Sunday 27 July 2008

Blue Sunday

How does it feel, to treat me like you do. ENOUGH SAID.

It's been a wonderful weekend. So far I've been poisoned by a Chinese restaurant and accidentally smashed a $500 electronic implement. Surely a showing of the mighty Dees will make me feel better? Well, maybe if you wound the clock back a couple of years - because having to watch them this season is more likely to make you piff yourself off the Bolte Bridge than anything else.

But you never know. In a week where favourites were getting turned over left, right and centre stranger things COULD happen. But not to us. Even walking in to see Freo 35 points in front of Port in the first quarter wasn't enough to convince me that we were any danger of nicking the four points. Of course with West Coast winning yesterday some will question whether we really wanted the four points or not, and I'm guessing that they were some of the 15,000 of our fans who didn't bother to turn up on the day. Obviously it was a bit cold for the softcock brigade, and of the 21k crowd we would have been lucky to have had 8000 at our own home game. Imagine if North down the bottom as well? There would have been 10,000 there - it would have been like a Brisbane Bears tribute match. Ironic given that we were watching two of the teams most likely to go tits up and go the way of the Bears.

Took them 47 seconds to kick a goal. That's never a good sign. When do we ever do that? A couple of minutes later Miller got his first and then it was time for a slopfest. Daniel Bell had one of the biggest nightmare runs of all time and Corey Jones kicked three in a row on him - he was doing so well last year, what did Ben Johnson do to him when he destroyed him with that hit at the end of last year? Alistair Nicholson forgot how to run after he did his knee, has Bell forgotten how to play footy after being flattened? His position in our (allegedly) glorious future has gone from 'assured' to 'questionable' since the season began. It was like the second quarter last week all over again, but this time we didn't even get to see 1 decent quarter before we lost the plot. By the time it was, thankfully, over we were down 45-9 and the handful of us who had actually shown up had lost the will to live. Sometimes I wonder if there isn't something to be said for the Jonestown solution of handing around the laced softdrink and waiting for everybody to drop.

Speaking of Joneses, for the last month Nathan has played like he's Simon Godfrey. Running around with intent, laying tackles, going hard and getting the ball but disposing like a 12-year-old. Dare I say he'd benefit from a week in the 2's? I know he's been a lovechild over the last couple of years but surely nobody is above a wakeup call. And while we're on the topic of love children let's talk about Juice Newton. I think we all want him to play as a forward and prosper, but the way he's going he'll be lucky to make it to the end of the season let alone next year. Sure, he kicked two goals and one of them was an absolute corker but how many times did he cock it up? I'm not trying to be harsh, but 2 goals from 20 contests isn't much to write home about when one is an admittedly good looking but speculative stab from the boundary line and the other is a free-kick. We need a lead up, marking forward and at the moment he's not it. Fair enough that they leave him there for the rest of the season, because it's not like anybody else is going to step up and play the position but again he'll need to do a lot to convince me that he's anything more than the answer to a future trivia question.

The second quarter was better, but it would have been hard for it to be any worse than the first. Miller got his second early on before North responded (obviously). Lynden Dunn got reported twice in twenty seconds for pissy contact with Brent Harvey - he might cop a reprimand for the first one, but if he gets done for the second you may as well stop watching AFL right now. That was about as close as he, or anybody else, got to Boomer as he cut us to shreds on the way to 27 touches and a couple of goals. That's what a class player does. That's what we're lacking. It's what, sadly, McLean/Moloney/Jones etc.. are never going to be. We sort of broke even with them until half-time, but when you're coming off a vomitorium of an opening term that's not much to write home about. 38 down at halftime. Either we were going to claw our way to respectability or get poleaxed. The way I was feeling we may as well have gotten flogged just to give me something more amusing to look back on once we're winning games regularly again in 2014.

All things told we actually won the second half. Big whoop, let's hold a street parade and pretend everything is progressing swimmingly. North put the cue in the rack with such severity that the rack was almost torn from the wall. We certainly started to play a lot better, flowing football but only because they let us. There's nothing to get excited about there, even when Sylvia finally did something in the 4th quarter and cut the margin four goals with plenty of time on the clock you knew we weren't going to seriously challenge. Morton added another to keep it interesting but that was it.

The only thing more interesting was the amount of players who burnt their teammates in better scoring positions inside 50. Everyone was up to it and frankly it was giving all 27 of our fans who showed up the shits. Is everyone so worried that they're going to get the arse at the end of the year that they're trying to rack up goals to save themselves? Our defence - good again given the fact that we were poleaxed out of the middle - have earnt their spots, but there's so many questions around the forwards and the midfielders that it's no surprise everyone's trying to play for themselves. Let's get that out of the system.

Kontroversy Korner
Simon Buckley is giving me the shits. Is there any danger that he might actually dispose of a ball one day instead of dancing about trying beat everyone like he's in a 1970's disco. You can't tell me that other clubs don't sit down, watch the video of us play and identify the fact that whenever he gets it he'll try and step his way out of it EVERY FREAKING TIME. A perceptive person (who may very well have been me) was heard to text the Triple M commentators and point out that nobody should be fooled by him because he does it everytime. Another equally perceptive person of another name (again, I'm not denying anything) agreed. You can get 25 possessions every week if you want but I refuse to be impressed until some of them do something other than move a lateral handball, go backwards to a free man or end in falling over and being pinged for holding the ball. His attempted play-on from the kick-in was something else all together. God forbid he ever gets some confidence about him he should be a handy player - send him to whichever psychologist Miller has been working with this season because that guy has done wonders. At least he's assured himself a place in every "Footy Blunders and Fuckups" highlights video that will ever be released from here on in.

Kontroversy Korner II
Is Bruce finished as anything more than a pinch hitter? I like the guy, and I'm still convinced he'll be one part of the captaincy duo next season but can we ever expect anything major out of him again? I think not. Sit back and enjoy a couple more seasons of bit part play and the occasional piece of quality but don't expect anything earth shattering.

Kommunism Korner
Stay away from the reds they said, and when it comes to Matthew Bate it appears everyone's been given that instruction. Never before has a man had so many times when he's been on his own and nobody will kick it to him. Sure, he klangs it most of the time but maybe getting it with nobody within two hundred metres will help. Any danger he can play primarily as a forward anyway?

Farcebook Watch
There's an application where you can put a picture of your favourite player on your page. Not to be indecisive or anything but so far this year mine has gone,

* Pre-Season: Brock (sacked because Rivers is almighty)
* Round 1-Queens Birthday: Rivers (sacked due to being out for the year)
* QB-this week: Green (sacked because I can't bring myself to have a favourite player who is actually popular)
* Now-?: Paul Johnson (Obscure! Playing out of his skin! I think it's the first time I've ever listed a ruckman as my favourite player)

In fact, given that Rivers is still the man overall I present a brief history of the people I decided were my favourite players at any given time.

1990 - Brent Heaver
1991 - midseason 1991 Rod Keogh
Midseason 1991-94 Allen Jakovich
1995-97 - Post-Jakovich depression
1998-99 - Jamie Shanahan (brief, sick flirtation with Troy Longmuir fandom during '99)
2000 - Shane Woewodin (good season to jump on, cheers for the 200-1 Brownlow odds pre-season)
2001 - No serious attachments
2002-03 - Chris Lamb
2004-2006 - Philthy Phil
2007-2008 - Rivers

What a lineup. Maybe they can all come together (Rivers excepted) for the tribute match I'm setting up for myself of all our 'forgotten' players from 1990 to the present? What a star studded night it will be when Craig Greg Hutchinson's team (CORRECTED - watching us play makes me think of ambulance chasing wankers) takes on the Mark Riley All-Stars on a Tuesday afternoon at the Junction Oval.

2008 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Shane Valenti
4 - Paul Johnson
3 - Brad Miller
2 - Stefan Martin
1 - Aaron Davey

Apologies to Chris Johnson, McDonald, Morton, Warnock and Whelan

No apologies to Jones, Sylvia or Newton.


Again Jones retains his lead despite putting in an ordinary one. My money's still on Green, though if you took Miller at 10's as listed in the comments of the last post then you'd be happy. Over to our betting division with all the odds for the rest of the year,

Jakovich Medal
$2.50 - Brad Green
$3.25 - Nathan Jones
$4.00 - Cameron Bruce
$6.00 - Brad Miller
$40 - Matthew Bate
$50 - James McDonald, Paul Johnson, Chris Johnson
$100 - Colin Garland

Seecamp Medal

Could be ready to see a small man defender boilover?

$2.20 - C.Johnson
$3.50 - Garland
$10 - Whelan
$50 - Wheatley, Martin, Warnock

Hilton Medal

Take your pick of three. I'd probably be on Valenti from here.

$3.00 - Wonaeamirri, Morton, Valenti
$12 - Martin
$50 - Maric
$1.5 million - Weetra

Remember, when gambling is no longer fun (like if you're betting on Melbourne) walk away. And now, before we forget, the actual leaderboard.

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

Did you know 46 different players have recieved votes in the four years of Demonblog? Stand by post-season for an in-depth statistical analysis of the DB years that will make the crowd go absolutely mild.

Banner Watch
The "Make A Banner" competition was a bit of a flop, which is no surprise given that there were 13 people in the ground. Pity we didn't enter with MCNAMEE FEARS STYNES because behind a cheersquad with 19 people in it you wouldn't have had much trouble being seen.

May I humbly suggest for any North fans who might be reading that they go for an exceedingly obscure musical reference and make a banner saying - IT'S GRIMA NORTH. When you win something from it I want royalties.

Next Week
Essendon at the 'G. The only positive to this is that we've escaped a trip to the freaking Dome and the only game where you have to buy a reserved seat even if you're a 17 game member. The negative is that despite the fact that 6 weeks ago we were pencilling this in as a 'maybe' game, suddenly they're playing great football and are going to smash us like a guitar. I'll be most interested in seeing how our backline goes against them, because believe me there will little else to hold your interest other than trying to work out at which point of the third quarter you should bite down on that cyanide pill you've been hoarding all season.

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