each group of people driven past. I'm aware that the whole thing is unbelievably childish - but at least it's unique. The night was finalised by a colossal fence run at East Richmond station as a Glen Waverley bound train pulled out of the station - Connex staff loved it at least.

Sadly despite my best efforts it appears that I didn't manage to get on TV, nobody's talking outrageous gimmickery on the forums (nice plug for the people who run this site eh?) and I seriously doubt the news photographers will have caught it. Visiting celebrity Collingwood supporter AMUL had a top idea for making sure the media coverage is forthcoming. Somehow sell out everything I hold dear, worm my way into the cheer squad and wait for somebody to waltz into an open goal and look to the crowd for the high-five. Would be all over the news.

51,000 strong crowd there tonight. That's quite nice, and an audience of millions watching Neale Daniher's brand of sexy football unfold on television. Even the Pope scandal (vote for the guy on the left) couldn't stop us from achieving our rightful place on Friday Night Football. Odds on that Eddie McGuire was shedding a tear at watching such an attractive performance just a day before Collingwood lose another game. Player of the Year votes.
5 - Cameron Bruce
4 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Ryan Ferguson
1 - Clint Bizzell

Apologies to Moloney, Robertson, Rivers and 3/4 of the other players on the park..

Minus to.. erm.. I'm happy overall. Ground negatives to the MCG for not bothering to put speakers in the bottom deck of the Ponsford. The plus points of not having to hear a second rate television 'celeb' crap on about Vodafone Fan Cam is being drowned out by not being able to hear the siren. Thankfully we've pissed it in twice this year but it will disasterous in a close fourth quarter.

13 - Cameron Bruce
6 - Ryan Ferguson
5 - Brent Moloney
4 - Brad Green
3 - Aaron Davey, James McDonald
2 - Adem Yze, Brock McLean
1 - Jared Rivers, Russell Robertson, Clint Bizzell

End of season winner gets to be the next coach of Hawthorn.

Due to work commitments I've been rorted out of going to the St. Kilda game. If you'd like to provide a match report (you even get to hand out the votes and sledge my pissy match analysis skills. COME ON) please email or leave a comment. Otherwise I'll have to put up the match reports and give commentary on my dubious attempts to listen the game whilst supposedly working and nobody wants that.

Australian Football. We love you. Cross your fingers, your toes and anything else on your body that can conceivably be manipulated and hope for the best. We are a chance. Cameron Bruce for the Brownlow, David Neitz for the Coleman, Colin Sylvia for the Rising Star, Jeff White for Pope and Aaron Davey for Norm Smith Medallist and next Premier of Victoria.

Clearly, though, the gods were angry at my enthusiastic but morally dubious displays throughout the match as I got a lift home post-match only to be run into by a bunch of pissheads on St. Kilda Road. Mad whiplash action - if I die in the middle of the night it will be for a good cause. Give my 2005 membership to somebody who'll appreciate it and invite the following people to my funeral please.. Allen Jakovich, Phil Gilbert, John Howat, Darren Kowal and Jamie Shanahan. It's been emotional. Further communications as they come to hand.

Friday 8 April 2005

Friday Night Preview

Melbourne vs Geelong in t-minus four hours. Perhaps I should have posted this earlier, when somebody may have read it? That's debatable. The good news is that we're all over the papers.

Firstly, the changes.

In: Jamar
Out: Nicholson


Moving on...

From the Herald-Sun,

Neitz vs Scarlett

MELBOURNE captain David Neitz has a score to settle with Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett.

Neitz, who will make his 250th appearance for the Demons, has kicked just six goals in Melbourne's past six outings against Geelong.

The bustling forward was stitched up by Scarlett in the Demons' only meeting with the Cats last year in Round 8, kicking just three behinds.

Awful headlines...

Feline queasy about Moloney

SHUNNED by 16 clubs in the 2002 national draft, overlooked by West Coast as a rookie in 2003 and traded by Geelong in 2004, Brent Moloney tonight takes another step in his tumultuous footballing journey.

He will play his third game for new club Melbourne against the former teammates he had hoped would one day be bonded by a premiership.

Moloney, 21, is one of those rare footballers whose talents nobody denies, yet few clubs are willing to pursue vigorously.

During last year's trade week madness, the fast, tough, long-kicking Moloney suddenly was on the market.

and Wayne Schwass talks us up,

[scene setting waffle about Sir Edmund Hillary DELETED]

In tonight's MCG clash, Melbourne and Geelong, two teams who have progressed from the base camp to the higher peaks of the AFL's Everest, take their next stride towards The Hillary Step.

But the higher you climb the more difficult it becomes to make further progress. Meticulous planning, physical conditioning and thorough preparation on the lower peaks are required in order to gain the necessary confidence before an attempt on the summit can be contemplated.

Melbourne tried to take a quick route to the top in 2000 and again in 2002, but both times found its spine wasn't strong enough to withstand the pressure at high altitude.

Neale Daniher's failed expeditions finally hit home in 2002 when he agreed to trade club stalwart Shane Woewodin. But even he would argue sacrifices have to be made in an attempt to reach the summit.

The Age,

Study is White's new run-up,

Tonight'S clash between Melbourne and Geelong will pit two ruckmen who, at various stages over the past few years, have been considered the game's finest.

Melbourne's Jeff White and Geelong's Steven King will face off for the first time this year under the new ruck circle conditions in the match-of-the-round at the MCG.

White was a vehement critic of the centre-circle arrangement, claiming it would overly restrict his athletic run-and-jump rucking style, and admitted yesterday that while he believes he has adapted, it has caused him to reassess how he prepares for opponents.

While players always have to study opponent's strengths, weaknesses, styles and habits, White says it is far more crucial for him as a ruckman nowadays to ensure he knows as much as possible about the players he is coming up against. No longer can he simply rely on his massive leap to overcome an opponent.

"I've had to adjust to what we have in place . . . I was a bit rusty early, obviously in the Wizard Cup, but I think I have got used to it now," White said yesterday. "I've just had to do a lot of homework on it, it's not like the normal run-up you used to do in juniors when you line up against each other and go for it.

The prediction? Melbourne by 15 points. A coronary for me 15 minutes into the last quarter.

Thursday 7 April 2005

Big Book of Footy Stereotypes 2005

We are in a very elite club. Stand and applaud because apart from you and I there are apparently only 225,998 Melbourne fans in Australia. Sounds pretty bad eh? Well at least we're in front of Footscray and North, which is more than can be said for the last time they did a survey.

Mind you I'm not sure I trust any survey which declares that Footscray have "lost" 50000 fans in that time. Where did they all go? Did they interview legitimate fans? Or just any bogan who picked up the phone?

Meanwhile the survey came up with several 'alarming' suggestions about our fans,
• 17% more likely to have a Diploma or Degree

• 20% more likely to own their own home

• 13% more likely to believe that threats to the environment are exaggerated

• 25% more likely to be more interested in their job than their house

• 15% more likely to drink more wine now than they used to (drinkers 18+)

• 38% more likely to have been to a BYO restaurant in the last three months 

• 21% more likely to have played a poker machine in the last three months

• 16% more likely to have read a novel in the last three months

• 17% more likely to have had a weekend away in the last three months
I haven't had any of those bar the novel and the caring more about the job. Am I supporting the wrong team? Please advise.

I'm especially worried about the Essendon findings,

• 33% more likely to be aged 14-24

• 23% more likely to have one child aged under 16 in the household
Are these two linked? Call the police.

Sunday 3 April 2005

Getting away with it

Games where we're expected to win comfortably scare me. You can't possibly celebrate anything other than a blockbusting win, and the prospect of a humilating loss and people whinging at you for the next week about how "you" wrecked their tipping is ever present. It was against this backdrop of potential disaster that we entered the Corporate Dome for Saturday's game against Footscray.

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While I must say my attitude towards the Dome has softened in recent times (though I still flip everytime I see the Medallion Club ads) there were absolutely farcical scenes before the first bounce when, for reasons unknown to me as I was listening to something else at the time, Bob The Builder appeared on the boundary line and started acting the goat with the kids. His theme song even got a run, and whilst it might be better than the Port or West Coast themes it was still a bizarre thing to see before the bounce of a league game. First they take away the reserves, and now this.

Then, to add more fuel to the fire of my my poorly recieved "Ban The Cheer Squad" campaign our lot pulled this out,

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For those of you who can't read the writing on it due to shithouse camera quality it says,

Passion, Skill, Deesire
Setting The Dome
On Fire

There should be an AFL official who gets to turn back banners if there's nothing interesting written on them. That message ranked neatly alongside "CHEER SQUAD DISCO. MAY 2nd" for motivational content. That said it may very well have had the same effect as piping the music from the Karate Kid into the dressing room pre-match as, after conceding (or "conceDEEING" as the cheer squad would probably have it) the first goal of the game we then kicked the next six to go into quarter time with a potentially match winning lead. Put the feet up then, sit back and watch the game unfold. And indeed it did, with the first eight minutes of the second quarter proving a training drill as the newly Robertson focused forward line ran riot whilst the captain sat on the bench. When the margin hit 9+ goals two thoughts entered my mind and desperately battled for supremacy,

The Angel: "Yeees. 100pt win. Cameron Bruce to kick nine. This will be great!"
The Devil: "Oh Jesus if we lose it from here I'm going to die. This could be one of the greatest comebacks ever"

For once the optimistic view won out. As we pressed forward again I pulled the phone out ready to make a "are you watching this?" phone call before thinking better of it. "Better wait for a few more goals to go in", I thought to myself. Then we gave away one of those useless free kicks because of bullshit macho posturing and the Bulldogs put their second on the board. There were more ironic cheers from our fans than celebratory ones from the Footscray ones. Which was nice because until then the crowd had gone nothing more than mild for anything we did.

Then I looked up and late addition Alistair Nicholson was in the ruck, turning back the clock to 1997. He couldn't play in the ruck then and he hasn't gotten any better since. The Bulldogs kicked another. And then another. We went goal for goal for the rest of the quarter and things were starting to get tense in the Jeff Hilton section (back row of the top deck of the Dome). For once half-time couldn't come fast enough.

Despite the fact that we were clearly the better side I was worried. Had they cracked the secret formula? Were we set for one of the biggest outrages in history? It started to look like it in the early minutes of the third quarter. We looked dead on our feet, which is NOT what I want to see in the third quarter against a side who had come from the clouds to win the week before. Sure they'd done it against Collingwood, which is like coming from behind to beat Montmorency, but it still proved they could do it. Luckily as the quarter wore on we started to assert our dominance again. God knows what happened, the ending was too tense for me to remember any details this many hours later. The result was a five goal to three quarter that saw us 33 points in front at the final break.

It's important at this point to say that I felt lucky to have been that far in front. The number of goalscoring opportunities that Footscray screwed up was amazing. Their three-quarter time score of 10.15 didn't take into account out the full, playing on and screwing it up, not making the distance and giving away pointless free kicks inside fifty. With a little more finesse they could very well have been within striking distance at this point, and the way we were rapidly falling apart faster than Michael Jackson's face that would have been disastrous. And then they totally ignored the fact that they were supposed to be dead and buried and came at us like a f'ing freight train anyway. My pattern of thought at each margin went something like this,

26pts: "If we get the next one we'll be right"
21pts: "Now we're in serious trouble"
15pts: "Oh shit we're fucked"

It was during this last one that I began pounding the living crap out of the seat in front of me. Blame the bruises on my right hand for the lateness of this report if you like, it's a better excuse than just being slack. Memories of that fateful day against Essendon in 1991 came flooding back to me again, and then I realised that I was sitting in exactly the same seat that I was in when we lost to North by a point in 2000 and I punched the seat so viciously that my hand pissed blood. As a precaution against destruction by unbridled passion and tantrum I stored everything I had with me safely under the seat next to me. It must be something to do with the lack of oxygen at that altitude, as I don't recall every violently assaulting any other inanimate object during a game in years.

I turned to the kid standing next to me and offered him friendly advice, I said "Mate, change teams now. Don't bother with this one. It will bring you nothing but heartache. It's not too late to pick another one". He just looked blankly. Poor kid, reminded me of myself at that age - I was just trying to help him out of a lifetime of heartbreak. He even started mimicking some of my unbridled passion antics, bashing the seat in front of him with his scarf and turning around and kicking the chair he had been sitting on immediately after I did likewise. Smart kid, he'll go far even if I was encouraging him to switch codes. The people sitting next to me became crucial just seconds later as a Bulldog (god knows who) picked up a loose ball inside fifty and snapped over his shoulder. I was off - just turning around and getting ready to throw a massive tantrum when I heard the kid's dad or whoever he was go "It's a point! It's a point!" Thank Christ for that, we would have been finished if the margin had gone below ten.

A couple of minutes later Cameron Bruce kicked the sealer and I went wild, jumping around like a mong and running over the kid and demanding that he threw the big high five. If that kid reads this in ten years time I'd like to apologise for ruining your life.

We then added another and it was in the bag. I sat back, relaxed and ruminated about how heartbreaking it would have been to throw such a colossal lead away. I would have pledged never to come back, and then gone next Friday night. Siren, and no throat shedding UBP rendition of the theme song - it just wasn't the day for it, I wanted to get the hell out of that place ASAP.

Make no mistake about it, Footscray aren't bad. I doubt their ability to make the eight but they're certainly better than bottom four quality. We on the other hand will not get away with such a lapse against Geelong next Friday night. For the sake of bandwagon jumping potential members we can't afford to get crushed on a high rating televised game.

Housekeeping matters... Player of the Year. 
Where I hand out votes on a whim, with no care for what real judges of the game are saying. Winner at the end of the season gets elected Pope of the Catholic Church.

5 - Cameron Bruce
4 - Brad Green
3 - Aaron Davey
2 - Brock McLean
1 - Russell Robertson

Credit to Adem Yze, Jared Rivers, Travis Johnstone and Clint Bizzell. Symbolic negative points to David Neitz and Alistair Nicholson.


8 - Cameron Bruce
5 - Brent Moloney
4 - Ryan Ferguson, Brad Green
3 - Aaron Davey
2 - Adem Yze, Brock McLean
1 - Jared Rivers, Russell Robertson

Next game - Friday Night. Melbourne vs Geelong - Melbourne Cricket Ground at 7.40pm. BE THERE. The Premiership Liberation Front and I will be in the back of the bottom deck of the Ponsford. Look for the balaclava.

P.S - I did not leave posting this until Sunday just to get the website name angle over. Just so you know... Anyone who can fill in the blanks of the game please feel free to do so.

Friday 1 April 2005

Retro Repost

What we were discussing a year ago,

Round Two, 2004. Melbourne vs Richmond at the MCG.

Friday Night Farce

or “Please donate a new headline because we belted the crunts"…

What a night. Our one and only crack at the best time and place to watch football in the book. Friday evening at the MCG. And the result? Love affair with the game rekindled. We could get tonked for the next twenty weeks but at least this was memorable.

The ‘unification’ theme before the game was nice. There were plenty of club legends there but no John Howat, Darren Kowal, Allen Jakovich or Phil Gilbert which disappointed me a bit.

Credit to those fans I know who got on us at +39.5 points at $14 and cleaned up. I looked at that in the paper and thought about having a dip and then chickened out. Instead I went to the TAB at half-time to steady my nerves, walked in as a horse called “Three Dee Lyon�? won at Port Pirie, paying $8.40 for the win then threw what little hard-earned I had on me away on some shonky harness horse named after Matthew fecking Lloyd.

David Neitz kicked 9.1 and two that didn’t make the distance. He could have been the first of our players to boot ten since Gary Lyon in the 1994 finals but I think we’ll take the nine if it’s all the same with you anyway thanks. Did I not tip that in the preview I wrote for the Herald-Sun? And did they not ignore that and print SHIT about Richmond and how they were good instead? Popularist dickheads.

Meanwhile a big hand to the Richmond bogans sitting behind me who fulfilled every single stereotype of football fans in the book. Demanding a free kick for everything, declaring that they’d been rorted everytime we got one, sledging their own players from the first bounce, turning on their team before quarter time and even dropping an accidental racial slur in during the first quarter (you could hear him try and pull out halfway through). Then they had the nerve to crack the shits at me when I bagged their man Richardson. Meanwhile Richo must have thought he was playing us last week as he had his one good game for the year then and did squat instead tonight. EXTREMELY happy with Alistair Nicholson who is at his best against the slow full-forwards.

And I realised tonight what the major difference between the pre and post ‘old’ Ponsford Stand era is going to be. Back then I could stand at the back, with just a few people around, and go as fucking mental as I wanted and let all the stress go. Now? You’re surrounded by kids and old people and I can’t bring myself to swear, rant and rave in front of them for the full four quarters. A couple of explosive outbursts are a must every game but that’s the be expected. If you sit on the midst of families and act like a complete bastard you turn into one of the wankers who were sitting behind us tonight.

And yes, the stress. I might have briefly flirted with soccer as a first love over the summer but it became blatantly clear throughout the evening why it will never take footy’s place in my heart. I still enjoy going to that. I can relax before a soccer game, I can take a step back whilst watching it and think rationally about what’s going on. When I watch Melbourne though? The anxiety pains start before the first bounce and don’t let up for four quarters. It hurts so good.

Not sure what there is left to say, I would have loved them to go sick in the last quarter and win by a ton but anything that gives us the four points is alright by me. Next week? It’s the Bulldogs. I guess we’ll have a better idea of what’s going to go on there after their game tomorrow.

And thank christ I tipped us in the end. The Tipstar Pick 8 holy grail lives. And with this result it may pay better than $22 this week.

Ahh happy memories.