Saturday 24 April 2010

Tear The Roof Off The Sucker

(I apologise in advance that this is really, really long. Maybe the longest ever, but as you're well aware by now the two things I don't do are directors cuts and actual football analysis. So take a stiff drink, remember that you've got a free day off tomorrow and get into it - Mercado)

Isn't the world a slightly more beautiful place when the Dees are winning? Not that the person in this picture knows considering how I ripped it off straight from Google Images, but you see my point. At the length this is likely to go on it'll probably be sunrise by the time I'm finished anyway.

Before the lid comes completely off and we get into 5000 words about how this is the greatest moment in the history of the planet etc.. a small personal indulgence if I may. Shortly after the 2006 season I changed jobs just to get away from having to work weekends and miss games (yeah sure it also had a bit to do with it being a soul destroying prick of a job but go with me here). From then on we have been utter bollocks of the highest (lowest?) order. The next year I even managed to find myself moving five minutes away from the MCG, just in time for two wooden spoon seasons. Since the start of the 2007 season I've missed four games in Victoria while overseas (R14 2007 and R11-12-13 2008) and thank god the second half of the Richmond debacle when it all got too much for me and I took an invite to go to a film premiere instead.

So like a lot of you I've seen some horrible things in person over the last three years. We've been trudging to the 'G, Docklands or - god forbid - Geelong week in and week out to watch losses, ineptitude and general buckets of slop passed off as football. We had wins, but other than a token early season victory over Richmond which we knew would mean absolutely nothing they've all come when the season has been dead and buried. Tonight is for everybody who stuck with us, bought their memberships even when they knew we were going to get thumped and stayed true. For everyone who copped shit from workmates whose sides have been in exactly the same position over the years. We're not out of the woods yet, but we're closer than ever before.

Ironically this week I finished in the job I took after the '06 season. I went out on a two game winning streak, but if tonight does turn out to be the official turning point that leads towards glory then the record book will show that the entire three year period I spent there was a footballing disaster. Onwards, upwards and all that shit.

Err, anyway some of you may be aware that we played a game of football tonight. From the lofty heights of 9th place we took on the undefeated United Nations of Brisbane in a rare Saturday night MCG game. How rare? So rare I can't even be arsed looking up the last time. Somebody mentioned that we'd not lost against them at the MCG since 1999, but neglected to point out that we've only played them there once since. Magnificent day that was. Remember Brad Miller of all people leading a blockbusting comeback in the dying minutes? What about Aussie Wonaeamirri [MIA] finally extracting the ball and taking off on a run after Brisbane spent the last 30 seconds camped in the forward line at the Ponsford Stand end threatening to steal the game back? Tremendous fun, loads of excitement for all but won when the season was well and truly buggered anyway. 13,000 more people there tonight as well - lids are coming off all over the place.

After beating two teams with a combined record of 0-9 the aim against the unbeaten Lions was to compete. I scoffed at the betting markets melting down when it was suggested that Jonathan Brown wouldn't play. I politely nodded away all week as people told me they "had a feeling" that we'd win. I dutifully put a bet on at the TAB that we'd lead at quarter time but none of the others, all the while confidentially expecting that we'd put in an encouraging but ultimately fruitless display and go down to a 4-6 goal loss.

Turns out that pundits, soothsayers and well wishers were right and that my prediction skills get plums. And how good does it feel? We've been involved in upsets here and then over the last decade, but I'm going to suggest that we've never pulled off anything as ludicrous as what happened tonight since Round 2, 1998 against North Melbourne. R1, 1997 against North again is the only other match that I can think of in the last twenty years that had bigger shock value than tonight - shame about the rest of the season but. In our up-down-up-down years we were never so bad that we rarely started the sort of colossal underdogs that we have so many times over the past couple of years. When we did, we usally did what was expected and got thrashed.

But even on the back of two wins we didn't just beat a 4-0 side, we absolutely pulverised them. There were some nervous moments but in the end it was a procession and we not only did it stylishly we did it ruthlessly. I hope the supposed 5000 international students at the game (which didn't hurt the attendance) went away thinking that we have been playing like this for years. Ring home and tell your friends/family/next door neighbour. Tell them that every time some guy called Grimes goes near the ball 20,000 hearts start beating that little bit faster.

Right off the bat what struck me was the ferocity with which our boys attacked the ball. Petterd got excited and missed a snap which might have opened the scoring, but we instantly looked like we could match it with the supposedly so much stronger Lions. Fev did his bit by missing a fair sitter down the other end before the game broke down into a power struggle, and one that we were well and truly pulling our weight in. Eventually Bennell, who is becoming one hell of an X-Factor player even if barely anything he tries ever comes off, managed to find Trengove on his own in the square for the opener.

Incidentally Trenners may as well just change his name by deed poll to Trengrove. Not only did commentators and fans spend the whole night adding the R but when interviewed after the match even James Frawley did it. Obviously the human brain cannot come to grips with there not being an R between the letters G and O. The best way to hammer home the correct spelling of is name is to get the bastard put up in the Hall of Fame. Over to you JT.

Not long after that Sylvia got the second and I started to think that maybe we were a chance. Just how last week when Richmond got the first couple I was convinced that we were rooted. Brown got the first for the Lions and then proceeded to be absolutely towelled up Frawley for the rest of the night. Injury cloud or not Chip stitched him up a treat after having a pretty ordinary one against the Tiges. When Petterd got two either side of a Lions goal born from an amazingly shit free kick (and if you ask them they'll tell you they were robbed by the umps. Humorous!) my eyebrows raised so far they almost hit the bloke behind me. Mind you the Brisbane fans had a point on the second one as Ricky's mark was immediately preceded by him sticking two hands in TJ's back and nearly dumping him to the ground before taking the grab.

There was also that bizarre Fev kicking in danger when it looked like our bloke (Frawley? Warnock? Phil Gilbert?) really just dived at the ball as Captain Bollocks was about to kick it off the ground. Should you really get a free when you've put yourself in the danger? Probably not, but everyone hates Fev so let's take it. Happily Warnock later forced Fev to kick out on the full before decking him and got away with it. The look on his face in the picture is priceless even if the way it's shot makes it look like he's done the Dusty Rhodes bionic elbow smash rather than what was in reality a gentle shove played up by a goose.

The ball came inside 50 a fair bit in the first term but the backmen were doing a solid job of keeping it out. All of Frawley, Warnock and Garland put in important spoils when Fev or Brown looked dangerous.

How good was The Stefan Martin Experience getting a free for out on the full when he kneed it over? Another brick in the "we were robbed" files from the other side, but I'll put every piece of umpiring shenanigan in the book up against the free that Bennell copped for pushing his opponent out in the forward line and will win every time. That was unreal, I've not seen the replay but if there was anything at all in that other than skillful bodywork then I'm not here. Stef didn't do a great amount possession wise, but he was great in giving a contest and working as a second ruckman. I loved when Bruce kicked it to him against three Lions in the last quarter and he managed to get the ball to the ground. If he can learn to take a contested mark like Jamar then he'll be well on the way to something big. Mind you it took Jamar six years to get it right.

Second quarter was a thing of rare beauty. I'm stoked to have been sitting pretty much right on top of the goals as we racked them up with ease. Davey on the run and Jamar from a set shot (and how underrated is he as a big man kicking from 30/40m out?) extended the lead to nearly four goals before Bennell was rorted out of the one that probably would have put the game away there and then. Luckily it only took another five minutes and we got it. I was lining up to buy a drink when Sylvia kicked the goal and the crowd went so collectively off their faces that the girl behind the counter actually covered her ears like something had exploded. Didn't contribute much to the situation myself by screaming "YES!" and throwing my hands in the air just as I was about to hand her the note. Not my fault he didn't take another bounce before he kicked it.

As it turns out that was the game, a blow that the Lions would never recover from. We were handballing forward, finding open players everywhere and kicking to targets inside 50. Even when we did hit them on the break and go forward with nobody inside 50 it never resulted in a ludicrous turnover in the middle of the ground. The whole thing was made of gold and the reaction of the crowd was unreal. I don't know how many people have jumped back on in the last week but the noise after every goal was a thing of beauty. Also loved the way every player running to the bench got a wild reception and round of applause, at one point I think even the runner got a standing o from the red seats. If you saw the game I don't need to tell you how good our pressure was, but I predict that you're going to see a shitload of it in highlights packages during the week. Six players with more than five tackles says it all.

When Trengove got his second not long after Sylvia's goal it was, for all intents and purposes, over. Fev got a late goal to drag it back to 26 points but just a couple of minutes later Green got a 50 after Josh Drummond the knob pushed him over post mark and replied with a towering bomb from 55m. Last act of the quarter was Jones booting one from outside 50 that was allegedly touched right on the line and would well and truly have stuffed the game for Brisbane with no prospect of a return. As it was they were lucky to go in only six goals behind.

The rain fell at half-time, good news for a team trying to defend a six goal lead, but eased up by the start of the third. Jordie "The Predator" McKenzie (leading tackler in the whole freaking competition IF YOU DO NOT MIND) ran in and let one fly from 50 and the margin was seven goals. Cue two goals in a row to the Lions to make it really interesting before Nate Jones kicked what must surely be a wildcard entrant for goal of the year. Taking the ball from a bounce he vaulted one hapless Brisbane player, ran around and slammed it home from outside 50. Useless stat of the week is that we kicked eleven goals from 40m or further out tonight. Who needs crumb when you've got B52 style bombing attacks like that?

Bater kicked another, the crowd were going troppo and somewhere we had all fallen through a big fat gap in the space time continum and landed back in time about four years. Hot Tub Time Machine my arse, this was the real deal. The Lions got the last two of the quarter, but how good was Davey's smother inside their 50? Fevola had just got a goal out of a dubious free against Grimes, and if Rischitelli had got their third in a row to cut the margin under four goals we could have been very wobbly but in a game full of outrageous defensive highlights from our boys Davey's was the best of them. He could not have been any more at full stretch to get a hand to the kick, and it said everything about the courage and desparation that these guys are playing with at the moment. Not to mention confidence. Big mofo swagging Fonzie from Happy Days confidence. The Lions were our Pinky Tuscadero and we were doing to them what the Fonz did to her in the back seat of his car at the prom (unscreened episode).

As previously discussed on every occasion that we have led at 3/4 since 2005 I do not have any confidence in any lead under 46 points. Horrible visions were going through my head of the Lions getting the first couple of goals and our guys completely falling to pieces under the pressure. It would have been a cruel way to lose after we'd put all the pressure on for the first three quarters. Like the Collingwood game it had gone from "we'd be happy to get within two goals" to "I will fairly neck myself if we lose it from here", and with my knuckles barely having recovered from SeatGate at that game I wasn't up for another grandstand heartbreaking finish if you don't mind.

Quarter opened well with that man Fev giving away a 50 after giving away a free to Warnock. We went down the other end where Green, named this week by The Age as the Demon who you would want kicking for your life, missed what would have been the long delayed sealer. Second place for magnificent defensive efforts on the night went to Brad Green for his predator like chase and tackle on Travis Johnstone out on the AFL Members wing. Just watch the way he avoids the half-hearted attempt at a shephard from TJ's and clamps him with the big grab. I had the feeling then that we weren't going to be beaten, but I'll bet there's a few Brisbane fans who felt that way before the Bruce/Miller explosion of 2008. Don't be confident in a lead kids, you'll just end up disappointed and bitter like me.

McDonald's goal was a contender for the most ludicrous and therefore satisfying sealers of all time. He won the free kick, realised that there was nobody to kick it to, thought he'd just roost it at the goals and hope for the best and saw it fly through. Cue absolute coco bananas wild scenes in the crowd and an exiting flood of Lions fans. I can't imagine for a moment what they must have been thinking. Flash back to 2006 again and the second time we lost to Carlton (lest we forget that 2 of their 3.5 wins for the year came against us). That's the closest I can get, and even then we at least fought the game out and didn't get thrashed. That day far more memorable for me due to the concerted campaign of hate I helped orchestrate against some Blue supporting arseclown in the crowd.

Then the moment you've been waiting.. weeks for, Scully with his first goal and his first truly visionary piece of kicking. He kicked the special second sealer by roving the pack and booting off his left on the run. Tonight was his first really good game for mine, he's had a couple of pretty good ones but finally his kicking started to match the quality of his handballing and it just took things to another level. Throw in the amazing desparation with which he attacks the ball and there's no doubt that we're onto a grade A, $45m Tatts jackpot solid gold superstar here.

Davey added another to take the piss and by this point I was in disbelief. Watch the highlights for the 'interesting' handball that Bate does off the ground before he kicks the goal. Innovative in a probably illegal sense. Apologies if none of the above made any sense, missed any classic moments or is just full of batshit insane ramblings but the whole thing seemed like a dream and I'm not sure I managed to take it all in. Without Foxtel I couldn't tape a replay and sit down to watch it while I wrote this, but I'm dying to see it all over again so if you can direct to a *wink wink* downloadable replay *REALLY BIG WINK* then message me on Twitter (@demonblog) or via email If we're going to do a St Kilda and put out a "THE STREAK" DVD then let me be the first to put my hand up and say I'd very much like a copy but can we at least keep going for a couple more weeks?

Despite my pledge never to sing the song again until we won a final (imagine if you'd said that in 1965?) I got incredibly excited and joined @somtum in an arm-in-arm belting rendition of the tune. Some old mate behind leapt on me in celebration and I even high fived his kid. It was that sort of moment. Makes a change from wondering if I should explain to the kid that you're allowed to change teams with no penalty once when you're young. Incidentally does anyone else get the urge to yell "WHADDA WE SING" in the national anthem after the line "in joyful strains then let us sing"? Really? Well I say get into it. Will make special events, Australia Day and school assemblies much more like a football match and therefore fun.

The lid was well and truly taken off and thrown across Brunton Avenue (closed at the discretion of the police operational commander at the time lest we forget) into the rail yards after the final siren. The theme song was belting out everywhere, cars were joyfully honking their horns and I shit you not I saw a small group doing an a capella, jazz hands, Glee style version of the theme song outside the AFL members. From platform 10 at Richmond all I heard for ten minutes waiting for a train was somebody yell words to the effect of "GO DEES" from the street below and everyone went off their nut. If it weren't such an offensive thing to say I'd liken it to the sort of behaviour that people exhibit when their nation is liberated after years of oppression. Like the Saddam statue toppling in Iraq, but presumably without the years of destruction, carnage and shattered dreams that followed.

I wonder how long it will take for winning to stop being an event? Every time we get up I'm barraged on Farcebook, Twitter and SMS by well wishers - mainly because I feel like I might be the only passionate Dees fan that some people know - but you can chart when you go from loveable losers to serious contenders when all that stuff stops and people start to hate you again. If I'd been a Brisbane fan listening to the radio tonight I'd have piffed it against a wall with the way the commentators were punting us home. That's the effect of having been doormats for so long, everyone wants to see the underdog get up but I tell you right now I am dying for the day when I turn the radio on and hear some clowns going bananas about us being challenged by Richmond, or North, or Adelaide, or the West Sydney Goats. That's when you know you're a contender. Lions fans, and god damn it if you've read this far you're a braver person than I would be in the same circumstances, instead of flinging your transitor off the top deck of the Southern Stand and killing somebody you should take it as a badge of honour. I want to be the hunted again. Bring it on you mothers.

Korruption Korner
The circumstances in which we attained SCULLGOVE are full of shame, but let's go with it. Not that I'd know (honest officer), but it seems to me to be like finding a suitcase full of hundreds of thousands of dollars and not turning it into the cops. There's a bit of guilt involved, and you're waiting for the whole ruse to collapse at any moment but for now you're spending money like a drunken sailor and having a great time of it. Now that we've stolen them (the suitcase) long may we continue to enjoy their financial (footballing) rewards. And let's hope I never try to get away with a tortured analogy like that ever again.

Speaking of corruption, the good news is that no matter what happens for the rest of the year thanks to the Storm and their creative accountacy practices we can't be the worst team to feature the word Melbourne in its name. Lucky when we rorted the cap they didn't have anything but draft picks to take off us. Meanwhile it's taken 12 years but finally I can say "that's why" when people ask why I didn't ditch Western Suburbs (later Wests Tigers) for the Storm when they came into the competition. Not a visionary, just hell bent on being contrary. Futhermore what the hell am I discussing Rugby League on here for? Never again.

Crowd Watch
Somebody needed to warm the crowd up for their Fev abuse before the opening bounce. Old mate in the velvet jacket who plays the theme song (and why does this still take place?) should have teamed up with Nick McCallum to run the crowd through a musical look at all the offensive things Fev has done in his AFL career, because from where I was seated not one person gave it any 'humour' when he had his first shot at goal. You'll be pleased to know that the situation was rectified at 17.30 of the first quarter when one local 'wag' was heard to offer "I'll give you five to one you miss". Oh how we... failed to laugh considering he kicked it. Cue a cavalcade of gambling comments throughout the evening, but not one in regards to his use of a mobile carriage service to transmit pornographic images. Mainly because not one person at the MCG not standing on the field has any chance of cracking onto Lara Bingle (or Jennifer Hawkins as I scandalously called her at one point when discussing potential sledge material) so they're prepared to put that one away. Either that or footy fans are too dumb to concentrate on more than one scandal at a time.

Worst sledge of the night goes to the guy who followed a wonky, rushed Brisbane shot at goal in the last quarter with a halting and farcical "That kick.. was crookeder (!?) than the books of the.. Melbourne Storm". Shambolic. Best went to the guy who rejoiced at Travis Johnstone taking a kick-in because he never once hit a target with one when playing for us. Unfortunately he then proceeded to keep his record of never having landed one on a player in red and blue by not turning it over. Sad.

Also a bit surprised at the lack of any ANZAC Day commemorations. At least we did something useful with the banner for once and mentioned it, but I'm surprised we didn't at least get the anthem. The AFL explanation is that they're only doing the Last Post once in every city this round. Fairly pissweak reasoning if you ask me, but that's their prerogative, I'm just surprised there was no anthem, minute's silence (something longer than the standard AFL 0.34 version please) or tribute to fallen players.

Anybody else surprised by the lack of Lions fans considering that they were top of the ladder? I went to the draw they played against Essendon last year and it seemed that there were thousands of them. Surely it's nothing to do with the whole logo debacle, but how dirty would you be that not only have they killed the Fitzroy lion and replaced it with something that looks like a costume in a primary school play but that they didn't even play in the Roys jumper? Horrible way to treat their Melbourne fans and I hope they make their feelings known. Why do I care? Probably for the same reason that I still refuse to call Footscray their gimmick marketing department enforced name - if we can throw all the other traditions of footy out (except the ones that should go like banners) then can we at least try not to fuck with club identity? And even though I'm the only person who doesn't mind our current logo can we bring back the god damned Demon already.

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Jack Trengove
4 - James Frawley
3 - Brent Moloney
2 - Colin Sylvia
1 - Matthew Bate

Massive apologies to... pretty much everyone else. Bate was probably the stiffest to miss. Though not half as stuff as [CENSORED BY STEVEN CONROY'S INTERNET FILTER].

I'd also like to pay tribute to Clint Bartram. He's scored a grand total of eight votes from me during his career, so it's not surprising that he's not pushing the top five very often but he has been great the last couple of weeks. Most of us probably thought he was done for at the end of last year but he's been solid as over the past few weeks, great to see him back to his '06 form. Great to see everyone back to their '06 form? I'll wait a couple of weeks before declaring that.

In the spirit of betting agencies paying out on Richmond winning the spoon already I am hereby declaring Mark Jamar to be the winner of the ruckman of the year award right now. Between them Paul Johnson and Jake Spencer have only scored fifteen votes in five years so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that neither of them are going to rack up more than ten this year. Congratulations to the Russian, and to the punters who went large on him at $1.50 in the pre-season.

10 - James McDonald, Brad Green
9 - James Frawley (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Mark Jamar (WINNER: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
7 - Jack Trengove (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
6 - Colin Sylvia, Brent Moloney
5 - Ricky Petterd, Jack Grimes
3 - Jordie McKenzie
1 - Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald, Matthew Bate

Chub Central
No, this is not what you thought it was going to be. You filthy bastard. Last week I decided to start a tradition of eating a different violently evil fast food every time we won a game. Last week it was KFC (shithouse), this week Maccas (vile). Next week hopefully one of those soaking with grease horrid kebabs they sell outside of Etihad. If there's any justice in the world by the end of the season we'll have won a flag and I'll require a crane to lift me out of bed.

Next Week
The way this week is going they'll probably win, but no matter what we're going to go in red hot favourites next week. Big danger game. Not only are we traditionally a far worse side at Docklands, but there's no doubt that we're going to be the biggest hit since the Beatles in the media during the week. Intensity is a MUST. Shouldn't be an issue given that we're playing like rabid dogs who have been starved for six weeks and let off the leash to tear somebody's face off but still..

No changes required unless somebody can't come up. Bail will miss a couple by the sounds of it and the SME deserves an opportunity. Rivers one of the best in Casey's win today (also featuring some bloke called Watts booting two goals) but probably needs somebody to fall over right now to get a run. Remarkable situation. Then look at guys like Cheney who are tearing it up in the VFL but can't sneak into the side. It could all go horribly wrong next week and lead to a Richmond style nine change slaughter session, but that's the only way I can see the likes of Cheney and Maric getting into the team right now.

DB's Musical Corner
Every week I'll post the song that sums up the performance on field. What better way to start with the track that the post title is ripped off from.

Now forget the Dropkick fucking Murphys, that's the sort of stuff they should be playing at the 'G.

Final Thoughts
Thank christ I don't have to do anything tomorrow, because there is no chance I'll be sleeping tonight. All this AND St. Kilda lost? This is a night to remember. Quoth the Notorious BIG, it's all good baby baby. He died, we are reborn. I'm not sure the two are in any way connected or if I have actually died and gone to heaven. Get up, get about, go off your nut you deserve it.

If you read all that then you deserve some sort of medal. Have the first ever Demonblog Order of Grinter for your contribution to the cause.

Monday 19 April 2010

The Bigger The Headache, The Bigger The Pill

(Originally written for the Brisbane BigFooty board)

Greetings to our friends from the north, former Roys and ex-Bears fanatics. I’d like to confess that I have a shameful love of Dare to Beat the Bear, but sadly we’re not here to do an in-depth dissection of theme songs – maybe another time. What I have been asked here for is to preview our side of next Saturday’s nights match. Now, you join the Melbourne Football Club at a very interesting time. Two wins a row, youngsters flying with confidence, equal with the ledger after round 4 for the first time since 2005. Roll on September eh? Well, maybe not. Strength of schedule is a stat that doesn’t get nearly enough coverage in AFL, and right now ours shows that the teams we’ve beaten are a combined 0-8.

When you’ve been belted from pillar to post for three years you’ll take a battling win over a team of fading cripples and a nine goal result against the AFL’s crisis club of the week but it’s nothing to rush to TAB Sportsbet and get excited about. Having said that there’s nothing surer than some muppet having a grand on us winning the flag during this week.

I can see how the United Nations of Brisbane are unbeaten at the right end of the ladder (though tell me you’re not at least slightly worried that it could all come crashing down like a house of cards at any time), and I’ll admit to having pangs of man love every time one J. Brown comes on my television, but if you’d told me after the round one DEBACLE against Hawthorn that we’d be facing off with you only outside the eight on percentage I’d have howled you down and tipped a table over in anger. Of course only sides who have won two spoons in a row (or are about to - hello Richmond!) actually care about ladder positions after four rounds, but still we’ve come a long way since the slop served up in round one caused some (mainly me) to dive for the record books to find out where we’d sit in the line-up of teams who had ‘won’ three spoons in a row. Now we sit a Ricky Petterd fingernail away from being 3-1 and there are positives all over the shop.

But can we take the positives shown against a criminally disinterested Collingwood and the two bottom sides of the competition and translate them into a decent performance against an unbeaten side with near unlimited scoring potential? Probably not enough to win, but I’m happy enough to go along next Saturday night in the knowledge that we’ll see more things to like for the future.

Obviously the major concern is the twin towers of terror Fev and JB. Luckily when coming up against a team with attacking options out the wazoo we’ve actually got a half decent backline. We’ve copped our fair share of poundings over the last few years but I’d argue that’s more to do with getting smashed in the middle of the ground than anything else. I shudder to think what would have happened to us without the likes of Warnock, Frawley, Rivers, Garland and – before his controversial conversion to a ruckman/forward/reserves player – The Stefan Martin Experience.

The Tiges didn’t do too badly against us last week, but if you take out the shots from free-kicks, the wildly speculative bombs that came off and a handful of crumbed goals they were pretty well held. This week, though, offers something different altogether.

At least Bradshaw is gone and won’t use us as his personal punching bag this year (lest we forget him ruining Nathan Carroll’s career so spectacularly that the buffoon with the rubbish hair went from All-Australian contender to getting arrested for punching on with the cops in a WA pub in just a couple of short years), though Fev is a fair replacement for the job. God knows what, if anything, is going through that man’s head at any given time but there’s no doubt that the one thing he’s good for is kicking goals. He’s fairly handy at stitching us up as well, even if you take out the seven he got against us when the tank was in fifth gear near the end of last year he’s plundered us for 29 goals in nine other starts. Even though he’s playing second fiddle to Brown so far this season I don’t like our chances of keeping them both quiet enough to keep you to a score we can match. I’d suggest Rivers might come back in for Garland and will tag in and out on Fev duty with James Frawley.

A look at Brown’s stats show that he’s played less games against Melbourne than any other club in the competition. In fact until he kicked six against us in R15, 2007 he’d never had more than one in a game. Since then he’s gone 2, 5, 5 and is playing absolutely out of his skin this year. It could be time for him to have a big day out against us and I’d expect Warnock to get him, but at the same time I’d love to see Frawley get a crack at the job. He slaughtered Brett Burton for the last three quarters of our game against Adelaide and is rapidly emerging as the best player in our defence. Riewoldt probably just had the better of him last week but if he’s going to step up to the next level he’s going to have to take on some of the big hitters eventually. Warnock on the other hand is the kind of guy that nobody has ever heard of unless you follow us but has finished 4th and 5th in the B&F over the last couple of years. Not much competition admittedly, but it shows how dependable he is. Not bad for somebody who was seconds from being out the door until Dean Bailey showed up.

As for our forward line I don’t think you’ve got too much to be worried about. This is the side that yesterday romped to eight goals in the first quarter for the first time since Round 20, 2000 and then followed it up by kicking none in the second. Between Ricky Petterd, Matthew Bate, Brad Green and Col Sylvia there’s the stirrings of a good attack but they’re not quite there yet. Needs one big bastard in the mould of Brown/Hall/Bradshaw to go up there and lead from the front. Petterd is trying his guts out, and getting some good results, but he’s not big enough to lead the line of a top eight team. It’s not inconceivable that we could kick another decent score, but

Meanwhile in a useless stat from Ridiculous Fact Corner, we have as many Queenslanders on our list now as we have had combined in the rest of our history. You can have Brad Miller and Jake Spencer back and Joel MacDonald (you may remember him) is doing pretty well but I’m quite keen on Petterd and Rohan Bail so you and the Gold Coast can stay well away from them thanks very much.

One place I think we can at least break even is the midfield. Mark Jamar has gone from world class spud to super stud so quickly I don’t think even he knows it yet, and for the last three weeks he has almost single handedly dominated the centre. Though having said that we’re in more trouble than the early settlers if he goes down during the game because we’ve been running with some very ordinary pinch hitters as back-up. At the big Russian’s feet lie the back from the dead James McDonald and a grunt work division consisting of Brent Moloney (pending the results of the Match Review Panel spinning their suspension wheel of fortune), Nathan Jones, Cameron Bruce (don’t be fooled by Supercoach scores, he’s struggling) and Clint Bartram. Jack Grimes and Aaron Davey give much needed class off the half-back line, and Joel Mac has fit in well without setting the world alight so far. On paper we lose the in the centre, but there’s enough in that lineup – as well as the emerging top end of the draft table duo SCULLGOVE – to argue that if Jamar can get hitouts to advantage we can get the ball forward. What happens when it gets there is the issue – and that’s where we’re going to be tripped up.

With the Lions playing in Melbourne for the first time this year except ‘humorous’ comments from the crowd on the subject of Fev’s many indiscretions. Take a drink every time one of them is actually funny and you’ll be stone cold sober by the final siren while Fev will probably have a matchwinning five goals. The other angle to watch is how Travis Johnstone is received. When we traded him there were murmurings of discontent and a bit of internet anguish but you won’t hear anybody upset with the deal now that Grimes – picked with the selection traded for TJ – is absolutely tearing it to shreds off halfback. Looks like the classic win/win for me, we’ve got a ten year player and future captain, TJ gets to play in a winning team and contend for a flag and Collingwood ended up getting stooged with Cam Wood. Everyone’s a winner except the Pies, and that’s to be celebrated.

Your wildcard player of the night to watch out for is young Jordie McKenzie – he turned down an offer to join the Crows in the off-season in order to stay on our rookie list and has delivered big time. Great tackler, great competitor and probably the happiest man in the world that he didn’t choose to move to Adelaide just to play in their worst side ever.

So, the Lions to win fairly comfortably but I’d like to think we’ll at least give you some anxious moments. Brisbane by six goals.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Direct from Hell...

... Spinal Tap. Err, and the two in a row Demons. And doesn't it feel good? I know we were in this situation briefly last year, but that wasn't in round four. We're batting at least .500 for the first time after round four since 2005 for god's sake. Forget the opposition and drink it in.

Rarely do games go exactly as you'd expect them to, but today went about as close as you're ever going to get. Richmond were always going to come out at a million miles an hour and slowly fall apart as the match went on. Having said that I can't be the only one who didn't start sweating a bit when they got the first two goals. Considering the ridiculous amount of Richmond fans on the train (who knew the Frankston line was their heartland?) it was surprising just how few seemed to be in the ground itself, but the prospect of having to train it back with them if we lost was too awful to think about. Last night I was trapped on a train full of Collingwood and Hawthorn fans, and that had about as much entertainment value as a prison train so god help us having to squash up with overexcited fans who had just seen their side break through a crisis and grab a shock win. Thankfully for everybody, especially me because I'd probably still be walking home, it didn't turn out that way.

As predicted the whole thing smacked of R3 2008 when we shocked Geelong for the first twenty minutes before getting swatted away with consumate ease. But historical precedent is cold comfort when you're starting to wonder if we could really lose to a team approaching our '08 level of futility. When Astbury got his second on debut in the first quarter I started to sense that there was a fairytale story waiting to smack us around the head.

Despite some early forward line shenanigans one thing the first term eventually gave us was good old fashioned attacking football. It took us nine minutes to get one, Petterd with a beautiful set shot that nobody except the goal umpire liked, but from there it was breakneck football. For teams that have a lower average score than Phil Mickelson at the Masters (and probably don't get any many legovers as Tiger Woods) it was a remarkable quarter. It might be a damning stat when comparing the two winless sides in the comp but we got one more goal in the first term today than in all of last week's win. The difference was that they were - surprisingly - a much more potent attacking force than the Crows. Jack Riewoldt was doing what Brett Burton did to us last week in the first term, but happily after nailing the first two goals he started to kick like Burton and only managed 3.4 for the rest of the day.

They were playing out of their skins early but the signs were always there that we were one step in front. The movement from defence to attack was as crisp as you would want, the only thing we lacked was that one big bastard inside 50 to take out a couple of defenders and give the crumbers a chance to goal. As it was all the crumb was taking place at the other end, but when Bail capitalised on the first of many, many Tiger errors to kick his first we were on our way. Didn't stop them kicking another couple of goals and making it interesting, but suddenly whack whack and freaking whack we were on eight goals at quarter time. McDonald got a gift from a 50, Sylvia another from a mark, Bail set up Green and then Petterd gifted Bate the last by knocking a ball to him that never had any right to stay in play - it got a fluky bounce to stop rolling through for a point and everyone's favourite redhead got our third in the space of four minutes. Thankfully Bate is well and truly back in town after a couple of rotten performances at the start of the year - he is ultra important to fill the link-up slot that Miller will surely never be asked to occupy again.

Ridiculously it was the first time since Round 20, 2000 against Freo at the then Colonial Stadium that we'd booted eight in the first quarter. Shame Richmond got five of their own, but we were just looking so much better around the ground that you had to think we were going to go on and do them handily. Junior McDonald continued to wind back the clock something chronic, his 14 touches in the first did as much to set the lead up as any of the goalkickers (except that he was one of the goalkickers but you see where I'm coming from). As long as he does a Lyon and hands over the captaincy to somebody else (BRAD F'ING GREEN COME ON DOWN) I'd love to see him go around again next year if he can keep this up. Can't have been the only one who thought he was finished after this year but he's tearing it to shreds. Knowing us he'll probably cop the Robbo treatment and will be sacked so we can play some minimum wage Romanian child in the middle instead.

Of course there was only one thing we could do after kicking eight goals in a quarter, and that was to kick none - and surprise surprise that's just what happened. We are truly football bi-polar. It wasn't without a handful of gilt edged chances though, most notably Green turning around with hours to kick but thinking he was about to be poleaxed and shanking it out on the full - a rare error in another otherwise excellent performance. Richmond came out all guns blazing again but were wasteful early before Nason - the man who should have SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN HIP-HOP tattooed on his forehead - got a free kick after copping a WWE style neckbreaker while he kicked on the run and converted it the second time.

They got another but at least we kept them to two goals for the term. Our backline wasn't having their finest day - and they'll want to fire up for next week - but our absolute domination at the stoppages and in the middle of the ground was keeping them from doing too much attacking. They got to a goal behind at the half, and were realistically every possible chance going into the second term, but you could see it was going to go very wrong for them very quickly. Various bits of Melbourne 2007-Round 1 2010 buffoonery had already started to creep into their game, and the errors were starting to mount. We could have and should have outscored them for the quarter, and weren't helped by by being on the wrong end of the random umpiring decision generator about ten times in a row. I was dying to hear the bronx cheer when we got one back, but disappointingly Davey winning a HTB decision was so obvious that people didn't even go wild for it.

So, half time and the match still in the balance. We should have been a long, long, long way in front and I hope that's exactly what the players thought as well because they came out and wiped the floor with the Tiges in the 3rd. Finally it looked like the (slightly older) men vs boys clash that it was supposed to be. A bit like a grade six kid beating up a prep it was easy and brutal but you know that when the older kid tries to step up a grade he's going to get destroyed. They just went to pieces, kicking the ball into each other, missing handballs by acres, fumbling under no pressure and most excitingly often kicking it straight to two of our players standing all on their own with no Richmond player within miles. Welcome to the sort of hell that we're starting to drag ourselves out of but at least they're used to it.

We got it right up forward again too. With something approaching structure we still didn't look deadly, but were good enough to snuff out any hope of a miracle victory. Petterd kicked his second from the set shot (and I continue to be impressed by the way the kid goes about his game) before the man, the myth, the legend Jamar got one resting in the pocket. It was his one kick for the day but that didn't tell the tale of how good he was. What it did do was totally break the back of the resistance and caused the Richmond kids, who admittedly did show some good signs, to shit themselves and stuff things up even more. At some point we got another goal from a 50, can somebody who was either watching on TV or paying more attention to the match than me confirm that it was because of a trainer running across the mark? What a goose.

From then on we smacked another three goals home to finish the match off. Even Clint Bartram, never the most comfortable from a set shot, drilled a beauty to finish it off. Down the other end the backline had put the clamps on the Tigers completely - with Grimes (oh be still my beating heart) and Joel Mac dominating the clearances.

One notable feature of the day was the three-quarter time 'entertainment'. No, I don't mean the GIGANTIC picture of Kevin Bartlett that went with the SEN ad on the big screen but the absurd mascot race gimmick. All day the big screen had been advertising some bullshit contest between the mascots where you had to SMS in to say which one you preferred. Firstly it was noticable that they never said how much the SMS actually cost which can't be entirely legal, but that shouldn't be an issue because anybody over the age of 5-years-old who thought it was worth spending money on is a pure dickhead anyway. But you know somewhere there's a grown man sitting in the crowd, possibly with his face painted and a flag in his hand, thinking "oh god I can't let them win this", sending text messages wildly trying to get the Tiges over the line.

So eventually this farce, sponsored by Dick Smith who can get stuffed just for involving themselves, comes to a conclusion during the break when they show the two mascots in an animated race. Maybe it's because they were a million points down at the time but I have respect for the Tiges fans because they gave it absolutely no respect whatsoever. Even when - shock horror - the cartoon Tiger had a come from behind victory it got nothing. Surely once you've see this bullshit once you're going to be aware that it's pre-animated, that the Tiger is going to win every time and save your $0.55 (or hopefully your $4.95 because if you're dumb enough to involve yourself you deserve to be fleeced)? Probably the worst thing I've ever seen passed off as entertainment at the footy since the Doggie Doggie Doggie woof woof woof debacle at Footscray games. Or the Richmond Roar Meter. You can get down on your knees and thank god we don't involve ourselves in rubbish like that.

We should have a Kaspersky promotion where somebody gets sat down at a computer and has to see how many viruses the software package can protect them against in one minute. Straight to the pron sites to win that one, and that's what people will get into. Another debacle was Vodafone Fan Cam where you could vote for the player you wanted to see followed by a smaller camera for the whole quarter. Great stuff given that you were either watching forwards stand around scratching their crack for the whole term or midfielders who were doing close-in work that you couldn't make head nor tail of in the pissy window on the scoreboard.

The only SMS related gimmick that I've ever been for at the footy was the one where you text the name of who you thought was going to kick the first goal of the third quarter to win prizes. At least that had some competitive element to it. I know somebody who once one it thanks to Justin Murphy and collected a free camera - it was kind of a first goalkicker bet that even kids could get into.

Last quarter was a junktime exhibition of epic proportions. When Dunn got the first, and Petterd had another relatively easy shot it looked like we might even run away and give them a smacking. Ricky missed the easiest of all his shots but it didn't matter, nor did the junky goals that the Tiges kicked. At least they kept it respectable, not that most of their fans would know as they'd already left. Sylvia ran riot with the highlight being his fifth goal. Most of the Richmond players had probably lost interest by that point, but the way Sylv stepped around them and booted our 20th from outside fifty was almost enough to bring a tear to your eye.

Terrible news on the siren for anybody who bet on us to win by 61 plus. 55 points to the good and Nate Jones turning around to kick a near cert when beaten by the siren. Serves you right for gambling on novelty options like the margin I say. Speaking of punting I showed up right on the first bounce so was too late to get on for the first goalkicker this week - good thing too. Even though he hasn't done it yet I guaran-damn-tee you that they're not offering $21 on Petterd anymore.

Meanwhile what's with everyone trying to dribble the ball in when they run at an open goal? Suddenly everybody's trying to win goal of the year but it's becoming so common that soon there'll be no splitting them. I'll tell you the ones they'll be able to eliminate immediately, and that's the ones where players could just smash it home with a proper kick but try to get cute and miss. At the risk of sounding like somebody double my age, I don't like it.

As it stands right now Mark Jamar could be an All-Australian ruck contender. If you'd said that to me at the start of last season I'd have slapped the taste out of your mouth. Now? By christ you never know. Though let's remember that the last time we had an All-Australian bolter that came from nowhere it was Nathan Carroll, he went on to have a shithouse second half of the season and is now only good for punching on with the cops at WA pubs.

Speaking of Jamar and Sylvia aren't you glad that we persisted with them for so long? Given the choice most us would have flogged them off to the highest bidder a couple of years ago, and I won't pretend that if you go back into the archives you won't find me slaughtering both of them at various times. BUT this shows why professionals are in charge of football clubs and not knobs off the internet. Keep that in mind next time you charge to the internet to write utter bollocks about certain young draft picks.

Crowd Watch
Finally in the sixth year of this blog (no, really) somebody has sent in a covert picture of an amusing punter in the crowd. Cheers to @paulizm on the Twitter who gives us this utter rejection of modern technology.

I'd like to think he wasn't even listening to the footy and was subjecting the people around him to easy listening hits. Note also in the background there is a child who has just become extremely depressed about football.

On a less farcical level how good was the roar when Stynes appeared in the last quarter? I was on the top deck of the Ponsford so couldn't see what was going on, but once I realised the reason for it everything made sense. Legend.

Stolen crowd watch moment #2 is this gem posted by Biffinator on BigFooty. For the benefit of those of you who treat us BF types like criminals here we go,

At the end of the game, one very distinguished looking Richmond supporter came up to the group and button-holed the leader. Seriously, this guy must have been 85 and would have been well over six foot in his prime. He was wearing a red poppy, giving him the air of a WW2 digger. He would not have looked out of place in the Long Room. He said to the chief Melbourne hoon "Young man, do you know how to speak English?". Our guy noddled back and giggled. The question was asked a second time and answered in the affirmative. It was even asked a third time, and the old guy was right in the face of our boy, who gave a thumbs up. Then the old guy, reaking of Tiger-centric self-loathing, barked "Well's that's really good to know. So go and get fiddlesticks!".

Spectacular moment. I'd be dining out on that one for years if I'd been there. Would rather get fiddlesticks than the plums Richmond served up in the second half. We had almost pure silence from the Richmond fans in our section. The only excitement was provided by the guy across the aisle from me who looked like Ric Flair and started going troppo over the umpiring decisions in the second term. Not surprisingly he was there alone. What's the policy on being at the footy alone? When it happens to me I tend to hide somewhere and shut my mouth due to the shameful nature of having no friends. Other people just go bananas and draw attention to themselves.

Tribunal Watch
Sylvia booked? Bollocks. Didn't see it/wasn't paying attention. Put your Match Review panel hat on (it's made of tinfoil) and tell me what he gets. Having said that I just saw the news footage of it and I swear it was Moloney.

UPDATE - It was Moloney, no thanks to the ABC for calling it as Sylv.

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal

5 - James McDonald
4 - Colin Sylvia
3 - Brent Moloney
2 - Brad Green
1 - Mark Jamar

Apologies to Grimes, Davey, Bennell, MacDonald, McKenzie, Bate, Jones, Petterd, Bail (so impressed by this guy), Scully (good but still needs to get a kick on target sometime) and Trengove. And surely the Russian is the first man ever to receive votes after having one kick? At least it was a goal, but his ruckwork was immense.

10 - James McDonald, Brad Green
9 - Mark Jamar (Leaders: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
5 - Ricky Petterd, James Frawley (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jack Grimes
4 - Colin Sylvia
3 - Jordie McKenzie, Brent Moloney
2 - Jack Trengove (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
1 - Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald

I reckon it would be near on impossible for a ruckman to win this, but if anyone can do it it'll be the Russian. Shut the door on the Strawbs while you're at it, Johnson and Spencer will be lucky to get 9 votes total for the rest of their career and Gawn won't play enough games to challenge.

Next Week
Saturday night at the MCG? What a bizarre timeslot. At least we've won the two that we were expected to, now as long we don't disgrace ourselves against the Lions then it shouldn't be too depressing an evening. Make sure you're there at least, you can go out and crack on in sleazy nightclubs afterwards.

No need for changes either as long as Sylvia doesn't get rubbed out. If he does then it might not be a bad idea to bring the Stefan Martin Experience in. He's had three goals in each of the VFL games so far and can give Jamar a hand in the ruck.

Final Thoughts
They were awful and we capitalised on it, but just like last week there were signs. I love signs almost as much as I love crumb.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Pre-Match Tension Corner

Not to put too fine a point on things I'm shitting myself about Sunday's game.

It's exceedingly rare for us to have gone into a game favourite in recent years. I'd say last year against the Eagles was the only time we have gone into a match overwhelming favourites since late 2006 when we started to throw it all way. One day I'd love to be the team listed as 1.05 before the match, lined up against some slop side paying $15 for the win - but not yet.

Right now on Centrebet we're 1.30 for the win and -21.5 on the line. That's about as good as it gets for us, and the news just keeps getting worse for the Tiges. They've been belted from pillar to post for the first three weeks of the season, have a seemingly rancid list and have lost four players due to suspension after Drunken Rampagegate (I don't think the name will catch on). It seems to me like everybody has taken our win over a supposed top four contender, added the Tiges poor form and multiplied by four banned players to come up with us romping it in.

Explain to me how and why we're going to walk all over Richmond. I take all of the above points on board and recognise the great performance we put in against the Pies but there's a minor issue when it comes to winning a footy match that we're going to need to address in order to simply take the points let alone go to town on the allegedly hapless fools in yellow and black. We have to kick a winning score, and so far this year - other than the first quarter when we jumped the Pies - our goalkicking has been limper than the proverbial. It's not so much a lack of targets inside the forward line as a lack of an actual forward line. Somewhere on a whiteboard I'm sure the whole "everybody start at the half-back line and sprint back" move probably looks like genius, and good times can pull it off. I don't know about you I prefer when somebody - anybody - is up there to at least give a contest. And don't get me started on the LACK OF CRUMB - that's the bane of my existence. Look how we won the game last week? Crumb and plenty of it. When the midfield have to do circle work for 30 seconds because there's nobody in front of them, inevitably losing the ball, it means no tall targets, no contests, no ball hitting the deck, no crumb and most of the time no score.

Even Juice, the man with lower approval ratings than [somebody with low approval ratings], could sit up there and create a contest. Maybe he marks it? Maybe pigs fly, but at least it's something. Better than Clint Bartram having to run around like a headless chicken because he's in the centre square and five of his teammates are lining up next to him like they're playing Rugby League.

Then there's the argument that beating Adelaide doesn't mean much. Sure they should have played a prelim last year, but we were still in the mix to play one at 3/4 time of our last game of '06 and look what happened to us since. It's rare, but teams can lose the plot at the drop of the hat and there's every possible chance that's the Crows fate this year. They played terribly in the first half but somehow managed to open up a four goal lead over us. With two players less for most of the game, eventually dropping to one at the last change and none at the final siren they were well and truly run off their feet but still managed to attack so much that Frawley and Grimes have been universally acknowledged as our best players. That says to me we were seconds from disaster.

We should be able to hold Richmond to a puny score, but if one guy breaks free and causes us trouble do you have faith in our ability to go up the other end and kick a big score? I've got faith in the Russian to knock it down, and I've got faith in our midfield clearing it but the last thing I can sit through is another debacle like the Hawthorn game where the ball bounces in and out of the forward 50 like it's coming off a trampoline. Chris Newman might be out as well? Just another reason why we should dominate them - but we need to play at 110% intensity to make sure they don't get any uppity ideas.

It doesn't mean anything for our game, but just consider the fact that Richmond only kicked a point less than us in getting belted by the Swans last week. If there's one thing I can see them doing (and god knows any side who still employ Troy Simmonds haven't got much else going for them) is kicking a few goals. Hasn't happened yet this year, but bloody hell I hope we keep it that way because I'm terrified about our ability to do the same. Twice this year we've been on one goal at half-time. In three games! What the hell is all that about? Missed set shots and a fluky wind last week haven't helped our cause much, but there's no doubt that things aren't exactly rocking along at that end of the ground at the moment.

Then there's the wounded opposition factor. I'm sure if you went back and looked at the history of football and the results of teams in the week they were declared to be "in crisis" it would probably show that they usually get belted, but I guarantee you the first five minutes is usually intense. Look at our start against Geelong in R3, 08 when we'd been beaten to a pulp for the first two weeks and were expected to lose by a thousand. We came out like a house on fire, and even though class won out in the end we weren't humiliated. Now, I'm not suggesting we're even in the same solar system as the Cats, and to be honest the Tiges probably aren't even as bad as we were in the first two weeks of '08 but there's every chance we're going to have to weather the storm of the first five minutes before getting on top.

What we need to do is make like a primary school and slowly strangle the youthful enthusiasm out them until they're depressed putty in our hands. I like how they're toying with replacing players suspended for indulging in a world class punch-up with the guy who went pre-season postal and punched buggery out of three people at a party. Watch out for young Troy if the fists start flying, that's my suggestion.

So, I think we'll win but I wouldn't start counting percentage yet. One thing I know is that the tone of the match will be set right from the bounce. With nothing to lose, and a bunch of players basically trying to save their career in round 4, I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and go the biff before the first bounce. Whether we get sucked into it or whether it ends like that horrible day we tried to rough up the Saints in '06 and got massacred could be crucial. Surely the calming influence of one C. Sylvia (and who would have thought you ever get the chance to write that?) will help.

Dees by 6 goals. If we lose I'm throwing myself out the window. And I only live on the second floor so that's going to hurt.

Sunday 11 April 2010

The Impossible Dream

Ok, so I'll admit that at half-time today all the goodwill built up last week had been well and truly exhausted and that I was browsing the Harvey Norman catalogue for a new toaster. How quickly things can change.

I've got positives coming out the wazoo later, but let's start with a reality check. Adelaide were an awful team today, even before their black death style injury plague, and any quality side would have demolished them. Hence why it was so depressing that come the long break we were sitting on one scrambled goal and not looking like we were going to get too many more.

The first half was like WW1 - young men went over the top bravely and were mown down when they did. Time and time again we tried to break through the middle and ran into a wall of Crows players. Cue circle work handballing and outright farce. Even when we did win it clean nobody was up front (sound familiar?) and the player was forced to go around in circles or backwards because there was no target to kick it to. Shits me to tears. I almost wish I'd signed up for the Before The Bounce thing just to ask what's so wrong about having one guy up there as a target at all times. I know Adelaide's reason for living is being as boring at batshit - and last year's no goals in the first 2 1/2 quarters debacle proves that we struggle to cope with it - but the same thing happened last week, and the week before. We got away with it against the Pies, but it'll be interesting to see how the setup goes against less well drilled outfits like Richmond, North and the Eagles. Could be a good thing for us to have played three of the top nine sides from last year to open the season. Now to get it right against the teams in our bracket.

Still, I've got my doubts about how we do go forward, and maybe getting the win will mean that questions that should be asked won't be. Obviously I'd rather have four points than a searching football inquest at the press conference, but let's table it for future discussion - especially when we're 1.5 at half-time against the Richmond rabble next Sunday.

Down the other end Brett Burton was absolutely killing us early. Funnily it coincided with his teammates kicking to him as a target. We were thumping them out of the centre, but with the few chances we did have being torched they threatened to rip it open early. Good thing the Birdman's kicking was shithouse and he kept us in it. He got a couple of goals in the end, but when Frawley went onto him in the second term he was almost completely shut down - leaving the Crows with precious few working forward line options. When he got the first of the third term I thought that was pretty much the sealer, but he was barely seen again after that.

Was readying myself to go absolutely spaz if we went out and served up the same sort of slop in the second half. I had this terrible vision of going out and meekly submitting to a six or seven goal loss - with a few junk time scores to make it look respectable for the record books. Burton's goal didn't help my mood, but from there on things were so much better. We started to spread the Crows out, started to go wide and switch play so much better. Going inside 50 wasn't too much better, but at least there were options presenting down there. I know people go off their nut about teams not going through the middle, but sometimes you've got to go around the edges and today was well and truly one of those.

Obviously having seen what happens when you kick the ball to a contest inside 50 when Adelaide did it somebody somewhere decided that we should give that time honoured tactic a bash. Eventually Bennell got a goal from a rare piece of crumb, and we were on our way. You know you're involved in a poor match when you kick your second goal eight minutes into the third term and are suddenly right back in the game. From there we just smashed them for the rest of the quarter, the intensity was great, Jamar was killing it out of the middle and every attack the Crows launched was dealt with by the steel trap JURASSIC PACK 2k10 defence. Bate, finally getting back to somewhere near his best despite the Juice-esque reception he was getting from the guy behind me, kicked a couple of goals and was linking up nicely around the ground. Dunn was looking much more comfortable up front, and the likes of Moloney and Jones were getting on top in the centre. Trengove too was having his best game yet, topped off by kicking the goal that put us in front. Amazing reception for JT when he ran off the ground after kicking the goal too - loved the crowd going bananas. There's nothing that pleases more than seeing our fans fire up and show some passion.

Speaking of Juice I was baffled by his game today. Around the ground he actually looked really good, but when he went inside 50 as a forward option he was pretty much ineffective and couldn't hold a mark to save himself. His defensive intensity is actually really good, if he could just learn to do what a key forward is supposed to do (i.e mark and kick straight) he'd be onto something. He'll have to do something remarkable to keep his spot on the list at the end of the year, but I'm not too stressed about him being in the side at the moment. He's giving us more than The Spencil would, and I'll almost go as far as saying I prefer his work around the ground than Miller's. Not much of a benchmark to be measured against, but we've got to have somebody in there who can at least contest the ruck if required so unless the Stef Martin Experience goes bananas and kicks 10 at Casey next week then I'll controversially back Juice for now.

So, we're pressing them in the third term when Dangerfield gets snapped in two and carried off (another rubbish result for my fantasy teams) and the Crows are left with one fit man on the bench in the last term. Theoretically we should have shit it in from there, but ask Collingwood what happens when you've got the numerical advantage but can't kick straight to save your lives. Cue the sort of tense arm wrestle that sends men to their graves. We got a couple of points to put us in front, but the Crows kept attacking and I had this sinking feeling that we were going to cop one goal and not be able to respond. We ran all over them, and when Tippett went off hurt as well it should have been shut the gate time. Still, no matter what we did we couldn't get the ball between the sticks. Aimless kicks inside 50 were easily mopped up, and both Bennell and Dunn torched golden chances. The Dunn one was absolutely shambolic, I was at the other end of the ground - did he try and grubber it through to the bloke in the pocket (Bate? Juice?) or did he just completely stuff up his kick? Would have been crucified if we hadn't got up.

Still eventually persistence paid off and Junior got the proverbial captain's goal to put us more than a goal in front before Jones kicked the sealer. How good was Davey's save to keep the ball in to set up the goal? Loved it, just loved it. It was all over by the time Moloney rivalled Boomer Harvey for the point of the week with his 5000 bounce run down the Southern Stand side and thank christ we knew we were safe well before the end. And bloody hell what a great feeling.

At first it felt like we'd done a Steven Bradbury and skated past the Crows after they were completely rooted, and there's no doubt we could have put it away earlier, but that's paying no respect to the unreal performance of our backline in that last term. Grimes and Joel Mac especially came into their own. Grime Time goes alongside Davey and Green as players who I have complete faith in every time they touch the ball. And he's a great contested mark to boot, not to mention fearless. I rank him up there with Green and Jamar in my top three favourite current players, and by the amount of #16 jumpers that are going around at the moment I'm not alone. He's a gem.

Really enjoyed Bennell's work today as well. Might not be a terrible option to play forward as long as we're aware that his tackling is probably going to be more useful than his goalkicking for now. Still, could be a handy crumber (god forbid) in the absence of The Celebrator, and the apparent disappearance from the face of the planet of Miserable Maric. He's showed a touch of unpolished class, and he's still not there yet but I look forward to seeing what he can do over the next couple of years.

Useless stat of the week (and the sort of rubbish that you can get first by subscribing to Demonblog on Twitter). We hadn't won after kicking one goal in the first half since Round 9, 1989 against the Swans at the SCG. It was the 16th time in history we've done it, but only the fourth since scoring opened up after WW1.

That'll do me for now. I'm buzzing too much to remember much of what actually went on. If anything else comes to mind I'll add it later.

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
Very hard to do these today. Would have struggled to find five worthy in the first half, but the amount of improvement from there on was obscene.

5 - James Frawley
4 - Jack Grimes
3 - Brad Green
2 - Jack Trengove
1 - Joel MacDonald

Apologies to Bail, Bartram, Bate, Bennell (very unlucky), Bruce, Davey, Dunn, Jamar (unlucky), Jones, Junior, Moloney, JUICE (no really), and Warnock

8 - Brad Green, Mark Jamar (Leaders: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
5 - James McDonald, Ricky Petterd, James Frawley (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jack Grimes
3 - Jordie McKenzie
2 - Jack Trengove (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
1 - Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald

Crowd Watch
The Adelaide cheer squad are unbelievable. If you're going to put some guy in charge of doing the *TEAM NAME* *CLAP* *CLAP* *CLAP* thing at least get somebody who can speak English. All day all I could hear from the middle deck of the Ponsford was "AYALAY.. AYALAY". Pure bollocks.

Next Week
Richmond in the Sunday early game. Absolutely massive danger game now that we'll be going in as red hot favourites. They are putrid this year, but we'll need to kick a better score than today. I have faith, but I'm worried. Reminds me of when we won two in a row in '07 then went out and got spanked by them when they were rock bottom on the ladder.

Sylvia will surely be back. Maybe Rivers too, but where does he fit in to a backline that is killing it? I've still got Riv as a forward fantasies but I'm willing to accept it's never going to happen. One change, CS in for somebody. You decide who.

Final Thoughts
It was eventually worth it.

Monday 5 April 2010

Demonblog's 10 Worst Games

Compiled as part of this thread on Big Footy.

Round 13, 1998 vs St. Kilda
Saved in retrospect by the win over WCE the next week, but standing there in the rain like an idiot for four quarters while we got flogged was painful.

R17 2000 vs North
Lost by a point and I wrecked my hand punching a seat in Colonial

Round 19, 2003 vs Geelong
A cold Friday night where we put in a pitiful performance. Memorable for footage of that guy yelling at Daniher over the fence.

Round 18, 2005 vs St Kilda
As our losing streak got some momentum we tried to rough up the Saints at the start and were completely embarassed. Lucky to lose by less than 100

Round 9 2007 vs North
Another one point loss sent us 0-9

Round 2 2008 vs Bulldogs
Almost as bad as Round 1... more on that later.

10 - Round 1999 vs Freo
Modra kicks ten despite me meeting him before the bounce and politely requesting that he didn't. Failed to give me any kind of mention in his post match interviews.

9 - 1998 Prelim Final vs North
I had convinced myself that we were about to involve ourselves in the miracle of the millenium and make the GF. We did bloody well to hang with them and be within miracle distance at 3qt but didn't get the job done.

8 - Semi Final 2002 vs Adelaide
The biggest rollercoaster I've ever seen. Painful.

7 - Round 6 2007 vs Port
0-6 and with 30 seconds to go McDonald pinged for deliberate. Went wild.

6 - Round 1 2007 vs St Kilda
Went in as premiership contenders, came out ready to fall to pieces.

5 - Round 2, 1999 vs St Kilda
On the day that Scott Chisholm got sledged by Spider I almost got murdered by the St Kilda cheer squad. Oops.

4 - Round 14, 1990 vs North
John Longmire kicks 14 in a 127 point victory

3 - Round 1, 2008 vs Hawthorn
I'd tried to convince myself all summer that '07 was an abberation and that we'd be back to '06 form, and then we got pulverised.

2 - Grand Final 2000

1 - Round 6, 1992 vs Essendon
41 points in front at 3QT, kick the first goal of the last quarter.... and lose by a point. I can never trust a lead until it's at least about 47 points these days.

Saturday 3 April 2010


The usual disclaimers apply. If you'd offered me a one point loss this week at 5.10pm last Saturday I'd have leapt on you like a 15-year-old at a Miley Cyrus concert. Even before the first bounce today you'd probably have accepted it grudgingly. Now it feels like the end of the earth. Absolutely gutted. I've not been so flat at the end of a match since that day Andrew Swallow dropped us against North and I disgraced myself openly in the middle deck of the Ponsford Stand. More on the topic of disgrace later..

The first piece of good news came forty minutes before the first bounce when The Spencil was given the arse for Clint Bartram. Justice served after his rotten performance last week. You have to think they were keen as mustard to drop him but wanted to keep it interesting for the opposition by leaving it until the last minute. I'm sure the entire Pies coaching staff heard the news, said "who?" and went back to their planning meeting.

Disgraceful scenes pre-bounce when first James "announcer for hire" Sherry attempted unconvincingly to pretend he was a massive Pies fan on the big screen (bring back Voice Of The G), and then the Collingwood cheersquad - never known for their intellectual capabilities - unfurled a banner for the players to run through that had words to the effect of "SIDE BY SIDE - Call 1300 MAGPIES to become a member". Were they so overconfident of victory that when they got together to come up with a message the consensus was that the usual 'inspirational' poor rhymes and puns weren't required and the space could be better used trying to rack up a few more members? Why not just send them through the famous Cheer Squad Disco banner? Bizarre. I've always been in favour of taking all 16 cheersquads into a room and gassing them like badgers but at least ours always make an effort no matter how dire the situation is.

So we came in expecting nothing and almost got away with the biggest upset in god knows how long. Commentators on radio and TV have already referred to it as "nearly the upset of the decade", which isn't much considering that the decade is one round and two days old - but I see their point. Can anyone think of the last boilover of that magnitude? Closest I can think of is the day Richmond played basketball against Adelaide at Telstra Dome in 2006. Even then notwithstanding the fact that the Crows were top at least Richmond had won three games by the time they played in round 8. In the end we didn't get the job done and missed the opportunity to be part of trivia questions for the next ten years but maigod we gave it a violent shake though.

The first goal represented something a personal tragedy for me. For some reason the TAB were offering $21 on Petterd kicking the first goal despite the fact that he (along with Green) is basically our only forward worth a damn. Good on Rohan Bail for kicking his first career goal, and for lasting longer than 30 seconds without injuring himself this time, but bloody hell there's no need to stooge me out of $210 in the process. It's hardly tragic in comparison to the knob who had $150 straight out on Campbell Brown last week but I'm very poor so every dollar counts. Considering our performance last week I should have been overjoyed just to get a goal in the first half, but the almighty dollar wins out especially considering I expected the Pies to go down the other end and kick 25 without response.

It was amazing how different we were in the first term from the toxic slop that was served up last week. God help us all we played the last 27 minutes like we played the first two and good god did it show. The difference between today and last Saturday was like a genuine Rolex vs something you bought for $3.20 in Phuket while off your face on cocktails and ladyboys (P.S - No, I've never been thanks for asking). My man crush Jamar demolished Jolly in the ruck all day, and at various times we actually managed to capitalise on his domination. After Bail got the first Collingwood equalised, but in a game with very little intensity the Pies were letting our guys get confidence early. Good, because the last thing we needed was for a side to come out and force us to chase them - just look at what happened to North tonight when they copped a few goals early and sank without a trace.

When even Juice was drilling them from 40m out on an angle you knew we were in for a big one. The man himself wasn't, in fact he hardly went near the thing again all day, but I enjoyed his cameo appearances as a ruckman significantly more than when we tried the same thing with Al Nicholson a few years ago. I don't mind the idea of using him as a mobile ruck to be honest, he at least creates contests and - whisper it quietly - hit a corker of a pass with his 3rd and last kick. The Spencil did the same with his one and only kick last week but for mine he'd do better to play at least the first half of the season at Casey while we use Juice/the SME and Johnson (when fit) to back-up the (not actually a) Russian.

Delighted to be 15 points in front at quarter time, but the spectacular lack of interest that the Pies had in the first term was never going to last. How about Harry O'Brien and his wacky shepharding of the man on the mark? Apparently it's legal so good luck to him, but hopefully if he keeps doing it somebody will just punch him in the face a'la Hall/Staker. Would be slightly less legal but no court in the land (except the AFL Tribunal sadly) would convict.

As is so often the case in a match where a 'good' team goes into quarter time behind a rubbish opponent they came out breathing fire in the second and it looked like normal service was going to resume pretty quickly. Travis Cloke, the most overrated shit player in recent history, goalled first and Swan could have had another from a bollocks free but did the right thing and shanked it. Thanks to two more from Ricky P we were still in it at quarter time, and having already ruined all the bets that had Collingwood leading at every quarter we almost destroyed every half-time/full-time double in the country by tying it up at the break. Jamar walked through half the Pies defence before missing the lot from 30m out on the run, and Scully had a set shot which he squeezed in for a point and we went in five points behind.

Respectable? Good god yes. At least we fought back when they looked as if they were going to run away with it halfway through the quarter. I'd gone in with such low expectations for the day that we'd already exceeded my expectations just by being... (DB mode activate) competitive. That's what competitive looks like kids.

Our forward setup looked a lot better but Bate was still playing a shocker. He picked up as the day went on but he's still either underdone or suffering from psychological distress. Ricky P is a revelation, Dunn was finally put back to where he should be and Brad Green is the same solid as a rock option as he always is. I'm still a bit worried about the way we attack though. I know the big trend in footy now is to flood and then have your forwards run back with the ball, but it seems odd to me that you wouldn't just pick one player and park him inside 50. Even if all 17 others are inside the opposition fifty what would be the harm of leaving your most spud-like forward at home? I'd rather Newton providing some sort of option for the fast break than wandering around the backline, and if it drags another opposition player away from their goal then so much the better. But what do I know?

Having done absolutely nothing in the first half other than cement his position in the VFL, Bennell was thrown forward and took a nice diving mark to get our first goal of the term. He had another shot a few minutes later and missed, but just when you thought that we'd discovered a wildcard forward option he went on to spend the rest of the game dropping marks and pulling out of contests. Still, I wouldn't mind trying it again to see how it comes off - maybe worth a shot in the VFL? Apparently I think everything's worth a shot in the VFL. See you at Casey Fields next Saturday to watch the results of my experimental tinkering fail amazingly.

Backline was interesting. We kept the Pies to ten goals by three quarter time but I didn't think that they were too solid. Warnock looks a bit wonky, MacDonald played a shit first half but redeemed himself with a couple of great contested marks in the second. Frawley still ruins all his good work elsewhere by torching kicks all over the place. Grimes, though, is a gun - no doubt about it. Considering some of the duds and underachivers we've picked up in the 10-20 bracket over the last ten years (and would Addam Maric be charging headfirst towards the latter or what if he hadn't been pick 21?) it's ludicrous that we got him at pick 14. And we wouldn't even have had that pick if we hadn't tossed Johnstone out. Great piece of business there, and as an additional bonus Travis gets to stick two fingers up at us by going deep into September this year with the Lions. Everyone's a winner.

We broke even on the quarter and went into the last term five points behind but hit the lead early on when, in a sight more remarkable than seeing the Yeti climbing through your bedroom window, we went from one end to the other unimpeded for Petterd to mark and kick his fourth. Cue 50,000 people at the ground (including me) and countless radio/TV callers trotting out a line about us having forgotten how to win. When Green goalled at the ten minute mark I started to think we could do it, and the prospect of being happy with an honourable loss went out the window. Dunn got his second to make it 10 points and it was hard to believe we'd managed to get ourselves into that position. We scored again not long after but hands up who didn't think that we were going to lose by a point there and then. The Pies really turned it on from there and you could tell bad things were going to happen. Grimes and MacDonald both hauled down big contested marks inside 50 to save our bacon. Scully then botched an absolute sitter of a mark in the middle of the ground that would have sent us into attack again - it got turned around on us for a goal and the margin was under a goal. Welcome to Tension City, USA.

Then Leon Davis, having done nothing all day, bobbed up to put them in front with three minutes left. Had things gone differently it might have ended up being better result for us. Instead of trying to chip the thing around and hold onto our lead - which would have inevitably fallen to pieces and led to a goal anyway - we were forced to attack.

All I remember from the last minute is Grimes, to Green and then the next thing Bail was running inside 50. Having seen the minute in its entirety on TV since I don't know what I was thinking when Bate went inside 50. In retrospect it was a mighty effort by Moloney to get the win the ball and get it to Bate with two Pies players all over him. Plot had clearly been well and truly lost before then. I'm not sure what Bail was trying to do, whether he was having a shot or not but from a million miles away in the Ponsford Stand all I saw was the ball hit the deck. Then the siren went and I punched the living bejesus out of my seat. I probably should have apologised to the kids sitting in front of me because they were moderately terrified but bad luck, serves them right for having scum Pies fan parents. Bad news for my right hand though (insert comedy comments in the space provided). Hurts like buggery now. Reminds me of the night we lost to North by a point in 2000 and I did the same. At least then there was the excuse of being a horrible teenager. No excuse now, it was pretty shameful but christ almighty it was justified at the time.

Didn't realise exactly what had happened until I saw it on TV later. It was cruel that Petterd dropped the mark and the poor bastard is probably beating himself to a pulp about it now, but at least he can say that he'd done everything in his power to get us the position to win it in the first place. Imagine if it had been Miller or Newton who'd done that? Would have been incredible wild scenes.

I must admit I didn't think the umpiring was spectacuarly bad. Everyone else in the world, including neutral fans, talkback callers and commentators are convinced we were slaughtered but I clearly missed it. Especially in the last few frantic minutes where I was suffering ectasy to agony effects equal to that of a bad acid trip. No dragons but. If I could bring myself to watch the replay it might all become clear but for now I'll leave it to you to throw red paint over AFL House a'la the bitter Fitzroy fans in the early 90's.

Last year I spruiked Moloney as the next captain but after the last two weeks there's no doubt than I'm a 100% Brad Green supporter for the job. The way he dragged the players in to talk straight after the siren said it all. In a manly and butch way I love that guy.

Meanwhile does anyone still think we should have kidnapped Luke Ball and forced him to play for us against his will? The guy is shot, and the only hope he has for making an impact this season is that he's got good players around him. In no way was he ever going to be the guy to walk into our side and single handedly drag us up. If Judd wakes up in October this year, decides to stop being a turncoat Visy employee and comes back to his childhood club that's the sort of guy who can drag a team to their feet on his own. See also J. Brown. Maybe Paul McNamee was onto something with that plan afterall? I'm pretty glad we didn't have to wait for him to try and put it into effect.

Changes for next week? Well Sylvia is a cert to come back in, Rivers should be right and I'll stick with Juice for another week so I'll just make the two changes. Col in for Strauss who was ok today but wouldn't be hurt by a couple of weeks at Casey. Don't forget he barely even played there last year due to injury. Rivers for Bennell. Scully was pretty bad today but I'm not giving him the arse yet. His kicking was very ordinary (60% disposal efficiency, but I'll bet that was from his handballs) and he dropped a couple of marks but I'd rather work through it in the 1's. Besides, if you were Bailey would you want footage of two #1 draft picks turning out in the reserves? Trengove not great either but anyone who expects perfection in second gamers is on crack. One thing you can say for both of them today is that they were 100% committed to everything they did. Fast forward two or three years and they might be the best duo since Hall & Oates. And no matter what you've been taught that is a good thing.

Did You Know?
I'm not sure it's much to get excited about. In fact it's clearly not, but today snaps a three match run of our 1pt losses being to North Melbourne. First time we've lost to the Pies by a point since Round 22, 1975 and just the 23rd we've ever had. Fifth I've been to. The only one that hurt more than this was the Round 6, 1992 fiasco when we blew the 47 point lead in the last quarter and got done by a point. Now that's a game I've never gotten over - even as a 10-year-old I recognised true tragedy.

Koaching Korner
I've not watched the press conference yet because in my current state trying to use the AFL website would lead to MURDER, but presumably Bails was his normal calm self. He's got a lot to be happy with this week, but I'd love for a coach to walk in and just go off his chop. Something like this (#3 is my favourite);

Still, if that's what we get every week - especially against teams in our bracket - he'll be a happy man. Notwithstanding the fact that we were truly putrid last week, and for much of the pre-season, and that there's no way he should have gotten an extension before at least mid-season I hope people get off his back a bit this week. It's not like players and coaches could give a monkeys what us internet freaks think anyway but some of the shit written about him this week has been ridiculous. The worst conspiracy theory I heard was how Leigh Matthews was about to walk in the front door and take over. Balls. He's got a lot of boxes to tick yet but fark me let's all (and I include myself in this..) take a step back and wait a few weeks before giving the panic button anything more than a light nudge. Wait until the Richmond game being smashing the bejesus out of it. If it gets bad enough the newspapers will jump on in force (a'la Terry Wallace) just so they can use the BAIL OUT headline.

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
Had a hard time dishing these out. If Ricky had held the mark at the end he would probably have gotten five votes and everlasting love. Can't be too harsh, knowing our luck he'd have probably turned around to play on and get stooged by the siren.

I changed these votes about ten times. Any of the top four could have got the maximum. That's a nice problem to have.

5 - Ricky Petterd
4 - Mark Jamar
3 - Brad Green
2 - Aaron Davey
1 - Jack Grimes

Apologies to McKenzie (EXTREMELY STIFF..), Bail, Bruce, Dunn, McDonald, MacDonald (second half), Frawley and Warnock


The best Russian since Ivan Drago has spoken. Darren Jolly made to look like a stiff. Maybe Joll suddenly felt guilty about walking out on us after we plucked him from VFL obscurity and decided to give something back? Maybe not.

8 - Mark Jamar (Leader: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
5 - James McDonald, Brad Green, Ricky Petterd
3 - Jordie McKenzie
1 - Jared Rivers (Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jack Grimes

Post Match Shenanigans
There was nearly violence in an Aspendale (or was it Edithvale? I'm lost everywhere south of Mentone) fish and chip shop after the game. In there with a Collingwood friend wearing the jumper the idiot from the store comes out and goes "Pies eh!?... Did we win?" He's lucky I'd already handed over my money or I'd have walked out. It's the 21st century you arsehole, used 20th century technology and turn a radio on. Hope he catches his plums in the deep fryer.

Next Week
Two Saturday games in a row and the real title of this blog was starting to become out of date. Well, that's all the 'traditional' footy we get because next Sunday it's 1.10 on Sunday against the Crows. Goes without saying that if we play like today then it will be very exciting - especially with Sylvia back - but being Melbourne they're just as likely to serve up a slopfest like last year when we don't kick a goal until halfway through the third quarter.

Should be especially interesting if they lose to Sydney tomorrow. They'll either be ripe to be thrown into crisis or will come out and pork us. It's good to actually have some doubt about what will happen though.

Final Thoughts
That was one second from all-time classic status. Shattered. At least thanks to North we're off the bottom.