Thursday 26 April 2012

The tide hastens for no man

The epic shambles that is New Blogger is rearing its ugly head again. Any bizarre design/font quirks in the following are entirely their fault.

As Eric Clapton once said, presumably in the midst of one of his epic benders, it's in the way that you use it. Then he spun around a couple of times and collapsed to the floor a'la Matthew Newton. Allegedly.

Chances are that he was talking about a woman or a guitar but it was 1986, so maybe he was referring to the Melbourne Football Club and their award winning finals drought born of wilful and malicious heinous use of the ball. You know that year we managed the spectacular feat of being tonked by over a hundred points three times in just two months. But in a dramatic, un-MFC like twist the story has a happy ending a year later when we make the finals (then there's the regulation tragic ending, but a happy ending first).

We've got until Round 9 to rack up the two more fiascos required to match the dirty deeds of the 1986 squad, and about a year and half to recover it a'la '87. Even after tonight's game I know which one I'd be offering better odds on if I were Jamie Rogers from TAB Sportsbet.

God knows what depths the 80's version of Demonblog would have sunk to after that eight week period of death and destruction. Thankfully for one I was five years old, and secondly anybody half interested in providing their views about footy online would have had to use one of those ridiculous WarGames style 300baud modems plugged into a rotary dialing phone to post on a BBS. In short, nobody was talking footy online so god knows how those of you who survived that era did it without intensive psychotheraphy and experimental medications (both legal and otherwise), because if I didn't have this outlet to come on and let it all out I'd be up all night howling obscenities at the moon.

Thinking about what happened 26 years ago and trying to draw a parallel between that team and today's is the first sign of madness but that's the position I find myself in these days. What else am I supposed to do, sit around all week pondering the post 2006 era?
It's got to the point where I could sit down confidentally on Thursday and write an accurate (as accurate as you get on here anyway) summation of our shambolic performance and simply plug in the votes whilst trudging grimly down Brunton Avenue. But where's the fun in that? And I will admit that most of my waking hours are still dedicated to considering the ups and downs of the post-Daniher era. Melbourne FC owes me hours upon hours of psychological consultations.

At least we were treated to something different this week, the presumptive poleaxing replaced with a grinding loss where we were still a chance 15 minutes into the last quarter. Cancel that post about leaping off the top deck of the Olympic Stand and replace it with one with platitudes galore about honourable losses. Actually, cancel that post as well because honourable losses can get stuffed. We did better than expected but that's no consolation in the grand scheme of being 0-5 and above just two teams full of kids and men press-ganged from the SANFL to try and keep their clubs afloat until the draft picks pay off. We are still looking at a 16th place finish this year, and even though that's less shameful than it was last time we finished there I still don't want it - and I don't care what benefits we can get from ending up there.

It didn't hurt us that the conditions were absolute rubbish because there's nothing like dragging a better side down to your level. I remember when we were good and it happened to us all the time. Unfortunately more often than not it happened when the conditions were absolutely perfect. We're hardly wet weather specialists in the Mark McGough mould but at least it slowed St Kilda down a bit tonight. Still, when you go into the last quarter having battled back to being just three points behind and then fail to score in a fourth term for the first time since Brian Stynes' last game then you deserve exactly what you get - zero points.

Forget 'honour' for a second (we are not samurais) and let me do some serious whinging. With all due respect to children who may be reading who does Ricky Petterd have to pork to get a game around here? Ok, so he wasn't in the best for Casey two weeks ago (pre-VFL bye) but who was in a team that got tonked by 70 points? He wasn't much chop against the Eagles either, in a team that got tonked by 108 points, but you would have thought that maybe in a week where Mitch Clark is recuperating from almost breaking his neck that it might have been a good time to take a chance on playing another forward with some aerial ability. Nah.

There's this belief that he and Dunn can't be picked in the same side, which is fine if you have Clark there. And Green. And Jurrah. But we didn't have Clark, Green or Jurrah - and Dunn is not a week in, week out goalkicking option. I'm pleased they didn't sacrifice Jeremy Howe's ability to be one of the few who can take a decent mark around the ground to permanently play him forward, but there's a reason why for the first time in god knows how long a substantial amount of our scoring came from CRUMB. But it's no good swinging wildly from one to the other, we need both.

Sellar did nothing up front, and whatever Dunn did it was probably some defensive masterstroke that I'll get panned for not noticing. Not much else on offer until he finally took a mark, kicked a goal and was immediately subbed. Obviously they'd already filed the paperwork to get rid of him before the mark/goal, because unless there's something I missed his only offensive contribution was his facial hair.

Explain to me then how Petterd's not worthy of a game? Give me the answer I want to hear and I won't bore you with my theories on Martin vs Sellar - this week. Consider the following comments in the context of my overall support for Team Neeld and willingness to suspend disbelief and go along with their plans for a couple of years but by christ some of their selections shit me to tears.

I don't want to hear about how we couldn't pick Petterd or Stef Martin because the VFL had a bye last week in the same week that Sylvia comes back after not playing a game for six weeks. It's a bollocks excuse. Also the presence of Joel Macdonald still confuses me - clearly we're not playing for a premiership this season (oh really?), and there's no chance he'll be there next year so how about a decent run for Tapscott?

Not that any journos have the slightest interest in the Dees but wouldn't you like somebody to ask these questions? "So, Mark many fans would have expected Ricky Petterd to play more than one game so far this season. Any reason he didn't get a run?" Instead the leadup to the game is dominated by a fictional Watts vs Riewoldt matchup which was as likely to occur as Sugar Ray Robinson vs Esme Watson. If any footy journos are reading I'll be happy to sneak you some cheat sheets that you use to ask questions at press conferences as if you actually know who plays for us.

At the risk of winding up like a pointless, single issue political party I reserve the right to spend significant amounts of space on here on the Justice For Ricky campaign, even if it ends with me having an ASIO file. You can have your Australian Sex Party, I'll be drawing my own square on the ballot paper and writing FREE RICKY PETTERD. In blood.

When it was announced that Frawley had injured himself and was going to be withdrawn there was a moment of hope amongst Petterd fanciers that the great man could win a recall from the emergencies. He didn't, and if he goes out and does his knee in the VFL tomorrow I'll chuck a boulder through the window of the Demon Shop.

Given about five hours to digest the news that our only good player was out before they announced that Tapscott was going to be his replacement, there was plenty of time to wonder how many digits our losing margin was going to include but also to ponder a classic, internet generated rumour that Mitch Clark was going to do a Hulk Hogan style crowd-pleasing entrance despite not even being named in the emergencies. Pre-match I said why waste money on the fine, save him for the Kardinia Park abortion instead. Once we got close I started to wish they'd frivolously wasted Opel's money and picked him.

Not that I know if he's even remotely fit. He might be in Zurich seeing the same team of doctors who did the revolutionary spinal fusion surgery on Sylvia which allowed him to appear tonight. He might also have done nothing when the rains came, but at least he would have gone around being angry at everyone and damaging inanimate objects.

Without Frawley and Clark you could have been forgiven for expecting that it was going to end in tragedy, but this is a St Kilda team who will be lucky to fall into the eight and who had plenty of good players down on their luck. Naturally the likes of Goddard, Gilbert etc.. decided to turn up when the match was in the balance, but in every aspect other than scoring in the fourth quarter it was easily our best performance of the season. Not a difficult podium to end up on.

How much of it was improvement, and how much of it was down to the weather? Well the good news is we looked like a proper league side even before it started pelting down sideways. If we'd gotten our spanking in Geelong out of the way in Round 1 and were scheduled to play Brisbane next week you'd be far more confident of beating them now than you were last Sunday night. But we didn't win, and now the toughest campaign since the Siege of Leningrad leaves 0-11 as a distinct possibility.

Still, at least we managed to hold some good players. Jordie McKenzie's performance on Brendan Goddard was probably my highlight of the season so far. Not since Ben Holland spent the whole day holding Anthony Rocca by the arm in 2007 have any of our players done such a cynical and successful job of following an opposition player around, committing illegal acts against his person and (mostly) getting away with it. Absolutely thrashed him, and the only time Goddard got anywhere near it was when he rorted the umpire into paying a free against him and then kicked it straight into Jordie's smother anyway.

You could understand that matchup working, but far more troubling on paper was Tom McDonald vs Riewoldt. Happily, other than a couple of dinky kicks and one occassion where he completely lost his opponent, Tom Mc was solid. I was going to come on here and say that everything was fine except when he was actually disposing of the ball but it turns out he had a team leading 89% disposal efficiency, so there you go. Not sure if he's really first choice when Frawley is fit again BUT considering other than last week's rotten performance he's been pretty good this year he could free up Chip to do... something else. God knows what. Where does this leave Demonblog's Own Troy Davis? Is he destined to take the Andre Gianfagna route of being seen in one pre-season campaign before disappearing into the VFL? Surely once the unofficial tank is rolled out later this year everyone half fit is going to get a game. Maybe even Lucas Cook if you're lucky.

Also straight from the shock result file was Morton's best performance since at least 2010. I saw him lay tackles, I saw him going for a hard ball, I witnessed in person him putting his body on the line. Ok so his disposal wasn't exactly top shelf but at least it's a step forward and you've got to be happy with that at least. Not if you're the first guy on talkback radio tonight who did that cliched Melbourne supporter call and whinged about how terrible Morton was. Obviously the bloke couldn't get through last week, because it was well unfair to complain about him tonight. He'll probably put in a landfill performance next week, but then again so will everybody so if you're going to do some classic Finey's Final Siren work at least come up with an original angle.

There were a lot of things to love about tonight. It's just such a shame that it ended so limply and we eventually waved the white flag without much of a fight after more than matching them most of the night. I loved Matthew Bate's first quarter, especially getting rid of his opponent in the square for the second goal. I loved winning the tackle count for once. I loved the fact that Sylvia has had a decent run (though it took them long enough to get him on) and will start next week, but what I loved most of all was Clint Bartram's goal in the third quarter.

It's not the goal itself that was most loveable, though it was nice that he got one in his 100th game and all that, it was the celebrations afterwards. I'll have to see a replay but I'm fairly sure that after he slotted it Jeremy Howe went about 20cm from being knocked out cold by his swinging fist pump celebration. He ducked his head in just as Clint was swinging the fist, and thankfully for our sake but unfortunately for blooper tape compilations around the world Jeremy didn't quite nuzzle in far enough and we were spared the most comical injury in sporting history.

It helped us that there were about 2000 bounces because of the weather, but Jamar's domination of the bounces was also something to love. Sometimes the taps even went to our players, and on more than one occassion Moloney reignited the late, great Psychic Friends Connection and found himself perfectly at the drop of the ball. His performance fell just one short of the most hitouts in a match of the modern era - losing to Will Minson of all people. After being decidedly average throughout the first month of the year it was a welcome return to form.

We won the clearances too on the back of Jamar's domination, and other than one or two occassions where the Saints went straight out of the middle and had scoring shots it was a vast improvement on everything else served up so far this season. Now to work on moving the ball around the rest of the ground and coming out of defence confidently. There were a few nice moments tonight, just like there were last week, but there were also still some shambolic scenes - including hasty, failed play-ons. At least they went inside occassionally this week instead of going down the boundary line every single time no matter what.

What was decidedly unloveable was the fact that with Riewoldt fairly well held we were being put to the sword to the tune of three goals by Beau Wilkes. This was a man who had one goal in 24 matches before tonight, looks like he was dragged out of a pub and put in a footy jumper and who is named Beau yet somehow tonight was a Gary Ablett Sr-esque world beating aerialist. Odds are that he will never kick another goal again let alone three, but why not save your best performance for when you play against us, it's the Australian way. Thankfully even Scott Watters knew not to push his luck too far and subbed him in order to bring on
the poor man's Cale Morton, Dean Polo who might have done something but it wasn't taking big grabs and kicking goals.

Despite throwing away the early two goal lead it was a most encouraging opening term. Had the Saints not fluked one from a speculative ball-thrown-at-boot + bugger of a bounce, and one from a free right at the end we'd have been in an even better position. Jones played an absolutely immense quarter and got two goals to cap it off. We were so competitive that Dean Bailey would have blown an O Ring about it if he'd still been around. Nobody had a great deal of interest in going near Nick Dal Santo to be fair, but the rest of them were being well stitched up. All that stopped us from going in with a decent lead was luck, shit umpiring and a lack of class.

Ok, but we've played good first quarters before then delivered a steaming pile of sewerage straight after - so why should tonight have been any different? Surprisingly most of the second term was legitimately fun - it almost reminded me of the reason I used to enjoy watching footy, until the goose on the radio reminded me that we haven't beaten them since the 2006 final and Melbourne Supporter Depression Syndrome kicked in again.

Howe robbed Jones out of a goal assist by missing a sitter but it was another brilliant set-up to give him the shot in the first place. Watts got the comedy goal after the fresh air handball by the Saints defence, then suddenly Rohan Bail decided he'd crumb like a maniac and kicked two to put us ten points in front. Couldn't last, didn't last but like last week's third quarter it at least gave the crowd something to get briefly excited about.

Normal service appeared to be on the verge of resuming when they got the first goal 30 seconds into the third quarter, and we spent the next ten minutes on the ropes trying desperately not to get blown out of the game. Beau Wilkes mania briefly swept the MCG before he was subbed, but after he was (and I'm not suggesting it had anything to do with him going off) we turned the tables on them and kept it in our forward line for the rest of the quarter. Dunn and Bartram got the goals, we were back within a kick and people were bursting out into applause all over the ground despite the fact that we actually lost the quarter by a point. Desperate times call for desperate measures..

Congratulations during the third quarter to James Magner who has now passed Jared Rivers and Brent Moloney on the list of MOST INJURED MFC PLAYERS. He's got Petterd and Grimes in his sights now. First he "suffered an injury from a clash with Leigh Montagna" (i.e was practically eye gouged, accidentally or not) then he did his ankle. He returned after being pumped full of china white in the change rooms, but it won't be long until he'll be hobbling off again. Which is good, because clearly the reason he's being ripped to pieces every week is because he's always violently struggling to win the ball - and while we could do with some classy midfielders amongst all the grunt at least you know the grunters will always have a pop.

Also I think we were supposed to congratulate Steven Milne for doing something, but I couldn't hear what it was over the thousands of people abusing him for being an utterly shit bloke. Would love a clone in our team, but one not forever tainted by a high profile criminal investigation. Tonight the closest we had was Rohan Bail, and as much as I'd like to apologise to Rohan for trying to drop him a fortnight ago if he's our crumbing option then we're buggered for years to come.

After all that wasted applause at three-quarter time the last quarter was painful. Davey could have put us back in front but kicked it straight up in the air, and the only other times we went forward the ball was kicked to packs and evacuated hastily straight down the other end.

Defensively we held up well under siege, even Joel Mac appearing surprisingly useful at times, but if we weren't going to score eventually they would and after a couple of misses finally kicked what would ultimately be the sealer via Lenny Hayes taking the piss out of our entire team and walking around them for the goal. If we'd had any chance of scoring we could have still pinched it from there, but it wasn't to be - and what should have been remembered as a decent performance against an ok side is instead a missed opportunity and a statistical anomaly on the road to six weeks of poleaxings.

Rules Committee Corner
Dropping the ball does not exist anymore, and to get pinched for incorrect disposal you've practically got to stand in front of one of the umpires and spike the ball into the turf like an NFL player.

Also, ruck free kicks. Nobody knows what's going on, and surely nobody gives a shit what happens when the ruckmen are duelling unless one of them is manhandled completely out of the contest and thrown skidding towards the boundary line fence.

Finally the video review system covered itself in glory tonight. Two blatantly obvious decisions where we were forced to wait because the goal umpire and field umpire couldn't do what goal umpires and field umpires have been doing for 100+ years and make a decision. Proof at last that they've been guessing all that time, but they must have been guessing right the vast majority of the time, because other than a handful of debacles and that absolute howler in the '09 Grand Final it's not like the TV era has been a non-stop cavalcade of goal umpire mistakes.

Luckily the two they had to adjudicate on tonight were so blatantly obvious there was no question of the replay, like the one in the Gold Coast vs North game where they couldn't for the life of them tell if the ball had hit the post - and no bloody wonder either considering the only technology they've got at their fingertips is a camera. I'm sure they'll eventually get to snickometers, hot spots and all that rubbish in goalposts but it's no surprise the technology is crap considering the league decided to introduce the rule 15 minutes before the season started.

2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Nathan Jones
4 - Jordie McKenzie
3 - Mark Jamar
2 - Matthew Bate
1 - Tom McDonald

Apologies to (in order) Rivers, Grimes, Moloney, Morton, Magner,
Howe, Bail and Garland. Some others not bad, but not getting votes.

Every possible chance of a runaway victory here. Good luck catching Jones if he keeps going like he is at the moment, especially over the next few weeks when effort and struggle in defeat will .

Also congratulations to Jamar for all but sewing up his third Ruckman of the Year award after losing to Stef Martin (remember him?) last season.

18 - Nathan Jones
10 - James Magner (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year)
9 - Jeremy Howe
7 - Matthew Bate
5 - Jordie McKenzie
4 - Mitch Clark, Jack Trengove
3 - Stefan Martin, Jack Watts, Jared Rivers (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Mark Jamar (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
2 - Brent Moloney, Tom McDonald

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week

Hard to actually get to the comments from our fans in the midst of a bunch of St Kilda supporters sooking that Milne was booed. Even when I did it was hard to find quality amongst all the positivity about how we're back to being the next big thing.

But what I did enjoy was this one, a classic case of it being somebody else's fault when you can't stay away from a computer long enough to properly enforce a media ban or are too cheap to shell out for Foxtel.


Also considering they've been doing quarter-by-quarter updates every week for a year maybe you should have considered that before opening up Facebook to do some loling and poking you plonker.

Stat My Bitch Up
It's unlikely that you need, or indeed want, any sort of breakdown of our performances since that fateful night when Nick Smith was reluctantly welcomed back into the fold and Freo put us out of the finals for the last time but bad luck here's one anyway. From that point on we have gone 28-2-85. In their last five years Fitzroy were 27-0-81, so even if you remove our five losses from this year we're officially just one win and two draws better than them over that period. From 1991 to 1995 Sydney were 23-2-83 so at least we're better than them, but this is the company we're keeping at the moment.

To continue the theme you'll be pleased to know that before this round we were only the equal second worst side of the century/millenium/yes I included 2000 even though it's technically not correct, I'll do the pedantry around here thanks.

Blogger hates tables as much as it hates not putting random paragraph breaks in your posts so I just copied and pasted from Excel and this came out. That'll do. It's games/wins/draws/losses/win percentage - and what it shows is that before this round we were only the equal second worst team in that timeframe. We've already gone outright second thanks to Carlton's win on Friday night so thank god for Richmond, stay just the way you are. I'll be keeping an eye on this list and there will be a massive piss on when we officially go bottom sometime next year.

Geelong 289 185 3 101 64.01
Collingwood 290 165 2 123 56.89
Sydney 287 158 4 125 55.05
Adelaide 283 153 0 130 54.06
Brisbane L 285 151 4 130 52.98
Port 284 148 2 134 52.11
Hawthorn 282 145 1 136 51.41
St Kilda 285 146 6 133 51.22
Essendon 282 144 4 134 51.06
WCE 283 140 3 140 49.46
North 277 134 3 140 48.37
Footscray 280 130 4 146 46.42
Fremantle 274 119 0 155 43.43
Carlton 277 112 3 162 40.43
Melbourne 277 112 3 162 40.43
Richmond 271 100 4 167 36.9

Crowd Watch
When the Frawley news broke you could almost feel about 5000 falling off the gate as people decide that they'd rather spend a Saturday night inside than going into the cold to become depressed over sports. Not that the club were admitting that he was out until they absolutely had to - we're not in a position where we can thumb our nose at gate receipts and there was audible shock from the people around me when the announcement came up on the screen.

This is the future for clubs that are stuffed but have to play night games in terrible conditions. Away crowds the last two weeks have been absolutely disgraceful so you can't tell me that there aren't a shedload of people opting to take the live TV option instead of going. I know that's the reason I don't feel the need to subject myself to a trip to Kardinia Park next week, and that if it weren't live I'd probably be reluctantly going. The big games will still get big crowds, but when depression sets in - especially at the end of the year - there's going to be some pretty heinous crowds for dead rubber matches. Forget closing level 3 at Docklands, they might be shutting Level 1.

At least those of us who did turn up got to see a decent performance in person.
Not that you'd please a couple of the lone gunman style nutbags giving it their all in the Redlegs area. I thought paying extra to sit in a section full of Melbourne fans (except for the guy behind me who'd smuggled in a woman obviously barracking for St Kilda, possibly due to the MCG attendants showing scant interest in who goes in) would mean a drop off in insanity but as long as these two turn up every home game I could be onto a winner.

I'm not sure which one was which, because they were basically the same guy with the same voice. The angry, mid 50's gent who stuck with the club through a dark childhood and after 40 years of having their emotions played with they're about to snap. Both looked the same, like a frustrated office worker who probably used to come with his children but now they refuse to because he's far too embarassing, screaming things like "FORCHRISTSAKEWATTSGETINFRONTWHATDOYOUWANTTODOJESUSCHRIST" and "AWWBALLLHOWDIDEGETRIDOFITUMPIRE" far louder than anyone really needs to considering that neither the players or umpires can hear you. They're both very keen to lay into the usual whipping boys, and you know that at least one of them is probably a regular talkback radio caller. Sadly neither had a helium tinge to the voice, and nobody was screaming out for Leigh Williams to get a game so I can confirm that neither was SEN Hall of Famer Chris from Camberwell.

At least they were there until the final siren, which is more than can be said for the guy sitting in front of me who packed up and left after the Lenny Hayes goal. Ten minutes to play, less than two goals down, rubbish crowd, 10pm on a Saturday night - what traffic were you trying to beat, and where else did you have to be? I saw a couple of people from the cheer squad go as well, so you can decide for yourself how badly we're going when even the most over the top zealots can't be bothered hanging around. If they'd waited another two minutes for the next goal then they could have slunk out respectably. Alternatively they could have STAYED UNTIL THE BLOODY END LIKE REAL MEN. Ahem.

Draft Watch
No, it's not another in-depth analysis of how shit our drafting has been. You know the story. So how about a change of pace from the usual Cameron/Prendergast/Bailey/Faceless Men bashing and onto a non-self generated Farce of the Week, this time provided by 'popular' Herald Sun journalist Mark Stevens.

Usually any article penned by Stevens can be dismissed as slop before you even know what the subject is, but I was thrilled to use the Herald Sun paywall Google rort to read his bit about GWS rolling us into using Pick 3 on the new J. Viney (who we all pray will be better looking than the first J. Viney).

Well, not really rorting us - more using the rules exactly as they were intended. Which is more than you can say for us when we were playing Matthew Warnock at full forward and praying desperately that Jordan McMahon would shank his kick out of the full.

I suspect everyone's across this by now, but effectively the fact that we've blown our load early on Jack instead of playing it cool means that everyone on the planet knows we're going to draft him no matter what so we'll be forced to spend our extremely high first round pick on him regardless of whether he's a top five or top twenty prospect.

Unless of course GWS or Gold Coast (should they be 17th and 18th, which is hardly certain at the moment) offer pick 1 or 2 just to stooge us and we decide that one of the top two prospects is better value. Then they can have him against his will and we'll get on with ruining the career of a different talented youngster. Extra value in the angle that it'll be Todd reading the names out on the night.

It won't be whoever finishes last that is the problem, because it's universally acknowledged that he's good but not that good so why take the chance on missing out on the best player. Shitbox Team #2, however, could make it interesting. Unless that's us, then we can get him for a second rounder and use the other three picks.

Still, even if we don't rate him as being worth a #3 pick we might as well pick him if one of the other two bids. He can't be that far off, and our record of deciding who is and isn't worth using a premium pick on is absolute rubbish anyway so just take a chance. If we pick him for no other reason let it erase the stain on our history that is Chris Johnson being the best father/son selection we've had since the introduction of the draft.

The best thing about this is that thankfully it means there's really no reason for us to tank our way to a higher pick for once. Unless of course we can engineer a way to finish second last use a 2nd round selection on Viney OR GWS bid on him, allowing us to ditch family values and take the real #1 instead.

Us finishing second last is realistic, GWS taking the chance on losing the (alleged) best player in the land just for the chance to screw us less so. Unless $cully has a breakdown from us abusing him and exercises the clause in his contract which says he gets to run the club however he sees fit.

So if, hopefully, the ol' tank is out of the question then. If we're going to take him with whatever pick we get first then so much the better if we finish as far off the bottom as is humanely possible. At least if he ends up being a pick 7, 8 or 9 (fat chance on the last one) he'll be immune from the usual gnashing of teeth and wailing about who out of the top five we should have picked instead of him when they're all winning Brownlows (four way tie?) and he's curled up in the foetal position crying on the half-back flank.

Next Week
Disaster looms large. Here's to the Cats somehow ingesting enormous quantities of rancid meat for breakfast and spending the entire match with a case of the squirts. Could get us within six goals if we're lucky. Maybe they'll have "heavy legs" (CLICHE) after playing in even more soaked conditions than us?

Casey won by a point, but it doesn't seem anybody is really banging the door down. Bennell was apparently BOG but I'll be fine thanks. Stef Martin is still out injured and even appearing amongst the alleged best probably won't help Petterd. Given that the only two that I'm really keen on aren't on the agenda for whatever reason the only other ones I want back are are Frawley and Clark so I'm not even going to bother calling for changes in this case. At least then I can't be disappointed. Maybe time to give Jack Fitz a bash in favour of Sellar for a couple of weeks? Surely by the time we're over it then Martin will be ready to return. Would prefer Blease and Bennell play a few good games in a row before we pick them again.

Either way if you're going the pleasure is all yours, I'll be at home throwing things at the television and making threats against Dwayne Russell that make the Sam Lonergan case look like child's play.

For those of you on '86 watch (that's 1986, not 186) it'll take two of three losses by over a hundred in the next three to achieve similar levels of stink. Geelong might be teetering on the brink of falling back into the midcard again (or about to win a flag, who can tell with that lot) but could still tonk us with their eyes shut, and Hawthorn a week after is an even scarier prospect - but at least tonight showed that there's something about us lurking deep inside. Fingers crossed that one or all of Sydney, Essendon or Collingwood fall apart in the next few weeks and we can get at least one victory up before the bye and the $cully bonanza.

Last team to start 0-11? None other than the Keren Ugle powered Fremantle Dockers as referenced on this very page last week. Welcome to your historical farce connection.

Final thoughts
Three of four Rising Star nominees before this week have come in matches against us. Surely the Saints missed an opportunity for rare positive publicity by not playing a malnourished Biafran orphan in the back pocket.


  1. Magner... how good and hard is he!
    Rising Star nom?

  2. Swans made the GF in 1996


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