Sunday, 15 April 2007

My brain hurts

Today Gumby Theatre came live to you from the MCG.

This is actually a clever satire on our gameplan. If the Gumby is Daniher, the flowers are the players and the vase is the field that's pretty much what they tried on against Geelong. Take 22 players and just stuff them awkwardly on and hope for the best. And given that I fully expected us to lose by triple figures for the first time in a decade we probably did get 'the best'. Having said that I think it should be blatantly obvious to anyone that the Cats pulled the pin fifteen minutes in the third quarter and cruised home on the lead that they'd already built up - despite showing 25% interest and rarely slipping out of first gear they still had about five set shots in the last quarter that they should have kicked and buried us by even more. We thank them for their charitable donations.

Now like I said I knew we were going to lose. There didn't seem to be any doubt about it. Even when Nathan Ablett necked himself in the warmup it only offered us the highlight of having one less tall forward to torment our rank backline. At one point it appeared that the only person in our defensive 50 with a functioning brain was Matthew Whelan. The first two goals we conceded were Ben Holland specials that had to be seen to be believed, Ferguson offered nothing but service as a witches hat and Nathan Carroll spent the first half being bent over and spanked by a 12-year-old playing his second game. Imagine if they still had Kent "I only play against Melbourne" Kingsley? He would have kicked ten. In fact at one point I thought Hawkins was going to bag double figures. The fact that he didn't owed more to the Cats not actually trying for most of the second half rather than any great tactical genius on our behalf.

Surely you can see that something is wrong with the state of our club when the forward line suddenly features a piece of play where S. Godfrey hoofs the ball over to B. Holland. What are these two doing anywhere near the forward 50 and/or an AFL field? It can be said that they never stop trying but picking people on effort alone is like lining up with the Chippendales on Brendan Fevola just because they look good - it's not going to get you anywhere.

I'm aware that losing the two best goalkickers you've had for five years is going to stick the knife in a bit but surely we have to have somebody else in reserve to go down there when the unthinkable happens. Miller has shown more in the past two weeks than he has in the past two seasons but he has neither the skills nor the smarts to deliver us any meaningful success. Brad Green did well to fill in up front but where was the support? Davey never stopped harassing and chasing but on a possession basis he can't get near the thing. We used to be able to rely on our midfield, and even the defence, to chip in with goals as well but it just doesn't happen anymore. Remember Bruce kicking 7 against Carlton and 6 against North a few years back? What chance is there of seeing that now even if he is consistently our best player (albeit by default in an awful side).

Where to from here? Certainly not a recovery job like we saw last year. Put the white screen up on this year kids, we'll be lucky to win five games at this rate. As much as I like Daniher he may as well start scouring the job pages now because short of plunging off Niagra Falls in a barrel there is no way he could ever pull off a greater magical feat than conjuring up any sort of performance that could save his job. Regardless of injuries or suspensions (which surely must be on the way) his time is up. I don't think anyone wishes him badly, and there's hardly likely to be wild Danny Frawley-esque scenes anytime soon, but it's time to admit that we need a fresh approach. Personally, as I've always said, I'd like to see somebody who is a complete Malthouse-esque psychopath in charge - somebody who is not afraid to bollock the players or the league and has the testicles to debut three rookies in one freaking game.

Crowd watch
What crowd? If there were more than 10k of our fans in the alleged 35,000 I'll be shocked and appalled. The only highlight came from the feral woman sitting at the other end of the same row as me who spent four quarters ripping out high pitched wails and abuse at the umpires. Granted that as we did get three of the worst freekicks in VFL/AFL history she had a point but her delivery represented unbridled passion at it's finest. Stupid old tart.


You are hereby bound by reading these votes not to abuse me for anything below 4 because somebody has to fill them. As you would be aware being the 4th best of 22 in a performance like that doesn't count for much but somebody's got to be it.

5 - Bruce
4 - Green
3 - McDonald
2 - Moloney (Still prone to cockups)
1 - Yze (Split this one between any of the rest really - at least he showed more concern for the game than he has any other time recently)

I suppose if you're going to be charitable you could have fitted in any of Ward, Davey (at least he chased), Johnstone, Miller or Whelan in for the last spot. Though I'm not quite sure how the 'official' match report has Carroll listed amongst the the best when he spent the entire first half being towelled up by the pre-pubescent Hawkins.

2007 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard

11 - McDonald
11 - Bruce
5 - Neitz
4 - Jones
4 - Green
3 - Miller
2 - Moloney
1 - Bate
1 - Jones

Next week: It's a bottom of the table/harbour clash with the Dockers at the MCG. While playing a winless Freo is nothing new they are clearly a better side than they have shown so far this year and should be expected to pulverise us in a fashion not seen since the infamous Tony "Hey Tone, don't kick ten tonight" Modra rampage of 1999. There is every possible chance of a crowd under 20,000 once Freo bring their 17 fans and 15,000 of ours jump off.

I fking hate sports. Yet I'll still be there next week - what does that say? It's as good enough reason as any not to have kids, you might actually be tempted to expose them to this sort of slop and wreck them for life. Every time I see some kid wearing a Melbourne jumper I'm tempted to give them a big lecture about not gettting too involved because it'll only break their heart like it's been doing to the rest of us all these years. Maybe we should have merged with Hawthorn? Then I would have gladly walked away from the game and found something more productive to do with my weekends.

If I were some dinky singer/songwriter type I'd write an entire concept album about the Melbourne experience with song titles like "Jeff Hilton Hair", "When Nicho kicked 2 against the Cats" and "Round 17, 2000 (The Night I Almost Broke My Hand)". But I'm not, so all the colossal whinging will have to be confined to this page alone. Time to go and drop a toaster in the bathtub I believe.

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