Sunday, 30 May 2021

Bouncing back

As somebody who won't trust a three quarter time lead under 47 points, it's no surprise that our first loss in 10 weeks left me in a dark place, scouring the fixture for enough wins to guarantee eighth place. It's an undignified way to live, but after 30+ year of letdowns that's where I'm at.

Unexpectedly, one of the four wins required came on Friday night, effectively cancelling out last week and leaving us where I thought we'd be after Round 11 anyway. To clarify, that's where I thought we'd be two weeks ago, not at the start of the year. Anyone who'd tried to sell you a 10-1 record at the halfway mark would have been banged up in an insane asylum until after the Richmond game.

It's official, we are the world's first uphill skiers. After offering the Crows so many breaks they couldn't help but win, the follow-up was to casually disassemble a side that had not only replaced us at the top of the ladder, but clobbered two pox sides that we'd struggled to put away. The Fear means I'm naturally hesitant to come out of a secure underground bunker and get excited, but the lid may have done a couple of orbits.

Other than being first and second on the ladder and both having female presidents, there was very little in common between us and the Dogs. Best defence vs best attack, no home training facility vs free land from the government, lengthy drought unbroken vs broken, and for fans of symbolism in advertising - luxury cars/banking vs pet food/cryptocurrency exchange with a vaguely dildoesque logo. We took Big Crypto's money too but have wisely kept them in the background since. Footy clubs can't be snippy about who's paying them (in this case, hopefully in AUD and not some coin they made up on their lunchbreak) but for gravitas, this deal ranks somewhere between Snowy Mountain Water and Snowdeli.

In a world where no team has ever had their best 18 available by this point of the year, injuries are no excuse, but the absence of Adam Treloar can't have hurt our chances. For my purposes, it was more important that neither the Stefan Martin Experience or Mitch Hannan played. I've got nothing but positive feelings for the pair, but even though it's only happened a handful of times in living memory the prospect of ex-players going nuts against us frightens me. There's plenty of them out there at the moment, but we've dodged Kent, Frawley, Sizzle Jr and Tyson, took care of Frost, and won't have to face Howe or Preuss due to injury. Presuming Harley Bennell doesn't nominate for the mid-season draft, the pressure to do a Brent Grgic may fall on Jesse Hogan, as long as Round 16 falls in one of his limited fit weeks.

One of the great ex-player games was famously by the SME himself. With his post-trade career flatlining, he came to what was then known as Graveyard Docklands and revived his career in an afternoon. The man we plucked from obscurity, played in every part of the ground then chucked for fringe picks has done well to stretch his career this far, but at nearly 35-years-old everyone knows he's just doing a one year lap of honour at the Dogs before retiring. You'd think Gawn would batter him but given that Brent Harvey kicked a career best six goals against us in about his 420th game you wouldn't rule anything out.

Regardless of who was in or out, we did bloody well to react to letting Adelaide have everything their way. As a total coward I didn't expect to win, but was keen on the response. No drama in the end, like Richmond without the shaky start we slowly strangled a top side to death and won without challenge. This was a return to what made us good in the first place, setting up the Great Wall of Melbourne in the middle of the ground, and slowing their forward entries down to a glacial pace.

It was one memorable win that people won't be able to falsely claim they were at in years to come. With The Big One spreading like a Clayton Oliver clearance, Victoria shut down again (for political discussion on this topic please refer to your uncle's Facebook posts, not this page), causing the unexpected return of the Empty Stadium Match. It feels like we played plenty of these last year, but there were only four behind closed doors games. To be fair we did play in front of a few crowds so meagre that the league didn't bother to give a real crowd, just tossing out estimates like 250, 350 and 750. That feels like a lifetime ago now, except that we're about to play Brisbane in Junee with an audience of 27 curious locals who stopped to watch while walking the dog. 

I'm a big fan of the Butterfly effect, so reject any idea that it's "a shame people weren't allowed to see" this game. Maybe things would have gone as well (or better) with a crowd, but as we can be sure the game wouldn't have played out kick-for-kick like it did on Friday night, I reckon stick with the option that ended in us winning easily.

Before we could get on with discovering if our life force had been sucked out by cowardly umpiring, there was the small matter of what we were going to wear. As much as I'd like to blame the AFL for everything, it is reportedly our fault that the indigenous week jumper was DQed at the last minute for clashing with the Footscray version. They told us a month ago that it was too similar, and in a Collingwood attempt at projecting Big Club Energy we didn't bother to appeal until this week. It seems the AFL is still not half as scared of us as they are of Edd.... err... [insert interim Collingwood president here] because we went back into our normal home jumper.

I can't see how it was any more of a clash than Collingwood and Essendon on Anzac Day, but life goes on, and we'll wear it next week instead. Have it for the first game back in Victoria with fans too for all it bothers me. Because he'd rather be burnt at the stake like Joan Of Arc than cross 'key stakeholders', James Brayshaw tried to claim that the mix-up was nobody's fault because they were designed before this week's fixtures were decided. Which is fine, except that we've known that it would be Melbourne vs Footscray in Round 11 since December so let's just put it down as a general cock-up instead of trying to find an alibi for everyone involved.

Speaking of inconsistency, I'm sure every Melbourne fan was ready to kick buggery out of an inanimate object when we were pinged for an 'insufficient intent' the first time a ball rolled over the line. Assuming it wasn't the same umpire who chickened out last week I'm prepared to accept that this guy made the right call (under the current rules) and not get too upset about it. Besides, bit different in the first quarter and not with 30 seconds left in a thriller. Later, Gawn was called to play on for the sin of walking straight back on his mark like you're supposed to. Like every other year since 1897, umpiring is in disarray but the ladder at the halfway point of the season would suggest that overall it's working for us.

Maybe the jumpers were also part of the Butterfly effect, and had players not seen the familiar design out of the corner of their eye we wouldn't have flown out of the middle faster than the Starship Enterprise for a goal after 17 seconds? I was already in the 'centre clearances save lives' community, and hope you'll join me after seeing Gawn walk around an inexperienced opponent and thump it forward, eventually ending in Harmes running into an open goal with his man in a different postcode. 

The goal came so quickly that Channel 7's ACME Fake Noise machine hadn't been properly revved up yet, giving us surround sound coverage of players going nuts in celebration. The digital crowd back later but was so subtle that it made me wonder whether I was just imagining it. This is a good thing, for all the shit poured on the idea they've got it to a background level that will help people who are scared of silence and not annoy the shit out of the rest of us. Meanwhile, the roof provided acoustics Van Halen would bar up over, letting us hear a satisfying Tom Moody six style *THUD* whenever ball hit boot.

Harmes' goal started an evening that brought back fond memories of late 2018, simultaneously tagging an important player into the ground while picking up key possessions of his own. This time the victim was Tom Liberatore, not only an important midfielder but wearer of tattoos so offbeat that they're almost good (compare to Josh Bruce, who has the visual representation of 'dance like nobody's watching' across his legs). With him out of the picture we were free to concentrate on Bontempelli, Macrae etc... Fair group of players, didn't do them much good in the end.

One of the key figures in stopping them from waltzing down the ground unchallenged was Angus Brayshaw. I've been accused of running a campaign against him, but let the record show that recently there has been nothing but praise for his Jetta-esque courage in taking on contests that could end in a career-threatening head knock. It's loose-as-a-goose disposal that concerns me, and while his defensive patrolling of the wing 'only' led to 13 touches, he played his most influential game of the year. Anybody who tries to convince you that players ratings and rankings points tell you everything you need to know about a performance is insane. This was a performance that would have sent me home happy if I wasn't there already.

Things weren't universally going our way, but further reward came with the second goal when a smother by Jordon - who continues to be a defensive animal - opened the door for Petracca to kick the cover off a snap. This prompted the return of Channel 7 Fancam, a usually pointless idea that was brought to life by this quality City Wars content: 

You can tell the Kayo Minis aren't being put together in South Australia because this was inexplicably left in the highlights package despite offering nothing except laughs.

After last week I wasn't declaring victory on a two goal lead four minutes into the opening quarter, but it was clearly an improvement. Then karmic payback for the Fancam incident came about 15 seconds late, when the Dogs burst out of the middle for a goal. At the time I was bleeding but it turned out to be so rare that it didn't matter.

A decade of rule changes has done nothing more than created the second lowest scoring full season in modern history, but the 6-6-6 rule is one of the few changes that helps promote goals. Problem is that after the first bounce of a quarter you need somebody to kick one first, usually after 15 minutes of the ball being stuck in the middle of the ground while TV executives shed a silent tear. As Channel 7's new Friday night glamour team, we almost did our bit, cannoning out of the middle for a shot to cancel out their cancellation. 

Sadly for fans of ads (Channel 7) or awkward silences where the commentators don't speak (Channel 7 via Foxtel/Kayo) it missed, but the much-appreciated major was not far behind. They barely got it outside 50 before a clearly spooked Libba Jr looked up to see nowt but Melbourne jumpers and tried a suicidal kick across the ground, ending with McSizzle putting the ball down Fritsch's throat at the top of the square. He was so startled at being as good as right in front for once that he ramped up the degree of difficulty by playing on from 10 metres out. All's well that end's well, but my heart was in my mouth at the time.

Footscray got their second goal around this time but our pressure was clearly affecting them. Can't play St. Kilda every week. After a couple of minutes where Charleston Spargo picked up possessions at Gary Ablett pace, Fritsch was on the end of another gift botched kick across ground. These are the goals we didn't get last week, because the opposition didn't need to do risky switches, simply kicking it to one of the COVID test length queues of players on their own up the ground.

The Spargo Minutes peaked when he set the most delightful kick to the top of the square for Weideman. It couldn't have been better delivered to him if it came via a butler carrying an ornate platter. He dropped it cold, part of a rotten first half that saw him marking like he'd just received a hand transplant from Donald Trump. Double J saved him, crumbing the bejesus out of it, and kicking one of the most severe 'height vs distance to goal' snaps you'll ever see. In another win for ambient sound, the ball landed on an advertising hoarding with the same sound you'd get by driving into the door of your garage.

This brought us to 'if we stuff this up from here it will be embarassing' stage, which is when you know things are going well. But last week we were in exactly the same position in the opening quarter before getting altitude sick and breathing life back in the contest by conceding a couple of late goals. Even if that happened here (spoiler: it did not), the difference in quality of performances was chalk and cheese. 

The round is dedicated to Sir Doug, but when Gawn kicked a sixth in the dying minutes (after the mention of his shaky set-shot kicking, as mandated by the Broadcasting Act 2018) I was about to have an Uncle Doug. Only a nervous one, we've lost from better positions against worse teams. Still, you'd be the tightest arse in the English speaking world if you weren't satisfied with what you'd just seen. I'd say more goals from turnovers in a quarter than we used to kick in four full quarters represents a win for the system. 

I won't claim to have been a card-carrying member of the Simon Goodwin Fan Club at the end of last year, but regardless of whether the Yze/Choke Yourself With A Tie dream team have helped, or our current position is the result of a player-led revolution, if he's going to take all the heat for us playing badly he can have an equal share of credit when it's going well.

If there's anything to be sad about after a high scoring opening quarter it's that history shows it'll probably be our highest scoring quarter of the game. Doesn't mean we won't still win, but I'd love to mug a team from the first bounce and go on with it. However, due to our a ripper backline I'll settle for creating a break early, then winning without excess fanfare. I'd love a wire-to-wire festival of fanfare at some point this season but winning by any means necessary is a fair substitute.

There's nothing left to say about how good Lever and May are, and the latter bounced back wonderfully after being troubled over the last couple of weeks, but a word if I may for Harrison Petty. Watch out if he learns to kick. This is why I felt bad for Adam Tomlinson going down when he did, imagine watching the guy that replaced you either spoiling everything that comes near him or, in one case, jumping over an opponent for a screamer. Sure, at one point he did kick out on the full at right angles but he's rapidly heading in the right direction.

As expected, fans of high scoring footy were left disappointed. Much like Dogs fans, whose side barely broke even in the second quarter before going down without a trace in the third. Which is wonderful in hindsight, but when they got a goal within the first minute I was almost at the point of yelling "here we go". Except this year total collapse under pressure is now only an option rather than a guarantee. This one came from an optimistic blind handball over the head from Salem, who must got overly excited hearing us moan about his absence last week and returning for his worst game of the season. He and Langdon did nowt, it didn't affect the overall team performance. I think this is what being a good team is all about

After Tim English Muffins got another I was touching cloth. The margin was still 15 but I remember another recent game where we were that far in front with eight minutes to go and lost by a point. There was plenty of time for an unwelcome reverse here. Enter the rare scenario of Melbourne cancelling somebody else's goal directly from the bounce. For the second time we created a goal directly from the Bulldog ruckman fresh-airing the bounce, allowing Max to grab it and thump the ball forward. Why was this bloke not playing for Adelaide with 20 seconds left last week?

Gawn's kick found Petracca 55 metres out, whose claim of taking a shot on goal fooled nobody except the Bulldog defence, which allowed McSizzle to trot onto Truck's pass unchallenged. His kick around the corner was flatter than a shit carter's hat but was close enough not to matter. In a classic case of the original goal costing more than it earned, we turned the next bounce - via a brief retreat towards their end - into another goal - emerging from English's goal with a six point profit. It was that man McDonald again, taking a delightful pass from Anal-Bullet (which, incidentally, is the same sort of object now pictured on the back of Footscray's jumper) and kicking a more conventional set shot.

Seconds later we tried to waste two Tom McDonald goals at the same time by giving their small forward (I bet he's not endlessly compared to Cyril Rioli for some reason...) an hour to place his snap, but fortunately he missed. Cue several minutes of Footscray players losing the will to live while trying to find free teammates, ending in the margin blowing out to beyond five goals. Blimey. It started with Pickett harassing his opponent, and ended with him on the end of a pass, via a risky "we've got no other ideas" kick that was turned over in the middle. 

With five minutes left in the half there we could either:

a) Sludge them out and go to the half with a comfortable lead.
b) Bang a few more goals on to completely ruin the contest
c) Remove foot from pedal and allowe them a couple of goals to keep it interesting.

And after avoiding our self-destructive urges in the first quarter, nobody was surprised that the answer was C. I suppose you've got to concede sometime, but if there's anything I'd like more of from this team it's ruthlessness when the opposition are on their knees. When they had the first decent chance after half time, with the game having degenerated back into a World War I style trench battle, there were genuine concerns that they'd sussed us and were going to chip away until the last quarter before overrunning us. 

Enter Bayley Fritsch, or more appropriately, enter Zaine Cordy. Crazy name, crazy guy. He gave away a high tackle free, took out his frustrations by berating Fritsch for allegedly diving, and was still having a big old sook when Bayley walked around him and kicked the goal. It was the no crowd equivalent of that Essendon fan hanging shit at Gawn (then, apparently, being arrested as a suspected car thief) before the goal was kicked anyway.

That set off as close as we were going to get to the floodgates opening. Fritsch caused the fake crowd to go off like a Geiger Counter in Chernobyl by hitting the post, before the Weid came to life with goals from his first two kicks. Hell of a minute, shame the rest wasn't much chop, but given that his greatest performances came in front of combined crowds of 180,000 playing in front of 0 might have been a letdown. 

Clayton Oliver wasn't required to perform single-handed acts of sporting heroism this time, but evidence is mounting that he and Petracca are the most influential duo since air and water. Whatever happens from here I'll be wistfully reminiscing about seeing them play when old and clapped out. I loved Harmes' game, but these two are at the heart of everything we do. Grant Thomas isn't a fan, but if we want the opinion of a coach who was sacked for losing a final to Melbourne, we'll call Stan Alves thanks.

When Jordon immediately pinged out of the middle for another shot I was ready to pitch a tent, and though it narrowly fell short, a 36 point lead at the last change was worth getting excited about. For Sullivan Line reasons I wasn't going to open a crate of champers and light cigars, but was reasonably confident. Eight years on I'm not even traumatised by the time we led the Dogs by 44 points halfway through the last quarter and almost lost a game that would have given birth to the Jeremy Howe Line.

The last quarter was played out in a fashion befitting the crowd size. McSizzle's third, generated by the hapless Dogs ruckman not being able to bend down far enough to punch the ball off the ground, made absolutely sure of it five minutes in. With nothing left to lose Footscray got a couple of token goals from the sort of edge-of-your-seat footy that would have come in handy a quarter earlier but it was too little too late. I still wasn't truly comfortable until they needed five goals in five minutes. 

As good as it would have been to plow on and bury them, this was a workmanlike, cue in the rack last quarter that made the finish to the Carlton game look silly in comparison. Both involved a controlled descent to a comfortable victory, this time we'd done infinitely more impressive work to get there in the first place.

The AAMI ad had led me to believe that this would flash on the screen at the final siren. Alas no. It just puttered to an understandably atmosphere free conclusion.

Because Melbourne fans are legally not allowed to be happy for more than a few minutes at a time, the  mysterious appearance of Tom Sparrow as super-sub with a minute left caused some concern. Not to Channel 7, who didn't see fit to immediately tell us Langdon had gone off, or confirm that it was because of a head knock until about an hour later. You can set the stopwatch for a mention of Dr. Gary Zimmerman in every Dogs game but even with two boundary riders in an empty stadium, good luck getting important medical news.  

For reasons best known to the AFL, players who'd been together all week, tested negative to COVID then gone face-to-face with up to 23 opponents for the previous two hours had to put on masks to sing the song. When they were a new thing a year ago I could accept the idea of players 'setting an example' for the community. Now it just looked NQR. Shame Port didn't do more to mock Collingwood by wearing prison bar design masks after their win.

Anyway, as long as our players are singing when they're winning they can do it with Tuckerbag paper sacks over their heads for all I care. Every win is another payment towards a September neck-deep in premiership contention. And this, two months short of the 10th anniversary of 186, is an excellent position to be in. May 2021 continue to be dedicated to more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff.

2021 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year
Bit of a difference from last week, where some players were getting votes for very ordinary games. Now I could have included about nine.

5 - James Harmes
4 - Clayton Oliver
3 - Angus Brayshaw
2 - Christian Petracca
1 - Steven May

Apologies to Gawn, Lever, Rivers or Spargo who might have had the last vote.

It's 1-2 for the Magic Twins, but Clayton's got the big break now. Plenty of votes left to be awarded, but barring disaster it's hard to see anyone pulling back this sort of a gap. In the minors, there's a slight tightening at the top of the Seecamp but Salem remains almost a full BOG ahead, and the Hilton race remains unopened halfway through the year.

30 - Clayton Oliver
18 - Christian Petracca
16 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
15 - Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
14 - Tom McDonald
12 - Jake Lever
11 - Kysaiah Pickett
10 - Steven May
8 - Luke Jackson
7 - James Harmes, Ed Langdon
6 - Bayley Fritsch
3 - Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd
2 - Jayden Hunt, Adam Tomlinson
1 - Charlie Spargo

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Week
I have a great deal of fondness for James Jordon's defensive efforts but generally wouldn't let him kick for my life. However, his snap that defied the laws of physics was delightful, pocketing him the weekly nomination. He wins an ornate presentation case in which to display highlights of - so far - the most successful Melbourne rookie season since Allen Jakovich. 

Goals against St Kilda have since lost most of their value, but Pickett retains the overall lead for his spinny, turny, kicking over the head extravaganza in Round 2.

Next Week
It looks like the only chance we've got of playing for 'TP' next week is players punching on for Sorbent at Safeway. They're not going to wait until midway through the week to decide if we can go to Alice Springs, so I'm expecting by the time you read this it will have been shifted to either the SCG or our old friend Fortress Showgrounds. For the love of all that is holy, anywhere but Cairns.

With respect to the Northern Territory, I couldn't give a fat rat's clacker if we actually play there, I'm just bleeding that it'll cost us $700,000 in sponsorship money. This seems an excessively large amount to pay for one game to be played, but if they're willing to write the cheques we'll keep cashing them. Who knows what the contract says, but surely if they're the ones stopping us from coming when the rest of the country doesn't have an issue it should be on them to pay up. We're probably playing the long game, not chasing them for $700 large this year because we know it's worth $7 million over the next decade. 

Given that the even more lucrative Queen's Birthday is now also in trouble, the only way to recover some costs from this debacle might be to shift a different home game there. If the MCG will let us, GWS in Round 16 seems the obvious choice. Problem for the NT is that this is only going to get the same level of Friday night promotion if they pay Channel 7 a motza or there's bugger all good alternatives for the 'best' timeslot. At this stage, they might just get away with it, only Geelong/Essendon features a Victorian club and looks like having any finals implications.

The cleanest way to handle this would be for Gary Pert to slap down a dossier full of compromising images of NT politicians (and not the ones they've already sent themselves) and get us an exemption to play there. At the time of writing it hasn't been ruled out entirely so I've got some hope. Losing a game in Alice Springs would not only be a financial disaster, it's also a letdown for people who like to hear barely competent middle aged white men make patronising comments about the local crowd as if they're seeing electricity for the first time. On the other hand, great news our Sydney fans, who can enjoy the novelty of watching a game for premiership points alongside about 650 other people.

Whatever obscure venue it's played at, this game will be a further test of how far we've come this year. Brisbane have risen from the dead in the last few weeks to become serious contenders again, but are still trapped in a Battle Royale for premiership favourtism with us (!), Geelong and Port. There's plenty of time for others to come home with a burst, but at the moment it's looking a lot like 2004, where the lack of truly outstanding teams offers the chance for somebody to come through the pack and pinch a flag. Good timing, I've only been waiting 17 years to avenge our spontaneous combustion at the end of that season. 

After two weeks of getting predictions horrible wrong I'm going back to cautious optimism, thinking we could very well win but will fall just short. If we do lose, and it's still hard to come to terms with that being an unlikely option, may it have the same galvanising effect as the Adelaide debacle. For the first time in years Collingwood will be treating Queen's Birthday as their Grand Final, not the other way around, and I don't want any surprises.

The unavoidable change is the concussed Langdon. This is no good, but considering Friday night was probably the least effective he's been for us it proves we can win comfortably without him. The obvious replacement is Baker, but with no VFL to go off this week I'm basing my decision entirely on one Demonland post and giving Fraser Rosman a go. Sure, the same person says Baker was better in the same game but I'm keen to try the man who will dominate the nightclub scene when it reopens.

Despite Weideman not having a kick until the second half, his 60 seconds of glory compares favourably to Ben Brown barely getting a touch in the seconds a week earlier. As a swinging voter I still don't know which option to support, Brown still seems safer, but I understand it's probably better to persist with the Weid because he'll still be going years after Brown retires. We all like Ben, who seems an exceptionally cheery character in the Langdon mould, but given that we signed him to a four year contract that neither party is probably happy with anymore, maybe we'll find a trade for him at the end of the year? At which point all our other forwards will catch a flesh eating superbug.

Brown was unfairly maligned after the Carlton game, a wet day when we shouldn't have played both he and Weid in the same forward line, and in a game of Sim Selection Committee I'd probably pick him next week. In real life that would be a gigantic loogie in Weideman's face. Hopefully his second half was a confidence booster, otherwise VFL form or not (in the current climate, more accurately VFL or not) I'm switching to the guy with proven career form as a goalkicker.

The success of our midfield here - especially Harmes - is both good and bad news for Jack Viney. He is absolutely crucial to our finals tilt, but now we don't have to rush him back. Give him another week off and hopefully his foot stays attached for the rest of the season. Let's unleash him on Queen's Birthday, at which point he'll be so revved up that several Collingwood midfielders could die.

IN: Rosman
OUT: Langdon (inj), Sparrow (omit)
LUCKY: Melksham, Weideman
UNLUCKY: Sparrow, Viney

Regardless of where this is played, even on the deck of a ship in international waters, it promises to be a cracker. I will now accept that we're a top eight side, but won't start gazing lovingly at the prospect of a double chance unless we win here.

Mid-Season Mania
Unlike most drafts we've been involved with over the last 20 years, nobody's stressed that winning caused us to drop a position. For once we're picking like the best team in the country, which lacks a bit of excitement compared to the National Draft - where it implies you've just won the bloody flag.

Unless you're North, about to snatch a highly rated prospect via loophole, it's hard to take this draft seriously. A handful of teams found regulars last time, but most selections never got a game or flamed out quickly. We have a couple of positions that could do with cover (e.g. tall defenders, running half-backs, mid size half-forwards) and up to two spots to fill but considering draftees aren't going to play in the next couple of weeks anyway, you're left going for kids who are expected to develop for next year, break in case of emergency experienced players, or Marlion Pickett style Hail Marys.

The full list of nominees is available here, and I'm not at all qualified to tell you who we're going to pick but wonder if we might take Wiz Jr. this time, just to park him at Casey for the rest of the year and see how he develops. There's not much else there if you're hoping for romantic ex-MFC connections. The lost Brayshaw brother, the Werribee bloke who trained with us pre-season and Mitch White, but sadly no sign of The Spencil, who is too busy running riot at Doncaster to waste his time hanging out on a rookie list for half a season.

Otherwise, we're left looking for wacky names and anomalies. Including several nominees from club 'none', #108 who spelt Heidelberg wrong, #109, who wrote down an address instead of a club name, #126 who casually refers to his club's competition as 'Adelaide footy league', and plenty of others who are clearly just wasting everyone's time by nominating for a laugh. May whoever we end up with turn out to be the shit hottest player ever to lace up boots.

Final Thoughts
Let me be very clear that I'm still not claiming us as a serious premiership threat but imagine if things go super tits-up in Victoria, the league ends up as a travelling circus again, and our return to the Adelaide Oval is to play a Grand Final. There would be a lot of wrist-slashing over not being able to see it live, but at this stage of my life there would be immense (and I mean IMMENSE) personal satisfaction in seeing us win a flag from anywhere, whether that be the ground, my couch, or an iron lung. We're still not even halfway there yet, but it feels a few percent more possible than last week.

1 comment:

  1. Our most complete 4 qtr performance this season and arguably for several years. Should have won by more (as acknowledged by Beveridge).
    Harmes' best career games have come as tagger; chopping out opposition gun (the job he did on Dangerfield) meanwhile gathering his own possessions/goals.
    Why wasn't 50 metres paid against Cordy for unnecessary abuse of Fritsch while lying on the ground? I've seen 50 paid for much less. Kicking from the boundary probably suits Fritsch though.
    Lever best on ground for me.


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