Friday 29 April 2011

Spaghetti Western

I've had time to sit down and think about what happened last night and to make sure that I'm not just getting caught up in the mass hysteria which followed that garbage performance. And what a great, well deserved mass hysteria it's been, I've seen nothing like it since that Friday night against Geelong in 2003 - and that's when there was about 27 people on the internet and if we were smart we'd have been off inventing Facebook or Twitter and making billions.

It's hardly surprising that we went west of Horsham and put in a terrible performance, other than the McRules NAB Cup games this season it's all we've been doing for years - even when we were good. Somehow though it's never been as disappointing as it was last night. Even when we almost got done by a hundred against Port and it was only late intervention by Juice Newton of all people that saved us it didn't seem so bad. Forget the Suns beating Port, it's meaningless in the context of what we saw last night and what our performance against them meant - for all the snickering by coaches, players, media etc.. about how the fans thought it was a poor performance despite winning by 90pts the follow up has proven beyond all doubt that it was most certainly the single worst 90pt win of all time.

I've tried to brainwash myself into supporting Bailey. When he got the job by virtue of a Powerpoint presentation that his son put together for him I said "at least it wasn't Sheedy", when he got slaughtered in his first two games I said "well, he was left with a shit team", when we won two spoons in a row I (reluctantly) said "well, you've got to rort the draft" and while we were up and down like a (royal) bride's nightie last year I thought it was all part of the plan.

I can't bring myself to really spaz out on him because I actually quite like the guy. When he speaks he says all the right things and he appears to have quite a sense of humour but after last night I'm convinced that he's never going to be a successful coach and that we might as well cut our losses soon and look elsewhere. Where elsewhere is anybody's guess, I'd love to see the look on Malthouse/Roos' face when you showed them what we pay coaches as opposed to Collingwood/Sydney and who knows if Todd Viney, Scott West et al are any better.

Thank god people are spazzing out though. I'm going to force it deep down inside me until next week and really go off my tits if we get done by Adelaide (not to mention North after that) but some aren't being so generous and rightly so. Even teams with 27 fans like North and the Bulldogs have fans flood talkback radio after performances like that, whereas we usually just go silently to our death without a whimper and continue to advance every theory from the Big Book 'o Footy Stereotypes about being cravat wearing ponces. It took Jim Stynes and Debt Demolition to get everyone on the same page the first time, now it's going to take this to get us going as one again. Everyone from the top down must know that it's not just losing that we're sick of (god knows we're used to it) but we're not going to put up with lame performances of the sort you'd shoot a horse for.

What's really starting to annoy me, even more than the baffling, wonky gameplan, rubbish selection, inability to grasp the concept of the sub rule and complete lack of interest from half the team is him coaching from the boundary. I'm not leading any sort of Malthouse for Melbourne campaign (though I wouldn't complain) but on the radio during the Brisbane game he almost fell off his chair laughing when they asked him if he'd ever considered doing it full time. "No, I'd rather see what's happening in the game" was his reply. Ever sat on the bottom deck of Docklands and tried to see what's happening on the other side of the ground without referring to the scoreboard? Where are the replay screens? Who is actually in the box watching all that stuff? It's a farce and it's like using the long putter in golf, a desperation move that wins nothing and makes you look a bit NQR.

It's great that he cheerleads like a Justin Bieber fan and pats players on the back as they come off the ground but what's that doing for the wider tactical side of things? Last night at half time there was a runner giving the team a pep talk while Bails got interviewed on Channel 10. Surely there's better things that you could be doing just before the half time break - maybe like working out why Nick Naitanui can stand five foot away from Dean Cox without anybody on him and get a tap straight from the first bounce. It's a good thing he can't kick to save himself because if he'd kicked that first goal I'd have kicked the TV in.

Two names that I don't want to hear thrown into the coaching mix - even temporarily - are G. Lyon and C. Connolly. The ex-Freo coach is yesterday's man and I'm not even sure what he does at the club now other than crack a few funnies at functions and give tours of the boundary line before matches. As for Lyon nobody can possibly take the idea seriously, don't get seduced by the positive start to the James Hird reign at Essendon - there is a gigantic difference between the two. Hird was champing at the bit to coach, Lyon would have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the Footy Show desk, and if you've heard his radio advertisements you'll know that he's an inspiring orator on the same level as Frank Walker from National Tiles. We need somebody seasoned, perhaps with previous senior experience, not a sub-Billy Brownless TV buffoon. Great player, no coaching prospects.

Actually at the moment I don't care. If you really want to go ahead, hire Lyon and play stretcher vision on the big screen before games if you really want. Just as long as he's willing to coach in the box and implement some sort of modern tactics then at least that'll be something positive. Unbelievable that Bailey comes out in the press conference and says that the team are going to get flogged on the track this week. Yeah, that'll help. I hope I'm proven wrong and we come out and murder Adelaide but the only hope we've got is that they get thumped by St Kilda this week and lurch into a crisis mode of their own. Either way if we get done without an incredible effort on Sunday it's going to get ugly.

Symptomatic of the air of stupidity which hangs over this club at the moment was the substitution. It hurts me to even have to discuss this rule in a serious tone without heckling it, but that's how low we've gone today.

Now, I know Subiaco is a big ground and they probably wanted all the runners on the field to start the game (fat load of good that did...) so if you want to look it from that angle then ok we'll go with Dunn being sub instead of Bennell. So Gysberts was having a terrible game and could hardly get his hands on it - much like the rest of the midfield - and instead of replacing a Wonaeamirri or Morton who were having nightmares they take The Giz off for Dunn instead. With about two million less inside 50's we removed a midfielder and replaced him with a forward. How does that work? Not surprisingly Dunn did very little because the ball hardly ever went down there and instead we ended up with Wona in the midfield completely out of his depth. What about trying moving Giz around a bit, see if you can get him into the game - not just hand him the council worker vest and piss him off because he's having an ordinary match, if that was the criteria for going off they should have dragged the entire side.

Mind you by that point the game was completely stuffed anyway so who cares? May as well have taken Jamar off and played Dunn in the ruck for all the damage it would have done us. We threw it away in the first quarter like we do so often. It's either the first quarter or the third quarter that it goes horribly wrong - do we have issues with kicking to a certain end of the ground? More importantly what the hell do they say to the players before they run out on the ground, because that is - for Stat My Bitch Up fans - the 22nd time since Round 1, 2008 that we have kicked one or zero goals in the first quarter. Under Daniher they did it 39 times between 1998 and R10, 2007. One goal first quarters shall henceforth always be known as THE BAILEY QUARTER. Even after he's gone. It will be his third greatest contribution to the club behind the emergence of Jamar and rorting the draft to land Scullgove.

You can't blame the forward line - or what we play that passes for one - for last night. By the time the game was gone at quarter time we had sent the ball inside fifty three times. For once it made sense that Jack Watts was wandering around the half-back line because there was no way he was going to get his hands on it up front - and he was bloody good in the first quarter too. Dropped off a bit as it went on but his disposal was good, he's still taking big pack marks and throwing a few tackles around. Unfortunately other than Jamar battling in the ruck and around the ground, Garland holding up the backline and Bail being as about as good as it got there were precious few others showing anything. It did say everything you need to know about this side that shortly after Jack Darling took a mark inside 50 with an easy kick for goal that Watts got his first touch across half-back. That's why Darling looks like the next big thing, because they're playing him to his strengths not to try and fit him Tetris style into something he's not suited to.

Speaking of Darling I'm not going to join in the "why didn't we..." arguments yet because it's anybody's guess what Lucas Cook is going to turn out like but what does concern me is that we don't appear to have any players with the sort of FIGJAM mongrel arsehole about them that he's got. I'd kill for some of that or a Hayden Ballantyne who can get under the skin of the opposition. Instead we've spent five years drafting fancyboys and emos. We've got enough floppy fringed private schoolboys now, start to give us some Broadmeadows High thugs that the rest of the world will hate with a passion - and if they've been kicked out of school for indulging in sex romps or been punched the head in a nightclub then good luck to them. It's a bit rich for footy clubs to start being moral on sex romps now when their players have spent the last hundred years involving themselves in 12 on 1 stacks on scenarios with groupies. I for one would welcome a Josh Gibson style "more roots than any man in Australia" big hitter with the ladies. At least he'd be able to provide score assists to the rookies and make them feel at home in the club.

Moloney and Sylvia tried hard but last night showed that we (i.e me) got far too excited by their performances against slop teams like Brisbane and Gold Coast. Green has gone missing this year thanks to being given a role that nobody can understand, Davey is collapsing under tags and showing precious little interest in the game itself and Grimes has lost the plot with his kicking (how did he get 81% disposal efficiency?). Davey is playing on reputation alone at the moment, he's never been dropped to my knowledge but I don't think he's ever been closer. How about throwing him forward again (and actually getting the ball down there) so he can snap a few goals out of his arse and start to contribute again instead of moping around the midfield getting tagged to buggery every week?

Then there's Cale Morton who is sadly living up to everything I wrote here three weeks ago about him not having any real role in the side and wandering around looking bereft of confidence - even playing a good game against the Suns didn't help when put up against a half decent side. Seems like a top bloke, apparently teaches the kids in Cranbourne to read which must be a prick of a job but why even bother playing him at the moment? His job seems to be to wander aimlessly around a half-back flank and cock it up under the slightest pressure. Has there ever been a more disappointing trifecta of brothers than the Mortons? Even the Cockatoo-Collins family had one good brother.

There are bad, bad signs about this group. With the exception of the aforementioned good players and Moloney/Jones who at least had a crack in trying to fire their teammates up everyone just looked disinterested in getting amongst it. On the very rare occassions when we did get the ball inside the forward line it was either bombed with panic straight into the hands of an Eagles player or hit the deck and bounced out straight towards the West Coast forward line. The concept of forward pressure has been completely ignored and the concept of tackling downgraded to an appendix of the playbook. And how many times last night did an Eagles player just leap over the top of one of our guys to take an easy mark - sometimes they even walked around the front of them and took it.

All that's not to mention how we still for some reason decline the opportunity to ever kick to a leading player inside 50. Jurrah was cut out of the game last night through no fault of his own and I'm glad he started to go further upfield to get a kick because he was being given no hope of getting it otherwise. I think he might have had the only mark on the lead all night, and even that was at the 49m line.

I'm not even going to talk about the second half, most of it was watched through my hands or while punching out furious messages on Twitter. Some people want to blame the umpires, I'm not joining in. They made a few howlers but umpires don't cause Wona to boot the ball straight into the man on the mark, they don't cause Sylvia to fall flat on his face and they didn't cause us to have three inside 50's in the first quarter. I'm not even sure how we only lost by 54 - how much worse do you have to be to lose by a hundred?

Contiki Corner
Has the tactic of showing up three days before interstate games been discredited yet? The way we're going they might as well get in on a flight two hours before the game and catch Skybus to the ground.

2011 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Mark Jamar
4 - Colin Garland
3 - Jack Watts
2 - Nathan Jones
1 - Clint Bartram

Some apologies to Trengove, Sylvia, Rivers and Bail.

Major apologies to Mrs. Demonblog who had to put up with me on her last night before going on a three week business trip to Tanzania. I exercised restraint but did throw a shoe during the second quarter a'la that unwashed hippy at John Howard on Q&A.

14 - Brent Moloney
13 - Mark Jamar (WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
10 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
6 - Luke Tapscott (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
5 - Rohan Bail
4 - Jack Trengove
3 - Jack Grimes, Liam Jurrah, Jack Watts, Nathan Jones
2 - Jared Rivers
1 - Stefan Martin, Clint Bartram

Commentary Corner
I might be one of the few people who like Steven Quartermain, and I can cop Tim Lane with his anecdotes about Crackers Keenan at the Lake Oval in 1976 but nothing will make me cherish C10 being given the arse more than seeing Luke Darcy reduced to calling Canterbury Tactix netball matches again.

Bad enough his incredible whinging on ANZAC Day about a hand in the back when he was on the rules committee, bad enough him forgetting Jamar's name while pulling himself about Naitanui and bad enough telling the world that Frawley had returned from
"shoulder surgery", but when he asked who was going to come on and replace Le Cras that was it for me. Gee I don't know, maybe the guy who has been sitting there in a stupid green vest all night? I'd rather be locked in a room with Malcolm Blight and Matthew Lloyd wearing one of his horrid reflective European shirts for life than listen to this tit again next year.

What I did enjoy was Tim Lane called Tapscott a "cut of a lad". Sounded very inappropriate. Nice of them to also tip the cut of a lad into an appearance at the tribunal by replaying his dinky bump 72 times and having Darcy the moron say it was in the head when it was clearly not.

Crowd Watch
Do Perth crowds boo every opposition shot on goal no matter what? Even the Adelaide mutants can't be bothered going to that level.

My original plan was to go to Perth instead of Brisbane. Thank christ for having to change the date of my holidays, because if I'd been there last night I would have wandered off into the desert, sat down and waited patiently for death.

Bailey's Cartoon Connection
Even if you wouldn't spit on BigFooty this thread is gold.

This post from 30/03/2010 is still so apt...

(right click > view image, I cbf resizing it)

Next Week
Molotov Cocktails will be available outside Gate 1 at three-quarter time if it's not going well. And face painting.

Final Thoughts
Did they even bother replacing Moloney as Vice-Captain? Is Tom Scully hiding in the same secure bunker as Meesen? What's Todd Viney doing next Sunday? How much would you hate to be the woman who answers the phones at the club today?

I just looked up the stats in more detail and I'll tell you what's damning. Liam Jurrah had the equal most Inside 50's last night. Doesn't that say it all, 27 goals in eight games but so starved for supply he had to go up the ground to get it and still managed to make a contribution. What a champ. Long may he reign. Hopefully with teammates kicking it to him inside 50 and not the other way around.


  1. The best thing Channel Seven ever, ever did was to use Ecstasy of Gold as a sound track for their medal tallies during the 2004 Athens olympics. Playing it just now it still sends a shiver up my spine.

    Unlike the Demons, who just make me shiver. (In that Bart Simpson way.)

  2. Spot on once again on so many levels, Adam. Our limp-wristedness, Bailey's TV interview, our kick-ins and general let's-give-the-rest-of-the-league-a-bloody-good-laugh-at-our-expense style of play made for sickening viewing. Whipping boys we shall forever be with the status quo.

    Garland, Jamar, Bail and (never thought I'd say it) Watts were trememdous.

    The rest? Well, we're a joke.

  3. Uninspired players with no fight and no game plan: It can't be the fault of 22 mostly very young men who are, in the main, exceptionally talented. It's the coach.

    You lead a team by inspiring them, and occasionally scaring the shit out of them, not by giving them back rubs when they come off for a rest! Having a workable, flexible game plan doesn't do any harm either.

    Our team has incredible potential (I think Premiership-winning potential) but as long as we have a gormless 'leader' like Bailey we'll just be known for our brilliant 'headless chicken' impression.

    I feel better now. Thanks.

  4. Are we the only side that kicks to a pack every time after a behind?

    I really like when we take 30 seconds to kick out too.

    Or wait 20 seconds for DAVEY to come from the centre to take the kick.



  5. You can't really blame Bailey, solely, for 48 clangers in a match.

  6. Correct you are, but I do hold the coaching staff en masse partially responsible for the shit system employed which encouraged it.


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