Monday 27 May 2019

Can't get there from here

In Zambia they get cheap thrills by huffing the gases of fermented human waste. The 2019 Melbourne Football Club is left to rely on a coach nearly going arse over in a press conference, and our highest scoring quarter of the season coming when 10 goals behind. This would be a good time to induce a coma and wake up in February.

Because I'm an idiot I'll soldier on to the end, but let me tell you when news came through that Christian Salem was a late withdrawal today just as my train left the station I was sorely tempted to yank the emergency lever off its hinges and run through the adjacent fields like I'd just escaped a mental asylum. Instead I continued towards one.

You got an idea where we're heading in the future when they ignored the option of replacing Salem with Lewis and used Spargo instead. Given that Casey's game was at Williamstown an hour later it's not like they couldn't have put Lewis in a car if they'd really wanted him. Even if Salem had turned up ready to play then been struck down with a grand mal seizure there was enough time they said "we'll be right" and went for the most unlike-for-like substitution in years.

Without Salem our backline was even less like the pre-season best 22 (even adjusting for Lever) than ever before. Only Fritsch and perhaps one of Sizzle Jr/Frost would get a start if everyone was fit, and though they were beaten all involved (except Fritsch for that kick in) can be happy with retaining their keeping the damage to a minimum and retaining their dignity.

Safe in the knowledge that we weren't going to win anyway, and after it became clear that the game wasn't going to played in driving rain I'd have preferred to stuff Preuss or Weideman into a New Era Caravan and drive them across the Westgate. I'm fond of Charlestone's 2018 win/loss record but he hasn't fired a shot this season. Then, after picking the slightest man on the list we then proceeded to kick non-stop long bombs into the forward line anyway.

I still can't comprehend how but flirted with a triple figure defeat, did some of the lowest quality forward 50 entries ever and spent three quarters trying for our lowest score since Carl Ditterich was coach and escaped with a margin that will look respectable on the historical record. Thank you GWS for bringing the same degree of care and attention to the last quarter as we did the first three.

It was apparent within the first minute that this was not going to end well. The moment the ball exited Max Gawn's orbit we were so comprehensively outclassed that the final margin should stand as a bigger indictment on the Giants than us.

After two goalless weeks, including a missed opportunity to fill his boots against Carlton, I expected Jeremy Cameron to either kick six or blow up and get six weeks for striking. When he took the first of what must have been half a dozen marks by their forwards that were technically 'contested' but were so effortless they didn't deserve to be I had nightmare flashbacks to Tony Modra dicking us 20 years ago to the same round.

Our HomeBrand defence deserves credit for keeping him to three goals by the end, but he only had himself to blame by failing to score with this kick. It might have been better for us if he'd kicked the goal, because with the ball camped deep in our backline we kicked off 20 de-electrifying minutes of desperately trying to extract the ball only to watch it immediately come back. At one point we broke out of defence, charged down the wing when the corridor was wide open, got to 70 metres out, then thumped it into the hands of a defender. It rocketed back for several more GWS opportunities, before Spargo finally cried "No Mas!" and gifted them their opening goal with a 50. In none-more-Melbourne fashion it went to somebody who'd never previously kicked a goal in 18 starts.

After a downfield free handed GWS another soon after it felt like the floodgates were about to burst. Against all odds we hit the brakes before it got too drastic and had the best of the last 10 minutes. It wasn't much of a 10 minutes to have the best of, but was preferable to death by a thousand set shots.

When the ball was camped in front of their goal and looked like it would never be extracted I had a nervous glance at the scoreless first quarters list. Given that we'd only done it 16 times in 2409 previous matches the odds were that we'd find some way to shamble through a behind. Oskar Baker was the saviour, with a shot that took a comedy bounce and was barely touched across the line. About 30 minutes later at the same end GWS had a nutso bounce that rooted Harrison Petty (who was otherwise serviceable) and turned into a goal. It was that sort of day.

The most unusual thing about this rancid opening term was that it was our first BaileyQuarter of the year. With scoring across the league going down the tubes and zany rule changes an absolute certainty we'd kicked at least two in every first quarter this year. This was the exception, but the way it was going I was happy just to get one - and for a team that makes scoring look so difficult what a goal it was.

The kick wasn't anything special, but watch how good the lead and kick to it were and ask yourself why we've only successfully pulled this sort of thing off about five times in a decade. Look how Sizzle kicks to where Hunt is going to be rather than where he was standing when ball hit boot. This ended with the ball hitting him right on the tit and a defender trailing sadly behind unable to impact the impact.
If you did that too often other teams would get wind of it and stick people in the way, but once you've introduced some sort of mystery about where the forward 50 kicks are going to go that's when you can stitch them up with a surprise kick over the top, or another target can drift forward to take a mark in front of goal. Even accounting for his pace advantage, Hunt probably got such a huge break because the defender didn't believe one of our players would actually lead.

Our first terms have been surprisingly good (think back to those glorious 15 minutes of domination against Port and have a gentle cry), and though we've scored more in fourth quarters they've been propped up by the 13 bullshit, low pressure goals kicked against GWS and Essendon combined. Otherwise in games where we've been a live chance of winning we've kicked 0.0 (Port), 1.1 (Richmond) and 1.3 (West Coast) and been outscored by both Hawthorn and Gold Coast. End of the Sydney game was good though.

Where the problem really lies is the middle two quarters, with 20.20 in second quarters and 22.34 (!) in the third. As if the empty stands didn't remind you of 2013, now we're back to being ratshit immediately after half time.

There was an outside chance of winning but if the game was a human you'd have put a pillow over its face. Imagine watching this and still arguing with a straight face that there's merit in a 10 team finals series. After the last quarter they should change it to a top six and make GWS prove they deserve to be there rather than artificially keeping the hopes of dud teams alive.

Now, if you admit that you're supporting it for commercial reasons and nothing else then I could come out of it with some respect for you. Otherwise you can pretend there's legitimate merit in it and I'll brand you a filthy liar. The finals are about the only time of the year people stop complaining that the game isn't as good as it used to be, imagine going out your way to devalue that. Obviously it's all about keeping the broadcaster happy, and this is the price we'll pay for not having to put up another raft of zany rule changes. Me, I'd be happy if all the players went back to being part-timers who had to go to training straight from working in an abattoir.

Despite a quarter that did its best to make sure nobody would bid on the TV rights next time, the refusal of GWS to put us out of our misery left scores a lot closer than they had any right to be. Obviously we weren't going to win it off our own bat, so our only hope for a memorable result (for the right reasons) was the Giants spontaneously combusting or one of Heath Shaw's teammates giving him a backhander.

For all the times a coach has been criticised for not having a Plan B (e.g. every coach we've ever had), I deluded myself that this could be a repeat of the many weeks of 2017 where we arrived without a Plan A and launched a furious comeback from several goals behind. Outrageously we could have been within 10 points early in the quarter. McDonald did our second decent forward 50 lead of the day, then kicked a pitching wedge shot that dropped right on the line, where we had one player against two and didn't even go close to contesting before it was rushed through for a point.

That near miss was the wake up call the Giants needed, and they proceeded to plough us like a field of turnips. A four goal to nil quarter was a far more realistic indication of the gulf between the sides, one that had scant interest in pressing home their advantage, and another that moved forward at this leisurely pace:

Viney's revival was much appreciated, even if he celebrated with a peg-legged set shot, but the undoubted star of the show was Gawn. Consider how badly we'd have been battered without him and be very afraid of of injuries. Not that it matters now as long as he's back at the start of the pre-season, but he is at the top of a very short list of reasons to keep watching for the rest of 2019. He even dislocated the bejesus out of his finger, ran off to have it jammed into its socket and returned like nothing had ever happened. What a mighty fine man.

Gawn is our Maginot Line, a mighty fortification that stands between us and total capitulation. And like that line circa 1939 there's only so much the big structure can do when the other side nip around him and attack our weak points. Which is pretty much everywhere else. The good news is that we won the contested marks for once. And fat lot of good that did.

Now that GWS has unloaded their garbage on Hawthorn I'm happy for them to win the flag, but even our Casey All-Stars team let themselves down by rolling into a fetal position and being kicked to death for the next two quarters. There's being beaten by a better side and there's standing awestruck then letting them ravish us in any way they wanted. Or killing every (rare) foray into attack with hopeful long kicks that landed in the arms of a defender anywhere from 30 to 50 metres from goal.

Appropriately for a Casey 2018 Grand Final reunion the fringe players did much of the heavy lifting. Other than Maximum (who completes the greatest fortnight of carrying his teammates since the glory days of Nathan Jones 2013) - the stars were MIA. Viney came good after quarter time, but the other big guns were unable to be located for most of the day. Brayshaw continued to be miles off it, Petracca is entirely without confidence, McDonald is permanently playing inside a phonebooth, and Jones tried hard but couldn't get near it.

Garlett no longer qualifies as a big hitter, so other than Gawn all day and Viney for the last three quarters, Harmes was the only top line player who emerged with credit. If all you'd seen was Josh Wagner topping our disposals charts approaching half time (and kicking like he had a flesh eating virus in his leg) you wouldn't have needed to see the score to know we were in all sorts. His brother did an honest tagging job on Trump family lookalike Lachie Whitfield, following him everywhere he went but not doing enough to be stereotyped as a tagger in the future.

Due to his age, the Jones question is the most pressing. It's not really working for him at the moment, but given how we've charitably carted players around when they were beyond it for years I'm not trying to force him out the door. Why not give him a bash in the Melksham/Petracca roles while one of them is injured physically and the other mentally? He can kick a goal (see the Sydney game) and would increase our level of forward pressure from 0.1% to at least 0.2%. Now that we've got nothing lose and he's just passed Robbie Flower for most losses in a Melbourne jumper, why not give Chunk a crack at eating into Tulip's 180 goal career lead. The only thing they've got in common is a career of heroically propping up garbage Melbourne sides, but I note Flower's all time top goalkicking season was his last...

Usually when everyone else is sinking without trace you can rely on Oliver to lift the crowd with some sixth sense handball over his head in traffic. He did one blockbuster tackle, but was otherwise well held. It helped that GWS had done their homework and realised that a) he is easily niggled, and b) the rest of our team are too pissweak to defend his honour. If they weren't going to pile in to defender Gawn's honour last week nobody had a chance here, and while everyone aboard the rapidly listing SS Melbourne fended for himself the Hamburglar responded poorly to group harassment by playing like a surly teenager asked to clean his room.

It's a caveman mentally but I just wanted somebody to make a stand. It doesn't have to be a line in the sand style punch up, just try to pull somebody's jumper over his head then throw him to the ground and call him a kent. Also spices up future games against the Giants, which are now as dull as dishwater now that the personal issues have been deleted. Oliver lamped somebody playing under the false generic name 'Brent Daniels' in the guts during the last quarter but by then he was just pissing money up the wall.

For fans of "West Coast take 90 marks and win" style bullshit stats that don't mean anything, I present the difference in fines between Round 10 this year and last year:

2018 - $10,000 (blowing out to a stately $25k by the end of the year)
2019 - $5000, most of that coming from the late Aaron vandenBerg in the same practice game + a Oliver's wasted biff.

The point I'm straining to make is that nobody's steaming in to punch on for their mates and we are much the worse for it. Even this time the only guy who copped it was the one who most needed protection. Maybe they're all worried about the next TV rights being sold for $200 because of games like this and are being sensible with their money? Regardless, I don't expect minimum wagers like Lockhart to waste their money on manly jostling, but a few of the players who are playing well below the standards expected from being paid a shitload could make a charitable contribution to the club's future.

Anyway, you could have taken to this clash like the 1989 Grand Final and it wouldn't have altered anything other than the inflation of somebody's lung. We were already in pieces before the usually accurate Hunt missed set shots in a row to open the third quarter. Again, that was all the Giants needed as a rev up to wailing unmercifully on us. I appreciate low scoring games, but this was about as tedious as footy gets. On the back of goals from somebody called Harry Hindenberg the lead crept towards 60 points, and you'd be hard pressed to argue that we deserved any better. The first people stood up and left after his third, before a mass exodus two minutes later. I don't blame them for going, but the evacuees almost quite literally missed all the action.

Finally, after two and a half quarters of doing FUCK ALL, Garlett found himself alone in the square for the second goal and we were spared the ignominy of kicking one for the day. Fremantle doesn't get nearly enough shit for doing that against Adelaide in 2009. If it was us you'd never have heard the end of "one goal in mind" jokes. Speaking of jokes, look at these strugglers who haven't realised that smart people have already moved beyond this, through cheese jokes, past drowning players, and are back to laughing at us for just being a shit footy team:

Imagine the company that lost $3 billion in two years cracking wise about the wealth of others. Best of luck when you lose the next round of footy rights and are forced to broadcast from the back of a chicken shop in Spotswood.

We unexpectedly got a second goal for the quarter via Baker, before doing exactly the same thing as the previous goal and handing it straight back. I thought Oskar was given a token game last week, but he has looked very good with ball in hand both weeks. Not so good in traffic, but I'm very keen on a fancy outside player who doesn't have to go for the contested ball so he will do nicely for now. Like a different kind of Sam Weideman I'm confident that if we can get him the ball more he will succeed.

Those goals vaulted us over the twin 2.8.20s of Round 12, 1989 and Round 1, 1991, so as the contest had been deader than this post for an hour all that was left to determine was how much we'd lose by (not as much as you'd have expected), and whether we'd pass 3.10/4.4.28 as the lowest score I'd ever seen in person. That we did, and then some, courtesy of a low-intensity, zero-impact cover of the famous last quarter landslide. Hope you feel as old as me realising that six years have passed since Neeld presided over the highest scoring fourth quarter in club history and Gawn aimed at a comedy wig wanker. The Giants have done well for themselves since, while we put out the biggest one hit wonder since The Ketchup Song and reverted to mid-table mediocrity (which, in the spirit of a top 10 I'm extending all the way down to 16th).

An unusual quarter should start unusually, and Petracca kicking a set shot a minute into the last was about as weird as you're going to get. To muted celebrations that put our score over 30, leaving the next milestone as the 3.16 (no involvement from Stone Cold Craig Jennings) against the Giants in 2014. That would also moved it away from our top 10 most futile attacking performances since 1980.

This was what I was reduced to on a Sunday where I could have been doing pretty anything else in the world. I won't say no regrets, but not many. All my focus was on us scoring now, so I can honestly say that Hindenberg's fifth about 30 seconds later had as little emotional impact on me as any opposition goal ever kicked. Better for our score to get the ball back to the middle instead of spending 10 fruitless minutes trying to clear it before conceding an 11 point play.

On Saturday morning I'd run out of things to do with my life and started watching baseball, where they were advertising a Stranger Things theme night:

... and this last quarter was our own version. First there was Petracca's accuracy when the pressure was off, before McDonald recovered from three quarters of toil and struggle (wonderful pass to Hunt excluded) and being kneed in the back during the quarter to kick two quick goals. Either the knee got him right in the on switch, or the GWS backline had downed tools and left him playing in a free range, 2018 style forward line instead of taking on six defenders in every contest.

I'll guiltily admit that part of me wondered "what if..." when Lockhart got a goal at the 20 minute mark that would have left us needing to kick about seven in six minutes. What a dickhead. There was more chance of a UFO landing in the middle of the ground and whisking Ray Chamberlain back to his home planet. In a win for players going hell for leather to avoid being dropped, Lockhart's major was followed by one each from Stretch and Spargo.

Rarely has such a high scoring quarter been so meaningless. Morally it was still a fiasco, but unlike some years I'm happy to take the reduced margin instead of insisting we deserved the post thumping spotlight. Everything from now to the end of the year is just maintenance, nobody get seriously injured, nobody get arrested, don't drop your bundle and lose any games by upwards of 15 goals and we do alright next year.

In the darkest timeline where I somehow ended up as a GWS fan the last quarter would have almost discredited the four points. You take wins where you can get them (and don’t we know that), but having a team poised for demolition then unnecessarily showing mercy offends me. Maybe it’s PTSD from 186, where in almost every comparable scenario Geelong would have eased up after half time but decided to turn us into dust for their own amusement. So they should have. As the Cobra Kai dojo's coach reminded us in 1984, "mercy is for the weak".

With the season now written off and goats preparing to be scaped from one end of the organisation to the other, I'd like to dedicate the rest of the year to kicking some decent scores. In 2014 struggled to the horrible average of 60.7 points per game and tried to convince ourselves this was ok because we weren't losing by a hundred every week, but five years on can safely admit it was boring as batshit and we only tolerated it because we were desperate to find positives.

That was as low as scoring has ever got across 22 games, followed at a respectful distance by the 66.1 of 2013, and the 67.1 of 1997. Yesterday's belated scoring extravaganza boosted our points per game in 2019 to a still less-than-robust 69.3 - which would still be our fourth worst 22 game season ever. We're now in a battle to beat 71.5 in 2015 and 71.8 in 2012. Any way you slice it that's as grim as all buggery after registering our sixth best scoring season last year.

I'm not as down on our backline as most, and it should get better as we get players back, we need to dedicate the resources of the club from Gary Pert to the lowest jabroni on the totem pole towards discovering how to convert opportunities into scores, because if I have to watch another 12 weeks of this I'm going to take up gear and watch the end of the season stoned to the bejesus belt.

2019 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Max Gawn
--- an incredibly long distance only accessible via a NASA space probe ---
4 - Marty Hore
3 - Jack Viney
--- from here to the moon ---
2 - James Harmes
--- walking home to Brisbane ---
1 - Corey Wagner

Apologies (of sorts) to Baker, the other Wagnii, Jones, Frost, and maybe even Petracca, all of who might have been in the running for one vote by default.

With 12 to play (and definitely no more), there is no way Gawn can be beaten in the Stynes. As well as opening a commanding lead in the main event, he takes home our first award of the year. In the other minors, Hore not only bought himself some insurance in the Hilton race, he also draws within long range of Salem in the race for the Seecamp. I can't see him making it, but pending some remarkable burst of form by Lockhart, Baker, [somebody else] or Dunkley (into the betting market at $75) he should leave the end of year awards with something.

28 - Max Gawn (WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
19 - Clayton Oliver
18 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year),
17 - James Harmes
14 - Jake Melksham
11 - Marty Hore (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
9 - Angus Brayshaw
7 - Jayden Hunt, Jack Viney
4 - Bayley Fritsch, Nathan Jones, Billy Stretch
3 - Christian Petracca
2 - Jay Lockhart, Corey Wagner
1 - Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
For a while it looked like Hunt would win by default, and as much as I enjoyed his dynamite lead and subsequent set shot I'm going for Oskar Bonaduce's Dance Dance Revolution moves in the last quarter. Sure, by that stage the GWS backline had a lower population density than the Gobi Desert but it still looked good.

Marty Hore at Carrara remains the MFC goal to beat for 2019, but for the weekly prize Oskar wins a steaming beaker full of Jenkem. He can opt to drink it next week once the game is lost or apply it to his jumper to deter would be tacklers.

Given that I haven't got any pop culture references from beyond the year 2000 you'd think that a reference to Andy Dufresne 'breaking through' on the GWS banner would be right up my alley. Except that I'd never heard the name in my life, thought it was some hot top 40 single that I'd never heard, and was surprised to discover via Google that they were doing a Shawshank Redemption reference. As the only person born earlier than 2004 that hasn't seen it this went right over my head.

I wouldn't mark them down just for my ignorance, and they did provide both a lovely font (far cry from the early days of substituting 0s for Os) and kerning experience. What loses it for them is having more curtainry per square metre than any other banner in league history. It had about four different flaps waving in the breeze, and once the players gently passed underneath it split right to the top as if they'd destroyed it with mighty force. You'd say they did well with limited numbers, but the crowd on the field for the hoisting of the thing rivalled ours in numbers. I guess people like teams that are guaranteed to win a flag eventually.

On the other hand, our neatly kerned and lovingly constructed banner had a direct reference on both sides to Indigenous Round and no bloody curtain, therefore it wins easily. Dees 9-1-0 for the season.

Crowd Watch
There were so few people there (20,000 my arse) that I didn't have to venture far from the front of the Ponsford top lvel to avoid people. There were a few fans around - including far too many old Giants fans for my liking - and my favourite was the stereotype bursting bloke who'd done strange things with his ears, spent the first quarter cracking the shits, then picked up his skateboard and stormed off. I wish he'd stayed, because by the middle of the third term he might have flipped out and done a Tony Hawk Pro Skater style leap over the edge.

You know things are going badly when in the middle of the third quarter the biggest cheer of the day comes from a lippy Giants fan being turfed out the bottom deck of the Olympic Stand. I thought the crowd was going wild for the heroic return of Harrison Petty, but no, they were enjoying somebody being removed from the arena. It came at about the peak point of the Giant Wet Shit lead, so unless security did the sensible thing and hit him with the Yellow Pages while in custody he missed absolutely nothing that would have interested him.

It was my mum's token game for the season, and in the absence of any decent football to enjoy she peaked big time for Russell Robertson interviewing Jeff Farmer (had NFI who Jamie Bennell was) and otherwise entertained herself by taking photos with strange effects. I quite enjoyed this one, where Gawn appears to be decapitating Shane Mumford with a Tony Lockett vs Peter Caven style blow.

There was also this piece of modern art, entitled Depressed Midfielders:

She kindly offered to frame one of the photos for my office (though good luck dislodging this from prime position above the desk), which I appreciated but declined due to never wanting to be reminded of this abortion of a sporting contest ever again.

Next Week
When furiously typing notes on the way home I started with nine omissions. Almost everyone on our senior list who'd ever played before + a draft pick who didn't play for us yet were all immediately in. First I calmed down a bit, then discovered that Lever had (surprise surprise) been injured in the VFL game and would be away for another week, and had to stop being so dramatic.

Casey didn't do anything after quarter time but I'm not concerned about that. Time for a ceremonial chopping to remind players that nobody is above the axe, some rotation of fringe players, and an opportunity for some with their careers on the line to have a last gasp at making a case for 2020. We don't have the grapefruits to drop players en masse, and even if we did it's not like these changes have any concern for structure so would probably make us play even worse. Whatever.

The first move is to bring Salem back, but right after that is getting Preuss into the forward line. Nothing personal against Tim Smith but he can't ruck for shit and he our Hail Mary kicking inside 50 doesn't suit him. Maybe Preuss will play a couple of full games and we'll discover that he's no better a target but I'd rather know ASAP so we can start to plan for next year. Our forward line has arguably looked better the smaller it's gotten this year, which is why no sensible person would bring him and Weideman in at the same time but I will.

Weid or McSizzle roam up the ground, Preuss creates monster contests closer to goal, and Petracca is given a sink or swim assignment in the middle. Creating contests would help if we had dangerous crumbers, and I'm sad to say that Garlett is crocked. Not like we've got any ready-made replacements, but that's not important right now.

I'm reluctant to bring Lewis back, but it fits into the carnage narrative so roll on (Tuesday update - or not, given that he got suspended in the VFL. Feel the leadership). Neal-Bullen was meh last week before injured but he too fills a spot of somebody who's been executed. I was going to find an excuse to bring Maynard in too but apparently he was concussed in the Casey game so that's buggered him. As has the drafting of somebody who purportedly does his job but better. Shame, he played one good game then got dropped, then got wasted as a tagger in his second, injured and seemingly written off forever.

IN: Preuss, Lewis, Neal-Bullen, Weideman, Salem
OUT: Brayshaw, Fritsch, Garlett, Lockhart, Spargo, T. Smith (omit)
LUCKY: Jones, Lockhart, Petracca, T. McDonald, Stretch
UNLUCKY: Hannan (tempted, but it risky off one game since January), JFK, Lever, Kyle bloody Dunkley

Forget the velocity and violence of our demolition job on the Crows last year, things have changed. They're not all that good so I can't entirely rule out a surprise win (though I'm pretty sure...) but know we'll be lucky to score 60. This time the first NT game is being played in Darwin and the second in Alice Springs, so let's see if that makes it any less like playing footy on a slip-and-slide. Just close your eyes tightly and remember that without these games we'd have finished a preliminary final season by losing about a million dollars.

Mid-season magic
Sucked in Cory Gregson, we've picked up another midfielder. Albeit Kyle Dunkley is allegedly a decent forward prospect as well. It's clearly not a 'now' pick, and I feel bad for the potential mature age draftees that this concept was invented for who have been left with their thumbs up their arses while clubs horde promising kids. I'll pass judgement at the end of the year when we see how many games the draftees play, but if it goes like I think it will you can chalk it up as another botched idea by the AFL.

Now that this has been an unqualified success in keeping other sports out of the paper they're talking about bringing in mid-season trading, which will be a ripper for the clubs contending for flags but what are we supposed to swap when most of our list is injured? Draft picks? Thrilling stuff. Just go old school and allow trading/clearances until June 30.

Was it worth it?
Jesus H Christ no. There was no redemption from the 'comeback', this was an experience completely without merit. On the upside it takes about 45 minutes less to get home than it did at the previous Towers, but if I didn't have to cherish being able to attend games whenever I can now I'd still hate myself for leaving the house.

Final thoughts
This season has died more times than Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but you can be sure now that there are no miracles coming and can comfortably put the white screen up. Things should (should) get better once the injury list thins, but I still don't blame anyone for pulling the pin and going spelunking for the next 14 weeks. In lieu of anything better to do I'm going to hang around and look for signs that validate my irrational belief that everything's going to be ok in 2020.


  1. You could tell within the first 5 minutes we were all at sea. Gawn and Hore were our only shining lights. It’s admirable that Maximum is helping our beleaguered defence, but taking contested pack marks in the last line is not the way to win matches. Seeing Jones and McSizzle lying prostrate on the ground within metres of each other summed up our season (two of only three players over 25 I’m told). Such was our disarray/inexperience that we continued to attack with two less players.
    Losing is one thing, but geez it was a boring game.
    Agreed, time to stick Petracca in the middle and let him throw his weight around. Maybe our expectations were unrealistic from the start (a la Jack Watts) but Truck just doesn’t seem to have progressed since we drafted him.

  2. When T. Green knocked one of our players to the ground in the last quarter Hunt went a bit nutso at him. Did you miss this? And Hunt didn't even get a mention in your votes. For shame

    1. Didn't see it. Should have gotten into him right from the start like they did to Oliver.

      Hunt was pretty ordinary apart from that sick lead. Still the best forward we've got in Melksham's absence.

  3. The injury list remains long and now I see Lewis got suspended in the VFL. Maybe we could sign up the first contestant from the Haymes Paint comp who did his 10 spins then dobbed his kick straight through the middle.

    1. Can't get into that competiiton it's too low brow. Yes, more low brow than people in overalls taking a specky.


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