Sunday 28 July 2013


Congratulations to everyone involved in today's abortion for ensuring that once and for all an entire generation of kids are totally lost to following the club. I'm not sure they were queuing up around the block to watch us in the first place, but this has totally stuffed it. Not to mention another crop of adults throwing their hands up in the air - with some justification - and saying "call us when you're no longer a shambles". We will, but don't bother waiting next to your phone for a call any time in the near future.

For those of us who are fighting the weekly battle to remain loyal we remain eternally disappointed.
Just when you think this club can't humiliate its fans any more they make a special effort to walk right up to you and spit in your face. Fools like me thought that forcing Mark Neeld into the wood-chipper had solved everything and at least bought us time to the end of the season where we could hit the reset button without adding another day of shame - our seventh since 2008 - to this list with time for one or two more before the season is done.

Removing the figurehead and taking the "will they/won't they" pressure off certainly worked in parts. We looked reasonable against St Kilda (who are naff) and Sydney (who are good but weren't playing at 100%) and actually good in parts against the Bulldogs before our 'elite conditioning' saw us die in the arse in the last quarter. Most of us were even willing to overlook the Kardinia Park fiasco due to the conditions and the quality of the opposition but today will be the final straw for some. It's one thing to be tonked by the best sides in the competition, it's another to lose by 20 goals to a resolutely mid-table and mentally fragile (though not even remotely as much as) team who spent the first half piss-farting around before deciding to crack in and really belt the bejesus out of us.

Good luck to them, so they should have molested us. If we weren't going to raise any resistance as they rampaged from one end of the field to the other playing like they were Hawthorn then we deserved everything we got - another trip to rock bottom. The only thing that is saving us from being a front page laughing stock is that Essendon are lurching from one shambles to another, but at least they're tail-spinning while (usually) playing good football. At least if they get bombed back to the stone age they'll go into decay with their heads held high. Even St Kilda can take some solace in their 100 point loss being a rare occurence and not a danger that lurks around every corner.

In a week which we announced a "football development academy" can somebody tell me who from this list of staff members is responsible for the mental wellbeing of our players? I've been banging on about this for two years, and was told by the late Mark Neeld himself last year that everything was cool because there was about a million coaches that players could talk to if they were feeling shithouse. Sure, that's wonderful but it's hardly anonymous. If I'm Player X and I have good reasons for hating Player Y and Assistant Coach Z I'm hardly going to go and tell one of their fellow assistants about it and expect that it's going to stay confidential or not be held against them at a later date. Wheel in the shrinks before it's too late, cop the "Dees on the Couch" headlines that will undoubtedly follow when some scumbag leaks it all to Caro and let's get on with our lives.

How about some counselling for fans as well? There should be an anonymous hotline that people can call to vent - sure I've got this blog to let rip on but there are several things I'd like to say which could be very easily considered to be defamatory and the ad revenue doesn't even cover the hosting costs for Demonwiki let alone an adverse finding and legal costs.

For that reason I waited until the next morning to write about what I saw yesterday. If I'd done it about 6pm Saturday night it would probably have tripped every internet swear filter and I'd have had cease and desist letters landing at Demonblog Towers my midnight. Or would it? On one hand I'm furious beyond words about what I saw in that horrible, soulless place yesterday but on the other there's a resignation to the fact that this sort of stuff is almost expected to happen now that we've become the worst non-expansion team since the triple wooden-spoon early 90's Swans if not worse.

What makes it painful - amongst the resignation that this is our fate forever more - is that I'd fooled myself into thinking we'd turned the corner though. So a 20 goal loss to an average team came out of nowhere like a sniper's bullet. Sure I expected to lose by 10 goals, and even 70 or 80 wouldn't have surprised me but this was rude. When I suggested everyone was looking towards the finish line looming on the horizon I expected that they'd all wait at least until the last four weeks of the season before totally collapsing and bringing yet another layer of shame on the club.

As a very sensible person tried to ask The Craig Report during the week maybe our players were rooted from having played in a slog one week and humidity the next? I know there's almost nobody left to pick in the 2's, and I'm sure given that we've got Mr. Whizz Bang Fitness Guru they wouldn't have put anybody out there who couldn't run any more but maybe a couple more rotations wouldn't have hurt. One that probably did was Terlich going out late - I still hold out hopes for Tapscott but why did they pick him as the replacement if he wasn't going to play down back? Clisby did alright when forced to play Margaret's role but let's flash back to the glory days of early 2011 when Tappy was down back heaving 50m kicks down the line. For the last year he's been forced to play as some sort of weird HFF who doesn't kick goals (apart from the first one yesterday) and it's wasting him.

Anyway, who gives a toss we're done for anyway so they may as well play Troy Davis in the ruck and make Rory Taggert the CFO for all the good it's going to do us at the moment. Playing a home game at Etihad Stadium will do this to you, but yesterday psychologically pushed me over the edge to the point where I'm starting to prepare myself for this club to die. I see no future. Yeah, let's go out and get a midfield from somewhere - it'll be just in time for our defenders to all leave or turn to pumpkins and Jesse Hogan to do a $cully and scuttle off to Fremantle for enormous money and success.

We're a joke of an outfit that nobody anywhere has even the slightest respect for, and the only reason the AFL are supporting us instead of cutting us loose and watching us die is that there's nowhere to relocate us and no obvious merger partners to force us on. Whatever comes out of the league's intervention/takeover had better work, because we're about to be on the last roll of the dice. They're not going to keep pouring money into what's going to quickly become a West Sydney style bottomless pit forever - and given the choice between paying to keep the Giants or Suns alive and switching off the life-support of a Victorian club in an already overcrowded market I think we all know what they're going to do.

We'll be ok in the short term, there'll be a few more seasons of shame and suffering before the curtains are drawn for good but if we're still going like this in two or three years time our turnout at the MCG is going to start looking like it did today at Docklands - and at that point when even the media sees through the lies of there being 16,000 people there, all the bullshit that we've been through in the last few years will come to nowt and it'll be over. Nobody really cares about the first club carking it or there being a team called 'Melbourne' if they're too broken to save.

I just hope if we're going to go tits up that they let us die with dignity instead of throwing us into a shotgun wedding with some other arsehole of a club (GWS Demons to create an 'instant' Melbourne fanbase for their real pet team? GTFO) and replace us with a totally new team in Tassie that I can half-heartedly follow from day one. There will be no more rearranging my life around watching footy from that point, I will see them play when I'm available and can be bothered and probably not even care a tenth as much when they lose compared to the slopfest we're currently following.

That's a few years off now though, and I'm starting to become enormously depressing about our future (though don't say I didn't told you so when it all goes down) so why not turn to being enormously depressing about our present instead? Did you hear the one about the team who kicked the first goal of the match and then failed to go inside 50 again for 25 minutes?

Ignoring the fact that there was definitely a third I50 where we got about two metres into the very edge at the boundary line you could tell that it was all set to go horrifically wrong at some point in the very near future. Tapscott's first goal aside we looked downright reasonable for the first few minutes, but eventually it became clear that we couldn't get the ball across the middle of the ground under any circumstances - and that's always a fair sign you're going to get flogged.

It didn't help that we were trying to play a man behind the ball, just removing one player up the field and making it even harder for our poor under siege defenders to clear the ball for more than a few seconds at a time. We all know North start games well (before it goes tits up against real sides) but it was like the night Dean Bailey set up to lose 30-10 against Carlton on a Friday night and we got banned from ever appearing in a decent timeslot again.

Poor old Cam Pedersen was the face of our inability to get the ball away from our own line. After a rocky start I thought he actually wasn't too bad, but not only were the crowd blaming him for absolutely everything that went wrong (even when he'd kick it and his teammate would fall over or be outmuscled with the slightest of ease) but by halfway through the first quarter even his own teammates were ignoring him when he was running free. He can find the ball, but not sure if he has any role when Frawley/Garland/McDonald are all fit. No point in putting him forward if we're not going to get the ball down there anyway - but at least we've got two more seasons to find some role for him.

I feel bad for him because it can't be easy playing in our backline. When midfielders or forwards stuff something up we shrug and go "oh well" because that's what we expect - but spoiled by Garland, Frawley and now McDonald saving our arse so many times we're instantly abusive to any talls who come near our forward line and look nervous. Sellar has copped it (despite playing some decent games - THE Essendon match anybody?) and now Pedo's getting the same, not helped by everybody knowing he's on a three year contract for reasons which are unknown to all humans bar Tim Harrington and Mark Neeld.

As usual there wouldn't be such a focus on our defence if everyone else could keep the ball away from there for more than 10 seconds at a time. For once we weren't totally horrendous from centre clearances - despite Gawn getting poleaxed in the hitouts - but then once we got that somewhat right we reverse course from the last few weeks and got flayed in the clearances around the ground instead. And there were plenty of those due to the umpires deciding not to pay more than a handful of free kicks all day - which is fine if your team is going to at least break even at stoppages.

More worrying than any of that was the amount of players we had running around nowhere near their opponents. I'm glad that Toumpas got a few touches after last week's debacle, and when he did some of his kicking was magnificent but any danger of picking up an opponent? See also Davey, Aaron who I'm ready to now confidently declare as absolutely finished. The only thing that saved us from the game being over at quarter time was North's ineptitude with the ball - but at least they were getting it, and if you get it enough you're going to eventually kick a decent score. We never get it, we never kick decent scores, we are Australia's favourite victims.

Obviously we were still in it, but everything started to go properly wrong from the moment where Davey and Fitz saw the ball bounce between them and fly back over their head into the hands of a North player who gleefully stuffed the goal home. How come we never get novelty goals like that? (answer: because we never get the ball near goal) Until then they had been horribly wasteful and were foolishly leaving the door open for us to reinvestigate what we were doing and do something very un-MFC like developing a Plan B.

The umpiring was.. interesting.. not that it cost us anything near the 20 goals we lost by - and we even got a few rorts of our own but is it possible that the AFL might sit down and decide on an actual standard for what they will and won't pay. I thought they did this annually with their famous DVD, but one week you can do XYZ, the next week you get flogged for it. At the very minimum can we agree that the hands in the back rule is a total farce and strip it back to only paying a free when there's actual force that impacts the marking contest? Should help the umpires in not having to adjudicate whether or not a fingernail has been run down somebody's spine - although clearly they've gone rogue and stopped calling it anyway. What about the bit where the North player lobbed a rugby pass out of the pack right in front of the umpire who didn't call it, leaving it for the other umpire who had clearly seen it on the big screen despite being on the wrong side of the pack to run in and ensure justice was done? Still, we could have had all the scams in the world in our favour yesterday and it wouldn't have helped.

Looking back the second quarter was the equivalent of 2010 - good times even though we didn't know it until later - apart from North botching a number of sitters at the start of the quarter and the flatlining Davey gifting them a goal with one of the worst kicks of his career at least we kicked two goals. If Jones had drilled one on the run like he would have nine times out of 10 we'd have been back to within 10 points after being five goals down and North would have at least had to wonder if they weren't going to completely bugger it up again. Instead they go straight back down the other end at a speed that would terrify Usain Bolt and get the first one back before Wells managed to kick a bullshit goal by sticking his boot out lying on the ground and all our hard work had gone up in a cloud of dust. So typically MFC it should be printed on a postcard.

When it became clear that we'd done our best work and North weren't going to roll over and die almost everyone went into self-preservation mode. We only conceded one more score after the Wells fluke (I see in the highlights that Dwayne declared it a potential goal of the year. Dwayne is a clown), and were given a second chance to regroup and come out with some credit in the second half. From that point onwards we were outscored by 15 goals - LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. The only time we looked even reasonable in the third quarter other than our one goal was when Blease got what was pretty much his first touch of the game and went on one of his lovely runs, setting up Tapscott for an absolute sitter... which he missed.

You could tell how badly Davey was going when he got the boot for Kent instead of Blease - especially considering that set-up to Tappy was apparently the only touch Doin' It With Blease got in the whole second half. Though again I'm sure the stats are bullshit in part because he also had one shambolic kick across defensive 50 that led to a goal in the last quarter avalanche. That's the second week in a row we've basically played one short - last week it was Toumpas/Kent, this week it was Blease and to a lesser extent Kent who absolutely does not float my boat in any fashion at the moment.

Our situation wasn't helped by the large number of our impotant [Note from later: the spelling error on the left is possibly the most Freudian moment in Demonblog history, even if I still didn't spell the word I was subconsciously thinking of properly) players and leaders who were almost totally missing. Trengove and Grimes (even though he was 'tagging') couldn't get near it. Watts was ok on the rare occasions he actually got it but I'm still not entirely sure whether he cares that we're being thrashed or not, Howe couldn't get within a mile of the ball again, Dawes needs kicks delivered to him on a platter which our midfield can't manage (but still had five contested marks and four inside 50's, so I'll back him) and Byrnes has become the master of flapping at the ball like he has crab hands. What about the time Trengove did one of the great third-man-up ruck hitouts straight to him and he completely botched it? No thanks. Should dominate next week against a rubbish club like he has several times, but I really don't see the need to keep playing him for the rest of the year after that much less 2014.

As for the last quarter it can go and get stuffed. Last year we delivered our first scoreless last quarter since 1992, but at least we kept our opposition to a few goals that day instead of rolling over and dying to the tune of 8.6 against squat. Even the King of Sizzle managed to blot his copybook in an otherwise excellent performance by doing a Garland in Darwin style panic kick off the 'turf' straight down the middle of the ground and into the arms of a North player.

We just gave up and allowed ordinary players and tremendous shit blokes like Harvey to run riot because we're mentally weak and have absolutely stuff all on-field leadership. Somebody had the opportunity to make a hero of himself to all footy fans by kicking Harvey in the face while he was on the ground, taking the six week ban and coming back to a heroes standing ovation in early 2014 but nobody was keen. I was hoping Dunn would do it as payback for that time that football's third shittest bloke faked that our Lynden had punched him to try and scab a free. Instead he was allowed to go around unmolested, doing as he pleased other than a minor tangle with Toumpas where the Toump gave him a couple of casual jumper punches that were about 30cm too low to make the sort of impact that we wanted.

Just to rub it all in somewhere in the middle of the last quarter apocalypse Frawley tweaked his hammy again (about two minutes after he stormed through the middle and I said "I bet he'll do his hammy again") - for the second time in a month - and went off as they passed the ton (having already stormed past our biggest loss at Docklands). Self respect was optional at this point - and that's coming from a team who had managed a royal two marks inside 50 all day.

Even the fans weren't getting upset. There were a few choice words directed at some turkey North fan who looked like the fat bloke out of Modern Family, and the cheersquad appeared to get into a fight with Robbie Tarrant but both him from the Big W ads and the shit Tarrant both had the last laugh.

Last year when we put in a downright reasonable performance in losing to Freo at the same ground fans some guy threw a great tantrum and kicked the stairs as he stormed out during the last quarter. This time those brave individuals who didn't try to 'beat the crowd' at three quarter time just shuffled out bit by bit after every last quarter goal while those of us who stayed to the (very) bitter end sat around playing with our phones and looking up every once in a while in the hope that a Melbourne player would have the ball only to catch another North goal. With the level of disinterest from our players - admittedly down to two on the bench by the end - I'm surprised they didn't kick even more goals.

Eventually the game reached the point that we'd all been waiting desperately for, the final siren. North fans, on the other hand, were probably hoping for another ten minutes so they could extend the margin to 150.

For those of you who are hanging on our quest to avoid our lowest scoring 22 game season in history (reminder: 207.325.1477 in 1997, and even then at least we won four games) we're now 162.142.1114. So, with five games left and 364 points to score we suddenly need an average of 72.8 a game. Suffice to say the activities at Kardinia Park and Docklands haven't helped - it was about seven goals a game before we turned in those two stinkers. We should cover that next week (not that we'll necessarily win) and could get around the mark against Gold Coast (while almost certainly losing) but with games against Freo and Adelaide at Football Park to come I'd say that absolution is on the cards for these '97 Dees.

Also Jeremy Howe should get the four more goals he needs to pass Brad Miller's 2008 total of 26 for our lowest leading goalkicker total of the modern era but don't hold the breath the way this year's going.

Are we having fun yet?

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
It feels almost criminal to give votes to three defenders considering what happened, but it's not like anybody other than Sylvia else did anything even remotely reasonable - at least they stopped some of the Inside 50s that everyone else was leaking with gay abandon.

5 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Tom McDonald
3 - James Frawley
2 - Nathan Jones
1 - Lynden Dunn

Apologies to Gawn (for general play rather than rucking) and M. Jones

The good news for Tom McDonald is that if he picks up BOG in every game for the rest of the year and Jones scores stuff all he can still tie for first and take a second Demonblog trophy home in the one season. Realistically only Frawley and Sylvia can snatch this from here, and if Chip's going to be battling a dodgy hammy it's down to whether or not Col's attempts to win a blockbuster retirement plan contract at a decent club are going to spur a six week glory period like we've never seen before.

36 - Nathan Jones (PROVISIONAL WINNER: 2013 Allen Jakovich Medal)
22 - James Frawley (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
21 - Colin Sylvia
19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
18 - Colin Garland, Jeremy Howe
17 - Dean Terlich
16 - Jack Viney
11 - Tom McDonald
10 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Lynden Dunn, Jack Watts
6 - Michael Evans
5 - Aaron Davey, Chris Dawes, Jack Fitzpatrick (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Max Gawn (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Jack Trengove
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott

Crowd Watch
People pretend they don't know why our fans despise Docklands under any name, and have since it opened. Apart from the obvious reasons that we never win there and you can't take chips in from outside without having a security guard attack you like you've murdered somebody.

I accept that they scheduled us there against a team who would bring fans rather than an interstate side to ensure that the crowd cracked 10,000 (and be entirely honest with yourself, if that had been Freo and not North it would not have) but it was another kick to the teeth that they shut the top deck and forced anybody without an AFL or super premium membership into a tiny studio apartment sized area in the pocket where you can see fuck all of what's happening on the other side of the ground.

If it saves the club money to shut the top deck I'll just about accept it. If it's Etihad's decision then they can stick their shit ground up their arse. The handful of us left should have stormed L3 halfway through the last quarter and refused to move, possibly unfurling a banner reading #fistedforever (I would actually like to do this at one of our remaining home games). At the exact same time that our game was being played a bunch of protesters were occupying the intersection of Swanston and Bourke Street without having their craniums cracked by baton happy cops, so obviously this kind of stuff is ok.

Seeking to make the most of a bad situation the club was nice enough to set out of a section just for MFC members behind the goals (so we could watch the big screen when the ball was at the other end, wondering why we didn't just stay home and 'enjoy' it on TV) but obviously nobody bothered to tell the Etihad Stadium staff to enforce it by stopping North fans coming in and the 'attendant' posted at the top of the stairs proved about as useful as the US border for keeping Mexicans out.

Also due to the munters who designed the place allowing the wind to rip through from all points it was colder than a witch's tit but that's been an issue for years. Surprisingly not such an issue on Level 3 where there aren't wind tunnels running directly through the seats - good luck ever getting to sit up there again for one of our games though.

Had we won the stadium would have been fine.

Media Watch
Apparently BT was on 3AW declaring that all our fans were at the snow. BT is one of history's greatest fuckheads, now officially worse than Dwayne. Probably serves you right for listening to such a shit station in the first place but each to their own. Hope their transmitter falls off Mt. Dandenong and slides all the way to Docklands before wedging itself in the side of the stadium.

Koaching Korner
I've never taken anything said by Damien Barrett seriously since his breathless exclusive about Scott Burns becoming our coach in 2011 turned out to be total bollocks (though maybe we'd have been better off if it had happened), but his latest has me concerned. Not his latest 'hard hitting' column (no link, it would encourage them to believe he was popular) but the claim I saw when 'accidentally' tuning into The Footy Show that Mark Williams (pictured above) is facing an uphill battle to get our job because the league aren't happy with the way he left GWS.

For those who missed the show (spoiler alert - apparently Sam is old) the other half of this is that we're going to have one more massive belt at Roos before giving up for good. Makes sense I suppose considering that the door has all but shut on him in both Brisbane and Perth - but can this be it? Either he's interested or he's waiting to swoop into Essendon when James Hird is banned for life. Not sure that you could go to him with a $cully sized offer and he'd be keen after having seen us play yesterday, but it's about time somebody took responsibility for dragging this club off its knees.

So, if we give old mate awkwardly clutching his trusty iPad the benefit of the doubt then another downside to getting a shitload of cash from the league (I knew there had to be one) is that the #chokeyourselfwithatie dream is seemingly about to wither and die again, just like it did in 2011. There's still time for a people's revolution to try and put him in the top job, but we're an army of people waving spatulas against the best resourced army in town - they'll tell us who we're getting, and if this is the case it won't be the great man.

What a tragedy it would be to miss out on the infectious lunacy of a premiership coach just because he snuck out the window without leaving a note after a one-season-stand with a floozy of a team - but that's what you get for being the club who swum half-way to the deep end then started flailing about as if we were about to drown.

Somebody should at least tell David Parkin that he's involved in a swizz and has been lured onto a puppet coaching selection panel with no more than power of recommendation to whichever one of the league's faceless men (we love you all, don't shut off the cash) is ticking off our final choice. Hopefully it ends with him doing a real life version of that League Teams ad and attacking people.

This final crack at Roos had better not just be offering him another $200,000 a year unless the AFL are paying it for the life of his contract. It's estimated to cost $500,000 to have your own VFL team - and I'd rather have that than going to our absolute financial limit in order to act like the footy equivalent of Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin to turn up.

Strangely enough since Collingwood have been exposed as 'not as good as they were under Mick' any frenzy that existed for Rodney Eade has started to ebb away but he's still in the mix, and out of nowhere Dean Laidley's name was tossed into the running during the week. If it were still 2007 I'd be thrilled to have him, but now with half the North fans I know telling me to run a mile and the other half saying that it would be a good idea I'm staying neutral on everything other than this photo - which is the greatest of all time. Surely it can't help that he was at Port when they were putrid and has gone to St Kilda who aren't much better?

Unless - and as I get older I start to see conspiracy theories everywhere - Roos has already agreed to come to us and is just playing coy, with Laidley's name tossed out to a friendly journo as a decoy to take the heat off 'Our Paul' for a few days. It's all pointing towards Kevin Sheedy being parachuted into the MCG at half time of Round 23 to sign a contract as Peter Spargo is clearly being held at gunpoint by Peter Jackson.

Personally I think before this week's fiasco we were being conditioned (via 'randomly appearing' stories like this) to accept Neil Craig instead of a 'big name' - which let's be fair nobody other than Roos really qualifies as anyway - and I'm still sort of fine with that despite what happened today. I like him enough to not want him to put himself through it, and I am also interested in the prospect of a Day 0 style slash and burn campaign which totally replaces the entire football department to a man, but I'm still willing to accept him over anybody but the great man.

Having said that his popularity has taken a huge hit this week, and if we lose to GWS and get thrashed again by Gold Coast then his probably plummet through the floor - but the good news is that we don't get to pick our coach now so you may as well just lie back and cop whoever we're given and hope for the best.

So on that note, my updated rankings are as follows:

1. Mark Williams
2. Paul Roos
3. Neil Craig
4. Rodney Eade
5. Brett Ratten
6. Dean Laidley
8. Darren Crocker
9. Mark Harvey
78. Kevin Sheedy
276. Matthew Primus

Whoever it is, no pressure, just the four flags please. The way it's going both Nathan Buckley and James Hird might be eligible for the rankings by this time next week.

Next Week
People like to mock us with the suggestion that Queen's Birthday is 'our Grand Final', and when we do stupid things like organise the Scotch College Marching Band to show up and play on the ground beforehand they've got a point, but I say 'cobblers' to that theory because next week is every inch the Grand Final for us considering the state we're in.

If we lose to GWS after the season they've had, my god. It doesn't matter that they just played a belter of a first three quarters against Collingwood (seems familiar) they're 0-17. You do not lose to a team who is 0-17 without there being some carnage - though Hawthorn seemed to bounce back fairly well from giving Freo their first win at 0-17 in 2001 - either way we're going to have to work hard for it with a team who have been physically battered for two weeks and mentally battered for a third.

Watch $cully turn up and have the third good game of his career - and second against us - just to rub it in. If we do the right thing and win then it's hardly worth throwing a street parade for but at least we should (SHOULD) avoid total humilation for the rest of the season and go into 2014 with more misguided hope.

The natural inclination after our performance today is to murder EVERYONE and make an obscene amount of changes, but we're handicapped on that front by a) having nobody of much quality in the twos and b) the need for some sort of continuity before we lose to GWS. This is also the point of the year where we cock-tease Casey Scorpions fans, coaches, administrators and players into thinking that they're good before suddenly pulling the rug out from underneath them and packing all our players away for the finals while they go out in straight sets.

IN: Garland, McKenzie, Magner (come on now, let's get serious here), Terlich
OUT: Byrnes, Davey, Kent (omit), Frawley (inj)
LUCKY: Blease, Tapscott, Trengove
UNLUCKY: Taggert (give it a week until we're not playing to avoid humiliation)

Next Year
Today proved to me that it's time to burn everything down and start again. As much as I wouldn't burn an effigy if he got the top job Craig goes back upstairs, we scrap the leadership group and delist a couple of the contracted players now while we can afford to waste the AFL's money on doing it. If Shannon Byrnes wants to be an assistant coach of some variety then he's welcome, but there's little or no point to him being out there next year if he's going to play one good game every six weeks and one good quarter of all the others. Took a couple of good overhead marks for a man with crab hands.

As for the leaders I don't give a rats how much time we've invested over the last two years into spinning the genius of picking Trengove and Grimes, they drop down to joint vice-captains with N. Jones as captain. Dawes, Frawley and Garland stay in the leadership group (because football law dictates you've got to have one) with Clark an optional as long as it's not going to interfere with his important comeback.

My revised list of departures is as follows - 12 gone with two potential trades. I still think Watts will give it a go for another couple of years before deciding we're complete wank (and what's he doing to help stop that?) and racking off elsewhere. Sylvia, on the other hand, is g-o-r-n to the highest bidder, and being one of our few credible players on days like yesterday will save him from having to go to whichever mediocre side will take him a'la Moloney.

Free agent: Sylvia
Retirement: Davey, Rodan
Delisted: Byrnes, Couch, Davis, Gillies, Jetta, Macdonald (boo, save Joel Mac), Magner (not for this, just expect it to happen), Sellar, Taggert
Potential trades: Jamar, Tapscott

Getting rid of that many in one go obviously makes it difficult to replace them (if we use five national draft, two PSD and rookie draft picks and pick up one free agent we're still a couple short) so I suspect a couple of them can still do enough to survive. Byrnes is the obvious one even though he might not be a big contributor, but if Davis or Taggert were allowed to play seniors anytime soon we might be able to judge their worth as well.

As for what we're going to bring in your guess is as good as mine. Given that we (probably) don't want flavour of the month Tom Boyd it would almost be better for us to finish last and do our own version of GWS' unedifying auction of the pick to the whole league. No chance of them giving that up though (hello Tankquiry II), so can we flog pick #2 for pick 6, 7, 8 or 9 and worthwhile players or another pick in the mid 10's? Too cavalier a move for us I'm sure.

Let's assume that we finish second last and keep the pick, draft experts please tell me who you want at #2. I'm concerned one of the popular second choices has a weakness listed as "strength". The last thing we need is another wafer thin midfielder who doesn't have anybody to protect him. Sure we've got Viney but I want more bruisers - I'm sick of us being battered around the ball by all and sundry. Based solely on the reviews contained in this Phantom Draft I want Matt Crouch, Ben Lennon or Kade Kolodjashnij just because he has a cracking name (and will wear #47 so we can call him KK-47) but am happy to take the advice of seasoned draft watchers.

Either way whoever it is we'll ruin his career, so does it really matter?

Was it worth it?

Final Thoughts
I've now seen my lowest MFC score in person twice in a month. Who'd have thought Neil Craig would end up holding that record? It's as absurd as Mark Neeld holding the record for highest scoring quarter. Everything about this club is absurd.

Sunday 21 July 2013

More from the Pointless Manifesto Department

It's about this time of the year that everyone starts to look for the finish line. Players, coaches, interim Presidents, fans and internet nutbags. Especially internet nutbags, because we consider the period between the first delisting of the year and the last pick in the rookie draft to be the most exciting of the season. And so it shall be again - more careers cut short (and that's just the draftees) and more people like me falling for the "it's all going to get better next year" propaganda.

After the fortnight we've just had I wouldn't blame the players for giving up as well, and as long as they can get through Carnival of Hate V and not give the Giants their first/only win over the season I can deal with them pulling the pin in the last few weeks too, but I'm almost emotionally done. There was still an admirable amount of leaping about and swearing at the television tonight, but at the point where losing to Brisbane by 19 is actually a good thing that's when it's time to float through the last few weeks of the year under heavy sedation.

I'd consider myself to be fairly tolerant of abysmal football (you'd have to be), but if I hadn't 'missed' the Essendon, Hawthorn and Collingwood abortions, I'd have found myself sleeping in a gutter by now. It can't be too long until a mercifully short (for you anyway, I find it all therapeutic.. to a point) post like this turns up and my commitment to season 2013 is declared all but over.

Before any suggestion of putting the shutters up could be considered we had to get through our annual ludicrous but lucrative excursion to Darwin - the sort of pointless but profitable event that we'll still be trying to rationalise to ourselves (taking the game to remote communities! Escaping the Melbourne winter!) in a decade because we're still too skint to be able to ditch it. I'll be flinching when the fixture comes out next year in the fear that they'll find a way to schedule us in both matches at the ground.

One thing you can say for the Territory experience is that at least you always see something interesting happen when we play there. In 2010 it was holding on for a one point win as Jamie Bennell and Neville Jetta both played the games of their lives before Jamar conducted his post-match interview while sitting on the ground completely knackered, in 2011 it was Emo Maric kicking goals 'galore' in our last win before the apocalypse and in 2012 we had not only Jeremy Howe's Mark of the Year runner up but the otherwise near flawless Colin Garland committing an error that sums up our dark era in a way that only Morton's 'kick' that Queen's Birthday can match.

For some reason after one thriller and two reasonably close, entertaining games (entertaining enough considering players had to duck off to a meat locker during play to cool down) the AFL fixture rorter decided to break us and Port up - scheduling them against Footscray in the first game of the season just in case they decided the Dogs are going to be the long term Darwin team while we're shunted off to Cairns to replace the now suddenly loaded Richmond.

Then they take a game that might draw a respectable crowd at the MCG thanks to Fitzroy fans and send it north so that we can play GWS, Gold Coast and Fremantle at home instead. I respect the fact that we've had a cracking 'football' draw this year (and haven't taken even the remotest advantage of it) but we'd better get some bonuses from the AFL in next year's fixture for having willingly surrendered our club to them during the year. Let's play Gold Coast there instead next year - there's no way I'm missing out on the chance to abuse $cully on our ground at least once a year.

Was it wrong to get moderately excited when we kicked five goals in the first quarter? You knew that we'd follow it up with one (or less) in the second (just like our last start at the ground) but at this point any scraps of hope are accepted without question - I don't give a toss if we somehow end up with pick three instead of pick two, now I just want wins by any means necessary.

It didn't hurt that we were on the end of several umpiring rorts in our favour for once (how was Grimes not holding the ball? What about the King of Sizzle doing a Tornado DDT on Ash McGrath and not getting pinged?), but at times we did look like a reasonable football team in that first quarter. Alright, Brisbane aren't all that much better than us but considering we were effectively playing short with Teen Idol Toumpas totally unable to get near the ball and Trengove running around like your granny (he improved, the Teen Idol sadly did not). All that and the now traditional total inability to get a clearance out of the middle without the aid of a free kick.

It all balanced out in its own way, and with Viney back and allowing us at least some reasonable clearance play (not out of the centre, but that's too much to ask for at the moment) despite Jones being tagged to buggery we even looked half potent going forward despite Dawes and Watts playing like they were still up to their neck in the Kardinia Park swamp.

In their absence it was all about Fitz, whose rise from villain to top shelf cult hero forward is almost the exact reverse of the career of Juice Newton who was the people's champion before he played a game and ended up as a punchline despite averaging more than a goal a game. He must kick his TV in watching Fitz winning such public acclaim - but it's justified. Not entirely sure how he fits in if Jamar and Gawn both stay and Hogan storms into the side next year, but knowing our luck that won't be a problem because he's out of contract and will probably rack off somewhere else instead anyway.

His third goal and subsequent injury reminded me of the time I busted my wrist kicking a belter of a goal in Year 10 and didn't realise I'd done it until I was halfway through a fist pumping celebration. He survived, luckily considering the rude bend on his leg, but even though he came back to take his turn in the ruck and kick another goal he looked crocked from there on in.

Speaking of injuries when Sylvia got hurt it highlighted to me the dangerous gamble that free agent eligible players are taking in stringing their clubs along until the end of the season unless they've already got an iron-clad clandestine guarantee of a contract somewhere else. What if he'd done his knee tonight? You would think that any other interested clubs would immediately tear up any offers given his (relative) age, and that he'd be forced to stick with us on a price not artificially driven up by bidding from outsiders. You could see plenty of clubs still swiping Watts from us even if he did his ACL, but if a 27-year-old is going to miss 80% of next year who's coming with an open chequebook then?

Luckily he didn't, and apart from a couple of howlers (he was not alone on that front) I thought he played a good game considering he wasn't at peak fitness. Having said that I would still remain relatively unconcerned if he went elsewhere at the end of the year.

Just as the printing presses were starting to roll on the I SAW FITZ KICK 10 t-shirts the predicted second quarter debacle erupted. Just like our first match against them this year they went into the quarter time huddle having conceded a score that we're usually lucky to get in the entire game and thought "hold on a minute, what in god's name are we doing here?" Next thing we've kicked 1.4 to 5.1 for the quarter and are - seemingly - stuffed. The only difference to Round 5 was that they kicked straight this time instead of 2.8.

It was starting to go wrong, but at least the effort was there. They always seemed to have players running free, but now so do we - some of our rebounding out of defensive 50 is actually league standard now, and there were some runs through the corridor that were genuinely thrilling. As the game went on, Trengove got into it (definitely can't fault effort there - 12 tackles and some great chases - but I'm still convinced he's not right) and we even started to win some clearances out of the middle. Not for the first time under Neil Craig we actually looked like a proper footy team, and the his double act with Todd Viney in the coaches box was magnificent - they looked as if they'd at least whip Voss and old Owl Eyes Harvey if there was a brawl.

Apart from the centre clearances (which were allegedly 10-10 in the end, which is a stat I call tremendous bullshit on), and our long-term habit of going through a death struggle to kick a goal only to let the other side go down the other end and answer within a minute one of the main problems is that we still can't stop midfielders racking up a zillion touches. God help us all against Gold Coast in a couple of weeks if McKenzie is for any reason not available to come in and at least pretend to shadow Gary Ablett. He may have 60 that night. I'm aware that we have used Nicholson and Grimes in recent weeks to varying effect, but come on. You may as well let him have 60 and concentrate on stopping his Gold Coast chums.

Yet again the defence stood up - Frawley continues to be back at peak 2010 form and apart from one high profile tremendous cock-up to match his kick off the ground last year Garland was excellent too. Fingers crossed whatever he's done to himself is no more than a couple of weeks, rather than something that will interrupt his pre-season. We got stitched up a few times by quick kicks which went over everyone's head, or by short passes to free Brisbane players - but for the first time since Tapscott was running riot in his rookie season we actually look capable of picking the ball up in our defensive 50 and getting it forward without first having to battle through two ball-ups and three throw-ins.

I thought Davey was good too. It seems every time I decide he's done for he fires up, and every time I get comfortable about him playing on next year he drops off the face of the planet. Obviously the "playing at home" factor helps, just like it did for Byrnes last week against a top team before he spent this week fumbling everything that came near him against a mediocre one, but if he can provide crumb and act as a reasonable option around half-forward then there's a place for him. Now watch him get zero touches next week.

Had we not copped the last goal of the third quarter we might have been a reasonable chance, even without Garland and Gawn looking as if he was about to keel over a die from exhaustion. Brisbane were hardly doing themselves any favours, spending large periods of the game practically begging us to run over the top of them but we didn't have the legs.

It might have been different if a big fat deliberate rushed behind had been paid. The Brisbane bloke had nobody within metres of him but dived along the ground and knocked it through 'assuming' that there was pressure when there wasn't any. Cobblers that's not deliberate. Later on we got pinged for the same on an out-of-bounds because Matt Jones didn't expect Tom McDonald to lay a shepherd for him and thought the player would come at him enough to make stepping over the line legal. Surely both of them were basically the same scenario (except, I suppose, we'd have gotten a goal out of ours). Maybe I'm just looking for karmic payback from the Clisby debacle against the Swans, but just because you slide along the ground and would have no chance of picking the ball up and getting it back into play how does that constitute pressure? Boo to our players for not even whinging about it and trying to pressure the umpire into making the decision.

Given that we only kicked one goal in the last quarter (and two at that end for the match - showing the people of Darwin just why we've got a Harlem Globetrotters style reputation for being excitement machines) it seemed silly that we were within two goals in the last few minutes. Would have been Grand Theft Football if we'd won it from there, but I'd have taken it.

Considering that Fitzpatrick and Sylvia weren't 100% and that Garland was gone for the last quarter and a half I'm happy to declare it a 'brave' effort to get so close. Mistakes were made and we did stupid things but there's no point flogging them for it at this point. The whole thing is either one big audition for a new coach or a good chance for Neil Craig to try things out and make judgements about players for when he's handed the keys. Getting close is a novelty, and it's going to take a few losses more thrilling than that to start making me think losing by three goals isn't actually a good thing.

In getting excited about getting close (sad) it should be pointed out that they were without plenty of first choice players while we were probably only lacking a handful, so how much of an achievement it all was is open for debate. I saw signs, but I always see signs. Usually when you get closer you realise that they say something completely different to what you thought.

The odd thing about Brisbane is that they've now won seven games, and Michael Voss is still some chance of getting the sack. As a Melbourne fan try to work that out. Maybe it's because their fans have somewhat higher expectations having seen, you know, success (rumour has it there's something called the top eight) but if we won seven games in a season now we'd carry the coach off the ground on our shoulders - and that's why we're absolute mince.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Jack Viney
4 - James Frawley
3 - Aaron Davey
2 - Colin Sylvia
1 - Jack Fitzpatrick

Apologies to Garland, Grimes, Howe, N. Jones and Trengove (last three quarters)

No change at the top as the provisional winner stays provisionally atop the dais, but a big change in the Seecamp as Frawley storms past people's choice winner Garland and into the lead - with tonight's injury that could leave it as a neck-and-neck race between Chip and Terlich. Speaking of Margaret, his brave bid to score the Seecamp/Hilton double has been complicated not only by a new leader in one award but the sudden re-emergence of one J. Viney (not that one) in the Rising Star after a BOG performance that made ladies and men alike swoon even if he's still not an expert at hitting targets.

As for the ruckmen Fitzpatrick sneaks level despite having played about 25% in the ruck. I've decided that there's no point trying to work out the line at which point somebody should be DQ'ed for not rucking enough - he's a ruckman, he got votes, doesn't matter what he got them for.

34 - Nathan Jones (PROVISIONAL WINNER: 2013 Allen Jakovich Medal)
19 - James Frawley (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), (Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
18 - Colin Garland , Jeremy Howe
17 - Dean Terlich
16 - Colin Sylvia, Jack Viney
10 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Jack Watts
7 - Lynden Dunn, Tom McDonald
6 - Michael Evans
5 - Aaron Davey, Chris Dawes, Jack Fitzpatrick (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Max Gawn (CO-LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Jack Trengove
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week

This intro view bought to you by the PEOPLE FOR MARK WILLIAMS CAMPAIGN - Canberra

Thankfully for fans of Facebook comments the club tried to give us plenty to choose from in the last segment of the year by reverting to the familiar one post per quarter format. Unfortunately the community let both you and I down, and instead it was just 5000 posts of "X is no good", "why isn't this on TV?" (surely people who don't have Foxtel have realised that you can watch games on the internet in dodgy fashion by now?) and "what radio station is this on?" (WOULD IT NOT  BE EASIER TO LOOK AT THE BROADCAST GUIDE?).

All we were left with was the guy who still hasn't realised that Toumpas was a pick four and somebody floating the theory that somehow our coaches are responsible for a player falling across Garland's ankle. Boring. No hesitation in shutting this segment down for the year, though it seems I missed some rippers on this earlier post as the moderators had gotten to them first.

And that's it for the Facebook Comment of the Week for 2013 unless somebody alerts me to something absolutely outstanding and I can drag out one of the old videos on repeat to intro it. Hope you enjoyed it more than I did trawling through hundreds of brain dead comments looking for elusive highlights.

Next Week
As usual you will probably read this after the Casey game has been played, so none of the ins will make any sense whatsoever after they've lost by 27 goals. Nevertheless based on the form shown in previous weeks (as judged by those updates on the website) I'd like the following:

IN: Barry, Macdonald
OUT: Garland (inj), Byrnes (omit)
LUCKY: Kent, Toumpas (consider last night's fiasco as a lesson and get it right from here)
UNLUCKY: Magner, McKenzie

Obviously if Fitzpatrick can't play The Spencil returns in his place, and if he celebrates by kicking four I'll change my name to Miguel Fernandez and move to Costa Rica.

Even at their psychological lowest, coming off yet another heartbreaking defeat where this time they fell short of doing what most of the league has done to them, you would have to expect that North are going to tonk us. I know if we're within 40 points at three-quarter time 'wags' and 'raconteurs' everywhere are going to be suggesting we're about to launch a storming comeback but we won't. Sounds like a great advertisement for thousands (one or two) to turn up for our home game at Corporate Stadium.

The only thing that stops from being homicidal about having to waste a home game by playing a tenant of the place is the idea that the AFL in their kindness (and in preparation for a later non-hostile takeover) thought we'd get a better crowd against a Victorian side than we would against Freo (which is, admittedly, true) and that they were actually being kind to us. Either way it ends with you, me and about 12,000 people sitting next to each other on Level 1 at 2.10pm next Saturday because they've shut the top deck. Hopefully the place collapses before then.

Hail To The Chief
For an unpaid job that's the equivalent of becoming CEO of Air Congo there are a lot of people insane enough to want to become our president. It's getting to the point where we'll need to have one of those US style debates where 15 candidates are wheeled out on stage at the same time.

Kennett's come and gone, leaving behind Stockdale who is apparently (if you believe the papers) in a neck and neck battle with this guy while heir apparent Geoff Freeman wonders where it all went wrong after he boldly declared we could play finals within three years and then went overseas never to be seen again.

Yesterday I thought I was anti-Stockdale (possibly having been roped in a treat by the Herald Sun article), but now I've realised that it doesn't really matter who the President is - it's a role traded by corporate high flyers behind the scenes. In some ways I still am anti, but what's the use in complaining if he's the man the AFL decides they want to protect their bailout funding? It's not the US Government, they don't just give enormous bailout funds to failing corporations without putting some sort of checks and balances in place.

I won't even hold it against him too violently that he was pro-merger in '96 (well, maybe a little bit), but unless it turns out that the Christopher Kelleher on his ticket is actually Chris From Camberwell I'd still rather they settled on somebody else.

It's irrational, and I can't explain why he makes me uneasy but as it's not our choice anyway there's no point even trying to explain. I'm all for rolling over and letting the AFL stick it anywhere they like for the amount of money they're tipping in to the club, but can we at least try to pretend there's some sort of democratic aspect to it?

Quoth the banker:

Demetriou told 3AW that Stockdale did want to be chairman, but that "we haven't landed on a chairman yet".

"We're going through a process – there is a noms (nominations) committee that involves representatives of the Melbourne Football Club and members of the AFL and we are going through a proper, diligent process."

"There is a couple of nuances with the (financial) package ... It will be conditional on the composition of the board which of course includes the chairman which again, it is incorrect to say that the AFL is appointing the board."

But more importantly the members aren't. Not we ever do anyway considering there hasn't been a vote in 10 years but it would at least be nice to know that if Mr. X decided to form his own ticket and join the scrum that the league would consider allowing a fair fight - without using the emotional blackmail of holding back the payoff just to ensure that their candidate won.

At the moment you COULD run against their choice, of course you could, but unless you've got $2.3mil to tip in out of your own pocket J. Gutnick style then don't bother because that's what it's going to cost us to vote you in.

I suppose that's the price you pay for throwing your hands up and admitting that the club is completely stuffed - but was it? Everyone's talking like we're going to go bankrupt in the next five minutes if we didn't sell the club out to the league, but surely even dropping $3m this year wouldn't have been totally fatal? Didn't we just gain the best part of $6mil in assets from merging with the Bentleigh Club?

I know we're projected (by the AFL's appointee it should be point out) to lose $5m over the next two years, and that our small profit last year was only thanks to the Foundation Heroes, but something just seems wrong to behave like we're Fitzroy and the Nauru Insurance Corporation has just called up to ask for their money back. It seems to me like we've seen the ship sailing and realised that if we let it go then there'll never be a chance to get on board ever again. Hopefully if they try to force Stockdale on us somebody at least moots running against him just to force the AFL to admit that they'd take the money away if he/she won.

It's hard to say no to shitloads of money and a CEO who - so far at least - seems to be doing all the right things, but how long until it's even remotely a 'member's club' again? What sort of degrading activities are we going to be forced into to pay off the $2.5m? And what comes next? If we're back in the same position in five years are we ringing up Footscray and offering to put a velcro Bulldog on a red and blue jumper?

It does seem like a last roll of the dice - the 'big' clubs would love to clear a Victorian club out of the market, and North, Footscray and St Kilda would be desperate to throw somebody else under the bus to save themselves (though you'd think we'd end up taking at least one of them with us - if not the lot in two simultaneous AFL brokered/enforced mergers) and that makes me nervy. Better to have a last roll than no roll at all I suppose, but I wish the club would hold some sort of free-for-all members information night or similar with AFL representatives present so that people could ask questions about this takeover. Time to accept we've been (willingly) invaded and start to ask what the exit strategy is.

Koaching Korner
In more important news thank god Paul Roos is running a mile from our job (and allegedly towards the Eagles), because now I can drop the fa├žade that he was my first choice all along. Now it's Choco all the way, just as it should have been when we started the #chokeyourselfwithatie campaign in August 2011.

You're looking at a list full of kids, mental cases and players with abysmal career win/loss records (Jeremy Howe has almost had more winning Mark of the Year nominations than wins, Nathan Jones has won 37 of 151 and Frawley isn't far in front of him in winning percentage) with a respectable amount of players who are - despite our record and percentage - quite good. Time to bring in somebody who not only has runs on the board but will bring infectious enthusiasm as well as recent experience developing kids.

Sure he 'only' won one flag as a coach (as opposed to Roos and Malthouse with the Pies?) and things went a bit tits up near the end at Port but who cares? Rodney Eade is running third in the race and he's been sacked by two separate clubs while winning nowt. Doesn't mean he wouldn't be a decent candidate either - but unless you're in a position to commit Grand Theft Coach like Freo did then the chances are any 'experienced' candidate is going to have had his share of bad times.

I feel like we're closer than ever before. What seemed like just a dream a few months ago could be a reality by October. No actual offence to Richmond but here's to them either totally stuffing up and missing the finals or bombing out in week one so we can get our grubby mitts on the great man as soon as possible.

Also, Neil Craig. I still like him, but he who stands in the way of Choco now must move or be bulldozed by the now unstoppable wave of Chocmentum which is setting me up to look like the biggest poon in history when it goes horribly wrong and tears our club in two.

Final Thoughts
Just two winnable games (GWS and Footscray) and four potential thrashings (North, Gold Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide) separate us from now and you getting your weekends back to do something sensible with. You'll miss it when it's gone..

Sunday 14 July 2013

Theme From Cannibal Holocaust

At the risk of getting the CIA involved (immediately doubling the readership of Demonblog to two) July 30, 2011 was my own personal version of 9/11. And just like with America that day ushered in an era where we'd lurch between pointless conflicts while the whole place was flushed down the crapper.

Obviously nobody died on that day at Kardinia Park (other than the MFC careers of Dean Bailey and Emo Maric), but the shocking, brutal events of that afternoon shattered the club into so many pieces that we may be waiting another five years just to get back to the battling mid-table team that we were threatening to become until 2.10pm that afternoon when the walls caved in.

I don't propose to depress you with a look back at that day, but if you're a true masochist you can double your Demonblog by crying along with the memories of the preposterous, over dramatically titled post that I wrote just a few hours later. Much like the 2000 Grand Final and most other posts I've never bothered to go back for another look at it, but the stats don't lie and it's officially the most read page in Demonblog history, which means you're all sick, sadistic bastards.

Due to never having seen any of the highlights - other than the shot of the final goal going in which has appeared in about 12 different MFC Facebook of the Week videos - and refusing to re-read my own (presumably very detailed and scholarly) post what actually happened that day is a mystery to me. At half-time I was angry, then the second half passed in a confused, shocked daze as it just got worse, and worse, and worse. We even kicked four goals in the third quarter and I couldn't tell you about any of them. Maybe it's just me, we kicked four goals this week and I'd struggle to tell you about all of them - I remember Shannon Byrnes over celebrating once and Dawes kicking one from the square but there's not enough space in my brain for all the mediocre memories.

I remember more of the Casey game beforehand, with Fev giving up the chase and leaving his opponent to run riot at the other end of the field while the 'prospective AFL draftee' leant against a goalpost and Geelong won by 130 points. It was at that point that I foolishly tweeted something along the lines of "at least we can't be any worse", tempting fate to a near criminal degree before we were the victim of something which wouldn't have been out of place in a snuff film shortly after.

Other than running into somebody I knew at the train station afterwards, when I was apparently as white as a sheet, and seeing some random using a giant red finger which had been handed out pre-match to sing - not unreasonably - "down down, Melbourne are down" from the street there is nothing else I remember between South Geelong and Southern Cross. A pre-arranged trip to see some rubbish film at MIFF was ruined when I yelled at some beardos behind us because they wouldn't shut up (I was trying to concentrate on working out what had just happened, bugger the film), then I came home and nearly tore this very same keyboard in two with righteous indignation and furious anger. It's all a bit of a daze, but the anger I felt that night puts today into ridiculous amounts of perspective. Maybe too much perspective.

What made that day so much more shocking than anything else was that relatively speaking it came out of nowhere. We'd put in toilet performances against good sides all year but never to that degree. Today it was just assumed that we'd lose by 100 and anything lower than that was basically a win.

It's not been all bad times down there though - just mostly - for instance who could forget the ridiculous scenes of joy and general class warfare that greeted the final siren in Round 20, 2005? I went right off in the spirit of this guy and shouted some shameful things at the assembled locals, who presumably had the last laugh when their side came back three weeks later to gub us in a final that I inexplicably missed by not taking a day off work. And, err, that's it. The draw was another game I missed during my years doing putrid, soul destroying shift work.

I chickened out of going back last year. Our 'disappointing' start to the season and the fact that the place was a construction site convince me to be a complete coward and stay at home, missing what was against all odds our first, and nearly last, reasonable losing performance of the Neeld era. I used the half-time break to do the vacuuming.

Overall going into today I was 1-7 at Kardinia Park, with a points differential of -376 (admittedly much of that from one game), and though it was fairly obvious that we weren't going to improve on that today I still felt that 20 days short of two years from THAT DAY it was as good a time as any to get back on the horse and drag myself back to Geelong to face the music while standing next to a crop rotation specialist from Winchelsea.

The idea of returning to ground zero was hard enough to come to terms with anyway, but at the risk of Mark Robinson leaping out from behind a pillar to order me to 'harden up' I almost did another shameful runner when the mid week weather report suggested it was going to rain. Call me pissweak if you will, but the idea of going 100km to get soaked AND watch us get tonked by 20 goals hardly appealed. Then the Bureau of Meteorology suggested it was just a 50% chance of rain between 0-2mm, and I looked deep within my soul to realise that if I was interested in good times and great classic hits why would I even go to 80% of MFC games anyway. And there was my answer, I was going back whether it was a good idea or not.

With the Bureau having what could only be described as a patchy record at predictions over the years the idea of insuring myself against pneumonia by booking a reserve seat undercover appealed, until I saw that said undercover seat (presumably in whatever their version of Row LL is) cost $67, whereas I could get away with $27.50 if I took the risk and stood. After stand in pissing rain all day I am willing to accept that the 50% chance of rain represented a coin toss, but would like an explanation of what sort of container they're measuring the 2mm of rain in - an Olympic sized swimming pool? The Pacific Ocean? It wasn't as bad as that Foxtel Cup game in Perth during the week, but it was bad enough.

If I didn't know it was all going to go wrong in the end (spoiler alert: it did, in a way) the signs that the day wasn't going to be the fairytale that we all hoped it would should have been there when I couldn't even make it to Kooyong station without being rained on. There I found a Collingwood fan with a voice so plummy that he should (and probably used to) follow us whinging to a child about how badly Travis Cloke was rorted by the umpires last night. After admitting he hadn't even watched the game the kid then taunted him with the theory that Cloke was going to retire at the end of the year. Upon boarding the train 'dad' then proceeded to treat the carriage to his impression of various Australian bird calls, as I exchanged glances with the Geelong fan opposite me as if to say if one of us suggested physically throwing him out of the doors of the train the other one would gladly agree to be in on it.

In comparison the trip to Geelong was downright civilised, and not surprisingly half-empty as people who had obviously looked at a more up to date weather report than I decided to stay in and enjoy the award winning commentary of Dwayne Russell while roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

I'd love to say that your guess about what happened during the game is as good as mine, but due to the vast majority of people being sensible enough to stay home and watch it on TV for once almost everyone reading this saw far more of the game than I did. Apparently Matt Jones got a shitload of the ball. The stats don't lie but I don't remember 3/4 of them. It's alleged that Sylvia 'battled hard' through the second half, but from where I was standing he didn't get a kick. Even the alleged Steve Johnson flying knee drop on Nathan Jones is a total mystery to me. This is all nobody's fault but mine for watching it through sleet, but please be gentle in your "HOW COULD YOU NOT SEE THAT YOU CLOWN!?" abuse.

The one thing I'll say for standing out in the open in pissing rain all day for the first time since Round 13, 1998 (and that was just youthful stupidity considering we had the whole Ponsford Stand to hide in and chose the very front row behind the goals) is that while the rain never stopped at least the wind was reasonable and kept the Kardinia Park comfort index above that of a North Korean prison camp. While standing up in the rain is much better than sitting down (i.e the water just rolls off you instead of pooling around the jatz crackers) I still look forward to paying the price for my stupidity by becoming violently ill in the next few days.

Even before the outrageous lies of the weather forecasters were exposed and it turned out that the match would be played in a duck pond I went in with reasonably high expectations - relatively speaking anyway. If Neeld had still been in charge and we'd not had three reasonable performances in a row I've have expected to be beaten to death by at least a hundred no matter how inclement the conditions. Now the brief but promising Craig era had raised my expectations from NIL to LOW and suddenly I expect to score at least 50 points every week (oops). To have reached the point where 50 satisfies me is outrageous - it should be the god given right of every team to see their side score 50 ever week - but you can't guarantee that with Melbourne over the last couple of years.

At least today they had an excuse. We might not have got to 50 today and registered our equal fifth lowest score since 1980 but you can't help but think that had we still been playing like the shipwreck of six weeks ago we'd have been lucky to even get today's token one goal per quarter.

Coaching is like doing your tax returns in public every week, and Craig has struck a good balance so far. He's being a bit loose and adding a few zeroes here and there but not going over the top - as opposed to Neeld who was so conservative that he probably didn't claim things that he was entitled to and still ended up with a $600,000 payout at the end. Today the caretaker hit a massive hurdle (accountants - insert your own tax analogy), but that's ok - if you'd offered me that margin before the start of play today I'd have gladly taken it. Even after seeing my lowest MFC (or anybody for that matter) score at a live game since taking up this terrible addiction near the end of the 1989 season I'm struggling to get angry. Let's not get ahead of ourselves based on one decent performance against the Swans, this game was always going to be a reality check.

Unfortunately for Neil all the Craigmentum that he'd built up over the last few weeks has probably been washed away - perhaps unfairly - as he inherits the all time record low for inside 50's (since they started counting them in '99). I'd still rank him below Roos and Choco, but it's not his fault our midfield is one of the worst ever to breath oxygen.

I can't decide whether it would have been better or worse if the game had been played in perfect conditions. It might have been more attractive, and we might have kicked 10 goals in better conditions, but they'd have probably booted 25 so let's just pretend that the margin leaves us with a shred of dignity and move on to next week. Somewhere Bailey and Neeld are holed up together in the last days of their intensive counselling course, pissing themselves laughing at never registering a score so low, but Craig will have to go hard to try and match the six 100 point losses those two managed between them. He did, however, achieve something to remember by achieving the first ever Bailey Quarter Grand Slam with one goal in each term.

Other than obscure moments in history like that it's certainly not a day that will live long in the memory for anyone. In fact a few hours later and having watched the last 10 minutes of the replay I'm not entirely sure about 90% of what happened out there. It's all a blur of unheralded Geelong players treating the day as if they were playing in the dry and Steve Johnson gathering 5000 possessions, hitting one target and still being best on ground while our entire side skated around as if on an ice-rink, shattering world records in several categories include the most overhead marks dropped in one match.

In no way do I blame the coach for the overall result given that we were always on a hiding to nothing, but I'm ever so slightly concerned that we didn't take the conditions seriously. Maybe like me they forgot to look at the updated report on the morning of the game, but given the fact that it pissed down all day our forward line seemed to be overly tall and our midfield overly slight at winning the ball. With Casey playing tomorrow they would have had the choice of all three emergencies if they wanted them, and surely McKenzie would have been a realistic inclusion to help us out in a death slog.

It would have been difficult to give Fitz the boot after he'd just played the game of his life, but anyone could tell that if it was going to rain all day he wasn't going to cover himself in glory. I know Dawes hates rucking but for the sake of one game and his enormous salary could he have covered 20% of the centre bounce duties to allow McKenzie or Rodan back into the side just to play for the conditions? I'm all for having Grimes in the centre square, but he's two weeks back from injury - these conditions required bulldozers, and it wasn't entirely important whether or not they could hit a target once they got it.

I'd have preferred we put another midfielder in, but really in the grand scheme of things it was unlikely to make too much of a difference. After a relatively bright start marred only by Trengove's panic kick cost us the first goal we were second class citizens from 10 minutes into the first quarter. In honour of Multicultural Round we played an oppressed minority, brutalised everywhere but on the scoreboard. Everything we got, including a quarter of our goals, came from them getting sick of toying with us or just flat out stuffing up in the wet conditions. They stuffed up a few times, we did a few hundred.

At least one thing you can say is that we had a bash all day. Even this side couldn't fail to lay a decent amount of tackles in those conditions, but the problem was what to do with the ball on the rare occasions we did get it. With homebrand players who sounded like they should be involved in Rugby Union (or the MFC) like George Horlin-Smith carving us up at one end we spent the whole first half playing right into their trap of roosting hopeful long balls towards our forward line for Harry Taylor to mop up with the greatest of ease. How I wish it had been Rivers doing that instead, it would have been poetic.

With the way we were going forward it could have been a 16-year-old kid plucked from the Geelong Grammar thirds and he'd still have run riot. Taylor even got to go forward in the third quarter when the good Scott brother correctly projected that we were about to put in a shithouse quarter with just two inside 50's and switched him to the other end to keep things interesting. At least he didn't double his pleasure by switching ends and kicking six.

Considering we not only suffered the lowest inside 50 tally in recorded history but also the greatest differential of inside 50's (-51) the backline did another mighty job in limiting the damage. It didn't hurt us that they missed a bunch of chances (2.8) to really pork us in the final term but that just made up for the arsey goals they were kicking in all the other quarters. While Terlich and Clisby were all of a sudden looking out of their depth (quite literally at time) the holy trinity - Frawley, Garland and McDonald - were resolute given what they were trying to work with.

Defending was almost pointless considering it would return a few seconds later but they stood up mightily given the conditions. Even Dunn, level with Nicholson as the most 'much maligned' player on field without Rodan  (who seemed to go from 'much maligned' to 'required player' in the eyes of many after being dropped on Thursday night), Bail or Pedersen to choose from, played a great game. I stand by previous comments that he would be a very handy player in a good team.

Frawley especially makes defending look easy under siege when he's on. Somebody needs to explain to him that while he might never win anything at this club we can at least pay him a fortune to go down in our Hall of Fame as an all-time legend for saving us from disaster so many times. If he stays with us until the end of his career he'll walk out the door as the back line equivalent of Robbie Flower. Also thank christ his suspect hammy held out, I don't think I could have handled him getting hurt again.

Down the other end the stats will once again show that whenever we get the ball inside 50 we are actually not bad at converting it into a score, but obviously when you can't get the ball down in the first place there you're not going to put up a decent score - and with barely anything even remotely approaching crumb to go alongside our tall forwards doing nothing we weren't going anywhere fast.

Good luck playing for as a forward in that game anyway. It could have been Dean Cox, Tony Lockett and Wayne Carey and they'd have only had marginally better luck scoring with the sort of delivery at the rate we deliver it. Even Geelong had to spread their goals out across a bunch of players because Hawkins was doing nothing and Pods didn't turn up until junktime. Fair enough if you've got a spread of players to get them through - we only had one mark inside 50 all day and had to rely on Shannon Byrnes to play his first good game against a decent club all year for half our goals. This is not the mark of a league standard club, and thank god GWS have already banked pick 1.

Craig and Co weren't to know that we were going to struggle so grimly in the third quarter, but I'd have thought that if there was ever a time to bring a sub on at half-time today would have been it. Blease doesn't strike me as the kind of guy suited to playing in a torrential downpour, but he can't have done any less to impact the scoreboard than Fitzpatrick or Watts were doing. He didn't do much when he did come on, but at least it added somebody who could get a kick in the middle of the ground, at the expense of Fitz who was flailing around like a giraffe thrown into the ocean off the deck of a cruise ship.

The issue remains the midfield. Even Geelong's centre clearance adverse midfield couldn't help themselves from winning that stat 16-2. We cannot continue to go on like this. While Nathan Jones was one of our best all day those two clearances came from Byrnes and Terlich (!?). I don't give a rats if Geelong are tossing centre clearances out the window and pioneering some new and exciting tactic that we'll pick up in a few years when it's been discredited, they can afford to concede the middle (except for today when they had no choice) and rapidly attack in the other direction because they've got good players out the yin yang.

We cannot go into next year without addressing this. I was really impressed by Toumpas today, but he's a cherry on top player not a centre clearance player. Matt Jones is ok as in bit part role, Grimes is an option but has never really shown much in the middle, Trengove still looks to be not right and Nicholson is Nicholson. Picking another kid is great for the future (we hope) but under what circumstances can we go into next year without doing something/anything to boost our chances of improving on this front. Other than N. Jones - who hasn't even been getting a decent amount of centre clearances this year even when playing well - it's all about Jack Viney at the moment, but he needs some cover. On the week that Cale Morton somehow makes his league debut for the Eagles let's speculate on how many talented kids we've ruined in the past and vow to never run another one into the ground again.

Hopefully our mixed bag of results from recruiting recycled players this year doesn't totally scare off Coach X if there's somebody who can do the specific job of making sure that our players get onto one or two of Max Gawn's 48 hitouts (the equal second most in a game on record for MFC). Scott Thompson is a free agent, let's get him back just to try and right some historical wrongs. Also speaking of free agents can I have Eddie Betts? I know that'll be controversial, but that's instant crumb right there - surely he prefers money and lots of it to being named sub at the Blues.

No matter what we do it's all just pissing around on the edges until we can fix the middle. I feel as if I'll be writing the same thing every week (and probably will) for the rest of the season - the two ends are in reasonably good shape so we've got to throw everything we've got at the middle.

As for the less successful players I'm not sure what Nicholson was supposed to be doing with Steve Johnson, but if he's a tagger then I'm from the Belgian Congo. He was actually reasonable with the ball in hand, but if there's any day to suit his clanger happy style it was when half the ground was mud. Kent did nothing again. He's young so I can forgive him, but he's due another stint at Casey. Sadly Davey was probably the worst on ground. He seemed totally crocked, and I wonder how much longer he's got in the senior team until sentiment and leadership don't get the job done. He just can't get near it any more, and if he's going to stay in the team he might need to go back to being the permanent sub.

So, for those of you who skip to the votes on the "too long, didn't read" rule (I don't blame you) the short story is that we're still stuffed and probably not going anywhere fast despite having a world class defence and a forward line that scores with a high proportion of our attacks. If you can work all that out there may be a job for you in senior coaching, apply to the Melbourne Football Club c/o a dumpster out the back of Montmorency Coles.

2013 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - James Frawley
4 - Nathan Jones
3 - Tom McDonald
2 - Lynden Dunn
1 - Shannon Byrnes

Apologies to Garland, Gawn, Grimes, Toumpas and apparently Matt Jones.

Those votes have pretty much finished the main award, with everyone other than Matt Jones at least three clear BOGs out of first place with seven games left to play. All other categories still wide open.

34 - Nathan Jones (PROVISIONAL WINNER: 2013 Allen Jakovich Medal)
19 - Matt Jones (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
18 - Colin Garland (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jeremy Howe
17 - Dean Terlich
15 - James Frawley
14 - Colin Sylvia
11 - Jack Viney
10 - Shannon Byrnes
8 - Jack Watts
7 - Lynden Dunn, Tom McDonald
6 - Michael Evans
5 - Aaron Davey, Chris Dawes, Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Jack Grimes, James Magner, Jack Trengove
4 - Jack Fitzpatrick
2 - Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar
1 - Mitch Clark, Jordie McKenzie, Jake Spencer, Luke Tapscott

Crowd Watch
The Geelong Football Club is like Cold Chisel, a group with a good body of work who are let down by their association with dickheads. Having never been to Subiaco, and only to Football Park for a Port game with nobody there going to Kardinia Park is the best way to get that special feeling that only comes around when your supporters are in the overwhelming minority and the locals enjoy the opportunity to actual like they're at the Nuremburg Rally.

The only difference to Adelaide and Perth is that in Geelong they've got three recent flags AND are safe in the knowledge that they only ever have to play home games against teams who will bring 25 fans. One day somebody will forget to rort the fixture and schedule a Collingwood game there - and on that day there will be riots so spectacular that even the AFL won't be able to sweep them under the rug. Until then they'll enjoy lording it over the likes of us, doing as they please.

The crowd's tone was set today when during the (admittedly cringeworthy) 'welcome to country' video on the big screen before the game one of the locals did his bit for race relations by yelling out "Hey, it's the Oonga Boonga tribe!" He and various other simpletons then proceeded to spend the first half issuing 'funnies' that wouldn't have been considered amusing in the vaudeville era - including the worst of all spectating gimmicks, patronisingly pretending you're supporting the other team and cheering individual possessions like they're goals in a grand final. Die in a fire.

On the other hand right in front of us were a bunch of 'boisterous' Melbourne fans who appeared to be absolutely off their collective faces. In fact I'm not even sure they were with us even though one was wearing a comedy MFC wig. It seemed more like a group of locals who turned up just to cause trouble by cheering against the Cats or people trying to win a local radio station promotion.

They were shamelessly offensive, and I wished I could have somehow found a way to move out of the middle and allow them to stand right in front of the yobbos behind us, as it would have absolutely led to fisticuffs which would have made being there worthwhile. Sadly one incredibly foul-mouthed anti-Daniel Nicholson spray later somebody must have texted the crowd behaviour hotline, because all of a sudden these two showed up and 'had words':

Sadly that was it. They argued briefly with the fuzz before it was suggested that they could be quiet or argue it 'outside' (which may have been local code for a shallow grave in the Otways), and that saw an end to some of the worst abuse of all-time at multiple premiership players who have won 75% of the matches in their career while supposedly supporting a club who couldn't win a meat raffle. It was up there with '09 when one of ours (possibly the same guy) stood on the same steps and screamed out that Cameron Ling was - quote - "the worst captain in the history of the league", only for one of the locals to accurately point out that he'd quite recently done something that no Melbourne captain had done in more than 40 years. Game, set and match.

The presence of the law put an end to their fun, and any chance of an all-in with the peanuts behind us, but to nobody's surprise the rozzers weren't as keen on telling off anybody not wearing MFC merchandise for acting the goat. If you were in blue and white say what you like and they'll look over, realise you're one of them and ignore it.

Sadly as everyone succumbed to Chinese Water Torture in the second half the atmosphere in the crowd dropped away, leaving only a few token lunatics yelling random abuse to try and justify standing there being pelted by the rain. We provided one guy who took the 'controversial' boundary umpiring decisions rather badly and spent the third quarter yelling out like a goose whenever the ball went near the line. They gave us some screeching fishwife who was convinced that 'her' Cats were the victims of some outrageous umpiring conspiracy and wasn't shy about telling the world. These people are so bored with winning that they like to pretend they're being hard done by just to get a taste of what other footy fans are feeling.

At one point I'm sure Sex Witch Robin Fletcher walked up the stairs past us, conveniently enough after half time when the cops had pushed off. That was about as good as it got as interest in the game and life itself denigrated even further in the second half while the Demons put in what is statistically one of the most boring performances in modern history.

Most of the remaining MFC fans eventually took to turning around and watching the scoreboard behind them, probably just to use the helpful Fox Footy coverage to see how long there was left before they could go home and curl up into a ball. It was the least Fox could do for us, having interrupted the second quarter to play a highlights package of all the great moments during and after 186.

At least the food was 'good'. Maybe not by community standards, but compared to the MCG their $5 hot dogs were at least edible and you could buy one from a competent, interested adult instead of a surly, hungover 15-year-old.

The only thing that lets the place down, other than the locals, is the 'entertainment', which is even worse than the industry standard Pete Lazar/James Sherry stuff other clubs serve up at the MCG. Every person who was handed a microphone delivered their lines in such a wooden style that it seemed as if they were reading off cue cards while somebody pressed a revolver into their back. At one point we were treated to a 'race' between a giant button and the strangely feminine Cats mascot which - after several attempts - ended in a photo finish which was then "referred upstairs" only for the "video umpire" to decide that the vision was inconclusive. The crowd rewarded this 'gag' with total silence, not even the usual token laughter of children. The good news is that in a piece of forward promotion that Vince McMahon would whop off over a rematch was set for October's Run Geelong event. Can't wait for that, hopefully they can stretch it out all the way to next year's Wrestlemania where the Cotton On Button will win after the Nando's Chicken hits the Geelong Cat with a steel chair.

In a pointless twist the scoreboard also showed the margin at the end of every quarter, for those in the crowd who were unable to subtract one number from another. It's a strange place, but when it's half empty (and preferably dry) it has its charms.

Next Week
If Darwin is supposed to be our second home and all that shit (the late C. Schwab even wanted two games there, which you'd think is off the agenda now unless our new owners shaft us) how come there's already been an AFL and NRL game there in the last two months? Don't blame us if nobody turns up having already exhausted their interest in going to see visiting teams on Bulldogs vs Port and Penrith vs who cares. Are we sure that the A-League and NBL schedules couldn't be altered to get a game up there in the next week to screw us as well?

At least if the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory runs us out of town like the ACT one did we can go to Cairns instead, now that Richmond is flush with cash and can afford not to act like a poor club by selling games to places with names like "Cazaly's Stadium". There's something to look forward to.

If there's anything to be said, apart from the huge financial windfall, from shifting our game to Darwin it's that we're back to playing a team who aren't much chop (though they have just won two in a row, which meakes it a great time to run into them) AND that we've had a week's practice playing with a greasy (or more appropriately 'sodden') ball. Certainly not expecting a win, but another couple of decent quarters like last time we played the Lions would be nice. Knowing our luck we'll probably put in a surprise blockbusting four-quarter performance which causes Voss to get sacked and Roos to sign on as their coach on Monday while we're left with Gary Buckenara.

Without the benefit of the Casey game having happened yet at the time of writing - and no mystery injuries or surprise suspensions having been announced yet - I'd like to keep the side reasonably stable and make just the following changes thanks:

IN: McKenzie, Viney
OUT: Davey, Nicholson

LUCKY: Kent (though odds on he'll get the boot instead of Davey to try and protect our relationship with the Northern Territory government)
UNLUCKY: Magner (FFS), Rodan, anybody else who plays a good game in the 2's.

MFC Facebook Comment of the Week

You'd have thought that after a fortnight where everyone was whistling Zippidy Doo Dah out of their ringpiece normal service would have well and truly been resumed, but either the censors have cut a swathe through the MFC page or everyone's just given up - as the two thread about the game have no more than 50 comments each.

If the public aren't going to bother neither am I. This segment will go into its now traditional end of season recess after next week so get your fill of mid-range nutbaggery while you can. This guy wins for the week just because he posted it in every thread during the day as if he was making some kind of amazing, insightful point that everyone just had to say. Of course it didn't make any sense on press conference threads, but what does that matter?

Yawn. Fire up Australia.

Was it worth it?
In an objective analysis no, not at all. But unlike you I've got a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that makes me nervous and anxious if I'm not at the game when I could be. So in a roundabout way for my mental health yes it was. I need therapy.

Final Thoughts
People are strange. Says the guy who paid money to stand in pouring rain all day to watch a lost cause.