Sunday, 15 July 2018

Climb the ladder, make yourself famous

Melbourne Football club administrators rejoice, the Northern Territory is officially off the hook for 2018. We're $1.2 million dollars richer, won two games there by a combined 150 points and avoided a season-ending comedown on return to Victoria that would have unleashed carnage of biblical proportions. All in all, a pretty good seven days for everyone except Billy Stretch and Jack Viney.

There's something about toe injuries at this club, after Tom McDonald's 100 goal season was derailed by one in the pre-season, Stretch felt the #fistedforever sting immediately after reinvigorating his career, then Viney's went late this week. At least those three players know what the many fans who've injured themselves kicking buggery out of inanimate objects feel like. 

The St Kilda outrage has not been forgotten, so I was very worried about a similar disaster breaking out here. The tension was so high that when the news came through that Viney was out I was tempted to get back on the train I'd literally just egressed and go back the other way. This is what happens when you cut the cord and stop religiously going to every game, cowardly thoughts begin to creep in about watching on TV instead. Carrying on to the ground obviously proved to be the right idea, even if I was having serious doubts at half time. 

You'd have thought the obvious like-for-like replacement for Viney would be Dom Tyson, but he got a rude reminder of his standing when Mitch Hannan was picked instead. Why even make him an emergency if you're not going to use him to replace a midfielder? It was one in the eye to the people who assure me he's still got a big AFL future but just needs to go to a club where he can be the primary ball winner. I've nothing remotely personal against the guy but best of luck with that.

During week Wayne Carey offered him a chance at replicating his 2013 season, making the off-chops suggestion that Carlton trade their incoming #1 pick in a three player swap including Sam Frost and Tom Bugg. You thought he was doing a subtle 'Silvagni recruits GWS players' gag until the footage showed that he was being dead serious. The theory behind getting multiple players rather than pinning all your hopes on a single kid when your club is in disarray is reasonable, but the speed we would rush to sign off on that deal would only be matched by Blues fans invading Princes Park to demand an Extraordinary General Meeting.

While choosing an out of form forward to replace Viney instead of a midfielder didn't make any sense to the naked eye, it ultimately flung the door open to some of the most breathtaking centre square play you're ever likely to see. Between them, Gawn, Brayshaw and Oliver delivered the greatest centre bounce psychic connection since Jamar and Moloney poleaxed Adelaide in 2011. The trio did their best work in combination during the third quarter as we piled on seven goals in 12 minutes, banishing the fears of a second half fadeout wiping away the measly three point half time lead.

Victory didn't come easily until after half time, but at least this time against the Dogs we didn't have to fight back from a surprise three goal deficit in the first quarter. We did go one behind, with Harmes pinged for deliberate when he responded to a tackle 20 metres out by thumping a handball towards goal. If it wasn't so far out he'd have got away with it, but was so incredibly blatant you couldn't argue. I still think you should be able to concede a score whenever you want, but at the moment you can't so bad luck to him. It was the start of a ropey half for Harmes, but like everyone he burst into life in the second half, playing a decent role in the midfield. Though with the service Gawn was offering during the third quarter I might have had a centre clearance.

You couldn't fault Footscray's effort at the start, but I saw similar last Saturday in the rolling score updates of their game against Hawthorn. They managed a quarter and a half there before falling into a ditch, and not much longer here. It was clear that we had a better 22 players, considering the great vengeance and furious anger of the third quarter it's fun that we were still losing on all the main statistical indicators. In the end we only won centre clearances narrowly and were actually tonked in clearances around the ground. We even lost the inside 50s, leading to what was for us a super-efficient 29 scores from 52 entries.

Even after losing a goal via an over the top handball blooper by Garlett, we still recovered the lead via McDonald winning a free for falling over his opponent. It was an up-and-down quarter for McSizzle, later he found himself back in defence, had a nightmare flashback to the supposed horrors of the past and gifted them a goal. What a low moment for those of us ready to violently back his record as a defender, as if any backman who tries to make the play isn't going to stuff it up occasionally. For the rest of the game his old role was played by Sam Frost - who brings great closing speed and physical presence but you have to accept will do something insane at least once a game.

I was bleeding when a second goal not long after the McDonald blunder handed them a quarter time lead. There was a feeling people were about to go off on one if we didn't win, and those with long memories of Port Adelaide kicking a goal after a 'mark' that was held for about 0.1 seconds a few weeks ago nearly stormed the ground when Sizzle was denied a strong grab at the start of the second quarter. It looked - to sporting depressives like me anyway - that one of those days was on its way. By half time we'd marginally grabbed the lead, saved by Frost almost tearing his opponent's leg off in a desperate attempt to rush a behind, and Nifty narrowly running a bouncing ball through by the narrowest of margins. On the other side of the ledger was a hurried kick towards Hogan and four Dog defenders where they somehow contrived to infringe. Everything was pointing - falsely as it turns out - towards at best a slogging win that confirmed we didn't deserve to make the eight anyway.

After plodding through the first two quarters and expecting not much else, the pedal went down with some force after half time. Not straight away, we had to ride out conceding the lead at the start of the third term, and I could sense a nuclear reaction brewing amongst our fans that would wipe out all life for thousands of kilometres. It was reminiscent of the Essendon game that started that glorious mid-season run, a first half where all the usual scapegoats (Goodwin, Lewis, umpires, the people who tempted you into following Melbourne) were about to be burnt alive before the opposition packed it in and allowed us to win comfortably without even the lightest singeing.

I was hating on Lewis with a passion through the first half, but had to laugh when the usual 'he's ok with the ball but no good defensively' cliche was flipped on its head via a brave intercept mark followed by a suicidal turnover. The anxiety continued into the early stages of the third, where he did an impression of a traffic cone that should see him traded to VicRoads. Hopefully we read the small print on his Cone-tract and can void the last season by making him a coach or something. As much as I despise the "he's not going to be in your next premiership" line of thinking, we are beyond the stage of being desperate for mature bodies and need actual impact players. That doesn't mean we're good yet, but it's not like our defence has been functioning at top gear for more than about four weeks out of 17 so far this year so I'd much rather play somebody with a fifth of the career games who can be relied to put in the required defensive pressure every time.

I note that for all the bullshit that goes around about 'leadership' and the importance of these older players to lowly teams that the Brisbane Lions - well behind us in development for now - didn't implode when Luke Hodge pulled out yesterday. It's imperative that we use whatever draft picks we've got left, free agency or any other means necessary to get somebody who can be relied on to smash in every week instead of flitting in and out of the game. It's not like he's doing it deliberately, it's just that the wall is in the process of being hit and we're not going to get to the end of 2019 without it becoming a major problem if not attended to ASAP.

The third quarter will quite rightly go down as a modern classic, but before the chaos came a few minutes of nerves. There "here we go" moment is legendary at this club, and when Dale Morris was picked out standing on his own for a shot at his first goal since 2011 I was suffering major gastrointestinal distress. Fortunately he kicked like somebody who has three goals in 246 games, but after three minutes of our tremendously ordinary attempts to get the ball clear they got the goal anyway.

If there was a footy time machine available I'd go back to:
  • Dallas Brookes Hall on September 16, 1996 to punch on over the merger
  • The day they decided to hire Neeld so I could pull the fire alarm before he signed the contract 
  • Draft night 2009 to warn everyone about $cully
  • The 1987 Preliminary Final to run on the field and across the mark before Jim Stynes did
  • ... and obviously any of the flags.
The Bulldogs may want to use their turn in the machine to go back and make Patrick Lipinski miss his shot on goal, because the immediate net gain turned out to be -12 points and the overall result was setting us up to run riot. Party time started with a monster tap from Maximum to Brayshaw, who went through Oliver to Anal-Bullet standing on his own inside 50. With his recent record from set shots who knows what would have happened if he'd missed, but he chose the perfect time to convert and set up episode two of the Gawn Show. The next centre bounce contest went from his hand, to Harmes, Brayshaw again, and eventually landed with Hogan for the second in a minute. 

This set up another opportunity for Max to treat his opposing number like the day he had 80 hitouts against Bendigo in the VFL, this time using Petracca as his conduit to get the ball to Brayshaw for a long kick towards goal. That the last two blockbuster clearances came without Oliver was a positive sign, even better that the second one ended with him recovering from falling over to pluck the ball of the back of the pack and thump through the third in 90 seconds.

Footscray finally devised a way to hold us up by openly scragging Brayshaw at the next bounce. You could have seen it from space, but obviously not from ground level because it went unpunished. This was interesting considering earlier in the game he'd got a centre bounce free from a non-controlling umpire diagonally opposite him and with half a dozen players standing in the way. They're just making it up. But you know, bring in some zones and people will just go off their tits for the competition like never before.

Nobody has done more for thrilling footy this year than us, and we continued to contribute by looking highly likely to concede whenever the ball went near our 50. Fortunately after the Dogs blew one opportunity we went down the other end for a fourth in quick succession. Petracca steamed through the middle and unloaded a gigantic torp to Neal-Bullen standing on his own. The wobbly nature of the kick meant it took a weird bounce and almost came unstuck but the Bullet got the ball to Hannan and we'd practically killed them off in record time. I've seen this sort of avalanche happen plenty of times before, but not often in our favour.

It was a thrilling burst of ruthless, unstoppable football which we hope to be dropping on the good sides sooner rather than later. Our issue is what happens in the other 100 minutes when we're nervously shifting the ball out of defence or panic bombing towards a jam packed forward line where everyone jumps at the same contest. Not to mention our old Achilles' heel of what to do when the other side extracts the ball into open space and can get the ball inside 50 quickly. For the second time this year the Dogs had plenty of opportunities running through the ground that died due to them having no competent forwards. For the rest of the year we have to take on Hawkins, Walker, the Adelaide Tom Lynch, Franklin, Kennedy, Darling and Cameron so it would be nice to stop sides breaking forward so easily.

Garlett got another after a bullet pass from Oliver, sensibly resisting his first urge to throw a dangerous handball to Hogan. Then came the #1 highlight of the quarter that didn't involve the holy trinity of Gawn, Brayshaw and Oliver. Melksham took the ball in the midfield and went through two Footscray players like he was skating on ice, having a bounce, then in a visually appealing spectacle gestured while still running at full pelt that he was going to dump it long. The Dogs defenders took the clue and both went to Hogan, then the second time gave away an unnecessary free when they had him outnumbered.

Milkshake is not only the greatest player in AFLX history, he'll now have to field an offer from Channel 7's Dancing with the Stars. Meanwhile the Bulldogs players involved are seeking advice from the Thai cave rescue specialists on how they can be dug out of the MCG turf.
Falling down across the half-forward line has been one of my many ongoing irritations for the last 12 seasons, and for that reason I put it to you that Melksham is the most underrated key to us going anywhere this year. Gawn, Oliver, Hogan, McDonald, Brayshaw etc.. will have a more direct four quarter impact, but when Milk gets into space he can be lethal. To the uncultured eye I can't tell if we need to play through him more, or if he needs to do more to get into a position to be played through. All I can confirm is that we look a lot better when he's going. Same with Garlett, who did his job admirably again. He didn't star by any means, but two goals and plenty of chase is at least breaking even with what we were getting from three tall forwards plus it opens space for Hogan and Sizzle.

The golden era of the massacre ended with Gawn doing his own roving at the next centre bounce, contributing to McDonald marking in the pocket for a seventh straight. He probably didn't have enough of the ball, but it made up for being ripped off blind earlier. There were still eight minutes left, and if it carried on like this we were going to trouble the score of the off-brand fourth quarter against GWS in 2013. Then we did our bit for making sure Dogs fans didn't take advantage of the NQR twilight timeslot by going out for a curry when we let them kick an easy goal.

If they'd followed their own side's third quarters all year they might have done it preemptively at half time, and when Spargo got the party restarted immediately after with another goal born from Gawn's plus sized mitts they were free to head out down to Irving Street and pick up an ounce. To keep saving footy it was then our chance to concede one straight out the centre, before Max (*swoon*) and Oliver combined to set up Sizzle for yet another chance immediately after the bounce. McDonald uncharacteristically missed everything, ending the slaughter quarter at eight goals.

Even after a run like that I'm eternally scared, and when the Dogs nearly got a goal late we were about six points short of adequate insurance against a fatigue debacle. When they pushed hard for a goal at the start of the last that would have cut the margin to 24 with plenty of time to go I was getting a bit sweaty and quite a lot sweary. After the goal frenzy of the third quarter, the fourth was back to the sort of game people ring up talkback radio to complain about. After a couple of near misses it took 15 minutes for Lewis to be gifted an administrative free for somebody running past without filling in the appropriate paperwork, and he finished off any concern about a comeback.

That was all the encouragement Bulldogs players needed to give up for the day, and the rest of the game was played out in a less than enthusiastic manner. Gawn couldn't be accused of slowing down, he even bumped somebody at the end in a way that half-looked like a jumper punch and made me shriek in terror. The day was going so well for him that at one point he even nutmegged an opponent by slapping the ball through his legs and running onto it around the other side, ultimately setting up a goal. What a colossal figure, whoever eventually replaces him as our number one ruckman is going to be treated like Matthew Knights following Kevin Sheedy.

By the end the Bulldogs were about as stern an opposition as the no-name Freo players, but let that not detract from the majesty of the final goal. The continually impressive Fritsch marked, kicked short to Salem, who went wider to Gawn, handballed to Hibberd running past and we were off to the races. He propped, gave the ball to Oliver, who went to Hogan, kept running, took a handball from Brayshaw, sprinted to 50 in turbo mode and drilled a perfect pass to Petracca for the goal. Everyone involved played their role perfectly, but if you don't love Clayton Oliver you're either deranged, that Carlton bloke or both. You can never be found out if you don't play on the same frequency as anybody else, he's like an unjammable radio signal.

The hurricane of destruction was memorable, but I'm still not convinced it translates to beating any of the top eight contenders. At least we're going to have plenty of opportunities to test it, after negotiating banana skins the last two weeks, five of the last six games are against sides either clearly above us or right around our level. Ever since the fixture came out I've been moping about how difficult the run home was, and with Adelaide and St Kilda as the surprise win/loss cancelling each other out this is precisely where I expected to be come this time of year. Somehow that ended up with us finishing 7th, a result that would seem mediocre to pretty much every other club in the comp but would leave me turning cartwheels down the street and kissing strangers. In the sage words of he who provided the official name of this page, please please please let me get what I want.

2018 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Max Gawn
4 - Angus Brayshaw
3 - Clayton Oliver
--- a distance ---
2 - Jesse Hogan
1 - Tom McDonald

Nice to have several apologies who might have made the votes on merit rather than just filling numbers - Fritsch or Salem could have made either of the last two spots but I opted for McDonald not just because of the goals but highly competent backup rucking that took the heat off Maximum until he could go bananas.

A great day for the leaders, with all the votes going to players already in double figures. The results from this week further the near certainty that your winner is either going to be Maximum or the Hamburglar. No movement in the minors, Fritsch was unlucky not to further extend his lead in the Hilton but managed to get through another round without any of his challengers (e.g. Spargo and nobody else at this stage) polling and remains a near certainty. Nifty still sits atop a low volume but competitive field of defenders.

42 - Max Gawn (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Clayton Oliver
24 - Jesse Hogan
16 - Tom McDonald
14 - Angus Brayshaw, Nathan Jones
13 - Bayley Fritsch (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
--- No hope beyond here without at least one final ---
11 - Jake Melksham
8 - Jack Viney
7 - Christian Petracca
--- At least two finals needed ---
6 - James Harmes, Neville Jetta (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
5 - Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis,
4 - Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald
--- Three+ finals ---
3 - Dean Kent, Jake Lever, Alex Neal-Bullen,
2 - Christian Salem
1 - Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
I'm keeping Tyson at Docklands in the lead overall, but this week's award goes to everyone involved in that last goal. It was capped off by Petracca, but the BOG in the process was Oliver. All of them get to enjoy dinner at the Lobster Cave in Beaumaris.

Opposition cheersquads - I direct you to this week's banner as an example of how to expertly create a generic message of encouragement. The rhyme flows perfectly, the font remains the best in the business and the kerning is delightful. As for the Dogs, for all the complaints I had about the wonky flow of the 'humorous' messages done by that comedian bloke they are far worse off now. Even with him gone they're still keen on Os that looks more like a 0s. Dees 17-0 for the year.

Crowd Watch (incorporating Matchday Experience Watch)
I was spirited into the AFL Members, where Bulldogs fans couldn't have given the faintest shit about the result. And why would you? I'd have sat there mentally replaying the Grand Final. Meanwhile, with no glorious triumphs in over 50 years to visualise, most of the Dees fans around me spent the first half hanging shit on Lewis. At one point one of them shouted "do you want it bitch?" at him (at least I think it was related to the play) after a marking contest, which even I think is a touch harsh.

Otherwise the only excitement was from seeing a 60-year-old man wearing a ridiculous jet black wig that made him look like an elderly member of the T-Birds from Grease, and from the people in the restaurant behind who got a close-up look of me hauling my bargearse over seats for a half-time panic feed.

Elsewhere, however, it was all happening:
These may have been the same children who serenaded the crowd at Jolimont Station with a rendition of the Grand Old Flag. Imagine the scenes when we build club HQ on top of the station and you can do that shit from a balcony above the platforms.

On to the entertainment, and let's be quite clear that Hogan's Highball is the biggest pile of shit since Match The Emoji. I understand that one bloke in a hundred necking himself (even after signing a waiver) was the end of the original concept, but why not do something new instead of a bootleg version of the same general concept? They've got overalls on, put them through a Super Mario Brothers simulation called Petracca's Plumbing. Even if part of the settlement was to replace the screamers with tepid chest marks why did the name have to change? I don't think there's going to be a complaint to the ACCC about calling contestants 'Hogan's Heroes' when they're not actually doing anything heroic.

Next Week
To our old nemesis Kardinia Park, where we could do with an outbreak of the spirit of 2005/2015 rather than 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2016. Last time the travelling Melbourne fans were bigger arseholes than the locals so the visit next Saturday night will be done under sufferance, knowing full well that I'll probably have a miserable time.

What will help my mood is if we walk out with the points, Geelong might start favourites but are in no way unbeatable. Even Carlton gave them a scare at home so I'm not completely ruling out a momentous victory. Nor am I expecting one, so watch out innocent motorists I'll likely be angrily swerving all over the place coming back up the highway.

Now that we've avoided the immediate post-Darwin comedown I'm on high alert for a delayed collapse. From 2010-2017 we were 1/7 the week after returning and 2/6 two weeks after. Even adjusting for the fact that would probably have lost most of those years no matter where we played it's still concerning. Guess what happened the last time we went to Kardinia Park two weeks after Darwin?

With Billy Stretch gone for the year and Viney now joining him in the toe recovery ward our already ropey depth is under severe stress. I was still scared of the Bulldogs pace, so I'm opting to pull the trigger on the "he runs quickly, that will cover up anything unpleasant" Hartung Manoeuvre and hand Baker his debut. Out goes Hannan, who wasn't terrible this week but isn't required in the forward line at the moment - get a runner in and let's try to get the ball inside 50 at a decent speed again. If we can replicate the quick entries from the middle in general play we could leave 18 blue and white piles of dust on the Kardinia Park surface. He wasn't in the best for Casey today, but quite frankly I wrote everything above before that game happened and am not changing my mind now.

Kennedy-Harris wasn't amazing, but did enough to get another go. Like a barometer for the whole team I'm not convinced he's going to keep it up against the better sides.

IN: Baker
OUT: Hannan (omit)
LUCKY: JFK, Lewis, Vince
UNLUCKY: Bugg, Tyson + Weideman and T. Smith who are no chance now that we've ditched the third tall

The All New Bradbury Plan

While Kylie Jenner is busily working towards becoming the youngest self-made billionaire ever, I'm dedicating the next several weeks to complex scenarios which end with the Dees playing finals. This was a tremendous week for the plan, with Geelong, Hawthorn, Collingwood and Port all losing. The problem is that Richmond screwing us by losing to the Giants might prove to be the most decisive result of the lot. Now the prospect of an in/out Round 23 game is right back on the cards, and I don't think I can handle that - I could almost handle Dunn and Howe putting us out last year but if Turncoat Tom comes back from injury to get one over us in spectacular fashion there may be civil unrest.

I've done two ladder predictors, the rolling one I've been keeping throughout the season and a completely fresh start. The rolling one has Round 23 being irrelevant to both sides unless a) we win three of Geelong, Adelaide, Sydney and GWS or b) Hawthorn lose to one of Carlton, Freo or Essendon as well as Geelong and Sydney in the next three weeks. The other somehow came out with it all being on the line against the Giants. Either way I'm more nervous than Alan Bond at the ATO.

Can win every week - will finish above us - , Richmond, Sydney and West Coast (↑)
Unlikely to be in the battle for 6th - 10th so may as well win - Collingwood, Port Adelaide (↓)
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 against higher - Nil
Win against higher teams, lose against lower teams - Essendon
Good value as spoilers only - Brisbane, Carlton, Footscray, Fremantle, Gold Coast and St Kilda

Your how to vote card for Round 18:
Collingwood d. North (shelve your natural hatred of the Pies, this is very important)
Freo d. Essendon
Brisbane d. Adelaide
Carlton d. Hawthorn
Footscray d. West Coast
Port d. GWS (it's important that GWS lose, unless you can work up a theory that has Port plummeting to their death. I reckon they'll still make it easily so best screw over the Giants)

...and who gives a shit about Richmond vs St Kilda or Gold Coast vs Sydney.

Special feature - the 10 games for the rest of the season that are most crucial to the Plan. As you can see, it's the five other sides playing for the 6th - 8th that are the key. Obviously weird results like Hawthorn losing in Launceston would also be welcomed.

1. Round 21 - Hawthorn vs Geelong
2. Round 19 - North Melbourne vs West Coast (in Hobart)
3. Round 23 - Sydney vs Hawthorn
4. Round 20 - Hawthorn vs Essendon
5. Round 22 - Adelaide vs North
6. Round 19 - Fremantle vs Hawthorn
7. Round 22 - GWS vs Sydney
8. Round 21 - GWS vs Adelaide
9. Round 18 - Port vs GWS
10. Round 20 - Adelaide vs Port

Was it worth it?
In the end it really was. My commitment to 6.5 hour round trips (that is including game time, I'm not a complete lunatic) is wavering, but once the travel is done there is no better place to be. Even when we were a rock bottom that should have been torched for the insurance money I just loved going to the MCG. Not sure if 2013 happened again I'd be so enthusiastic, but there's still something magical about the place. Fortress Docklands might be easier for me to get to and bring out our best football, but it doesn't give me nearly the same rush as this joint. We just need to cap it off by winning the big one there, then I can semi-retire in peace.

History Wanker Corner
At the risk of being a miserable sod (and why start now?), it is my duty to rain on the hastily convened and not at all accurate celebration of 160 years of the Melbourne Football Club. They're working off the date of Tom Wills' letter to the paper suggesting a football code be developed to ensure a 'state of torpor' didn't creep over cricketers in the winter, which is like celebrating your birthday on the day you were conceived. When Ronald Dale Barassi was wheeled in for a photo opportunity three days later the claim had been elevated to official fake news status.

You can dispute the actual date that should be celebrated, but if it's not one of these three you're taking the piss:
  • 31 July 1858 - First scratch match featuring players connected to the Melbourne Cricket Club
  • 25 September 1858 - First game played by a team called 'Melbourne' vs South Yarra
  • 14 May 1859 - The day the actual Melbourne Football Club as we know it was formed.
The club has always been behind 1858, but for mine the real date is 14 May 1859. Before then it was people connected to the MCC appearing for a loose team called 'Melbourne', but from May 1859 they were playing as the Melbourne Football Club. For the sake of not causing a fuss I can wear 1858 and the 'Melbourne' teams but as the most comprehensive chronicler of club history since 1858 or 1859 I refuse to in any way participate in the fiction of 10/07/1858 being the anniversary of the club's foundation. Now that I've ruined the occasion, let me remind you that Demonwiki is your #1 source for information on seasons and players from the 1859 to 1896.

Misery Chat
Speaking out rock bottom outfits where they should salt the earth and move on, there's been a lot of loose talk this week about Carlton being the worst established side since Fitzroy 1996. Cobblers. I invite you to inspect the 2013 archives and tell me that a team with a six point better percentage than we had is worse simply because we won a single game more.

Wins are usually a fair tiebreaker, but like how two in 2013 were worse than zero in 1919 because we'd just come back from dying in the war please consider that we had a get out of jail last quarter rampage against a side who won one game (against us), and almost let the rubbish Dogs overturn a 40 point lead in the last 15 minutes. Throw in a pre-season Tankquiry, a sacked CEO, sacked coach and people falling out with each other all over the shop and Blues fans can be content with second place for now thanks. If they can get their percentage below ours circa 2013 by the end of the season I'll reconsider.

Final Thoughts
The two weeks where we failed to put Port away then turned in a shocker against St Kilda are likely to have their revenge on us at the end of the year. It's hard to fathom that we might finish in the positive two seasons in a row and come out of it with nothing to show but that's where we're heading. Since the top eight was introduced in 1994 the only teams who have missed with 12 wins (other than Essendon being sacked for cheating) were Richmond '94 and '98 (and haven't we heard about them ever since), Hawthorn '03, St Kilda '12, Port '15, St Kilda '16 and us last year.

So it's not unprecedented, but doing it two years in a row would mean we would deservedly take over Richmond's ninth cliche. For the love of god, Brisbane finished eighth in 1995 with a 10-12 record, is there no respect for a combined 24-20 over two seasons? We're on 10 now, and if nothing else happens will surely get to at least 11 against Gold Coast. Imagine winning another on top of that and still not making it? If that happens I'll eat plutonium.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, Milkshake is critical to our Aug/Sep progress. I submit his game against Richmond as exhibit A.
    My sporting time machine would take me to Eden Gardens, 2001. After a quick chat, Steve Waugh would be crystal clear that enforcing the follow on was an arrogant decision inviting the wrath of the sporting gods.


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