Friday 3 March 2017

Miss Shop

There's nothing like the family friendly, traditional footy timeslot of 5.05pm Friday. Good thing I work such unsociable hours or I'd have missed us doubling another team's scoring shots and bashing their brains in with 55% more inside 50s but still losing after kicking one goal. It was like that boxing Simpsons episode where Homer took a grand beating then pushed the other guy over when he got tired.

I understand the game was being played as a curtain raiser for the men, but clearly this was scheduled well before the AFL realised people were going to care about the competition. Maybe they've done their research on the Sydney audience, after all those mad bastards in the NRL have introduced a 6pm Friday game for premiership points. The crowd certainly looked like a typical Sydney league audience.

The upside to all this was that we were expected to thrash the Giants, and even though I've got nothing against their women's team (or to be honest their men's team other than one player who brings the whole thing down) any time we can do that is good for football. We should have known trouble was afoot when it was raining. As good as the team has looked since the second quarter in Round 2 you don't have to look back far to remember how awful we were in the slurry against Brisbane. It was only about half as damp this time, and the Lions have turned out to be quite good, but the official results are in and like the men we know this is not a wet weather side.

It didn't start badly, and if you only saw the first minutes the only thing out of the ordinary you missed was the Giants counter-attacking three goals. We locked the ball inside forward 50 and looked like a much better team. The problem was that like the last quarter at Casey nobody could kick a goal to save themselves, and this time GWS were smart enough not to leave a player standing on her own in 30 metres of space to run into an open goal. Adjusted for shortened game time it was one of the great wasteful Dees performances. At least when we got 34 behinds in 1940 there were 12 goals to go with them.

AFLW = novelty free kicks and 50s courtesy of over-enthusiasm, and we were given what should have been the opening goal courtesy of a Giants player kicking of ours' fingers off. The shot missed and set up the Giants to go down the other end for the first goal. Then just as you think that might be the required wake-up call they add another. The second was just the sort of classic goal that any team called Melbourne (excluding 'Port' and 'North') usually concedes, a player flinging her boot at a rolling ball in the square and getting the barest of hint of toe to it. After a good run for a few weeks the backline carked it in the last quarter against Carlton, and here they conceded three scores from the first four inside 50s.

Even at two goals to nil down I thought after quarter time there'd be a revival, and it started well with Harriet Cordner attacking an opponent with something that looked halfway between a Triple H Pedigree and a Jake The Snake Roberts DDT. She could turn moves like that into a big money gimmick - "her grandfather was a doctor, now she's sending people to the hospital" etc... The head wasn't driven into the ground, but good luck getting away with a thrilling move like that these touchy, concussion obsessed days. You'd have been handed a medal 30 years ago, unless you're a woman and then they'd have ushered you off the field and behind the counter of a canteen.

The second quarter started a lot like the first, this time the weird free kick was for a dumping tackle (I mean really...) but once it again it came to nowt courtesy of a shot on goal that was flatter than a shit carter's hat. Like Brisbane all over again we attacked non-stop for zero reward. We could have done with a fluke goal from the pocket to fire us up like the Pies game, a wild snap around the corner would have been the only way any of our players were going to get a goal before half time.

To be brutally honest as the second quarter wore on I lost interest and started flitting in and out of the room doing other things. Frustration at not being able to score from a million inside 50s and the general background distress of losing to any GWS team did me in. What I did confirm was that Mifsud is definitely the new Trengove, commentators just cannot help call her "Misfud" as if that's a real surname. Nobody had any trouble pronouncing it when the AFL one was accusing our old coach of being racialist.

My commitment to the game was so poor that I went out to get something to eat at half time. Not my fault they scheduled it at such a stupid bloody time, and the reason why this is almost certainly the worst review on this site since I didn't even bother one week in 2006 and just listed the votes next time around. Or the one game where in a fit of youthful pique I angrily refused to give votes at all. At least I paused the live stream on the AFL website, which considering the amount of time it spent buffering was probably unnecessary because it would have stopped itself soon enough. Helpfully whenever it got behind and you clicked "LIVE" it reversed another 10 seconds into the past. This must be what it's like to watch the Premier League on Optus.

I walked back at what turned out to be halfway through the third quarter. I know this because when I unpaused the stream it stalled 10 seconds later and hung for a minute before pressing pause then play again caused the stream to return to what I assume was live action. No harm done, we still hadn't kicked a goal. The Giants had, leaving us with a mountain to overcome given the conditions and the general slurry on offer in the first half (and presumably the first eight minutes of the second while I was at the chicken shop). For once I was a good omen for Melbourne, returning just in time for Cat Phillips to kick our first. She was an appropriate contender, because surely Blacktown International Sportspark has never hosted a world class event any higher up the totem pole than frisbee.

To nobody's surprise if you've been watching Melbourne this season we should have conceded a goal from a pointless 50. Wooden leg kicking by the Giants saved us, much like a wonky shot from a Carlton player helped us get away with it last week. The problem was this time there wasn't an immediate swing where the other side ran across the mark and gifted us a goal. It was another life, but even if the game had carried on until 10pm we wouldn't have kicked another goal.

Meanwhile in the land of commentary I'm not as down on Kelly Underwood as most, after all it's not like the male commentators are covering themselves in glory, but when she said there were "more turnovers than a Pancake Parlour" it was like the unwanted spirit of Dwayne had wafted in. He can't have been feeding her lines, the 250 times a ball bounced around awkwardly from a rushed kick were never referred to as a 'chaos ball' with all the excitement of somebody about to be gored by a bull in Pamplona.

The last quarter was a non-stop cavalcade of attack, with GWS literally unable to get it over halfway until the last minute and us torching opportunities at a world record pace. We should have benefited from one of the worst free kicks in a televised game, featuring Lily Mithen being tackled as she kicked then falling over a teammate and somehow being awarded a shot on goal. She proceeded to slice the bejesus out of it, because that's what we do best inside 50.

After throwing everything at them for 15 minutes and missing the worst bit about losing was that they went down the other end in the last 60 seconds and had the two best opportunities of the quarter. Like Sam Frost trying a running bounce in the middle of a typhoon in Sydney last year Frisbee Fever hit its nadir when Phillips tried similar. That was our last good attack, but unless there was another 15 minutes left to overhaul them in behinds.

And so, with two weeks left it's all over for the Dees. To be fair it probably was anyway given the gap in percentage to Brisbane and Adelaide. At least we had fun for a while thinking we might win a second level competition, like the good old days of becoming extremely interested in the Reserves when they made the finals or where you'd treat qualifying for a Wizard Cup semi-final like a positive sign for the future. I look forward to us chopping some of the dead wood in the squad, the top end is good and there are promising kids but there's a few who could afford to go back to whatever the equivalent of Casey is.

2017 Debbie Lee Medal for Player of the Year
Difficult one this week, plenty of players racking up touches, not many doing damage with them. I was going to defer to the votes on the AFL website, where the reporter has shown such a lack of interest that they've only named three in the bests and have put Aliesha Newman's injury down to 'corked' a'la Garry Lyon's general soreness.

Back to the old favourites I suppose. That's the problem when you don't at least feel like you understand the subtleties of a team. At least it makes it easy to exclude the seven players who had six kicks between them.

5 - Karen Paxman
4 - Daisy Pearce
3 - Lily Mithen
2 - Laura Duryea
1 - Elise O'Dea

Apologies to Kemp and Lampard.

For the first time the line appears, and for new readers that denotes when a player can no longer even pinch a share of the title. You would think it's down to the top two now.

20 - Daisy Pearce
17 - Karen Paxman
12 - Elise O'Dea
10 - Lily Mithen
7 - Alyssa Mifsud
5 - Cat Phillips
2 - Laura Duryea, Lauren Pearce

GWS put in a reasonably good effort, let down by some baffling left aligned formatting.
But while $cully is around I refuse to declare GWS superior in any aspect other than their Moscow, Moscow theme song. 4-1 Dees.

Final thoughts
This is nothing new, I'm used to our season being over after Round 5.

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