Saturday 25 April 2009

The Truth Is Out There

In the last twenty years I've watched Melbourne in four states and one territory. I've seen us win by 120 points, lose by the same, blow a 47 point lead in the last quarter and come back from 51 down at halftime. However I can confidently say that what we saw tonight was the most bizarre match I've ever witnessed.

Seriously, that shit was like an episode of Twin Peaks. 3.5 quarters without a solitary goal and then at the 17 minute mark of the last quarter we're in it up to our necks. Explain that? I sure as hell can't.

Usually, I sit there for four quarters stressing and ignoring minor details such as what's actually taking place, so the goals act as mental cues to fill in the blanks of any particuarly interesting happenings. That's not going to happen for obvious reasons. In fact I'm not sure if anything particuarly interesting happened all day. They told us it was going to be Hurricane Katrina-esque weather conditions, and even though it was colder than a witches tit the rain didn't come in any noticeable fashion.

Sadly, nobody bothered to tell the players who proceeded to serve up one of the most anonymous, pointless and god damn it nearly awesome games of footy for years. You would have understood a 51-34 scoreline if it had been pissing down with a force 10 gale, the sort that sends sailors to their deaths, blowing across the ground but it really wasn't. In fact other than the temperature issues it was a pretty perfect day for football. When the Meesen Magic jumped like a gazelle in the opening bounce and put it straight into the hands of Moloney (or was it Jones? Nothing came of it, so Jones is a suspect) who whacked it inside 50 I thought that we were set for something special. We weren't.

Let the future record show that our scores at the end of each quarter were as follows;

0.1, 0.3, 1.6, 4.10

This is our lowest score of any sort since we racked up a casual 3.9 and got Neil Balme fired in 1997. The last time we went so low in Victoria was R16, 1996 in Geelong. Stats fans rejoice, though, that it's not our lowest score at the MCG in the last 50 years. Step forward the R12 1989 debacle vs Geelong when we racked up a big 2.8.20. Before that you have to go back to R16, 1971 for a 4.10.34 against the mighty Fitzroy.

However I'm willing to bet that none of those games featured us goalling at the 17 minute mark of the last quarter to be within striking distance. To say the Adelaide fans started to get a bit nervous was an understatement. They didn't quite wear the same look of abject terror that Freo fans had when we turned them over last year, but another goal and it would have gotten interesting.

Frankly I can't even be bothered trying to remember what happened tonight. From memory it went a bit like this;

* Scrum in the centre
* Ball goes towards our forward line
* Ball is rebounded under very little pressure
* Ball hangs around in the middle for a while
* Adelaide kick a point
* Everyone dies a little inside.

It took the forgotten man of the forward line Lynden Dunn to get our first two goals, and just as he was scrounging for the record books to find out how many people had been their sides only goalkicker, McLean added another to ruin his fun but make things interesting. Newton missed his second sitter and Jetta an easily gettable chance before McDonald slotted one to drag it back to within three goals.

Unfortunately after briefly threatening glory the forward structure once again fell to pieces and the Crows managed to lock it down for a win. Of interest to Meesen fans was his flying shot from 50m out which didn't make the distance, or score, but bore a distinct resemblence to the one and only shot on goal I ever saw Jamie Shanahan take.

Once again we were stooged for a lack of a forward line. The defence is still our strongest point, and the midfields and ruck division aren't losing out TOO badly (except Johnson who has been pox) but what's the point when you've got nobody to kick it to? Miller and Petterd are trying their arses off but getting nothing, Bate has been disappointing recently, Jetta needs time in the 2's, Sylvia has played his one good quarter for the year and put the queue in the rack and Newton is just shit.

Robertson kicked five in the 2's today. He's hardly the future, but at the moment he could be the difference between competitive and uncompetitive up front. If nothing else he'll take the heat off Miller. Surely next week it's Robbo and THE CELEBRATOR in - Jetta (omitted), Newton (shot dead).

There was a lot of "we're being rorted by the umpires" feeling going on. I'll admit there were a couple of slightly dodgy ones, but I don't think it explains Newton the tit missing two sitters and McLean hoofing the ball into the hands of the opposition at every opportunity.

Finally I don't usually care for the opposition, even to the extent of learning who half their players are, but Adelaide aren't particuarly good are they? Everything else is going to overshadowed by our floppy forward performance, but it's not just me who thinks they weren't very good today is it? Granted our defence played well, but all over the place they were just ordinary. Restricting a slopfest to a tiny score is one thing, but can they really hang their hat on it given the abysmal state our forward structure is in?

That's it. I have nothing more to say.

2009 Allen Jakovich Medal

5 - Brent Moloney
4 - James Frawley
3 - Aaron Davey
2 - Jared Rivers
1 - Lynden Dunn

Buggered if I'm giving votes to Turnover Machine McLean. Everyone else will, but 28 possesions mean nothing when kicks are in the minority and hardly any of them hit a target. Eight tackles are great, but they don't get you in single handedly. See also Jones, Nathan.


12 - Aaron Davey
9 - Brent Moloney
8 - Brad Green
5 - Kyle Cheney (LEADER: 2009 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year and LEADER: 2009 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Nathan Jones, Brock McLean
4 - Matthew Warnock, Stefan Martin, Brad Miller, James Frawley
3 - Ricky Petterd, Colin Sylvia, Cameron Bruce
2 - James McDonald, Jared Rivers
1 - Matthew Bate, Lynden Dunn

Crowd Watch
14,000 my arse. That's the dictionary definition of 'seasonally adjusted'. Imagine if the weather had turned out like it was supposed to? The place would have been empty.

Chief nutbag of the day was the woman behind me who spent all four quarters yelling "COME ON CROWS [pause] COME ON!" every five seconds. By full time she'd become a cult hero.

Armoured Personnel Carrier Corner
Fact: I'd rather win five games than four.
Fact: We're not good enough to win five anyway.
Outcome: Pro and anti-tank factions are happy even if they do want to cut each other's throat.

Numerology Corner
In case you're wondering Stefan Martin isn't the only person ever to change to a higher number during their career (excluding people who changed back to a previous number like Farmer in '99). One of Sydney's cavalcade of nobodies in the 80's tops everyone.

1985 - #46
1986 and 1988 - #12
1989 and 1990 - #33
1991 - #50

Now, Darren McAsey was hardly likely to be anyone's favourite player anyway but imagine trying to keep up with that on your jumper?

Incidentally if you're old enough to remember the 80's and early 90's but want to completely confuse yourself just look at some Sydney teamsheets from that time. You are guaranteed to see names that you've never seen before in your life. I'm not talking about cult figures like Sanford Wheeler and The Indian Rubber Man Jamie Lawson - I'm about Brett Page, Aldo Dipetta and the briefly glamorous Jim West. Speaking of briefly glamorous - Shane Fell - 1 season, 30 goals and goodbye. That's odd.

Perhaps the hapless Brisbane Bears of the late 80's are more your go? Try 1992's Adam Kerinaiua, or Rudi Frigo? How about 203cm monster Ian Kidgell or his svelt 60kg colleague Corey Bell? Me, I'm a Richard Umbers man myself.

Can't decide? Then Matthew AhMat is your man - 8 games, 8 losses spread between both great teams.

Mind you, let's be honest, does anyone other than a Melbourne fan have the slightest idea who Scott Simister was. And what exactly did Haydn Robins do for two seasons before he was flogged to Richmond as part of our ongoing 'talent' exchange scheme (Chris Sullivan, John Howat, Michael Pickering, Clay Sampson, Strawbs O'Dwyer, Phil Egan, Simon Eishold, Ross Funcke et al)

See, wasn't that a great deal more educational than anything you saw (or didn't) at the game today? Forget this season, how about a sponsorship from Name a Game to write reviews of early 90's matches instead?

Next Week
God help us all it's Geelong at the far more sensible time of 2.10 on Sunday. Make no mistake, they won't be as charitable as the Crows were in keeping the scores down. In fact they're likely to slap the living bejesus out of us. Remember 1 billion to nothing at quarter time last year? I guess if that's all you have to beat then it shouldn't be too bad a day.

If I was playing Fantasy Selection Committee it would be (*drum roll*)

IN: Robertson, Maric, Spencer, Wonaeamirri
OUT: Jetta, Newton, Sylvia, Johnson

Maric didn't play in the 2's today, but I have a feeling that might have been as cover in case Bartram didn't come up after losing his dad yesterday (RIP). Showed enough at the end of last year to warrant a decent run of matches now, and what better time to come in then when we're face-to-face with the apocalypse? That'll be dandy for him.

Final Thoughts
That was nice. What time does the real game start?

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