Sunday 24 March 2019

Extraordinary people doing bloody ordinary things

At some point in the near future, rising sea levels will submerge the tiny island of Tuvalu and leave it uninhabitable. The only group in more danger from global warming is the Melbourne Football Club, having ended consecutive warm weather games like Burke and Wills.

Even if temperatures had been halved West Coast would have still thrashed us, and we'd probably had been beaten here too but I need a distraction from the realities of following an underdone team that was out of gas by half time of Round 1. Let's reconvene after a night game next week and decide whether conditions were to blame (and the number of players who ended the game looking like they needed to go on a drip suggest they didn't help), we were a finals flash in the pan that has to endure a cooldown season before really going for it in 2020, or there's a classic MFC self-sabotage campaign in our future.

Nobody loses as the home favourite more often than us, so while it's usually safe to follow the bookies because they've got the most to lose it was insane sending us in as odds on favourites and a 30-something point handicap. Shareholders of the companies involved should call an Extraordinary General Meeting and sack everyone involved. Your money is not safe in the hands of anybody who didn't accept the likelihood of us delivering a fiasco.

Against all available evidence I still thought we'd win - a long history of going up like the Challenger under expectation, three key players who'd only appeared in a half-arsed second practice game, Jack Watts a dead certainty to have the game of his life, and Port fielding four first gamers likely to wind up playing Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets the Rising Star nomination. Not to mention the painful memories of our last Round 1 game against Port, where we arrived at the MCG having beaten them two weeks earlier in a NAB Cup game, and left in fully crisis mode, with red faced people yelling obscenities over the fence. Fortunately no matter how flat we now it's a very different time, with the only thread between the two games being us copping a not so dry root from Justin Westhoff.

Given the extent of our casualty list, now including Lewis after injuring his hamstring late in the week, there weren't many options other than to play all of Jones, Melksham and Viney. Returns were mixed, with Melksham arguably our best before going missing along with everyone else in the last quarter, Viney 'better for the run' (e.g. couldn't get near it but we're hopeful for the future), and Jones playing perhaps the worst game of his life - highlighted by a spectacular blunder at the start of the last quarter that almost caused the internet to collapse under the weight of people rushing to force him into retirement.

I was surprised at how off the pace Viney was, even returning on scant preparation from a 'corked iliotibial band'. Or as they'd have put it if they weren't trying to sound intellectual - 'knee'. I'd like to think that he's working towards full fitness rather than being troubled by his band, but given that it looks like Dr. Phil Nietschke is overseeing our injury list (including his son Aaron) he'll probably be out for the next 21 weeks. But with Midfield vandenBerg also hurt who else were we going to play? Everything you need to know about our rapidly thinning depth is that the emergencies were a ruckman, two defenders, and a forward who would up replacing a defender. Crazy Name, Crazy Guy Kolodjashnij hasn't played a game yet, and Stretch is a handy cog in the wheel at best. Depth is great until you scratch the surface and realise all that's below is a collection of Hail Marys.

Hunt was probably meant to play forward, but when Lewis blew up we parachuted Sparrow into attack and stuck with the role Jayden is best known for. I understand that in the circumstances he had to defend, but I'd like a look at him in attack. He had one delightful turbo run that set up a goal, but was otherwise wasteful with his disposals and is only just hanging on to a spot.

We often play first quarters that defy the laws of football, gravity or both, and this was a special. By the end I thought we should be a mile ahead, despite most of our A grade players being MIA, but could also see very clearly how we'd probably lose. I wasn't being completely negative, expecting defeat to come via a thriller, not a heat-induced collapse.

In the early minutes of the all new rules intended to boost scoring, nobody could score. Viney spurned the first chance by hoofing a free out on the full, before we looked the far more likely side to get a run on. Our ball movement was quick we had players running free, and Port were fumbling and going to ground like they were completely spooked at playing a team tipped by many otherwise sensible media figures to win the flag. Of course, these are the same figures who have successfully set us up and can now do "did Melbourne get ahead of themselves?" articles when they were the ones who hyped us to start with.

At four goals to one things were looking up. Tom McSizzle was responsible for two of them, before struggling to get near it for the rest of the game. First he towered over two defenders to take a molto bene pass from Melksham, and later returned the favour by marking in the pocket, and doing an overly cute nine metre pass to the 'Shake, who was called to play on and fortunately snapped the goal. Between those Sparrow joined the illustrious goal with the second kick club via a tap-in from the square, Brayshaw kicked a set shot, and everything was coming up Melbourne.

When McMilkshake did their Harlem Globetrotters shit for an almost immediate response to Port's first goal I made the horrible, fatal mistake of wondering how much we could win by. That assumed Port would continue to go about it like they were trying to flee Saigon across an ice rink. Terrible move. By half time we were barely holding on, having spent most of the second quarter taking the sort of unprotected blows that would have seen a boxing match stopped.

The tide began turning when Neal-Bullen missed a set shot, leading to Port going down the other end and kicking an arsey steadying goal as the direct result of us using a non-qualified ruckman at a defensive throw-in. The Bullet got another chance not long after when a defender flubbed the ball straight into his arms in almost the exact same spot. He missed again, about 15 of his teammates went "right, that'll do us for today", and other than a couple of minutes at the start of the third quarter nary a shot was fired again.

Saddest case of all was Max Gawn, niggled to within an inch of his life in his 100th game without any obvious intervention from his teammates. I wouldn't want to fight Patrick Ryder either, but somebody could have sacrificed themselves to a low-level flag-flying grapple. It's not like Ryder was the only one belting him either, some much more fightable character gave one Max in the guts on the way past and left him sprawled on the ground with zero retaliation. Have we learned nothing since Queen's Birthday 2009? I know we have, because at various times in the last few years we've had players willing to punch on (relatively speaking) for their teammates. Now just as expectations peaked we let one of our most vital weapons get thumped by everyone who ran past him.

This time we got 15 minutes of glory before toppling over, but otherwise the ruck scenario was like a straight replay of the Preliminary Final, as a pair of quality ruckmen double-teamed the bejesus out of Max. On the occasion of rolling him for the second consecutive game, Scott Lycett is now officially Gawn's kryptonite. He probably smuggled the files revealing how the Eagles did it up his jumper when he left. There's no point to holding the secrets anymore, they're out there for everyone to see and we'd be negligent not to be working on a counter-counter program to make sure he can have an impact.

In retrospect we might have played Preuss in the second ruckman role he was specifically recruited for. I presume he was left as an emergency because they were worried about him dying in the heat, floundering in the wet, or falling victim to a gruesome tropical mixture of the two. After he went to pieces in hot weather against Richmond I can understand their concerns about playing him in similar conditions, but that blowout was the direct result of trying to play him in the Gawn role where he rucked all day. We'll never know if it would have made a difference but it goes to show our all eggs in one basket approach to the ruck is a massive risk.

The rain had come and gone well before the first bounce (from the sky anyway, players were falling on their arses left, right and centre until half time), but once they left Preuss out on Thursday the die was cast. Coaches have spent 100 years removing tall players wen the conditions didn't suit, even one who just got a lucrative extension isn't going to open himself to ridicule (a'la the John Longmire/Mark Seaby incident in R1, 2011) by going the other way.

I'm not yet sure (but keen to find out) if Preuss justifies selection by what he brings outside of ruck contests, but where I think a professional second ruckman comes in handy is for inside 50 stoppages at either end. For the last couple of years we've often gotten away with emergency ruckmen in the middle because of the strength of the players at their feet, but it's a totally different proposition at attacking or defending stoppages without Gawn. There was a moment against Gold Coast about three years ago that set the standard for inside 50 ruckwork, as he hit a perfect tap over his head for Viney to run past and kick the goal. It's probably not the last time we had an effective tap near goal but it must be close.

Down the other end, Weideman took to his fill-in role like they hadn't bothered to put him through even the most rudimentary defensive stoppage course. He was beaten all ends up at a throw-in that led their first goal, and in the second got so confused at taking a bounce in front of Port's goal with no opposition that he hit it straight to a Port player. Preuss may have ended the day receiving Hydralite in the same way Stevie Nicks used to take cocaine but he'd have at least known what to do both those times. Otherwise, why did we recruit him?

Preuss may never be a number one, but the one time we've played him as Max's second banana (against Collingwood) he looked good. Big difference when it starts raining, but early in the season if we can't get away with playing him, Weid and McDonald I'll go hee. If we can't play three now then one will have to go when it starts raining. It won't be McDonald that means you can either have Weid who can't ruck but is out of contract and might piss off somewhere he can play every week, or Preuss who can ruck but is limited as a forward. I didn't hate Weideman's game today, but surely trying flying contested chest marks with zero arm extension went out when we delisted Brad Miller. When he went to the ball in a contest he pulled down the best contested mark of the day. More of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff.

Speaking of Queen's Birthday 2009, it was good see Watts finally start hitting people. All it took to encourage him was an off-season from hell, with his various fetishes turning him into a cult figure even before video footage emerged of him snorting fake gak off a pair of bristols. I wish we'd staged a controlled leak of his Facebook messages and sent him to Oktoberfest to get loaded five years ago. First he whacked Jones around the chops, then lightly shirt-fronted Oliver, before just turning his attention to strangling the whole team by cutting off a dozen scoring opportunities.

Some dickhead on the radio said: "Melbourne fans aren't even booing Watts, I don't know if that says more about him or them", which fails to understand the complex relationship between the parties. Even after he'd clobbered Jones and Oliver people could do no more than the most half-hearted noise of dis-affirmation, because the majority of us wish him well. There stands were probably dotted with the sort of anti-social nuffies who always wanted him to fail, but the majority of fans would wish him no ill-will.

Of course on this occasion we'd preferred he had flashbacks to the last coach to play him as a full-time defender and put in a stinker, but serves us right for kicking to him more times than when he was on our list. He's second only to Lynden Dunn on the list of ex-Melbourne players I want to do well (apologies to the SME, who I am now obliged to dump due to the arrival of his assassin Steven May), but let's settle down on declaring that he's the next big thing again based on one game merrily intercepting shit kicks when his career is littered with Round 1 false starts.

Whisper it at an almost inaudible volume but we could have done with him in our defence today. Frost carried on like his nightmare Prelim game has never ended, Oscar looked permanently worried, and Hore failed to inspire much confidence. May is an obvious in (if he can restrain himself from flying to Brisbane training and shirtfronting somebody) but the question is which of the shaky defenders he replaces. Immediate thought is Frost, but I'm almost tempted to give him another go just for his pace. But not tempted enough, Hore gets a second chance while we turn to Dave Misson and tap our watches impatiently as Lever's projected return date continues to go backwards. Dave won't see it, he'll be tending to the next critically injured player who mysteriously gets hurts during training.

I didn't think Hibberd was much chop either. I had him as a hold in the pre-season markets, but am panicking and hitting sell after this. Was ok running with the ball, but defensively concerning. With Hunt running at 50.0% disposal efficiency and Nev quietly going about his business, the shining light of the backline was Salem. If you're looking for a positive stat, his 30 kicks were the most for us since Travis Johnstone had 37 against a Carlton side rolling out the red carpet in the 2007 tanking game. For legitimate games where the opposition were trying, it sits alongside an Adem Yze performance for games in the 2000s. He was certainly the only one I trusted to extract the ball via foot. You wouldn't be welcome in this side without unleashing a few dodgy kicks, but most of them today were positive and did the right thing. It's just a shame that he had to have so many because it kept coming back.

Our commitment to participating in the first half ended with ANB's second miss. That would have had us five goals to one up and perhaps propelled us to keep things together. Maybe even landed a fatal blow to the Power. Or, based on the way the physical condition of our group went south later in the game while Port continued to run as if they'd done pre-season in the Simpson Desert it might have just been setting us up for an even more embarrassing capitulation.

Maybe the weather played zero part and we're just flaky, because there was a lot of the much milder Round 21 Sydney game about it (built up an early lead, wasted chances before going to bits and conceding a lead we couldn't run down). All the focus is rightly on those two glorious Friday night finals, but think back to how difficult we made things look against the Swans that day and consider that we might have just got on a run at the right time in the last few weeks before disappearing back into the field again like a two wins less successful 2016 Bulldogs. Dark thoughts like this are why I have no regrets paying good money to go to Perth, because I'm not convinced we'll ever make it that far again before being shipped to Tasmania in 2023.

There's an obsession with 'lineal improvement' (and if you're in the media do say lineal, because it makes you sound like a mathemagician) that assumes because we've improved every year since the 2013 sewer season that it will naturally carry on until we've won a flag. Bollocks. This is a good, young list that did some beautiful work last year, but we're still an unfinished product. I hope like hell the finish comes this year and we all look back and shake our heads at getting upset about a limp Round 1 loss, but there's no god given guarantee to crash through footy's glass ceiling and come out with a flag or two. Ask St Kilda, if you can find any of their fans that haven't leapt from a window.

The last few minutes of the opening quarter were spent with Port throwing everything at us but missing, until the only person called Todd who isn't in the Flanders family goalled from a free that cut the margin to 11. What a waste of dominance, I pay zero attention to the goings on at other clubs but I just had a Clayton Oliver style sixth sense that we weren't going to have the legs to run the game out. Both pre-season losses featured strong comebacks in warm weather when the game was lost, so it wasn't inconceivable that we might slip, slop and slap our way to four points but The Fear had me in a stranglehold. I just couldn't picture us doing anything better than narrowly holding on to win a thriller.

Quarter time was a good opportunity to reset, get somebody to accidentally drop a knee to the balls of one of the Port players who'd been harassing Gawn and get back to what we'd been doing so well at the start, but we didn't. Further signs of our impending distress were offered by Justin Westhoff marking over half our backline for his first goal. Remember being pleased that Charlie Dixon was out? Well, you didn't take into account a six year anniversary celebration from the guy who fingered us on the day Neeld's music died.

It helped Port's case that they'd stopped playing like they were drunk, and once their four debutantes got a sniff of how easy playing against Melbourne is they turned into the Daniher Brothers. Meanwhile it was our turn to lose the plot, including a classic moment where the ball was sailing high out on the full and Frost decided to shove his opponent in the back anyway. His uncaged circus animal runs out of defence were one of the highlights of last season, but Christ On A Bike almost everything he did today was worthy of official whipping boy status.

We got one back via Fritsch (he's here, he's there, he's every fucking where) popping up in the forward line to mark over defenders who obviously didn't expect him to materialise, but that brief outbreak of sanity was only temporary. Like the first quarter they missed a whole bunch of chances against scant resistance. There was no run left, and the ball would exit defence only to come straight back in again. Also, that most irritating of Melbourne moves was back, where three players would go pressure crazy and try to envelope one opponent, leaving two others a simple handball away from dashing off towards goal on their own. This has happened so much in the last year that I can only think the coaches are happy that the benefits of mass stalkage outweigh the negatives of piss easy ball movement towards a defence held together by sticky tape. From the cheap seats I wholeheartedly disagree.

After Fritsch's goal we conceded 3.3 and an out on the full to bugger all, before the miracle that should have inspired us to run away with a 10 goal win. The surprisingly impressive Corey Wagner kicked it to Melksham inside 50, who then made the weird decision of passing to Petracca. He generally couldn't kick a set shot if his life depended on it, but in it went from distance - and if he could do that it should have inspired greatness amongst his teammates. All we got in response was a wasted purple patch before half time, with two misses from hurried shots that left us three points down.

Considering how badly we'd shit the bed during the second quarter, a three point deficit at the break was almost acceptable, if you didn't know deep down that they'd run the game out better. We couldn't get Sydney from a similar position when they lost two players to injury, what hope did we have here? None going on the first two minutes of the third quarter, as Port banged the door down while we attempted to extract the ball with shambling tactics that would have been laughed off a suburban ground. Melksham made a statement by laying a earth shaking tackle on a player heading at express speed towards the forward 50, only for us to concede from the subsequent stoppage anyway.

Then, five bizarre minutes that teased if Port knew the answers we'd changed the questions. First the Melksham/Petracca combo worked in reverse, and Truck set up Melk. It was well within his range, but he inexplicably kicked to a free Jones in a worse position. Fortunately the skipper not only marked (this will become relevant later) but converted to calm things down a bit. Melk then got his goal back, with Hunt's best run of the day setting it up, and after a horribly skewed bounce wasn't recalled we went forward for your textbook 6-6-6 mark for Weideman and his now extended mitts. He converted, the lead was back out over a goal and just maybe vital lessons had been learnt that were going to carry us to victory.

That would be no. King Finger Westhoff marked over our defenders like they were garden gnomes, and a second in a row left us behind again. The brief period of lucidity was over, and it was back to being led around like we were on a leash. Again, who was mad enough to allow people to bet on Port getting within 30 points of us? I should have followed my intuition that we were no more than a couple of goals better at our best and paid off Demonblog Towers in one go. Where was even the remotest respect that Port were above us on the ladder last year until Round 20? We had more fun than they did in September (though I can't speak for Watts), but even playing on our home ground - where our pre-finals record was average - there was no way we were a five goal better side.

Despite all that, we might have had an undeserved three quarter time lead if a lusty Petracca snap went through. Instead Port went the other way and were gifted a goal when a clearly broken Clayton Oliver - a man not built for these conditions - went north/south instead of east/west or some such technical breach of the rules and saw the ball marched to the square. It was a terrible goal to give away, at a stage where I still thought the fatigue gap might close in the last quarter as Port began to tire as well. Which they might have if we'd forced them into more two minutes of exertion before melting like an ice cream on the face of the sun.

There were brief periods of excitement, but for most of the day it looked like us at our worst last year. Which is still a lot better than our worst the last time Port cleaned us up in an opening round, but it hurts more when ongoing success is within touching distance. Our entries into any sort of crowded forward line are still diabolical. I still don't know how we ended up the highest scoring team in the comp last year, it's like when a player wins the Coleman Medal with 60 goals.

I'm reliably informed we were never seriously in for Andrew Gaff because the belief is that contested ball is king and fancy outside run doesn't work if you don't get the ball in the first place. There's something about that, just ask Jimmy Toumpas, but geez I could have done with some lovely galloping down the wing in the style of Robbie Flower today. Inevitably it would have died in the arse when we entered 50 anyway, but it would have provided cheap thrills in the interim.

I'm not one to leave games early, but if I'd known that a Brayshaw point midway through the third quarter would be our last score I'd have gladly aimed for the early train (either on it, or clutching the overhead wiring). The end came swiftly and, for those of us who have cherished Nathan Jones' contributions over the years, horribly. Needing to quickly cancel out that late goal to have any hope, and already getting away with a missed shot at the other end, Tom McDonald hit a perfect cross-field pass (the sort he was stereotyped for botching as a defender) and Jones was so shocked that it was on target he tried playing on before fully taking control and spilt the mark. Disarray mode activated.

Unlike Herschelle Gibbs he can't be directly blamed for dropping the World Cup/Round 1, because no doubt we'd have been beaten anyway, but failing to score at all (from that passage play, and as it turns out the whole quarter) was our final agreement to surrender. Sparrow ended up with it and had a quick punt at goal, but guess who cut it off. Once Port went down the other end, Westhoff took the piss out of us in the traditional manner with another mark and goal, and we were officially rooted I took solace in fantasy, thinking back to a pair of similar game-saving Watts marks in defence against the Bulldogs in 2013 and Gold Coast in 2016. Both times he'd played a key role forward before getting back to defend in the dying minutes.

From there it was death by a thousand cuts. We had perhaps one more opportunity to score, while Port did as they pleased. After a day of silently gnashing my teeth to the point where they're still sore now, I finally erupted when Frost got caught holding the ball, then casually kicked it away like it wasn't the most obvious free kick of all time. Things were said on Twitter that in light of recent media coverage about abuse of players I quickly deleted.

You can use statistics to rort any finding you like, but it's telling that our tackle count of 53 is the 5th lowest of the finals contender years (2017-2019). Worst by a mile was the prelim, second worst the R23, 2017 'none in the first 10 minutes' DEBACLE, though to be fair the other two were wins so who knows what it all means. I do know all three of the losses involved the white flag being hoisted high.

The rich cultural history of Melbourne FC failure got another entry via only our 11th scoreless last term since World War II. If it's any consolation (It isn't - editor) we didn't lose by 122 like the previous one. May as well have, if only to ensure expectations are completely deflated and we can go back to playing like we're just one of the chasing teams and not some amazing outfit destined to smash everyone on route to a premiership.

Any more games like this and I'm going to make sure I'm working every weekend until September.

2019 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
4 - Jake Melksham
3 - James Harmes
--- Daylight ---
2 - Angus Brayshaw
1 - Corey Wagner

Several contended for one vote, but given that even how the players above him barely deserved to score I'll give Wagner the nod for exceeding expectations.

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
Not only were we restricted to what now seems like a paltry nine goals, but barely any of them had any sense of razzle dazzle about them. For this reason I'd like to pay tribute to Christian Petracca for sinking a set shot that I gave him absolutely no chance of converting. For the weekly prize Christian takes home a damp towel to apply to his sunburnt forehead.

In at least one discipline the perfect season is on. Ours had a pretty Maximum 100th game graphic, and though it jinxed him with the description of "greatest showman" before he was niggled to buggery it still wins.

You've always got to be generous to interstate sides given their reduced capacity, but I was still not keen on Port's effort due to the complete lack of centring. The next was hanging to the left, a graphic sat out on the right with an unusual amount of space to the margin. It went:

Oak Plus (massive space) CFG 
Robbie (unnecessarily wide space) Gray
200 (normal size space) games

Originally I thought they were saying that their sponsors were Oak plus CFG (which sounds like one of the the gases that necked the ozone layer), but turns out there is a drink called Oak Plus. Maybe Oak has discovered an extra ingredient that makes iced coffee taste better than toxic water pumped from a reactor at Chernobyl. 1-0 Dees.

Crowd Watch
Interstate opposition or not I wasn't mucking around, heading directly for dear old Row MM of the Ponsford where there was acres of space for free expression without a Richmond fan randomly spawning and punching me in the head. A couple of other people followed my lead, but had the respect for free range viewing to stay at the other end of the bay and never try to interact.

Since discovering the Cluedo passage betwixt Ponsford and Olympic stands, I've moved from one to the other at half time whenever I feel nervous. Which would be almost every game except when we were 75 points up against Gold Coast. There were a bunch more people in the Olympic, but I still felt the need to try something else to provoke a cosmic change of luck.

This landed me behind all the people who'd scored free tickets for the Welcome Game. It was heartening to see the guys in front waving flags and doing pro-Dees Instagram posts for the benefit of their countrymen back home, but even they stood up and walked out halfway through the last quarter. Obviously they realised their time in this great country is limited and there was no point wasting 15 minutes of it watching 22 men wobble around like they were suffering simultaneous medical emergencies. After a fast start against St Kilda two years ago, the Welcome Game is starting to achieve Member Appreciation Day levels of letting people down.

Next Week
Technically I could go to Kardinia Park, but if I can't attend every game in Victoria then I don't see the point in going out of my way to visit a stadium that has offered me little else than torment for 20 years. Put me in a corporate box and I'll think about it, but buggered if I'm standing on that terrace again, listening to our fans go full siege-mentality and act like animals to try and combat the locals. No thanks, see you on my couch.

It would be easy to go into full retreat, especially after Geelong knocked off Collingwood, but I'm not ready to concede yet. Let's see what lessons are learnt, and what benefit we get from not playing in +30 degree heat. Not like the Cats played particularly well in beating a traditionally slow starting side. They are absolutely gettable, and thank god for that because I don't fancy climbing out of an 0-2 ditch. To do this we'll have to win for the third time at Kardinia Park in 31 years, which seems like a portent of near certain defeat but we live in hope of a vicious response.

Given that vandenBerg, Smith (both of them) and now Lewis have all been hurt since our last practice match, the stocks are rapidly thinning. My changes might leave us a bit top heavy, but bugger it we don't do crumb at the best of times so how much worse could it get?

IN: May, Preuss
OUT: Frost, Sparrow (omit)
LUCKY: Hore, Hunt, Jones
UNLUCKY: Stretch (+ Sparrow, who was reasonable on debut but goes out for team imbalance)

Was it worth it?
Even less so than traipsing to the other side of the continent to watch us go tits up in a prelim. Complete bloody waste of time, and a great advertisement for curling up on the coach with a blanket over my head. I've got eight games in person left in me this year, here's to going home from some of them happy.

Final Thoughts
No need to bury yourself alive in the backyard just yet, but maybe head down to Bunnings and collect a shovel just in case. 2018 was so even that four teams missed the eight with 12 wins, and the upset results today make it even more likely that there will be a similar Royal Rumble for the eight this year. Never think one win doesn't matter - now we need to go 12-9 with a top four draw just to have a chance to miss on percentage. I'm still calm that it might happen, but suggest we either need to be a minimum of 3-3 after six rounds or pull down the blinds. Don't forget our last five weeks include West Coast, Collingwood, Richmond, Sydney and North Melbourne in bloody Hobart of all places. Today was crucial and we fell apart at just the wrong time.

For now I will not accept any propaganda about how we lost first up last year and still made a prelim. That was followed by softball games against a ratshit Brisbane, and a not yet competent North. This time we've got Geelong, Essendon and Sydney on the horizon, including trips to grounds like Kardinia Park and the SCG where we are traditionally fecal. Round 1 will either be the all important wake-up call, or it's going to take some real Indiana Jones shit just to make the eight, much less the highly vaunted (not by me) top four.

As a public service we offer you the chance to choose your own adventure to end this post. Either:

The Positive Ending
If it all goes wrong this year we can blame injuries, work on fixing the obvious deficiencies, get Lever and May playing together and have a massive ping at it out of nowhere next year. Did Richmond make the eight before winning the flag?

The Neither Here Nor There Ending
It's not going to be hot like this every week, and by the time the polar ice caps have melted, there's a hole in the Ozone layer the side of Texas, and it's 30 degrees year round we'll have gone right through our premiership cycle and probably come out empty handed.

The Negative Ending
We've still got our first round draft pick.

1 comment:

  1. seriously funny. insightful too. will read weekly now. well done.


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