Monday 27 September 2010

Draws, Ties, Replays and Six Degrees of MFC

It had to happen one day. After four corker Grand Finals out of six, interrupted only by Port delivering the shittest performance ever and Geelong kicking themselves out of it in '07, one of them had to land as a draw eventually.

And now after the 146th tie in 13,762 VFL/AFL games we have to put up with every person who half watched the game while at a BBQ, pissed off their nut, eating Samboy chips giving us their opinion on what should have happened. Pretending to be an intellectual I was watching ABC News Breakfast this morning and old mate who is usually the sports reporter but was guest hosting because somebody presumably threw a sickie sat there and with all seriousness suggested there should have been a penalty-shootout style "kick off" because "often the penalty shootout is the most exciting part of the match" in soccer. The filth and the fury directed at my television after hearing that turned the air blue. Nobody should be able to conjure up so many four letter words at that time of the morning.

Notwithstanding the fact that the penalty shootout is a flawed, but arguably necessary, mechanism to settle games in tournaments organised down to the minute or seasons with multiple competitions being played at the same time how can anybody who claims to be a sports reporter have no respect for the effect that such a stupid concept would have on players? Roberto Baggio probably got a horses head stuffed through his front door after he missed that penalty in the '94 World Cup final but at least he had an enormous pay packet and more endorsement contracts than you can shake a stick at to comfort him at night, not to mention a club career with its own unique set of rewards and distractions to help him forget that he was closer to hitting Townsville than the back of the net that day. Imagine instead Travis Cloke, actually no that's far too easy, imagine Nick Dal Santo lined up from 30m out directly in front needing to kick the goal to keep his side in it. One flag in 110 years and he totally shanks it. The Pies go wild, St Kilda fans everywhere throw themselves under trains and he's destined to have the piss mercilessly ripped out of him every fifteen minutes for the rest of his life. If a soccer player fluffs a penalty in a crucial match like this guy they can ask for a transfer to a different city or country on a fat pay packet. He tried a cheeky chip, fucked it up, got a song written about him and went on loan back to France. Where does Nick Dal go? You'd probably stay at the club and try to make amends but until there's a cup in hand there'd be a fair faction of grandslam arseholes amongst your own fans who'd never let you live it down.

Ridiculous suggestion all round. I can understand the call for extra time even if I don't agree with it. Maybe it's something to do with losing two Grand Finals by a combined total of 170 odd points in my lifetime or far more likely the fact that we weren't involved at all and I wasn't moved to a coronary. Some lady sitting next to somebody I know at the game went the big vom due to the tension. I know how she feels because that nearly happens to me during Round 2 games, there's no telling what would happen to my central nervous system and/or bodily functions if we were a point down with three minutes left and the ball bounced in front of goal, looked like it was going to go through and then took a big fat right break past a waiting forward (sucked in Milne, justice at last) and through for a point. Fair chance at that point that my eyes would have rolled back in my head and I've have tipped sideways onto the person next to me stone dead. But as an independant (and please, can we shut the everloving fuck up with the analogies drawing a line between the game and the election? Stab the next person who guffaws as they say it's lucky Rob Oakeshott isn't deciding the winner, then stab them again for me. Seven times) I'm loving the idea of coming back next week, even if the Pies stuffing it up cost me making money on the last day in September for the fifth year in a row.

How about the interviews after the game? Longtime readers of this page will know that I'm a confirmed St Kilda hater to such an intense degree that I was even collaborating with the hated filth Collingwood on Saturday, but the gulf in class between Nick Maxwell and Brendon Goddard was so immense that I'm willing to sit back and let whatever happens happen next week. Nothing will ever make me cheer for them (it all dates back to the 1998 finals..) but hearing Goddard's measured, reasonable interview immediately after Maxwell came on and whinged like a 15-year-old girl denied My Chemical Romance tickets (insert your own Maric reference). I can't guarantee that I wouldn't crack the shits and sound off like a bit of a wanker five seconds after a Grand Final with Richo holding a microphone in my face - after all what is this blog if it's not me sounding off like a wanker? - but is there anybody out there who believes that his side wasn't going to get spanked in ten minutes of extra time? If anybody should be cracking the shits it's Goddard, having helped drag his side back into the game and falling just short. Having seen Travis Cloke somehow conspire not to kick the ball straight into the post at the other end like a goose I'd have some sympathy for Saints players coming out and having a bit of a cry. To his credit Malthouse, who I have a grudging admiration for, was gracious about it. No bloody wonder considering it's his third final draw, and finally one not involving the Eagles. Either way you only support the Pies once in a lifetime and they've had mine. Here's to everybody doing their knee in the replay and who gives a rats who wins.

Enjoy it, because it's probably the last time it'll happen. Somehow Heath Shaw having to delay his holiday to Bali and whinging talkback callers will win out over $10m paydays for the league and they'll bring extra time soon enough. Maybe not next year, that would be too obvious, but soon. I just wonder how many of the half-hearted fans and corporates that were at the first game sat there at the final siren thinking "that was fun, when extra time starts I might put my book down and watch".

Oh, but before I go on was I the only one who spat in disgust when the AFL came out trying to play the good guy in having a "people's Grand Final" where club members still only get 40% of the seats? Spoken and authorised by somebody who refuses to be a member of the AFL (would rather join One Nation frankly) and has various philosophical objections to the MCC which should disqualify me from being a Melbourne fan in the first place and conveniently ignores all that key evidence about how the club, and probably the sport, wouldn't even exist without them.

So, how does all that fit into my favourite sport, connecting anything in the world to the Melbourne Football Club in one step? Well forget Darren Jolly's failed (for now) tilt at joining Martin Pike as the only man to leave us empty handed and win flags at two other clubs, and forget Simon Buckley sitting in the stands with his fingers tightly crossed hoping that 15 players blew their knees out during the warmup so that he'd get a game. And you can forget the 1948 Grand Final too, because even if we should still be laughing at poor Bill Brittinham kicking 2.11 for the Bombers in the first match it's too easy to pick a game that we were involved in.

The third drawn Grand Final has everything to do with us though. Forget Tom Hafey and Ron Barassi being this week's Barry Breen, dragged out to comment on the topic de jour by every single media outlet who can't be bothered to come up with a decent angle on the game and instead take a look at the ridiculous amount of past and future Demon players who lined up in the game. Don't worry Barass, you still get a run. And all but one of them played for us after this match. Not that we were throwing good money after bad to try and drag ourselves out of a 15-year-slopfest or anything.

Wayne Gordon (1979-1981)
Peter Moore (1983-1987)

North Melbourne
Ron Barassi (coach 1981-1985)
Stan Alves (1965-1976, the only guy smart enough to do a runner away from us and towards a flag)
Brent Crosswell (1980-1982)
Stephen Icke (1982-1987)
Peter Keenan (1981-1982 in his second stint)
Bill Nettlefold (1980-1982 and a stint playing the dad in Family Ties)
Xavier Tanner (1984-1985)

Beat that for a non-MFC Grand Final with more connections. Not only that, and the fact that there was a draw, but North also had a bloke wearing #60. Number 60 in a Grand Final? Utter genius for mine. Back to our involvement, because other than obscure numerology that's all I'm interesting in, it's tempting enough to blame Barassi for trying to recapture past glories by shelling out for half his old side but he wasn't responsible for Gordon, Crosswell (not surprising given that he'd already coached him twice and they probably hated each other) and the Steven Keaton lookalike. Either way not one single person involved in the '77 game, or replay, ever managed to play a final for us. Stephen Icke went closest, playing his last game in Round 17 of 1987.

The moral of this story is... buggered if I know actually.

Monday 13 September 2010

Demonblog's End of Year Spectacular and State of the Union address

Everyday Is Like Sunday @ asks you to please stand for the national anthem

And now, ladies and gentlemen welcome to the most prestigious night in Australian sports. Running just a couple of weeks late (but two weeks earlier than last year) it's the Demonblog End of Year Spectacular, and here's your host...

"And how appropriate that I should host the review of a season where everyone went off prematurely about the Dees being a force for the future. Before we go any further let's go back over to Mercado for a look at what we went through this season."

Season in review

Thanks Turps, it's great to have you here. Well, it was the (relatively speaking) best of times and the (still too often for my liking) worst of times but somehow we made it through without joining the exclusive spoon three-peat club. Here's how I saw it, often through clenched teeth and with my hands held over my eyes so tightly that marks were left.

Pre-Season Preview
Demonblog's State of the Union" - where I picked us to finish last, but in a rare piece of cooperation from the club itself also said I couldn't see us finishing anywhere above 12th. So it was nice of them to stuff up the last three weeks of the year to make sure that at least one prediction came true.

Intra-Club game
"Intra-Clubbed To Death" - where Jake Spencer's two first quarter goals proved beyond doubt that intra-club games are the biggest fraud in sports.

NAB Cup Round 1
"Go West, we are putrid there - where Freo beating us turned out to be not as bad a sign as you'd have thought and when I was distracted by pinball machines.

Pre-Season game vs Essendon
"It could be worse.." - where we wasted opportunities galore and the Stefan Martin Experience missed a goal so easy that he should get down on his knees and pray that the only TV camera there was a shaky handycam at the other end of the ground.

Round 1 vs Hawthorn
"No Mas, No Mas" - where it started to look a lot like 2008/09 all over again

Round 2 vs Collingwood
"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" - where we nearly pulled off the upset of the two week old decade and I disgraced myself in a chair punching frenzy which caused the death of a pair of sunglasses and a hard to explain wound on my right hand.

Round 3 vs Adelaide
"The Impossible Dream" - when we went back to playing like dogs for the first half but fell over the line due to the Crows having a black death style injury plague.

Round 4 vs Richmond
"Direct from hell" - where our early season revival kicked up a gear as early malaise was replaced with free scoring sexy football on the way to bitch slapping a club in crisis.

Brisbane preview

"The bigger the headache, the bigger the pill"

Round 5 vs Brisbane
"Tear the roof off the sucker" - where the unbeaten Lions came to the MCG and were destroyed in a fashion that made certain people firm up a bit and start hooking into fat porky food in celebration. It wouldn't get much better for the Lions from there.

Round 6 vs North Melbourne
"Riding high in April, shot down in May" - where we went in thinking that we were the next big thing and were comprehensively outsmarted by a team full of players that even Brad Scott has never heard of.

Round 7 vs Footscray
"Not a dry seat in the house" - where goal umpiring fiascos and bizarre coloured uniforms conspired to stop us from pulling off another epic upset in pissing rain.

Round 8 vs West Coast
"Footy gets plums" - where we thought "how easy will this be?" against a side who have an even worse travelling record than us and somehow still managed to lose, causing many - myself included - to indulge in the time honoured sport of hanging shit on Bailey.

Round 9 vs Port Adelaide
"Seconds from Disaster" - where we went to Darwin, of all places, and fell over the line despite a withering last quarter burst from Port. Mark Jamar involved in his first "interview of the year" candidate as he sits on the ground to talk to Leigh Colbert.

Round 10 vs Geelong
"Wasted weekends" - where I managed to stay for the whole four quarters surrounded by bumpkins and managed to avoid getting a fine despite being horrifically illegally parked all afternoon.

Round 11 vs Carlton
"Hurricane Shithouse" - where we did Milan Fukal in the first quarter before storming back into the match. Childhood Melbourne fan and latterday turncoat J**d then proceeded to stooge us in the last quarter.

Round 12 vs Collingwood
"The writers of Demonblog humbly apologise to Mark Jamar for every single post written pre-2008. We now recognise that he is the greatest human alive" - where we took half revenge for Round 2 and Jamar topped his Darwin efforts by walking off on that goose Andy Maher in the middle of his post match interview.

Mid-season State of the Union

Round 13 vs Adelaide
"Touch it you rubbish" - where the club spent the whole week talking up how we were ready to smash our South Australia hoodoo, only to see the team come out and put in a limp performance while nearly made me leap out the window.

Round 14 vs St Kilda
"Welcome to the Leisuredome" - where we put in a creditable performance against a far superior team. Not that I'd know because I couldn't see anything.

Round 15 vs Essendon
"The Great Shark Hunt" - where we basically got Matthew Knights sacked and I got to hear Bailey use foul and obscene language in front of kids in the dressing room beforehand.

Round 16 vs Fremantle
"Cruntry and Western" - where normal service was resumed after I missed the first quarter due to sitting in traffic outside a North Melbourne game. How does a North game create any sort of traffic let alone a jam?

Round 17 vs Sydney
"One for the true believers" - where I still have absolutely no idea what happened.

Round 18 vs Brisbane
"The night the couch nearly went off the balcony" - where we slapped the slops and plunged the Lions even further into crisis whilst simultaneously prying open the finals window just a little bit.

Round 19 vs Richmond
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" - where September started to loom a little bit larger despite a frankly ordinary performance against a shit side.

Round 20 vs Hawthorn
"RT: @deanbailey Footy is Shit" - where the window was well and truly slammed shut and I shamed myself with another wild outburst.

Round 21 vs Port Adelaide
"Ding dong the witch is.. alive and kicking" - where it was all over anyway so the players just didn't bother - except for when The Jurrahcane took mark of the year.

Round 22 vs North Melbourne
"Here endeth the sizzle" - where even the fans didn't care.

Now, let's pause for a moment to remember some of the people we've lost this year.


*not quite as much applause, somebody yells out "BRING BACK WOEWODIN"*

*rapturous applause and a five minute standing ovation*


"Well, I haven't had this much fun since I hosted Supermarket Sweep". Let's get onto this year's award winners and a look at the past champions of each category. Don't forget this section of tonight's ceremony is sponsored by a shaky, blurry photo of Stephen Tingay, a Febey and David Neitz pretending to hook into some rancid Pizza Hut"

Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year - Brad Green
Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year - James Frawley
Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year - Mark Jamar
Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year - Tom Scully

Unfortunately none of the winners could be bothered to show up here tonight to collect their awards, so instead here's a picture of Adrian Battiston tackling Chuck Norris.

2010 Final tally
43 - Brad Green
37 - James Frawley
30 - James McDonald
28 - Mark Jamar
27 - Colin Sylvia
17 - Tom Scully
15 - Aaron Davey
14 - Matthew Bate
12 - Jack Grimes, Cameron Bruce
11 - Jack Trengove, Jordie McKenzie
10 - Brent Moloney, Lynden Dunn
8 - Liam Jurrah, Jordan Gysberts
7 - Joel Macdonald
5 - Ricky Petterd, Jamie Bennell
3 - Matthew Warnock, Brad Miller, Colin Garland
2 - Neville Jetta, Clint Bartram, Jack Watts
1 - Jared Rivers, Nathan Jones, Austin Wonaeamirri, Rohan Bail

Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year (brackets = pre-season price)
2005 - Travis Johnstone
2006 - Brock McLean
2007 - Nathan Jones
2008 - Cameron Bruce
2009 - Aaron Davey ($8)
2010 - Brad Green ($4)

Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year
2005 - Nathan Carroll and Ryan Ferguson (shared)
2006 - Jared Rivers
2007 - Paul Wheatley
2008 - Matthew Whelan
2009 - James Frawley ($22)
2010 - James Frawley [2] ($3.50)

Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year
2005 - No players eligible.
2006 - Matthew Bate
2007 - Ricky Petterd and Michael Newton (shared)
2008 - Cale Morton
2009 - Jack Grimes ($4 fav)
2010 - Tom Scully ($5)

Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year
2005 - Jeff White
2006 - Jeff White [2]
2007 - Jeff White [3]
2008 - Paul Johnson
2009 - Mark Jamar ($3)
2010 - Mark Jamar [2] ($1.50 fav)

Paul Prymke Plate for Pre-Season Performance
2008 - Aaron Davey
2009 - Cameron Bruce
2010 - Brad Green

All-Time Leaderboard
59 players have received votes since Round 1 2005. On his performance this year Green has replaced Bruce as the all time #1 player.

164 - Brad Green
139 - James McDonald
137 - Cameron Bruce
104 - Brock McLean
95 - Aaron Davey
86 - Colin Sylvia
82 - Nathan Jones, Matthew Bate
76 - Brent Moloney
72 - Travis Johnstone
64 - Russell Robertson
50 - Jared Rivers
49 - Mark Jamar
49 - James Frawley
46 - Brad Miller
43 - David Neitz
35 - Jeff White
34 - Cale Morton, Adem Yze
31 - Nathan Carroll, Matthew Whelan
27 - Lynden Dunn
24 - Nathan Brown, Jack Grimes
23 - Paul Wheatley
21 - Ricky Petterd
18 - Shane Valenti, Liam Jurrah
17 - Byron Pickett, Tom Scully
16 - Chris Johnson
15 - Ben Holland, Stefan Martin, Daniel Ward, Paul Johnson, Colin Garland
14 - Matthew Warnock
12 - Clint Bizzell
11 - Simon Buckley, Ryan Ferguson, Austin Wonaeamirri, Jack Trengove, Jordie McKenzie
10 - Daniel Bell, Clint Bartram
9 - Jamie Bennell
8 - Simon Godfrey, Jordan Gysberts
7 - Joel Macdonald
6 - Shannon Motlop
5 - Michael Newton, Kyle Cheney, Neville Jetta
4 - Alistair Nicholson, Phil Read
2 - Addam Maric, Guy Rigoni, Jack Watts
1 - Rohan Bail

And now, back to Turps.

"Well, that's it for this year's ceremony. Before we go here's our special guest Kenny Rogers showing his support for Matthew Warnock.

We leave you with this modern and contemporary production number. See you next season sports fans. Don't forget to buy the book if Mercado ever gets off his arse and puts it together".