Monday 13 August 2018

Unsafe at any speed

20 years ago this round I went to the MCG full of a mixture of hope and dread to watch us play Sydney for a spot in the finals. Back then there was none of this Round 23 nonsense yet, so victory was a lot more decisive in making sure we didn't win 12 games and miss the eight. Tony Lockett's 100th goal didn't help them in the slightest, we won by a comfortable 31 points, somebody waved a stolen USED CARS banner behind the Ponsford Stand goal and a good time was had by all.

Even after reliving the greatest season of my supporting life in lurid detail just two months ago, the coincidence between that season and this year didn't strike me until I found out that Footscray had overturned a five goal deficit to rumble North. Now a win would all but make our return to September certain, and I foolishly allowed myself to dream for a few minutes. It helped that we were winning reasonably comfortably at the time, and that the Swans would be short two players for the last three quarters. Then one blatant deliberate in front of our goal went unpunished and a complete tits up scenario ensued. Now we're the '98 equivalent of Richmond, likely to win 12 and finish ninth after being pulverised in the last round.

As exclusively revealed on this page several weeks ago - when even Brock McLean's mate Blind Freddy could see how things were going to play out - anyone continuing to reference Richmond as perennial 9th place finishers after this season will be on the same level as cheese gag strugglers. The Tigers have done it twice, so have St Kilda, neither of them in consecutive years. One of these three teams has also won a flag, while the other two just plod along wasting licences the AFL could give to Greater Even Further Western Sydney and Gold Coast South.

For some reason there was incredible optimism about us winning, and as much as I appreciate people trying to be positive there was no reason to send us in as such warm favourites. The Swans may have inexplicably lost to Gold Coast, but throw a rock inside the eight and you'll hit somebody guilty of disgracing themselves at least once. Who were we to point fingers after letting St Kilda score 120 points? Especially against a team that keeps running finely tuned anonymous players off a production line year after year. Never having heard of half of them was no reason to get overconfident.

Just because I didn't expect to win in a canter doesn't mean that it's any less painful to have once again lost courtesy of a few minutes of madness that left us in a crater too deep to climb out of. It narrowly missed qualifying as a Stranglewank, but was very much in the same spirit. It's at this point that we ignore winning 12/20 games and start to ask serious questions about on-field leadership. Jones' career should be celebrated but it's hard to argue against the number of times we've been buried in a landslide over the last few years. It's not just his fault, I'm assured that we're supposed to have leaders coming out the wazoo but the moment the bullets start flying everyone's legging it for safety instead of standing to fight.

If you expect a calming influence to flow from the top I'm not sure I've got anything for you. Viney is the obvious option, but he's been co-captain for almost as many debacles AND has a foot likely to fall off at any moment. What I'd like is for everyone else to step up around the captain(s) and lead without a title, which has been my frustration ever since we had about 10 players in the leadership group and were still run like the Marie Celeste. There's no J**d parachuting in to give Carlton fans a short break from their drab lives, we'll just have to do with what we've got. And if anyone suggests handing Oliver the poison chalice I'll knife them.

Who would honestly be a Melbourne fan? I've been demanding the club hold a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for years, and now the terms of reference should be extended to include the person(s) that convinced us to get involved in the first place. I can blame myself for living in Hawthorn in 1988 and refusing to follow the bandwagon, Murray Wrensted for not kicking that goal in the Elimination Final, the distant relatives who took me to my first game, or indeed the great Allen Jakovich for sealing my fate in 1991.

Speaking of Jako, it was a significant week for those of us who still worship his existence. He'd already come out of the cold late last year for a podcast, but a surprise TV appearance was another welcome step in his reintegration to society. Next step is to hire him as our forward line coach, he might have had a ping at goal from any opportunity but at least they were from scoring range and not hopeful 90 metre roosts to be picked off by any number of opposition defenders. I'm almost as upset at doing badly in front of him as I am about the performance in general. May he return again soon and deservedly be treated like a deity. During the week somebody Twitter searched his name and favourited about 50 different times where I'd mentioned his name since 2009. In my sickest, darkest fantasies I hoped it was actually him and he knows what he means to me. Anyway, enough of being creepy towards celebrities and back to this tremendous cock up...

I should have known the day would end in misery when I woke up feeling like I'd had a dodgy curry. There have been enough game days like that over the last 10 years like that to know it's was pure sporting anxiety and not microbes. There was a time when I thought they might relocate the club to New Caledonia at any minute and felt like this almost every week, now it's because we're on the verge of narrowly missing the eight again. As an added bonus I also found the skin on one of my knuckles mysterious grazed off overnight. It's possible that I was so stressed about this game that I sleep punched something 12 hours before the game even started. There was no further punching to be had, but as we botched a last desperate thrust forward I did tear my hat off and bash the seat in front of me with it like Boss Hogg from Dukes of Hazzard.

It's a filthy secret that I haven't sat in Row MM since clubbing the window after Maximum's miss in Round 1. Even worse, the last time I was in the cherished back row of the Ponsford was the infamous first quarter of Round 23, 2017. I don't believe in omens, superstitions or gods of any persuasion but the stress of the run-in sent me a bit loopy and I headed up there in the hope that a win would wash away all the bad vibes from that end of season debacle. Just like that day I didn't last the full game there, throwing a wobbly midway through and relocating to another stand in the forlorn hope that it would provoke a famous come from behind victory. Nope.

Considering we spent the first few minutes on the back foot with the Swans constantly attacking the forward 50 the opening quarter turned out pretty well. I think we were all scared to death of Franklin, but even though he ended up having seven shots he was pretty well held. Frost did exactly what was required, pushing him up the ground and making him take most of his shots from a mile out.

That Franklin (now holder of a proud 15-0 record against us) is one of the few players in the league who can convert from that distance was irrelevant. There was one great moment where Frost beat him one-on-one and took off through the middle of the ground that would be talked about for hours if done by a flavour of the month player on a popular team. To prove he could deliver antics anywhere on the ground, there was also a moment in the heat of the last quarter where he marked just outside 50 and went on an insane run, right through a nest of Swans players and barely escaped without being pinged holding the ball. He's bonkers and I love him.

While our defenders were busy forcing Sydney's best forward to travel hither and yon for goalscoring opportunities, their teammates contributed by thumping the ball into the attacking 50 like an out of control fire hose. Who didn't see Aliir Aliir's hot form for intercepting everything that came near him becoming a factor? I know absolutely nothing about tactics but could see that the interface of quick, athletic, marking player vs "just kick it" wasn't going to end well for us. It feels rude to criticise our forward structures when we're the highest scoring team in the league, but feeding on rubbish sides only to give up scores against anyone half decent and just missing the finals is all a bit 2011 before general turmoil blew the doors off. Now we don't even have an off field feud to blame, we're just hanging around the lower reaches of the eight in the hope that something will snap and everything will mysteriously come together just in time.

We tried to make Aliir accountable by putting vandenBerg on him, which seemed odd considering AVB has never jumped more than a couple of feet off the ground, but every once in a while the Sydney man would take a break from chopping off our attacks to fresh-air a contest and gift us a goal. After six behinds to start we had to earn our first goal through Petracca, before Aliir midjudged a leap and gifted vandenBerg the goal everyone had been dying for last week. I guess like Frost you have to take the good with the bad, because he also got in the way of about a dozen other aimless attacks that may have otherwise bounced off into the hands of a waiting forward.

Despite a shaky start, the two late goals set up an 11 point lead. That was more than enough for us to throw away, but a decent foundation to work with. The emotional part of me says it's better than coming from five goals down at quarter time, the rational says at least that provides three quarters to mount the comeback instead of having to compact it all into a frantic 30 minutes of unbridled enthusiasm and uncontrolled execution.

To outsiders untrained in the ways of Melbourne, the task looked even easier when Sydney emerged from quarter time two players down. Poor old Alex Johnson came back from five knee reconstructions then did the other one, and an All-Australian defender was DQed with a Garry Lyon-esque back/hamstring combo. But again, if you've been paying even the slightest attention to us over the years you know that no team is worse at taking advantage of the misfortune of others. They would later be forced to keep injured players on due to a lack of fit players and we still couldn't win. That's Demontainment.

For now though everything was coming up Melbourne. After two misses Hogan's even longer and sillier than usual run-up finally yielded a goal and we were three straight in front with eight more scoring shots. In one of the most ill timed interjections ever, this bloke turned up with some helpful advice just before the afternoon started to go horribly wrong:
Outsiders lecturing us about having faith is a bit rich. Shane, like David King after the famous "lie back and think of September" article from last year, could I please introduce you to the Melbourne Football Club. His helpful pep talk at 3.50pm AEST was rendered completely bloody useless within 30 minutes as the Swans knocked through six straight before half time to not only overtake us but set up a very handy lead. For one it looked like pissing rain was on the way, and secondly they were going to need a buffer for the last quarter when the lack of rotations hit. The rain never seriously came, but their collapse did after we'd kindly provided just enough buffer to make sure they were never seriously threatened.

I'm very happy that we can run up huge scores by modern standards against pish teams, shame about the top half of the comp. Or when we arseholed ourselves against the Saints. It's not the first year in recent memory where everything looks ok until the opposition get the ball. If nothing else, unlike the Collingwood debacle, we showed up for the first quarter before pissing off. But when we left it was at warp speed.

This time, unlike Round 23, there were a reasonable number of tackles laid. Mind you, that number was propped up by the likes of Oliver having 12 while three of his teammates failed to hit one and another three chimed in with just one each. It's not unprecedented, we had three with zero and four with one against the Dogs, but that did include a quarter where the other side barely touched the ball. I don't know if it's relevant, especially when the Swans reduced our opportunities to tackle by spending most of the game daintily chipping the ball around amongst themselves. It's probably got more to do with us firing off our load like a horny teenager in the backseat of a car whenever we got near goal.

At the other end the Swans kicked six without a miss, the seemingly cooked Charlie Spargo failed to make the distance from 40 metres, and Sizzle McDonald's goalkicking was suffering full strangulation from the media curse. It was another huge week for that much loved cliche, with Anal-Bullet responding to an article that painted him as the nicest man alive by playing a shocker, and Oliver only narrowly avoiding being squeezed to death by a double page Herald Sun spread. We can't be far from a full colour special celebrating Harmes' great second half to the season, I suggest the media manager turns his phone off for the next two weeks.

Even playing in perfectly calm conditions this week attacking from distance was not our go, but as the opposition were of slightly higher standard than the Gold Coast Suns we weren't allowed to walk 15 goals in from the square. Garlett was completely neutralised until the last quarter, and most of our points were from speculative long bombs or horribly mangled set shots. 3.12 was a putrid half time score considering how often we'd been inside 50 - and because we missed three opportunities in the last five minutes to get the margin back under 10. Look how much good that late goal in the first quarter against the Crows did us, but here we were just being wasteful and it cost us dearly.

Even after conceding our traditional violent burst of goals, 14 points at the break wasn't a death sentence. One thing you can say for this often rudderless outfit is that they're usually good for a few minutes of breathtaking football. Preferably one where the opposition never touch the ball, especially an opposition capable of kicking with surgical precision. Instead we conceded the first goal within two minutes, three of the first four and I was left trying to work out how to climb up one of the light towers.

Two in a row - including a much needed set shot for McDonald after about seven misses in a row across two weeks - recovered the half time margin. Given you could already see Sydney's midfielders waning I suspect all we needed to do was play out the last 10 minutes without going any further behind and we'd have steamrolled them. Instead we went back into our shell and let in the next two. The worst moment of the day was Sir Neville Jetta bringing a rampaging Franklin down in one of the most heroic/suicidal tackles of all time only for the ball to come straight back the other way for a goal. Way to pay tribute to the brave efforts of a teammate who is one concussion from retirement you pumpkins.

Pedersen drifted forward and got one back with a very strange finish, and it was going to leave less margin for error but I could just about have seen us overturning 22 points. Then we negotiated the last two minutes of the quarter like a drunk driver, needlessly conceded a goal and I went right off.

The only problem with Row MM life is that all sorts of dickheads get bored during half time and think it's a lark to clamber up to the most outrageous seat in the house. The whole point of going there to start with is so I can misbehave in peace without either a) ruining other people's day or b) having to be self-conscious about going off-chops. The visitors usually get oxygen deprived and rack off about five minutes into the third quarter, but this time I found myself surrounded by adults and kids alike. When Papley's late goal went in they got the full tantrum experience, an unhinged Kardinia Park style rant about how I hate going for this team before clambering over the seats in front of me and storming down the stairs, still carrying on like a wanker until I was well back into the single letter rows.

By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs and temporarily parked myself in the same standing area where I'd mounted the rail in celebration at the sealer against Brisbane last year, Sydney were about to launch another attack and the people in that area enjoyed a burst of my emotions as well. The only thing that saved us when we were ripe for the knockout blow was the Swans helpfully refusing to go forward in the dying seconds, even when the clock got to the stage where the only possible result was them scoring.

My antics were embarrassing enough, imagine how bad it might have got if I'd gone in thinking we'd win. The problem was (as ever) having victory dangled tantalisingly in front of me - in the most important game of the year - three minutes into the second quarter only for it to be snatched away without the merest resistance offered. The 2019 membership slogan should be "if you've got a back, we've got a knife".

Even against a rapidly fading team a 28 point lead was too much for us to overcome. We couldn't play a Gold Coast style trainwreck every week. And neither could Sydney. We'd had a few winners, but were not playing like a team likely to run over the top of anybody holding that sort of advantage. Maybe if they seas hadn't parted to gift them that last goal, but not with a lead of nearly 30 points. The only Sydney players who never looked tired were their defenders, who let three goals in via sheer weight of numbers but had more than enough in the tank to stop us completely breaking through their line.

On the other hand we had players who looked crocked even with a full set of rotations. I'll be buggered if Hogan is fit, and the line about Gawn "pulling up sore" after Gold Coast had hair all over it. His game on Sunday was nothing more than The Spencil could have put on, he did a couple of ripping hitouts but never looked like randomly popping up forward or back to do damage. The all eggs in one basket scenario worked a treat for a while but in retrospect maybe we should have risked a fiasco and given him the week off against the Suns? If you believe he wasn't already struggling you'll buy anything - including a jumper commemorating our record breaking double 9th place finish.

The Swans were so dominant at keepings off that they could have won first possession then just chipped it amongst themselves for the next 25 minutes while our players trailed sadly behind. We did our best to assist this by not starting Oliver on the ball at the first bounce. It's like we were trying to conserve energy for a one final heave against a side who were already out on their feet. The Hamburglar later tried to do a Franklin style dummy/run around the man on the mark and fell over, which said everything you needed to know about the way we finished the game trying to play at 110% speed when it wasn't required.

Then there was two players tracking a needlessly high ball into the corridor and neither of them marking it. I'd love to hear more from the people who got sooky during the week about me giving no respect to our chances of finishing top four. We're still nothing more than a fringe finals side liable to be torpedoed by any side with an ounce of heart. There's only one profession who spend more time on their back than us, and at least they get to work inside.

When Garlett turned up for his first kick of the day five minutes into the last quarter it was back to 18 points, but he missed a wild snap straight after, Brayshaw flubbed a set shot and it took 12 minutes for McDonald to get the next goal. Time was running out to kick three, but we might have been able to do two, and Jones recovered from the worst game I can remember him having in years to kick a vital goal that left us right in the mix.

The Swans were out cold everywhere but where it mattered, and now that we were one goal from putting them under real pressure I hope the crunts sitting around me at the end of the third quarter understood why that last goal caused me to do my block. I went off because I could see through time, we were going to mount a comeback and just fall short. Without that cheap goal I'm sure we'd have at least got it to less than six points and given ourselves a fighting chance instead of relying on absolutely everything to go in our favour for half an hour straight.

It goes without saying now, but the delivery into the forward line was the stuff of nightmares. I couldn't be any more pro-Pedersen if he was my dad, but what about when he set up mark of the year for Isaac Heeney via the worst possible kick towards Hogan in the pocket? Whatever Heeney wins  he should give Pedersen half. I couldn't give a rats who wins these frivolous awards, but encourage you vote for either of the other nominees so we don't have to be constantly see replays that remind us of the last quarter of this game.

After that we didn't score again, and even with the petrol tank flashing empty they were the ones who missed two opportunities to seal the game. There nothing like going down fighting and this was nothing like going down fighting.

It was another day where a burst of goals by a good team killed us. 14-2 combined against Geelong, 6-1 against Port and 7-0 here - and that's just the close losses. I can also offer you nine in a row against Hawthorn, 6-1 against Richmond, 5-1 vs Collingwood and the death by a thousand cuts insanity of the St Kilda game.  ⛷ Opposition fans, don't be the wanker who does 'funnies' about our supporters going to the snow. Say it about our downhill skiing squad instead. ⛷
And so, for the third year in a row I sat in the back row of the same stand and watched a season disappear before our eyes. In 2016 the Mighty Ducks Finish was a pipedream even before we ruined it against Carlton, then last year we had the backup scenario of the Eagles/Adelaide game the next day (fat lot of good that did), now there is at least one more shot at glory at the MCG but for all intents and purposes I'm writing this season off. Finishing with 10+ wins three years in a row is not to be sniffed at, but I can't wait any longer because the anticipation is killing me.

Let none of this Melbourne misery detract from Sydney's ballsy last quarter. This was not us barely avoiding drowning against the Crows, this was a classic battle of a gutsy, winning culture against a team that doesn't get it yet. I live in absolute, ball-tearing fear that they never will but am ready to be proven wrong.

2018 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Angus Brayshaw
4 - James Harmes
3 - Christian Salem
2 - Sam Frost
1 - Clayton Oliver

Apologies to vandenBerg, T. McDonald, O. McDonald and Tyson.

Oliver narrowly extends the gap at the top, but more importantly without Gawn registering a vote and Melbourne likely not registering a final the man who made Mooroopna famous is now almost certain to win back-to-back Jakos. The only previous multiple winner is Nathan Jones (x5), and his 2012-2014 threepeat represents the only time anybody's won it in consecutive years. Maximum battled hard, but as he's likely to find out on Brownlow night midfielders = medals.

Fritsch is also home in the Hilton. For the sake of probity we have to keep referring to him as a provisional winner in case Spargo logs four BOGs and a Norm Smith Medal from here but it's over. The Seecamp remains very much alive, but another good performance by Salem has cleared the malfunction at the junction from last week and left him as outright leader. Watch this space - I dare say our defence is going to get a severe workout the next two weeks so any of the chasing pack could deliver heroics and get back in the mix. Or the entire unit could fold like umbrellas and concede 23 goals, it's been that sort of year.

54 - Clayton Oliver (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
--- No hope without at least one final ---
42 - Max Gawn (WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
--- At least three finals needed ---
29 - Jesse Hogan
--- Officially done for ---
23 - Angus Brayshaw
18 - James Harmes
17 - Tom McDonald
16 - Bayley Fritsch (PROVISIONAL WINNER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
14 - Nathan Jones
11 - Jake Melksham
9 - Christian Petracca, Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
8 - Jack Viney
6 - Neville Jetta, Jordan Lewis, Alex Neal-Bullen
5 - Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan
4 - Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald
3 - Dean Kent, Jake Lever, Dom Tyson
2 - Sam Frost
1 - Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Could nearly cancel this and put on the Earl Spalding Point of the Year instead, but in keeping with the general farceshambles nature of the afternoon I'm going to give the weekly prize to a man who probably doesn't even know how he kicked the goal. God only knows how Pedersen's kick evaded a defender to go through, but it was a timely intervention just as we were staring at death for the second time.

Cameron wins one of those puffy jackets to wear when he's back playing in sub-zero Casey Fields temperatures in a few weeks. He didn't do much today but should also win a new contract as a vital depth player. I unashamedly love him and would much rather give him another go than half the peanuts we employ.

Sydney put in a strong effort, with no questions asked the best kerning I've seen on an opposition banner ever. Good kerning was important, because they also tried to force in about 3500 words and rhyme "MCG" with "#proudlysydney". Nevertheless, had they not been up against our good cause charity banner I could almost have given them the points. But I won't. Dees 20-0 for the year

Crowd Watch (incorporating Matchday Experience Watch)
At one point in the third quarter I looked heavenwards in exasperation and saw this. Which was great, because then I expected a Huntsman to suddenly drop down the back of my neck and further improve the quality of my afternoon.
Even on closer inspection I'm not 100% sure of what the substance is, but if it stayed in place long enough for a spider to build a web it must be sticky. And you thought the only unsavoury things about Row MM were the language and the bird shit coated seats.

As for matchday experience (the sort that isn't just the team stabbing you in the back repeatedly), I've got no idea the Demon Dash returned, I was too busy shifting from the Ponsford to the Olympic via the Cluedo passageway in order to make a quick full time exit. The day was going so well that I'd forgotten I needed to go back towards the city, and this in fact made my trip home longer.
Media Watch (incorporating Coaching Corner)
Listening to Triple M is usually only good if you want to hear Cold Chisel, but I encourage you to tune into any game of ours featuring Paul Roos for his underground assassinations of Goodwin's coaching. It's all fairly polite, but there's a brutal undertone where you can tell he just wants to kick the door of the box down and take charge. Fancy that, somebody actually providing analysis in a call instead of screaming like an escaped mental patient. This time he was brutal about the extra man off the back of the square leaving us understrength in attack and Lewis as the spare man in defence. He also continued his love affair with Sam Frost but crucially hushed up on his usual praise for Garlett when he was doing two thirds of fark all.

It's a bit hollow considering he hired the bloke in the first place, but enjoyable nonetheless. Personally I'm conflicted, one on hand it does seem like we're squandering our best list since 2002 but on the other what are you going to do - get rid of him and roll in some random to start again? You're not getting Clarkson, so what's the point of somebody else who doesn't come with the two years of experience in the job? He deserves scrutiny but that's as good as it's going to get. I suspect there's a pre-flag Richmond style assistant coach massacre on the cards, hopefully to get somebody with experience in to tune up what has been a very wonky band.

Next Week
Here's a good news story for you, if by Sunday afternoon Sydney and Port have won by any margin and Geelong have thrashed Freo to the bejesus belt we will need to win for the GWS game to even come into the equation. That's how important keeping the Swans down was and we've blown it. Now the top four run that was never there in the first place is gone and we'll probably have to beat the Eagles away to stay alive.

It's been done before (though admittedly only once in about 20 years), and they are without three of their best players but compare their fighting win over a crippled Port to us playing like cripples yesterday and I think you know where this is headed. They could end up being the least deserving top two side ever unless we do something about it here. I'm not completely ruling it out, but there would want to be a widespread heart transplant program on offer this week at AAMI Park for us to stand any chance.

My first instinct is to sack everyone, but as we've so often found this season the stocks at Casey are thinning rapidly. If Hogan's whatever doesn't come up then Tim Smith or Weideman can have a go instead (although I'd rather Pedersen if we're being honest), but now Hunt is injured too we're shit out of luck in defence if Hibberd doesn't come up. Then there's Melksham, who is crucial but is now into his second week of 'minor' hamstring trouble. What did I say a couple of years ago about Essendon's drugs taking hold at just the wrong time and taking them out together? I'll assume he'll play, because if he doesn't we'll know they were just bullshitting about it being 'minor'.

The good news for Casey is that we might be ransacking their squad for players now, but that they should get plenty of VFL standard players back for the finals. Spargo can probably do with a week rest, but let's do our best to help JFK win the Liston Medal.

IN: Kent, Melksham, Hibberd
OUT: Hunt (inj/omit as required), Kennedy-Harris (omit), Spargo (omit)
LUCKY: Garlett, Neal-Bullen, Pedersen
UNLUCKY: Anyone fit who isn't in the side already

The All New Bradbury Plan

After we did our bit last week and barely anyone else joined in, this was a great week for other teams falling over in front of us. Then, instead of a graceful leap over their carcasses we stacked right into the pack. So for what it's worth this is your how to vote card for Round 22.

Richmond d. Essendon (this is crucial in the Port collapse theory, we don't want that game to come down to the winner being able to jump us)
Collingwood d. Port (it's like when America starts a war, you just have to swallow your pride and join in even if you know they're wrong)
Freo d. Geelong (more chance of Oscar McDonald kicking 14)
GWS d. Sydney (crucial in keeping the Swans warm for a last round run-down)
St Kilda d. Hawthorn
Adelaide d. North (crucial to entirely kill off the Roos).

Realistically the race is down to (in order of likelihood) Geelong, Port and Sydney making it and us and North being the clowns who win 12 and miss out. I've got us ninth if we lose the next two, but very much still in the mix (albeit not at all safe) by winning one. As long as Adelaide do the business on North next week at least we'll go into the last game knowing our fate is entirely in our own hands. Unless Port beat Collingwood, Sydney beat GWS + Hawthorn and Geelong have put on 30% slaughtering flotsam and jetsam in the last two weeks - then we can do as we please against the Giants in front of 2000 people and it will mean FUCK ALL.

Was it worth it?
Certainly not, and I wasn't at all happy leaving the house to go and see it. I should have listened to the wisdom of my daughter, who has proven to have the tipping acumen of the alligator that picks World Cup winners. Every week since Queen's Birthday I've asked her on game day "are we going to win?" and she's delivered the correct answer 100% of the time. If she says no next Sunday I might ditch the game, buy bulk weedkiller, play Ride of the Valkyries at full volume and destroy my garden instead.

Final Thoughts
We're 0-7 this year against the current top nine, so the next two weeks should complete the most unwanted set since the year we failed to win a single home game. What a farce, even in 2014 when we spent 22 weeks making scoring look more complicated than open heart surgery we knocked off 7th and 8th. Now we might be left relying on the Ultimate Bradbury where Port and North go to bits and let us in with 12 wins. I won't turn it down, but that's no way to break a drought.

It was an additional insult to exit the ground at the same time as Melbourne Storm fans. We rorted the salary cap and got a couple of token finals, they've built the sort of unbreakable culture that we can only dream of. In sport, like all aspects of life, there is the winning class and the rest. We are the rest. I was insane not to set up a self-managed super fund and invest the lot on us to miss the finals at 9-1. With that sort of payout I'd have entered September without a care in the world, instead of hate-watching finals while hurling off-colour abuse at my TV.

1 comment:

  1. and now, this news just in

    MELBOURNE'S finals hopes have taken a major hit with spearhead Jesse Hogan to miss the rest of the season.

    The Demons confirmed on Tuesday he had suffered a "partial stress fracture" in the navicular bone in his right foot during Sunday's loss to Sydney.


Crack the sads here... (to keep out nuffies, comments will show after approval by the Demonblog ARC)