Monday 9 June 2008

Super Happy Fun Asia Report...

... or "Demonblog watches from abroad". Where I attempt to get quality coverage of the (supposedly) biggest game of the year from thousands of kilometres away and almost achieve it.

My travels landed me in Bangkok (ooer) just in time for the game and thanks to the Australia Network - basically just footy and 5 days of filler programs - the match was on TV with a twenty or thirty minute delay. Not bad. Not sure why they couldn't just put it on live given that it's unlikely to affect the gate if 7 people in Jakarta are watching, but you take what you can get when the only other options are listening to the radio coverage on the AFL website in dingy internet cafes. How about a dingy bar instead? Well, to be honest it wasn't bad at all - being an Australian sportsbar - but there were certainly some seedy characters afoot. The only other guy in there who really cared was a Collingwood fan who, from his comments, was clearly only living there so that he could hit some serious ass. Make of that what you will - I thought he was disgrace but at least he admitted it.

So anyway, for the first time in five years we've lost on Queen's Birthday. Did you really expect anything else? I know last year we shocked the world, but let's not forget that the game didn't turn until Harry O'Brien necked himself and Robertson ran riot. This year Harry O remained unbroken and Robbo was nowhere to be seen and the story was quite different. Given what a slopfest we've been served up in the last couple of years I prefer to think back to the happy memories of carving them up over the last four years rather than the loss today, but I suppose you're not reading this for the MFC's greatest hits and memories so let's press on shall we?

To be honest I can't even remember most of what happened. If the AFL website didn't have a goal by goal breakdown of what's happened I wouldn't even bother writing. All I can remember is that we came out hard and put the pies on the ropes early on. Morton was getting a lot of it but not doing anything with it and missed and early goal before Yze (remember him?) and THE CELEBRATOR added one each and at one stage we even had the Pies on the ropes. Dare to dream? Why bother, it'll only be crushed heartlessly a few seconds later.

The defining moment of the first quarter was Wheatley's non-shephard on Moloney. One of the pissiest pieces of play you'll ever see. It's like he went to get in the way, realised that he was going to get clocked if he did, lost his mind and pulled out leaving Moloney to get slaughtered.

In fact despite this piece of footballing horror we took a lead into quarter time. A bloody unconvincing one, but a lead nonetheless. However about two minutes into the second quarter you could see the way it was going to go for the rest of the game. After Morton botched another shot Collingwood went nuts and put our goal line under siege. Given that we still can't kick-in after all these years the ball would usually either go through for a point, go out of bounds or be cleared outside fifty only to come straight back in again. We weathered the storm for a while but of course it was never going to last. Sylvia showed something marking as a leadup forward and then botched a kick that anyone who wants to play up front should have gotten with their eyes closed. Dunn kicked one, but he's looking increasingly like somebody who might be a good player but doesn't have a role to play. Surely in the midst of our apocalyptic forward line injury plague he could get a permanent run up there?

The agro in the second quarter was quite exciting. Moloney and Warnock (who has improved out of sight in the last few weeks) both ended up bandaged and Clint Bartram was ripping out quality grappling moves that the Ultimate Fighting Championship would have been proud of.

Medhurst and Heath Shaw both goaled and it looked like the Pies were going to run away with it. Happily right on the stroke of half-time - in fact four seconds before it - Nathan Jones kicked one that put us right back in the thick of things but you could tell that it wasn't going to happen. In the Hawthorn game we were matching them, beating them and keeping the ball away from their forwards as much as possible. On Monday the ball kept going inside 50 and despite the much improved performance of our backline (even with Rivers - THE LYNCHPIN - unseen for most of the half and then injured anyway *sob*) we were still conceding at far too rapid a rate for our band-aid forward line to match. At one end you had Medhurst, Didak and Davis doing whatever they wanted to and at the other you had THE CELEBRATOR trying his hardest and a few pinch hitters here and there but not enough to get us over the line.

Cue the third quarter and it was on like King Kong for the first ten minutes. Looked as if we were going to create a way to turn an exciting first half into a complete debacle as usual. There was a minor fightback courtesy of goals from BROCK and The Queen's Birthday Specialist Yze, but when Brad Green lined up an absolute sitter just before Yze's goal and missed it you knew it wasn't going to be our day. Straight off the bat they added another two and the margin was pretty much insurmountable. Green (I still love you Brad, don't think any other way) then missed another eminently gettable chance before the Pies kicked three of the next four towards the end of the quarter and we continued to miss gettable chances. When your forward line is as makeshift as a construction scaffold in the Congo you've got to take every chance and we were so wasteful it hurt. The next captain finally slotted one after the siren to drag the margin back within four goals but the damage had already been done.

And so to the last, and just like the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd kicking the last goal of the previous quarter meant absolutely nothing when you get trampled in the opening few minutes of the next. Three minutes into to a quarter where we started it not totally out of the mix we'd already copped another 2.2 and the contest was over. We spent the next 15 minutes besieging their line and with a bit of luck might have had a chance but other than Sylvia's 3rd (a decent outing, but with a lot more work to be done) we couldn't pull the trigger on them and instead slipped away to what I suppose you'd call an 'honourable' loss.

The most memorable moment of the last quarter was Wonaeamirri almost kicking the greatest goal of all time (not that I'm upselling it at all). If you didn't see it, imagine this - you know when somebody runs into the pocket and tries to dribble one through at a ridiculous angle and it bounces all over the place before going in and bringing the house down? Well, take that but have the ball stop on the goal line and the player who kicked it in the first place almost run onto his own ball and slot it home. The Collingwood player who rushed it behind obviously had no sense of romance.

After the siren some pissed Aussie in a suit and tie (I wasn't aware that Queen's Birthday was a holiday everywhere) said "I bet you hate this song". Wrong, I hate 15 songs. Sure, I hate the Port song more than anything in the world other than a James Blunt album but I'd really rather not hear any of them if it's all the same with you.

Whinge Section
Matthew Bate is potentially a key player for this club. His absence in the first few weeks cost us dearly. Why then does everybody insist on only ever kicking the ball to him when he's got five guys on him? The poor bastard was made to look stupid in the first half yesterday when it was more a case of trying to make the most of a bad situation.

Treatment Room Corner
Moloney - shattered wrist. Obviously sick of groin injuries he decided to switch to a crocked wrist instead.

Commentary Watch
Can somebody please invent a chip that replaces the sound of Malcolm Blight talking with relaxing and soothing music. Every time he opens his mouth I want to die. God knows when the last time I had to watch one of our games on Channel 10 was - a couple of years ago at best - but he makes me want to gouge my own ears with knitting needles. Watch a game, not one involving us or you'll go mad, and count how many times he either has a conversation with himself or asks a rhetorical question. It's gotten to the point where I watch games on mute when he's in the commentary box.

Coach Watch
Every time they went to Dean Bailey he looked sad. I'd like to see somebody give him a big hug in the middle of the coaching box.

2008 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Nathan Jones
4 - Brock McLean
3 - Matthew Warnock
2 - Colin Garland
1 - Adem Yze

Apologies to Green, Wonaeamirri, Bruce, Bate and Miller


20 - Brock McLean
19 - Nathan Jones
15 - Brad Green
13 - Cameron Bruce
12 - James McDonald
10 - Austin Wonaeamirri (Leader: 2008 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
9 - Aaron Davey
9 - Cale Morton
9 - Matthew Bate
6 - Paul Johnson
6 - Jared Rivers (Leader: 2008 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
5 - Brad Miller
5 - Brent Moloney
4 - Clint Bartram
3 - Nathan Carroll
3 - Lynden Dunn
3 - Matthew Warnock
3 - Jeff White
3 - Paul Wheatley
3 - Colin Garland
2 - Russell Robertson
1 - Mark Jamar
1 - Shane Valenti
1 - Adem Yze

Procedural Announcements
This is the 250th post on Every Day Is Like Sunday. Are you excited? I've cracked half an Ararat just thinking about how depressing the next 250 are going to be. Unfortunately due to the fact that I have 5000 other things going on and clearly have never been able to review a game off TV anyway this is one of the shitter reports. Please direct your comments and criticisms care of a beach, somewhere in South East Asia.

Next Week
Richmond. The first time we've played a team out of finals contention since that famous Freo game. I can take honourable losses, and I can take copping a dishonourable beatdown from St. Kilda if I must but I will not take a pissweak effort against one of our fellow shite sides. With no forward line and a backline that is prospering despite being held together with nothing stronger than a bit of sticky tape there's every chance we're going to get rolled but equally I've got some confidence that we might get a result. I'll be back to hot internet cafe action in Kuala Lumpur or something so one of our hot guest reporters will be here to cover all the action for you. I sincerely hope they'll have the Gillette Mach 5 at the ready just in case it all goes tits up.

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