Sunday, 17 July 2005

I can't stand up for falling down

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Well. That was a wonderful year while it lasted. Can't wait for the 2006 AFL season. Wonder what I'm going to do during summer. I'm well aware that there's six rounds and finals to go this year but what's the point? We're finished. What we all feared has come true - we are not sitting in some sort of mid-season slump but rather a full scale "brace for impact" plummet towards the ground with all the engines blown out and both pilots slumped over the controls with fatal heart attacks.

Not only did I know we'd lose, but I almost picked the result as well - only missing it by a point. Why even bother showing up? I almost think that if I'd gotten a better offer I may have taken it tonight, such was the crushing inevitability of what was going to happen and the negative entertainment prospects of watching Luke Williams and Nathan Carroll on the same field. Alas the call never came. I usually get to games 30-45 minutes before the first bounce but tonight I didn't even bother. Walked in the door on the siren, saw us cop two goals in the first few minutes before I'd even looked for a seat and considered walking straight back out the door again. Sadly the thrills and spills of modern day football (especially on the ropey Dome surface) managed to override the "quality and good taste" part of my brain and I stayed. Shame. Somehow we managed to get within a goal in the second quarter. To be entirely honest I don't even know what happened in front of me, I was too busy sitting there with two friends discussing ways to make the evening more entertaining. We discussed sitting there holding up a giant banner that said ROFL or LOL, and as things started to go wrong the idea of all the fans bringing toasters and knives and symbolically sticking them in as we lost came up instead.

One thing I did notice was Ryan Ferguson line up on Barry Hall. Now this seemed rather odd to me. Clearly the only reason that Nathan Carroll was put anywhere near our Best 22 players was that he did the job on Barry a couple of years back - so then they pick him and sit him on the bench as the man who did the flying kneedrop on Steven Febey's head during the '98 finals ripped us to shreds. He even kicked a goal over his head for gods sake. Come halftime we'd actually shaved a point off the 1/4 time margin and were very much in it - despite complete ineptitude at almost everything we did. The only person who seemed to know what they were doing was the captain who had four goals. Sadly at the other end our Barry was doing similar, and exerting a lot less energy in the process.

Ben Holland mania erupted again. He kicked our first goal and I said "the thing about him is that he'll start the game like a house on fire, then do something stupid and go missing for the rest of it". Witness the Carlton game for instance. Tonight he topped himself (not literally thankfully/unfortunately) when he took a shot from 25m out on a slight angle and MISSED THE FUCKING LOT. Even I would have snuck that kick in for a point and I was probably the worst forward ever to play the game. He then proceeded to disappear for the remaining 2.5 quarters, emerging every once in a while to jump around a bit and try to look useful). I'm not even sure who was playing at CHF for most of the game. Did we even have one? Russell Robertson looked like he was having a crack at one point, possibly in an attempt to recapture his 2003 B&F form. Sadly this theory is soured by the fact that he's having a far better year this season than he did then and he managed to do absolutely nothing for the entire game. Never again. Somehow he got 10 touches and I'm as shocked as anyone. Brad Green also failed to score from a set shot - which should have told us the way things were going to go - and did even less than Robbo. Cameron Bruce had about four touches to three-quarter time. You wouldn't have known he was playing. Does this represent excellence on Sydney's part or complete mediocrity on ours? A little from column A, a little from column B. Also deserving of negative reports were Nathan Brown (10 kicks, 10 of them rubbish) and Adem Yze who looked completely disinterested.

The third quarter was farce central. I look up and Luke Williams has suddenly ended up on the wing. The ball is bounced and five seconds later he's ten metres behind his man. Jared Rivers has been dragged from Michael O'Loughlin and is replaced by... Nathan Carroll. Predictably this move proves completely shambolic within about 2 minutes as he's beaten on the lead by a mile, then sort of wanders off and lets O'Laughlin turn around and drop a pinpoint pass to a man on the lead in the centre. Who was it? God knows - and I can't even remember if he kicked it because I was too busy going completely and utterly apoplectic at everyone and everything in the back row of the stadium. The pressure of a long season had started to get to me. When Phil Read pulled off a ripper tackle to win a free kick and then, as I looked away, did something that ended in it getting reversed I'll tell you I almost cried. By the time we hit 3/4 time we were 30 points down and the entire season was goooooooooooooooooooooooooorn. You fill in the gaps regarding what happened for the rest of the quarter because I'll be entirely honest in saying I watched most of it with my head in my hands. It said everything about our night when Carroll finally did something good with a spoil, only to find the ball falling to Williams who proceeded to cock it up and gift Sydney a goal. More wild scenes.

I can't even remember when it happened but there was one of the most outrageous pieces of play ever during one of these quarters. David Neitz did everything to beat half the Swans list and get the boot to ball where it landed in the arms of Aaron Davey twenty metres out directly in front. He then proceeded to turn around and play on to find himself completely surrounded by Sydney players. Quoth Amul, who would be the proprietor of if he could bothered, "It was like The Matrix". How true. No wonder he's lost faith in football having seen the Collingwood and Melbourne games in consecutive nights. His suggestion that we're so bad we may as well merge wasn't a bad one, except for the fact that they still wouldn't be able to field a completely capable 18 players at any given time.

Somehow we got to 13pts behind by the ten minute mark of the last. Travis Johnstone kicked a pair of nice goals to disguise the fact that he did nothing else all day and we were a chance of pulling off one of the most undeserved victories in the history of the sport. Then, as expected, we didn't. A nine minute stalemate was ended with two Sydney goals in a row and we were officially finished. The only significant thing to happen after this was a fight down the front of our section. I'm not sure of the official card and matchups but it appeared as if Melbourne man had taken exception to Sydney woman and was yelling and pointing at her as Sydney woman's husband tried to get in the way. Melbourne man #2 then took his jacket off and waded in and all hell broke loose for about 10 seconds until people were pulled away from each other and sanity sadly prevailed. I'm sure I saw somebody use Sydney Woman as a human shield in the middle of the fracas - which despite being politically incorrect was mildly hillarious because she was screeching like a banshee in the moments leading to the melee. Telstra Dome security were as effective as ever in their performance during the incident where they were absolutely nowhere to be found. The closest thing to anyone rushing to their aid was some completely pissed cunt standing up from about 20 rows away and waving a bourbon and coke around and yelling at Melbourne Man to "GET OUT GO HOME YOU LOST". I tried to prolong the chaos, and take my mind off the football, by yelling out something about him going over there and joining in the brawl if he felt that strongly about it rather than standing 20m away yelling about it but sadly I wasn't heard and the siren ruined any chance of further riotous behaviour. Security and Police bothered to show up about 10 minutes after the brawl had finished and everyone had gone home. Gutted to not have a camera on me - the first blogworthy picture moment of the season and I missed it. I was going to send it to the press and demand that they bury AFL football in the media for having violent dickheads following it like they always do to soccer.

Pissed Bourbon Man was last seen standing in the same spot explaining the incident to two or three bystanders. Sort of a real life version of what I'm doing now, but with additional waving of the drink in his hand and staggering to stay upright. He would probably have gone and provided a statement to the cops as well if he didn't face the real prospect of being thrown in a divvy van for being off his face. I hate football fans.

Votes? Must we? Yes I suppose we should. Player of the Year

5 - David Neitz
4 - Colin Sylvia
3 - Daniel Ward
2 - Brent Moloney
1 - Matthew Whelan

LEADERBOARD (+ retrospective Port votes that I was too shattered to give)

26 - Travis Johnstone
18 - Brad Green
17 - Cameron Bruce
16 - Russell Robertson
13 - Brent Moloney, Adem Yze
10 - Colin Sylvia
9 - Brock McLean
6 - Ryan Ferguson, Clint Bizzell, Aaron Davey
5 - Jared Rivers, David Neitz
4 - Alistair Nicholson, Daniel Ward
3 - James McDonald, Brad Miller, Nathan Brown, Russell Robertson, Jeff White
2 - Paul Wheatley, Matthew Whelan

So, what of our run home? If you don't believe in indecent and offensive language LOOK AWAY NOW.

Round 17 - Fremantle (Subiaco) LOSS (5 in a row)
Round 18 - St. Kilda (MCG) LOSS (6 in a row.. Out of the eight)
Round 19 - Adelaide (Football Park) LOSS (7 in a row.. Supporters lose the plot)
Round 20 - Geelong (Kardinia Park) LOSS (8 in a row.. Supporters commit suicide)
Round 21 - Footscray (MCG) POTENTIAL WIN (Drought busting! Nobody's there because we've already all topped ourselves)
Round 22 - Essendon (MCG) WHO CARES? (By this point any of us left alive will be too far gone on a cocktail of anti-depressants and hard drugs to care)
Finals - Surely you jest? Thank god for Carlton and Collingwood or we wouldn't make the top 14 they way this year is going.

Next week? Freo. Unfortunately I won't be at work so I'll have a full report. Potential live bloggage of the game so you can see my unedited descent into madness as we get torn to shreds.

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