Saturday 29 April 2006

Take it to the limit

Good news. The battle for 15th has been won. We've faced down the worst team in the world and fallen over the line. Where does that leave our season? And why exactly are North so bad when they have a decent list? Don't ask me I'm just the color commentator on these things.

Yes, we won. And I'm not arguing that for a second, but anyone who saw the game will know that North Melbourne were a joke for half the game today. We were equally as bad in the first, but they were a different class of slop in the second quarter. Get your "Best of Fitzroy 1996" video out and have a close look because that's probably the only time you'll ever see anything as bad. Kicking backwards, kicking sideways, back and forth they went. Turnovers, missed kicks, farcical decision making - it was all covered. For the first time this season we looked deadly, but it was being put on a platter. Predictably enough they came out after halftime and destroyed us with four goals in an eight minute burst before running out of steam again. I didn't like our chances going into the last quarter, and when they were up by two goals fifteen minutes into the 4th it looked as if we were going to get rumbled by the shittest team around. Nathan Thompson belted us around the ground and then got dragged with a couple of minutes left. Wheatley belts one from 50+, Davey kicks two, James McDonald slides one in from an angle and we were in front. Two shots missed from North and we'd won. Cheers to North for taking Thompson off when he probably would be have won the game single handedly the way he was going.

The crowd looked shithouse but turned out to be just over 30000. That's the new MCG for you - god knows what it would have looked like the night we got 18k against Fremantle in '99. We had the pleasure of sitting in front of two of the biggest scrags ever to have lived. I can't do justice to their performance in words. Get a copy of the Fat Pizza movie and take notice of the performance of Shazza the bogan and you'll be in the ballpark. The highlight of their performance was during the tense moments of the last where they were shrieking orgasmically whenever anything happened and yelling "Come on.. COME ON" a lot. You feel she may have said it many times before. Indeed she probably has 8 kids called Wayne and calls them by their last name to tell them apart. I think I was more pleased by the victory just because it shut them the fuck up for a few seconds. Idiots.

Credit also to the North fans who showed up and booed Byron Pickett for the first quarter. They didn't even know why they were booing him and had totally forgotten to do it by the second quarter. Much like our fans who slaughtered Woewodin after it was US WHO SACKED HIM I didn't understand it. If the point is that he's a thug then I won't be out there to debate against it, but it was strange that you didn't hear the same rejects doing their tits when he was butchering people in their jumper a few years back. Much like the people who boo wildly when the other team rushes a behind, and then applaud heartily when their own side does it a minute later it's final proof that football fans are idiots. I love the game, and I love my team but god knows if I was rich I'd be sitting in my own corporate box somewhere and having nothing to do with the plebs. Apologies to any plebs who may be reading.

Meanwhile have you noticed that we haven't won a game comfortably for a while? Two wins and a loss by under a goal in the last three games, on top of 1, 4 and 10 point wins at the arse end of last season. It's either a thriller or we get belted - doesn't that fill you with confidence. June 13th, 2005 against Collingwood (45pts) was the last time we really put a team to the sword and gave us a relaxed last ten minutes of the game. We were ten goals up against Carlton at 3/4 time last year but managed to almost screw it up and only won by three. I'll take any win but my doctor requests that for the sake of my blood pressure and heartrate that we win a game by 90 at some point in the near future.

Public Apology Corner
* You may have seen some suggestion in this space before the season began that Byron Pickett would be a dud this season. I heartily apologise, as his performances in the last month have shown that he's still got a shitload left in him. Another top performance today. I love the man.

* For all the times I suggested Ben Holland could be used in the defence I hereby declare that I was WRONG. When he dropped that mark in the 2nd quarter and gifted Brent Harvey a goal I lost the plot.

2005 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Pickett (LEGEND! CULT FIGURE!)
4 - Bruce (Will win this award by a million points. Consistently good every week, even when those around him fall apart)
3 - Davey (Important goals, good work outside 50 and a shitload of disposals. ULTRA important player in this side)
2 - Yze (Best game since Queens Birthday last year)
1 - Johnstone (Superb around the ground as usual, and his lead and mark from FF in the second quarter was a ripper)

Apologies to McDonald, Brown and Bartram


20 - Cameron Bruce
12 - Byron Pickett
8 - Aaron Davey
7 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Jared Rivers
4 - Travis Johnstone
3 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Brock McLean
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown

Next week - Geelong at the MCG. Friday night @ 7.40pm. Come and talk to me about our season being back in action and on fire if we win that. Until then you won't convince me.

Tuesday 25 April 2006

Everybody Is A Star

Given what happened in the following four quarters (and more specifically in the last thirty seconds of the longest quarter ever played) I'll forgive the fact that for some reason it cost me $29 to get into the SCG. I'll even forgive the fact that despite the vast majority of Sydney based Swans fans becoming educated and knowledgable about the game in recent years I still ended up seated in the middle of the "copies of the AFL rulebook are available from the club office" section. I'll even forgive the guy who insisted at the end that "legging" was a reportable offence, and when asked if it had any relation to "tripping" he went off on a spree about when we last won a Premiership etc.. Because god help us all we finally won a game.

And unlike last week when I felt a strange apathy in that tight last quarter, even when we had just been persecuted by a goal umpiring decision that was contentious at best, this was personal. I wouldn't have been shattered if we'd gone down to a better side by five goals having shown something, but coming so far as to have held a four goal advantage in the third quarter (quickly extinguished, but encouraging) and various other leads in the last I would have been a broken man to go home without any points whatsoever. Of course when the ball rebounded off Robbo's chest from Aaron Davey's pass at the 31 minute mark and the Swans cleared I was calling for siren and a draw. Anything would have done for me other than a loss. It's been fifteen years since our last draw (against the Swans, featuring - if I recall correctly - world renowned lunatic Wayne Lamb botching a shot to win it on debut), and we've had enough results under a goal in that time to expect that we'd scrag a 2pt result eventually. At least if we hadn't taken full points we had another dodgy umpiring decision to hang it on - and there was no doubt about what a fiasco this one was. Jared Rivers gives away a free-kick, throws the ball back to some cheat who extends his hand about 3 centimetres in an "attempt" to catch it. Naturally due to this pissweak effort it flies over his head and the umpire is sucked in like the biggest moron ever to have been born and pays a 50 that ties the scores. Naturally the AFL would later come out and say that it was all good and they supported him. I hate the AFL. When that came on the television that night I almost smashed the thing, and it's not even mine.

But then - oh thing of beauty, hath thee ever shone upon us so? The ball ends up inside our fifty one last time (with 33 minutes showing on the game clock and tensions rising to "post nuclear" level) and a botched Sydney clearance lands with Travis Johnstone who rolls a low kick in (we'll call it deliberate) which bounces into the arms of Nathan Brown, the handball is flicked out to Cam Bruce who snaps over his shoulder and initiates wild scenes. I didn't even know it was a goal - any score would have done for me at that point. My primal scream died before it became apparent that we'd goaled. Little did we know there was still 40 seconds left in the longest quarter ever. Naturally Sydney did what they did all day and murdered us out of the centre straight away, and the ball landed in the arms of some stooge who botched a very kickable shot from 40m to leave it at five points the difference and set up one of our traditional kick-in failures to lead to the winning goal and heartbreak all around. Luckily it took only two more kicks to run the clock and seal the deal. Sadly due to my policy of refusing to ever sing the song again until we at least won one final I was denied the appropriate release of tension at the final siren and instead sat around shattered for a bit.

What made it more sweet (other than stitching up the bastards after they'd copped that charity 50) was the fact that we had 1 fit player left on the bench for the last quarter, after having only 2 for the whole second half. Brock McLean was on fire before blowing his hamstring (2 weeks), and Neitz had just started to assert himself on the game when his hip died in the arse and he needed to hobble off (1/2 weeks depending on who you believe). I didn't even see Paul Johnson go, but given that he was having undoubtedly his best game for us yet it's a bastard that he's out for 6 weeks.

In other news you'll never convince me that the goal Yze kicked off the ground when he got tackled was deliberate. He played a fine game but that was just stick the leg out and hope for the best if I've ever seen it. As I said at the time I'll take as many slop, fluke goals as is necessary to secure victory - and I stand by it.

Of course then we had the "Premiershipgate" incident with the knobend Swans fan. God knows who he was. Now, in the same situation I would probably have ripped the same line - there's absolutely no doubting that it's a corker of a weapon when it comes to footy arguments (and indeed I hope to deploy it one day) - but the point remains that most people in Melbourne were actually happy to see the Swans win it last year. It really is a case of "Congratulations, you're the lesser of two evils". But we were happy for the South Melbourne fans who had their club stolen from them 20+ years earlier, and the people who jumped on the Swans in Sydney and stayed there when the club was complete rubbish. Those old people who were always behind the goals as they lost 26 in a row (try to forget who they ended the streak against..) - that's the sort of people I'd cop that shit off. Not newborn fuckwits who jumped on five years ago, wonder when Tony Lockett is coming back and who were only there because the Fox Sports replay of some rubbish Super 12 game between The Highlanders and the Rotorua Rug Rats didn't start until 6pm. His assertion that "LEGGING IS A REPORTABLE OFFENCE" will remain with me forever as the perfect example of a clueless twat trying to talk himself up without realising that everyone else on earth knows more than he does. Legitimate Swans fans, I bear you no ill will. Jaunty banjo solos and shaking thunder from the sky is alright with me - but to cop a lecture from a rank amateur about history is a joke. We shall fight once again for the Wayne "Moose" Henwood Cup, and if the NSW Waratahs haven't got a home game against the Perth Pederasts at the same time I'm sure the 1800-No-Fucking-Idea Man (that's 1800-663-825-464-4332 for those of you with an old phone) will be there to continue his education and drink at the fountain of football knowledge. Please, Sydney based people, adopt a Spaz and school them.

Votes - and predictably enough the votes in this game are worth a million times more than any that preceeded it. It's blatantly unfair, but as the "Cameron Bruce by how far?" tilt continues it really shouldn't make too much of a difference to the overall scheme of things.

5 - Bruce (Everywhere for four quarters)
4 - Pickett (Everywhere for two and a half quarters. Best on ground by a mile in those moments but went missing a bit towards the end. Still, did you think we'd get this service out of him in pre-season? I didn't)
3 - McDonald (There's life in the Junior Burger yet..)
2 - Miller (Wrecked Hall for the second year in a row)
1 - Brown (See also McDonald.. Back in style)

Apologies to White/Carroll/Yze/Rivers/Johnson/McLean/Whelan/Davey. I'd give you all votes if I could. But I can't. Life is unfair.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Count

16 - Cameron Bruce
7 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Byron Pickett
5 - Aaron Davey
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Jared Rivers - 2006 Marcus Seecamp Cup leaders.
3 - Travis Johnstone
3 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Brock McLean
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown

In case you care Clint Bartram is currently winning the Craig Smoker "Best Rookie" award on a countback from Matthew Warnock. In the interests of being completely unfair in the awarding of this prize it will go to the highest scoring rookie in the overall tally. So if somebody comes in for Round 22 and scores 1 vote he'll nick it. Hah.

PLUS - A win. Any win. The season not yet back on track but certainly travelling somewhere nearer to the tracks than it was at 1.09pm on Sunday.

MINUS - I'm not usually one to whinge about umpires, or to care enough about which one is which, but the peanut that paid that 50 can fuck right off and rot in the fiery pits of hell for all I care. The only way he can repay that is to pay rorts for us for the rest of the year and win us a grand final.

Do it again? Surely you jest.

Next week: North. The MCG. Saturday. God help us all we should actually win, but they'll be wanting to bounce back from some atrocious form and we've got an injury list longer than Europe during the black plague. There's even internet speculation about Nick Smith being wheeled out for the first time since 2003. Yet again I'll be there - extending my streak of consecutive Victorian games to a three year record high. Kids - please note that shiftwork can save you from watching bad football.

Sunday 16 April 2006

I Can Hear The Grass Grow

Well, that was interesting. By now you will presumably know that we lost to the Crows by five points at Cararra today. If you didn't already know why are you relying on me to tell you for? I don't know anything. In fact there must be something wrong with me because this afternoon we were quite clearly jibbed out of at least a draw by a contentious goal umpiring decision and I'm not outraged. I live right next door to AFL House and you'd expect that in these circumstances there'd be a repeat of the game where Fitzroy got robbed against Adelaide and their fans spraypainted the place with slogans but I'm just not that concerned.

Perhaps it's because the difference between us having a good season and a shite season will almost certainly be more than two points. I like to think it's because of general apathy with the ugly way we play, and the obvious lack of any decent gameplan but I won't pretend I wasn't flipping out in the last quarter when the comeback was on. The most laughable part of the whole scandal is the fact that everyone has leapt on the fact that she's a woman as if a male umpire could never possibly make the wrong decision. Who are those guys in white that you spend four quarters abusing every week you morons?

A full recap will not be forthcoming as although I was watching the game I wasn't taking any particularly close notice of what was going on. Besides that it's impossible to form your own clear opinion on a match when you're being brainwashed by the three stooges in the commentary box waffling on about Latvia for four quarters. The best I can do is rack up the votes and leave it to others to spend the rest of the week debating about how "I'm not against women in football BUT..."

The first quarter was a farce. It looked as if Brett Burton was going to kick 17 at one point, and it was only the work of Jared Rivers (pre-season Marcus Seecamp Medal specialist) that kept us in it. Cameron Bruce murdered it all over the ground throughout the day and was ably assisted by Brock McLean. And most importantly our "I thought you were dead" captain returned and ran riot just as it looked as if he'd completely lost it. We played well but there was no spark until the last quarter. Daniher is lucky that the goal umpiring farce will take the focus off him for a week. We still appeared to lack any gameplan, and yet again Brad "Future captain my arse" Miller found himself wandering around the backline doing his impression of a Czech soccer player.

The balls shown in the last quarter to take it to a Premiership contender was heartening but our season is still dead. The first draw since Wayne Lamb cocked up against the Swans in 1991 wasn't going to save us from a bottom four finish. Roll on next week and the final denouement on the 2006 season five months before it's over.


5 - Cameron Bruce
4 - Jared Rivers
3 - David Neitz
2 - Brock McLean
1 - Byron Pickett

Apologies to Davey, Johnstone, Green (!) and Yze (!!). Bartram was alright as well.

Leaderboard - 2006 Allen Jakovich Medal
You know, if votes in winning games counted double this would look exactly the same as it does now.

11 - Cameron Bruce
7 - Colin Sylvia
5 - Aaron Davey
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Jared Rivers
- Current leaders of the 2006 Marcus Seecamp Cup for best defensive player.
3 - Travis Johnstone
3 - David Neitz
3 - Byron Pickett
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Brock McLean
1 - Daniel Ward

I'm increasing impressed with Pickett. He's obviously on the big downward slide from his peak but he's still throwing himself in like a madman.

Next week: Sydney - currently the worst Premiership defence since, err, last year - at the SCG. For reasons completely unknown to anyone I'll be there despite claiming I'd never go interstate for football again. A full report on the match and the laughably amateur status of their fans ("it's a line out!") to follow. Unless we get tonked and I neck up instead.

Wednesday 12 April 2006

Robbo Goes Off

What a legend,

The emotional Demon was burning so deeply after Saturday's loss to the Bulldogs he verbally lashed out at supporters who questioned the heart of some teammates.

"I didn't like hearing my teammates cop a mouthful," Robertson said yesterday.

"I basically told the supporters the players did have heart and they were trying.

"They were getting personal, so I snapped."

Now that I support. Not only does it prove that his heart is 100% for the club - and exactly why he's captaincy material - but it's good to see somebody finally give it back to the mutants in the crowd. I'm all for going spare at rubbish performances but the clowns who hang over the railing at the end of the game and go sick need a slapping. Sadly Robbo isn't the man to deliver,

Robertson now regrets the outburst, the end result of two disappointing losses in a row.

"Supporters have got every right to say things -- they bleed as much as we do. You should keep walking," Robertson said.

If he ever decides to reach out and belt somebody in the crowd I'm there to support him.

Saturday 8 April 2006

Death of a Salesman

As I entered the stadium this afternoon there was a distinct smell of vomit hanging over the place. Was this the result of staggering faults in the plumbing, a natural reaction to the return of James Sherry as crowd "warmup" man (a concept so bad it almost makes you nostalgic for Voice of The G) or a sign of things to come on the field. Stay tuned if you don't already know. If you do shut up and let the poor bastards find out for themselves. Did I spoil it? It might be all three.

This week's recipient of the David Schwarz/Gamblers Helpline "first goalkicker" bet was Aaron Davey @ 12-1, thus almost certainly ensuring that he didn't do it. Before we could even find out we were treated to some bank sponsored corporate wankfest preview which assured us that Brad Green "tried his hardest last week". Laugh? I almost walked out before the game had even started. Needless to say the first goal wasn't kicked by Davey, but rather by Nathan Carroll in one of the most inconcievable twists in sports betting that we've ever seen. I was actually going to go for Colin Sylvia but when he wasn't on the list I chose somebody else - who is supposed to be able to work out who is in and out when you bet on "Any Player Not Listed". Carroll certainly wouldn't have been listed, and it showed when his goal was the result of the softest 50m penalty in history and a kick so awful that it shouldn't have counted even though it went in.

Despite honors being, at best, even on-field - and with Neitz missing two goals he would have kicked with his eyes closed two years ago - we managed to take a three goal lead into the first change. Inaccurate kicking by the Dogs helped, as did some laughable umpiring decisions going our way. Even I could see they were being robbed. It didn't take the idiot in front of me on the Phil Gilbert Wing (I was, naturally, in Row X) who went off like a parrot, yelling "YOU WHITE MAGGOT!" every time he heard a whistle. Despite this signs were looking good. Sylvia and McLean were killing it, Johnstone and Bruce looked a hundred times more tuned in than last week and in a shock plot twist even Yze and Green appeared to be interested. Ferguson, however, went off injured with what looked like a broken hand or wrist and that means that if Jared Rivers isn't fit next week then lock up your grandmother because IT'S NICHO TIME. Given that we're not playing Richmond this doesn't please me at all.

Bargearse Byron played his best patch of the season so far during the second quarter but too often he'd get it and turn it straight over to the opposition. The highlight for me was when he slipped on the "perfectly stable" Dome surface without being tackled and 10,000 mutants all jumped to their feet to yell BAAAAAAAAAAALL as one. This is why I'd be happy to sell out everything I believe in and buy my own corporate box to sit in if I was loaded - I can't put up an "atmosphere" that thrives on people having IQ's lower than their shoe sizes.

We were still leading, and doing a much better job than last week, but defensively it was absolutely shithouse. All down the field Footscray players were running riot with nobody anywhere near them. I haven't seen so many loose runners in one place since the 2005 Amsterdam Hooker Olympics. Luckily for us they couldn't take advantage and we fell over the line into halftime five points worse off than the first change but still very much in the mix. Green even laid half a tackle. Get Champion Data on the line it's a record. Again we consistently fell apart across CHF. That is when they deemed it necessary to have one. Miller did very little - either he's lost the plot or the opposition have figured him out. One way or the other if he's our captain next year then I'm General Douglas MacArthur and I shall return in about five years when things have really bottomed out.

Special entertainment points for the guy sitting three rows in front of me who was making a valiant effort to be a real footy fan bless his heart. He'd read the standard texts and watched The Club a few times because he was making all sorts of rookie mistakes. Politely clapping our goals for one. He did, however, fit in nicely by shouting "Kick it to.. err.. him" as a Bulldog made another cheap pressure free run through the middle. And his one man booing of the umpires at half-time was classy. He even marked out for shots at goal that were going nowhere near the big stix. He was every inch a Melbourne fan other than his Bulldogs scarf. Was obviously trying to slum it with the Westies. Any money he's got an Essendon and Brisbane scarf in his closet as well.

So, what happened next? Did,

a) We ram home the advantage, smash them light guitars and have a big confidence boosting win?
b) Fall over the line in a thriller?
c) Go down in honor to a better team?
d) Roll over and die like the bottom four dogs that we are?

If you think the answer is anything but (D) then you're in the wrong place. Suddenly, almost as soon as the second quarter started, we were treated to Miller and Neitz roaming aimlessly in the backline, a midfield almost completely shut down and a forward line that had been decimated to the point where it was pretty much Russell Robertson and the ghosts of Melbourne past. The kings of sexy football turned it on, and in the face of pissy resistance, they had nine goals for the quarter and were four in front at the last change. Despite Green scoring a goal off the ground that you know caused every rubbish commentator on earth to go "he played for Manchester United you know" and David "You're still here?" Neitz goaling after the siren we were finished. I'm no scholar of the game but anyone could see that our gameplan was awful. Apparently everyone could see that except our coaching staff. The Dogs certainly didn't have any trouble exploiting it.

In another interesting tactic we seemed to play with a CHB in the first few minutes of the last quarter. I could have sworn we still had 18 players on the field, but you'd have been forgiven for wondering where most of them were. Especially when Matthew Robbins walked through the biggest gap since September 11 to kick the sealer four minutes in. It was certainly an interesting tactic, but I'm not sure it was the time to unleash it on an unsuspecting football public. And thus the procession began. Having put in his contractually obligated 1 hard quarter a month Yze gave up, and couldn't even bother to stick a foot out later in the quarter when he was tackled and the ball spilt. This was always going to happen, it was written in the stars the moment two tossers in the crowd started baiting the Dogs fans about it being "Deja Vu" from Rd21 last year when we were holding on to a tenuous lead in the 2nd quarter. Personally I think you should be more embarassed to admit we took their place than to mock them for it. There's no doubt they would have done a better job than we did.

And, erm, that was it. I walked out at the 25m mark.
The only upside to the whole disgraceful interlude was that I walked in my front door exactly 7 minutes after I had left my seat. Upon walking in the door I was so frustrated that I screamed "SLOP" at the top of my voice. Lucky nobody else was home. 2005 Allen Jakovich Medal VOTES (Do we have to?)

5 - Cameron Bruce (Very much by default. At least he got touches that were somewhat contested. Six tackles didn't hurt either.)
4 - Colin Sylvia (Gave away a million free kicks but put his body on the line)
3 - Travis Johnstone (Struggling...)
2 - Byron Pickett (Surprisingly good in a slopfest. Tried hard even though he's over the hill)
1 - Daniel Ward (No idea what to do with it, but he was there)

Apologies to Robertson, McLean and Bartram who had a go.

No apologies to Yze, who can piss off as far as I'm concerned and Neitz who is so past it it's not funny. And big minuses to Daniher and his experimental (read: shithouse) game plan.

LEADERBOARD (Not one of them deserving of an award so far)

7 - Colin Sylvia
6 - Cameron Bruce
5 - Aaron Davey
4 - Nathan Carroll
3 - Travis Johnstone
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Byron Pickett
1 - Daniel Ward

Thank god for Richmond, we're currently in the top 15. The good news is that by tomorrow we're concievably going to be two games behind Hawthorn. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH fuck it.

P.S - If you're going to pay to take your kiddies to the game, and are going to fork out well over the odds to buy them a mini replica jersey then for the love of god can you please make SOME attempt to control them? The first half was highlighted by some woman yelling at two of her kids to come back to her, and the second by more little bastards running around behind me. If they don't care then give up. Maybe they'll grow up to prefer art and modern dance instead? And what are you going to do then? Complain about how much you spent trying to force them to take up your club? Pff.

Friday 7 April 2006

Expert Preview

Well you'll get more talk about football than on The Footy Show anyway. You know that show was never the same after Jakovich left - just saying. Anyway, this week it's Footscray (now trading as "Gimmick Name Bulldogs") at the Docklands Stadium (now trading as "The Gimmick Name Dome") on Saturday (pretty much the same day it's always been).

Will we win? I seriously doubt it. I'm not going to make ridiculous pronouncements about how we've got no chance because everyone knows Melbourne are the sort of basket case who will run wild against the on fire teams and lose to the duds. I'm predicting a six goal loss but as the Danish say "who knows what the fuck will happen".

In: Chris Johnson, McLean, Wheatley
Out: Paul Johnson, Brown, Motlop

A much better lineup already. Johnson was a complete flop last week after an encouraging pre-season, Brown has really hit the wall in his career and Motlop seemed to turn the ball over every time he touched it last week. I still support The Mot but he needs to go back and tear it up at VFL level for a couple of weeks before pressing for selection again. The additions to the side excite me greatly - Demonblog's third favourite player, and former Brownlow Medal count leader, Brock "The Rock" McLean is back to add some much needed balls to the midfield, Chris Johnson is a top player in the making and our "Adopt a Player" Wheatley is always reliable in defence which will come in handy after Carroll and Ferguson were bombarded with absolutely no support from anyone last week.

I'm more confident in holding the Bulldogs forwards than I was Carlton's, but given that our midfield was cut to shreds by the assorted party bag of hacks employed by the Blues last week I'm not entirely sure that they can do much against the Dogs. I'll pay forever for suggesting that Nathan Eagleton would end up playing for Doveton a few years back, he'll wreck us again I'm sure. And have you noticed that other than Farmer '00, Neitz '02 (with apologies to 03/04) and Robertson '05 our "much vaunted forward line", operational since 1998, hasn't really done that much? You'd think from the way it's described that they were some sort of wrecking crew who dismantle teams single handedly week in, week out. I love everyone who puts on our jumper (yes, even Scott Chisholm and Brent Grgic when I was trying to get them humanely put down) but would the media just fuck off and leave us alone. We know you don't care - stop faking it you bastards.

The good news for VFL fans is that Chris Lamb makes his return for Sandringham on Sunday against Port Melbourne at Trevor Barker Oval. The masterplan is IN MOTION for him to make a triumphant return to the Melbourne list next year and captain us to Premiership glory. Sadly I'll be unable to make it as I'll be watching another sporting club who have lost the plot but I'm sure the great man will respond accordingly. Our own Philthy Phil was also be in attendance and we hope to see him back in the starting lineup ASAP.

2.10pm. Be there. I will unfortunately. Hands up who else expects that we'll start winning just when I can't go to the games due to work. If it meant going 21-1 I'll stay home for the whole year.

Sunday 2 April 2006

No Future

If I had any idea how to edit the template of this page you'd be looking at black now. In mourning for the Melbourne Football Club 2006 season. Born: 5.10pm, April 2 and died 7.45 the same day. Tonight's performance was final proof, as if we needed it, that this team are not Premiership material. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week and not next year. Thank god I live close to the Dome so that I can get home and whinge about it on the internet before I settle down.

First things first Carlton were a better team. Not that they were particuarly good but we were slop of the highest order. The first quarter was probably the worst game you'll ever see in your life but there was life in it. Especially Aaron Davey who kicked the first two goals and was running around with purpose. Which is more than can be said for Bargearse Pickett who I inexplicably invested $5 on being the first goal kicker. Probably the worst bet I've ever made and I've bet on Fitzroy. He was taking minutes to get from one end of the field to the other. I don't give a fuck what we're paying him, he's lost it and should be studying the Sandringham train timetable closely. By half-time it became clear that this wasn't a case of shaking off the pre-season cobwebs before coming home and winning by ten goals, not only were we in serious trouble but Carlton were legitimately giving it to us. 1.6 in the second quarter said it all. With the ball continuously being turned over in the midfield and across CHB we couldn't rely on Ferguson and Carroll to keep the Blues out all night. When they did eventually crack, after a particuarly spirited performance by the worst groomed man in football, there was nothing to drag it back up front save a few cameo performances by Aaron Davey. Robertson and Neitz hit the post three times between them in the 3rd quarter but it's a farce to expect that had one of those goals gone in it would have saved us. Especially given the generally awful tactics we were employing - the trend of not having any idea how to clear a ball from a kick in has escaped the rule advance that taught the rest of the league how to do it and led to even more constant pressure on the backline. A backline which, despite the result, did not want for Alistair Nicholson AT ALL. The reintroduction of Jared Rivers in a fortnight should reinforce it even more, but sadly for Nicho and his legion of fans he's got no role to play anymore. He might be able to show up and do his ritual demolition job on Matthew Richardson but that's about it.

We were killed across CHF all game, which is no surprise given that "alleged future captain" Brad Miller had been sent back into defence with absolutely no replacement for him up front. If Ben Holland is in the side and can do the CHF job then go ahead and shift Miller wherever you want but if you're expecting Paul Johnson to do anything up front you've got a long wait ahead of you. 1 kick and three frees against says it all - if you picked him in your Fantasy Football team this year you might want to reconsider.

So, congrats to Carlton. I don't begrudge them anything, they've got top youngsters and a decent gameplan. They might go far but it won't be this year. I especially don't begrudge their supporters a victory or two, one day we'll be all the be in the same situation they have been and you can't help but have some compassion for people who have watched their once proud club being battered for the last five years. We, on the other hand, are living in a cycle of recycled players who are past their use-by date, club legends on their last legs and workhorse players whose best days passed them two or three years ago. We're not going to win anything with Ward, McDonald and Brown in our team. But this is Melbourne, we probably wouldn't win anything with Judd/Black/Pavlich and A. Jakovich either.

And now, the votes. There's going to be more than one person amongst these who doesn't deserve squat.

5 - Aaron Davey (good enough)
4 - Nathan Carroll (given the amount of times it came down there he did well)
3 - Colin Sylvia (put his body in harder than most of his midfield colleagues combined)
2 - Brent Moloney (I'm struggling here)
1 - Cameron Bruce (No, really. That's the cheapest one vote ever)


It's round one - you work it out Poindexter.

And if you think Brad Green gets a vote for being on the recieving end of 20 handballs and not once going in for a hard get for four quarters then you can stick it. Either get him back in the forward setup or get ready to flog him to another club at the end of the year because we won't get anywhere with soft performances like that. Bruce was 75% down the same road but redeemed himself slightly late on and fell into the votes due to the lack of contenders.

Next week, Footscray fresh off a 115 point win over a team that was supposed to be better than what we lost to tonight. Then hot Premiership contenders Adelaide. Then reigning Premiers Sydney. Fuck this season and fuck it NOW. Lucky the membership tent was going wild outside the ground because nobody's going to buy one now after watching that. I can already see hundreds of people on the phone to their bank tomorrow screaming about how their credit card was stolen and how any transactions made on Sunday were by somebody else. We might be the only club ever to go down in members after Round One.

Positives: Footy, it's good to have you back. Now piss off again.
Negatives: Surely you jest?

For those of you who are counting our last legitimately hard fought comfortable win against a half decent team was against North Melbourne on June 5th, 2005. Our last decent win against a Premiership contender was against the Crows on Friday May 6th.

It's going to be a long year. Too long. I can't take another five months of this crap.

P.S - If the fact that the team ran through a banner that talked about John So didn't explain exactly why all Cheer Squad Members should be beaten to death then nothing ever will.