Saturday 23 June 2018

Friday night and I just love complaining

Apparently footy is broken and must be saved before TV stations withdraw support and players are forced to work part-time as PE teachers again. Just like the 80s when the game was flawless. Much of the anxiety surrounds plummeting ratings on Friday - or as it's known in the industry 'Carlton Night' - so it was about time they put The New Entertainers on and gave us a chance to save the competition. Then the game opened with 15 goalless minutes, and by the time we put on three in rapid succession, thousands of viewers had their heads in the oven and were reaching for the knob.

All's well that ends well for neutrals, it ended in a thriller and gave viewers from coast-to-coast the opportunity to laugh about a team throwing away a three-quarter time lead because they didn't kick another goal. Neutrals can do one, hold all tickets for the next fortnight but this was the most infuriating loss of the year. We got closer against Geelong but played worse and had 21 more games to recover. This was absolutely vital in the context of the season, and we necked ourselves with 68 forward entries that were about as much use as dropping the ball inside 50 from a hot air balloon.

In footy's quality wars I'd like to think we at least gave viewers bang for their buck. My interest in the enjoyment of others is usually nil but I felt a weight of expectation to do something interesting in our only Friday game of the year. Surely last night was enough to satisfy; I'm not sure what another 30 points per team would have offered other than the chance to run 10 more ads. However that will all count for nil in the end, as it contributed to the further reduction in average scores and next season there will be more zones on the field than a game of Test Match. Recycling spokesman Chris J**d wants to make the game shorter, and after spending the week hanging shit on him for it I accept that we could have done with 30 minutes less here.

The War on Congestion may be just what we need, we seem to go to water against any side that can get close enough to apply pressure, and good teams already move the ball untouched like they're playing basketball against us anyway so why not sell out and try to get a flag ASAP? Given the disposal averages of our players in this game, and what to the naked eye looked like a complete inability to shift the ball from one end to the other without going via a contest, we should be more astonished at having nearly 70 inside 50s than how they were badly they were wasted.

There will be much talk about the umpiring, and believe me when Brayshaw wasn't paid that mark at the end I was about to go out and buy a cat just to kick it, but not for the first time in an interstate game we had the chance to rise above weird decisions from umpires terrified of the locals and win anyway. The comical decision to cost Melksham's a goal for a 'block' in a one-on-one contest, or some plonker running into Vince's hand were ripe to be heroically overcome if we found a non hit-and-hope avenue to goal. We didn't, we lost, bad luck to us.

If we were only due one Friday night game all season I'm thrilled that it was interstate. I've not the slightest interest in attending games on weekdays, especially after the Sydney debacle last year, due to the required several hours of aimlessly hanging around the city after work like a uni student. It suited my lifestyle much better to come home and have several hours to mentally warm-up for the inevitable debacle.

I'm not used to being home for any match considered important enough for a pre-game show. Say what you like about David King - and I certainly have - but pre-match coverage where they even lightly touch on how teams play and why takes a zesty dump on the insight free, boys' club FM radio atmosphere on Channel 7. It's unfortunate that when the game started they had to put the 7 call on, instead of Fox doing what they do for the NRL and running their own commentators over the top. As long as Dwayne wasn't involved it might have saved us from multiple HILARIOUS "Houston we have a problem" references as if nobody had ever cracked that gag before.

I'm satisfied with the game as it is, but that's probably because every game not involving us including the Grand Final is like background noise. An Essendon style surprise 50-1 start was too much to ask for, but a 3-3 score halfway through the first quarter didn't seem like as much of a burden to me as TV executives desperate to run ads. Why not just sell space on the humanoid mutants who hang over the fence yelling stupid shit at players? The six scoring opportunities, including some spectacular flubs from both sides, came outside an otherwise stoppage heavy quarter that would have caused lovers of free-flowing excitement to weep openly. Alternatively you could have enjoyed another heavyweight battle between two of the premier ruckmen in the sport and a brutal contest at ground level.

The pressure was immense - and remained so throughout - but the best example of why there's nothing wrong with congestion in the right hands is Clayton Oliver. You could blindfold him, spin him around three times and surround him with 4/5 opposition players and he'd still probably hit the right target. Six long years ago I came up with an ingenious idea for a Hogan's Alley style kicking drill, and would now like to extend this to handballs so I can see The Hamburglar set a world record. Like last week it was nowhere near his top performance, but considering how the rest of the side was crumbling under far less pressure than he was wearing (including a tagger with some of the busiest hands ever seen in Adelaide) he was still one of our best.

As the highest scoring team in the competition (⛷️) there was a reasonable expectation that we'd create a lot of chances, but our strategy was exactly what Port expected and they went on an Adam Oxley Kingsley nomination style streak of intercept possessions. It was obvious in the first two minutes that they'd rumbled us, and yet we were still doing the same thing two hours later with disappointing results.

I assume Simon Goodwin made some unseen adjustments, but whenever they cut to him he was extending the Wolf of Wall Street theme for another week by making faces like this:

I know where he was coming from, by the last quarter that's how I was reacting to our attacking moves too. The difference was I couldn't do anything about it.

With the 56 minutes of the hour left over after making this week's All The Goals, I'd like to request a supercut of all his half-quizzical, half-pained expressions. He was writing and circling on a piece of paper just captured at the bottom of screen, and somebody with sick modern technology needs to confirm that he was just wring "we're rooted" over and over again.

The biggest disappointment (before the last quarter) was that with Watts and Dom Barry dropped, Smilin' Jimmy Toumpas' career on life support in the SANFL and Trengove firmly 'break in case of emergency' we avoided having to take on any of the Four Horsemen of the 2013 Apocalypse. This was selection madness by the Power, who might be in good form but should have paid respect to the time honoured tradition of ex-players kicking the suitcase out of us. Between the four of them one had to be BOG, probably Trengove as another surprise foot injury unleashes his long-dormant running power and he kicked nine off the half-forward flank.

The loss of Watts hasn't seemed so bad since we discovered that Bayley Fritsch is good, but it still doesn't mean I'm keen on them chucking him for peanuts. Giving away an enigmatic but talented player for pick 31 and getting what looks like a long-term solid player in return is like diving off a pier and celebrating when you don't hit a submerged shopping trolley. Bruce McAvaney certainly liked Fritsch, who didn't get the ball very much but caused a Cyril-esque style party in the pants whenever he did. Bruce claims to love watching anyone play in the 31 at Melbourne, which is not something you ever heard when Donald Cockatoo-Collins was wearing it. They claimed it was his Bruce's birthday, and I feel bad that he had to spend it sitting next to a blathering idiot watching us torch more chances than he has candles on his cake.

Both teams should have had the first goal, but while we were blowing speculative chances, Port had the first decent opportunity after a 50. It would not be the last time they set up a shot on goal via that method, and not the last time the culprit would be Oscar McDonald. At least in this case he was rorted blind (or not if you're Michael Christian and fined him $2000), having eyes for nothing but the ball in a marking contest and clobbering his opponent only by virtue of arriving fractionally late. If the mark had been dropped they'd have just paid a free and got on with it, so in that split second was he supposed to have decided to make up for missing the mark by belting somebody? There's something fishy about four umpire games, and there will be until we get one where the rorts go overwhelmingly in our favour. The only good bit about the 50 other than kick missing was the replay showing our water carrier instinctively applauding the hit as it happened.

It was concerning that we were attacking constantly without reward, and that even if Port missed their limited opportunities they looked far more likely to score when going forward. It's been the same story against good sides all year, I'm absolutely thrilled that we can obliterate strugglers now and hope we keep doing it, but anybody who genuinely thought we were a top four team before the Pies game (much less now) must have been inhaling gas. The building blocks remain firmly in place but there are still holes big enough to drive a semi-trailer through.

I'm not going to blame the midfield, because Gawn held his own and they were certainly able to get the ball, it's just that they were under full harassment all night and as a consequence everything was rushed at 150% speed. Disposal efficiency on its own is unreliable evidence, but there's something to be said for the heat from Port across the ground when we ran riot in the clearances but Dom Tyson was our cleanest midfielder and Neville Jetta came in at 55.6%, which must be the worst result since his comeback. Our defence battled under siege but never looked comfortable, and in a flashback to the 'good old days' the half forward line was practically non-existent.

While Oliver floated in and out doing his sixth sense handballs, Viney was best suited to the general biff of the first half. Brayshaw proved he could get the ball against good company, but the pressure was not his friend and he ended up wasting most of his kicks by blindly thumping them forward. I'm satisfied that he will handle this better over time, and that not every team is going to be able to bring the same pressure as our last two opponents.

Like a bus you had to wait ages for the goals, then three came at once. First Melksham set up Hannan, then Tom McSizzle pulled off one of the wildest sidesteps ever seen on an AFL ground to go past an opponent into an open goal, and the mini-rampage continued with a Port defender shitting himself on the line and allowing Petracca to soccer through. When they gave away a free immediately after and Hibberd hit McDonald 30 metres out on not much angle at all it was looking like a repeat of the first quarter against the Crows on a 15 minute delay. Of course when they flashed up that he was 19.2 from set shots this season we all knew what was going to happen next, but regardless it was clear that the Power were rattled.

The idea of holding a good side goalless was appealing, but as the ball went down the other end in the last minute I think we all knew what was coming next. After failing to waste McDonald's goal immediately after he kicked it, we switched back to our other special skill and conceded in the last 90 seconds. Just like three quarter time against Collingwood when we were still an outside chance this came after the siren and ultimately proved even more decisive.

A two goal lead was still welcome, but we'd wasted our period of domination and would never get the same clear run again. Joel Smith made up for being pinged holding the ball to gift them that goal by saving one with a ripping tackle early in the second. He had another ok game, but I'd like to watch the tapes with a defensive coach and see what they think about his positioning. He is an animal at ground level and his disposal isn't bad, but there is something chaotic about our defensive structure and I'm not sure he's helping. It said plenty about how few times Port actually went forward, and how we barely dealt with the threat when they did was that were only 25 disposals between him, Sizzle Jr and Jetta. They all grafted hard, but Hibberd was the only one who looked even remotely likely to start an attacking chain.

Smith's save preserved another several minutes of goal free footy. It was still a reasonable advertisement for the game, but if the AFL want us to keep saving footy they'll have to help us develop a way to take advantage of all the inside 50s. Last night was another dark day for that stat, three quarters of ours could be easily ignored because they could only have led to scores via tremendous luck. The number of properly crafted opportunities would have been lucky to get into double figures.

I'm sure the late goal in the first quarter wasn't the difference, and that Port would have come back to win anyway, but soon enough they were level. McDonald's second got us back in front, but we still didn't look much like kicking a winning score or keeping Port out long enough to defend a small score. And so it came to pass. When tactical illiterates like me could accurately see what was going to happen an hour out something must have been wrong.

We only kicked one goal to the right of screen all night but should have had another straight after McDonald's goal. We went forward again and Melksham found himself one-on-one inside 50, held his ground in the contest and was pinched for a block. On a point of law, how do you block when there's not a third man in the contest? (Update - I've reviewed the rules and it does say you can block an individual player. Not that he did.) It was up there with the wackiest decisions of all time, and the air of shambles was not helped by Milkshake casually kicking the 'goal' after the free in a way that demonstrated he 100% knew (if not understood why) he'd been pinched, then doing a muted goal celebration in an attempt to avoid conceding 50.

Hanging on to a stringy lead, we tried ultra-hard to get up another DemonTime™ goal up by standing back and letting Lindsay Thomas (and who knew he was still playing?) take a mark. He missed, and we were left to ponder how there's an AFL team with a Jane Austen cast of Darcy, Dougal, Jasper and Lindsay and it's not us. Despite the failure of the Heritier Lumumba experiment in picking players against type, we should keep trying to find players with traditional 80s names like Barry and Kevin who have anchor tatts and a liberal attitude towards physical violence.

We were still two points in front, but I was sorely lacking confidence in carrying on after half time. In fact I'm surprised we got into the position to throw it away in the last quarter to begin with. We looked ok from stoppages anywhere in the middle of the ground, but got trapped in defence too often with stuff all prospect of coast-to-coast goals. Then when we did go forward it was via the fingers crossed and hope for the best method. Whatever Port did to Hogan it worked a treat, barely letting him get the ball in space up the ground and completely removing him from the game inside 50. It's telling that even though future Coleman Medallist McDonald kicked another three none were from marks. Their backline had us completely handcuffed with no idea how to escape.

If the entertainment loving CEO of Channel 7 was still watching, the third quarter was the closest you were going to get to a shootout without deleting two players from each side and extending the goalsquare to Mt Gambier. Four goals to one in the first 15 minutes, and we were back in the ascendancy again. That seems pointless now that we know the result, but at least demonstrates an ability to trouble good sides. Now to work on troubling them for more than five minutes in the first quarter, 15 in the third and not much at all in the last.

Our second and final burst was ended by one piece of bad luck, and one of rampant stupidity both involving Angus Brayshaw. First Gus mistimed a leap into the air, landed on top of his opponent's head and gave away a free for a goal. It happens, no heat on him for that. Then he was left marooned on the goal-line with the significantly larger Charlie Dixon marking over him because none of the talls could be bothered going down to help during a set shot. That's not the first time we've conceded in those circumstances this year, maybe the forward line and back line coaches should swap for a week and see if anything comes of it.

Port had us running scared but wasn't all one way pressure, Nev pulled off a tackle of such rare beauty that nobody even cared that he followed it up by kicking out on the full for the first time in about four seasons.

Nifty later took his third minor knock to the head of the year, which is a worry after years of giving his battered bonce a rest. In the press conference they were more interested in talking about him rolling his ankle rather than being knocked half goofy and still putting in more repeat efforts immediately after than Hogan did all night. Given the concussion rules and his history it was a bit suspect how quickly he came back, but hey I'm not a doctor.

McSizzle flipped the script on Queen's Birthday by wasting somebody else's goal, replying right out of the centre via assists from Viney and Melksham, and then had his Monday nightmare replayed when we conceded a minute after that. Holding an eight point lead through the last quarter was not inconceivable if we could get another run of goals on, and in a piece of punditry that he'll want deleted from the replay, the otherwise sensible James (never Jimmy) Bartel said Port would "have to kick six, because you'd think Melbourne will get four". When would you ever think Melbourne was going to kick four in a quarter against a top eight team outside of Victoria?

In the end, Port only needed three and we fell moderately short of Bartel's expectations with two behinds. It was an especially frustrating finale because we burnt countless opportunities to either kick decisive goals at the start, or to get back in it when they overtook us. There was a bit of five-finger-fisting from the umps, but we could have got past that with a bit more composure. It would have been an excellent time for Hogan to arrive, or for Petracca to come back for the first time since the first quarter. Neither did much, and will both be writing letters under fake names to the AFL this week demanding that the game is artificially ripped apart to give them free range space.

When McDonald was poleaxed in a contest and left on the ground pissing blood from his mouth I was about to pack up on this season. The six weeks of glory will be remembered forever, but the way it feels like the rest of 2018 is going to drip away Forward Sizzle is about the only thing I've got going for me. Despite the fact that he appeared to be dead and the ball came to a stop for a mark, the umpires didn't think to stop the game so he could go off and let it carry on around his semi-lifeless corpse. In those seconds in was my dream that he'd rise from the dead, snatch the ball off the ground, and kick a goal that left the Sherrin soaking in blood. Put that on sale at your MFC Auction Spectacular (P.S - GAGF if you're the person who beat me to the Rhys Healey #50 Shanghai game jumper).

Even after they got in front we had a handful of decent chances. Fritsch went closest, missing on the run with a shot that would have put us back in front. Oscar then gave away his second questionable 50 for post-mark clobbering and we were down 11 points with barely any time left and no indication that we'd be able to kick two in a row. To be fair the time we were most likely to score all day was after centre clearances, so one may have quickly begat another. The theory was never tested, and we spent the last two minutes trying to score through chaos. Oliver and Lewis crashed into each other going for a loose ball, and eventually a panic kick found Brayshaw running straight up the 50. He spilt it, and morally there's no way it should have been paid as a mark except for a Port player having just as little control on one inside 50 earlier and being allowed to keep it.

With 30 seconds to go another fingers crossed kick was intercepted, I turned off the TV and for the first time all night sat down instead of hovering over the screen yelling. Apparently Port had another shot after the siren, giving us a 75% DemonTime™ ratio for the night. Now that they don't want Watts can we get him back on a free just so he can regain his position as our designated spare man in defence across the last two minutes, flapping like a bird after a mark to tell everyone to calm down.

Losing an interstate thriller to a top four contender shouldn't have me this upset, but one day there will be a scientific inquest that proves losing a thriller is worse for your mental health than going down by six goals. To contribute to the study I've spent most of Saturday being an arsehole to strangers through no fault of their own.

Not sure how much was learnt, other than the need to relegate this forward entry plan to the 'against shit teams only' file. We've always been a fringe top eight side at best, and that's what we have to fight for from here. I too dared to dream of more when we were steamrolling rubbish but let's be realistic. The most important thing is to qualify, you can't tell me the Bulldogs were any better than us now when they won the flag. Get in, and hope to get on a roll. Or finish 9th again and become a Richmond style cliche.

2018 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
I'm not especially thrilled by handing out many of these, but at least unlike Queen's Birthday I had a group of apologies who might not have deserved votes but I would have been comfortable including in an emergency.

5 - Jack Viney
4 - Max Gawn
3 - Clayton Oliver
2 - Tom McDonald
1 - Michael Hibberd

Apologies to Brayshaw, Melksham Fritsch and Salem

Maximum claws one back on Oliver as they further firm as the only two who can win it from here. There are only 45 votes left unless we make the eight, so it's time for those who have not yet polled to get onto the run of their lives if they want to have any chance. No move in any of the minors, but all betting agencies have paid out on Max in the Stynes.

The real battle is in the backline, where Nev has a razor thin lead over Oscar and Hibberd. Lewis should probably be eligible for that as well, which would put him in a share of the lead and make me want to shut the award down. The Jakovich Committee will rule on his eligibility shortly.

34 - Clayton Oliver
28 - Max Gawn (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
22 - Jesse Hogan
15 - Tom McDonald
14 - Nathan Jones
11 - Jake Melksham
9 - Bayley Fritsch (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
7 - Angus Brayshaw
6 - Neville Jetta (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), Jack Viney
5 - Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis, Christian Petracca
4 - Oscar McDonald
3 - James Harmes, Michael Hibberd, Dean Kent, Jake Lever, Alex Neal-Bullen
1 - Cameron Pedersen, Christian Salem, Joel Smith,

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Still not much on offer this year, we've never kicked so many goals (in total, not tonight) and barely had any that were spectacular. For want of other options it's Tom McSizzle for the one where he sold a dummy so enormous it should be sponsored by Baby Bunting, took an unnecessarily early bounce and dribbled the ball through. For his weekly prize he wins a chiropractic assessment to determine what damage carrying our forward line has caused.

The leader is still Tyson for that goal at Essendon, but surely even he'd refuse to accept it if nothing better comes along. Either that or you'll think he's refused because he's so slow to get to the podium.

If you were just going by the TV coverage it looked like we either didn't have a banner or it had something controversial splashed across it, because the footage cut from players emerging from the room to them on the other side of the ground as if the player/crepe paper interface didn't happen. Fortunately the Cheer Squad did what Channel 7 didn't and gave us a look. Somebody must have done a motivational seminar during the week. Should have just said LOWER YOUR EYES.

Design wise that text is spot on. Compare to Port, who had a font that was one step away from Times New Roman and became the 79th to use the word 'exorcise' against us since 1990. Dees 13-0 for the year.

Next week
In theory we should be able to send out the same side against St. Kilda and piss it in, but as we're left hanging on by our fingernails in the race for the eight anyway I'd rather try to find a system that may stand up for us in a final. Vince is roasted, and Lewis is serviceable with the ball in hand but a massive liability defensively. If somebody else can't play the mop-up role in his absence then work around it, because every club will be trying to take advantage of us with a Billy Hartung style designated sprinter who has NFI how to do anything but run.

I saw the first half of the Casey game against Coburg online, and it's hard to make any serious judgements from that game due to the toilet quality of the opposition. It was interesting to see Pedersen playing in defence, either because Petty wasn't there or they think he's an option to do it in the seniors. Either way, the surprise mid-season positional switch in the VFL is usually a sign that you're about to get the arse.

Garlett has done chuff all in the VFL and didn't do much from what I saw but it's time to roll the dice on the theory that he's a match-winner. Likewise Spargo wasn't all that prominent, but has had the week off to reflect on his blistering second quarter on Queen's Birthday and stuff all in the other three so I'm willing to give him another go. Petracca can follow the same path, reflect on what he did in the first quarter last night, learn from a week off and come back ready to blow Freo's brains out in Darwin.

Weideman kicking seven was the ultimate in not getting excited considering the opposition but stuff it, I'm going to reward form anyway. Otherwise, it doesn't really matter what happened at an arctic Casey Fields in pissing rain, time to make decisions on whether we're playing to hang on by our fingernails this year or build for the future. If we make changes and somehow contrive to lose to the Saints then stiff shit, it's better than winning next week with Lewis and Vince who are going nowhere and Petracca thinking he's bullet proof then missing the eight anyway.

IN: Garlett, Petty, Spargo, Weideman
OUT: Lewis, Petracca, T. Smith, Vince (omit)
LUCKY: Tyson (for want of options)
UNLUCKY: Baker, Bugg, Stretch and me for following Melbourne

This is all academic, there's more chance of me being picked than Lewis and Vince being dropped at the same time. How about a couple of face-saving mystery injuries? This article is spot on across the board, but especially about the changes. In fact you've wasted your time reading this post when the truth was readily available by reading that. I'd fall off my chair if even one of the two got the boot, because going off the cliff like lemmings without altering course is in our DNA.

If I am picked in lieu of the double droppings it will be awkward, because in one of the great stitch-ups of our time my kid's birthday party has been arranged for the exact same time of the game. Therefore I'll be watching on delay once the people who don't understand me have gone home. I was sour for the first five minutes after finding out about the schedule clash, before realising that it's better to concede defeat here than have her cite Round 15, 2018 in future counselling sessions. It should be ok as long as guests understand that there's a media ban in place and I don't instinctively browse Twitter while trying to avoid mingling. It may be the first home game I've missed since Queen's Birthday 2013 - that's a lot of episodes of Hogan's Heroes (and one too many of Hogan's Highball).

Ad Chat
Max Gawn (shown as 'AFL Player - The Demons') has followed in the footsteps of Jack Watts for Energy Watch and Mitch Clark for Ultratune by converting his MFC related fame into an acting career. With difficult material to pull off in the Google Mini ads he just keeps it from going off the rails. I don't understand the product, are you bastards too lazy to even type what you want to watch on TV now?

Crowd Watch
When ranking cringeworthy things in footy, Port's community singing is only marginally better than Kiss Cam. It must be a regional thing, because when Collingwood tried to copy the idea even their puppet fans refused to participate. There's only one INXS song that should be played in conjunction with footy:

The All New Bradbury Plan
Champion Data provides the all-important reading material for next week's how to vote card. I'm interested by their cynicism about Hawthorn recovering when they've got Gold Coast, Bulldogs, Brisbane, Carlton and St Kilda in their last eight games, plus genuine 50/50s against GWS and Freo away, and the usually bonkers match against Geelong that could go anywhere. I've got them comfortably in to the point where they were almost lifted from the Battle Royale group.
Given the few other results to go off at the time of writing I may be hasty in promoting some of these sides. I'm taking Champion Data's word for Sydney being night on unstoppable in the race so they may as well start taking points from our opposition. Port has a piss easy run from here so they can start working for us too.

Can win every week - will finish above us - Port Adelaide (), Richmond, Sydney () and West Coast
Unlikely to be in the battle for 6th - 10th so may as well win - Collingwood ()
Likely to make the eight, usually still want them to lose - Nil
Lose against higher teams, beat lower teams, take games off each other 
Adelaide, Geelong, Hawthorn, GWS and North Melbourne
Preferred result depends on opposition, usually want a win - Essendon () and Fremantle
Win against higher teams, lose against lower teams - Nil
Good value as spoilers only - Brisbane, Carlton, Footscray (↓), Gold Coast and St Kilda

The rest of the desired results for this week are both obvious and highly unlikely, so now that this bye nonsense has finished your how to vote card (subject to change) for Round 15 is:

Footscray d. Geelong
Carlton d. Port
West Coast d. Adelaide
Gold Coast d. Collingwood
Hawthorn d. GWS (if you go on the table above it's a genuine 50/50, but I think better to piss the Giants off ASAP given the last round fixture)
Essendon d. North (this would be massive, feel free to go bananas in the first quarter again)
Brisbane d. Freo (just to sink Sex Chat Ross' 1% chance of a happy ending)

... and Richmond vs Sydney has zero impact.

At this stage, I have us in a three-way battle with Geelong and North, nudging out the Roos only by winning in the last round. They play slop merchants Gold Coast and St Kilda respectively in the final game so don't expect late favours from anyone else.

I don't have the slightest qualification to comment on the suitability of Gary Pert for the role, but the timing of the appointment was certainly a surprise. It's almost like they were lining up the rising stars of our office (+ bonus Al Nicholson rumours), then somebody with a proven track record came along and they decided to play it safe.

We're 1-1 on recent off-field signings from the Pies (and even Jason Taylor had a rocky start if you believe the rumour and innuendo), so happy to sit back and hope for the best. His record at Collingwood was mostly in the positive, but with the vast difference in financial might between the two he might be the off-field version of when Harry O realised he didn't have Swan and Pendlebury to kick ta any more. At least when his first staff meeting was leaked straight to the media it painted us in a positive light, instead of the Cold War style hotline between board members and Caroline Wilson that propped Telstra's profits up for several years.

Pert will have plenty to do once The World's Greatest Bald Head departs. Finding the money to cover chucking the pokies still concerns me, but I'm pleased to see there is now some talk about pissing off Darwin and going all-in for one game in the Alice.

Perhaps his biggest task, unless PJ pulls off the negotiations of the century, will be to shepherd home the plan for a dedicated training oval and HQ at the Jolimont end of the MCG precinct. This is obviously the best option, but maybe the whole thing is a wildly ambit claim to soften up previously raised options in Docklands or around the University?

I don't like our chances, even if it would effectively be replacing random parkland with a lightly fenced off oval. The net effect for the park will be stuff all, but there will still be enough "won't somebody please think of the children?" style moaning about it to keep us out.

There's also the question of who's going to pay for all this. If it was any other club I'd be ready to punch on at the idea of the government putting money into it, but because it's us I howled at Opposition Leader Matthew Guy (the worst leader of a struggling unit since Mark Neeld in 2013) doing a 'gag' about us having more chance of winning a flag than getting the land. His views on the footy ground may not be relevant considering the MCC control it, but given that the railway space is government owned that's more of a concern. Considering his record approving high rise buildings out the yin yang as planning minister, maybe we didn't stack enough layers on top?

All I want is for the western side of that HQ facing Jolimont Station to have a deck with a bar/function room, where after a massive win we can taunt opposition fans waiting on the platform. That's the sort of Billy Big Bollocks style behaviour that will put the exclamation mark on any glory era that may accidentally turn up. Either that or a train will derail underneath and the entire structure will collapse.

Administrative announcement
Confirmed Roos Chat, sadly without a lights out, no holds barred second hour where we could start delving into ridiculously insider chat about Mitch Clisby. You should still enjoy, and well done to Roosy for making it through the hour without dying from the obvious illness he was suffering.

Final thoughts
Before last night the odds on us making the eight were reaching the peak frenzy levels of 2017, and I have the feeling it's going the same way this time. Now I've got an even more desperate need for qualification, the unthinkable has happened and I've signed up to go back to shift work. I'll get through this season, but from the 2019 AFLW season for the foreseeable future/until I'm sacked my S and MFC relationship will operate on a reduced schedule. I'm hoping to still watch most games live on TV even if I can't be there, but there are going to be times when you the dear listener will be called upon to volunteer for guest reporting duties.

It's outrageous that after being spat at, slapped and kneed in the knackers by this club so many times that I'd risk stepping away from what could (on paper at least) be a glory era but you've got to be an adult at some point in your life. Literally the only thing holding me back from enthusiastically signing on the dotted line when offered the job was the idea of losing touch with the Dees. My whole life would be a field day for psychologists, but I'm going through legitimate trauma about the idea of not being able to be 100% in on following this club. Ultimately taking a step back will probably prolong my life to the point where I might see us make the finals again.

So, what I'm trying to say is that it would be an excellent time for the Dees to go on an amazing run and get the flag now so I can comfortably sneak into the night. At an absolute minimum could everyone involved please recognise my untold suffering since Round 1, 2007 and at least qualify for the finals? Is that really too much to ask?

1 comment:

  1. 5 votes to Viney for being our best player AND standing upright while flipping a bloke twice his size. So dominant were we in the first half that most goal opportunities were lost by our guys fighting each other for it. Did Tyson make it onto the arena? I didn't notice him in the play and every time Channel 7 flicked to our bench Dom was sitting there. Hypocrite of the Year goes to Lewis at half time for expressing his disbelief at the rumble despite being the instigator for most of his career.


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