Friday 7 May 2010

Not A Dry Seat In The House

At the risk of having being sacked as a card-carrying member of the "Internet Football Writing Lunatics Association" I'm not going to come on here tonight and go off my tits about how we were rorted by the umpires. Let's skip straight to the end and say this - we had the four points well in our grasp tonight and threw them away.

First the two overturned decisions. Now, I don't want to get philosophical and start talking about the Butterfly Effect but it's unlikely that if the first one had been paid then the second one would have ever taken place so it's a bit optimistic to suggest that we were robbed out of two goals. Having said that, whether they were right, wrong or too close to call the two overrules were absolutely ridiculous. In the first quarter the field umpire said he was pretty sure that the ball was touched and changed the decision made by somebody standing right in front of it. In the last quarter the boundary umpire came in and said that he was pretty sure. Why even bother having goal umpires? Or if you are going to come in and change a decision then for god's sake just lie and say that you're absolutely sure you saw it touched.

Maybe they'd have bounced out of the centre after the goal had Dunn's been paid (and now that he's 4.11 for the season Lynden needs a lucky break) and kicked the next six to smash us. Either way it would have bloody helped. Whatever. See also the angst over Frawley's deliberate call late in the piece. Bullshit. He stuffed it up. I don't think he expected to the ball to stay in and just instinctively took it over without thinking about it. He's a defender, they're not renowned as a race for being deep thinkers. Besides, he got away with a criminal one in the middle of the ground where he was tackled and kind of batted the ball with one hand. One of the biggest incorrect disposals possible on a footy field short of throwing it in the air and heading it to a teammate but it wasn't paid. Was there any doubt they'd pay it after Cooney was rolled for the one where he dived for the line rugby style in front of the members?

No, we stuffed it up. Despite all these apparent conspiracies and umpires who hate us (but if you ask Bulldogs fans they hate them too) we were nine points in front with a handful of minutes left after Danny Hughes kicked the goal and should have held on. We didn't, deal with it and move on. So far, so much the Collingwood game but at least time I had a few seconds to come to terms with the results before the final siren and didn't disgrace myself by punching buggery out of a seat. In fact other than a bit of a short and forced bit of anti-umpire abuse at the top of the stairs I wasn't as upset as I should have been.

How ironic that after a week where almost every one of our fans slaughtered (and quite rightly too) Docklands for being a horrid place to go we ended up playing in monsoon conditions. Roof would have been nice right? Well, no - I don't know about you but I was sitting undercover so it didn't bother me much. And would we have gotten anywhere near as close in the dry? We'll never know, but I'll bet we might have held more than a handful of marks in the first half. They were lucky enough to get the Field of Women on, and almost off the ground before the rain came but when they did it was absolutely pissing down. And out the window went any hope of a free-flowing, exciting game of football. All of a sudden it was slog, slog and more bloody slog on the agenda. Just the thing to convince a Friday night audience to turn over to the Rugby League test match.. for about five seconds before coming back.

First quarter was just weird. I've grown increasingly used to not kicking a goal in the first term (lest we forget this was the 6th time since 2007 that we've managed it. Just one more to tie Daniher 1998-2006), and you couldn't expect anything even approaching liquid football in Typhoon conditions but it was terrifically disjointed. Just look at the first goal they got, free out of the middle and a short kick to a guy standing all on his own who waltzes in and boots one. Down the other end we're fanging torps inside 50 to nobody, missing shots, players are having wild snaps and somehow we end up having more scoring shots but kicking three less goals. One thing I learnt is that Jack Grimes is by no means the next Mark McGough - thank god I hear you say, but I'm talking about the wet weather specialist stuff here. He must have had a near death experience with water as a child because absolutely nothing he did in that first quarter went right, in fact he barely hit a target all day. I'll forgive him everything though for some of the beautiful one handed pickups throughout the game, and for the fact that he has killed it for most of the season. Can we stop referring to him as "the next captain" though? If Brad Green doesn't get that job we're a joke of an organisation.

Also floundering in the wet early was one J. Bennell who could not hold a mark to save his life. Much like Grime time he salvaged his game with some sublime gathers, the mark of the day and an absolute solid gold contender for Goal of the Year during the second quarter. Having said that I'd like to see them not give the goal of the year to a dribbled kick just to make a point against the fact that everybody's doing them all of a sudden. Ironically the first target that Grimes hit all day was perhaps the first mark that Bennell held.

It took Davey to bob up and kick the first goal to spark us. We had enjoyed a truckload of ball in the first quarter and a half but couldn't make it count on the scoreboard. How often has Flash been the catalyst for a revival in the middle of games over the last couple of years? He's an immense player. If you had to have somebody in our side hit a target to save your life you could do worse than pick him. Not long after he got the first goal, Bate added another one and ridiculously we were back in it. We then stuffed up a kick-in to give the Dogs a goal before Bennell kicked his ludicrous goal from the boundary line. The best bit about it wasn't just how he rolled it in from the Bay 6 Administration Office, Ground Floor Ponsford Stand but the way he fought his heart out to get the ball in the first place. Sublime.

Half-time, still raining but we were in it. I'm still not sure how because we were getting beaten out of the centre and stuffing it up almost every time we touched it. There was too much trying to kick to a target inside 50 in terrible conditions, and not surprisingly after copping the first goal we finally went long and Bate kicked his second. Ten minutes into the third and we were only a point behind. I was still baffled at how we were so close but who cares, take what you can get. Then the Bulldogs steadied, Akermanis turned up for the first time all night to extend the margin over a goal before Hill added another. Aker had another shot to all but put us away but missed it, leaving the gate ever so slightly open. We go down the other end, Scully kicks a goal and we're back in the contest. When Jones got one right at the end of the term we were well and truly back in it having dominated the start and the end of the quarter.

A word on Bate if I may. If you have any doubts that he's one of our most important players then please be my guest to have a good hard look at yourself. Next time you get excited with him having one bad game and rush to the internet to write some stupid post about how he should be dropped I suggest you step away from the keyboard and jam a fork directly into an electrical socket. He's up there with Warnock as players who people blame for everything that goes wrong. Surprise surprise they have bad games - we've won 10 games in three seasons, they all have bad games. Just look at the demolition job Warnock did on Hall tonight - it might not have been the best conditions for a big man but even when long and high balls came into the Footscray forward line he didn't let BBBB outbody or outposition him once. I'll go into battle for those two any day of the week.

Cometh the last quarter, cometh the kid Scully. 19 touches in the final term might have been blotted slightly by a couple of tired kicks in the dying minutes that went straight to Bulldogs players but can you blame him for getting tired with that sort of quarter? Six inside 50's and six rebound 50's says it all. Will take a fair performance by somebody else during the weekend to tip him out of a Rising Star nomination after that performance. We hit the front five minutes in when Bate got his third, and having won all but one last quarter for the season even I - surely in the top ten percent of the most pessimistic fans in the worst - started to wonder if we could get up. Bater could almost have had his fourth just after but he missed a snap he probably should have kicked, before Dunn got rorted had his goal overturned by Boundary Umpire Slapnuts.

Then my usual footballing depression kicked in and I realised we were going to throw it away. Even when Danny Hughes, who played a perfectly acceptable first game, won the free-kick and goalled to put us nine points up it just had disaster written all over it. We needed that one more goal to put it beyond doubt, but Brian f'ing Lake of all people went down the other end and got one to put them back into it. Frawley got pinged for the deliberate, Lake missed (despite his criminal attempt to rort the goal umpire into thinking he'd kicked it) but surprise surprise the ball came back less than a minute later. Clint Bartram tried to pick a ball up that he probably should just have booted towards the line and it bounced out to Griffen who snapped the winner. You wouldn't believe it. There was 90 seconds left but we never even went close to scoring again. Game, set and buggering match.

Chalk it up as one that got away but don't get too upset about it. In rotten conditions we were never going to play the sort of freewheeling Harlem Globetrotters footy that we did last start at the 'G. But we did bring the defensive performance and the tackling intensity. Even the mythical tall forward wouldn't have helped us much tonight - what we do need is a crumber. Austin Wonaeamirri where art thou?

2010 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Tom Scully
4 - Matthew Bate
3 - Matthew Warnock
2 - Aaron Davey
1 - James McDonald

Apologies to Bruce (next cab off the rank), Bennell (burst player, big game coming), Trengove, McKenzie, Frawley, Green and Jones.

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

Fashion Week
Seemed a bit odd that the umpires were wearing pink when we were as well. But unless I find out that we complained before the match (as long as they knew) then we deserve what we get. Clearly a couple of players handballed to the colours but if it was such an issue we should have demanded that they change at half time. Who cares if they don't actually have a change, at least it's on the record that we demanded the change before the clash supposedly cost us. Doubt anybody would have made anything of it had we won mind you.

Crowd Watch
Surprised at just how quiet the Bulldogs fans around us were. At 3/4 time I said "Why are there no Dogs fans up here?" and turned around to see a whole group of them to our right. Clearly

Meanwhile the Bulldogs have done a fantastic job roping in the African community. They're basically locking down entire generations of support that otherwise might be lost to the game or split amongst other clubs. Yet another advantage for a club with a natural geographic base. The best we could do would be to sign up squirrels from Yarra Park.

Public Transport Nutbag Watch
Some maggoted Footscray supporting idiot was holding court on the train telling everybody his philosophies on footy. He was quite fair and balanced in his analysis, suggesting that if we had "Morton, Jarrah and that other guy Oonamiri" we would have "thrashed them" and that those three "do that crazy shit spastic leg in the air thing". Whatever that is. He then proceeded to tell somebody that he knew what was going on at St Kilda because he lived near Linton Street. He said this just as the train left Moorabbin station - which is practically next door to Linton Street. Barking.

Chub Corner
If we keep going like this I might lose weight. Unacceptable. We need to start winning - you don't fuck with the Colonel.

DB's Musical Corner
Every week Friday night footy reminds me of the opening of The Last Boy Scout. But without as much of the murder-suicide action. I think the Channel 9 NRL coverage actually ripped this off at one point.

Kasey Korner (There's too many corners on this blog so I have to spell one with a K)
As long as it's not pissing rain and colder than a witches teet I'm heading down to Casey Fields for the game against Coburg tomorrow. On the strength of tonight I'm going to suggest that Dunn is absolutely g-a-w-n Max Gawn for next week and will be watching Watts, Jetta, Wona (aka: THE EX-CELEBRATOR until he celebrates again) and Maric closely to see who might come in up front. On the other hand Morton is an absolute walk-up start next Saturday if he gets through the match, so maybe they'll throw him forward to get him back into it? Has certainly played a couple of decent cameos down there in the past.

Stay tuned to @demonblog for live updates from Casey, or if it's a bit rainy outside I'll tell you what's going on in the 1983 UK Election that I'm currently watching on YouTube. Because as it might surprise you to discover, I have no life. (Spoiler alert - the sour faced old bird wins).

Next Week
No matter what the Eagles do against Hawthorn tomorrow night we must, must, must, MUST beat them next week. There is no point going through the slog in the dry against North and the slog in the wet tonight only to get beaten in a thriller just to go out and get beaten by a side that nearly has a worse interstate record in the last few years than we do.

Here's to a dry day and a big fat fuck off victory against the Eagles. Then? God knows, as long as we stay out of the bottom four I'll be happy.

Final Thoughts
I had a spectacular day today where everything that has been stressing me for weeks came off in quality fashion. Had we won it would have been an unbelievable cherry on top, but bad luck I can't let a football match kill my buzz today.


  1. Great work mate,

    Not sure how McKenzie managed to miss your attention. His clearance work was superb tonight, he may well end up being the Jmac type ie completely underated but with a massive effect on the game. His tackling is second to none and his quick hands out of a contest are highly impressive..... big question is who gets the ass next year to take him off the rookie list because im backing that we arent going to play injury roulette to get him playing seniors footy.

    Great review as always.



  2. Can't agree with you about the Frawley deliberate. He was on his knees and he's knocked it along the line, away from Lake, with Green coming in to assist as a plausible target. The only reason it went out is that it did a leg break.
    Cooney's on the other hand was blatant.
    I acknowledge that the Frawley non-dropping-the-ball decision was a shocker.
    But how was that boundary umpire who disallowed the Dunn goal? Was he the same one that paid two blatantly incorrect out-on-the-fulls against us?
    They really are tools. As Mark Latham once said about blokes in the army, "you would have to be a dickhead to want to be one".
    Apologies for blaming the umpires like a typical footy idiot, but I'm filthy.

  3. Dees say there were 6 separate examples of upstairs/downstairs uniform mix-ups - a problem flagged by MFC pre-game. Pink and blue umps? What were they thinking? I could cry foul and then just cry, but going to the Eagles game sounds like a better option. Frawley may have been deliberate (only Spud knows the true answer to this one) but that decision plus other erring calls equals boos. Still, if we didn't start so slow it wouldn't have been a problem but I'm sure Dr Ian Malcolm's chaos theory would throw in a few variables I'm not taking into account. Final thoughts: is Hughes the next Podsiadly? Is Bennell the new Robbo? Did Bate sell his soul at the crossroads? He's gone from middling to demigod...


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