Sunday 25 August 2019

The battle of who could care less

The circle of life is complete. From five wins in a freefalling 2007 to five wins in a freefalling 2019 we're back to where we started this long, strange journey to the bottom of the ocean. But while the pain of this thwarted season will live inside us forever it can't hurt you anymore. Let's dip into the weedkiller bath of misery one last time, then roll 2019 up in a carpet and roll it into the Maribyrnong River.

Of the thousands of people who'll be happy to see the back of this year, Simon Goodwin will breathe the biggest sigh of relief. Last year he was full of Wolf of Wall Street references, this season he's looked more like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant standing there with his joint out hanging out, crying like a baby as his life goes to bits. I lost faith in the coach during the last few weeks but am glad he now gets to thump the reset button and return next year to try and prove this year was the fluke and not 2018.

It's scant consolation, but we weren't bad for a second last placed team. Our record was certainly shithouse, but it was a step up from other classic 17th placed sides like Melbourne 2013 or Melbourne 2014. And while last week was a white flag waving surrender, there were seven games before that where we were a red-hot chance with 30 minutes to play before displaying the finishing skills of a teenager about to get his end away for the first time. It would be obscenely simplistic to say we could have won all of them, finished 12-10 and played finals, but there's something to be said for staying alive for so long in so many games despite playing in a way that almost made the two goal a week less 2014 seem exciting.

Of course, the end-of-season vibe (if not the ladder position) would be a lot different if we'd suppressed our self-destructive urges for another 90 seconds and beaten North. It wouldn't have scrubbed the stink off a dreadful year by any means but would have at least given us a positive note to end it on/sweep some of the ill-feeling under the carpet. Instead, we threw it all away yet again and lost for a 17th time this season. Why in god's name would you follow anyone else?

What a shouse season it's been, almost from the moment somebody tripped over the plug and cut off live coverage of the first pre-season game. That day I wrote:

I don't really think we're going to win the flag, but what I took out of this is that we're not going to be shit. 

Wrong. Never, EVER trust the pre-season. 24 games and nineteen losses in all competitions later it seemed appropriate to end it all (so to speak) exiled from the mainland of Australia, in an off Broadway dead rubber at ground that acted like a glorified Casey Fields, tormented one last time by a team that's been treating us with contempt for years. I feel like a real poon for imagining on fixture reveal day that this would have major finals implications.

Worse than ending another wasted year was the expectation that North would apply an exclamation mark by clobbering us. Having kicked one and 22 goals in their last two outings I was ready for more of the latter, especially in light of our limp and lifeless concession against the Swans. Even though our backline has been reasonably heroic in the circumstances I still expected the Roos to carry on the carnival atmosphere displayed against Port. It ended somewhere in the middle, they only kicked 13 and Ben Brown went from 10 last week to losing the Coleman Medal, but for our part we continued to make scoring look harder than open heart surgery, packed it when unexpectedly ahead in the last 90 seconds and lost.

To say I had low expectations for this game would be an understatement. After five hours' sleep I woke up five minutes before the first bounce and didn't even bother to get out of bed until half time.
What I saw wasn't too bad, but what a depressing comedown to be satisfied watching us cling to a side we finished well clear of last year.

Mind you, would anyone trust us to beat North no matter what circumstances the clubs were in? We snapped the famous 17 game losing streak in Round 3 last year, but haven't played them since our ever so brief glory era began a few weeks later. I'm not saying a lot has changed in nearly two full seasons, but that day 10 goals came from Bugg, Garlett and Kent combined. There was also no Hogan, Jetta, Kent, Oscar, Tyson or Josh Wagner, leaving us one short of half a new side. The only constant was Gawn being our best player.

As much as I thought we were going to get thrashed, losing by under a goal wasn't much of a surprise. It feels like my entire adult life has been losing thrillers to North. Shortly before my 18th birthday they beat us by a point and over the next 20 years have done us by one again, seven, one yet again, 10, five, four and now five again. The last three have all been at Bellerive, leaving us 0-3 at the ground with an average losing margin of 4.6 points. Add it to the pre-season game we lost by three and nobody can deny that Melbourne in Tassie = instant entertainment value, but at some stage I'd like to come home with a win.

There's not much competition, but the first and third quarters were probably amongst the best we've played all year.  The first featured disposals hitting targets all over the ground and the third delivered goals (relatively) galore. That these came when we were kicking into the wind is an indictment on a side full of Casey players who should be used to dealing with weird breezes at regional grounds. Still, not a lot was learnt about what's going to happen in 2020. Fritsch will play forward and Frost should swap salaries with Lever but otherwise it was just your standard last round dead rubber where a bad side plays with the sort of freedom they won't be allowed in Round 1.

When I say Fritsch will play forward, he'll certainly start there. Who knows how long until we jump at shadows and start shifting players around. His new status as our most dangerous forward was confirmed by a screaming contested mark right in front of goal for his first of three. Have I told you how much I love contested marks? For me they're second only to goals as the most honest stat in the game. Even better when somebody combines the two. Sadly the success of that play encouraged us to keep roosting it forward, even when Fritsch was vastly outnumbered or neither Preuss or Gawn was down there to take advantage. Suffice to say, while we did pull down more marks inside 50 than North there were no more one-on-ones at the top of the square.

A lot of things about our 2019 season are strange, but what about being in the top eight for marks inside 50 but second last in the competition for goals. We all know our inside 50s are pus, but how badly are you going when you can put the ball in somebody's hands in front of goal that many times and either kick points (us, St Kilda and Fremantle are the only teams below 50% for goalkicking this year) or get nothing at all. Inside 50s on the whole are a swizz, but last year was (in parts) a win for the brute force theory of "if you get it down there enough you'll score", this year not so much. Especially without anyone at ground level or players able to stop the ball flinging down the other end at warp speed.

Also from the world of statistics - in Round 16, 2008, Simon Buckley had 10 bounces. This year Christian Salem led our entire side with 10 and we had by some distance the least number in the competition. But who needs run when you're all in on contested possession eh? Wonder if they're regretting not having a shot at Andrew Gaff yet? Suppose it doesn't really matter how they move it if they're just going to finish the chain with a careless kick inside 50 anyway.

The surprise outbreak of precision kicking and four first quarter goals were welcome, even if you suspected the North players weren't taking the game entirely seriously. Conceding a real DemonTime special on the siren to a player that had 0.0 for the season was not. It was not the last time we'd concede in the final 90 seconds of the quarter. Not even the second last time.

When they got the first two goals of the second quarter I thought we might have lost interest and rolled over. Moves that would have seen us investigated if draft picks were on the line like Spargo in the backline suggested we had already, but he wasn't all that bad. I would rather scoop my eyeball out with a spoon than see him play there in Round 1, 2020 but it's nice to find somewhere that his 30 metre kicks can come in handy.

The expected capsize was kept at bay when we held them goalless for the rest of the term. Frost was doing an excellent job, Hibberd was more lively than he has been for 75% of the season, and Lever was doing everything right until it came time to kick and he disposed of the ball like he was battling a flesh eating virus. If his ankle needs surgery I've go no earthly idea why we were bothering to play him in a slopfest like this rather than getting on with the chopping and gouging, but who am I to question such a successful club? Maybe he doesn't need any surgery and he's just a shit kick.

Hunt started two behind Petracca in the race to be the leading goalkicker (some race...) and made it interesting with our only major for the quarter. That was as exciting at that contest got, neither man got another one and Truck held on for a win even he'd probably struggle to describe as satisfying. Petracca didn't kick any, but was very good playing further up the ground. He must do more of that next year. I'm sure somebody will cover the 22 goals.

That goal got us to half time on level terms, at which point I thought I'd better get out of bed, fire up the Megawall, and try to watch one win on it this season. It wasn't a complete waste of time, by watching the end of the game in a standing position I was able to express my displeasure physically by jumping up and down, throwing things and scaring children.

An odd third quarter followed. One, chockers with Melbourne trademarks, including randomly kicking a quick burst of goals that we couldn't replicate anywhere else, then going to sleep for five minutes and giving them all back. It was pleasant while it lasted and had a better mix of goal types than we've seen recently. Wagner burnt a defender off with speed to walk into an open goal, Jones, Maximum x2 and Melksham all kicked set shots, and Fritsch's third came from a 50 metre hoist that he probably wasn't even aiming at the goals but caught on the wind and floated through. We'll take them wherever we can at the moment.

The run of goals left us 15 points up and I foolishly started fantasise about notorious Anti Fun League figures like J**d, Lloyd and Wilson sooking about players expressing even the remotest enjoyment at winning. We didn't give them anything to work with, now they'll have to focus on Ken Hinkley doing self-conscious coaching box novelties after finishing 10th when he should have been boiling himself in oil.

Just when you thought a side full of VFL All-Stars, star players who have been disinterested for weeks, busted veterans and makeshift forwards might be onto something North kicked the last three of a surprisingly potent 11 goal term and the margin was back to a point. We were lucky to hold that, with their second DemonTime shot only scoring a point. After conceding twice at the end of quarters you'd think we'd have learnt our lesson by the last quarter wouldn't you? Nah.

North had the momentum, but courtesy of Melksham inadvertently stepping on an opponent's head we had a one man advantage and the use of the breeze. What could possibly go wrong? Funny you ask. Remember the last time we played there? Round 19, 2017, sitting a game and 6% inside the eight and needing a to firmly entrench us in the finals race. There we were, six points down against a 4-13 side and kicking to the same end where we'd piled on six goals in the second quarter. We took the lead midway through the last quarter, lost it late, then kicked two points that would have successively won and drawn the game. Still went into the last round with our finals destiny in our own hands and... well enough about that.

We've known for years that Melbourne can't play for shit against sides with a reduced bench. This year proved that we're no good in the rain either and it's been confirmed that we're also the worst side at kicking with the wind that has even breathed oxygen. We're not much chop at last quarters either, this was the fifth time since Round 9 that we've led at the last change for four losses and a total of 5.23. Across the season we've been outscored by nearly 30 goals in last quarters - worst in the league - so hooray for Darren Burgess forcing people to run up and down sand dunes but how about investing in top quality shrinks as well? We've been mental for years, even for large parts of 2018, so it's about time they tried something different and invested in psychologists, mindfulness gurus, meditation experts and astrologists.

There was a great opportunity to get the all-important first - and in our case probably last - goal of the final quarter. Preuss fulfilled fantasies I've been harbouring all season by taking a massive pack mark pretty much in front of goal, then proceeded to take the piss by hitting the post. Based on previous experience I knew that wind or no wind we weren't going to have another six goal quarter so every shot was crucial. What a waste. He had another respectable performance around the ground but is no chance of a game in Round 1 next year unless he kicks a bag in the pre-season or - god forbid - Gawn goes down. Send either Weideman or Petty to intensive summer ruckman school and they can do the same job Preuss does but provided a bigger threat in the forward line.

That was the first of seven behinds, and we proceeded to dominate the next few minutes in every aspect other than scoring before North got a goal on the break. After that we got plenty of the ball but disposed of it like Mad Monday had kicked off in the three quarter time huddle and conceded another. Even our one goal for the quarter was from one of those questionable ruck frees where neither man knows which way it's going until the umpire points. I thought his luck would run out at two set shots, but he nailed it and the gap was back to a point.

Still didn't think we were any chance of overcoming them, all day their forward line seemed far more likely to break out and kick goals. We got more scores out of nowhere than most weeks (for the first three quarters anyway) but confidence was low that we could outscore North by a point or more by the end. I hate being right. Not that we didn't have chances, with Fritsch and Melksham both missing snaps.

The misses were frustrating, but it did give us the lead with time rapidly running out, giving us the chance to put on a double-tough defensive performance and hold them out. Yeah right. Any Melbourne fan who says they thought we'd hold onto a one point lead after a day of conceding late scores is a lying swine. Sometimes you get lucky - Wingard dropping the mark or whatever the hell happened in the last minute against Gold Coast - but most of the time you can guarantee we'll do something stupid and lose in a thriller.

First there was Jones charging out of defence, signalling that he was going to hoof the ball down the line where Gawn was lurking, then changing his mind and kicking it to a North player in the middle of the ground. It was a shame, because to that point he'd played one of his better games for the season. Almost everyone had a horror turnover on the day but given the context of the game you'd slaughter a less beloved player for doing the same thing so it's only fair to point out what a tremendous cock up it was.

That was bad enough, then there's the multiple ways we cocked up their winning goal. Allow this helpful demonstration to explain:
How typically Melbourne to have four players surrounding an opponent, one who can't lock down a tackle, and three who stood there like statues waiting for him to get off a handball. Then the ball finds its way to the bloke who was goal side of the three free men. He was kind enough to leave some drama in it and have a flying shot instead of just kicking it Brown on his own at the top of the square but the result was the same.

When we entered the last 90 seconds less than a goal up I already expected to lose, so anything we got from here was a bonus. Given we'd had the advantage in centre clearances all day I was ready to win the ball then lose via an out of control fire hose style kick straight to a North defender. Instead our midfield went back into their shell at the wrong time, North bolted forward, I let out a primal howl and a point went through that confirmed for the 17th and final time this year we couldn't win.

Considering we'd chucked the game in a few seconds of madness, bursting from one to the other in a few seconds to grab a draw would have been a touch hollow. In a sick way I was still into it, thinking that if we were going to be miserable we might as well take some North fans down with us. Now we've lost I'm also upset that we didn't get the club's first ever draw in the final game of the season but at the time it was all about ruining somebody else's day.

Spite or no spite, when Frost - whose no man's land shenanigans for the Higgins goal shouldn't detract from another animal defensive performance - gathered the ball to kick-in with 45 seconds I wasn't thinking about a share of the points. My confidence was dented even further when he did the flattest torp ever and it was punted back at him by 76 year old Serbian grandmother lookalike Jared Polec. It fell short, Frost marked it in front of goal, tried to thrash another long kick that was only marginally better this time, and we somehow won the ball back at ground level.

Petracca did a lovely turn in traffic and hoofed it long to Fritsch, about the only man likely to take an overhead mark in the circumstances. He gave a good account of himself at full extension and the ball bounced out to Neal-Bullen, who dashed inside 50, opted not to try a tricky kick over the top of a defender to Melksham and went for it himself. Even though the result meant precisely FUCK ALL in the long run I still had my heart in my mouth as it landed and smacked right into the post in a way he couldn't have done deliberately in a million attempts.

ANB has been the victim of some shit for not passing to Milkshake, but imagine the anti-Bullet sentiment if he'd tried that and botched it. Not like he was kicking to a player on his own in the square, there was still a defender in the way and he probably (and rightly) though the siren was about to go so made the split second decision to take the responsibility himself. I'm not going to hold it against him, the way we've gone forward this year it's lucky he didn't run out the clock looking for a teammate with four defenders covering him. Melksham also played a part in the game-losing goal with an ill-advised spoil on Frost so I could do without the 'woe is me' hands in the air even before the ball had landed.

For failed last minute kicks at that end of the Hobart ground it didn't have the emotional impact of Billy Stretch's flying shot in 2016. I didn't know it was after the siren until it missed and threw myself from one room to another as it missed. There wasn't any need for that this time around but the poster still caused me to shriek like Ned Flanders when he saw the purple drapes. In the heat of the moment my brain didn't care that the game had no impact on anything. It probably also confused snatching a draw from behind with winning and thought coming out equal would have something to genuinely celebrate. Now I realise how stupid this would have been and am accordingly disinterested.

You couldn't have written a more appropriate way to finish our season than blowing a lead with a minute left, then having a maligned player blow a chance at redemption. The only way it could have been more apt would have been for Melksham to get the pass and have his ACL explode running into an open goal.

On the day I hated that we had victory in our hands and threw it away but 24 hours later it feels like any other dull but not totally embarrassing last round defeat. Like North 2010 or North 2014. Everything can eventually be traced back to a loss against the Roos. If there's a way to lose a game from 1-127 points we've done it against them at some point since that fateful day in 1990 when I walked into the MCG for the first time and came out after a 21 goal loss. Right then I should have known that this lifestyle wasn't going to end well.

Then Jakovich turned up, kicked 11 (against who else but North?), and my life was changed forever. Some might say for the worse, I say keep feeding me this slop until I burst.

2019 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Max Gawn
4 - Bayley Fritsch
3 - Christian Petracca
2 - Clayton Oliver
1 - Sam Frost

Apologies to Brayshaw, Harmes, Lewis and Stretch.

Final standings
Thanks to Max for removing any controversy by confirming a very worthy win in the Jakovich with a five vote performance. Winning the best and fairest was probably a thrill but this must be an even greater rush. Congratulations to for Clayton Oliver, now holding two wins and a second in the last three years, and to James Harmes for consecutive third place finishes.

So, after 15 years a big player has finally taken the title. Until now Cameron Bruce (2008) was the tallest at 190 centimetres. The minors were already long decided, with Salem doing most of the damage in the Seecamp early in the year before May put in a strong charge, and Hore getting home in the Hilton despite not registering a score since Round 10. The Best Finals Player will not be awarded this season.

56 - Max Gawn (WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player and the Year and Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
49 - Clayton Oliver
32 - James Harmes
27 - Christian Salem (WINNER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
21 - Jack Viney
19 - Bayley Fritsch, Jake Melksham, Christian Petracca
15 - Steven May
13 - Angus Brayshaw
11 - Marty Hore (WINNER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal)
9 - Nathan Jones
8 - Jayden Hunt
7 - Sam Frost
6 - Michael Hibberd, Jay Lockhart
4 - Tom McDonald, Billy Stretch
2 - Harrison Petty, Corey Wagner
1 - Jordan Lewis

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
It would be easy to hold ANB's flubbed shot at the end against him. Maybe if it was to win the game I would, but for a draw? Meh. Instead let us pay tribute to his lightning crumb in the first quarter. I think he's already been gifted an actual Anal Bullet for a weekly prize this year but why not have another one? Start a collection.

That leaves Marty Hore as the winner for his intervention late in the Gold Coast game. Seems like a lifetime ago since we took until the last second to beat a team that were early in an 18 game losing streak. It was no McSizzle at Subiaco, but still a memorable inclusion on an honour roll along with Salem, Jones, Watts, McDonald and Hannan.

We won and go undefeated again. Much love to the Demon Army for their commitment in following this awful organisation around the country. Someday this war's gonna end. Dees 21-1-0 for the season.

Next Week(ish)
After a year off, the AFL has reintroduced the September Exhibition Series. If I was any more excited I'd shit my shorts. To the surviving eight clubs we say...

I hope everyone has a good time and that the final is a GWS vs Stefan Martin slopfest that ruins the spectacle for Victorians.

For the once again long suffering Melbourne Football Club, it's back to the cycle that has made us such a success in the 21st century. First we delist, then we trade, then we draft. As long as this is not followed by 'and then we watch everyone go down like nine pins again' we should be able to enter the new season with hopes of a revival.

Conspiracy Corner
Dwayne Russell is to be taken about as seriously as Boris Johnson, so when he claimed a Tasmanian team was on the way in 2023 the gut feeling was that he was talking out of his firestarter. Then Caroline Wilson joined in on similar lines, and for all her sour anti-Melbourne sentiment you have to respect that she's got more leaks than a Collins Class submarine so maybe there's something to it after all. If Gil's last ditch effort to be remembered fondly is to give into pressure for a Tasmanian team I'd suggest minnow Victorian clubs should watch their backs.

The good news is there's no chance of anyone being relocated. They're already going to be managing Hobart and Launceston factions, as if they're going to want a vocal group of mainlanders complaining about things as well. The bad news is there's no way the AFL will carry an uneven number of teams for long, so that means either adding or subtracting another side. There's no way they'll split GWS and Canberra, and third sides in Adelaide or Perth are fantasy stuff, so that means by fair means or foul there will have to be a net reduction of one amongst the existing Victorian clubs.

Merging two traditional teams would create chaos, so I'm suggesting the best result for the league would be to take a financially necked Victorian side and merge them with Gold Coast (who we assume will still be dismal in a few years), instantly creating a finals contender by fusing their lists together. The question is which of us, North, St Kilda or the Bulldogs will have the financial tap turned off by the AFL and be starved into agreeing to go.

I'm instantly ruling Footscray out given that they've just been gifted $18 million dollars by the state government in the ownership of the Western Oval. Between that, the flag, the geographical territory and more government sponsored dollars for playing in Ballarat I suggest they are almost unfuckwithable.

Of the other three North would be the most financially vulnerable if their Hobart deal disappeared (and if they'd had the same decade as us they'd already be playing home games in Western Samoa), but nobody is safe. If the 'It's time' factor for Tasmania is real you wouldn't want to be the team going to the AFL with cap in hand in the next few years. In theory the MCC relationship should save us but I bet if they were offered the chance to put on more Essendon, Collingwood or Richmond games they'd go "gee, that's terrible, sorry to see you go" and wave goodbye to us. And there's nothing more naive then the idea the league can't go on without a team called Melbourne.

Also in North's favour is that they've learnt how to live with pokies, while we're about to have to fill that financial void. If the Tasmanian deal is vital to them, we'd be left like heroin addicts scrambling for change in a payphone if the Northern Territory ditched us. Now you hear that Gold Coast is 'in discussions' with the NT about adding Darwin to their recruiting zone, and how far after that's agreed do you reckon they'll be playing games there? In isolation I'd be into this, goodbye sweaty Darwin and a one-off game in Alice Springs but there's another $600,000 a year out the door. Next thing you're asking the AFL to cover a shortfall in funds, they decline, say "well it looks like you're going broke, but there is one way we can save you..." and the next thing the club is being shifted to sunny Carrara.

There's a provision in our constitution that any merger has to be voted on by members (no mention of relocations mind you), and obviously at the moment it would lose by about 99%, but after a few years of being kneecapped, briefed against to journalists and starved out until it's presented as the only way to preserve some of the club's identity it might get a better hearing. Mind you, even South Melbourne fans voted against moving to Sydney so the VFL just rescheduled all their home games there instead.

This is all tremendously far-fetched, but what I'm saying is don't take it for granted that we'll plod along as an unsuccessful, moderately supported club forever. If the 8000 new members this year meant an extra million dollars in revenue then do your bit to cover for the people who pull out. Don't withdraw your financial support out of spite, buy in at the lowest level if you must but do something. The club is bigger - and more important - than any playing list or administrators, and the last thing we need is trouble from supporters flouncing off because the footy is bad. Fight, fight, and fight again.

Next year
Appropriately Jordan Lewis was chaired off by Max Gawn and Nathan Jones, two men who have made the carrying of players into an art form. Sadly their prospects are now heading in opposite directions, the Maximum for Captain campaign is reaching critical mass while this season has seemingly sucked out all Chunk's remaining life force, leaving him looking like he'll struggle to get a regular game next year. I am very keen to be proven wrong about this.

Based on this list, here's how I'd handle our remaining of contract players.

- Chandler, Dunkley and C. Wagner (another year on rookie list)
- Frost (a must)
- Jones (I can't imagine a world without him. One year guaranteed only though)
- Lockhart (did enough)
- Stretch (always going to be a depth player but he can kick so worth hanging around)

- Keilty (should have been given more of a go, but playing him in defence at Casey was basically the concession that he was done for).
- Kennedy Harris (handy enough as depth so I wouldn't riot if he survived for another year but just never seems settled anywhere in the side. Also I've only just discovered there's no hyphen between Kennedy and Harris. Better six years later than never)

- Lewis and Maynard (confirmed)
- Garlett (gave us great value for money but is shot now. Must look to the future)
- T. Smith (does alright in the AFL without excelling so I'd keep him at Casey as an option but is said to be ready to pull the pin due to injury)
- Guy Walker (shoulder shot to buggery)

So, not accounting for any unexpected player departures via trade that creates six vacancies on the senior list, which is a good number for drafting and bringing in players from elsewhere. I wouldn't be able to pick Ed Langdon out of a lineup if he robbed me in the street but he's apparently on the way. He looks like somebody who has pulled the hair back so far that it's going to cause a major injury to their forehead but I won't hold it against him. I'm told he's quick (though he only had as many bounces as Salem) but his kicking is ropey, which should see him fit in perfectly.

Now we've confirmed Fritsch is a marking mid-size forward our other pressing need is somebody to put forward pressure on. Goals are a bonus. I'd almost be ready to play somebody purely as a defensive small forward to try and set up opportunities for others, and if he gets a goal a game himself that's a bonus. Easier said than done but having somebody down there that will put the fear of god into opposition players whenever one of our inevitable useless long bombs is brought to ground would be good.

Realistically you can draft and recruit whoever you like, none of them are going to win a flag until they wise up and demand a trade to a decent side.

Final thoughts
So, that's another wasted decade. Like the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s before it, the 10s have delivered nearly bugger all. In a red-hot battle between bullshit periods it's narrowly beaten the 1970s by one finals appearance to nil. They lost by 190, we lost by 186. They won two wooden spoons, we morally should have had about three. Some of you have lived through both decades and I have the deepest sympathy for your plight.

Remember 2010? When we were an outside finals chance with three rounds left and looked like things were finally turning around. Imagine going back in time and telling yourself that we'd make precisely ONE finals series in the next nine years. Old you would vigorously shake new you's hand, say "thank you very much for saving me from years of misery" and get on with doing something worthwhile with their life.

We're all hopeful that next year will see an instant resurrection, but there won't be any solid proof of which season was a fake until late March 2020. That's six months to do any sort of mystical voodoo shit available to try and get us going again. I think we're a 5-10 side at heart, but then again I believed 2007 was an anomaly and we followed up with two wooden spoons. The difference is this time there's a hint of science behind my optimism, not just blind faith. I patiently await the truth being revealed.

So, as we wrap up season 15 (!) of Demonblog, thank you again to everyone who has indulged my shenanigans on here, Twitter, Demonwiki and elsewhere. I'd probably be writing this for my own sanity even if nobody was watching but it's heartening when people take an interest. I'll be back with the end of season 'spectacular' sometime before December 31, but in the meantime I bid you farewell.


  1. Thank you again Adam, you are a uniquely-incisive and funny man

  2. Love your work Adam. Stay away from those ledges. A pox on the AFL.

  3. Newcomer to your blog. Fantastic writing.

    I stumbled across it via Reddit - a repost of your list chronicling every single fairly-hideous thing that happened to the club over a (I think) four-year period.

    Have you ever updated that list? It was a chilling read. Made me wonder if there was a genuine pox on our fair club.


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