Monday 10 August 2015

Tales From The Script

If you also spent the week wondering how we managed to win comfortably against Collingwood when half our side were sucking air so hard at the end of the third quarter that the front row passed out from oxygen deprivation then you probably didn't expect much against North.

You're right to never expect anything against North. They have a commendable way of avoiding ever being completely shit, but you can be sure that even if they did go through a run like we've had they'd still beat us.

My history with North is long and painful. For such an inoffensive club (other than Harvey) they've arguably caused be more trauma than any side in my supporting life. In that time I've seen a total of five one point losses live and they've been responsible for three of them. Once I didn't really mind because I was under heavy sedation, once I cut my hand to shreds by punching a half constructed Colonial Stadium chair and once I went off so much a security guard told me that it was "just a game" and I told him to get fucked.

The saga goes back to 1990, when I roped my mum into taking me to my first ever home and away game (and I think her first game full stop) and should have realised footy wasn't the sport for me when it ended like this:

Not sure what point we left at, but I'm sure I didn't stay around to see them raise the bat for a double century. In the spirit of things that people whinged about endlessly before they even knew what the internet was I'm sure it was umpire Darren Goldspink's fault somehow rather than us allowing John Longmire to kick 14.

As for good times against the Roos there was the 2002 Elimination Final, but that in the midst of the two years where I mostly refused to leave the house so I sat at home listening on the radio (could you not even get finals on live TV at that point or was I just being weird?). I was there for the 2000 Prelim and Round 2, 1998 - the day that roped me back into footy after years of indifference but otherwise our interactions with them over the years have generally been disappointing.

This didn't promise to be much better. You can tell North have been in good form recently because you can turn SEN on without hearing some truck driver demanding Brad Scott be sacked, and we might have beaten Collingwood in glorious fashion but if you saw any of their game against Carlton you know just how useful a form guide that was. Nothing pointed to us winning, and in the end we didn't even get close but at least we got to enjoy a few minutes of balls-out excitement.

It's a shame we had to go so far behind before coming to play, but no matter how we got there we had a genuine reason to get excited 10 minutes into a fourth quarter and a reason to go home angry. Honourable losses are for the tip, I'd accept one against one of the top sides but otherwise just say no. Instead this felt like a wasted opportunity and though I understand what happened I'm still slightly bitter a day later. In a way that does make it an honourable loss, but at least one we rue instead of patting ourselves on the back just for turning up and not getting thrashed.

This game was so un-Melbourne that we scored one point more than last week and lost by six goals, but that's what happens when you play against a side with a fully functioning forward line. If anything it was more like Queen's Birthday than our second match against the Pies - we got off to a horrible start then rushed back into the game with cavalier football but eventually faded to nothing in the final quarter. The only difference was that this time instead of celebrities going down a slide into freezing water there was a Chinese dragon (sadly not going down a slide into freezing water).

For a game involving us it was played at a surprisingly high standard, providing Roos with a straight faced opportunity to pretend he hasn't been behind several of the greatest slopfests of our time during his coaching career. He does make a reasonable point, and we did have a free-flowing game against them in Round 23 last year which at the time was put down to North coasting before the finals, but surely the unsaid aspect of this game being as close to a shootout as we get is that he was actually trying to avoid being dragged into a deadly stoppage battle against the best ruckman in the business at all costs. Which I'm not arguing, and as much as I hate the continual talking down of the sport by people who are desperate for spectacle if we're going to lose games by six goals at least we got to kick a decent score along the way.

You can see why he'd try and avoid Goldstein participating in 100 ball-ups. When I put together my always well thought out and heavily researched team change suggestions last week it didn't even occur to me that we were about to run into that juggernaut. He's neck deep in one of those rare seasons where ruckman plays out of his skin and people speculate about him winning the Brownlow before he finishes the night on six votes. He taps everything, runs all day, is extremely handy around the field and delivers a great performance in that superannuation ad. What's not to like?

Apart from the sort of startling tactical ineptitude that this page has become renowned for, part of the reason I didn't suggest adding a second ruckman is that I was safe in the knowledge that no matter how well he played at Casey we'd taunt Jamar by selecting him in the Thursday night team then have him tear open the envelope at 5pm on Friday to discover a Google Maps printout of driving instructions to Casey Fields.

I'm comfortable with the theory that they know Gawn is heading straight for the top of the ruckman rankings and was sent out to tackle Goldstein solo under the theory that "to be the man, you've got to beat the man" (Whoo!), but it wasn't just preservation for a rapidly appreciating asset or the prospect of god forbid winning a game late in the season that made me want the them to pick Jamar - it just seemed like our last MCG home game of the year seemed to represent a decent time to wheel the old Russian out for a farewell lap.

I know an extra tall wouldn't have done much for our forward line, but the idea that you'd send Dawes out as the backup against one of the league's ruck titans was troubling. It was his second best game for the club behind Adelaide last year, and he took a surprising number of contested marks around the ground but he is completely at sea as a centre bounce ruckman and it costs us on the scoreboard. Yesterday he kicked a goal, went in the ruck, got battered in the tap and we conceded a goal immediately to leave us with no overall benefit.

Not that I'm going to pin all the fault on him. He's no ruckman but the way our midfield was started it wouldn't have matter if you had Jamar, Spencer or Polly Farmer playing second fiddle to Maximum we were going to be obliterated. Clearances are about as useful as inside 50's when read off a piece of paper but in this case you could see exactly how they were having a major impact as we were cut to ribbons at every ball-up. No wonder we accidentally did our bit for 'good' footy by trying to avoid stoppages when they were an open invitation for North to launch attacks.

Internet rumour and innuendo would have it that 17 players had been struck down by illness during the week, including Nathan Jones which would explain him collapsing under the weight of a hard tag. It was hardly a dead-eyed Moloney wandering aimlessly through the first of 186 before having a kip in the dressing rooms but it wasn't helping. If true you can't blame him for having an off day, he's carried the club so much in the last three years what fear can a round of the trots hold? Besides, I'd rather him playing with a touch of the DeCastella's than half our list when fit.

Whether the illness story is legitimate or a careful ruse put out by the comms department so people don't come out of Member Appreciation Week feeling unappreciated I'm not sure (and given that we traditionally play like shite in the appreciation fixture you'd think the damage had already been done) but given that the Collingwood game has put me in a generally good mood about footy again I'm happy to clutch on to it as an excuse.

An aversion to winning the ball from stoppages needn't be entirely fatal. If the defence can control ground and air you can buy time to find another plan or launch counter attacks. Alternatively if you're Melbourne you can get the opposition off to a flying start by gifting them a pair of goals. The first came from Howe and McDonald crashing into each other, which has long been standard stuff for us, but the second will go down as one the greatest kick-in cock-ups of our time. Watts was the only other senior player named as part of the Sniffly 17, and his day got even worse when he managed to kick-in directly to the hands of the four foot tall Robin Nahas then stand almost still in shock as Nahas wandered around him and into an open goal.

Jack then interchanged himself to sit down and ponder whether it might have been better to chuck a sickie. I've got genuinely sympathy with anybody who tries to play sport while ill (or in general really, I can't be bothered getting off the couch these days) but of all the things people have slaughtered Jack for over the years missing a game because he's sick as a dog is not something people are going to hold against him. Not sensible people anyway, some of our fans would find reason to criticise the way he opens the mail.

His day didn't get much better, and eventually ended with Jesse Hogan screaming blue murder at him for a shocking kick inside 50 which all but killed off any hope we had of a comeback. Illness aside this is why it's not wise to go over the top when he has a great game, because bad ones follow shortly after almost as certainly as regular injuries to members of the Grimes family.

Also on the long list of people who were having a first quarter shocker was Jeremy Howe. He seemingly did his ankle, went off for treatment then came back on for about 10 seconds and hobbled off again. Farewell then Jeremy? Not quite, because he soon made another comeback looking completely unscathed. They must have injected him with anything they could find which would get him going again and damn the consequences of embalming fluid because he's not going to be playing for us next year anyway.

After the glory of last week the first quarter capitulation represented serious de(e)flation. We briefly steadied the ship when Dawes converted from a free kick before giving the goal straight back by throwing him to the wolves in the centre bounce. From there on North dominated for the next 15 minutes. Other than Viney and to a lesser extent Tyson the midfield offered nothing, the defenders were exhibiting 2012/13 style nerves, and while Dawes and Hogan both worked hard to take marks up the ground they had to because otherwise they've have been standing inside 50 with their thumbs up their arses watching their teammates being dominated.

Hogan, the new people's champion eventually breathed some life into the unfolding shambles, but even then he had to rely on a 50 metre penalty to bring him within range because it's not like he had anyone to kick it to. How often this year have we tried to use Garlett as a marking target inside 50 and how often has it worked? I think he took one screamer in the first month of the season and has never managed it since. After his third quarter marking disaster even kicking to him on the lead is in question - best to just hoist it in his general direction and hope him to do what he does best and crumb, snap or both. It's still been a great trade and it will be comical if he tears Carlton to pieces in a few weeks. When he's off he's really off but that's what you get with enigmatic players - buy the ticket, take the trip, cherish the great moments and accept that sometimes it's just not going to work out.

If we'd got to quarter time 'just' 20 points down it wouldn't have been fair reward for North's dominance and the way 15 of our players appeared completely baffled. The goal umpires were waving nautical looking orange flags for Multicultural Round but the way we were all at sea they should have been flying this one instead:

Considering that half the side - including some of our best - had barely been seen there was enough to work with. Gawn was beaten but he wasn't being completely thrashed - and it would have helped if we didn't spend most of the day kicking it at his opponent. All we needed was a couple of minutes of defence to get us to quarter time so we could regroup, but as noble as it was to try a late-season conversion to sexy football to try and get people to stop turning over to the golf I wish we'd sludged up a touch in the dying minutes and got to the break without suffering fatal damage. Instead we did the only thing we're better at than giving goals straight back after scoring one, and conceded in the dying minutes - not once but twice, leaving us five goals behind and seemingly shot.

The only saving graces were that with three quarters left we could be the latest side to take advantage of the opportunities created by International Year of Teams Giving Up Five Goal Leads for Fun, and that North are notoriously democratic about stuffing up certain victories against sides big or small. They've never done it against us, but there's a time and a place for everything.

It was the unlikely figure of Chris Dawes who was the catalyst behind our comeback. After being maligned by everyone (including yours truly) for much of the season he quickly cancelled out those two late North goals early in the second and helped drag the margin back to something far more manageable. He had a third shot a minute later to complete the fastest MFC hat-trick in recent memory, but after three accurate set shots in a row I knew he'd hit his limit and he duly went on to miss every goalscoring opportunity on offer for the rest of the game. Still, if he keeps playing like that I might stop pining for Pedersen to make a miracle recovery.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, after being almighty for the last few months Cross was well outmatched by the still pacy Harvey and 'Boomer' dashed around him to kick the steadier. Not long after they got another to restore the quarter time margin and all Dawes' rare goalkicking heroics had been for nowt.

Nevertheless despite Goldstein still holding court in the middle our cavalcade of MIA players had started to work their way into the game. Even Matt Jones - more maligned than Dawes, Watts and Lumumba combined - was doing a reasonable job after a late reprieve when vandenBerg withdrew. After a quarter of watching North players dash around unchallenged we'd even started to tackle - which always helps if you're trying to win a game of football.

Still, even though we were attacking more convincingly there was no sign that we were just minutes away from unloading one of our best quarters of the year. Nobody saw it coming against the Pies the first time around either, so at least if we can't play four quarters there's proof undeniable that we can occasionally rip out something memorable.

Before we got to the magical third quarter there was one highlight that I'd like to provide footage of but can't. James Harmes laid a brutal tackle on Robin Nahas that should be played on repeat on an obscure Foxtel channel, but the AFL website knows more people are going to click on footage of Watts looking foolish so they've highlighted his botched kick-in instead. Boring, let's talk more about the tackle. It was a real Brayshaw/Viney job with the added benefit of lightning speed - and what team can have too many players like that? It's not like he was starring but if he had any run left I'd have rather kept him on in the last quarter. I didn't mind Michie's game but the rookie strikes me as more of a match winner than Vivian.

This time we managed to avoid conceding a late goal (legitimate surprise) and instead got one of our own (complete and utter shock) to leave the door slightly ajar before blowing them to bits in the first few minutes of the third quarter. It was like the first all over again with the tables turned, this time it was North who looked like a team of enthusiastic amateurs dropped in the middle of the MCG without any idea what to do next.

Alas after kicking the first two goals of the third quarter the game turned again when Garlett half-arsed an easy chest mark inside 50 and North swept down the other end for a goal. That was a killer, and we were lucky that shortly after Goldstein ignored any number of free players inside 50 and tried to kick a highlight reel goal because all he could see was Brownlow votes. That allowed us to get down the other end and for Brayshaw to kick a belting goal to get us back within 10 points. Then Viney - who has been mighty over the last few weeks - added another to cut the margin to two and what in the name of Dutch buggery was going on here?

Getting in front might not have meant anything in the grand scheme of things, but it would surely have struck a psychological blow against the permanently wobbly North. We could have done it but Dawes missed a chance for his fourth, completing ruining the run of I SAW CHRIS DAWES KICK FOUR t-shirts that I'd ordered from China midway through the second quarter, and while we traded goals with them there were definite signs of fatigue breaking out. Gawn was calling for the oxygen tanks after trying his guts out all day without a convincing understudy, but the same thing happened last week and look what happened there?

Fitness concerns aside I sensed disaster was afoot in the last two minutes when we kept kicking the ball back to them. We got away with a score review, but you didn't have to be a Melbourne fan to know that with three decent tall targets plus crumb we'd eventually crumble and let them kick one. Dunn delivered another unwanted call-back to Queen's Birthday by giving away a free in almost the exact same spot that he conceded one to Cloke, and Ben Brown (more players in #50 please) converted.

The only difference between the two days was that in June Lynden didn't engage in a vigorous round of Tae-Bo while standing the mark and Cloke didn't take a detour via Wellington Parade during his run-up and get away with it.
It left us 10 points behind, which was by no means insurmountable but I didn't fancy our chances unless we kicked about four goals in a row in the first few minutes of the final term. We had to kill them off early or they were always going to run over the top of us.

We had our chances in the last, and while I'd never blame Jesse Hogan for anything because he's a great Australian if he'd kicked the goal in the first 30 seconds it would have effectively started the last quarter again in a world where Dunn never gave away the free. Neal-Bullen (who does very much strike me as a match winner on a better day) came on and set up Hogan then kicked one of his own to bring it back to the three-quarter time margin with plenty of time left. He might have had another shot if not for a baffling umpiring decision where he got done for holding inside 50 on a contest that was at the very least a 50/50 contest.

Still, nuffy umpiring was hardly our undoing. We missed another chance and as our defence started to break up we conceded another goal to finish us off. Our campaign to play mid-range players into form across the league continued by allowing Waite to wreak havoc on Dunn - having one of his worst games of the last couple of years - and Lindsay Thomas to snap goals at will just weeks after being exiled to the VFL for rubbish form. Come one, come all. We should register as a charity and claim tax deductions.

Hogan made Scott Thompson look as foolish as he did Alex Rance earlier in the season to kick his fourth but everyone else had hit the wall. I'm glad Gawn got a goal at the end as some reward for running all day but by the last quarter he could barely jump any more, and it would have been a good time to come up with another long kicking option instead of feeding it to North on a platter. He wasn't the only one who looked tired, Garland also put one right down an opponent's throat and the more shots he sees of James Frawley going through airports smiling from ear-to-ear after another great Hawks victory the easier he'll find it to ditch us at the end of the year. He's a restricted free agent but who's that stopped so far?

It's the greatest of all cliches considering how long I've been saying it but there were signs. Hogan and Viney are obvious winners, and it was nice to see Tyson playing his best game of the season. Nobody stuffs up development like us but I'm confident that if we can get the right players to slot in around them and some off-field stability we've got the right youngsters this time. We had a lot of false starts with players in 2010-2011, but I feel Hogan, Viney, Salem and Brayshaw at a minimum are going to do good business for years.

Then there's Kent, Petracca and whoever we draft this year at a minimum to alongside important and experienced players like McDonald who have many years left. Some silkier outside midfielders (wherefore art thou Jimmy Toumpas?), a decent accumulator of possessions around half-forward, a goalkicking ruckman and another tall defender should do it - start queuing for 2017 grand final tickets now.

There was an interesting postscript to the match when an anonymous benefactor invited me into the rooms. Which after a loss is a lot less impressive than it sounds. At least after a win there's a carnival atmosphere, but in defeat it's just hundreds of people shuffling in to stand behind a fence and watch players like they're exhibits in a zoo.

In a strange twist at the same time I was also working on something urgent that had just come up as part of my day job (actually it came up at three-quarter time but I ignored it until the end of the match) but the highlight of my experience was seeing Daniel Cross showing absolutely no concern about being watched by a bunch of gawking idiots like me and violently kicking the wall then punching the floor in frustration. You don't think the mystery broken leg he suffered against North last year was actually a result of post-match violence towards an inanimate object? It wasn't his finest day but what a man, I need to see him play again next year and in an off-field role thereafter.

I'm not sure the entertainment level would have rocketed if I'd stayed around, but I had to leave and deal with my work issues. Eventually everything got sorted out 45 minutes after the game in a cavernously empty MCG where the only other patrons left other than me were shambling drunks. Apt way to finish the day.

2015 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Jesse Hogan
4 - Jack Viney
3 - Chris Dawes
2 - Dom Tyson
------ So much daylight ------
1 - Tom McDonald

Apologies to Max Gawn, who was the only other contender for the single vote in an otherwise surprisingly flat day for individual performances.

There are now only seven potential winners left. With nothing for the leader this week Viney and Tom McSizzle draw to within one best on ground of at least snatching a share of the most prestigious award in footy.

In the minors it's congratulations to McDonald who cannot under any circumstances be beaten for the Seecamp. Unless there's a miracle next week Gawn is going to be named the provisional winner of the Stynes, and while it'll take Hogan at least another fortnight to put the Hilton alongside a Casey best and fairest in his trophy cabinet he's now the red hot favourite. Hopefully we're buying him a house the size of Stately Wayne Manor, because once his career's done he'll have won every award fictional or otherwise. With any luck he'll be with us when he does it. While I tell myself he looks like the sort of guy who'd be interested in dragging a club to its feet (unlike that poltroon $cully) I also know that we're still very much in the midst of the #fistedforever era so no disappointing scenario can be ruled out.

35 - Bernie Vince
30 - Tom McDonald (WINNER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jack Viney
27 - Nathan Jones
25 - Jesse Hogan (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
17 - Angus Brayshaw, Jack Watts
11 - Daniel Cross, Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Cameron Pedersen
10 - Aaron vandenBerg
8 - Jeff Garlett
7 - Chris Dawes, Dom Tyson
6 - Christian Salem
5 - Colin Garland
3 - Viv Michie
2 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Howe, Heritier Lumumba
1 - Lynden Dunn, Mark Jamar, Ben Newton, Jake Spencer

One of the key reasons for not going to the footy with other people is the chance they will topple a key segment by not showing up on time. Not only did they roll in late from the pub but we then managed to lose one of them between the bag check and the turnstile then spent five minutes trying to call him to confirm he hadn't spontaneously combusted.

We wasted enough time locating him, then after going upstairs had to return to the ground floor because he complained about the view. Then when we got back to ground level he insisted that at 1.03pm we exit the ground and walk around to another gate, causing me to throw my hands up in frustration and go back to sitting on the top level. Lesson learned, always be anti-social.

In order to try and continue the objective judgements that this award is well known for I sought out images of the two banners to compare their respective merits. If I hadn't found a shot of the North one I'd have just assumed they had gone with another floating curtain and disqualified them immediately. Fortunately their cheer-squad has a Facebook page, which revealed not only a cursory attempt at participating in multicultural round by bunging a few international phrases in random places across the crepe paper but also this absurd moneymaking scheme..

On the other hand our one thanked me personally, so how could I vote against it? Well centred, well kerned, and with a helpful dividing line between messages so people don't get confused.
That's 19-1-0 for the season. I am sadly unable to provide points for the wildcard banner made during the week to welcome Jack Trengove back to running as it had no opposition, but in addition to proving that everyone involved in conception and construction is a good egg it also demonstrated that we're not as horribly cursed as we used to be because he didn't trip over running through it and snap his foot in two again.

Meanwhile, for the first time we go around the grounds for a banner disaster in another sport. These rugby leaguists put together a very attractive and professionally printed banner (some might describe it as cheating) but neglected to include the key design element of ripability. Dickheads. Meanwhile it's good to see the Joel Monaghan scandal hasn't scared the NRL away from including man's best friend in their promotions.

Matchday Experience Watch
The crowd Wheel of Fortune gimmick had everything you might want from a novelty segment, which isn't saying much but I'll be happy as long as we never under any circumstances introduce a kiss cam, cuddle cam, cheeky grope cam or any other sort of cam that encourages people to publicly engage in intimate conduct.

I was thrilled to see Howie's Hangers promoted to a more prominent timeslot in its last ever appearance at the MCG before he shuffles off elsewhere. Sadly nobody completely necked themselves, but we'll have one last opportunity for that against GWS in the last round. Remember - I need somebody who reads this to sign up to participate just to get a shot of the indemnity form. Also if you do sign up for our last 'home game' nobody will be there to see you landing roughly on a thinly veiled carpark roof.

Next year I'm promoting Garland's Gags - where three competitors are invited to take Robbo's microphone and bash out their best material in the deadpan style of Elliot Goblet. If he leaves it can be named after Gawn, and if he goes too then why don't we all just give up?

Meanwhile has there ever been a more Melbourne FC "heartland" moment than the Little League game where the North Melbourne side was a picture of multicultural Australia while we had an team made up entirely of white kids.

Crowd Watch
All the pre-match shenanigans left me with scant time to go somewhere comfortable, and I ended up in the top of the Olympic Stand for what may have been the first time since the day Jack Watts debuted.

This meant having to sit in the middle of North fans, including a guy a few seats up who was far too excitable for anyone playing Melbourne. Every five seconds I caught a glimpse of him leaping to his feet to complain about something while a lady who was significantly out of his league tried to pretend she wasn't being paid to attend. He was one of those weirdos who feels that when demanding a free kick that you should try and imitate the appropriate umpiring signal - queue arms going everywhere, and at one point almost decapitating his companion when calling for holding the ball.

In the last quarter as a prelude to the changeroom swindle I was smuggled into the reserved seat area, and quickly had the families of various players sitting around us pointed out to me lest I get upset and question somebody's parentage. It's not for me, maybe because I know a disgruntled Richmond supporter (is there any other type?) who nearly got into a fight with Danny Frawley's family after delivering a withering assessment of how 'Spud' was coaching.

What sort of environment is that to enjoy footy in? I'm far from the sort of abusive supporter who sits there tearing players to shreds for four quarters, but there's the odd outburst and I couldn't spend nine home games a year worrying that I'm going to go spare about Viv Michie only to find out that his entire family are sitting next door.

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Garlett's snap in the third quarter was enjoyable, and he's still got the clubhouse lead for his goal against the Bulldogs, but he did stuff all else so I'm opting for Brayshaw this week. He didn't do all that much either, but the way he scooted off on Jack Ziebell, looked over his shoulder in mocking fashion then snapped truly was a thing of beauty and came at a vital time. I feel a rest is in his future in the next couple of weeks but what a first year he's had. In most other year's he'd be rampaging to a Rising Star, this time he might be lucky to make the top three.

Stat My Bitch Up
Our highest scoring loss since Round 5, 2013 sees us improve to 72.55 points-per-game. Which is impressive considering this year we've scored 50 twice and 60 three times - or as poker players call it a Full Shithouse.

Next Week
Given that I tipped the Bulldogs to finish last (oops) and we've beaten them once this year it's almost inconceivable that they're in the top four with a month left in the season but here we are. They'll have learnt their lesson from last time and should have no trouble taking care of us. Not to mention that it's at Docklands so good luck with that - though maybe after all the times we've gone in favourites at the ground we'll break our satanic run in the place.

I've got no doubt Howe is going, but there's an interesting sideline in that he if he gets to Round 23 unscathed he'll play 100 games and in 20 years time we'll be able to draft his kids. Except that once he's racked up the ton at his next club the kids will be able to choose them as well, and who's not going to want to follow the side their dad played in three premierships for?

Ask me again in 25 years when his progeny are the next coming of Tony Lockett but for now I don't care, it's hit the point where if he hasn't signed a contract he's taking the piss and we should move on. I'd rather not waste a spot in the team in the hope that one day we might be in a position to draft some currently fictional child. We pandered to the ridiculous idea that $cully (pre-'injury'), Rivers and Frawley were going to stay but the ankle injury provides a great opportunity to shelve him for good if he's not interested. Garland's heading down the same path, but at least he's kept quiet throughout the saga instead of just saying what people want to hear.

Casey were thumped by Box Hill so not sure if there's much to be gained from that performance, but it seems Salem got through ok so I'll have him back no questions asked.

IN: Salem, vandenBerg
OUT: Howe ('inj'), Grimes (omit)
LUCKY: Michie (he got into a bit more this week but surely by now it's confirmed that he's a spare parts player at best), Harmes (has definitely shown something but could get rotated out so we can give Riley or similar a go), Garland (has he lost interest? You'll never tell from his face), M. Jones (better than expected, happy to give him one more go and get him to 50 games but from there he can buy a Casey Scorpions season ticket)
UNLUCKY: Jamar (this was the week for him and they had no interest. He's got to get a farewell game at some point and I'm tipping we take the piss and it happens in Perth.), Riley

Was it worth it?
At first no, because you can't play a forward line free team who haven't bothered to do their homework every week, but the comeback nearly made leaving the house worthwhile. We're a year away from being able to pull this off against decent sides without them assisting us by committing football suicide a'la Essendon last year, but at least like Queen's Birthday it's proof that we can get a run on and kick multiple goals. Bitter experience proves that we can still concede them at a million miles an hour too.

Final Thoughts
On my way through the city this morning I noticed this message of hope and good cheer for Demon supporters everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. We might have got smashed in 1990 but check out the Little League score. 3 goals something to 0 goals something.Take that Kangas!


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