Sunday 22 July 2018

Respect the clock and tame the punt

Melbourne fans, just when you think you've been abused in every possible way along comes a defeat like that - after the siren, in a finals eight pointer, from five goals up, deep in enemy territory. It wasn't defeat on the scale of the 1987 Preliminary Final, but they did both involve an Irishman.

If that's the end of our season - and it will be - what a way to go. I'm struggling to think of a loss in my supporting life that ranked so high for both importance to the season and soul crushing disappointment. The famous Round 6, 1992 was a bigger choke but it was in Round 6. Petterd vs Collingwood was more explosive but without long-term implications and the St Kilda time management debacle in 2015 came during a placeholder season. Even the rollercoaster 2002 semi was polite enough to end in a decisive normal time win for the Crows instead of tearing our heart out and dangling it in front of our eyes before we died.

It's hard enough to come to terms with losing after the siren, without also having kicked the first goal of the last quarter to take a near 30 point lead. Those too young to recognise the Chris Sullivan Line may have found its spiritual replacement in the Tom McDonald Line. Even when what should have been the killer blow goal went in I wasn't prepared to relax. We'd held their best midfielders all day, and a defence held together by sticky tape had played well above itself, the team that briefly became famous for conceding large runs of goals was always vulnerable to a spectacular collapse. Then there was the 'two weeks after Darwin' theory, which I invented but didn't seriously believe until looking into it further today. Nine lost last quarters, in a row where we kicked an average of 1.8 goals and lost by 15 points.

2018 - went to pieces in the last quarter against Geelong and lost a thriller (Last quarter -25 margin, 3 goals)
2017 - went to pieces in the last quarter against North and lost a thriller (-4, 2 goals)
2016 - went to pieces in the last quarter against West Coast (-12, 0 goals)
2015 - won after kicking one goal in the second half against Brisbane (-2, 1 goal)
2014 - lost a thriller against Port (-1, 2 goals)
2013 - lost to the 0-17 GWS (-24, 3 goals)
2012 - went 48-2 up against Gold Coast a minute into the second quarter and lost the rest of the game by four (-5, 3 goals)
2011 - went to pieces in every quarter against Geelong and lost by 31 goals (-44, 2 goals)
2010 - went to pieces in the first and last quarters against Geelong and lost by 41 (-22, 1 goal)

This result is so toxic that it's even ruining games where we got paid a million and won easily. In fact it's even gone back in the footy time machine and wrecked the one point win in Round 20, 2005. How am I ever supposed to enjoy Geelong (courtesy of Matthew Egan, who now works for us and must have thought "christ, not again" at the siren) losing after the siren without remembering when they won? Arise the 2000 Semi Final vs Carlton, elevated as of now to my #1 day at the footy.

The worst thing about the result - other than the inevitable extension of our finals drought - is that the two minutes of madness at the end ruined what would have been one of the all-time great victories. Weathering a comeback like that would have only added to the legend, but instead here we are contemplating looking like idiots yet again. By definition it was an 'honourable' loss, but on the third narrow defeat to a contender this year (+ a dishonourable to the Saints), honourable losses can piss off.

Even without Jack Viney and with Michael Hibberd struck down with injury during the week, a win in the Valley of Death was not out of the question. This year they've lost to Sydney there and barely fought off Carlton, so I was less scared about the venue than any time in recent history. Forget the stadium, the fans and the umpiring, they were all taken out of the equation and for the second time this year we had victory over Geelong in our hands. After Round 1 I took out my frustration by punching, this time it was kicking, and if we somehow land a final against them it's odds on a headbutt will be in the mix.

Less than 24 hours later I'm still feeling the flat numbness that you only get from losing a thriller in heartbreaking circumstances. It may take until about Wednesday to decide how I really feel about the result, am I comfortable at stopping them from scoring freely for three quarters before falling in a heap or furious that we wasted early dominance, threw away a big lead, and provided acres of space to set up the match-winning goal? Odds on it's the latter but I might have to subject myself to a few dramatic AFL360 video packages and 'where are Melbourne at?' thinkpieces before being certain.

Forget Simon Goodwin and his press conference motherhood statements, the person I want to hear from is forward line coach Max Rooke. For the god knows how many'th time this season we had the ball inside 50 regularly at the start of the game but couldn't take advantage due to a barely functioning forward 50 structure. Hogan and McDonald are a killer combination just waiting for somebody to organise them, when we're not bombing the ball on top of their heads in a pack they're often leading to the same place or trying to out mark each other. At one point in the first quarter they both led at the same kick, which Sizzle got to first by running faster. He then missed from right in front anyway and I should have known my night would end in disappointment.

Then again, maybe it was the not particularly maligned because nobody knows what he does Rooke who influenced the decision to catch the Cats out for a while by trading panic bombing for precision forward entries after half time? It would have been interesting to raise that in the press conference, where questions usually have the depth of a fish pond.

Whoever altered the plan in the third quarter they got it right. After a first half where we tried to transfer Adam Oxley's intercept mark record to some otherwise unknown Geelong defender another third quarter blitz put us within touching distance of glory, and it came from changing the way we went forward. Like last week the result still wasn't near certain at the last change, and this time we got the much needed early goal but still lost. Maybe they had it right against the Dogs by waiting 15 minutes to start scoring in the final term? The fun never stops at the MFC.

Unlike our shambolic last start at Kardinia Park we were comfortably in the contest from the start, which is no surprise considering Geelong's team is all tip and no iceberg. No doubt they'll pull off some amazing recruiting coup and refresh their list but for now most of their better players were 30 or above and ours were generally under 25. The future is in place it just needs to be gently nudged along a few steps.

With Harmes tagging Selwood into the ground (before having a go at Dangerfield later, probably typecasting him as a tagger) and the homebrand backline doing a surprisingly competent job keeping the Cats at bay we had an early lead. It didn't last, because losing the stoppages to a side with a full forward who relishes the opportunity to crush us proved a bit more of a problem than the Bulldogs trying to kick into a cute, fluffy and irrelevant attack full of strugglers. There is definitely something to be said for keeping them at bay for so long, but what good is that for us now?

As with pretty much every other game I've been to live this year I saw the sort of warning signs that you only get from being at the ground. They're not always fatal, but teams plowing out of our forward line with free men everywhere (I guess the entire viewing audience got a look at how that worked in the last 20 seconds) and multiple players running to the same ball-carrier will be the death of me. There was at least one goal last night that came directly from a two-on-two situation where both of ours went to the same opponent, allowing him to flick the ball to the guy on his own with disastrous results.

By midway through the second quarter I was far more confident of winning than I had been before the match, it was obvious that Geelong are a barely better than mid-table mediocrity side. They were missing easy kicks, making stupid decisions, and if we were in any way ruthless with moving the ball inside 50 would have been right on top. Odds on they'll be blasted out of the finals ASAP but at least they'll be there while we're introducing thumb to arse on the couch.

Having the upper hand was wasted when they battled through our discount defence to get novelty goals like the cross from the pocket that was toe-poked through when we should have rushed it. Or Brayshaw being pinched on an administrative free kick for not knowing Dangerfield was the nominated ruckman. You'd think having just been nominated to, the umpire would have known to pay the free anyway but Danger made sure of it by putting on the greatest death scene since King Lear. It was followed by what might be Bernie Vince's last great Melbourne moment as he asked the umpire "what the fuck was that?" but was sadly the correct interpretation of a stupid rule. Was the world really a worse place when every man and their dog was jumping for ball-ups? No it was not.

That debacle was the only downer in a strong finish to the second quarter. Brayshaw didn't have nearly the free ride he did out of the middle last week, but did a smash and grab job to pinch a goal, Spargo kicked the sort of ludicrous roller from the boundary that would have caused a party in Dwayne Russell's pants if he was calling, and McSizzle took advantage of a stuff up in Geelong's defence to get another before the break. So far, so acceptable. We were only five points up at the half, but after another landslide win in the inside 50s at least we were starting to get reward for effort. We just got away with giving up a free deep in DemonTime, but in a result that seems a lot less funny now than at the time the kick after the siren went out on the full.

The game burst into a no zones required spectacular in the third quarter, after a half that featured tough and perfectly acceptable footy but would still have had Channel 7's errand boys at the AFL sweating due to the lack of goals. We conceded the first, but pulled it straight back from the next centre bounce in a handy throwback to last week. Even Petracca kicked a set shot, which should have been an indication that something weird was on the cards.

For the next few minutes it was goal for goal, plenty of opportunities for the viewers at home to watch that NAB ad and wonder if the woman commanding bank customers wouldn't be better used coaching our forwards. It appeared likely to go down to the wire, but I didn't see us racking up a big lead first. The run that set up the disaster started in wonky fashion, with Hogan and Anal-Bullet doing their best to stuff up an opportunity before it finally fell to Milkshake for the goal. Then Hulk finally got a one-on-one with a defender and make him look like a goose, before Gawn being knocked over off the ball caused 30,000 people who idolise Joel Selwood to erupt in tears of rage at the idea of a player going down easily after contact. A bootleg version of Catman was shown having a nervous breakdown on the big screen, much to the amusement of all.

Maximum was at his perfect range and converted, prematurely sticking his arms up in the air like he'd kicked the sealer. He then spent the rest of the game being hooted at by braying hillbillies before they had the last laugh. This goal set up a decent gap, before Garlett's second reversed the DemonTime curse and extended the margin to nearly four goals at the last change. This would take some sort of effort to lose, and we were up for the challenge. I wasn't confident yet, and even when McDonald got his third to make the margin nearly 30 there was far too much time left to breathe easily.

Things soon started to get wobbly, and the face of the demolition job was Tom Hawkins. He's been taking the piss out of ever since kicking four in his second game, and extended his beatings beyond goals by also whacking Bayley Fritsch around the scone at the end of the third quarter. Once they started winning quick breaks out of the middle at last he began dragging poor old Oscar McDonald behind him like a water skier. Eventually somebody realised the need for closing speed and switched Frost onto him, but by then the lead had already been cut to pieces. It wasn't all Oscar's fault, Hawkins started the last quarter rampage by disposing of Gawn at a boundary throw in, grabbing the ball clean and snapping a goal. You'd feel better about it if he didn't always save his best for us. Go on and have a guess who he's kicked a career best 46.8 against.

The Frost move quelled the rampage just when they looked like overtaking us and dashing off into the distance. Of all the Melbourne players you wouldn't want doing something to save your life, Frost running out of defence and having to hit a target would be mine, but his role in quelling Hawkins demonstrated why for the moment he has a place in the side. I'd much rather somebody with closing speed who can also make a reasoned decision about where to kick next, but without Hibberd or Lever what hope do we have of ever closing a forward down without him? The rest of our defenders are varying degrees of fine in one-on-one contests and with the loose ball but will be ransacked if forwards are allowed to lead off them. Responsibility falls across the board on this one, don't let the ball go down there at lightning speed to start with and make sure somebody else is there to get in the way of the leads.

Hawkins' sixth, and Geelong's fourth in five minutes, cut the gap to less than a goal and I was ready to go down in a crushing 10 goal avalanche. But then there was a momentary pause where they let us back into it. Melksham helicoptered a goal, before we conceded again. Still, the backline that had done so well to hold them until the last quarter was now in full retreat, with no sign of a leader anywhere to regain control. It was ok when we were forward - like Melksham helicoptering a goal or McDonald extending the lead to eight with five minutes to play - but we were suddenly very vulnerable to the ball going the other way. Next thing our old mate Hawkins was plucking the ball off the pack and kicking a seventh and it was back to two points the difference again.

My nerves were not coping, it's bad enough for your legs standing on concrete as it is without a thriller breaking out. Today my entire left side is in pain from the way I was standing and pivoting around in agony whenever something went wrong. This would have been indescribable torture in any game, let alone a season defining one where we were outnumbered by about 95% of the audience.

I'm not going to go off on one about umpiring, because yet again we had our destiny in our own hands and fumbled it but here's an ironic scenario - after rightly or wrongly cracking the shits all year about Lewis not going in for the hard ball he finally does and cops a slide tackle. The only surprise is that he didn't get pinched for below the knee contact.
Against my better judgement I confronted the replay of the last two minutes, and with respect to the Damien Barrett column that has no idea what the phrase means there were so many Sliding Doors moments that Gwyneth Paltrow should have kicked after the siren. In retrospect the course of the game had already been altered by the video review which cancelled a Geelong point, forcing us to kick in from the boundary instead of the goal square and robbing us of the right to lose the game in some other memorable way.

Any single thing that happened differently would have affected the game to the point where it most likely didn't end with a kick after the siren, including Kennedy-Harris burning Melksham running into the square alone and having a shot. It's easy to be critical after the fact, but even the way he stood just behind a Geelong defender inside 50 instead of running back into space for Brayshaw to give it to him might have been crucial. JFK might not have thought he could screw it around to Melksham (and we'd be slaughtering him 100x if the pass had been intercepted) but if he'd done anything else, or it had rolled out of bounds then things would have turned out differently. Still doesn't mean we'd have won but it would have helped.

In a sign of bad things to come they moved the ball from kick-in to the forward 50 untouched, only for Sam Frost to do the most Sam Frost thing of all time and beat Hawkins for the mark, gather and run through multiple forwards before blindly roosting it forward. It landed in the middle of two Geelong players and came back towards our goal as my heart threatened to seize up. There's no way I was going to die at Kardinia Park so I willed myself to keep living at least until we get back to the MCG. Sizzle Jr took a good relieving mark and went wide to Petracca on the wing with 90 seconds left. He turned around casually, walking back to take his kick while wasting as much time as possible before aimlessly hauling it down the line.

Thanks to Microsoft Snipping Tool, here are the options ahead of him. I partially blame whoever the circled player is for running towards the numbers on the boundary line instead of providing an option to kick to. Truck is not off the hook, he had the loose player ahead of that too and probably at least one player behind the ball who he could have gone backwards to. The long distance VGA resolution of this screenshot doesn't reveal who that is coming off at the bottom of screen, but other than injury is this really the best time for them to be running off with their back turned? He could have turned back and provided an option across the ground.

Petracca's emotions after the game showed that he knew how big of a cock-up his long kick was, and it unfortunately detracted a bit from what was an otherwise good performance. His tears were in contrast to Bernie Vince having a laugh with his mate Dangerfield, which never goes down well in the wake of a farcical defeat. Truck is copping all the blame, but the ball going over the line inside our forward 50 with 1.13 left was not the worst result, except for Gawn running into a Geelong player and being forced off under the blood rule. I don't know if it was deliberate but Maximum ambled off to the other side of the ground without the slightest bit of urgency, time-wasting tactics that would work a treat at the World Cup but don't do much here when the clock is stopped.

Tom McDonald is not a bad option as a backup ruckman, and he did as well as possible in the circumstances, setting up Jones to deck Selwood with a shirtfront. The ball eventually spilt to Garlett, who recovered from falling on his arse to either have a shot or deliberately hoist the ball to the top of the square. From the vision on the replay it looks like he could have gone to Spargo in the middle of the 50, but as with Kennedy-Harris he'd have been crucified if it didn't come off. The ball dropped in the square, McDonald was ambushed, it was punched through for a point and I think we all knew what was coming next.

I watched the last few minutes of this game like I was on a three-day ice bender so had absolutely no idea that we actually went inside 50 again after the kick-in. My fritzed out memory had them winning via an end-to-end transition after the point. Losing from a fruitless inside 50 where the other side extracted the ball and headed into attack effortlessly is even more on-brand. The amount of free players they had running forward was bullshit, and my most sincere congratulations to the Geelong bloke who parked himself in front of Oscar McDonald with no interest in the contest and provided Tuohy the one-on-one contest against Jetta. Maybe Oscar could have played up the block and hoped for the best, but fat chance any umpire is going to pay a free against the forwards in front of a full house. It is, like IGA says, 'how the locals like it'. Having Jetta as the last line of defence is another great Melbourne way to lose, the only surprise was that he didn't end up trying to contest against Hawkins.

When we fail to recover from this it will be the third time in four seasons Tuohy has helped tip us over at the end of the season, having appeared in both Carlton's 'shock' wins against us in 2015/16 before deserting the sinking ship. I knew he was going to kick it, not just because we're fated to be a tragic organisation until the end of time, but because there was no angle and it was far enough out that he could just kick through it normally. Why couldn't we have got the horrid after the siren shank they did against the Bulldogs a few weeks ago?

My research suggests it's the seventh time (for six losses and a draw) that we've been toppled after the siren. We should probably exclude the Jordan McMahon one because most of our fans loved it, but the ledger in the other direction is one measly draw in 1935. Opposition fans, the fact remains that whatever miserable statistic you can find about your team we've done something worse.

Not surprisingly my initial reaction was anger, violently kicking a small wire gate and going off on a rant about how much I hate going for this club. I may have also delivered a tragi-comic "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo" as it went through. As two other Melbourne fans fell out over whether or not complain about defeat, a deep sulk descended for about 90 minutes. Suddenly while driving along the Western Ring Road the gravity of the situation hit me and I nearly hurled. The next available stop was a McDonalds car park, and unlike one of their patrons my dinner stayed unheaved. The rest of the trip was just pure misery and silent recrimination about adding yet another humiliation to an already towering pile.

2018 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Clayton Oliver
4 - James Harmes
3 - Bayley Fritsch
2 - Christian Petracca
1 - Tom McDonald

Apologies to Jetta, Lewis, Jones and Smith who might have had the last spot.

It's advantage midfield again as Oliver retakes a huge standalone lead, now Maximum has to claw back five votes against the hottest player in the side. The Hamburglar has already surpassed the total votes of the 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2017 winners and equalled the 2006 and 2016 scores. The mountain left to conquer is the 2012-2014 Nathan Jones hat-trick scores of 56, 48 and 54 respectively.

In the minors Spargo could technically upend Fritsch with four slamming performances in a row, but that's not going to happen until he can master more than one big quarter a week. Amongst the defenders, Nev still narrowly leads with Lewis, Oscar, Salem and Smith his only remaining challengers in the absence of Hibberd.

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

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
If nothing else from this game, we get a new clubhouse leader in the competition. Charlie Spargo's nifty sideways steps then outside of the boot dribbler from the boundary line pushes ahead of Tyson vs Essendon. Which in a way is a shame because unless somebody tops it in the next four weeks we'll have to relive some of this game and become depressed all over again. For the weekly prize the 35-Year-Old Man wins a session of Botox injections.

Even if our cheersquad hadn't put together a very nice banner to commemorate Melksham's 150th (even if about 120 of them meant fark all), it would not be difficult to rumble an opposition who dredged out the hoary old 'exorcise' line again. The non-run through side of ours said 75% of kids think gambling is normal, and I hope they all bet heavily on the Cats at three quarter time. 18-0 for the year.

Crowd Watch (incorporating Matchday Experience Watch)
Every time I go to Kardinia Park I'm reminded of why Row MM is the place to be. You can either pay through the nose for a seat or stand on a terrace where almost everyone is pissed off their face by quarter time, with locals acting like wankers because they've got the numbers (and a successful team) and many of our fans making arseholes of themselves while in full siege mentality mode.

Of all the places to stand I ended up wedged between a row of our lot yelling out not even remotely amusing gags (presumably the same numpties I ended up in a slanging match with last time we were there) and a provocative local who was fully off chops and getting worse. Being an idiot who needs a reminder to get as far away from other fans as possible I couldn't help dropping a few sarcastic comments to the Geelong nuff and wound up in a classic footy argument. My problem is that I'm a low-blow verbal fighter and can't help but jump straight into deeply personal stuff. He had his revenge with "I've seen my team win three flags" chat, and as there was no footballing comeback things were said that I'm not proud of. And to be fair I got a couple of ripper lines in so swings and roundabouts.

Between that minor verbal skirmish, one of the Melburnians behind us suggesting that he was going to "smash" someone, and the prospect of a close result my instinct was that the place was ready to blow and moved elsewhere at the half. With not a single copper around (though apparently they did a token walk through at three quarter time), the thin line of law and order was represented by a couple of security guards who nobody was taking seriously. I'm not surprised that the tense circumstances of the finish caused things to kick off:
Pretty tame stuff unless you were the bloke kicking people in the head while they're on the ground, but while bulk piss is on offer to all and sundry this shit will just keep happening. It's probably never stopped happening, we just see it instantly now instead of passing on tales of disorder through the generations. The idea of segregating fans and banning alcohol is NQR, but do they really need to let people buy four beers at once? Seeing two people come back with eight and run through them in less than a quarter explains what causes the biff. It's all well and good to hang shit on soccer fans for belting each other, but there's not much room for the moral high ground when 'we' have pisswrecks engaging in disorganised fisticuffs.

Maybe everyone was drinking heavily due to the rancid cover band that played before the game? I was certainly considering gouging my ear drums out when they came back at half time. It was the most distressing thing to happen midway through a game in Geelong since we were 110 points down. Somewhere in the City of Greater Geelong there was a pub missing somebody doing sub-karaoke versions of every 'rock' standard in the book other than Wonderwall. What works in a small room full of pissed people at midnight didn't translate to an arena with 30,000 drunks and I started to get an idea of how the people who saw Meatloaf at the Grand Final felt.

After that musical wonderland there was a marching band (featuring a saxophone player who kept breaking out of formation to high five people hanging over the fence) and an ex-player ringing a bell. Shame they didn't have a meat raffle, I'd have eaten uncooked British Beef after the siren.

Next Week
It's all on the line against the Crows in Adelaide, where we don't need a recent 90 point win to know that we're the far superior side. Stand by for the gates of hell to tear open if we spend four quarters racking up inside 50s and somehow still lose. After we beat them last time and Lever Fever erupted I nearly booked to go, and thank christ sanity prevailed because if I can't handle a Geelong crowd without getting into snippy arguments then it's hard to imagine leaving South Australia alive. Godspeed those of you who are making the trip, may it be as comfortable as possible and end in glorious victory.

I've got no idea what I want from the changes. Casey won a thriller with five of the last six goals (sounds familiar) but the options are thin where we need them. There's no point to picking Tim Smith or Weideman, and as much as I think we could do with another tall defender I can't see Keilty or the converted Pedersen getting a start. That leaves us to pick from Hannan, vandenBerg (who has already been flagged as several weeks away), McKenna (no chance), Balic (highly unlikely), Bugg, Kent, Filipovic (not unless Gawn contracts polio) and Baker. Relatively slim pickings there. I can't take JFK so prepared to give Hannan (or perhaps Bugg) another swing at it. Otherwise I've got several candidates for the axe, just nobody convincing to replace them with.

Whatever happens we should win, but we probably won't. Because we're Melbourne.

IN: Hannan
OUT: Kennedy-Harris (omit)
LUCKY: Neal-Bullen, Tyson, Vince
UNLUCKY: Baker, Bugg, Keilty, Pedersen

The All New Bradbury Plan

There are weird things starting to happen at the end of the season - like Sydney losing to Gold Coast at home - but even having factored in us losing this week in advance I still reckon we're going to miss out narrowly after Round 23. If we don't win next week that's curtains, the plan will be closed for 2018 but for now...

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

For what it's worth, your Round 19 how to vote card:
Sydney d. Essendon (really can't see the Swans falling out from here, best kill off the Bombers now so they don't get any Richmond 2014 style lofty ideas)
Richmond d. Collingwood (can't see the Pies missing either but let's give them another loss anyway)
Brisbane d. Geelong
West Coast d. North (this is vital, if we win and North do too we're still in trouble. Biggest game for the plan since North vs Sydney in Hobart in 2016 before the official plan even existed)
Bulldogs d. Port
Freo d. Hawthorn

Was it worth it?
I left home at 16:00, and via a series of navigational errors got home at 00:45. So no.

Let the record show that from this point on I resign from games at Kardinia Park, the glory of two wins there (one of which has just been ruined 13 years later) can't compete with 20 years of horror. I'm too old for jousting with provincial drunks on a godforsaken concrete terrace, and will just have to wear being shouted at by Dwayne and BT in the future. It started with a thrilling loss in 1999, it ends with another in 2018. To Kardinia Park/Shell Stadium/Baytec Stadium/Skilled Stadium/Simonds Stadium/GMHBA Stadium we say:

Final Thoughts
Maybe I should welcome the enforced break from 110% insane emotional commitment next year, it can't be healthy to put so much into an organisation that consistently greases its arm and jams it elbow deep into your arse.

If nothing else I've found a prospective cover for the Great Deepression II (2017-2021)

1 comment:

  1. I must be a masochist because despite the finish I still found this to be just about the most entertaining game to watch this year. I would still take a boring slog of a victory if it got us a finals berth over this highly skilled high stakes thriller. Also, I think Tyson actually contributed this week for a change and was surprised to see him listed as lucky to keep his spot


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