Thursday, 11 August 2005

The early train leaves at 2.30

To paraphrase Morrissey (as opposed to just ripping him off wholesale, as for this blog's title), "Oh Geelong, so much to answer for".

What's worse than six losses in a row? Losing seven players at once for the next one! And what's worse than losing that as well? Having to travel the next week to somewhere the team hasn't won since 1988 with your last shreds of finals hope resting on it. How depressing.

Now you're all familiar with our record in Geelong, but I defy you to actually explain it. "Sleepy Hollow" - as clowns will often refer to it - is a small town, just an hours drive from Melbourne via the Westgate Bridge. Since 1988 we have won in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Wellington but for reasons unknown we can't take a trip down the highway, tonk some country bogans on and off the field and come back with the four points.

Luckily I missed a few years of this travelling slop carnival. When we last won there, on July 2nd 1988, I was still about three months away from actually deciding I liked football. By the time we travelled there again, in 1990, I was right on board with the sport but flatly refused to go to any game that wasn't played at the MCG - I was an odd child. When we were tonked there in 1992 the ban had been somewhat lifted to allow trips to Waverley but all other venues were still out. See also 1994. '95-'96, as you may remember, were a complete wipeout after Allen Jakovich got delisted and I refused to watch football in protest and we didn't play there in '97 or '98 so the first time I had the pleasure of visting was Round 3, 1999.

Ahh I remember it like it was yesterday - which is odd because there's very little else from 1999-2002 that I can recall. It was a week after I swore off drinking for life at AFL events after narrowly avoiding a group mashing at the hands of some white trash St. Kilda fans after making the most inappropriate comment EVER to one of them. Bearing this in mind I made my first appearance at Kardinia Park (or whatever gimmick name it had at the time) wondering not if, but when, the first fists would be thrown. Personally I'm a peace loving hippy but you make one comment about somebody's mum and wild scenes just seem to eventuate.

I caught the train there, which was a must because not only could I drive but I legitimately didn't know where Geelong was. I'd never been there once so it was all a bit of a mystery. I got to the ground so early I watched the full 4 quarters of the reserves game for the first time ever. Much bonding was had with our fellow supporters, and things were looking lovely. Then the game started - and to be honest I don't remember any of it except that Glenn Lovett was making his much awaited comeback that ended up lasting about two seconds. A look at the game stats shows that despite having such AFL legends as Luke Ottens, Troy Longmuir and Scott Chisholm (already shit) in our side we still shockingly failed to record a victory. I'm as shocked as you are. Inaccuracy murdered us in the 12.19.91 to 14.13.97 loss - with Neitz (0.4) and Robertson (1.3) the major offenders. Matthew Febey ran riot with 27 touches and 2.2 (!?) but still got the arse in the Brownlow votes for Todd Viney who had 22 and didn't score. A particular highlight was having to hold a fat woman back from punching on with a male Cats fan - looking back I actually think she would have been a fair chance.

Significantly I saw the most comic bit of AFL crowd violence ever after the game. This skinhead (!) in a Melbourne jacket is walking down the street and some Geelong crunt starts taunting him. Suddenly skin just charges this guy and the local pissbolts down the street. He then proceeds to scramble in his car and unwisely give it to skin even more before driving off. He then has one of his headlights kicked to buggery and a fair belting dealt out to his panel work before he could get away. The only time I ever saw skin again was as he was being "spoken to" by police on Spencer Street station after a game at Colonial Stadium a few years later. What a gun - where is he now?

The next year we made a Grand Final (hah I know!) but still couldn't win there. I know I was there but cannot remember one second of it - but apparently S. Woewodin scored three votes in the Brownlow and as you'd remember went on to earn me $1000 by somehow winning the whole thing.

At some point there was that pre-season game that got called off when the sprinklers exploded everywhere and completely rooted the field. No idea what year it was but I was not only there BUT I was also amongst the 500 people who rocked up to Waverley Park on Monday night for the replay - which naturally we lost.

I was OUT of our 2002 clash, and indeed most of the season, due to rotten finances. Unfortunately this means I missed the day that Al Nicholson somehow ended up in the forward line (obviously because our forwards were complete rubbish) and kicked two of his three career goals. Darren Jolly chimed in as well with two of his 11 MFC goals, which made it a huge day for gimmick players given that we only managed 9 for the entire day. Even Kent Kingsley kicked 6.4 - which is just a slap in the face.

I was back in action for '03, only to see us play an even worse attacking performance than '02 - with only 6 goals for the entire day. Even Kingsley, torturing the hapless N. Carroll in his debut, managed 5.2. We took the early train. Somehow Chris Heffernan got a Brownlow Vote - and you'll probably never see that again. This game significantly marked the debut of the "YEAH? WELL AT LEAST I DON'T LIVE IN GEELONG" line.

Last year was an odd one. The train left 20 minutes early and screwed over one of our faction, because we'd won about a million games in a row our carriage was full of idiots singing the theme song BEFORE the game and announcing we were going to win by a hundred to the poor bastard Cat fan only to see some of the worst football ever perpetrated. 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter we're 40 points down and while I'm trying to find a noose to neck up with the guy standing next to me is just pumping us up "COME ON BOYS! WE'RE NOT DONE YET! BOUNCE BACK DEMONS!" etc.. Ironic considering I'm the most negative fan ever, but we were a wild double act. All these Geelong bastards are standing around pissing themselves laughing at him, but suddenly we get a run on, are storming home kicking goals from everywhere and all around us is dead silence. You could see the terror in their faces at the prospect of us getting up and this guy doing wild celebrations. Luckily for them we folded like a house of cards and they got to act like millionares despite living in the shittest place this side of Baghdad. We caught the specially decorated "Melbourne train" back in silence - sadly the bloody thing didn't derail.

So, this year. Well we've beaten them once on one of the greatest nights of Demonblog's career - when the balaclava was debuted and the Premiership Liberation Faction was born. We mocked Kingsley then but his record against us in Geelong says that he'll probably rip us a new asshole on Sunday to make up for it.

The Premiership Liberation Front (aka: the Phil Read Phaction) will be in attendance, and you're invited to join us behind the goals at the standing room end. How will you recognise us? Well we'll be the ones looking as if we're about to top ourselves. I suppose that's all MFC fans to be honest - just comment or email (supermercado AT if you want directions. Come and join in the sadness with us. You might even score a vote if we play badly enough.

Given our position as the revolutionary left faction of the Melbourne Football Club we may be displaying our official flag at various times throughout the afternoon,

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What about the game itself - that is probably what you came here to read about. Well the fact is that they're playing as badly as we are - and at least we've lost to finals contenders in the last few weeks rather than the trash they have. I can almost see potential for an upset here, but not quite. It's appalling to think that if we win this (IF) that we can still make the 8, but for now it's the truth. I'd almost prefer that our season was already dicked so we could go down there with no stress and just enjoy the prospect of completely fucking up the Cats finals chances - and telling them all about it - if we got up. Alas there's still a bit of oxygen wafting through so the stress level will be at a million.

The Prediction: Geelong by 22 - Ryan Ferguson to continue the trend of gimmick goalkickers with 3 for the losers. Kent Kingsley with 13 if Nathan Carroll comes back and lines up on him.

Can this season end quick enough?

UPDATE - WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN IT'S ON SATURDAY? What fixture have I been looking at? Now I'm going to have to chuck a sickie in order to go.

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