Saturday 8 March 2008

Southern Suburbs Suicide Saturday Special

Geelong, Bendigo, Cranbourne. No, it's not the Discovery Channel's "World's Worst Holiday Locations" special - it's where I've wasted my time watching Melbourne this pre-season. At Geelong it was ok to lose by ten goals, afterall most of the squad weren't even old enough to get into a nightclub. When we got done by Richmond in Cairns it was ok because none of us could get any real updates so we didn't know what the hell was going on. Then last week, despite having to go 150km to watch the lights go out it was ok to lose to the Dogs because we the squad was still undermanned and we had a great first quarter. This week it's ok to lose because.... we're shit and we know we are?

I don't know what's wrong. I really don't. On paper we look ok. On paper I almost think that we could make the 8, but once it gets let loose in the field it all just lacks something. Maybe I'm looking at it through the most rose-tinted glasses this side of Dame Edna but I don't honestly believe in my heart of hearts that we're that bad. I can't blame Bailey, because he's been thrown in at the deep end to try and rescue a side who are almost to a man injured in one way or ill-disciplined on and off field knobs.

Much like last week we were ok in the first quarter before it completely died in the arse. Unlike last week we were all over them in the last ten minutes of the quarter. Signs were good. Aaron Davey, especially, was running riot - as his brother sported a pink polo shirt and pushed a pram around the boundary line - and Colin Sylvia was tackling anything that went near him as if he was subduing a streaker at the cricket. The man looked as if he had a spring loose. I like it.

Then the second quarter started and the Slop-o-meter was cranked up to eleven. This season I will be introducing a special Demonblog feature where the top of each report will feature it's very own Slopometer reading so that, like the terror alert ratings, you'll know just had bad I rated the performance without even having to read this bullshit. Each week we will award a different player the right to be the match sponsor of the slop medal. If we have a ten goal win (AHAHAHAHAH!) and it was only two parts slop we'll wheel in a Todd Viney or a Glenn Lovett to present the award, but if it's a 127pt defeat then ladies and gentlemen we present you Mr. Scott Chisholm and the Glenn Molloy All-Stars. Like most special events that I promise this will, presumably, last about three weeks before I drop it and it's never heard of again.

In case you need a scapegoat to explain our performance look to the skies. It was hotter than buggery for the first three quarters. Didn't appear to hinder North though as far as I could see. Especially when they were running riot through the midfield and treating us with contempt. Maybe when the weather loses the plot in about Round 8 we'll run riot and win 14 in a row going into the finals? Where we will then get stitched up by Spring and knocked out in straight sets. Bollocks.

Highlights of the middle two quarters included Paul Johnson jumping up in a ruck duel and slapping the ball straight into the hands of Hamish McIntosh who gleefully accepted the gift. It's moments like that which tell you "this will not be a good season". With Meesen and Jamar both committed to the Sandy game, you'd think this means that DB is considering him for the backup job this season. On the strength of the pre-season so far I'd have to go with Jamar, though we haven't seen that much of Meesen actually rucking.

Does it really matter anyway? We haven't had a tap to advantage all bloody year anyway. I'm starting to fear ruck contests even more than kick-ins because you just KNOW we're going to botch it. We must be cursed. If anybody reading has shagged a witch and caused this to happen I ask that you admit it immediately so that we can attempt to do something about it before we finish 0-22 and the whole club is wound up.

A legitimate highlight was a corker of a goal by Davey in the 2nd, and more manic Sylvia tackling. The only downside was Big Col landing a few choice shots in a brief melee. Let's hope Channel Seven don't narc us out and give the footage to the league because he got a couple of tasty blows off before it dispersed.

During the last quarter Robbo was reported again. I totally missed what happened, but it looks like he's decided in the off-season that he's not only going to try and take mark of the century but that he's also the reincarnation of David Rhys-Jones and will attempt to be reported once a week. I turned around just as the North player was lying on the ground so I've got no comment about the 'actionability' (if that's a word) of it, but Robbo certainly didn't look happy to have been booked. So unhappy in fact that he copped a 50. Didn't really matter by that point. Then he kicked three goals - maybe violence excites him?

Basically the entire last quarter was junk time. You could tell by the clouds of dust kicking up from the carpark during the final term that everyone had given up. Can't blame them really - even with the ground announcer desperately trying to get people to stay for the Scorpions/Sandy game.

Ground Watch
Not too bad a place to watch a game. I was impressed by the lacksidasical approach to selling tickets that was employed at the gate. "Members come in this side", she said and then didn't even look at my membership card. I could have been showing her a Blockbuster Video card for all she knew. You'd have thought they'd want to milk every cent they could get out of the contest.

I noticed that the field had the old school trait of rising in the middle and dropping at either end so that if you stood behind the goals you could see bugger all at the other end. The wing wasn't bad to watch from, but the scoreboard was absolutely shithouse and impossible to read. Though I expect to never have to go to the ground again I insist that they fix it immediately.

And why in god's name did we wear the silver jersey against a team that has white in it's top? Utterly pointless. Maybe they're trying to sell a few of them to try and keep the club afloat for another fortnight. At least until Round One so that we can get some value out of these memberships - the fourteen of us who have bought one anyway. And let's be honest on the strength of the putrid displays delivered so far nobody else is going to be queuing up to drop their hard earned.

Crowd Watch
A fairly big crowd, but then again if you'd said there were 7000 there last week I'd have laughed. I'd say that of people you could work out it was probably 40% North, 35% us and 25% drunken locals who had no idea what was going on and proceeded to yell "It Takes Two" related komedy komments© at Robbo. Firstly the irony in fat, hot dog eating peanuts in the crowd abusing somebody for being on a 'talent' show is too much to bear. Along the same lines as fatties in the crowd bagging players for being unfit really. Secondly would you openly admit to intimate knowledge of television reality programs unless you really had to? I hope he does whatever he has to do to win it but I'd rather watch the first two months of the 2007 season on endless repeat for the rest of my life than two minutes of the show.

There were also more tatts on show today per capita than anywhere else on the planet other than an actual tattoo show. Chief amongst these was the famous mad North fan who, at the MCG in 2004, screamed "I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" and walked out while North were winning and was next seen cooking a BBQ in the carpark. A legendary figure who deserves his own Joffa style cult-following amongst TV stations.

Zebra Watch
As we start the 18th year without Camberwell I'm still not taking the VFA seriously and stayed for only ten minutes of the 2's game. The most important thing is that in those ten minutes Jared Rivers showed exactly why he is such a crucial player to our structure. Poor old Nathan Carroll took a lot of shit last year for his performances - from me as much as anybody - but really when you're in a defence and your only compatriots are Miller and Holland you're hardly going to look like a superstar. Provided he doesn't die in the arse this year Rivers could be the difference between finishing 12th in the AFL or bottom of the D4 Amateurs.

Apparently Whelan went alright as well, though Bartram struggled. Personally I still get a bit sad when I see Chris Lamb playing for Sandy - surely he could have done some decent work in our backline with the emergence of Rivers. God knows that just like how Carroll doesn't look like a star without some great players around him, Lamb was never going to come off looking particuarly well when he was expected to be leading a two man defensive front with Al Nicholson. Coincidentally if you want to pay homage to the man who held our backline together for the second half of 2002 and got no credit for it whatsoever you can catch him pulling pints at the Bridge Hotel in Richmond. If there was any justice in the world he'd be pulling women in nightclubs like other footballers.

Paul Prymke Plate for Pre Season Performance Votes

The gap between 5/4 and the rest is astronomical, but whoever said this was an exact science?

5 - Sylvia
4 - Davey
3 - Moloney
2 - Carroll
1 - Bell

Apologies to Robertson (junk time goals aren't enough to get you votes), Wonamierri (chased hard), Jones, Petterd and Newton


12 - Davey
11 - Jones
8 - Sylvia
5 - Buckley
5 - Newton
5 - Valenti
4 - Miller
3 - Moloney
2 - Garland
2 - Carroll
1 - Johnson
1 - Bate
1 - Bell

Davey wins pending some kind of intra-club match to give votes for. Congrats on this prestigious award.

Next Week
Anything? Intraclub? Soul searching sessions? Mass (Nathan)Jonestown-esque cyanide laced Kool-Aid suicide in the centre of the Junction Oval? I'm in.

The Next Week After That
Oh jesus, we're all going to die. Have I ever told you how much I hate footy? Even with half the Hawthorn team out of action we're still staring down the barrel of getting slaughtered. Franklin to kick 28 - you heard it here first. All we need is for somebody crucial to go down with a serious injury in the first five minutes and you'd may as well shake hands with those around you, walk out of the ground and straight into the Jolimont rail yards because there will be no point subjecting yourself to the next six months of slop. Good thing that I'll be away for most of June and will, therefore, be able to avoid four games in person. There will be something comforting about watching us get slaughtered from somewhere in Singapore where nobody else knows what's going on and the act of walking into the street and yelling "FUCKING HELL DOES ANY BASTARD KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING?" would lead to a $5000 fine and a public caning.

If any of my bosses are reading this I'd like to apologise in advance that I am going to be very depressed for the next few months and my work performance may suffer accordingly.

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